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Showing posts with label District. Show all posts
Showing posts with label District. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Prestige Class - Cult of the Vine (Unholy Drunks)

Cult of the Vine

Cult of the Vine is a low-level menace found in virtually every city on Nyssa and are especially active in the warmest parts of the domain. They believe intoxication is a divine state of being and most would prefer to be inebriated as often as they can. While not seen as a grave threat, many communities are torn apart by their celebrations. Their history and lack of culture makes other groups find them distasteful. Even worse they have significant connections with evil groups. Their presence does portend significant dangers.  Many lawful groups ban them but do not actively pursue them, trying to make it more difficult for them to meet or gain new members.

They exploit their members to gain abilities to temporarily boost their capacity to enable them to commit acts. Very few common members understand that this group has dark, twisted intentions as most just associate them with wild, fun communal events. Virtually everything they do is to sow mistrust and dissension so the cult and their allies can grow in their power.

Role: To share their love of excess, engage in fun activities and to watch for signs, then report what they see. Most times, it is meaningless, but these cultists always seem to be watching and preparing for a time to strike their foes down.

Alignment: Any non-lawful or good. They are chaotic by nature.

Hit Dice: D6

Requirements: To qualify to become a Vine Cultist  a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +1
Skills: Acrobatics 3 ranks and Perform 3 ranks or Knowledge (Religion) +2 and Knowledge (nature)

Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Beer or Winemaking) Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (Religion), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Attack and saving Throws as a rogue

Class Features: They gain no new weapons or armor

Cult of the Vine

1st: Hideous Laughter (1 + 1/cha bonus), Feat, +6 skill points
2nd: Drunken Rage 1/3 levels; Bonus to Poison Saves (+2), +3 skill points, Gain +2 to any ability score
3rd: Share Damage 1; Share a Drink Effect, +3 skill points, Feat
4th: Hideous Shaking, Debauchery 1/day, +3 skill points
5th: Share Damage 3;  +3 skill points, Gain +2 to any ability score, Bonus to Poison Saves (+5 to saving throws)
6th: Drunk Dance (1/day, ten round max);  Hideous Stare, +3 skill points, Feat
7th: Touch of Drunkenness, Debauchery 3/day, +3 skill points
8th: Share Damage 5; Immunity to mind-affects , +3 skill points, Gain +2 to any ability score
9th Share Damage 9;  +3 skill points, Feat, Immunity to Poison
10th: Debauchery 5/day, +10 skill points, Feat,, Gain +2 to any ability score

Hideous Laughter: Afflicts a subject with uncontrollable laughter as per the spell for 1+ 1/cha bonus rounds. Victim can save every round to avoid. DC 10+Caster Level+Cha Bonus

Drunken Rage: The same as a barbarian's rage, except they can only induce this if they are drinking. It takes one round to be in affect. They do not need to be actually drunk, but once they are in the drunken rage, they cannot exit it until combat is over. They collapse for two times the number of rounds spent in rage induced combat.

Share a Drink: This is a ritual that has long been utilized but rarely recognized unless it's too late. Anyone who shares a drink with a cult of the vine member, has a 24 hour reprieve from taking actions against that cult member, equivalent to a charm person spell. There is no saving throw against the effect though magic resistance is effective. At the end of the drink, the cult member usually announces the effect. If the cult member, leaves without making the announcement, then the effect is nullified. If the drinker leaves and they break the social protocol, or they are not otherwise coerced or tricked, the charm effect is still in place. This trick rarely works more than once, although it could work with another cult member.

Hideous Shaking: Afflicts the subject with uncontrollable shaking, causing victims to take -4 to their dexterity, checks and move at half speed. Victims can save every round to avoid. DC 10+Caster Level+Cha Bonus

Debauchery: Cult of the vine members can psyche themselves up to perform acts of vileness or danger. They can add +3 to any wisdom saving throw or  ability check if they can spend one round preparing themselves. They can hold this advanced save adjustment for the next situation that calls for that roll, but if an unavoidable situation happens, they will use that bonus even if its not what they intended. At 7th level they can gain a +4 to their wisdom save, at 10th level this increases to +5.

