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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Terra Firma Thursday 07/17/14

The Kingdom of Kyrene
by Me
Welcome to another daily installment of Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight, the blog where I plunk down at my desk, dig around in existing maps or make new maps, artwork and write ups based in my home OSR campaign.  Everything here is fan material and is freely shared for you to import in whole or in part into your home campaign.

Today is Terra Firma Thursday and I am going to go ahead and focus a spotlight into an existing region in my world pulled from my grand campaign scale map but which I have not yet worked up as a fully developed adventure area.  In my home game the players have explored the Kingdom of Daria to the West to some degree and that is where my current group of 2nd Edition AD&D players is currently based.  I thought it would be fun to break out the paper, pencils and pens and work on Kyrene which is situated to the immediate East of my current play area and go through the entire process of building it into a ready to play sandbox from start to finish.

Building a more or less finished sandbox ready for play can take me several months of on and off writing and so this process is going to be broken down into a great many small steps.  My hope is that by some time in November this area will be finished sufficiently so that anyone reading this could DM it and have a fairly complete region ready for a good many games.

In the spirit of this being an OSR blog I am going to follow, at least in part, the broad instructions for building a campaign area as outlined in the Dungeon Masters Guide.

Ancient Lore

For time out of mind the lands now known jointly as the Kingdom of Kyrene and The Taint Lands has remained a wilderness where the grasp of Lawful aligned civilization never really managed to gain a firm purchase.  The earliest records of this area belong to the Elves who knew it then as the Darkling Lands of the Hag.  This unkind description has its roots in the presence of the greatly feared and powerful Goddess Aglaeca who dwelt bodily within the enormous Boglands of Ghagnasdiak right up to her defeat and imprisonment by the original Hundred Lords of Mankind roughly a thousand years ago.

Prior to her defeat Aglaeca was the betrayed lover of Silviarius the Goddess of the Moon and Twilight.  Ages ago Silviarius and Aglaeca had been birthed out of the Primordea at the beginning of time and had met at the edge of the silver pool.  There, after many meetings and discussions they fell in love and worked tireless and hand in hand to breathe life into the wilderness surrounding them.  Silviarius for her part was drawn to refinement and things of breathless beauty while Aglaeca was deeply in love with simple beauty, the chirping of crickets, the light of fireflies, the splash of little frogs in ponds.  Ultimately Silviarius tired of Aglaeca and decided to rid herself of her lover by pushing her into a bog, body bound and unable to swim to the surface by a silver bracelet fashioned in the form of the crescent moon but also as a two headed snake.

After gifting Aglaeca with the cursed object and pushing her headlong into the swamp, Silviarius walked away, turning her back on Aglaeca's strangled cries for mercy and help.  Aglaeca was stronger than Silviarius suspected and she managed to defeat the cursed object by biting it at first and then by chewing it up in her strong teeth, swallowing it along with her own left hand and wrist and absorbing the cursed silver jewelry into her own flesh.  Aglaeca emerged from the waters of the swamp long weeks later covered in silvery scales with snakes for hair and a cold angry gaze that could turn warm living creatures to stone.

Aglaeca Unholy Symbol
by Me
Aglaeca remains the only Medusa creature in my Kingdoms Chimerical campaign setting.  Following her betrayal by her one and only love, Aglaeca remained in the swamp and poured what remained of her affection for the creation of things that crawled, things birthed from slime, things that were hulking brutes or terrifically poisonous.  From her swamp home deep in the Bogland of Ghagnasdiak, Aglaeca created and loved much of the things now known as monsters in our current world.  To this day they venerate her as their mother and queen and most of the intelligent sorts of creatures she created, orcs, gnolls, ogres, trolls and the like, retain a special hatred for the elves for that refined and beautiful race was ultimately the handiwork and most beloved artful creation of Silviarius the Goddess of the Moon and Twilight.

I picture Aglaeca as a once wonderfully kind Goddess, the sort of underdog you would root for in any movie.  Simplistic, trusting and wonderfully inventive part of the betrayal of Aglaeca by her lover Silviarius rests in a growing and bitter jealousy.  The things wrought by Silviarius while full of grace and refinement simply pale in comparison to the raw, wild untamed natural and eternal beauty of the things created by Aglaeca.

In the end Aglaeca becomes a Baba Yaga + Medusa figure, an incredibly strong one handed titan turned bitter and brooding.  She is at the dark heart of very nearly every nightmare thing that was ever birthed in the world and yet she should not be confused with true evil.  Aglaeca is a loyal and loving queen over her menagerie of nightmares to a fault.  The Mother of All Monsters retains a certain thread of purity and mercy, she loves and protects the slimy edges of the world that nobody else wants.  Its her ongoing feud against the elves and against Silviarius that gets her into trouble ultimately.  It results in her imprisonment far from her swampy home.

The Orsip Dynasty and the Kingdom of Orsia

The Orsips moved into the void created by the defeat of Aglaeca and they ruled over this entire region for six to seven hundred years.  The Orsips were some of the last of the Chaosborn Kings over man.  When mankind poured through the elven gates as the shock troops of the Great Elder beings of Chaos, the Goddess Shub and other such Mythos inspired creatures, the Chaosborn Kings were their rulers and commanders.  When the armies of Chaos were finally defeated the six dynasties of the Chaosborn Kings were smashed and scattered to the four winds.  The Orsips found themselves in the lands now occupied by the Kingdom of Daria but there they remained during the earliest years of their rule, little more than a line of tyrant warlords over blue painted tribes of Chaos worshiping Picts.  With Aglaeca out of the way the Kingdom of Orsia greatly expanded and managed to build something more lasting.

The Kingdom of Orsia lingered as the last of the great Chaosborn dynasties until the ancestors of the Hundred Lords of Man finally managed to wrestle control of these lands from them, creating the three Lawful aligned kingdoms of Daria, Kyrene and Etruria.


  1. Love the map, did you hand draw it? Been struggling lately with creating good maps either using Inkscape or the Gimp.

  2. Yes. That is one great thing about doing it old school. All it takes is patience to sit and draw a map like this. Going back to add the labels was more of a sidebar thing to keep my writing references to localities straight. If I wanted to add labels to a hand drawn map like this in any kind of clear way I'd do something a little different. But thanks for the nice comment. I like to draw a lot of hand drawn maps and art. That is about 90%+ of everything that you see that is mine on my blog.