Athdaelda, IV Legion Fort of

Just a few miles east of Athdaelda is a small military complex which acts as base for the IV Imperial Legion.  This fort is a major force in the region, both militarily and economically.  The Empire is able to exert its influence militarily by maintaining the largest standing army in the region, whose direct line to the Empire both subverts the Prince’s influence while maintaining it by perpetuating his family’s rule through treaty and force.

The men stationed here are nominally guarding against potential uprisings by the horsetribes and act as deterrent against those who might practice highwaymanry on the road to Gazee and Diirdec.  They serve a more immediate function in maintaining leverage for both Cirsova and Athdaelda’s position in the region.  While no one would consider Karkuras occupied, it is notable that both Gatlia and Ungoza are “protected” by a lone legion stationed in Davou while otherwise being left to their own.

The economic impact of the IV Legion has a twofold effect.  While the land itself is taxed to feed & mount the soldiers, many supplies and dry goods originate from outside Karkuras, thus bringing traders & merchants from the Heartlands and from Paelnor to keep the troops equipped.  The merchants who created the community of Doan at the crossroads have benefited the most, though some farmers around Athdaelda are aggrieved, as they are most impacted by food tax, a burden not shared with Karkuras’ other citizens.

The Athdaeldan monarchy and IV Legion keep unrest in check, though many Karkurans, not just farmers, have begun demanding more voice in the matter of the fort and legion.  Hence, the Gatian nobles have their worries about the example set by Gatlia’s experiment in republican governance.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Legion was the deforestation of the Sabrio Valley north of the river, along with the razing and total demolition of the bastions of the Kingdom of Sabrio.  At the outset, this created a great surplus of timber for the Empire, however this act is ultimately responsible for the dearth of construction lumber within the province, which today relies heavily on Cirsova and Paelnor’s logging industries.

No art this week

I’ve fallen incredibly behind on basic things around here, like finding art and music and even writing Encyclopedia entries.

I think Cirsova may be going on a pseudo-hiatus for a bit while I work on another writing project I’m engaged in.

I’ll probably still be regularly posting gaming, reading and other various thoughts, but pretty soon I think the bread and butter posts (which have never been very popular and I don’t think have ever received a single comment) will be on hold until I get a chance to regroup.  Entries on Karkuras will be finished out.  Eventually I’ll do Ortia and Paelnor.  Or not.  We’ll see.

If anything, the ‘creative’ aspect of this has served its purpose, and I’m writing again.  Not about Cirsova, but I’ll definitely come back to it someday.  If anyone gives a shit, I might even write a book that takes place there.

Athdaelda, City/Principality of

Athdaelda is the seat of political power in Karkuras, its ruling family considered “cousin” (though only sometimes by marriage) to the Imperial family of Cirsova.  Though well respected (principally in the heartlands) the Princes and their kin command very littly authority outside of Karkuras (and some would say Athdaelda itself).  Still, the pomp and circumstance surrounding the trappings of royalty can be felt in the city which once stood alongside a divine king bringing low a dangerous foe in Sabrio.

The city stretches and sprawls for miles upon the plain, far beyond the old city’s walls.  The old city, at Athdaelda’s core, is built upon and around a small butte which has been formed into a stable earthwork.  The old city is divided from the rest of the city by an octagonal outer wall, which surrounds the old city and the “upper city” (really the inner citadel), a walled diamond with each point a gatehouse oriented to a cardinal direction. The paths from each gateway spiral down the rocky perch of the citadel to the lower portion of the old city.

In the walled section of the “lower city”, which surrounds the base of the butte, one may find the old guildhouses, public halls, temples and houses of wealthy patricians. Here, all manner of business public & politic is conducted.

Within the walls of the “upper city”, the cardinal lanes lead to the palace keep, residence of the Prince and immediate royal family of Athdaelda.  Though during the period of unification this keep was hardened and prepared for long sieges, the palace has long since been retrofitted for creature comforts.  Armories are now dining halls & museums and barracks are ballrooms.

The palace itself is an imposing structure of sublime symmetry.  Each cardinal path leads to a heavy wooden door carved with intricate details recounting the deeds of past Princes.  Each corner of the palace is adorned with a vine-trellised tower, and a great central spire rises up from which the Princes can gaze over the plains.

The rest of the “upper city” has largely been converted to gardens.  A few of the old barracks remain to house the palace guards, groundskeepers and other palace staff who do not reside within the keep.


Of a somewhat exciting note, as of this post, the Brief Guide to the Imperial Provinces now exceeds over 20,000 words!  The average length of a Campaign Mastery post.  

More French Rev Stuff

I’m not usually into more modern settings for Role Playing Games (and have a particular dislike of Steampunk because everything ‘steampunk’ that is not Thief: the Dark Project is just so disappointing in comparison), but my French Revolution reading has piqued my interest in the idea of a game set in the maelstrom of the French Revolution.

There is so much going on, so many factions, so many possible classes and opportunity for adventure and intrigue.

