So, we're all familiar with the Mediterranean themed fantasy, with greeks and romans and egyptians, but what are some of the rich opportunities that are relatively under-used for a black sea inspired setting?>Byzantine Greek empire trying to quell Turkish uprisings>Kievan Rus inspired northmen trading in the river valleys>ancient Carpathian mountains looming to the west, filled with cryptids>central asia and middle eastern influences to the east and south>slavs>flatlands for horse tribes and other scythian shit>civilized cold and warm areas for variety>plenty of rivers and straits focused on a big deep central sea for boating about>Balkan peninsula melting (or fuck you we ain't melting) pot >crimean drama>slavsLet's get historicool, /tg/
Giant persian empire that serves a winged sun-disc and has the holy mission to spread his divine light.
>>47557311I like this, how do they interact with the not!Byzantines?
>>47557361If we are going for a historical approach, then all out war for several centuries, with no real winner.
>>47557272Genoese and Venetian trading colonies on the north shore. Stranded at the edge of the world, knowing that if the local warlord decides to wipe you out the home city won't even know about it for months.
>>47557700This may seem like a minor thing, but it is exactly the kind of shit I come to /tg/ for. I think this is an ideal launching point for my campaign. The city on the strait has closed access and stranded you at the edge of the known world. Are you a bad enough dude to hexcrawl your colony's way to success?
>>47557418Well, until the not!Arabs overrun them both. Turns out it's not a good idea to used nomads as proxy fighters.
>>47558034Strike the shore!
>>47558246Arabs didn't, Turks did. And people were accepting them because they made shit a lot more stable and everything weast of them proved to be a bigger dick than everything east of them.The first could be seen very well in the establishment of the Sultanate of Rum, the second after the 4th crusade.
>>47558452The Arabs definitely overrun the Sassanids. And they overran the Byzantine frontier at first, but it wasn't until the Turks showed up that the Byzantines finally fell.
>>47558452Turks only caught the Byzanthians at a bad time right after the Serbs with their recently acquired silver mknes built up a fuckhueg mercenary army and conquered shit up to their gates.The (french) mercenaries quickly found out it's more profitable to break away from the Serbs because they just wasted their money and didn't have enough of their own forces to kerp what they conquered.Thus the Turks found a bunch of quabling dukedoms easily bought with money they got from controlling the Anatolian trade routes.Their army was only 5% Turkish by the time they conquered Byzanth.
So, we've got warring tribes to the south, encroaching on a fortress city that controls the only way in or out of the great central seaWhat else? >>47558404google failed to explain this to me, care to clue me ?
Armenians/Georgians.>Melting pot of eastern and western traditions and artwork>last holders of a strange, ancient branch of christianity that is very very different from what the rest of the world follows>kingdoms that date back to the time of Nero, at the very least.>other religions and empires sprung around them, and all want their lands>small kingdoms survive by the skin of their teeth, thanks the mountains that surround their territory and sometimes what seems to be miracles>ancient cave monasteries that no one quite knows when were built>ancient, huge subterranean cities that no one quite knows when were built. Could be Ctulhu for all we know.>a lot of places in the kingdoms are name-dropped in the apocrypha as the "kingdom of Nimrod the giant", the mountain where Noah's ark got stuck and the river that leads into hell, as well as a lot of lost relics from the war of Angels and Demons and later Angels and GiantsI once run a very fun campaign based on christian mysticism and the apocripha, and a shitload of Shin Megami Tensei. You can even throw in some Ethiopia for extra flavor, with the whole True Ark of Covenant and Solomon's lineage thing.
>>47559861That's some cool stuff, anon. The idea that here at the end of the world exists all of the places that you thought were legends and myths lends to a really awesome exploratory feel. I also love the idea of mixing in Ethiopian stuff there. I'd be inclined to mix in some sort of insane Prestor John (Lebna Dengl) king who thinks he's the emperor of the world and maybe that one saint who decided Humans were fags and went to preach to the lions and shit. Great post.So I figure the north could be mostly Kievan Rus/Dnieper River Valley folk with a bunch of things borrowed. Maybe everybody claims to be a descendant of Heroic founder and claim to the throne is murky at best. I also like the idea that they can't stop fighting and are often shopping around for a foreign power to bring them all into line. East of them you can go full Mongol/Hrykanian horselord stuff, which is a staple and often fun. For the Balkans I'm thinking a big cross-roads where everybody is fighting and scheming all the while trying to avoid awakening a bunch of ancient evil shit that lives up in the mountains.
You could make the not!Ruthenia region as a sort of Cossack Old West. Like, the eastern hordes were beaten, but a large part of the population was slaughtered in the war and even more people emigrated west into not!Austria and Germany. So Poland-Lithuania/Kiev/Moscow is sending in new settlers, mostly cossacks, that are occupying the land with a very cossack view on central authority and law. Probably just my wish to see a Medieval Old West game happen.