Drunk Dance: While looking drunk and awkward, they are incredibly focused on completing their tasks.  They gain +6 to dexterity skill checks and +2 to reflex saving throws.

Hideous Stare: afflicts the subject with an impenetrable and uncontrolled stare, doing nothing else for 4-6 rounds. Victim can save every round to avoid.  DC 10+lev+Cha Bonus

Touch of Drunkeness: Victims who are touched, immediately feel inebriated, they begin to sway, talk loudly and take -4 on dexterity or strength checks due to awkwardness, -2 on attacks, (stacks with dexterity loss). They can take one round to calm down taking no physical action, and they can make a saving throw to throw off the drunken effects. DC 10+lev+Cha Bonus

Gain Bonus to Poison Save: Cult of Poison members prepare themselves by building up a significant range of poisons they have build up resistances to. At 9th level assume they have immunity to any poison that has a DC 24 or under.

Share Damage:  Just as the crowd somehow seems to share mindful tactics, those involved in the cult of the vine divide damage among themselves. They pass along damage to other cult members that are within 20 feet, they can pass one point of damage every round that they take damage. They can do this automatically once every round as long as the recipient would not die or be incapacitated by this damage. At higher levels, they can share more damage, but no recipient can take more than 1 damage any round. For example, if they share 3 damage, none of those members would have been inflicted shared damage from a different cult member that round.

Shared Damage 1 Range: 20 ft
Shared Damage 3 Range: 25 ft
Shared Damage 5 Range: 30 ft
Shared Damage 9 Range: 50 ft

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Bish - Nation in the Southlands


Everyone on Nyssa has heard the ancient tales of Hembria - the infamous wizard nation that most people believe started the great winter. Virtually all peoples of the domain fell under their shadows long ago... but not all. A few outpost nations remained free of the tyranny and out of these renegades, and out of these, only one still stands, Bishollo - the people of the falls live on.

West of the old south, southeast of the Ferrensil Forest stands this ancient land. Starting at the Great Bish Falls - it's temperate forest and gentle surging rivers expand and cross the whole sub-continent. Dire animals are the greatest threats spoken of here, and no dragon or other great beast stalks the land, even Rowena’s minions are rare in this realm, the standard undead types are found but none of the powerful ice variety. There is only one city Vromel, and civilized territories owe fealty to the ruling Prince.

How and why these people are protected from the cold is the basis of their culture and way of life, the Codex. From the onset of civilization people all over Nyssa have argued over who the gods were and how best to represent them. The obelisk is a universal Nyssian symbol of faith. In all other locations each religion has their own obelisk a free standing monument to the one ideal, usually to a specific divinity. Not so in Bishollo, here the gods are not seen as distinct but always a unity. The idea of many obelisks is foreign to these people, just all gods sit at one heavenly table people worship at the one obelisk, and this is the mile high Codex. This is the core of all Bish peoples and races, their faith, and their protection from the cold.

The Bish share most of the views on the magical frequency but here they call it the Surge. Anywhere else on Nyssa, the frequency emerges somewhat randomly, spreading out like mild ripples of energy and colours without form. In Bish, because mana emanates outward from the one obelisk, there is a continual gush, as a bright colourful wave, repeating several well-known patterns, dispersing mana to the mortal world. Near the Codex the strongest known magical energies in the domain exists, and at certain times spells can be cast with spectacular results. This ever-circling aura is so overpowering that many clerics spend their entire lives in Vromel, at one of the many temples that reside around the Codex.

Proximity to the surge has many other consequences, because the surge comes from the gods, anyone of piety with enough worship, prayer, sacrifice or devotion, can cast a spell at least once in their lifetime. These free magic’s are a thing of wonder and many people await their whole lives before approaching the codex and asking for a "favor" or spell. But just because one asks, doesn't necessarily mean that the favor asked is the one requested, nor even if one may be given at that time. Often those who just lost a parent or lover will come asking for fates to be reversed, only to find no deity is listening to their prayer. Others have their wish granted, not just once, but many times, who or how these spells are granted are beyond a mortal to decipher.

