The Southern Campaigns

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Eria - World Resources

The Physical World Annual Calendar Vichese History
Vichese Religion Knights of the Sun Blade Order of Trian
Under-dweller Religion Mondais Religion
The Great Empire Ancestral Items The Mithos

Eria - World Maps

The World Map The Empire Imperial Legions

Campaign Index

Southern Sessions Home Southern Character Backgrounds Bronze Tower Introduction
Writings of Chalyb - Part I Writings of Chalyb - Part II Writings of Chalyb - Part III
Writings of Chalyb - Part IV Writings of Chalyb - Part V Writings of Chalyb - Part VI
Writings of Chalyb - Part VII Writings of Chalyb - Part VIII Writings of Chalyb - Part IX
Writings of Chalyb - Part X

Campaign Maps

The Region Map The Local Lope Map Donna's Necklace
Temple and Caverns


What follows is a brief introduction to what I am calling the Southern Campaign. It's designed to get you, the players familiar with the area, fill you in on some of the cultural aspects of the region, and give you a brief look at current events. This is not an exhaustive write-up of the region, it's more an overview to get the juices flowing for the game planning session.


The campaign will begin in Lope, a town at the foot of the Lisban Mountains and next to the Lope River. To the east lie the Onsho Woods, while to the west the land opens out into rolling hills and open countryside. The climate is warm temperate (roughly equal to southern Georgia). The winters are very mild, while the summers can be hot and humid. The campaign begins in the fall of 1347 Year of Empire (YOE).

History and Politics

Lope lies in disputed territory. 800 years ago the area was under the sway of the Great Empire, a vast government spanning a huge area of the continent (similar to Rome in its prime). About 850 years ago the Mondar (a seagoing people originally from an eastern continent) staged a series of invasions of the Empire's eastern holdings. Over the course of 50 years the Empire retreated before the Mondar invaders. The war eventually ended when mass Orcish raids from the north forced both sides to reconsider their mutual stances.

Eventually treaties were signed and the Empire and the Eastern Kingdoms (as the Mondar called themselves) established a fairly stable border, then joined forces and routed the Orcish hordes to the north. Lope ended up in territory that was claimed by both the Empire and the Eastern Kingdoms. To add to the confusion, during the Orcish wars several cities to the south of Lope broke free of the Empire and established themselves as the Free Cities, independant from both Imperial and Eastern Kingdom rule. The nearest of these is Kesh, a significant city and the home of the Great Oracle.

Lope was originally founded as a military outpost and mining colony. The Lope River provides good transport southeast out of the mountains, and is difficult to cross south of Lope. Lope changed hands several times during the Mondar invasions and eventually the garrison town outgrew its military roots.

Lope's nearest major neighbors are the city of Kesh about 250 miles southwest, the city of Xaymet roughly 250 miles southeast and down river along the Lope River, and the Imperial cities of Lyme and Sandol to the northeast roughly 300 miles. There are minor hamlets, scattered farms, mining camps and logging camps near Lope as well.

Lope is governed by a council of the influential, who serve as a town council. Town meetings are held on a regular basis to decide issues of general interest and reelect the council on a biannual basis. Lope is pretty self-sufficient both politically and economically, with nearby sources of game, good farmland, lumber and mining interests.

Lope is a relatively minor town and could have gone about its business without outside interference indefinitely if rich new veins of silver and iron hadn't been discovered nearby. The area has suddenly become much more important, and all three local powers have taken an interest.

Lope is being pulled three ways. the Empire would like to bring the area under its sway, as would Xaymet, a feudal realm, and the closest of the Eastern Kingdoms. Kesh would like to see Lope remain indepenent, as it is both a trade partner and a buffer against Imperial or Xaymet aggression.


Lope is primarily a human settlement, featuring a mix of Vichese and Mondar (the two dominant human races of the area). There are a handful of Dwarves and Gnomes in the town, and occasionally even goblin workers can be seen within the town pallisade (usually under guard).


