Greetings, hope everyone is enjoying their summer! Aren’t the lands of men much more civilized now? I mean, relatively… Mankind is looking to space where once they looked at the deserts, the poles, the jungles as uncharted territory, Explorers once regularly lost their lives exploring, as the examples of Robert Falcon Scott and his party, Umberto Nobile in his ill-fated airship, Sir John Franklin and his lead-sealed tins, and poor Amelia Earhart, flying into oblivion. On the Patchwork Planet of Porphyra, there are many lands that could use exploring, including the Eternal Ice of the extreme south, thought to be inhabited by ith’n ya’roo of strange demeanor; the deep interior of the Northlands, said to be the domain of the exiled Ice Tyrant, member of the Elemental Lords; much of the trackless wastes of the southern deserts, much of which the zendiqi have forgotten and themselves avoid, especially the eastern Ghadab; many of the jungle-covered Rainbow Isles, ignored by the femanx in their glittering resort; even parts of the Great Green, the forest-continent, much of which the elves leave as a sacrosanct preserve for creatures wild and strange. But an odd land stands out, the shunned land of Nor-Du-Mag, the Cloven Lands, the Deadlands, sundered from all magic, arcane and divine, a large magic-dead wasteland literally on the doorstep of many of the most populated, progressive and prosperous lands on Porphyra, the Middle Kingdoms, the Trade Consortium of Blix, and the Gardens of Meynon.
But as we all know, the porphyrite borders of Porphyra can hold famine next to feast, blizzard next to sunburn, and antimagic next to the power of gods. Passing over the border into Nor-Du-Mag shuts everything magical off, like it never was; summoned creatures wink out of existence, continuing magical effects cease to be, the gods cannot be contacted, channelling energy does not work, and magic items are just ‘items’… though a magic weapon or piece of armor is still of masterwork quality! In game terms, all (Sp) and (Su) effects cannot be accessed or used, though all (Ex) effects are just fine. This makes Nor-Du-Mag the warrior’s domain above all others, no matter what the Jheriaks say. No spell-like abilities, no potions, not even a simple orison. Monsters that dominate the Cloven Lands megahumans; humanoid bandits, ogres and giants- and of those the ogres are probably the most successful, as they have developed survival skills of great finesse, living in the dust in their tunnels wrapped in cloth like so many trap-door spiders. Giants, to their racial shame, often have to herd giant goats or sluggish lizards to have enough to eat. Dust-ogres- “dust’res” disdain husbandry, hunting and raiding for their sustenance, which does not seem to be much.
Alchemy is the only science that has any sway here, for any mundane alchemical items can be produced that do no have any magical aspect to them. Alchemists are revered here, and some do claim godlike powers, but it is a precarious position, as kidnapping skilled alchemists is a dominant activity in the Cloven Lands. There seems to be a lot to say about Nor-Du-Mag, the Cloven Lands, so I will continue this next week with some more antimagic musings… make a comment or drop me a line if you want me to talk about anything else regarding Porphyra, or anything at all! ‘Til then, a little tidbit, the dust-ogres…
Dust’res (Variant Ogre species)
Dust-ogres, or dust’res, are a widespread variant of the standard ogre adapted to live in the sere wastelands of the Cloven Lands, Nor-Du-Mag. They resemble large humans more that their brother ogres, with rough brown skin and tiny eyes. They swathe themselves in long rags and plant fibers, and cover the eyes with bone eyeshields; they wield large spears (1d12 damage) rather than greatclubs, carry a sheaf of javelins, and most carry garrotes and lassos. One of their favorite tactics is to string a number of their clan (typically no more than 12) on a ridge with the setting sun behind them, to spark terror in the hearts of caravans or travellers trying to cross the Cloven Lands, a silent promise that they will not reach their destination…
Quick Rules: +1 to AC, initiative, thrown weapon attacks; -1 hp/HD, +4 racial bonus to Stealth in Nor-Du-Mag (deserts)
Rebuild Rules: Ability Scores +2 to Dexterity, -2 to Constitution Special +4 to Stealth in desert terrain, proficiency with lassos and garrotes; Endurance as a bonus feat