Another affect of the Codex is the closeness of the faiths. All of the gods have open, non-walled temples, facing the obelisk and in the path of the surge. This means that they can all cast enhanced spells at their temples, but because their traditional enemies can as well, magic is not seen as a destructive force, merely one that gives aid and succor. The light and dark here are more of competitors, and few priests dare use force or violence in their contests with the other followers of the gods. This unity has created a great upheaval in the political power the clerics wield. They control Vromel's army, bureaucracy, major guilds, educational facilities and most importantly the monarchy. They manage the city and do so to benefit themselves, the ruling theocracy. Openly, it does not matter which god you worship, as long as you are able to summon priestly might. Secretly, however, wars of favor are still played out by some "holy" and "unholy" men for positions of prestige.

In all of their secretive campaigns, one foe remains true, wizards remain anathema - enemies of the state, purged, at all costs. No spell tower (the traditional Nyssian method if wizardly education) has arisen in Bishollo in over three thousand years, and public executions are still permitted when one is caught casting an arcane spell. The reason for their mistrust is the same as everywhere else - the Great Winter. It came here, catching everyone unaware, and plunging the land into a long deadly winter, but here the ice retreated back past the mountains, never to re-appear. However, their mistrust has not abated, these people view arcane magic as perverted magic and sinful, and if they do not try to destroy wizards outright, they will certainly thumb their noses at the individual, or alert the Standing Knights. Wizards from the outside world are usually arrested upon arrival, thrown in jail and subjected to torture.

Sorcerers do not fall prey to the same mistrust, for while wizards must deliberately choose the arcane arts, sometimes individuals are blessed with a natural aptitude and this is not to be shunned, rather it's to be celebrated. There is always some hesitation at first, did the individual seek out the magic or otherwise attempt to steal it from the gods, spell casters must go through an arduous process if they wish to reveal their unique abilities as sorcerous. The most celebrated sorcerers are who manifested their powers as infants and teens because they are too young to have studies the magical arts, it is always assumed that these individuals are authentic and are not subject to the same scrutiny as their elderly compatriots. There are many folk tales of sorcerer-heroes, given their power from the gods, come to save the people during great crisis. Most often the hero has red hair and from a barbarian tribe.

The priests may control the city, but warriors maintain peace in the hinterlands. Rangers, paladins and even barbarians are tremendously important in the regions and towns, and except for a wondering monk, few preacher-like types are rarely seen. In fact, there is little magic outside of Vromel, and few divine spellcasters ever bother to go adventuring. This creates a huge problem for the outlanders, for while powerful magics can be cast in the city; outside they are left defenseless to creatures that cast spells. It is due to the loyalty of the people that they work together to end these threats.

None of the “popular” races are enemies with each other, but some like or dislike each other more than the others, and of course, there are always those who are hated even by their own kind. Humans, who call themselves the Bishine, are the most dominant divine spell-casters and merchants, and they rule their six provinces from the capital, Vromel. Conflicts between the provinces are outlawed, but flare-ups sometimes occur for lucrative property (especially mines and the rune forests) between local Lords. Officially, all owe fealty and their taxes to the Prince of the City – but most Princes do not attempt to enforce taxes on any province except for Pron – the Prime. Four other confederate nations exist on the Bish peninsula; all are organized along racial lines. While all of them are considered allied nations, each of them (non-officially at least) realize that Vromel rules all, and go out of their way not to antagonize the military masters of the realm, as the humans have invaded the smaller nations to eliminate a perceived threat.

And, for all their "unity" there is a great deal of threats to Bishollo. While dire animals are the worst known to the commoner there are far greater secrets known to the royal hunters and knights. The bleak-lands, the northern-most region, has for thousands of years been covered gray-black stone is emerging from the bowels of the earth, which destroys all plant-life. The Bish have lived their entire history near the aside this barren land, as it acted just as much as a protector as a threat. Recently, the bleak-lands have begun to expand, and many strange chaotic beasts capable of performing terrible spells or brute acts of force are appearing. It has taken the army some time to determine what they have known now, and the theocracy knows nothing of the approaching danger. While some of the citizens are aware of what is happening, few consider it a threat as the Knights and the Codex have long protected them, and most feel confidently that they will continue to do so.