>>47560626So what kind of view did the cossacks have on central authority and law? I like this idea and would like to learn more about your idea specifically and cossacks in general
>>47560667They hated it. Ukraine is steppe, largely unfit for medieval settlement. Too cold, not enough trees, and only grass grows in good quantity. So out of the great cities like Kiev, these regions were always occupied by nomadic peoples. Cossacks are basically Rus/Tatar Nomads. They didn't have normal villages and so didn't pay taxes. Instead, they lived in semi-nomad tribes that worked as very loose vassals of the distant kings of Poland, Lithuania and Russia. They had their own law and were excempt from serfdom. In return, they patrolled the steppes against mongol and later turkish raiders, and served in the army when summoned. Being so free turned the cossack tribes into a magnet to runaway serfs, escaped slaves, bandits and other people that had bad run-ins with the law, and created a culture of fierce independence and general disregard for rules. If you got accepted into a tribe, you were a free man, no matter where you came from. Surviving their lifestyle was another thing...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reply_of_the_Zaporozhian_Cossacks shows what happened when the turks tried to convince them to become good law-abiding citizens.
>>47560886I had seen this painting but never had I known the context. This is pretty great stuff--- the idea of a Cossack Wild West is absolutely fantastic.
>>47557272S C Y T H I A N SIn all seriousness, once the horse tribes moved into southern Ukraine, they took over or made vassals out of the large civilized colonial city states. What followed what a merger of sedentary Greek culture and Scythian Nomads, which was seriously freaking cool.Until the Sarmatians came in and wrecked their shit of course.There's also the Khazar Empire of the Early Medieval period. Similarly they were a nomad group/confederation that settled north of the Caucasus mountains and lived half of the year in cities, half riding the wild plains. At some point in the 700s, sandwiched between Orthodox Russia/Eastern Rome and the burgeoning Caliphate, pretty much the whole lot of them converted to Judaism.
>>47557272If you include the Caspian sea, you open up a whole other world of fun as well, with stuff like the Caspian adventures of the Rus vikings, the massive deserts of Turkmenistan, the incredibly wealthy Silk Roads cities of the Khorosan region, the semi-chinese Qara Khitan Khanate, and a group of northern Iranian barbarians that never submitted to Islam, there's also tigers.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_tigerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qara_Khitaihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylamites#Resistance_to_the_Arabs
>>47558605The Roman Empire that the Turks conquered was a shell of it's former self. The fourth crusade sack of Constantinople in 1204 was really the death knell of the Empire. The fact that the Palaioliogos were able the recapture the city and most of Greece and hold it for 200 years is pretty impressive considering just how fucked the Empire was after the Latins took over.
>>47563509There's definitely some cool stuff here, though I worry about cluttering the setting with too much. That being said, I think there's some elements worth considering.>>47563041Also some good stuff here, great job anons.
>>47563509Khorosan would make a baller-ass setting for a game.
>>47564168Hell yeah, fierce hill tribes, opulent cities, goods, merchants, and travelers from Europe to China, raids into India, steppe nomads fighting Ghulam slave soldiers, rival sultans/shahs having turf wars. Just gotta watch out about insulting emissaries from the east.
>>47565576And if you want to go fantasy with it you've got the myths of a dozen cultures to drawn on, at least.
Eastern Roman Bump.
>>47565576Another great set of contributions, this thread is officially a goldmine>>47566050Any myths/cultures that stand out or that you particularly like?
>>47563698The Turks already held vast parts of it after Manzikert. Also despite what byzfags believe, the empire was on the verge of complete collapse before the siege of Constantinople; it was in the middle of a poorly timed succession war and one of the byzantine successor states was already very much on the way out before a single Venetian ship reached the Bosphorus.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucid_Empirehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Bactrian_Kingdomhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Greek_Kingdomhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhismhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushan_Empirea bit off to the east compared to most of what has been mentioned, but overall close enough to be worth mentioning(especially the Seleucid Empire, as they reached both the Black Sea and Caspian Sea at their height), also Greco-Buddhist culture is a fascinating concept(especially how it might have influenced Early Christianity, and how traces of it reached across most of the Old World, all the way to Japan in fact)
>>47570361I mean, it's hard to narrow it down. Khorasan would have had Zoroastrians, lingering Greek influences from Alexander, Christians (probably Nestorians for the most part), Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Daoists, shamanistic pagans (mostly Turkic Tengrism shamans I would guess), Manichaeists, and all the accompanying mythic and religions beliefs. You could have djinn mingling with daoist immortals, Christian demons, Zoroastrian divs and peri, Hellenistic daemons and genius loci, Bodhisattvas, Rakshasas, Golems, etc, etc.
>>47573073brb googling most of those thingsThanks anon
>>47576052My pleasure, anon.
>>47558605>>47558509Yeah, my bad. Arabs got the Sassanids.I mean from the Sultanate of Rum on.By the time the Serbs were somewhat relevant, the eastern roman empire was more or less done already. Ethnically the turkish armies from anatolia were always mostly roman. The romans converted eventually and called themselves turks.
>>47570679You posted all the shit that started my interest for the region.Also fun fact: The Gurka Kukri knife is based on the hellenic Kophis sword.
