Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Background -- Jotun Tribelands

I always come back from GaryCon with a renewed sense of purpose to get more gaming in and to create some adventures to run at the next con. The demands of work and family tend to distract me from my resolve as the year progresses (as shown by my post history). Apparently I need to attend more cons.

So with my rekindled resolve, here's some background on the area I am going to concentrate on for my campaign setting and adventures, The Jotun Tribelands.

The Tribelands lay in the area between the north shore of the Sea of Strife and the southern foothills of the Jural Mountains with the heaviest population concentrated in the Barysthenes river valley. The chief cities are Chersonesus at the outflow of the Barysthenes into the Sea of Strife and Bas-Morheath which lies in the great bend of the Barysthenes.

Historical Background

In the years before the Dread Goddess led her people to the shores of the Sea of Strife, a small  kingdom, Taurica, arose along the banks of the Barysthenes River. The Tauri were a semi-nomadic people who lived primarily on raiding and plunder. The Tauri were also noted builders of Kurgans. They had two notable permanent cities, Chersonesus and Symbolon. Chersonesus was located at the outflow of the Barysthenes and was a noted haven for pirates raiding the Sea of Strife. Symbolon was located about 150 miles north at a bend of the Barysthenes.

When the Cyrenes began their encroachment into the basin of the Sea of Strife they were held back for a time by the ferocity of the Tauri; but the Tauri were not loved by their neighbors (and frequent victims) among the cities of the Sea Kings and in their last campaign aid was refused them and Symbolon was lost and the remnants of the Tauri scattered.

After the death of the Fell Empress the Cyrene Empire began to dissolve into petty satrapies and isolated garrisons with a few families huddled near the walls for protection. In the former kingdom of Taurica the descendants of the Tauri waged a guerrilla war against the remaining Cyrene nobility and bureaucrats who were attempting to carve a new kingdom out of the remains of the empire. To their lasting regret, the Tauri were successful in destroying what remained of the Cyrene power structures and Barysthenes valley settled into barbarism and tribalism. Into this relative power vacuum arrived the migrating Jotun and Vargr people. Their alliance was not numerous but was well organized and they quickly assumed the mantle of rulership in the Barysthenes valley and in the surrounding highlands.

The Jotun make no claim of Kingship in the valley, though they built a city, Bar-Morheath, on the site of destroyed Symbolon. This lack of overt ambition on the part of the Jotuns is probably what allows the uneasy peace between the remnants of the Tauri and the Jotuns; for the dream of lost Taurica lives on in the hearts of many of the Tauri.