Animals: Boars, Shard-Birds, Shard-Bullettes, Kazurn hounds,
Steeds: Horses, Hederaks, Griffons
Races: Human, Jivine Elf, Ubine Dwarves, Tenderfeet (Halflings), Gnoll, Quillian, Kinzarri (Phaeton), and Lizardith
Enemies: Ogres, Shard-beasts, Prism, Cult of the Vine, Cult of the Gorgon, Gobbers, Kenku, Hand of the Shadows

Ubine: The Bish Dwarves reside in the south, throughout the Thunderlands and the Therrik Mantle. They are a rich race with connections to many other races and groups in the peninsula. They have a healthy mercantile tradition, and readily use the cat-kin and Oromian merchants that come to them for trade. In times past, the dwarves were more ready to take to the caravan, but this has steadily decreased over the last hundred years.

The noble families, Axe, Shield, Stone & Barrel speak, and vote as a single voice, and this block is one of the first the Imperial League attempt to sway in military matters. They usually double the numbers required by the Treaty for the Border Patrols. The Shield family which is the strongest block does not elect non-Shield representatives to the speaker position, Other clans can beseech this dominant one, and is tradition for the Shield to respect the requests by the other dwarves.

Jivine: The Bish elves are perhaps the longest continuing inhabitants of the Bish peninsula, as their monuments from the past dot the landscape. However, out of all the major races, they are rarely away from the Jesh, their forest homeland in the northwest. While some sages claim that their numbers have dropped in the last two hundred years, the elves do not divulge the truth. They show their loyalty to the Senatas in the means dictated by the Treaty, but they steadfastly refuse to allow anyone inside the forest. Bish Elves are wild elves, which have druid, ranger, rogue and sorcerer as their preferred classes. Their Vilne emeralds are considered the best spell-gems in the world, and they equip their heroes and sell them to their allies. They do not send representatives to the Senatas, unless requested for a specific vote, but they never raise objections either as long as their territory is respected. Once they tried to change attitudes on magic, but they don't speak up about it anymore. Their noble families are called Root, Fey and Vilne (green emerald).

Kinzarri: Are land bound, city dwelling phaetox, clustered to the Bish penisula. There are a few small cloud isles in the Bish, so they never developed a separate culture and distinction that their Phaeton cousins developed elsewhere. Heavily religious, they still follow the Phoenix, but they also have faith in other gods and powers. Most are loyal citizens who work in many types of craft businesses. The non warriors fly but usually only do so at sunrise or sunset, as they are unable to alight their flame wings for very long. The warrior caste has more authority, but those who have reached Status are rarely in the city, as they are busy on missions for the nation.They are very strict adherents of the culture they live within, the very last to upset their neighbours. The flame and wing are the two noble families.

Lizardith: An outsider culture and race that has not fully integrated with others, and while they are mistrusted they have proven their value over and over again. They have a culture, education and belief system is very different, Found in a few underground caverns, they are keen in studying peoples, faiths and magic. Many temples in Vromel have a few lizardith acolytes studying there. Monk, Cleric, Ranger and Rogue are their preferred classes, but for many of the tribal brutes, they only want to gain levels as barbarians. They do not recognize nobility, they select their four members by electing counselors to vote on political matters.