Alright, taking the piles of awesome stuff you anons have heaped at my feet and processing it into a setting. Some thoughts include:>River trading princes beholden to a foreign power trading>Having fought off infinite horse-fucker tidal wave, are now low on population>granting amnesty to anyone who wants to go be a dirty lawless cossack and patrol the great steppe against incursions by various unwanted elements>large tribe of not!jewish horse-nomad/cowboy True-namers practice lost religion of Shem>everything has a divine 'Shem' which is sort of a name, sort of a title, and sort of a reputation all rolled into one. >Invoking something (or someone's) Shem forces them to help you>transition to adulthood has priest confer upon you your Shem-- you can keep it a secret or tell anyone, but you have to help someone who invokes your Shem>spend half the year in yurt cities engaged in religious scholarship (learning, researching, and memorizing the Shem of important places and things)>Spend other half of the year nomading it up, evoking Shem of natural aspects, places, etc to help them survive>don't afraid of anything>narrow peninsula that separates two portions of great sea is huge mountain range with dry valley in between>full of ancient carved cities and temples kept by small tribes of faithful>filled to the brim with artifacts, relics, and depictions of history across the world>ruled by nutjob who thinks he's the emperor of the world and that he can destroy foreign places by destroying relics and historical artifacts >huge hole at the end of the valley where no one has ever returned>Arid plateau to the south is home to warring tribes>many have come together under the banner of the winged sun>few extra savage tribes resist assimilation and don't give a fuck>Small coastal kingdom made up of ultra-rich traders disregard winged sun>practice meditative religion to perfect selves>God-like immortals already walk the earth doing good
>>47578603>constant politicking between local shahs, tribal leaders, immortal weirdos, and Winged Sun advocates>Meanwhile Winged Sun is encroaching on major port city that is the gateway to the west>not looking good>Distant horse-fucker nomads inching back into area after being expelled >expansive desert with constantly shifting sands>uncovering and recovering lost civilizations and cities and such>descending into a ruin could result in you buried alive for a hundred years in as little as a few hours--- or you could make it out with so much treasure to become a king of your own>just watch out for crazy desert spirits
>mountainous forest area recovering from absence of previous imperial rule>hundreds of ethnic groups from various empires, tribes, and local color all think they have a claim under shadow of old mountains>teeming with cryptids, not!slavs, and various magics and folklore-tier trouble>tfw when standing alone in the mountains and looking down on the entire known world, and then some>it's cold and lonely>time to survive
>>47578603The regions between Khorasan and Kandahar were basically an ever-shifting patchwork of mighty trade empires straddling the Silk Road. Instead of that small kingdom of coastal traders, you need a whole network of merchant city-states, each one a nexus of every weird culture, religion, and faction in the setting.
>>47557272A war between bears, cockerels and lions.
Everyone has a succession crisis at the same time.
>>47579059can't go wrong there
>>47578603The shem worshippers seem rather odd.
>>47579897care to unpack that statement? What about it doesn't work and how would you suggest changing it?
>>47560125>all the while trying to avoid awakening a bunch of ancient evil shit that lives up in the mountains.Germany?
I had actually been working on a Greek mythology inspired campaign setting for my friends. I threw in a little Norse influence for flavor and went a little crazy with the cosmos. The world is in a trinary star system and they're moon was destroyed by a comet from the far realm. This subsequently led to and invasion of monsters and the discovery of moon elves.
>>47580153I just have a hard time picturing semi-nomads also having a robust, scholarly culture. They're usually illiterate. Plus, even semi-nomads tend only to settle in one place for a time, until the seasons change. Then they pick up and move to the next traditional grazing land.It just wouldn't be a lifestyle that would be terribly conducive to a not!Jewish religious scholarship. Maybe a very robust oral history, but that sort of thing tended to be passed down less through organized priesthood and more from one singer or shaman to their apprentice.
>>47582238Very strong oral tradition? Stuff like the songlines of the australian aborigines? Long epic sonnets describing the many species of orchid?
>>47582499Something like that, yeah
>>47582499Unwashed nomads who can recite the names of a hundred generations of their ancestors (and the names of the people those ancestors beat up)
>>47582238admittedly I read somewhere about Ruthenian birchbark scrolls and pictured this dusky yurt filled with curling, dried bark pieces scrawled upon by ancestors that the village eldars try desperately to divine meaning from. Judaism does have a very strong oral tradition, and the idea of studying under a parental figure moreso than actual scholarship (which would be specifically for an elite circle of wizened elders). But I totally understand where you're coming from. I think there's work to clear it up but we're on track with something.
>>47582646>And now, Ghazar Bloodsoaked the Mauler, you must sing of The 317 Ways To Deal With Indigestion
>>47582736Or, in this case, speak the true Shem of your food so that it will serve you and not betray your innards.
>>47560886>Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!>O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can't slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we've no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.>You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!>So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!>- koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.That's a hell of a burn.
Double bump, want to come back to this later.
Bump with a pic.
>>47582732This post was a mess, let me try again.admittedly I read somewhere about Ruthenian birchbark scrolls and pictured this dusky yurt filled with curling, dried bark pieces scrawled upon by ancestors that the village eldars try desperately to divine meaning from. Judaism does have a very strong oral tradition, and the idea of studying under a parental figure moreso than actual scholarship (which would be specifically for an elite circle of wizened elders) fits better with the steppe nomad theme. I also like the dichotomy between scholarship and oral tradition but I can see how it may seem out of place. >>47583281>Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!I found a new way to close my work e-mails>>47585480Still legitimately surprised whenever I see this hasn't archived. You're doing various Lords' works, anon.
Bump, want this thread to be here when I get off work.
>>47582238>>47582499>>47582646>>47582732Well, what if there was a sedentary component to the nomadic lifestyle? Like, most of the populace are semi-nomadic, migrating with the seasons. But in their territory is a temple, where the Shem-priests live. Most of the nomads are illiterate and have no respect for sedentary peoples... but they make an exception for the Shem-priests. At some point the tribal shamanic religion fused with that of the Shem-priests. Now the nomads visit every few years to drop off their best and brightest with the priests. The candidate is tested vigorously, but if he is found wanting he is rejected and the tribe submits a new candidate. Once an acceptable one is found, he is taught the ways of the Shem. Eventually, upon graduation, he leaves the temple and returns to his tribe, to become their shaman/priest.The priests themselves are some remnant of an older civilization that was already there and only survived because of this strange symbiotic relationship with the nomads.
