Monday, October 20, 2014

Some World Building

Where we started Friday night, the players in the recently conquered town of Woburn, formerly of the Ishtean Enterprise, now under the control of the Wyrm Legion.

A quote from the Legate (overall commander) of the Wyrm Legion to get a sense of their history:

“It was just over three hundred years ago when our ancestors left the great and mighty  Ishtean Enterprise, using what meager means our people had remaining to buy whatever vessel the rapacious Ishteans would sell us. A full quarter of those remaining would die at sea as many of these overpriced deathtraps capsized  on the voyage to the refuge promised us by the Green and the Gold.
This is the Blood Price of our people, we relied on the mercy of others, and they profited from our desperation. Those who seek mercy from the Legion must also pay the Price, it is the way of things....” - Vatic, Legate, First Legion

In D&D terms, the Legion is distinctly Lawful Neutral.

The Ishtean Enterprise (formerly) controlled the territory where the Dragonborn both left from on their self imposed exile, and returned to on their newly imposed crusade.

Ishtean Enterprise - The Enterprise is not so much an Empire as it is an example of what can happen when the Guilds and merchants openly assume all power. The Enterprise is notable in that it is the only known civilized government without formal hereditary rule. While this would seem to be a threat to other established monarchies,wise monarchs noted that power was bought with wealth, and wealth was most certainly hereditary.
At birth, each citizen owes a debt to the Enterprise. The remaining amount of this debt is tattooed on the right arm. Over time this initial debt increased to a point where only the very wealthy could afford to pay it off.
This was convenient to the established order, as a prerequisite to own a business or hold a 'public' office was to be clear of your birth debt.
By virtue of also having the world's largest banking cartel, the tattoos were hard to forge. Those caught with forgeries would have the offending limb removed, and a new tattoo with a reset debt amount drawn upon the left arm.
The Enterprise being as it was, those with a fully paid off debt and missing their right arm were greatly respected for their initiative.

All things end, and the Ishteans were no exception, although the collapse was not sudden or complete.

The Collapse - Civilization failed... Again. Trade caravans to their neighbors began to disappear, and an influx of refugees from some now forgotten crisis in the south stretched resources to the limit. The entirety of the Ishteans military might was focused on building and maintaining a wall to the south to stop the influx of refugees particularly from the now fallen Celestial Empire. With increasing military spending, a sudden drop in trade and the loss of a banking cartel that spanned the continent, the slow but inevitable collapse of central governance followed.


  1. So, if someone actually clears their Ishtean debt "legally", how is that recorded? What happens to the tattoo? Is that what the comment about missing an arm was about?

  2. The clearing of the debt is recorded as part of the tattoo by a cartel tattooist. (In a similar manner to how the Knights Templar 'encrypted' letters of credit for people making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. It was in a form known only to the order, and they were the arbiters of its validity.)

    If the cartel deems the tattoo to be a forgery, it is removed... Along with the limb. Given they are the sole authority here, not many people choose to oppose them in political circles lest they be found to have 'forged' tattoos as well.

    Those who do attempt to circumvent the system, get caught and then manage to pay off their debt are greatly admired as Ishtean culture values success at all costs and by any means.

    A noble man is wealthy man and vice-versa.