Annash: Gardens that spontaneously arise whose harvest is magically enhanced, similar to potions
Battery: places, usually caves, where Iron-hearted are located until called upon to serve in battle
Bish: The subcontinent; anything from here is Bishollo
Bleaklands: dead lands, that are a border to the outside world and a home to many evil creatures
Blessing: Ability to cast a spell or a wish granted by the surge when at the Codex
Circle: Druidic cult that attempts to create nature sanctuaries and protect animals
Code: The list of laws and traditions that knights follow
Codex: Mile high obelisk located in Vromel
Cult of the Vine: cults that cause wild drunken orgies that sometimes cause great destruction.
Curse: Lycanthropy, it is punishable by death; sometimes known as Curse of the Moon
Dral: Good aligned, black-skinned elves, tremendously respected by the Bish
Fentorrik: An Iron-Hearted warrior that once commanded an army that destroyed Vromel
Ferric: Iron Mines in the eastern province well infested with gobbers
Gray: creatures that come from the bleaklands
Gromwell: Canyon homeland of the gnomes, this individual believed to be a legend
Hands: Members of the faithful
Handmaidens: term for priestesses of Quanna
Hunters: Rangers given permission by the crown to hunt in the preserves
Iron Hearted: War forged, created for war. Hundreds sleep ready to be awakened for service.
Jesh: The “Sleeping Forest” of the Jivine elves in the north
Knights: Well-respected cavaliers that serve various groups, some are Paladins
Legion: Elite warriors that continually patrol the bleak borderlands
Mandorrian: Waring nation across the eastern sea, often act as mercenaries
Muse: a fey being that inhabits the body for a brief time for an artistic performance. “Calling for a muse” is a dangerous thing, as the results are unpredictable at best.
Oasis of Thought: Little known monasteries that promote unarmed combat
Order: the title of the noble families that rule Bish, Order of the Green, Order of the Feather, etc
Oromians: Bearded merchants across the eastern sea that also control jammers (flying ships)
Patriarch: Leader of the council of churches; only the Prince holds more political power
Rage: A drug that causes bloodthirsty madness
Red Haired: Spellcaster or more specifically a sorcerer
Rez’l: titanspawn, a powerful lich hundreds of years ago that seized control of the iron forged
Rowena: Goddess of the undead, colloquially known as the Ice Bitch
Rune Forests: forests that contain magically enhanced wood used, spontaneously develop
Scarlet: Knights that directly serve the Prince of Vromel
Senatas: The ruling body, where the noble families meet to rule
Shadowy Hand: Group of cultists that kill good aligned clerics and paladins
Shard Mage: Outcasts sorcerers who travel to the bleaklands to gain power at a tremendous cost
Silver Claws: Group of good aligned gnolls that help to protect roadside shrines
Standing Knight: Knights who help protect the nation from wizards and outsiders
Surge: Magical energy, sometimes known as mana or the frequency
Thunderlands: Volcanic territory controlled by the Ubine Dwarves
Titan: heretics that actively attempt to destroy obelisks and kill anyone that serves the gods
Titanspawn: created creatures that serve the Titans, or, mortal followers of the Titans
Teeth or Tooth: Slang for rouges and thieves.
Treaty: The agreement that forged Vromel as the capital, it sees each province and neighbouring nation pay tax as well as soldiers to help keep the border peace
Trueborn: creatures born without a hint of stain or impurity
Vilne: Emerald spell-stones
Vromel: The capital city near the center of the nation

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

District - Sea of Stones

One of my districts that I have used in many games.

Sea of Stones

An area in the South East naturally protected from the cold, containing the only known large body of unfrozen water. A tropical temperature dominates with jungle environments found on many small islands that dot the region. It is also the last living vestige of the Hembrian Empire, the people blamed for bringing the Great Winter to the land. Those who live here best exemplify the ancient traditions, both good and bad, of the lost people.

Two main nations exist, Tharon & Lazell, each represent an extreme opposite outlook. Lazell is ruled by a mix of clerics and knights, voted into power by all of the citizenry. Isolated to one island, they represent an ideal as they are the only known location that has a compliant dragon population to help keep them safe. They do not accept an influx of refugees or visitors, only those of noble heritage or those of extreme wealth are permitted to reside here, outside of their citizens. 

The strongest nation, certainly in terms of size and population is Tharon, a human empire ruled by wizards, according to the ancient Hembrian customs. Everyone in Tharon society belongs to a caste; wizards are on top, followed by knights, priests, nobility, soldiers, guild-men and serfs. Each has a distinct set of responsibilities, but only the male wizards truly have power. Most bureaucracies in Tharon are determined by local counsel, and controlled by a family clan or house. Both the clan and bureaucrats keep these lucrative positions for as long as they prove successful.

The eldest male wizard has complete control of their noble house if they can manage it. If they cannot, family members may kill them without political or criminal consequence. Family issues are considered an in-house problem, and only failure of duty brings official prosecution. In fact, the eldest son is required by tradition to kill their fathers to grab the ring of power. The fathers do not resent them for trying, only for failing to do so. It is a weird power game that most non-Tharons fail to grasp. Fratricide is common, as positions within the family are also fought for as is the political connections for specific bureaucracies. Women, as a general rule are outside the political arena, thus, they are not prey to the same kind of machinations. However, once women throw their hat into the ring, they are fair game. Most women do not however play these games, many prefer to work behind the scenes to get wealthy rather than for pure power. Others try to gain power by getting involved in the church of Keran.