>>47583281I love how after all the creative insults in the first paragraph, they conclude it with just "fuck your mother"
>>47573073>>47578603>>47579059>The great merchant princes and their trade cities dominate the land, and foreign traders by their thousands come to partake in their markets, even the leaders of the wild nomads >Yet there is one city, greater than all the others, whose name is spoken of only in whispers>Khojara>There are many tales of how to reach Khojara. I cannot tell you which are true.>Some say you must head east, deep into the Desert of Ruins, where the sand is fine as dust and where cities go to die>In the desert you must find a bronze horseman. Rub his steed’s raised hoof, and he will point you towards Khojara>Some say you must head north, into the steppe, braving nomad raiders and the madness of the endless sky until you come to a river across which there is only darkness. You must walk in that darkness for four months, and on the other side you will find Khojara>Some say you must head west, into the mountains, past the dry valley full of madmen destroying idols, until you find the Pillar of Ghilan, which marks the entrance to one of the few underground tunnels know to reach back to the fathers of all mountains, the chrysolite range known as Ulaq, which encircles the world. In the plains beneath Ulaq, you will find Khojara.>In Khojara, all things are for sale, and the merchants of not just this world, but every world come to buy and sell.
>>47592359>In Khojara you will see the giant, onyx-skinned divs striding through the market, carrying great poles from which hang cages containing women with feathered wingers that glitter like jewels, as they sing sorrowfully>You will see the Lotus Aspirants floating through the streets, each seeking merchants selling new movements of the infinite Trigram>You will see the many armed and many faced rakshasas, selling silks and garments woven from the blood of the Vidyadhara>you will see the dignitaries of Xi, each a member of the Ten Thousand Immortals, riding to the city on clouds>You will find unscrupulous Shem-priests selling bricks from the Wall of Palcyon, each engraved with a word in the True Speech, from before the breaking of tongues>In stalls you will see men selling the horned icon of great Helicandros who founded all five of the great trade-empires>Lead jars of captive djinn begging to be released, promising to show you the ancient vaults beneath the earth where they hid their treasure, each sold by a greater djinn who captured his weaker brothers>Jewelry made from the red Tears of the Karkadaan, each collected from a lord of the desert as he quenched his great thirst>Roasted flesh of rukhs that will make an old man young, clockwork peaches that emit the most soothing of odors, telescopes that can see for leagues, apples that can cure any known disease if eaten, the waters of life, the waters of death, and so much more.
>>47557272Even the ocean gets BLACKED?I bet the kingdom of Judah is behind this.
>>47592386>There are also many religions. You will see the Sons of Aehak preaching the manifest inversion of god, demonstrating as they tear open the air and show the dark meaning behind matter>You will see the Solar Hierophants arguing with them in the streets, shaking their staffs, from which hang glass globes of captive fire>Shem-priests walk silently to and from their temples, accompanied by servants made from clay, each carved with a thousand words, some meaningless, but a few the True Words that animate lifeless forms>You will see alchemists of the Winding Path selling pills that will grant you unbreakable skin, or let you change shape, or show you the hungry ghosts that swirl around us all invisibly. If the dignitaries of Xi pass in the street, the alchemists will fall to their knees in prostration, for they worship naught but immortality.>Great bearded men from the western forests, beyond the Thrice Ninth Kingdom, who give roaring sermons about the how the Iron Crone sent her only daughter (who is the same as herself), boiled alive in a cauldron>In crowded coffee bars they will engage in endless philosophical debates with the priests of Gnosistom, who claim it was not a crone but a divine ram, who sent the Logos, the perfect, man, who is separate from divinity>Arguing with no one are the Tingril masters, riding their grey wolves and stroking their long mustaches, confidant in the dominion of the storm over the limitless steppeAnything is for sale in Khojara. All gods are worshipped in Khojara. All roads lead to Khojara.
>>47560886The soil in the Ukrainian steppe, chernozem or black soil, is very fertile and perfect for farming. Once Russia expanded south, Ukraine became known as the "breadbasket of the Empire", so the steppe is certainly not unfit for settlement. An important reason why the Eastern Ukrainian Wild Fields were not settled for centuries by Muscovy/Russia was because the Khans of Crimea raided the region for 300 years. The millions of Slavic slaves the Tatars took were sold in the slave markets of Caffa to their allies the Ottomans, and this was the most important source of highly prized white slaves in the Ottoman Empire.
>>47592519I like it!
>>47590355>>47582499>>47582238This isn't an issue. The vedic aryans had their Veda, a huge compilation of hymns and poems, passed on by their priests, the brahmans, while they were nothing but horse-nomads fighting each other over cattle, without any writing. The Mahabharata, the largest epic known to man, was composed before they had any writing. For the most part, I'm not saying that some indian bard knew the whole Mahabharata, but he was able to tell the whole epic, probably leaving out some scenes some other bard would have told for some reason.
