Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kazek Thel before the Fall (Part II)

Three major players in the early years of Kazek Thels history are already sketched out. The fey, the earth elemantals and the Mushroom Wizard were shaping what this island was about, before civilisation really took hold here. There is still room, but it is in the corners, so to say. If we agree, that a culture (to a certain degree) is shaped by it's surrounding dominant cultures, it leaves a nice mix of a watchful and defensive nature, fey magic and the way of the mushroom to rub off on the kobolds I'd like to have in there. And evolution always has a special place for you in her heart, if there is room to develop. I mean, look at New Zealand's biodiversity...

The Kobolds of Kazek Thel
AD&D Kobold by DiTerlizzi

Going with the Rules Cyclopedia for the monster description as a basis has, as with all versions of OD&D, the benefit of the three-folded version of alignment. It makes Kobolds chaotic, but not necessarily evil*.  Them being chaotic brings them close to the fey and in opposition to the Mushroom Wizard (yes, he is lawful, ShroomZombies or not, it's just the way of the Mushroom). There are no Gnomes or humans in this dojo, no civilisation to oppose or play the role of the low-hd-monster in and the Mushroom Wizard would be powerful enough to be avoided. Which means they are free to hedge a culture of their own, maybe even diversify**. Seeing the opposition, evil might be a bit short lived.

The boss of our boss is our god...

Angry green dragon (source)
They didn't always live on the island. Fey and Elementals were dominant first, the Mushroom Wizard found his niche after them and got powerful. I don't see the kobolds arriving in primitive rafts, so someone brought them there. It flys (to get there) and has use for kobolds as minions and that sounds like a dragon. Because of the forest themed scenario, I'll go for a huge speaking green dragon having his lair on the island***. His lair was most propably near the shore, with him being over the sea most of the time, which could give the kobolds a maritime touch after all (them being pirates, too, maybe?). Be that as it may, the kobolds definitly brought some civilisation with them, that is, all the skills needed to build a dragons lair and defend it (mining, traps, some other useful crafts and, of course, magic). I'll give them 42**** years (maybe 4 to 6 generations?) to get comfy.

Another Kobold by DiTerlizzi,
I do like where he is going with that!
But the mushrooms are at war with the lizards, so the Mushroom Wizard and the pirate dragon had to confront each other at some point. Long story short, they fought, left some scars on the island and in the end the dragon was subdued and became part of the fungus network (which ever since tries to reproduce him, but failed to build more than some small funguid pseudo dragons, very fragile and only able to glide...).

Some of the kobolds fled to a nearby island (but not without taking some of the dragons treasure) and have been pirates ever since (they don't need lights at night, so they sneak up on ships and take them by surprise), the others stayed and started worshipping the one that dominated their master as a god. It didn't take long for them to adapt to the island (some magic items that changed ownership helped with that, too). Cutting down trees, for example, almost always led to squished kobold, so they started collecting dead wood for the harsh winters, which in turn took decomposing material from the forest and in the end resulted in burying rites that were a lot about decaying in a forest when the mushroom needed it the most. Mushrooms became the main diet, too.

It's evolution, baby!

Within a few centuries, 4 different tribes evovlved*****. One tamed a swarm of local giant wasps, one got cosy with the fey, with some interesting bloodline results (and some magic...), the pirates we talked about already and the mushroom worshipping kobolds are a given. Dragon treasure got distributed all over the island (trophies of the tribes, presents to fey and one incident where a confused elder elemental glided through the dragon's lair, absorbing a lot of gold and jewels while being around...) That's what it was like before the Fall.

Not the end, but the humans

This is getting big already. I'll write up some kobold character classes in the near future. But the next step got to be the humans, as of yet, the biggest threat to the island. And most likely the ones shaping it the most! After that, a map is in order.

*It is stated in the monster description that they are evil, but here not yet fixed as an alignment. I know, semantics, but evil is a complex beast of a word (my opinion, as far as I think relevant in D&D, is here). Just try and google it for a definition.
**Missing Link Theory: Kobolds are the early ancestors of halflings. Assuming that hair developed from scales (here are some words about that idea) and kobolds are scaled and intelligent, one could conclude that a long time ago some kobold ancestors decided to go all jurassic and become mammals. Well, that's just an armchair evolutionist at work here, but at least it could be something found in a wizards research...
***This is a very large flying quadruped 16 hd creature, which, using the Monster Territory idea, results in a  territory radius of 36 km (with the sea factored in, too) and an area of 4072 square kilometers (almost as big as the area of Rhode Island). The next coast wouldn't be, according to this, further away than 36 kilometers (the island won't give much for looting, so there needs to be a coast nearby and within the territory of the creature). He'd be a pest for ships and settlements near the coast. A pirate dragon, so to say, I like that.
****Because that's the meaning of life.
*****Makes me wonder how old the Mushroom Wizard is. Or is he immortal? Another Mushroom spawn of a wizard long gone, maybe (died on the island, in a field of mushrooms, the spells in his head connected somehow with the fungus network and the network started to get new ideas...)? More legends to tell the players, I guess.

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