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The Dwarves of Dwergvald

NYC_MetMuseumTheSacklerWing_ShinyaSuzuki_CC-BYIn the Southlands, the Dwarves of Dwergvald differ from the traditional dwarven ideal. Less martial, these dwarves focus on craftsmanship and community. This isn’t to say they don’t have warriors or martial elements—far from it! But the God-Kings of Nuria-Natal strongly patronized their guilds, and in doing so, they created relationships between the greatest sculptors and stonecarving artisans of the dwarven culture and the River Kingdom that still exist. Additionally, the dwarves suffered greatly when a terrible cataclysm tore an immense hole in Midgard, obliterating much of their homeland. Their armies had heavy casualties fighting a rearguard action as the rest of the survivors retreated to the current warren-cities of Dwergvald. A result of this event also created a custom of developing tunnel-fighters and explorers who are dedicated to recovering anything salvageable from the ruins.

Three dwarven archetypes are slated for Southlands: Dwergvald Arcane Sculptor, Deep Explorer, and Tunnel-Fighter. While these aren’t just for dwarves, dwarves dominate their ranks.

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God-Kings of Nuria

Spire of the God-KingOne of the more lively and fantastical elements of the Southlands are the Nurian god-kings and god-queens, rulers who sat upon the Cobra throne of Nuria for a time, and then died (as is the way of all things). But they were entombed with great wealth, not merely gold, but the secrets of passage through death and back into life. The journeys often took decades or even centuries, but in time, through their knowledge of the afterlife, the god-kings tended to awake from their sleeping death and return to the living world.

And this, of course, was a bit of a problem for their heirs and descendants, who found the arrival of ancient rulers somewhat awkward, as the Cobra Throne was no longer available. And so over time, the Nurians developed tools and traditions for what to do with these god-kings. They became the high priests of certain important cults, or generals of the armies fighting the Mharoti dragon-lords, or masters of spycraft whose secrets go back generation after generation. In time, the Nurians tamed their god-kings and made them part of the tapestry of Nurian life.

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Demon Cults of the Southlands

Gnoll with axe by Storn Cook

Hello, folks, I’m Jeff Lee. I’m one of the new kids on the block, relatively speaking, when it comes to freelance writing. As a gamer, though, I’ve got over three decades of experience, going all the way back to the “blue box” edition of Basic D&D. Shortly after placing as a finalist in the Monarch of the Monsters contest, Wolfgang approached me with an offer to do a series of short pieces, highlighting various cults set in the south of Midgard. He gave me a few to do and asked me to brainstorm other ideas. I did just that, and he gave me a list of the ones he liked to add to the original list. Among these are three that have been unlocked as stretch goals in the Southlands Kickstarter: the Emerald Order, the Hand of Nakresh, and the Servants of the White Ape. I’m going to share a little bit about these pieces and the process that went into bringing them to fruition.

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Collection of Curiosities: Down the Sinkhole

Photo by Stéphanie GromannSinkholes might open up unexpectedly, leading Southlands adventurers into new areas—and into interesting situations. You can roll randomly for a result below, or 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.

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Thoughts on The Tomb-Palace of Nakresh

Cleric of Ptah

In 1986, my parents took me and my brother to the World’s Expo in Vancouver, B.C. There, sometime after the kiddy rides and the bouncy castle but before getting sick on cotton candy, we visited the Rameses II exhibit. It was too long ago for me to remember clearly, but fragments of the exhibit stick in my mind: enormous stone statues, glimmering gold jewelry (somehow soft-looking, like it was shaped from Play-Doh and painted gold), and peering through a small window to see the sarcophagus of Rameses himself beyond.

The exhibit inflamed my imagination. I wanted to learn more about Egypt. In my small pre-Internet town, that limited me to encyclopaedias, a novel called The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries, and a book of Egyptian fairy tales. The wonder of those grand adventure tales set among the desert sands never left me.

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