>>47590355I like where you're going with this, though I worry about the disdain for sedentary people. I want to make sure that the sedentary priests are connected with the nomads in a meaningful way, so I was thinking that during the winter the nomads construct their yurt city around the temple to sort of hunker down in the shadow of the mountain. This is sort of a moot for all of the tribal leaders as well as an opportunity for priests of the various groups to come together and discuss/study/debate the nature of the greatest Shems (life, the soul, etc) and to instruct the young. When spring comes the meager, weak, or elderly remain at the temple as its keepers and watch over the scrolls. I'm wary to divide the faithful with the nomads by too much because I feel like 'masterful priests controlling savages' is a little too easy. Also, because of the Judaic flavor, I want to avoid anything remotely Master and Subservient so I don't get a bunch of da joos!>>47592359>>47592386>>47592519anon wrote my setting better than I could have. I'll be mining these greentext for a bit.
>>47593917Nomads always have disdain for sedentary peoples, it's one of the driving causes of conflict between the two, historically. The whole point of the temple setup is that the Shem-priests are the exception to that rule. They supply the nomads holy men. If the Priests of shem speak the True Word, they, I am assuming, have some impressive power at their disposal. That makes a Shem priest indispensable to any given tribe. As soon as one priest dies, the tribe is gonna want to be swinging by the temple ASAP to get a new one. And priests/shamans are political movers and shakers too. They bend the ear of the chieftain. Even the khan. By slotting themselves into the role, the Shem-priests form a backbone of the nomads' society.
>>47594450I think the main difference in our views is that I tend more towards low magic. A Shem Priest isn't just a level 5 cleric, there's a little mystery as to whether this stuff works or not. I also see the horsemen all knowing a few Shem. A priest is one who remains pure enough that speaking the Shem has great power, but any tribesman may know and invoke the Shem of his horse or his bow-- but he wouldn't consider himself holy enough to try and summon the great northern wind even if he happened to know the words. I may also be holding to >>47563041, because I really liked>lived half of the year in cities, half riding the wild plainsIt just sort of speaks to me.
>>47595614I can understand that. One thing that could maybe be allowed is a slight separation of low and high magic. Out on the mundane steppes, the Shem-priests are mostly just guys doing mundane rituals, officiating ceremonies, making formal contracts, mediating disputes, etc. Maybe in the depths of the temple the older priests really know some hoodoo. But, if you follow the paths, like in: >>47592359...then you can step into someplace other. Someplace like Khojara. That place would be totally high fantasy, but it would not quite be in the mundane world. Maybe on the border of our world and another, or just over the border. And while the majority of the setting would be low magic, from time to time a bit of high magic could leak in from along those mysterious paths.
>>47595978Exactly! I was going to draw from the original Jewish inspiration and say that there are a shitload of rules you have to follow, and saying that you attain holiness or purity by following more and more of them. However, some are easier than others, and while you can choose not to eat unclean animals, have sex with your menstruating wife, have an uncovered head, or wear certain clothing even out on the steppe, you sure as fuck aren't going to bathe regularly, sleep naked, or be celibate. So your priest is going to be holier than you are and that means his utterances are more powerful than yours. So when a calf gets loose from the flock and you're trying to find it you may speak a few True Words to pray for a clear day and an easy search; but when a huge thunderstorm looms in the distance it's your priest who's calling on the North Wind by name to blow it off course from your camp.
>Tribes and peoples crowd round our Mother Sea, circling it as vultures circle a dying bull.>To the west, north of the Chiliar River, live the Samar nomads, fair of hair and long of limb.>They have neither holy men nor temples; they worship on bare hilltops, their only god a sword thrust into the earth.>They bury dead heroes in mounds on the Isle of Serpents at the river's mouth, there to guard the door to the underworld.
>The Qaharites of the eastern hills have not fallen under the sway of the Winged Sun and hold to the traditions of their ancestors: they teach their sons to ride a horse, to shoot a bow, and to speak the truth.>Many are city-dwellers, but they still give birth to their children under the open sky.
>>47592519I think we should combine the Cult of the Winged Sun with the Solar Hierophants. There could be some connection between the captive fire in their staves and the spreading of the faith.
>>47597040Aren't they already the same? That's what I had assumed.
>>47597062Entirely possible.So if the Winged Sun is Islam, then what is our not!easternorthodoxy? I like the Iron Crone/Divine Ram, what if the 'perfect man' was less hippie carpenter and more Alexander the Great?
>>47597138>So if the Winged Sun is IslamWhat the fuck? Are you confusing Zoroastrism with another branch of semetic monotheism? They have completely different origins.
>>47597239At the moment the Church of the Winged Sun is shaping up to be some unholy mélange of Islam and Zoroastrianism.>>47597138Well, the Iron Crone is definitely not!Russian Orthodoxy, since the guys talking about her are from beyond the Thrice-Ninth Kingdom (which is a tidbit from Russian fairy tales). And I assume the Divine Ram guys are not!Greek Orthodox since they're dropping some Greek words.
>>47597040>>47597062>>47597239Guy who wrote the Solar Hierophants stuff. I intended them to be Zoroastrian. They're bickering with the Sons of Aehak, who are not!Manicheans.
Something to do with a Kingdom of Colchisy thing? Thracian bastarnae and Molossian hounds? An ancient relic of a bygone age, clinging by their rotten, dirty fingernails?
>>47597239Also, Zoroastrianism isn't Semitic. It's Persian, or Indo-Aryan, or whatever you want to call it.
