Monday, February 9, 2015

New Community Rules

I’m a big fan of the Community Rules from the 6th edition of GAMMA WORD, and have always been disappointed that D&D/d20/whatever hasn’t done a better job of creating rules and/or standards for cities and nations in their core rules.  For all its many (many!) failings, GW6 addressed this need very well, IMO, and I’d really like to see similar rules for other d20/OGL RPGs.

New Community Feat: Archaic Aquaculture

The community understands and uses basic fishing technologies and techniques. Fishing is small-scale and consists of small boats, small ponds, small traps and cages, or some combination of the three.
     Prerequisites: Large nearby body of water.
     Benefits: The community can catch enough fish/amphibians/waterfowl to sustain itself on an ongoing basis. This feat also increases the community’s Wealth bonus by +1, or 50 TU under the d20 Apocalypse bartering rules.
     Signs: Fishing boats and related equipment, i.e.: nets, traps, etc. All fishing is done using tools that are either human- or wind-powered.

New Community Philosophy: Provincialism

The community is indifferent (at best) or hostile (at worst) towards the way of life or mode of thought beyond its people and their shared culture and traditions. Its people will put their own perceived good ahead of that of all others, including their fellow countrymen/members of their race/religion/whatever.

Community: Nubur

Nubur


Community Type: Frontier Town
Population Level: 3 (187 adults)
Progress Level: 3
Force: 12 (+1)
Mobility: 10 (+0)
Resilience: 10 (+0)
Learning: 10 (+0)
Awareness: 13 (+2)
Command: 10 (+0)
Wealth: 16 (400 trade units)
Reputation Bonus: +3

Skills: Craft (textiles) +4, Craft (structural) +4, Diplomacy +2, Drive +4, Gather Information +6, Knowledge (technology: archaic) +2, Repair: +2, Survival: +4

Feats: Archaic Aquaculture, Archaic Engineering, Archaic Vehicles (boats, carts), Stockpile, Windfall

Benefits:
  • Abundant food supplies
  • Custom built archaic vehicles (boats)
  • News and information

Philosophy: Provincialism

Composition: 50% stock human; 20% true men; 20% mutants; 10% other

Overview

Nubur’s inhabitants are primarily unaltered stock humans and true men, the descendants of apocalypse survivors of comparative wealth and privilege compared to other denizens of Derb Nigh. So say the Nuburs (as they are called) anyway, though many of the ruins in the region lend credence to their claims.

Nubur itself is the northwestern-most permanent settlement in the sultanate. It is also culturally and religiously the least Merabic and Merislamic. Given the prevalence of fair-skinned and fair-haired residents among the populace, Nubur is not so much a part – or even an offshoot – of Derb Nigh as it is simply a community that came to be assimilated into it. Nevertheless a good deal of acculturation has taken place over the years and the Nuburs are generally loyal to, if not particularly enthusiastic about, their sultan.

The settlement is one of the two last outposts of civilization in the western reaches of Derb Nigh, the town of Dragon Wall to the south being the other. The western shores of Nubur Lake butt-up very near the intersection of two major ancient roadways that run deep into the northern and western reaches of Mitchgloom, making the town very popular with merchants and travelers doing business with or just passing through Derb Nigh. There are always 6d6 travelers and traders in Nubur, and there is 1-in-6 chance at any given time that a Derb Nigh caravan is also passing through town.

History

Nubur occupies an area that was once a part of the pre-Apocalypse city of Westland, Michigan. The small fishing community is built along the northeastern shores of Nubur Lake, which was once two separate, smaller bodies of water (the former Newburg and Nankin reservoirs), which have long since expanded and merged due climate change.

Before the Apocalypse the two reservoirs had been stocked with fish and provided a biologically diverse urban wetland environment; after the Apocalypse and the resulting floods the region became even more densely populated with fish and game. Survivors from the surrounding affluent neighborhoods converged along the lakeshore, took to fishing and hunting, and contemporary Nubur slowly came into being.

Since its inception, Nubur has been dominated by the Makenzees, a wealthy and politically powerful family during pre-Fall times that provided much of the impetus (and money and guns) that lead to the town’s founding and subsequent security and prosperity.

Nubur was peacefully integrated into the Sultante of Derb Nigh more than twenty years ago (2557), when the town’s former mayor, Laree Makenzee, married the previous Sultan’s spinster daughter, Jasmine. Laree was then appointed back into office until his death in 2577. Within a year a marriage was arranged between Laree’s youngest daughter from his first marriage, Kaitlin (Laree and Jasmine never had children of their own), and the current Sultan’s cousin, Faruq.

Because of the composition and location of the town, Nubur sees itself a bit apart from the rest of Derb Nigh and values its autonomy.

