Arrallon


Arrallon is a unique world of stark contrasts; dark mysteries and ancient secrets uncovered, soaring mountain cliffs and vast plains of golden grain, marvels of science and of the arcane, advanced, progressive cultures and barbarian tribes. The Veiled World of Legends is rich in history and culture, resplendent in art and music, blessed by the Gods and cursed by dark evils from beyond The Void. In less flowery language, Arrallon is a world in the early stages of industrialization. However, Arrallon’s new machines and ideas depend as much on magic as they do on technology. Scientific engineering principals have been combined with ages old magic to form a new science, called paratechnology. Where ancient Earth was at the beginning of the twentieth century, Arrallon now sits, on the verge of a magnificent explosion of science and commerce, trade and ideology, exploration and introspection. But there is more than a developing world here. Arrallon holds the key and the power to leap ahead a thousand years in technological advancement over the next century. The question is, where will all this development and advancement take them, a world barely free of feudalism, barbarism and imperialism? Arrallonian adventures revolve around this period in Arrallonian history, though trips into the past are not unknown.


One of the most daunting ideas of an Arrallonian Campaign is the free mix of magic and technology. No longer are Magic Missiles and Fireballs the greatest combat threats. Even the powerful breath weapons and physical attacks of grand elder dragons can pale in comparison to the brute destructive power of rifled firearms, field artillery, and some of the exotic paratech weapons. But beyond the mechanical interest of adding firearms to a fantasy campaign, the level of knowledge, history, and understanding involved in a world at this juncture is unlike any other fantasy campaign world. The streets of the larger cities are lit throughout the night by kerosene lamps. Most large cities have a well-built, relatively clean, and highly efficient sewer and water reclamation system. Running water is common in cities, as are deep-drilled wells and mechanical or paratechnical pumps in the country. Scientific methods of crop rotation are mixed with the liberal employ of spellcasting to produce staggering amounts of foodstuffs from the available farmlands. Huge herds of cattle and flocks of sheep dot the grasslands, producing leather, meat, milk and wool. The upper crust of society vacations in the tropics, traveling there in huge airships that are part technology, part magic. The constabularies of the larger cities use advanced methods of forensics as well as magical scrying to solve crimes. Even the lowliest dockworker knows something of mathematics, reading and writing. Prestigious Academies and Colleges are scattered about the globe for those who can afford them. Students at these universities learn science and advanced mathematics (including algebra, trigonometry and calculus), mechanics and fluid dynamics, history and philosophy, art and music, and even arcane and divine spellcasting, thurmaturgy, alchemy, and extra-planar cosmology. Sociology and philosophy are very advanced, with kingdoms and nations ranging from barbarism and feudalism to pure democracies and communist oligarchies. At the same time, the presence of very real Gods has the theocratic ideology firmly routed in ages old tradition and ceremony.


This all paints a general picture of what Arrallon is like. To equate Arrallon to late Victorian Era Earth would only partially describe the places and times, and would be inherently misleading. Arrallon, to the greatest extent has few of the ultra-conservative moralisms of the Victorian Age. Rather, its average moral ideal more closely parallels that of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Indeed, its major human cultures are roughly modeled on those histories and mythologies. Some of the questions that had to be answered when Arrallon was designed are; “What would the Egypt of the Pharaohs be like if it had survived intact to 1899?” or “What would the mythological Greece of Homer’s Iliad be like if it had survived intact to 1905?”


Thus, this level of technology, mythology and magic combine to make Arrallon a very different and unique fantasy campaign world. Arrallonian campaigns look more like “The Mummy”, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, or “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, than “The Lord of the Rings” or “Conan the Barbarian”, though Conan styled adventures are certainly possible in the less advanced parts of the globe. To get an image of Arrallon, think of some of the following historical people, places and events on Earth of the 1880’s and 1890’s:


* An oil boomtown in the American Old West.
* The royal court of the last of the Russian Tsars.
* The architecture and civilization of the city of London, England.
* An archeologist’s expedition to the Upper Nile.
* A medical student’s life on a college campus in Boston, Massachusetts.
* The life of a migrant worker on a sugar cane plantation in Puerto Rico.
* A band of pirates plying the waters east of Madagascar.
* The final fall of the Shogunate during the Japanese Reformation.
* Teddy Roosevelt storming San Juan Hill.
* Lawrence of Arabia.