>>47597239Sorry, I misspoke. If Winged Sun is filling the role of rapidly growing religion uniting lots of tribes in not!Persia and threatening/trying to threaten major trade cities including not!Constantinople.>>47597285 and I apparently were on the same page but nothing is written in stone. I prefer basing them loosely on Zoroastrians to avoid kebab memers.
>>47597138>>47597288Right, and higher up someone mentioned the worshippers of the Winged Sun who (if memory serves) were also vaguely Zoroastrian in flavour while undertaking something a little more analogous to the Islamic conquests. So for the Qaharites, I mentioned them resisting the Winged Sun, assuming that to be the religion of your Solar Hierophants for fairly obvious reasons. Well, obvious to me.
>>47597360Yeah, sure, just write it off as a translation thing, different names for the same religion. Also, FYI, the Gnosistom were supposed to be Nestorians. The use of "Logos" is the giveaway.
>What if the 'perfect man' was less hippie carpenter and more Alexander the Great?I like this for our not!Greek religion. It isn't overtly christian-sounding and makes sense that there would be some sort of Perfect Man Alexander/Seleucus who came and brought 'civilization' (from their point of view) to all of these varied jerks. Of course most of them have shunned or corrupted the gift of civilization, which is gonna make the perfect man pretty mad next time he comes rampaging back through this part of the universe.
>>47597513I vaguely recall that the kievan rus' princes all shared semi-equal claim to the 'grand prince' position due to semi-equal lineage to some ancient hero, Rurik or something. That works for our different orthodoxies, where everyone has vastly different ideas on who the Perfect Man was, where he came from/who his parent or progenitor was, and what his opinions were on various things.
>>47557272>what are some of the rich opportunities that are relatively under-used for a black sea inspired setting?>not knowing ConanDude, I seriously recommend you start reading the first volumes of the Conan comics from the 70s (available on the interwebz). Then you break out a Conan RPG of your choice (wasn't there a Kickstarter recently?) and you're good to go.
>>47597408>Logos>Separate from divinityFuck me, that should have been obvious. That's what I get for skimming threads. Anyway.>>47596410>>47596622>See there, on the horizon? That is one of the obsidian galleys of Arvenium, far to the west.>They ply the waters of the Mother Sea, oars driven by foreign magics, trading oil, wine and gold for amber, furs, grain or whatever catches their eye.>Their trade posts huddle on the Mother Sea's northern shore, strangers of wood and stone in that land of horses and tents.
>>47558452Have an Emirate of Ginantonik instead.
>>47597587Conan has a vibe all its own, I think you have to be gunning for it specifically for it to fit.
>>47597689Yeah, but the different cultures are all there.
>>47597746I actually started with Conan and decided I wanted to try for a little more subtlety. I don't want to argue the merits of Conan, I was just knew that mentioning it would effectively make this a Conan thread, which I didn't really want. I appreciate the recommendation though, anon.
Yo OP, this NotTheBlackSea enough for you?
>>47597513I got the impression Helicandros was supposed to be Alexander. Greek sounding ruler, founding trade empires across Central Asia...
>>47598386Plus there's the reference to him being horny. Pic related.
So religionwise we've got:>Shem-priests who use the power of the True Speech in dire cicrumstances, and who might be able to make golems>Winged Sun/Solar Hierophants are classic Ahura Mazda worshipping Zorastrian fire priests>Sons of Aehak are nihilistic Manicheans with entropic, reality warping powers>Tingrilism, associated with wolves, the steppe, and storms, basically Tengriism>alchemists of the Winding Path, daoist sages who worship the concept of immortality itself, are infatuated with the Xian-style immortals of Xi.>Gnosistom are Nestorian Christians who worship a ram god and his non-divine representative the Perfect Man>worshippers of the Iron Crone, Russian Orthodox Christianity mashed up with Baba Yaga, somehow related to Gnosistom>Lotus Aspirants sound like some sort of lesser Bodhisattvas, searching for pieces of a holy pattern/Trigram that when pieced together will reveal... what?So we're lacking Hindus, Muslims, and Greek Orthodox Christians, I'm thinking.
>>47599032Maybe make some sort of mormon-hindu-imperial cult thing to the East, where being extremely skilled and accomplished at one thing can get you recognised in a Guinness Book of Ascended Gods and people will start praying to you, building temples in your honour, and saying you actually had the head of a velociraptor?
>>47599120>Mormon-Hindu>thousands upon thousands of gods, lesser gods, avatars, spirits, naga, Vanara, etc>everybody gets their own planet>EVERYBODY>their equivalent of the Vedas is a cosmic rock fantasy set among the starsYep.
>>47599301They have a name for every star. There are an awful lot of stars essentially named 'Joe Smith'
>>47599120Well, if Russian Orthodoxy worship Baba Yaga, howsabout the Greek Orthodoxy worship Hekate, Medea, Circe at al - a triple witch goddess thing. Maybe throw in Athena and the Striges to have owls as a major symbol
>In the lands of the Winged Sun, the alabaster towers of the Solar Hierophants reach skyward, crowned with golden flames.>Their secretive brethren, the Magi, scour the ruins of dead civilisations, seeking power: forgotten sorceries, ancient treasures, lists of the true names of djinn.
>>47598386Yeah, I got that too, I was thinking of combining it with the greek orthodoxy because Alexander the Christ sounds awesome to meTo borrow slightly from >>47599779 maybe the Perfect Man's origin story is that he was created/birthed by a witch/witches so that the various regional orthodoxies are effectively about his backstory. The not!Russian Orthodox believe he was a bunch of men and magic boiled together in a cauldron to create the perfect man, whereas the not!Greeks have a more hellenist myth where he was cut out of some witch's thigh after she fucked some god-awful menagerie of animals.
