Gates Sample World: The Western Wilds

Today we’re taking looking further into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

Western Wilds

The Western Wilds were named not for the wild of nature, but for the wild nature of people. It is a land constantly at war. The men of the Western Wilds constantly build castles, keeps, and fortresses to hold a small amount of land. It is a land full of several dozens of small kingdoms where at least three kingdoms rise and fall a year. This makes for a fluid and ever changing political landscape. This unstable land makes it difficult to educate anyone, so few people can read and write.

The wars fought in the Wilds are violent, but they are less deadly than many of the wars elsewhere. Magic is used to heal the wounded, and even rival kingdoms feel a kinship with each other. Two men from the Wilds who meet in a faraway land will greet each other as comrades, even if their kingdoms hate each other politically. Even Kings have high opinions and respect with one another, sometimes meeting in peace for a fine meal while the two kingdoms are at war.

The Wilds are located in the western continent, south of the Fair Isles. It is ruled by humans, but kingdoms or orcs, goblins, and other creatures occasionally arise.

Land of the Castle Graves

At the most western point of the Wilds, is a stretch of land several hundred miles long. This place was a bountiful and wealthy kingdom a long time ago. This kingdom had a powerful mage in its court which cursed the land. The curse meant that any invading force would be cursed while inside a castle that is not their own. This curse befell bad luck and hauntings on those in a castle. Guests are immune to this curse, but the moment they are no longer welcome they are affected by the curse. However, when the kingdom fell, its conqueror moved in. Soon, the new conqueror realised they could not use the castle.

Rebuilding a castle out of the same materials used for the old castle did not seem to work and destroying the castle was too difficult to be worth doing, so they built their own. The next kingdom to conquer this land was faced with the same dilemma. They could not use either castle, so they built their own. This process repeated over many generations, filling the land with castle after castle. Now, it is a graveyard of crumbling castles of different ages. One could stand from the top of a tower and count three or four other structures in view. Not all of the abandoned structures are castles, of course. Some are fortresses, others are inns that are unable to be entered, old houses, farmhouses, and even a over a dozen lighthouses on the shore. If the building could be destroyed easily, then it is.

There are three small kingdoms that rule in the Land of the Castle Graves at the moment. They are at war, as most kingdoms are. They often try to use the existing structures tactically in their skirmishes. Finding ways to trick the enemy into using the castles, only to be afflicted by the curse.

Quest Hooks:

  • A Player receives a deed for a long abandoned castle, but the deed does not explain WHICH castle is theirs.
  • Vast treasures are rumored to be in the treasury of a particularly large castle. But, the curse prevents anyone from reaching it.
  • One of the castles has been seen in several different locations, and a scholar wants to know how it moves, and why.
  • Travelers have become locked in a castle, and have managed to send for help by tying notes to bird legs.
  • An ambitious prince has placed the corpse of a king back on his throne and used magic to force the corpse to “tell” the prince the castle is his. Now, the prince is viciously attacking the surrounding kingdoms and is seeking the graves of old kings.
  • Nameless City

    The Nameless City is a misnomer. The City actually has several names. At least four. However, these names consistently and constantly change. This city was once a city-state ruled by a now extinct people. It was called Khawell. One day, every member of the city disappeared. The city’s inhabitants left behind no signs of murder, mass migration, or any other legitimate cause. They simply disappeared.

    The City-state was powerful because it controlled a key strategic point as well as being situated on an important trade route. Now, the Nameless City is situated at the border of four kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms want control over the city. None can hold it, as the walls have over a dozen breach points. Instead, it has become a battlefield. Lives are constantly lost in this city, but no kingdom will give up for fear of one of the others claiming it permanently.

    Rumors of a constant, slow war held in and around a city have spread throughout the world, and many bandits, mercenaries, and assassins migrated to the city to make a profit from the war. It is a dangerous wilderness inside a city filled with cutthroat bandits, ruthless soldiers desperately holding ground, and assassins offering their services to kill key commanders.

    Quest Hooks:

  • One of the four kingdoms will pay handsomely for the Players aid in the war.
  • An unknown fifth army arrives from beyond the hills, and is making alarming progress in taking the city. The problem is, however, this army seems to have worse intentions than simply taking the city.
  • New evidence of what happened to the original inhabitants of the city is found in a basement. A researcher thinks they can be saved.
  • Monsters have been spotted wandering the city at night, but no-one knows where they came from.
  • One of the generals of the armies has gone mad and has built a magical bomb to destroy the city, and its inhabitants, once and for all. This bomb will be more potent than the general anticipates, and can have lasting effects on the Wilds weather.
  • Caidor, Kingdom of the Dead King

    Caidor is one of the oldest and largest kingdoms of the Western Wilds. Its territory stretches for several hundred miles, and its capital is located in the southern point of the Wilds. What makes this kingdom particularly interesting, is that it is ruled by a king who died over a decade ago. The king is not a ghost nor undead. Simply a corpse on a throne.

    The reason for this is a mixture between tradition, laws, and greed. In Caidor, it is law that only the heir of the king may take up the throne. The king may declare a an heir if no children live. The current king, who is dead, had no heir and claimed none. Stating “This kingdom is now, and forever will be, mine.” The King was never removed from the throne officially. Thus, by the letter of the law, he is still the ruler. By Caidor law, the advisors to the throne, of which there are three, make decisions when the king refuses or is unable to do so.

    Thus, the three advisors rule over the kingdom. They know the ridiculousness of their rule. But they would rather have power on a technicality than no power at all.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Suddenly, the kings corpse begun to move and speak, making wild demands and creating illogical laws. The advisors want to know why, and who is behind the sacrilege.
  • A rival kingdom has declared war, but legally Caidor cannot do anything about it. They need help, or a revolution.
  • One of the advisors to the throne has been murdered, and the weapon was found in the hands of the Dead King.
  • The Dead Kings head is missing, and must be returned before the people riot. The trail leads to a smuggling ring.
  • An Ikydro has possessed the Dead king and is slowly turning Caidor into a force of evil.
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