Layout

The town runs east-to-west along the northeastern shore of Nubur Lake, with the remains of ancient roadways separating the two. A low earthen wall approximately one meter high topped with a two-meter wooden palisade (Hardness 5; HP: 20) encircles the northern half of Nubur, and steel-reinforced gates (Hardness 8; HP 90) bisect the coastal road at opposite sides of the town proper. An extensive network of warehouse piers and docks jut out into the lake, most of which are owned and operated by Derb Nigh caravans, or are municipal properties rented out to private interests. The walled portion of the settlement is roughly two kilometers long and about three-quarters of a kilometer wide; because of space constraints large trade caravans often set up shop just outside of town, usually very near one of the two gates.

A handful of small farms dot the landscape within line of sight of Nubur, rounding out the community. Roughly half of the population lives on and works the land outside of the town’s walls. Between its farms and fishermen, Nubur produces about three times as much food as it needs; a large warehouse of emergency stores is maintained as a matter of course, and the rest is sold or bartered with the rest of Derb Nigh or friendly neighboring communities.

Government

Nubur is governed by an elected council of three people (“the triad”) and a mayor appointed by the sultan. The mayor serves as the city’s chief executive as well as judiciary, though the latter role can be abdicated and deferred to the triad, who must hear and decide on all cases together.

For the past three years the mayor has been Faruq Alghanim, a cousin of the sultan and a figurehead content to leave the work of governing to his wife and in-laws, the Makenzees - who also happen to be the most prominent family in Nubur and who hold two of the three seats on the triad.

Unlike other settlements in the sultanate, non-human sentients are allowed inside the walls of Nubur and permitted to trade and barter without penalty.

Politics

     Archivists: Between the sultanate’s relationship with EDSEL and the pragmatic nature of the town’s inhabitants, Archivists are neither welcome nor legal in Nubur. Despite this, a small number are almost always skulking around the warehouses and trade posts looking for artifacts to steal and take back to hidden shrines outside of town.

     Bastion/Knights of Genetic Purity: Despite their largely human composition the people of Nubur don’t sympathize much with the views of the Knights of Genetic Purity camped-out on the other side of their lake. The People of the Book teach that all human beings are brothers and sisters, and there is little or no strife – and a lot of profitable business –conducted between true men, stock humans, and mutants in the sultanate.

The People of the Book also teach that moreaus are soulless are not entitled to the same basic rights and freedoms that “people” are. The Nurburs disagree as most moreaus – like all of Allah’s worthwhile children – usually have assets of some sort with which to trade or barter. Because the sultanate tolerates this heresy (for a cut of the profits), the Nubur believe life under the protection of the Sultan of Derb Nigh is preferable to the racist dominion of the Lords of Bastion, who would probably not be as flexible with their dogma about mutants. Consequently, Purists are outlawed here, as they are throughout the sultanate.

Representatives of Bastion and other foreigners who are members of this cryptic alliance are tolerated, however. They may travel and trade freely throughout Derb Nigh and the sultanate so long as they don’t proselytize or act on their racist ideology.

     Bonparr/Bonapartists: Moreaus and mutated animals aren’t accorded the same rights as humans and mutants under the law in Derb Nigh, and are an abomination according to the teachings of and beliefs of all but a fringe element of the People of the Book. This does not sit well with the Overlord of Bonparr, but given how few moreaus and mutated animals live within the sultanate there is little pretext for the Ranks of the Fit to try to do anything about it.

Nubur is an exception to the rest of the sultanate in that it allows moreaus and mutated animals within its walls and requires that all trade entered into with them be free and fair. Bonparr has seized on this policy by assigning Captain Gershwin, an overt canine moreau and his entirely human staff to Nubur on “special diplomatic assignment.” The leadership in Jospeen believes that this arrangement serves the twin purposes of keeping a line of communication open with the sultanate while thumbing its nose at its racist policies.

     Bort Yuron/Peace Brigade: The wooden palisade surrounding Nubur was only a meter high until three years ago, when Dug Makenzee – who is a member of the Peace Brigade and former member of Kefas Jagor’s original band of mercenaries – was elected to the triad. Makenzee is currently advocating that the wall be expanded to encompass more of Nubur’s immediate surroundings, but is facing stiff opposition from his cousin, Kaitlin.

Dug’s presence on the triad concerns the Sultan, who is not sure whether his ultimate loyalties lie with Nubur and Derb Nigh, or with Keefas Jagor and Bort Yuron.

     Brotherhood of Thought: As the only settlement in Derb Nigh that allows non-human sentients in, Nubur is home to a permanent cell of four members consisting of a married mutant/stock human couple, a katkin, and a shroom. The cell supports itself primarily through donations exchanged for “transcendental meditation experiences” with their shroom member, and is closely aligned with reformed members of the People of the Book in the community.