Lots of amazing stuff in this thread, you are all amazing.Where should I look to learn about the history of these regions? Any recommended books or articles? Posts like >>47557700 >>47558605 >>47559861 >>47560886 really impress me, and show me that I have much to learn when it comes to history. If you could help me get started on learning this stuff myself, I'd appreciate it. I just have no idea what to even look up, you know?
>>47605093see >>47570679 for some pretty important stuff for this region
>>47583281>That's a hell of a burn.Note to self: do NOT get in a smack-talking contest with Zaporozhian Cossacks. Rap battles are right out.
If you have a mythic version of Alexander check out some of the various stories that developed with him. If all roads lead to Khojara as you said what lies in the opposite direction? There is a story that Alexander found a mountain valley that led to a vast nation of demonic barbarians called Gog and Magog. He ordered a great wall built with a vast bronze gate that is never to be opened to keep out the unholy nations until the end of the world. Christian and Muslim maps still had this country tacked onto the edge of every map they made up until the 16th century.This story shows up in the Old Testament and the Koran (and in Buddhist mythology too but they call it Shambhala where the king waits until the end to force enlightenment upon the world)Also an interesting thing about Zoroastrians and Hindus. Hindus beloved that Devas were divine (were the word comes from) and benevolent and Asuras were demonic and chaotic (with some exceptions).Zoroastrians believed that Asuras were divine sparks of creation (not gods as the Greeks thought but anthropomorphic concepts) and Devas were demonic beings of destruction.
>>47557272Tartar tribes using eastern ports to facilitate trade between their Khan and the west.
>>47605998Well, the Zoroastrian names were a bit different too. They called daevas "divs" for example.
>>47605998I was going to use our Alexander the Christ, I like the name Helicandros, as a conqueror so powerful that he actually conquered the earth itself on physical level (creating waterways and mountains and banishing entire groups into nothingness). I like the idea that his story ends with him building a huge gate to keep people from following him on his conquest of hell, with the promise that once he destroys evil on a metaphysical level that he's coming back--- and Divine Spirits help any of you fuckers who have strayed from my path.
>>47590448Well, in the original it rhymes somewhat more.
>>47606444And they were closer to rakshasas in behavior and temperament.
>>47606934Well it fits with Helicandros being horned and the Gnosistom worshipping a ram god who created the Logos, the Perfect Man.
You guys might like this, a setting called Maura some dude posted on reddit. It's a little east of the black sea but has some good stuffhttp://imgur.com/a/Jn3G6
>>47607103Sure, I like the idea that we have several faiths that revolve around this perfect man who agree that he's perfect and that he once ruled the "entire world". However, where he came from and to what degree is he divine is hotly debated.
How about you have two different versions of the Orthodoxy religion that differ on a few key issues but bitterly hate each other and would rather see each other perish than join together against the Winged Sun?
>>47599032>>Lotus Aspirants sound like some sort of lesser Bodhisattvas, searching for pieces of a holy pattern/Trigram that when pieced together will reveal... what?>>47592386>you will see the dignitaries of Xi, each a member of the Ten Thousand Immortals, riding to the city on clouds>>47578603>>47578603>practice meditative religion to perfect selves>God-like immortals already walk the earth doing goodI know that these have different roots but they seem like they could fit together into one idea pretty well. Maybe the motions of the infinite trigram are how one becomes immortal?
Your North is lacking.>Kievan Rus inspired northmen trading in the river valleysNo proper valleys. Forests, forests, goddamn forests, swamps, even more forests, forests again, some lakes, swamps, and (guess what?) forests, until you get to the tundra.And don't forget raiders. Every generation or so, all tribal alliances (about dozen of those) create a united fleet (thousands of boats - no proper ship can handle the rivers) that raids the south (either Black Sea - Byzantium, or Caspian Sea - Persia). If some tribe/alliance decides to sit this one out, all the other tribes go to war against them after the raid is over. Which is why practically everyone joins the raid, once majority agrees to have one.> central asia and middle eastern influences to the east and southTo the north too. Iranian (later - Arabic) influences were a thing among the Rus (after all, the initial trade route was Volga route: from Baltic Sea to Caspian Sea, i.e. to Iran/Persia). IIRC, griffins (common theme in the northern merchant cities) were initially Iranian.Also, in pre-Christian times serpents/snakes are important in the North. Snakes as house guardians, for example. Though, horse nomads were also associated with snakes. Speaking of scythian nomads and snakes, look up Serpent's Wall: over 1.000 km of ancient fortifications. According to legends, some ancient dude forced a dragon to build it.
>>47600658> maybe the Perfect Man's origin story is that he was created/birthed by a witch/witches so that the various regional orthodoxies are effectively about his backstoryIf you go with the Iron Crone being Baba Yaga (who is a fucking mutant cyborg with a jet pack, according to the old fairy tales), you can name him Koschei. He is the greatest warrior and is still alive (being immortal and all), but got secretly imprisoned by people who wanted to rule in his name (and were unable to murder him). He is currently somewhat mad and mostly undead. Even if some priests would consider releasing him, they are too scared of possible consequences.