Rather than “race”, one would fall into one of the political alignments of the day. Ironically “Noble” would not be one of these catagories, because, while by and large members of the 1st estate were royalists, there were members who fell across the political spectrum. Same with the 2nd estate. Higher ranking clergymen tended to be royalists, while the local curates, who were often poor, sympathized with the people.

A character would therefore choose one alignment; these could change throughout the course of the game as events progress, but players would need to be wary that any shift in political alignment could instantly put their character in mortal danger.

Royalists support the Ancient Regime. They are members of the court, nobles, ranking ecclesiastics, officers in the army, or simply loyal subjects. They hate any and all republican factions and will do anything in their power to thwart them. They also hate the constitutional monarchists, but will work with monarchists who are sympathetic to or loyal to the King if it suits their needs or is necessary for their safety or safety of the Royal Family. Royalists may either remain with the court, be in the provinces, or be part of the emigrant army waiting to liberate the Bourbons.

Constitutional Monarchists
The Constitutional Monarchists wish to do away with the worst oppression of old feudalism, but love the king and feel that a benevolent monarchy is far preferable to vulnerable republicanism or violent and anarchic democracy. For these people, the rule of law, maintenance of peace, and preservation of the kingdom of France are important above all else. These will typically be enlightened nobles, intellectual middle class, and non-noble members of the clergy. The would work with the Royalists if the Royalists did not insist on thwarting their cause. They desire to see the King and his family preserved, despite being hated by the Royals and the Court. They disagree with the Girondists, but fear the violence of the Jacobins more.

Civil Republicans, the Girondists have had it with Feudalism, had it with nobles, had it with the intrigues the court has instigated against the people of the nation and are ready to be done with Kings. They do not, however, advocate public disorder and acts of mob violence, nor do they wish to see the heads of their enemies on pikes. The Jacobins are as much their enemy as the aristocracy, for they threaten the peace and stability of revolutionary government.

The Jacobins are the voice of the mob, anarchists and democrats who have seized upon the chaos and anger of the common man to foment acts of destruction and violence in the name of the revolution. Not content to be rid of Nobles and Aristocrats, Jacobins’ class warfare extends to the rising middle class as well. The Jacobins are the mortal enemy of the Royalists, Constitutional Monarchs, as well as the more moderate republican Girondists. Jacobins’ superior numbers and use of mob violence make them most powerful and dangerous faction, though even within this group, there is a great deal of distrust.
Within these political distinctions, characters would chose roles, whether as delegates, courtiers, courier, commoner/professional, commoner/farmer, demagogue, publisher, soldier, etc. etc. and try to navigate their way through the revolutionary turmoil.  Can you survive, or even thrive, in the chaos?  Will you end up in a foreign dungeon or sent to the Guillotine?  Will you die in your bed like Mirabeau or will you be stabbed in the heart by a hot chick like Marat?

Dungeon Crusade

So, over at Tenkar’s Tavern, Erik was taking a dump on a Kickstarter project for a board game called Dungeon Crusade.

Now, admittedly, the text is a grammatical disaster, but holy shit, this board game looks crazy!  One of the problems with the presentation of the Kickstarter is that dude goes all out explaining all of the rules and nuances of the game, and it’s overwhelming as all get out.  But, oh, god, I’d love to play this game!

The biggest problems, besides presentation itself, is the goal,  the cost and lack of mid-range rewards.  I would love this game, but as a sad bastard with no friends, I find it hard to want to drop $100 to get a copy.  The $80,000 goal is pretty high, too.  A lot of super-well known kickstarters that are a big deal in the gaming community are half that on the high end.  With disasters such as the Doom that Came to Atlantic City, I can understand how reluctant anyone would be to invest in a board game.  But hell, this thing looks ready to go, based on the prototype, which is more than 90% of the gaming kickstarters out there can claim.

Bottom line: I’d like to play this game, I probably won’t spend $100 on it, I hope it funds, I hope the crazy rule set is written in some sort of sensible (and grammatically correct) fashion.  I am a professional technical writer and would totally donate my services to proof and edit the rules for a free copy.

30 Days of D&D in a single moment!

I’ve failed the 30 day challenge, mostly because I got super busy in another writing project, wholly separate from Cirsova.  I failed it so bad, I forgot to even schedule the posts.  So, without further ado, here’s what would’ve been Cirsova’s 30 Days of D&D.  Please disregard any contradictory information presented here.


Day 1 – How I got Started
I’m doing the D&D for 30 days challenge! Which ultimately means that there are going to be a lot of really short posts for the next 30 days. A lot of these, I don’t know how detailed I can really get (I mean, oh, god, over a week of different classes of favorite monsters?), but at least these won’t interrupt the normal posting schedule. Or maybe I’ll let it. Give Cirsova a break and catch up on encyclopedia entries. Plus, I told Varg I’d do a write up about the Staff Sling in MYFAROG, so I’ve got that on my plate. Oh, my, I have a lot to do!

How I got started? Well, it was kind of a natural outgrowth of my interest in wargames. I played a lot of board games with my dad growing up (the ones with the little fiddly cardboard pieces that you push from hex to hex and roll lots of tiny dice and check several charts). I was also big into turn based computer strategy games, my favorites of which, were “Medieval Lords” (the old dos game, not the newer one) and “Le’emperor” (a Napoleonic war game using the pld R3K engine).

