It dawned on me the other day as I was going through some of this blog's subpages that some of the info here is completely outdated, which is odd, because this blog isn't yet one year old. On the "Games" page, for example, I still have my 4e game listed, but not the current "FLAILSNAILS of Ur-Hadad" game or my new Iron Coast ACKS game (my current live game). I've been writing a lot about "FSUH," but not much at all about the Iron Coast, despite the fact that I spend most of my writing time writing IC-related material. And so, without further ado, here's just what's up with the Iron Coast.
|Adam made a hexmap? Hell yes I did!
What is the Iron Coast?
Far away from the glory of Ur-Hadad, the First City, the Dominion of Man struggles to bring civilization and Law to the eastern shore of the Dawning Sea. No great empire of men unites the various peoples seeking to conquer this far shore, and a precarious balance between civilization's outposts here currently threatens to tilt into full-blown war as each competes against the others for dominance over the vast resources and ancient treasures of this forgotten place. Outside of Man's settlements, beast men, degenerate sub-humans, monstrous beasts and other threats claw greedily at civilization's borders. Here, man and monster alike wage war for the right to claim the throne of this land and declare himself Iron Prince.
About the SettingThe Iron Coast is a swords & sorcery setting like that found in Robert E. Howard's Hyboria, Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea and Zothique and Fritz Leiber's Nehwon. Unlike most fantasy worlds, which share many elements with medieval society, the Iron Coast (and sword & sorcery in general) share more with the Classical and Biblical Ages than the Middle Ages. The values and ethics of the era are not those of Medieval Europe, but rather are those of a Heroic Age; here fame, glory and wealth are virtues more widely praised than kindness or charity. Adventurers of the Iron Coast write their own legends in the blood of their enemies and treasure looted from long-forgotten crypts and temples, rather than at the behest of kings or other feudal masters. Further, one cannot assume that the constants of Medieval European civilization apply to the Iron Coast, for she is awash in disparate peoples with customs and cultures vastly different from each other and the fantasy most gamers are familiar with.
What started as a pirate haven has, much to the surprise of legitimate authorities across the Iron Coast, become one of its largest cities. In its fierce independence from the existing nations of the Iron Coast, Port Scourge acts as a de facto capitol for the Orphan Baronies which surround it, no one of which has the strength to exert dominion over the others. Though Port Scourge offers the Orphans little support, her pirates readily beleaguer their enemies, so a symbiosis between them exists. Pirates from all nations and of all races (even some surprising numbers of beastmen) can be found on Port Scourge's streets, alleys and wharves.
The furthest province of a Byzantine-like empire, the Legature of Siccalia seeks to rapidly expand its borders deeper and deeper into the interior of the Iron Coast. The northernmost nation on the Iron Coast, Siccalia dominates the trade with interior settlements and the outside world. Siccalian merchant ships are a common sight at the docks of Ur-Hadad and common targets of the pirates out of Port Scourge.
The Jarldom of Iskurland occupies the stretch of Coast between the Orphan Baronies in the south and the Howling Wood (to the north, just south of Siccalia), a territory wrenched from the hands of those who would come to occupy the County of Tengh by the swords of a viking people from Idrusk, nearly a world away. Today, the Iskurlandik people spend as much time raiding and "viking" each other as their nearby pray, the Orphans and Siccalians. The Iskurlanders exist in an uneasy peace with the pirates of Port Scourge, a peace regularly violated whenever one side thinks they can gain an advantage over the other - an advantage that usually very quickly lost.
Coming from nearly as far off as the Idruskan people of Iskurland, the Otengwa people were pushed back from the coast by those vikings into the hills and mountains that form the border of Orroztalan. Unfortunately for the Otengwe, their history is written based on these two conflicts. Suffering from countless losses and the hands of the Iskurlanders and Orroztalani, the Otengwa make up for their much-diminished numbers by using a brand of voodoun necromancy that was taboo in their homeland, employing zombie field hands and soldiers taken from the ranks of their own dead and the dead of their enemies.
When the Dominion of Man first arrived on the Iron Coast, it was surprised to discover that Man was already there. Tribes of men roamed the Coast freely, as well as its interior, forming nations and villages of their own. When most of the natives died soon after the Dominion's arrival, it was thought that the native resistance was over. Then, the Orroztalani were discovered. Brutal warriors without mercy and possessed of a single-minded determination to serve the will of their Priest-King, the Orroztalani could spread across the Iron Coast, but something seems to keep them bound to the banks of Lake Ohoteotl.
Called "Little Wolcz" in the native language of the Wolcz, the Wolczik horsemen have nestled themselves between two tracts of swampland in one of the most fertile lands on the Coast, just to the east of Orroztalan. Here, they raise the finest horses known on the Coast, as well as produce a number of other highly sought after commodities. Rather than risk passing through or near Orroztalan, however, the Malowolczik brave the wild southern forests making for the Bay of Sirens. The Orroztalani occasionally skirmish with the Malowolczik, but the cavalrymen's superior skill and mounts have turned the tide every time.