>>47607183>(yes, I am aware of the uncomfortable undertones of patronising european supremacy and the fetishism of eastern cultures. I just like the pictures)
>>47607183>whilst paying taxes to a king descended from a long line of men who took their wives from various tribes, clans and slave markets across the continent>a Redditor writing about cuckoldryyou can't make this up
>>47607406Shit like this is the second reason after the upvote herd mentality why I absolutely loathe that place. Why not drop all the fucking trigger warnings and simply describe the unique cool setting. For fuck's sake.
>>47607303Zoroastrian dualism definitely had an impact on Eastern European paganism.
>>47607355Except the priests of the Iron Crone said their god sent a DAUGHTER, not a son.
I was trying to get a friend to run a Call of Cthulhu game set in Roman occupied Dacia once. It died for lack of time. Anyway, part of it was inspired by a CoC supplement I had come across and a book I need to get around to buying that explored the Roman Exploratii (Sp?) as an organization that handled aspects of a secret service.
>>47608889> Perfect Man> DAUGHTERIs this some US joke I didn't get?
>>47608997>Is this some US joke I didn't get? Not that I know of. It sounds like they're disputing that it was a son that was sent. Is that a sex ed class? My sex ed class was nowhere as interesting that pic of yours.
>>47608997The didn't call it the Perfect Man, that was a Gnosistom thing. Clearly this a religious detail the Gnosistom and the priests of the Iron Crone dispute: both the gender of their gods and messiahs, as well as the nature of that messiah's divinity.
>>47608919The CoC supplement was Cthulhu Invictus. I completely forgot the title of the other book but there seem to be a few articles/papers and books that discusses Rome's use of espionage.
>>47607300I dunno, I like the idea that the Lotus Aspirants are searching for some kind of enlightenment, while the immortals and alchemists, JUST care about fucking living forever and are not necessarily good people.
>>47607183>thinking people want to deal with reddit cuckoldry and trigger warnings.>thinks you're not going to be crucified by 4chan.
So, how fantasy is this meant to be? Like Eldritch horror and ancient legends, or full.on minotaurs and devas wandering the streets?
>>47615864somewhere in the middle I'd say
>>47615864I personally like low fantasy but I think >>47595978 is hard to argue with.
>>47617404That setup lets you have the best of both worlds. Everything's largely a grounded, early Game of thrones style low fantasy, but you have an outlet that allows players to visit realms of incredible high fantasy for however long you need, or allows a bit of that high fantasy to briefly visit the more mundane world.
Heh, just the mere prescence of Cossacks and the Kievan Rus alone provide a myriad of storytelling possibilities and that's before we get into the great Khanates and the Jewish question. I'll write a quickie.I'd have a strong Slavic-Viking nation expanding into the fantasy Donbass as the bickering Khanates incinerate after the Great Khan dies and his heirs begin to bicker and war over territory. However the situation for the Steppe Peoples is worsened due to the majority of their warriors (and the Great Khans themselves) dying after the Roman fantasy Empire launched a expedition over the local Barbarian-blocking mountain range. Cutting down the steppe hordes to size ala Prince of Nothing style before shortly returning to Byzathion where the Strategos is hailed as a hero while a weak old Basileus bickers with the Doux growing tired of his incompetence.This also plays into the Slavic-Viking's hands, allowing them to seize parts of the Crimea. However there is one road block to Putin Rag Nar Roc: the Druzid. The Druze are a Merchant people deeply intertwined with the Jade Road and have long chafed under the dominance of the Great Khan but now since his death, have declared independence in the coastal city of Khazan (which sits alongside the fantasy black sea). Normally Putin would just swipe them off the face of the Earth, but any military action would draw the unwanted eyes of the Basileus. But for now, he'll be content with mere piracy.
>>47619307All the while the Cossacks operate as Mercenaries for all sides in this realm of political intrigue. Putin Rag Nar Roc tolerates their presence as a means of not only launching proxy wars against his rivals, but also to add a little punch to his forces whenever they march to war. However Putin, the Basileus, and the Druzid are only three major players in this realm of political bickering and maritime trade. One of the free cities of the west has set up a trading outpost in Byzathion, opening up the Black Sea to Mafiosi. In addition the Grand Army of Flame has incinerated the Satrapy of not-Persia. With them out of the way, the omnious figure only known as the "Prophet" turns his eyes to the Roman Fantasy Empire. He plans to launch one last "Final Jihad" to cement his great Caliphate. Then there's the Dark Lands in between the realms of Putin Rag Nar Roc and the Empire, where a decayed nobility reigns over ever suffering Peasants in a realm of eternal mist where the sun never shows. Those brave enough to sail into the City of Bone have described the peasantry as in-bred and the aristocracy as being paler than snow. And then of course, you have Dwarves and shit running around. Elves screwing everything that moves. The token escaped slave Jamal Brown who hates the Empire because of slavery and stuff. Oh, and there's a rival northern Slavic Viking nation led by Putin Rag Nar Roc's hated enemy: Obonga the Black.
>>47559861I am currently running a historical game set in pre-Islam central asia, and the players have gone to Georgia and the Caucasus many times. Interesting culture there, for sure.also> last holders of a strange, ancient branchI'm oriental orthodox myself, its not just them. copts, ethiopians and indians all have the same thing.
>>47577401>kukri is based on the falcataDo you have even a single fact to back that up?
>>47619522>Putin Ragnarok>Obonga the Black>a lot of the rest of theseThe hardest part of not!History is keeping it from being obvious. Anon's satire helps remind us of that. Thank you, anon.