Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Four of the Tribes on the Lower Sunset River

1. The men of the Gowanusim believe in killing and death. They murder for sport and to prove themselves; they revel in it. Their war canoes are big and always well-crewed, and skim up and down the river like swimming pythons. The other tribes fear their men and hate them, and kill them in revenge where they can; everybody on the lower Sunset River has a feud with some man or other of the Gowanusim. They paint their faces red, with white tears running in streaks from their eyes, and wear necklaces of river oysters and blue feathered head dresses.

In the Gowanusim's village lives Ndam, the oldest woman in the lower Sunset River. The knowledge she holds in her head about people, places and beasts of the area could fill a frigate.

Men of the Gowanusim have an extra +1 AB and +1 hp; they are always aggressive (-4 to reaction dice rolls).

2. The Wawtua inhabit a swamp infested with venomous snakes and nests of young crocodiles; adults walk everywhere on stilts that are 18 inches high; the Wawtua are agile like colourful swamp-dwelling mountain goats. They paint their faces in a checked pattern of black, yellow, red and white, and wear head dresses of long green bird of paradise tail feathers which add an extra two feet to their height. Together with their stilts, this means the Wawtua can appear nine feet high.

The Wawtua have a poison expert dwelling among them, who uses the snakes of the swamp to craft specific toxins to kill any kind of living thing. She is only referred to as Fingers: she long ago cut away the skin of her fingertips and replaced them with finely polished bone, so that she does not accidentally stab herself with her darts and needles.

The Wawtua move 50% faster than ordinary humans and have +1 AB when using ranged weapons.

3. The Yayiwo keep bower birds; or, perhaps more accurately, bower birds keep the Yayiwo. These bower birds are of a certain variety found nowhere else; they are black and nondescript, save for their vivid purple bills. The bower birds give every appearance of ruling the Yayiwo and issue them a wide variety of chirps to signal their need for food, water, or luxuries. In return, the Yayiwo appear to gain little except for the fact that these birds act as scouts and sentinels in the forest.

The Yayiwo's witch doctor is the most puissant in the lower Sunset River. He can cure diseases and certain poisons - if the supplicant proves that he or she has spirit.

The Yayiwo coat themselves head to foot in pale brown dried mud, and cover their heads in leering face masks made from clay.

4. The Amlablak are a small tribe who expand their numbers through marriage rather than breeding. Their men and women have sex, but suppress pregnancy through the use of various herbs and toxins. Numbers expand by marrying in outsiders, who adopt new names and body decorations when they do so. They paint their faces bright yellow and jab quills through their nose and ears; their head dresses are black, blue and red.

A great seer known as Kimiagham lives with the Amlablak. Some say that he married an Amlablak woman of extraordinary beauty and hence joined the tribe; others say he founded it. In any event, his vision exists beyond and behind space and time; he can see even into the minds and memories of others, into the distant past, the far future, and potential futures and pasts which were or will always be unrealised.

The Amlablak do not trade or interact with outsiders unless they marry into the tribe.


  1. "The Amlablak are a small tribe who expand their numbers through marriage rather than breeding."

    That's interesting, but it's going to have far-ranging consequences if the tribe isn't going to age itself to death.

    * There almost must be a ridiculous death rate for the Amlablak, coupled with compulsory remarriage to someone younger than oneself, to prevent the population from simply aging together past the point where anybody would be willing to marry them.

    * Polygamy of some sort is definitely involved. Otherwise, the population could never increase; it could only shrink.

    * The Ablablak must be super focused on diplomacy. Any enemies at all would decrease their pool for new recruits by both becoming unavailable and by tipping the cost/benefit analysis of marriage for other potential spouses, while also threatening to depopulate the Ablablak through good old-fashioned war.

    * There must be some massive advantage the Amlablak have to offer, one that counterbalances the enforced sterility (which, from what I've heard of Plan B, can be pretty rough on the body) and the loss of any children to use your advantages for. Is it the seer?

    1. I like the way you are thinking. Although I don't think there has to be a ridiculous death rate, does there?

  2. sorry for being "slightly" offtopic, but would you like to share any thoughts on brexit?

    1. Well, first things first, the referendum should never have happened. Let's get that out of the way first. This is NOT the way to decide on such fundamental issues. If we were to leave the EU it should have been a matter for elected politicians to put forward in their manifesto and work towards over a period of years.

      That said, I voted to leave. Immigration isn't a big deal to me and I am generally in favour of free migration and free trade. There were two key issues for me.

      1. The EU is hell bent on a political union which will ultimately result in catastrophe, because the continent is too diverse and too divided for it. The project will without doubt come to an end at some point. And the more integrated EU member states become, the worse and more complicated the disaster will be when it inevitably happens. It's important in the long term to be in a position where we are at least slightly insulated from that.

      2. It's axiomatic that the laws which apply in a given country should be created by its elected politicians who are accountable to the demos. The EU doesn't have this and never will.

