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5/28/2014 4:48 pm  #1

BoL: Blood & Steel

So I just introduced two new people to BoL.
Using a home brew setting loosely based on the Frazettaverse I'm working on.
I'm ripping off an ancient gaming trope and doing the whole "Keep on the Borderlands" thing as a way to slowly introduce the feel of the game.

The PCs have been hired to escort a supply caravan to the keep in question, twenty days out from the city state of Korvala, where the ruling Imperatrix has decreed that the influence of the city must be pressed into the savage plains to the north.

I'm in the process of populating the plains around the keep with various elements to keep the PCs busy. I'm going for a "Fort Apache" vibe, where the isolated keep, far from reinforcements or resupply must fend for itself and somehow hold the line against the forces that lurk in the deadly expanse it borders.

Elements I'll be adding are:
- Gajan Raiders who wage war on the backs of armored war rhinos. Their chieftan wants the keep for his tribe.
- The Bloody Hag, a witch in the hills slowly gathering an army of cannibal neanderthals to exert her will on the plains.
- Anansi, a race of spider people (think Driders from forgotten realms) that once warred with the Serpent Men of old. They lost the war and had to retreat to the far places of the Earth. They'll have a warren somehwere in the plains.
- Sky Hunters, large predatory pterodactyls that periodically attack earth bound prey (like PCs).

I'm not too sure what else to include. I'd appreciate any additional ideas.
I'm saving Snake Men and dinosaurs for later

I'm writing up the keep now. I figure I'll name the captain, his second in command and a half dozen minor NPC's. The rest will all be Rabble class soldiers. I'm thinking 20 or so to "man the walls".


5/28/2014 5:21 pm  #2

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

Frazzetaverse sounds awesome.
Armored war rhinos!
I have a Frazetta painting of barbarian with a chariot sled drawn by four polar bears! Can I play that guy in your game?


5/28/2014 5:56 pm  #3

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

Send you a PM umungus.

     Thread Starter

5/28/2014 10:06 pm  #4

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

This sounds great!

Where's my axe?

5/29/2014 2:51 am  #5

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

This may not fit with your original idea, but here it is anyway.
I'd add a bit of Hadrian's Wall to the mix. So there are friendly tribes close to the fort. They are outside the Imperium, but come to trade. They are useful for intelligence on what the Rhino Riders are up to. So as well as the supply convoy, there is an independent trader or traders hitching a ride too. Some of these trade at the market outside the fort. Others actually venture into tribal lands to trade. They may even trade with the Rhino Riders. And some of these men and women will be Imperial spies, who report to the intelligence officer at the fort (a key NPC). PCs could find work as guards for the independent traders, or even work for the intelligence officer, making sure the spy is straight and giving honest reports.

My real name is Steve Hall

5/29/2014 3:00 am  #6

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

For me (YMMV) a key text would be Howard's Beyond the Black River - Conan meets Fennimore Cooper.
So what if a charasmatic shaman appears, and preaches war against the Empire? Suddenly the friendlies living close to the fort arn't so friendly anymore. The tribe/tribes may end up in two or three camps - destroy the fort/the soldiers are our friends and we like the trade/neutrals. Will the now hostile friendly join the Rhino Riders into an all out invasion of Imperial territory? If PCs are scouts (LLRPs) or spies they might find themselves on teh wrong side of the line when all hell breaks loose.

In 1897 the tribes on the North West Frontier rose up and attacked British troops stationed on the frontier. In one incident a small number of Indian troops held out in a blockhose - refusing surender terms until they were finally overrun. Just like the fort in the Howard story - although I don't think the Picts offered surrender!

My real name is Steve Hall

5/29/2014 3:02 am  #7

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

A final thought - personally I'd raise the garrison numbers up from 20. The battle rules in Mythic can be adapted to handle an attack on the fort with ease.

Just my two pence...

My real name is Steve Hall

5/29/2014 4:20 pm  #8

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

Beyond the Black River is an excellent source of inspiration. I'll absolutely revisit it.
I like the idea of the neutral tribes that may not be entirely hostile to the presence of the keep.

That said, I prefer to evoke a sense of isolated soldiers under siege. The feeling that the small force holding the keep are an unwanted presence drawing the ire of a multitude of forces who like nothing more than to spill their blood on the plains and slaughter them to a man.

Throw in some ancient, inhuman foe whose slumber is being disturbed by the incessant shenannigans of mortals, and the PCs should have their hands full for a bit. 


     Thread Starter

5/30/2014 8:02 pm  #9

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

Consider at some point of having the hostile barbarians align with some nameless force and attempt to wipe out/drive off the neutral tribes.And have some smaller portion of the hostile tribe, opposed to said alignment, attempt a coup.


5/30/2014 8:05 pm  #10

Re: BoL: Blood & Steel

Oh! And have the liege withdraw some forces from the border keep due to lack of concern., or some other threat.

Last edited by heor (5/30/2014 8:07 pm)


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