The Vichese are descendants of the original Imperial stock that settled the region. Vichese are generally short, and somewhat squat, with pale complexions and dark hair. The Vichese view themselves as the most civilized of the races, and they're probably right. The Great Empire has historic records dating back over 1300 years to its founding, and the Imperial calendar is used throughout the continent.

The Vichese worship a pantheon of deities, chief among them Somai, the Lightgiver, and Yeotu, the Mother of All. Other deities include Eria, the Earth Mother, Seshai, the Great Deep, and Trian, the Defender.


The Mondar are a relatively new race to the continent. They arrived during the great invasions 800 years ago and have since prospered and multiplied in the eastern half of the continent. The average Mondar is large and stocky, with pale skin, blond hair, and blue or green eyes.

Mondar religious beliefs center around worship of Da-chan, the Sun God, and Ruler of the Day, who strives constantly against Takachi, the Ruler of the Night and Lord of Evil. Many Mondar, particularly those that live within the confines of the Empire, have adopted the Vichese belief system. All Mondar, whether they follow their own traditions or the Vichese belief system, practice ancestor worship, dedicating shrines and altars to family members that have died.

Dwarves and Gnomes

There are several reasonable sized Dwarf and Gnome enclaves hidden away in the Lisban Mountains. Unlike the northern Dwarves and Gnomes who have united themselves under the single banner of the Compact, the local Dwarves and Gnomes are much more clannish. They tend to keep to themselves and leave the humans alone, so long as their lands aren't disturbed.

The Dwarves and Gnomes share a common pantheon of deities, chief among them Jinkana-Zol, the World or the Earth Mother, and their creator. Dwarves and Gnomes also revere their ancestors, burying their fallen kinsmen in elaborate tombs and crypts. Woe unto any that disturbs the rest of a Dwarven ancestor.


There are a handful of Goblin tribes scattered across the foothills and plains to the south of Lope. Many of these are hostile and aggressive, but a few tribes have settled down near the human borderlands and established peaceful, though uneasy, relations with their neighbors. Though the Goblins will never get along with the Dwarves and Gnomes, they provide valuable labor for the human community.

The Goblins have their own dark deities, chiefly worshiping their God of Fire, Kizakagak. They are highly secretive about their religious practices.

Other Races

There are two other main human races on the continent. The Sobar are a plains dwelling people who inhabit the lands near the great Burning far to the north. They are tall and slender with dark skin and hair. The Manar live in the distant jungles beyond the Burning, and are a warlike and somewhat primitive people. They are rarely seen upon the streets of Lope. Legends also tell of the Elven people, a reclusive folk who inhabit the great woods far to the north of the Empire. Most believe them to be nothing more than stories. There are also Orcs, Trolls, Giants and Ogres, brutish races that band together to raid the borderlands from time to time. Finally there are the Weres, nasty wolf-like creatures that inhabit the depths of the Onsho Woods.

Local Organizations

There are, of course, several local and not so local organizations that operate in and around Lope. Here are the more notable ones:

The Council

The Council is the elected government of the town. There are 7 members of the council.

Sata Makai (F - Mondar) - Sato is a very influential merchant with significant clout in Xaymet. She owns a major shipping contract for goods going down river through Xaymet, and little moves on the river without her say so. She is a vocal supporter of Xaymet.

Geo Volo (M - Vichar) - Geo represents the Giovani Lumber Consortium (see details below). A sharp and condescending man, Geo has few friends outside his business associates. Geo is a moderate, expressing pro-Empire support if pressed.

Santo Coriorre (M Vichar) - Santo is a former Imperial Legionnaire captain and has charge of the town's military and police forces. Santo is well known as a strict law and order type. He is the strongest pro-Empire voice on the council.

Eriko Seiji (F Mondar) - Eriko represents the local miners on the council. She runs the assay station and the largest stores and stables in town. She is a dour and hard woman. She is fiercely pro-independent.

