I feel like the timeline might serve as a theme for a couple of days, because while just a small part of the Symbaroum Core Book on a single half page when I hit it I found a burst of ideas strike me.
The capital city of Ambria under Queen Korinthia, renamed Yndaros in honor of her father. The home of the Kadizar barbarian clan before half of Alberetor stormed across the Titans with steel and sunshine at their beck and call. The site of a civilisation’s demise at the hands of a horrific bleeders disease. And before that – what? A place of ritual power for the Symbaroum Empire? A location of mystical significance for the Elder Races?
The Queen diktat that “all craftsmen must get organized in guilds” does not necessarily bode well for the people, the craftsmen or those charged with making it happen. While guilds provide a measure of control, generate a sharing of ideas and present the potential to impose standards of pricing and pay, they also set bounds on individuals who already lost their homes and livelihoods in fleeing Alberetor.
In the two years since Korinthea dictated her terms for craftspeople, structures have emerged and masters assumed their stations with charters and letters of authority. The nature of a guild means that the people who least enjoy the craft tend to become the administrators – those who prefer the networking, bureaucracy and wealth over the hard graft of producing a finished product. That leads to factions forming and fractious disagreements breaking out.
As a background for adventure, players can easily be members of a guild fighting for political control or sellswords hired to enforce new bounds on wayward journeymen. Rival masters might compete to take charge, in which the characters could be those rivals or associated with them. Alternatively, the adventures could involve securing a location for the guild to set up within the crowded city and handling some of the day-to-day frustrations.
Think violent pickets, industrial espionage, courtly intrigue… rather than woodworking class or real estate management.
In the summer twenty-one years ago, the forces of Korinthia laid siege to Lindaros under the control of the Kadizar clan. The forces from Alberetor had made the tough journey across the Mountain Pass through the Titans and crossed the scrubby fields of the wild south before finding the ruined city complete with hundreds of animal skin tents and clay hallhouses.
In truth, while Lindaros would not have looked as fine as Yndaros does today, it would not have been totally dissimilar. The claystone homes served as quarters for the chieftain and his key supporters, along with family and favourites. The houses clustered near the north-east of the city, close to the River Doudram, at the current site of Old Kadizar; beyond the skin tents fanned out as far as the southern limits. The tents provided sheltered for the warriors of the clan and their families – and they kept horses and animals for food on the open fields beyond. The tent-dwellings would not have been dissimilar to the present day refugee camp.
The combination of several clans opting to settle down established the foundations of Lindaros, or so legends from barbarian folklore claim. While the other clans united under a High Chieftain and fought for life and territory in the expanding forestscape of Davokar, the others remained and walled themselves in.
It isn’t clear how truthful anything of this might be nor the reason for the inaction of the tribes that held back and built Lindaros up around themselves. Novices and adepts of the Ordo Magica argue with spirit and bluster on the matter at length, probably because no one can ever claim a win. Whatever lore they possess, nothing seems to quite match up and the barbarian oral folklore simply serves to muddy the water.
Whatever the case, two centuries ago the clans settled in Lindaros died of a bleeders disease. Adventures could revolve around the actions that led to this situation or the desperate effort by barbarian explorers and witches to uncover a cure for the plague.
I touched upon this in B is for Building and D is for Dungenesis. Whatever purpose Lindaros had during the height of the Symbaroum Empire, evidence must remain beneath the ground. Did Lindaros fall to the combined forces of the Iron Pact, reduced to splintered rock and charred rubble?
Or did the ‘parasites’ do this to themselves? Did the Symbarian sorcerers delve too deep or reawaken something best left well alone? Are the shattered remain of Lindaros the fallen towers of Symbarian design or the impaling fingers of structures driven up from below to end something horrible? Did the horrors reside in the city rather than beneath it?
The adventure potential seems likely to centre more around today and the investigation of the underworld, rather than delving back into the past and reliving the fall itself. On the other hand, a particularly imaginative GM could certainly do something like that…