Beyond this, while other Tharon nobles cannot directly use force to gain new positions, there is much bloodshed and sponsored violence to eliminate other threats and failures. Those playing this game must be careful, for while murder in the family is ignored, between houses it is not; and failure is punished on both the individual and the house.

On a wider scale, there are seventeen districts each ruled by a Lord, and each has complete authority in their region. While district competition is rife violence is frowned upon the High Counsel. Each Lord has the requirement to attend the High Counsel at least three times a year where regional disputes are settled. They elect a High Lord, who essentially acts as a judge between the regions, and has direct taxation powers. The High Lord has, in theory, complete authority but there have been times when these kings have been silently replaced if they fail to act in the best interest of the Tharon people. Of course, those who try with a coup must make sure they are successful, as those who fail lose more than their power.

Knights fall under the auspices of the local houses, while not officially the power-arm of the nobility they are often treated as such. There are three kinds of knights; lesser nobles who fail magical training, guild-sponsored knights who serve a specific purpose for a special group, and lastly, military knights who arose from successful service in the military to be awarded their positions. All three types are in a given bureaucracy and serve their masters with great autonomy. Violence between knights is forbidden. The only way to grow beyond this position is through valuable service.

Priests are next on the line of power, but they serve a very limited function of succor, aid and advice. While in previous times, the priesthood could also serve as nobles, this was taken away as too many Keranic priests used their position to serve the church before the needs of the nation. With this being said, most family members do try to sponsor a few clerics in addition to their wizards, as it is useful for the house armies to access the healing and prophecy capacities. Most families tend to worship two or three of the powers, and make sure that some of their family members are in the hierarchies of these groups. Women, in particular are asked to serve and almost 65 % of all clerics are priestess. Often the youngest sisters of powerful older brothers in line for the knife…or ready to backstab the father are asked to serve. Sometimes, however, these priestess’ realize the futility of the entire Tharon power structure, and turn away from their family and their role, which is an utter disgrace to the house. Another role the priests serve, especially the lawful ones of Casna, Zalia, and Keran is to act as judges between houses in times when the local lord does not have to get involved.

Next are the noblemen and women - most serve charities or non-military functions. This is probably the most ignored and safest positions, as there is very little violence for those who don't seek power. Left alone, they help guide the nation in their quiet ways. They are always encouraging trade and communication between both the island districts and various races. They are one of the few groups that can hire independent soldiers, body guards and bounty hunters as long as things are recorded in the bureaucratic towers. They are one of the few groups to have strong non-family connections, so knight, wizard, priest and guild-man all have a few nobles as comrades, ready to bribe to sway things their way.

Soldiers and guild-men are next, and these form the bulk of the lower classes. They do every role except for farmer, which is usually reserved for tenderfoot slaves. Guild-men in particular while having no significant rights do have great chance for wealth if they are cunning or just lucky. Commerce is open in Tharon, and while they can not compete with a Noble House directly, what often happens is that two or three Houses tear each other apart (either literally or just in business) while the lower guild-men come up through the middle, having a fine business in dealing with the non-nobleman. Business is cut-throat and many guilders like it this way, as Nobles are just as busy with politics to realize what is going on. An even more so, due to the strict Tharon laws, many items are expensive and there are vast amounts of crowns (gold coins) to be made with smuggling.

Soldiers serve either in a bureaucracy or serve as part of a house’s standing army. Their lot is cruel; they get paid little and asked to risk their life constantly. Many flee, and willing to risk their lives among the pirates and monsters of the seas as sailors, than serve in a death march. For those who survive, the chance of becoming a knight with a lower house and all the privileges awaits.

At the bottom of the soldiers are two forms of scum: sailors and slaves. Sailors are treated as miscreants in Tharon, there to serve on the waters and be tucked away in the worst areas of the cities. They risk their lives every time they go to sea. Their pay is significant, but then again it has to be to get anyone in the open water. When they are on land, they live to drink and whore and waste their lives with jube and crake…and then when out of coin, to go back to the sea. This is actually the only half way decent life an elf can make officially in Tharon; usually they are killed when coming into the Common. But this is also a great way for criminals and escaped slaves to make a living.