      I am very happy with the result because now everything is up for grabs. Whatever one's political persuasion, this is a great opportunity to shape Britain's future. For the first time in what seems like decades, politics actually matters. For some reason large swathes of my fellow countrymen seem terrified of this prospect - as if life for people in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the USA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland etc. and any other country outside the EU is utterly awful and impossible.

      I would also just add that from a personal perspective I have never seen the EU as progressive or a force for good in the world. It institutionalises and cements discrimination against non-EU citizens (usually brown people, in other words), mendaciously manipulates global agricultural trade in the form of the CAP, and prevents its member states from looking outward in their trade policies with the big bad world outside Europe. It's at its heart an organisation which is devoted to maintaining European commercial and cultural dominance of the world (although it does it horribly badly when you look at how individual EU member states tend to perform in the world these days). As somebody who has spent a good chunk of my life living outside Europe, I find the whole project isolationist.

    2. interesting.

      thanks for taking the time.

  3. I hope this doesn't come off as confrontational, but I'm genuinely confused about the way your motives don't seem to line up with the actions you took. You say:

    1. "If we were to leave the EU it should have been a matter for elected politicians to put forward in their manifesto and work towards over a period of years. / That said, I voted to leave. ... The project will without doubt come to an end at some point," and
    2. "I find the whole [EU] project isolationist."

    On the first count, you explicitly say that the better route would have been to support a politics of careful extraction, yet you chose the bad way. Why is that?

    And on the second count, you feel that the EU is isolationist... but you explicitly chose an even more isolationist alternative! Fragmentation of the EU can only lead to increased isolationism and strengthen the xenophobic elements in each state, while at the same time, the Leave move threatens to drive Northern Ireland and Scotland out of the UK.

    It's like I'm listening a guy talk about his breakup, and he says "I decided the relationship was doomed, so I immediately broke up by text even though that's the shittiest way to do it. And I felt that as a couple we hadn't been spending enough time with our other friends, so I hid in my basement."

    Meanwhile, in counterpoint to your feeling that the EU is in no way progressive, this article talks about the perspective of the young Britons who will have to spend decades dealing with the economic and political fallout of the Leave vote.

    1. On the first count, it's because this is the only chance we had. Presented with the choice, the only sensible vote had to be to leave. A vote for remain would have been interpreted as a vote in favour of greater integration and the issue would have been killed off for decades at least.

      On the second count, the idea that this is more isolationist is just stupid. What we've done is voted to leave the EU. That will naturally and inevitably cause us to do what we have always traditionally done, at least for many centuries, and that is to turn out focus over the oceans. We can now do that because we aren't shackled to the European Commission and to the ridiculous concept of EU citizenship, which forces us to actively discriminate against people from outside of the EU.

      I'm familiar with the discourse about young Britons being "betrayed" and all that nonsense. Apart from it being a circular argument (you have to accept the initial premise that Brexit will have negative consequences in the long term, which clearly people who voted leave don't believe, otherwise they would have voted to remain), the natural response of young people should be to get engaged in politics and make the changes they want - which is what young people have always done - rather than cry into their cornflakes about (heaven forfend!) having to actually find a job abroad if they want to live there.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts! I certainly hope that you're correct, and a pivot to stronger overseas trade and relations is what comes to pass, instead of the xenophobes taking the results as sanction to push the isolationist policies I fear.

  4. Hello! Bought Yoon-Suin, and loving it. Have just finished rolling through the charts for the Yellow City and have a few questions:

    1. What is the scale of the hexes for the maps? I understand it might be for me to determine, but I was wondering what you were thinking.
    2. I'm curious what version of D&D you used when playing it. Simply curious.
    3. Pinging off of 2, how did you reward XP. I've been running LotFP, which has been going great. However, XP is rewarded primarily for bringing treasure back from dangerous places. This makes sense in LotFP's default setting since so much time is about leaving civilization and heading into parts unknown. But it seems as if my Players might end up having adventures in the Yellow City itself, maybe with a treasure haul, maybe not. Wondered how you handled that.
    4. Is there a resource for good names for NPCs? This is one of those spots my brain freezes up.

    I sent an email for Halls of the Shimmering Stars in the Deep Blue Firmament. Looking forward to that tremendously.

    All around this has been a great buy so far. I've been having a blast this afternoon creating the setting.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Glad you like it. In answer to your questions:

      1. I prefer 1-mile hexes but those maps are if anything probably 5-mile. However, it's really up to you.
      2. BECMI. That's the one I always use, really.
      3. I use XP for treasure and monster kills as per the Rules Cyclopedia but I think awarding XP for knowledge gained or alliances made or whatever would also be good for a Yellow City intrigue sort of game. I tend to think that in social intrigue type games, levelling up isn't all that important anyway so it's not a massive deal if it takes longer.
      4. I use the names of actors and actresses or historical figures from real world South and South-East Asia and change a few letters here or there. There are lists on wikipedia.

      I'll share the link to the "Halls..." through Google Drive. Thanks again and glad you're enjoying it!