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I'm just moving this thread from the d&d 3.5 forum which appears to be almost completely dead.
I've been working on a slightly alternate version of the forgotten realms where the gods cannot take any direct action in the realms, which of course means that the time of troubles cannot have happened as written, along with many other RSEs.
At the same time in trying to collate and expand upon all the lore I can find and make alternate versions of RSEs that are more playable and interactive and at the same time make sure they still fit into all the events and locations of the Forgotten Realms.
So below is the link to the site. It's very much work in progress and will probably be that way forever. Unther is done for 1356 DR, mulhorand is halfway done up to 1356 DR, and there is some base work for Raurin and Chessenta done.
Finished going through the major sources on Mulhorand, the main page and the organisations are in a fairly detailed position.
I've redefined Mulhorand as operating almost like a nation state rather than a feudal nation. It has large organizations - churches (formed from noble houses) that perform much of the central government administration. Regional government is provided by the Precepts who receive assistance from the churches to implement government policy.
Mulhorand has a large and well equipped standing army (rather than feudal armies which are mostly provided from noble retinues and conscripted peasants).
I've added lots of detail to the geography and history to try and flesh it out more.
The Church of Anhur is synonymous with Mulhorand's army, the two groups share a similar hierarchy and membership (although one can be a soldier in the Legion of Dawn and not be a priest of the Church of Anhur (although that does limit one's promotion prospects unless one has friends in the Church of Horus-Re).
The Church of Anhur has had it's privileges reduced dramatically since the rebellion of Thay, although it has a major plot to create a new model army and perform a lightning strike against Thay to regain power and prestige.
The Church of Bast is a much diminished church after its patron was exiled, it is now a prestigious military academy that trains the greatest warriors in Mulhorand while using its profits to find and eliminate cultists of Set.
The Church of Geb oversees the supply of Mulhorand's minerals. It owns the majority of mines in Mulhorand and determines/enforces the quota of minerals to ensure Mulhorand is self sufficient. It has a sizable portion of gold dwarf blood in its family and membership.
The Church of Horus-Re forms the main central administration of Mulhorand's government (like the home office). The Pharaoh is the head of the church and the Vizier is the highest ranking priest, making the Church of Horus-Re the most powerful single organization in all Mulhorand.
The church itself is split between three powerful noble families (of Ra, Horus, and the merged house of Horus-Re). Vizier Rezim is intending to use this factionalisation to advance his power and position through various plots.
Currently Rezim intends to sell slaves directly to nobility to generate vast sums of revenue that he can use to bribe the Church of Nephthys into supporting other plots to restrict the power of the Church of Anhur.
The Church of Isis deals with Mulhorand's farming needs in a similar way to the Church of Geb and mineral requirements. It sets and enforces the quota on all foodstuffs being produced to keep Mulhorand self sufficient.
The major plot within this church is a radical group that wishes to improve equality for women with Mulhorand's patriarchal society. The basis of this plot is to arrange a marriage between the heir apparent and Korethys Thulhani (a future member of the priesthood and potential future incarnation of Isis).
The Church of Nephthys is like the foreign office of Mulhorand. They deal with setting and collecting all the tariffs on foreign trade, they also act as ambassadors (and spies) to foreign nations.
The Church of Nephthys is very mercenary and will do most things for money. Position within the church is dependent upon the amount donated to the church in the previous year.
Currently the Church of Nephthys (or a large faction within it) are selling their support to Rezim for a number of his plots to reduce the power of Anhur's church while simultaneously loaning the Church of Anhur money to allow it to further its own plots.
Secretly the Church of Nephthys hopes to persuade the Church of Anhur to invade Unther to expand Mulhorand's economy and allow it to beat Thay in a trade war.
The Church of Osiris deals with the law of mulhorand. It is the only church with the power to challenge the Vizier and the Pharaoh, having challenged past Viziers on a number of occasions and even impeached the Pharaoh and had him quietly removed from office.
The Church of Osiris also deals with deaths in Mulhorand, especially overseeing the Land of the Dead near Mishtan.
The Church of Thoth is responsible for magic in Mulhorand. It has direct control of all spellcasters not already part of another church. It also controls Thothian script in which all southern magic is written (a language supposedly devised by Thoth himself).