Danzo Tada (M Mondar) - Danzo is the chief priest of the local temple of Da-chan. He is elected each year by a majority of the Mondar population. He is a popular figure among the locals. Danzo usually remains aloof from the alliance debate.

Ilando Vina (M Vichar) - Ilando is the chief priest of the local temple of Somai in Lope. Like Danzo he is elected by popular acclaim by the Vichar population. Though the two have differing religious beliefs, Ilando and Danzo are good friends, and their friendly religious debates often drive the council to distraction. Like Danzo he is, for the most part, uninterested in the alliance debate.

Kaisen Saigo (M Mondar) - Kaisen is elected each year by the local farmers voting in block. Though less powerful politically than the other council members, Kaisen carries considerable clout with the common folk, and his word carries weight on the street come election time. Kaisen is strongly independent and would like to see Lope stay a free town.

The Lope Army

The Lope army is quite small, only about 250 men. For the most part they are paid professionals. The army is relatively well paid, and led by Santo Coriorre, a former Imperial Legionnaire Captain. He maintains a strict discipine among the men, and in general they are quality soldiers, well equipped and organized.

The Lope Militia

The Militia is more a police force than military force, though they can be called on by the Army at need. All healthy resident males of the town and surrounding patrol area must serve at least one year in the Militia (though the year can be broken into several 3 month terms). Santo Coriorre leads the Militia. He maintains a lower level of discipline among the Militia than the army. They are less well equipped, but still compare favorably to most Militia forces. There are roughly 300 men in the Militia.

Giovani Lumber Consortium

The GLC is a well-organized business with a huge Imperial grant to cut timber in the Onsho Woods east of Lope. Most of this timber is shipped north and east to the Empire. Geo Volo, who also sits on the Council, is the chief merchant of this organization. The GLC maintains 6-8 lumber camps at any time, each devoted to cutting timber in one area of the forest. Timber is loaded onto large oxen drawn sledges, then hauled overland to a permanent camp on the Onsho River where it is dumped, gathered into barges, then poled downstream to Sandol near the coast.

Makai Shipping

Sata Makai controls this powerful shipping organization. Most goods bound for Xaymet and the port of Owara beyond move on vessels licensed by Makai Shipping. Unlicensed vessels operating in Xaymet waters are often confiscated, leaving the shippers of Lope little choice but to deal with Makai Shipping or send their goods northward by road to the Imperial port of Sandol.

Lope Agricultural Cooperative

Most of the local farmers participate in this organization. They combine their buying power to get better deals on livestock, seed, farm equipment and other needed supplies. The Cooperative maintains a warehouse, stockyard, and storefront in Lope, and all are welcome to shop there (though members get a significant discount). The Cooperative serves as an 'old boys' network among the local farmers, who often work together to protect their interests, interests are often at odds with the mining community.

The Guild of Miners

Most of the Miners that have come to Lope from the Empire are members of this organization. Within the Empire, the Guild has exclusive rights to determine who can mine, what they can mine, and where they can mine. There is a local Guild hall, but since this area is outside the Empire, it has much less authority than is typical. Members respect the decisions of the Guild (few want to risk their membership).

The local assay office, run by Eriko Seiji, uses Imperial standards for assaying silver and iron samples brought in, but is empowered by the Lope Council to assay samples and register claims. Because the office uses Imperial standards the local Guild honors claims made through the assay office.

Miners from Xaymet do not belong to the Guild, though they do abide by the assay office's rulings on sample qualities and claims. The Dwarves are another matter however and quite a few of them do not abide by the Lope claim system.

Dwarven/Gnomish Clans

There are three main clans of Dwarves and Gnomes in the area.

Goblin Tribes

There are two known Goblin tribes that are encountered in the hills and plains west of Lope.

Recent Events

This is a bullet list of recent happenings in and near Lope.

Local Stories

The Onsho Woods stretch to the east for close to 200 miles. There are lumbering camps along the edges of the forest, but few dare tread the deeper forest paths. The Weres prowl the darkest thickets, preying on anyone they can catch.

