Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cult of Undeath updates

I've made a minor executive decision, and I'm going to rename Prezov County; I'm going to use the word Timischburg, which is a combination of the Romanian and German names for an actual city in Transylvania (Timişoara/Temeschburg).  I've decided over time that the name Prezov County just didn't really feel right, and in a game that's supposed to evoke the visceralness of the horror genre, how the name feels is important.  Prezov still works as a name for a location somewhere within the country, though.  I'll log that one away as a useful name I can still recycle.

In any case, I've also made a sketchy map, bulked out in pencil rather fast on a handy piece of printer paper.  Eventually, I'll make a nice map, on resume paper and with ink and watercolors, scanned and names and labels with Paint.NET or GIMP or something (I don't have Photoshop, and I'm not paying for a graphics package I'd rarely use.)  But the sketchy map is sufficient for now to block out the geography.  In fact, I'm somewhat following the guidelines from this article in doing the map in this format. But I love a good, beautiful map, and it's long past time that I really put one together for this world.  This isn't it, but it's a map at least, and like I said, it sufficiently blocks out the geography for my needs right now.

The map also, in case that isn't obvious, isn't labeled per se, and it applies equally to Timischburg and to Tarush Noptii, since I'm deliberately making them the same with one main exception: Tarush Noptii is meant to be a region within my DARK•HERITAGE setting, while Timischburg needs to stand alone for the CULT OF UNDEATH setting.

Anyway, let me give a little context to all of the labels.

  • Haunted Forest - infamous as the redoubt of a group of wildlings who brook no trespassers.  Very dangerous to pass through; makes an effective barrier to the world beyond to the north.
  • Eltdown Fens - actually fens, ings and carrs -- all a former lake that is gradually disappearing into marsh.  Rumors have it that the Lost Lake still hides somewhere in the fens, and that as it dries, the ruins of a fabulously ancient benighted city will reveal themselves.  Named for the nearby hamlet of Eltdown.
  • Eltdown - a small, suspicious little hamlet that has been here since before the rise of the modern nation.  Infamous for a number of inscribed pottery shards found nearby that, when partially translated, proved to be terrifying works of darkest occult provenance.
  • Thursewood - another dense forest, infamous for the ferocious thurses, or beastmen, who inhabit it.  Even more dangerous than the Haunted Forest.
  • Mittermarkt - in the shadow of a Lone Mountain, Mittermarkt is most famous for its Academy.
  • Vetala County - the lands that belong to the Vetala clan of vampires.  Mittermarkt is located within.
  • Strix County - rural, agrarian lands that belong to the Strix clan of vampires.  They have no major cities, but the land is dotted with many farming villages and hamlets.
  • Innsburough - on the shore, technically claimed by the Baron of Strix.  This decrepit fishing town is shunned even by the citizens of an already frightening country.
  • Vyrko County - lands claimed by the Baron of House Vyrko.
  • Ialomita - a prosperous village not terribly far from Baron Vyrko's castle.  Was once the site of the Hellstone Prison, which burned to the ground a number of years ago.
  • Nosferatu County - lands of House Nosferatu.
  • Grozavest - belongs to no county, but is the capital of the entire nation.  Located along the Black River, its most impressive physical features include the fact that it is always night in city and for many miles around it, an astronomically improbable occurrence to say the least, and the large sealed crater in the center of the city where Tarush the Charnel God is, according to legend, buried after his fall along with the Primogenitor Vampires.
  • Bitterwood - a large, forested part of Ubyr County where the nobles and well heeled often hunt.  Rumored to be frequented by werewolves who remain undiluted from the Ancient Days.
  • Ubyr County - lands of the Ubyr clan of vampires
  • Rusalka County - lands of the Rusalka clan of vampires
  • Dracul County - lands of House Dracul
  • Orlok County - lands of House Orlok
  • Veszok - large coastal city in Orlok County
  • Inganok - relatively large city associated with the onyx mining operations in the nearby chain of volcanic hills and mountains.
  • Prezov - city that grew around the castle of the Lord of House Dracul, one of the largest in the country and a rival, in many ways, to Grozavest itself.
  • Dragomiresti - site of a former town which is now abandoned; a terrible massacre during a three-way House War between Dracul, Ubyr and Orlok.  The conflict was resolved in the capital, but the site of the former town sits still abandoned.
  • Sighing Farms - farmland worked by slaves who lived in and around Dragomiresti.  For many years, the farms were undermanned due to the House War.  This resulted in widespread shortages and even famines across the country, but the Sighing Farms are gradually being reclaimed and reworked.  Many of them remain overgrown with weeds and wild beasts.
This list of locations that are charted on the sketchy map is not, of course, meant to be exhaustive.  Other cities or towns could easily be worked in all over the place, and hamlets and villages are assumed to be ubiquitous, although largely unshown on this map.  Other features such as additional rivers, brooks, streams, creeks, etc., hill lands, cliffs and bluffs, downs, wetlands, woods, are also assumed to exist that are not shown.  For the most part, I have only marked, labeled and described areas that either 1) I think are interesting enough to get a mention and I may yet have a desire to use them for something, 2) were identified in my trawl through the Carrion Crown adventure path as locations needed to adapt the adventures, 3) already existed as part of my development of Tarush Noptii, or 4) were so obvious that it seemed silly not to call them out.

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