The assagi stabbing spear…Aeromancers exchanging their spells for air-themed powers…werelions!…animal hide armors…zebra mounts…the huge elemental companions of the Tamasheq paladins…the Kijani, a playable race of symbiotic plants…tactical feat trees of the Narumbeki Legions…the bounty of poisons and medicinal plants of the Living Jungle of Kush…
The Southlands project has generated an amazing slate of player options. We have new equipment, magic items, feats, traits, spells, archetypes, races, spell systems, and, of course, monsters to battle. We constantly oscillate in a pattern of obsession about each and every player option when discussing how it fits into the setting and cultures around it. Our goal has been to make each one more intriguing than the one before, but also to make them appropriate for the region. When you start digging into a manuscript as big as Southlands, though, you’re bound to have a couple of favorites.
Right now, we’re particularly excited about a few player options. For instance, Brian loves…
There was supposed to be a great battlefield here. Instead you find a still forest. Rusty pikes lean against its sturdy trunks. A man approaches. His flesh hangs loose, like well-worn clothing on a rough frame. From atop a nearby tree, the wind whistles through an ancient skull.
After a great battle, the damage to the land can be considerable. Poisoned rivers, charred fortresses, and diseased fields are difficult locales for the natural order to reassert itself. When the land needs a little help, the followers of certain nature icons are known to plant funeral pears to retain the balance.
Funeral pears inhabit the bodies of fallen soldiers, growing woody humanoid frames to fill their hosts. The resulting parasitic masses appear to be shambling warriors until fast-growing spines pierce their supple, pear-fertilized flesh. The pears use their new bodies to remove offending elements from the battleground. They leave small memorials of the event. It is unknown whether this is because the funeral pears’ creator wished to communicate the price of war, or because the spiritual remnants of the soldiers retain slight control.
Daggers, darts, and staffs. That was your choice of weapons when you rolled that level 1 mage with 1 hit point and one sleep spell way back when. Many of us chose the dagger or darts (more on darts and spikes another time) because they can be thrown and keep that single hit point out of melee.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, in the real world, throwing knives aren’t very effective. It’s hard to get enough force behind the point to get any real penetration, and it’s very hard to get it to hit point first without knowing the distance to the target. I’m not a physicist (maybe a physicist or an engineer can pipe in?), but it seems that too much energy is lost to angular momentum. And the spin works against you at every turn.
The good news is that gamers don’t care. We’ll make it work.
In need of a few details for that apothecary shoppe? Or maybe the scary necromancer’s lab? Perhaps one or more of the twelve suggestions below will suit your campaign. You can roll randomly for a result below, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.
Nkumu flailed through the vine-choked trees with death only steps behind. He had watched his companions fall one by one. The three Nurian merchants screamed as their skin peeled from their bones. The two Zobeckian swordsmen choked and gagged, infected by tiny green tendrils that crept out of their eyes and mouths. Now alone, Nkumu staggered on. Come what may, he was going to make it. He was going to live!
The twisted, thorny tip of the vine burst through Nkumu’s chest from behind. Other vines exploded out of the jungle canopy to wrap themselves around his arms and legs. As his body was dragged back, Nkumu realized he should never have entered the Living Jungle.