     Derb Nigh/People of the Book: Most of the residents of Nubur have no desire to be more tightly integrated into the sultanate than they already are, and there has always been disquiet about two generations of Makenzees wielding power through arranged marriages into the families of Derb Nigh’s elected leaders.

Another point of contention is the treatment of non-human sentients as second-class citizens within the sultanate in accordance with the traditional teachings of the People of the Book. While less racist than the Knights of Genetic Purity, the practice does not sit well with the Nuburs, as much for practical reasons (it’s bad for business) as philosophical ones (most Nuburs aren’t Merabs and don’t practice Merislam).

Nubur is a hotbed of activity for members of the reformed wing of the People of the Book; the largest farm outside of town is home to two dozen such believers, six of whom are moreaus! While this puts them at odds with the more traditional adherents of their beliefs, they despise the local Programmers every bit as much as their more conservative fellows.

     Created: It is believed that the created have no presence in Nubur.

     Followers of the Voice: In Derb Nigh, most Programmers are devotees of Isa and EDSEL, and are therefore from the reform wing of this cryptic alliance. They are tolerated but not particularly liked or trusted by anyone in Nubur, and are harassed and abused by the People of the Book whenever the latter group thinks they can get away with it.

Because EDSEL has shown its favor to Isa and his adherents, most Programmers are fanatical in their devotion and more than a little arrogant in their beliefs.

     Healers: The White Hand maintains a small, permanent clinic in Nubur that provides services in exchange for payment based on the patient’s means. Barter for drugs, medical technology, and information that leads to either is preferred to domars, and the Healers come by caravan to collect twice per year. The clinic is run by a particularly mercenary member of the alliance’s reform order who makes it a point to know everything she needs to about her patients to ensure maximum profitability.

     Iron Society: There is a great deal of sympathy for the Iron Society in Nubur, especially for its reform wing. Nevertheless, the alliance is outlawed, in large part because of the Knights of Genetic Purity garrisoned across the lake have made it clear they prefer things that way. Much like the Purists, foreign members of this alliance are free to travel throughout Nubur, so long as they don’t speak too loudly or act on their agenda.

     Radioactivists: Members of this group will sometimes attempt to trade, openly or clandestinely as appropriate, for radioactive materials and related technology with merchants and adventurers selling their wares in Nubur. Only trade in low-level radioactive materials is legal in the sultanate, so a Radioactivist presence in town is usually a clue that there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Economy


Nubur’s economy is based on food exports and, to a much greater extent, its role as a way station for Derb Nigh’s trade caravans and neighboring communities outside of the sultanate that don’t want to travel all the way to Derb Nigh proper to trade. Domars and writs are the preferred medium of transaction, though bartering under the trade unit (TU) rules per pp. 22 – 29 of d20 Apocalypse is commonplace (for ease of use, a TU should be considered the equivalent of 25 domars).

     GM’s Note: Nubur has been given the Windfall community feat to reflect its disproportionately wealthy and robust economy relative to its size.

     Writs: Large transactions occurring within the sultanate – including the annual tax assessment and tithe to the caliphate, as well as between the sultanate and other entities – are made with writs. These are contracts whose details are digitally encoded on special paper and/or data files that can only be created and processed by computer. Such writs are only available to the governments of Derb Nigh, other major powers (including many cryptic alliances), and very wealthy and/or prominent individuals. While writs themselves have little inherent value, the terms of the contracts they define are generally accepted – and honored – without question. Writs are great McGuffins, and the theft and/or recovery of one makes a great adventure hook.

Military


The sultanate maintains a small, rotating garrison of a dozen members of the blujahadin (police) in a semi-permanent encampment outside of Nubur. The town itself maintains an equally large militia, with an additional 24 trained and equipped able-bodied reservists. This protective force is rounded out by 3d6 private security officers representing various economic interests with warehouses in or near the town that are also present at any given time. While some of these groups may work at cross-purposes to one another, all would defend Nubur to protect their own interests should the settlement come under attack from an outside party.

Prominent NPCs

  • Lieutenant Gershwin (Charismatic Hero 3, Fast Hero 2): CR 5; Medium Humanoid (overt canine moreau)
  • Dug Makenzee (Dedicated Hero 2, Smart Hero 1): CR 3; Medium Humanoid (pure strain human)
  • Faruq Alghanim (Tough Ordinary 2, Charismatic Ordinary 2): CR 3; Medium Humanoid (stock human)
  • Kaitlin Makenzee-Alghanim (Smart Ordinary 2, Charismatic Ordinary 2): CR 3; Medium Humanoid (pure strain human*)