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Basically the title. I am starting a new campaign that is set on a continent of 8 countries , or deserts as they are called.
Each desert is themed after a different civilization begining at an Arabian themed city. I will include themes from the Aztec , Chinese , Japanese , Hawaiian and others to create a rich environment. Topographically, it is no issue since my homebrew world is constantly changed by time rifts that randomly bring in new creatures , objects or even whole towns.
My question is, what monsters or enemies were the most memorable in your desert campaign? What descriptions did you use to immerse the players in the atmosphere? Any and all tips or info are welcome, thanks in advance !
I have been working in freelancing and always faced situations where I had no way other than to move on whether it is a shady client or enforcing rules from the Freelancing marketplaces, so I decided to take some time off from my work and started research. What I found was no less than a wonder and the major point is that I am not the only one frustrated with the current freelancing system, so I decided to build something which will help not only for myself but also for you. It had taken me and my team so much time to build it and now finally we are ready to serve, so we need your feedback. it's built for you, so your participation is very crucial.
Skeeter had made an error. Not a big one, but one that did have significant downstream effects. He'd assumed that he could visit enough of each planet to give a sort of general feel to each one's character in three or four days, but it was looking more and more like he'd have to extend the stay at Corvian Home for at least a weak. He could scarecely remember being so excited by making a mistake. In most respects, Corvian Home was wildly different from Terra. From its many small islands to its ever turbulent storms, to its mediworld gravity, it was unlike any place found on Terra. It still baffled him that the xenos thought Terran gravity was heavy. The in which it was similar had to do with the wide verity of culture, which made getting a general sense of the place a tad more difficult than planets with a more unified culture.
So, he had to ask Captain Vexkeed to extend the stay, which wasn't cheap. Additionally, it required the refund of any unsatisfied passengers who were on more time-sensitive journeys. However, it turned out that the majority of the passengers had apparently viewed the voyage as a "Sneaky Cruise," which made Skeeter laugh until he couldn't breathe when Captain Vexkeed told him. Likewise, when he told Suzie and Ivan, they found themselves completely overcome by mirth. Kip on the other hand couldn't see the humor in it. This, of course sent all three adults into the throes of hysterical laughter, which only further perplexed the boy.
The inscrutable, to Kip, Terran sense of humor aside, it turned out that apart from paying a fee to extend the journey and maybe five or six refunds, there was very little adjustment in terms of the We Bring Friends from Afar to Joyous Meeting
making drastic changes to her manifest. Which was amenable to Skeeter's bank account, and his conscience. In any case, it let him fill out the itinerary with a wide variety of events from the local sporting events, to seeing interesting geological formations or particularly treasured vistas, to attending musical theater, to restaurant hopping in one of the larger cities with a conveniently cosmopolitan makeup. Even better, all of the things toxic to Humans, Doggos, and Lutrae were also toxic to the Corvians, so the risk of accidental poisoning was almost nonexistent.
"We actually discussed this in class last week," Kip was saying as the shuttle shook in the storm winds, "once a group went to a new island, the storms cut them off from the original group, except for the very few traders brave enough to fly in… well, this."
"That so?" Skeeter prompted genially.
"Yeah, for the most part I guess people would just float along with whatever everyone else thought, but I guess that's true for most places. Except, since they were separate and all, they didn't all go along the same currents, and so even islands that are pretty close can be crazy different."
"That, and it is ruining the landing shots," Ivan grumbled as he kept the camera trained on the trio.
"Well, back home rain's a good thing!" Suzie exclaimed exuberantly.
"Rain makes rye," Skeeter rejoined.
"Rye makes whiskey," Suzie laughed.
"You mean industrial disinfectant or emergency stomach purging doses," Kip said flatly.
"How'd you find out about that?" Skeeter asked.
"Greg George mentioned it in his book. He dumped so many doses in a glass that any sane person would think he was trying to poison someone with the fumes."
"Oh, I loved My Side
," Suzie said, "It had always bugged me that the Lost Boys never got a fair say."
"Wait, isn't he a hero? He talks like you guys almost worshiped him…"
"It's complicated," Skeeter said, "I served on a ship with one of the Lost Boys once, Stephen the Line. It was hard to not be in awe of him. Hard to remember that behind the deeds was a man just trying to serve like me."
"Were you discussing more about Corvian Home in the classes?" Ivan asked before the silence could turn cold.
"Oh, sure, lots. Like on this one island there's a big festival where they celebrate the harvest of these huge nuts, and then there's this island where they have 'Imitation plays,' where Corvians try to mimic exactly how the plays sound from other races. Tutor Brixvee showed us a video of one they coppied from the Star Sailors, and it was pretty cool."