The big plot within the Church of Thoth is to find a way to beat Thay using the huge magical arsenal at Mulhorand's disposal, searching ancient texts for hidden weapons of enormous power. Derlaunt has discovered the huge stone colossi around Mulhorand were once used as a weapon by the Mulhorandi during the Orcgate Wars. Unfortunately his own research and attempt to use them has gone awry (just as it did two thousand years ago).
A long standing enemy of Mulhorand is the cult of Set. Its numerous isolated cult cells have recently been unified under the rule of Divine Incarnation Seti. Seti owns a caravan company that makes a fortune sending caravans of papyrus through Raurin to Durpar and returns with spices. The caravan also carries information, instructions and agents to cult cells along its journey.
The Cult intends to assassinate the Pharaoh and replace him with an impersonator
The Cult of Sebek has long been absent from Mulhorand, its membership driven out by the Legion of Dawn long ago. Its entire membership is afflicted by a curse acquired through parentage or through an infected bite. The curse is sarrukh in origin, designed to create a servitor race by mutating the afflicted into a part reptilian creature (whose body can be altered by sarrukh bodyshaping powers).
The Cult of Sebek is spread across the Border Kingdoms, Chessenta, and is returning to Mulhorand.
The biggest of Mulhorand's state sponsored guilds. The guild of scribes manages all the scribing work of Mulhorand's government. It also contains a large proportion of government ministers as members because the guild is also where most of the political plots and manoeuvring take place.
Been working on the Cult of Set, trying to make it a bit more interesting than just an evil cult in mulhorand.
I've got the cult established when Set was exiled in 1048 DR. It was mostly made up of his followers and family who went underground to escape persecution.
Set retreated to the Tower of Set with a few select individuals and set his plans in motion from there.
His first act was to poison the first Pharaoh of Mulhorand (not the Divine Pharaoh Horus-Re but his human counterpart). The priests resurrected the Pharaoh using what they though was the Staff of Ra, but it actually turned out to be the Alabaster Staff and it made the Pharaoh undead and the priests were forced to destroy him.
Then Set vanishes and slowly the cult of set falls apart. They achieve some minor successes in slaying incarnations of the gods but otherwise support dwindles and they fade into obscurity.
A priest known as Aap Nura traces Sets life and discovers a cache of his belongings including some pages from the fabled Book of the Serpent (Sets spellbound and diary). Using these notes Aap Nura pens the Hate of the Cobra (which will become the basis for the bible of the cult) and undergoes a ritual to become the incarnation Anraset.
Anraset works with wizards in Shamulrand to instigate a rebellion, while at the same time declaring a pretender to the throne in Semphar (having infiltrated the Masters of the Temple).
Thays rebellion succeeded but Anraset and the cult of Set were wiped out in mulhorand over the next few years as the Pharaoh Thothibistep II declared an inquisition to root out the traitors.
The Cult of Set declined to nothingness until a minor merchant, led by visions of grandeur, tried to navigate a caravan route through the Raisin Desert. He was captured by the last few surviving Setites but escaped into the catacombs beneath the Tower. He discovered a hidden cache belonging to Set and was forced to undergo a ritual to become the incarnation Seti.
Seti has revitalised the cult using his caravan business to fund it and to move people, information, and equipment between newly established cells.
The cult of Set is almost ready to kill and replace the Pharaoh while Seti begins his quest to follow the portal network known as the Trail of Serpents Tears and retrace the footsteps of Set and find his lost knowledge and ultimate fate.
That's the story, I've expanded and woven together the histories of major npcs in what is hopefully a more coherent way, I've repurposed a few magic items and created a new one - the book of the Serpent- which Seti hopes will allow him to become a god
A new year a new project.
I've decided to go back to the Moonshaes Isles and work on that some more.
The Isle of Moray is up first
In this alternate version of the Moonshaes Isles the ffolk believe that the Earthmother wants them to preserve the Balance and that the Children are sent to help restore the Balance when things go wrong.
In reality the Moonshae Isles are the Earthmother, a living land mass ripped apart by the Sundering (the real Sundering with Evermeet and the elves, not the other one). The Children are part of the defence mechanism of the islands and when infestations (humanoids) grow out of control or things begin to harm her, then the Children attack and destroy the problem.
The Moonwells are part of a large magical prison that prevents Kazgoroth (a corrupted member of the Children) from escaping.