If all of this elicits an image of a modern world, unsuited to a true fantasy campaign, remember this; amidst these visuals, superimpose the ever present power of very real magic, very real technology, very real psychic powers, and very real Gods. It is also essential to always connect those above images with the underlying cultures that rule Arrallon. By and large the most influential and widespread religion/culture on Arrallon is that of the Kingdom of Atheae. This culture is a rough parallel to ancient Earth, Greek mythology. But only the names and the background stories are the same, the day-to-day life of the commoner, merchant and noble are quite different. Behind the King of Atheae lay the power of the Atheaen Church, and behind the Church is the power of Zeus, Athena, and Apollo.


Likewise, to the north, in the desert wastes and the rich Al-Setti river valley, the Pharaoh rules over the Holy Symballan Empire. The culture of the desert peoples is similar, though not identical, to that of late 19th century Earth Arabic cultures. The religion is similar, though not identical, to that of the ancient Earth Egyptian mythology. The Pharaoh rules in the name of Ra, and is the default head of the Holy Symballan Church. The most powerful sect within the Church is that of Isis, known as the Sisters of Isis. The two mysterious high priestesses that rule the sect are known as The Supreme Reverend Mothers. In many of the above cases, the religious power of the church is enhanced by the rumor or the truth that one or more of the church’s leaders is actually a host for the Avatar of his or her God.


In the major cities of the continent of Callona, in the mysterious and legendary city of Crystallis on the continent of Galathia, and in the elegant and impossible structures of the High Elven cities of Meldinosa, students study magic in formalized schools, side by side with students of mathematics and engineering. In small villages in Carellon, in the high mountains of Hergovine, and in the deep jungles of Beotharn, mystics and mages still take on apprentices. And in Pouarr Elven lodges scattered across the wildlands, in the swamps of Maeceyea, and in the floating villages at the bottom of the Atlantean Ocean, Druids lead their acolytes in the mystic arts of nature. Magic is everywhere. And even the lowliest peasant might learn some minor spell in order to make life more livable.


Add to all this the other populations that range across the globe. Humans, though the single, most populace race on the planet, make up less that 40% of the total population of sentient creatures of the planet. So called “demi-humans”, the Elves, Dwarves, Houlifar and others, make up another 20%, leaving the last 40% for all the other creatures. That 40% make up a vast and widely varying group, from goblins to dragons, from formless spirits to elemental monoliths. These “other” sentient races are a testament to the variety and complexity of the Arrallonian ecosystem. Arrallon has an evolutionary paradigm that seems unwilling to throw anything away. At numerous stages across its history, species, which would have died out on other worlds, were frozen in place, kept solvent by some unknown force. Some of these mix freely with the rest of the Arrallonian population. Others survive only because they are limited to remote, unpopulated areas of the globe. In addition, the remnants of off-world incursions in centuries past still linger in the form of assorted genetic experiments. Unfortunately, off-worlders aren’t the only ones to experiment with the genome. Arrallonian spellcasters, paratechs, and madmen have begun playing with various creatures’ genetic makeup, adding the factor of magic to their mutations. These mutants are thankfully rare, but add to the overall population of the planet none-the-less.


For all its bustle and chaos, Arrallon is a lightly populated world, with vast, wild regions where the civilization of man does not reach. Adventurers can travel for weeks across some of the badlands and never see another soul. Likewise, in the more civilized regions of Callona, there is a farmhouse or bridge or signpost, i.e. some sign of habitation, every mile or so. A traveler can move from the far south of Carellon to the Kingdom of Shabrund, and never have to sleep outside. Inns, hostels, way stations, and farmers that are willing to rent out a room or a barn loft are that prevalent along the major roads. But in the deep jungles of Beotharn, a wanderer can be lost for months, even years, never see another sentient being, and only rarely see any structure or sign of civilization. Such markers are typically ancient ruins from lost and long destroyed cultures, overgrown and dangerous.

7th Arrallonian Campaign

mcafee2000