Below even sailors, are slaves, or better put anyone other than human, dwarf or Minotaur. Tharon are slavers and do not give these non-humans full rights. Tenderfeet have an open bounty for capture. Elves are usually killed on sight, unless they are under a sea captain. Anyone else, they are usually captured, imprisoned and if they are not found to have a useful skill, are put to work in the fields. This is their life, unless they can escape.

Dwarves are the only race to have full rights within Tharon, and one of the reasons is that Tharon need the political and commerce connections that many Dwarven nations can provide. They are seen as guilders without guild, and do not need papers to walk freely in the cities. Many cities in fact have Dwarven ghettos, or the largest, actual embassies. Dwarven knights and mercenaries, while having no place under Tharon law, flourish for the same reason as guildmen - they can be trusted to do their job, and not betray their employer for wealth or prestige.. 

Minotaurs were the only significant threat the Tharon Empire ever faced. (Lazell is a political & philosophical enemy, while they may have fought skirmishes, they have never been at war.) However, more than five hundred years ago, after a millennium of war the Tharons finally won. They respected the Minotaurs for their strength and battle prowess, and rather than reducing them to mere slaves, they created a place for these hulks in their society. As spell-less creatures, Minotaurs serve a unique role for the nobles, body guards, without the usual fear of magical reprisals. Those who grow to maturity serve the nobles directly for significant pay. 

Taxes: Paid once a ten-day, depending upon role. Reasonable rates; most pay with service not coin
Prostitution: Officially sanctioned; much cheaper and non-reported in port areas
Weapons: Soldiers and knights only. Sell-swords only with a mark of standing.
Jube and other drugs: officially banned, but readily available in port areas
Magic Items: officially banned, many are readily available
Necromancy: banned, ruthlessly enforced by Jackalla who also hunt undead
Slavery: Any non-Tharon human or dwarf; without a Mark of Freedom, can be seized for service 
Thievery: Imprisonment or loss of rights.
Psionics: Banned and imprisoned/killed on sight
Wizard Spells: Rigidly controlled. Non-Tharon Nobles will be arrested on sight.
Clerical Spells: Taxed 300% at any obelisk or Temple
Sorcerer Spells: Treated the same as clerical spells
Gambling: Open; but no official guilds
Duels: Only soldiers, knights, men of standing and nobles. Note it is illegal for a non-noble to duel a noble unless it is sanctioned during Sword Day. This is the only way to legally kill a noble.

Style: The Sea of Stones is reminiscent of the Greek islands during the days when their city states ruled the Mediterranean. In terms of the military, nothing comes close to threatening their rule; while the green elves, giants, and lizardith harass the fringes, they are insignificant challenges to Tharon dominance of the region.

The greatest danger nobleman face is internal, as the rich and powerful outwit each other for wealth and favor. While there are many laws that prevent virtually any danger or vice, corruption is rampant, many cities have marketplaces set up to cater to the needs and whims of the criminal element. Assassins, poison, black magic, and even marks of authority or nobility are available without too much effort. Nobody acknowledges what lurks beneath the veneer of Tharon society.

Officially, adventurers exist to protect the borders, but many make their living by facing each other in the alleyways at night, sneaking into their rival houses, sabotaging trade or even planting evidence of betrayal. For those that can play the game, there is much profit to be made. The two side activities are pirating and adventuring in the desert Pharonic lands where there seems to be an endless supply of riches to find. Nobles lead in both of these activities, sometimes publicly but most often quietly. Virtually every noble house has at least one pirate ship, and they attack their rivals, especially traders in other districts. As long as cities are safe, and are not invaded, the royal houses allow the petty nobles to play their games.

Coin is not the most important tenet of Tharon society, but it is critical. Nobility understand that wealth is a means of showing and acquiring power. Territorial gain is exceedingly limited, as to the south the phastian desert lies, to the north and east – the wasteland, and to the west, the Endless Sea itself. So, those who provide tribute, are the ones who keep the favor of the royalty.