The Isle of Moray is just one island in the Moonshaes Isles. It is populated by the ffolk, but they have significant northmen heritage, this makes them more aggressive and martial than their kin on the Isle of Gwynneth and a Moray mercenary is highly prized up and down the Sword Coast.
Moray still holds true to traditional clan rule. The clans operate like benevolent mafia families, providing a safe place to work and live and protection from monsters, raiders, and other clans.
The King claims a tithe from these clans for the land they control and spends his entire reign travelling between clan holds collecting tithes and arbitrating issues. The King of Moray does not have a castle or palace or central place of government (they kept getting burned down).
It's a rough outline at the moment. I'm about ready to start adding in people and places and magic.
Moray Island is reaching a stage that is usable as a campaign source.
I've tried to keep Moray as traditionally tribal as possible to distinguish it from the likes of Callidyrr and Snowdown. Added in a few fan works from the candlekeep compendium because there really is almost no lore on this island available.
Added in a new organization known as Greystone Trading after an organization I made to counter the Darkmoon assassins that are mentioned only in the Realmspace sourcebook. Greystone Trading is also the source of the weredog presence on the Moonshae Isles, all coming from a single individual, Tristram Greystone who was squire to a High King attacked by one of the Darkmoon. He later served as Armsmaster to the High King that was slain in Gwynneth fighting firbolgs (and lost the Sword of Cymrych Hugh). Tristram left the service of Callidyrr and pledged his sword to the King of Corwell, becoming laird of a small cantrev. Here he encountered a pack of huge wolf/dog hybrids and battled them, contracting a beneficial form of lycanthropy in the process.
Greystone Trading is a trading company later founded by the Greystone family, most of its senior members are weredogs. They trade with northmen and ffolk on the smaller trade routes that the larger calishite galleys avoid. Greystone Trading also operates as a spy ring collecting information and keeping a watchful eye for sightings of the Grimmulf (the huge wolf that attacked the High King ages ago).
And lastly is my take on the Moonwells.
I've turned the Moonwells on their head. Originally they were parts of the Earthmother (which is a titanic being that is the Moonshae Isles themselves, torn apart by the sundering). Through these Moonwells the Earthmother birthed powerful creatures to protect herself from the humanoids that infested her body and caused damage.
The appearance of Kazgoroth (one of the Children, but damaged and twisted by the Sundering) caused the LeShay to enchant the Moonwells to weaken Kazgoroth and keep him trapped. The LeShay passed on the duty of caring for these enchanted Moonwells to the elves who in turn passed it on to the druids. The purpose of the Moonwells have been forgotten and the druids (and elves) think it is to preserve the Balance and that the Earthmother sends the Children to aid the druids in keeping the Balance.
Every time the druids use the Moonwells enchanted powers they drain more energy from the Earthmother, slowly killing her.
Kazgoroth seeks to corrupt the magic connecting the Moonwells to the LeShay. Once he has corrupted them all he will be free to kill all the humanoids and use their magic to feed the Earthmother and help restore her body.
Onto Norland and the northmen next
Norland geography and society detailed.
Its a land of independent jarldoms that are occasionally united by a strong leader, but most often fight among themselves and raid the ffolk. The Norr (I decided to make the northmen of the Moonshae Isles into a sub racial group distinct from Illuskans and ancestral to them - ie what illuskans were before they mixed with the Netherese and other sub racial groups of the Sword Coast) used to glorify raiding as instructed by their worship of Tempos the Bloody Horned God. However the attrition raiding causes and ultimate failure of raiding behaviours to enrich the Norr caused them to abandon that practice (and their worship of Tempos) centuries ago. Now the Norr raid occasionally for prestige or to settle old feuds, but mostly do so when harsh winters strike and cause hardship.
Norland is an island largely untouched by the Norr. The island is dominated by the Skor forest and the North and South Jotunhammer Mountains. I've tried to link the gem mines of the Jotunhammer Mountains to LeShay on other islands (that I will detail later but are briefly mention in Moray) and I've also started working in a theme of islands collapsing into the sea which show that the earthmother is dying (being slowly killed by the druids and elves that use the Moonwells and drain her energy away), but this has gone unnoticed by the short lived humanoids (even elves will likely only know of one island collapsing).
Need to work on detailing the people of the island, I've pulled a few from the novels but more are needed.