"Do you figure she had lessons on Corvian Home since she knew we were headed here?"
"Of course," Kip said with a bitter scowl, "she's full of dirty tricks like that." His hosts couldn't contain their mirth, not that they tried all that hard.
Later that day, the intrepid travelers were in the throes of a local festival. They had surmised that it was probably related to local folklore, as various icons and masks were featured heavily, but the press was so active and exuberant, that not even the Terran implants could keep up, slaved as they were to the Terran compads with better translation matrixes than even the local networks. Therefore, three out of the four friends found themselves swept up in a feathered fury of dance and rough song, to their ears anyway, while the only clue to Ivan's immense pleasure at the experience was his swiftly wagging tail. Which the locals had no idea was the unconcealable tell that his exterior coolness was in fact, a complete sham.
The festivities seemed to show no sign of abating as night fell over the city sheltered in a rough and rocky crown from the storms of the sea, so in order to get a good night's sleep they were obliged to catch a local shuttle ride between islands to find a slightly less festive town to bed down in, and Suzie took the opportunity.
"So I hear Y'all's planet name isn't what anybody calls it," she said impishly to the shuttle pilot.
"INDEED, ahem, indeed. We know that you mammal-peoples, and the reptile-peoples, and the water-peoples, cannot do it."
"Come on, give us an example," Suzie said in that challenging, teasing way that made Skeeter both cringe and love her.
The pilot laughed, or at least Skeeter thought he, or maybe she? At least Skeeter thought that the pilot laughed, whichever sex they were. He had a hard time with regular Terran corvids, let alone these giant bird people that reminded him of the former. Then said piolet of undetermined sex made a weird clicking noise in the depths of the throat and said, "That is the name."
"I can see why y'all think folk can't do that. Hey Skeeter, why don't ya give it a shot?"
"No," he said flatly.
"Aw come on, it's their planet's name, you should at least try," she said with that wry smile she had that made promises. Promises that he had a very difficult time resisting for… reasons.
He then made a right proper fool of himself trying to replicate the sound by clicking his tongue in various ways before giving up and just saying, "I'm stickin' with Corvian Home."
After making a right proper fool of himself, the other passengers obliged to laugh at him, and Suzie turned on Kip saying, "Your turn."
Kip shot her a sullen look.
"Aw, c'mon, you gonna let these folk just laugh at Skeeter all by his lonesome?" she chided.
Kip downright pouted at her.
"Coooome oooooon," she taunted.
Realizing that she wouldn't quit unless he gave in, Kip also made a mockery of himself trying to replicate the throat clicking sound to the delight of all and sundry. "Shut up," he mumbled as he laid his ears back.
"Ivan?" she asked of her final victim.
He clicked his tongue once, and when Suzie gave him a pout he said, "That is as much as I am trying."
"Now you try," Kip shot at her.
"I know my limits, unlike you boys," she laughed to Kip's indignant sputtering.
Meanwhile, Jerry was having a less festive time. Instead of happening to land on an island that happened to be hosting a festival for one reason or another, he had purposely chosen the center of finance for his outing. He'd had a relatively uneventful series of meetings with financiers, entrepreneurs, and shipping guild heads, and various other parties interested in securing access to new markets for their various trades. It was all very productive, and very boring, and not for the first time he felt a stab of regret for the last time that he had interacted with Skeeter.
Even still, it was a satisfying day. There was a lot of troubling mentions of debts though. Jerry was no stranger to the lending industries of various planets of the CIP, and even had some Republican contacts in that realm, those who could stand his needling of the Republic's systems, but nobody he knew ever said anything about "debt masters" or "clan debt." Troubling indeed, but he chalked it up to clunky translation. Even CIP systems could have trouble with new languages, and he just knew that Republican datapads were inferior. They had to be, of course.
Still though, there was something about the references that bothered him. Something furtive behind the eyes of the avian people who spoke of either concept. Then, there was the fact that only those who were obviously startup businesspeople would speak about them, never the financers. Very troubling indeed. He resolved himself to investigate the matter if he could make the time the next day.
The following morning, the intrepid travelers went on the only "heavyworlder safe" zipline tours available on the planet, which just so happened to be in the heavily forested canyons and followed paths through the foliage designed to simulate danger. Skeeter and Kip found it thrilling, but Suzie found it merely pleasant while Ivan was actually bored by the thrilling experience. The man was pleased with getting a shot of kip chanting breathlessly, "Let's go again, let's go again, let's go again, let's go again!" Wile Suzie was more pleased to have sneakily captured a shot of Ivan's unamused expression as he sped along on the pullies.