The road to the Onsho River, Sandol, and Lyme skirts between the Onsho Woods and the Lisban Mountains. There is a permanent encampment at the ferry where the road crosses the Onsho, but few venture up the river from there. Those that do never return, and during the spring rainy season strange things are seen floating in the river. Some claim they are corpses, others say they are weird fungal growths that wash out of some deep cavern. One thing is certain, the vales the Onsho flows out of are dark and treacherous.

Southeast of Lope the ground turns boggy and wet, and twisting streams wind between mossy banks. Legend says a great battle between the Eastern Kingdoms and the Empire was fought along the eastern banks of the river, and the Imperials were driven into the depths of the swampy woods, never to be seen again. Some claim they still prowl there, seeking revenge for their defeat.

Others say the southern woods are home to thieves and brigands that prey on the lumber camps. They wear wolf hides and use primitive weapons so the Weres are blamed.

Still otheres claim the the swamps are inhabited by a pack of great serpent beasts that sometimes prowls the main channel of the river. Stories say they sometimes attack barges and bateaus along the river at night, snatching off unwary crewmen.

The lands south and southwest of Lope are mostly farms, well tended and well protected, but all Vichese children grow up hearing the story of the Fanged Man, who lives in the wild hills and vales. The stories tell of his clever tricks and traps, leading flocks of sheep and goats astray, luring herd dogs to their deaths in rocky chasms or pit traps, and stealing children to feed his pack of wild wolves.

Stories say the Fanged Man is nine feet tall, with wild hair covering his body. His mouth is filled with wicked teeth, filed to long points. He runs the hills at night, seeking unprotected shepherds and their flocks. Traditionally the Fanged Man can be turned away by the sound of silver on silver. For this reason many herdsmen fit their dog's collars with silver bells.

In the western branch of the Lope River there is a island that divides the channel neatly in half. A single tarnished spire rises from the gaunt trees that dot the isle's shores. None have dared visit the isle these last twenty years, not since Rizio Tajiro ventured there on a drunken bet. The bleached bones of his boat can still be seen on the isle's shore.

The hills further west of the city are dotted with the ruins of fallen watch towers that date from the days of the Mondarian invasions. The towers have long since torn down, their stone used to build farmhouses and field walls. Still, some say there are secret passages beneath the hills, used by the Goblins (or worse) to raid peaceful farmlands. Further west, in the foothills of the Lisbans, lies the grave site of an army, hundreds of tombstones and crypts marking the last resting place of some forgotton legion.

Of course the road to Kesh itself is not without risk. The Haunter of the Hills with a Thousand Hands travels the road at night, stealing souls from the unwary. Some say the Servants of the Oracle prey upon travellers, stealing children to feed the Great Oracle.

Then there are the Lisban Mountains, craggy peaks that tower over the town. The lower slopes of the mountains are hospitable, even cool, but the heights quickly turn to bare stone and rock. Only mountain goats inhabit the highest peaks. Legends speak of a lost monastery, once inhabited by a contemplative order of monks who were slaughtered by fell creatures from the north. Who knows what secrets may lie within the lost monastery's walls?

Of course there are also the mines and caverns beneath the mountains. The Lisbans have been mined for close to 700 years and the mountains are riddled with tunnels, natural caverns, shafts and holes. One never knows what has crept into (or out of) some secret tunnel in the vales of the mountains. There are places even the stoutest Dwarves refuse to go deep in the tunnels beneath the Lisbans.

Beyond the Lisbans lies a nameless wood, a vast untouched forest that stretches for several hundred miles. All manner of foul creatures are said to inhabit its depths, and few dare travel there. Long ago the Imperial roads spanned the wilderness, but no longer, all fallen to strife, decay and dust. Who knows what lost treasure awaits the hand strong enough to seize it?


All material Copyright (C) Mark A. Thomas. All rights reserved.