When I finally got a chance to play D&D, I jumped on it. Even though I haven’t always had great experiences with groups, my love of games and game systems has always borne me through.
Day 2 – Favorite Playable Race
With 3rd ed, I always liked playing elves, because that +2 dex is great. But now I’m thinking more about humans. I went through a period where I kind of hated demi-human races in fantasy in general, but I’m finally warming up to them again. I’d like to play a dwarf at some point.

Day 3 – Favorite Playable Class
It used to be magic user, because of all of the potential there, but so few games I’ve played really lasted long enough for me to do what I wanted with the MU class, I’m beginning to think that maybe Cleric or Fighter may be my new favorite.

Day 4 – Favorite Gameworld
This one is really hard, because I’ve so rarely played a pre-made world. I did used to have kind of a hate-on for Mystara because of how stupid Night of the Vampire was.

Day 5 – Favorite Die
I have a clear d20 with clear numbers. It’s really pretty.

Day 6 – Favorite Deity
Time was once I’d’ve said one of the Cthulhu mythos deity, but they’re kind of played out now, aren’t they? I’ll go ahead and cover all bases by saying Brahma.

Day 7 – Favorite Edition
B/X. I’ve played in a game that was a mishmash of D&D, 1st & 2nd ed and some Arcanum thrown in. Also both 3.0 and 3.5. I appreciate B/X’s simplicity and freedom.

Day 8 – Favorite Character I have Played
I played a wild-mage once. Shennanigans.

Day 9 – Favorite Character I haven’t Played
I rolled up a human light cavalryman for a 3.x game that never happened. He was devastating with his spear.

Day 10 – Craziest thing that happened
A member of our party hadn’t finished filling out his character sheet yet and didn’t have a name. We’d just arrived at the Keep on the Borderland. He couldn’t answer what his name was when the gatemen issued their challenge. The DM was an asshole and told us that we were thrown out of the Keep and lost .
Day 11 – Favorite Adventure
This is another tough one, as I really haven’t played any of the pre-made modules, and the ones I have run were kind of disappointing. My favorite adventure wasn’t even a D&D game, so i guess, as far as today’s post goes, I’ve got nothing.

Day 12 – Favorite Dungeon type
I like haunted places. Places that are cursed as all crap and stacked floor to ceiling with ghosts. As such, I tend to like the spooky dungeons, like the Maze of Nuroman.

Day 13 – Favorite Trap/Puzzle
I really like the sealed wraith in Terror in the Gloaming. Kinda damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you break the seals and solve the puzzle, you unleash a plague of undead. If you don’t solve the puzzle yourself, someone else comes along and lets things loose, but you won’t have the weapon that will help most against the wraith.

Day 14 – Favorite NPC
Hiram, the Blacksmith.

Day 15 – Favorite Undead
How about a mummified elven vampire?

Day 16 – Favorite Abberation
What does that even entail? I don’t think they have abberations in B/X. Are mimic’s abberations? I like mimics, especially the one from Rusty & Co.

Day 17 – Favorite Animal
Lemurs. I don’t care if they’re not statted anywhere. You have small mischievous primates that are like a cross between a cat & a dog, oink like a pig, scream like nobody’s business and are thought to house the souls of the damned. Plus, they are cute & fluffy!

Day 18 – Favorite Immortal/Outsider
Connor McLeod/Pony Boy .

Day 19 – Favorite Elemental
Fire elemental, duh.

Day 20 – Favorite Humanoid
I’m really partial to goblins.

Day 21 – Favorite Dragon
Standard red.

Day 22 – Favorite Monster overall
Undead displacer beasts.

Day 23 – Least Favorite Monster

Day 24 – Favorite Energy Type
Potential. You don’t even have to leave the couch!

Day 25 – Favorite Magic item
+5 Staff Sling

Day 26 – Favorite Non-magic item
The bar of soap.

Day 27 – A character I want to play in the future
A staff slinger.

Day 28 – A character I never want to play again
A low level utility mage.

Day 29 – What number do I always seem to roll on a d20?
Whichever number I feel like, if I’m using my clear d20. JK, JK…

Day 30 – Best DM I’ve had
The text parser from Zork.

Beauty and the Beast and Maximilien de Robespierre

Also, I think in light of my recent readings, this is one of the most awesome things I’ve come across.

Greg has a blog now. God help us.

It’s Movie Review Monday (on a Tuesday, but still, I like the alliteration)


I don’t need to sum up the plot of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. We all know it. We’ve all seen it. It’s a masterpiece. And it has such a happy ending. The Beast and all his servants change back into humans and Belle presumably gets married, becomes a Princess, and escapes the dreary monotony of her rural French village. Just in time for all of them to be guillotined by the Committee of Public Safety.

Now I do not claim to know when Beauty and the Beast is set. However, the Disney version is mostly based on a version of the story written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1757. However, we see Belle’s father, the inventor Maurice, working with a steam-driven invention, which would not have been practical until the mid 1760s. So I feel…

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