Blood and Thunder
Caldeia is a city state around the mouth of the Buffalo River. It has one heavily defended city, Caldeia of the tall towers, and some smaller fortified settlements in its surroundings. Caldeia was founded several centuries ago by an exiled Priest Prince of Tricarnia, Caldaios the Cruel, and today it is still a monarchy, de facto ruled by the nobles and a caste of priests.
Remarkably, Caldaios the Cruel is still formally the King of Caldeia. He should be more than four hundred years old now, but nobody has ever announced his death and, though he hasn’t appeared in public for at least three centuries, there are rumors he still lives in self-imposed reclusion in the royal palace of Caldeia City.
Caldeia is very rich because it trades the two most precious goods produced in the south of the world: Khav and slaves.
The fertile area of the Buffaloes River’s mouth boasts the world’s largest plantations of the insidious drug, also known as Lesser Lotus. This cheap and very addictive drug is produced and refined in Caldeia and then sold across the Dominions. The Khav plantations are tended by slaves who are all heavily addicted to Khav. Many of them die, but Caldeia’s flesh markets have plenty of replacements.
Slaves are the second most traded good in Caldeia. Raiding parties depart monthly from the Caldeian settlements and venture deep in the Savannah to surprise black tribes and capture large groups of slaves who are then dragged in chains to Caldeia and sent to the plantations or sold to foreigners. Many of the slaves in the northern kingdoms and Tricarnia come from here.
Raids in the Savannah are not the only method the Caldeians use to capture slaves. Caravans of slavers periodically travel the infamous Slave Route, a road that goes from Caldeia, across the Verdant Belt, to the far mountains of Lhoban. Along the way, the slavers trade with the Ivory Savannah Tribes and other barbaric reigns of the Verdant Belt, bartering cheap weapons and Khav for slaves. These slaves are often members of the same population they are bought from, who are made prisoners during bloody feuds among clans. The Caldeian slavers make sure they support different tribes, even rival ones, so that no unity can be achieved among the Ivory Savannah Tribes.
In the last few years, there have been attacks on the least protected Khav plantations, causing heavy economic damage to Caldeia. The raiders are Ivory Savannah Tribe warriors and mercenaries from the north. They also free slaves and enact guerrilla tactics on Caldeian soil. Caldeia’s answer has been strong and violent, but it is hard to defeat such an elusive enemy: the raiders generally attack along the borders and then rapidly retreat to the Ivory Savannah, hiding their tracks. The remarkable thing is that they don’t take away any of the precious Khav, but they simply burn it. Someone thinks that the White King of the Ivory Savannah is behind these attacks, but no proof has been found so far because, until now, the Caldeian army hasn’t managed to capture any raider alive. The matter is further complicated by the fact that independent; non-Caldeian Khav sellers have appeared in the northern lands. They have very competitive prices and they gain a greater share of the market every day. A drug war is about to break out…
Khav Addiction Khav addiction is a Major Habit. In addition to the standard addiction rules, Khav has the following effects:
It causes –2 to all Spirit and Smarts based rolls and eliminates the sense of fatigue. A Khav addict does not receive penalty for Fatigue, but he actually feels it. It is not unusual for slaves addicted to Khav to work to death. The price of Khav varies depending on its purity: a dose may cost from half a Moon to twenty Moons. It is common throughout the Dread Sea Dominions, especially in slave-based nations.
Umberto Pignatelli. (2011). Beasts & Barbarians, pp. 24-25. Studio 2 Publishing.ISBN 978-8393179657