"Sure, why not?" Suzie had said to Kip.
To which Ivan said, "Because is boring."
"What?!" Kip nearly shouted.
"You take ride in boarding torpedo, and you will be understanding then."
"The real answer to why not is I already booked a nature walk. There's this island where there's like this bowl formation full of flowers. It looks amazin'" Skeeter explained to Kip's dismay.
Meanwhile, Jerry was exhausted. He'd reshuffled the meetings so that he had mere moments between them to prepare, but he was good at his job, so long as his counterpart wasn't a Republican, and could get the proper contact details to the correct people for whatever the other party hoped to accomplish, so long as it was legal, and it all was. It was therefore by mighty effort alone that he had a scant two hours in which to seek out the information he sought before he would have to retire to sleep, or else be completely useless the next day.
He took snagged a gravcar and told the cabbie, "Take me to where you and the lads go for a spot of drink, or whatever the legal intoxicant is around here."
The cabbie gave him a one eyed beady stare and said, "Are you sure, mammal-people? The places we go are not the high class places, by the storms."
"I'm sure, I'm sure. I might not look it these days, but I came up from w working family. My dah still makes fun that I lost my calluses."
The cabbie blinked twice and raised his crest. Jerry had no idea whether that was a good sign or not, but the blue plumed cabbie lowered his crest and blinked again saying, "Sure, mammal-people. I will take you there, but do not cause the fights or my clan will have share of the debt."
Jerry thought about pressing the issue, but something about how the cabbie's feathers had puffed out and still weren't lying flat convinced him that social lubricant was the needed thing. "What is the preferred intoxicant?" he asked.
"We smoke an herb. It usually does not work for mammal-peoples, so you might not have the fun you look for."
"I see, we also have some intoxicants taken this way, do you draw the smoke through water first?"
"Yes, do you mammal-peoples do this too?"
"It's called hookah, and has a long tradition in several of our cultures. Or bongs, which have a somewhat younger tradition, as history is measured."
"Maybe then you will get the happy haze and no fights will be started, mammal-people."
"Maybe, maybe. I'm just after a good banter, and the banker types are too stuffy."
"You are right, you are right, debt masters do not laugh when you joke, they charge you more interest!" the cabbie laughed, and Jerry fell silent.
At the, well, Jerry would call it a hookah lounge, Jerry found that the lads about avoided him and shot him suspicious glances, and also found that apart from a relaxed feeling in his limbs, the smoke had no effect on him. It was a pleasant feeling, and he could maintain it by taking a draw from the hookah every two minutes or so. It seemed that was a prodigious rate of smoking though, for eventually the suspicious glances turned to those of curiosity or even grudging respect. Jerry surmised that despite his rather drab coloring, they knew an expensive suit when they saw one.
Eventually, a clearly intoxicated Corvain stumbled over to his table and sank down on one of the cushions, "Why do you smoke so well, mammal-thing-people?" he slurred.
"I am used to a much stronger herb, and this makes me simply feel good. Does it not feel good for you?"
"'Course it do. Can't smoke as much."
"Wondering anything else?"
"You a Sneaky?"
Jerry thought about correcting the error, but another glance at the state of his conversation partner dispelled the notion, so he said, "Yes, but I am not very stealthy."
"It's just what people call you… dunno why…"
"I'm not botherd, I know the reason and it's funny."
"Yes, do you know it?"
"Ish a meme."
"The first one of us that the Star Sailors met was mistaken for a pet, and they named him Sneaky."
That, as planned, brought forth uproarious laughter from the intoxicated Corvian who confided, "That's the kinda thing people-things get bristly about."
"I know, people-things get brislty about all sorts of things. Like the bankers, they won't tell me what debt masters are."
"They own clan debts."
"You know, the debts you clan has, from like way back."
"Do you mean to say you were born in debt?"
"Sssssure, isn't everybody? Well, not rich people-things I guess, but ever-peoples I knowed."
"And these debt masters, they merely collect the interest?"
"If you're not… if the job doesn't pay… erm… they so like tell you to do stuff."
"Involuntary servitude," Jerry said coldly.
"Yeah, that. The hatchlings get that rough."
"Explain please," Jerry said with cold intensity.
It seemed that the intensity of Jerry's gaze or maybe the soft quality of a hammer that his voice emulated, gave the Corvian some degree of sobriety as he stammered, "Yes-yes. The erm, the uh or-or-orphanages. The hatchlings there have no parents to provide for them, so the debt masters have them do something useful."
Jerry was very close to becoming a very dangerous man as he asked, "Are the debts of these children for sale?"
"Where does one go to buy debts?" First Previous