Kingdom of Geilem
Geilem is a small trading nation on the outer continent of Fallen Sun. It is centred around the River of Geil, a slightly meandering waterway that brings life to the surrounding area. Its capital is the great citadel of Ok-Tom-Bo, a square adobe structure slightly elevated above a great plain, right on the edge of the desert, where the river starts. It is surrounded by an ever changing tent city of merchants and suppliants. The economy is largely agrarian, but the kingdom also controls valuable salt mines and dyes. The coastal area supports many thriving fishing villages. Slavery is outlawed although the capture and sale of Geilemites to other kingdoms still goes on. Geilem is one of the first of the Outer Continent nations to have contact with the Merchant's League, and there is a small League House in Ok-Tom-Bo.
The people are dark-skinned and the poorest wear simple loin cloths and sarongs, the richer classes wear vividly coloured caftans and robes, the women wear turbans and the men wear embroidered kofia hats. Carved wooden or bone beads and shells are used for decoration and jewellery. The very rich wear uncut gems and some gold. Traditional weaponry include broad-bladed spears, for throwing and hand-to-hand combat, and broad-bladed chopping swords with toughened animal hide shields. They also use chariots for war and transport of important persons.
At Ok-tom-Bo the king is surrounded by poets, priests, scholars and magicians and it is a famous place of learning. The Geilemite religion is an offshoot of the a'Keshamite worship of the All-Seeing One, where they believe that Geil was a prophet of the All-Seeing One sent to lead his people to freedom and his teachings have been gathered together into the Book of Truth.
The Story of Geil
Geil was the founder, and first sorcerer-king, of Geilem. He was born a slave to one of the great kings of the a'Keshamites far across the desert. One day he was preparing a platter of rare fruits for the king and he was very sad, feeling the burdens of slavery. As he chose the choicest fruits for the platter he sang an old slave song, softly to himself. When he presented the platter to the king, although they looked perfect the fruits were actually over-ripe and beginning to rot. Angrily the king threw the platter out of his window and sent Geil to the market place below to join the slaves repairing walls; hard work in the hot sun. As Geil worked he saw some beggars gather around the spilled fruit and pick over the remains; they were very hungry and even this meagre bounty was welcome. Geil was happy that despite his punishment a little good would come of it and he began to sing again, a glad song to lighten his fellows' hearts and help them work. As he sang the beggars began to exclaim, for the rotten fruit was becoming firm and edible again and they filled their bellies. The great king had been looking down from his balcony, enjoying watching his slave struggle with the heavy work. He was amazed at what was happening to the fruit and as he watched Geil and the slaves they began to change. As they sang the song Geil had taught them, instead of bowed backs and weary faces they walked straighter and lifted the bricks with ease. Stupefied, the king watched the slaves all day until they had finished all the work set for them, and more.
At first the King was scared that such power could be used against him. He had Geil brought before him and questioned him long into the night, but he was amazed at Geil's wisdom. He had built a beautiful palace for Geil and gave him beautiful objects, many wives, the best food and drink, but Geil could never leave the palace. The King would visit him with his problems and Geil would offer sage advice, they became great friends and the King became a great ruler of a mighty empire. At last on the great king's deathbed, he called for Geil to be brought before him and granted him and his family, all his wives and children, freedom. So Geil left the kingdom of the a'Keshamites quickly, for he knew that the king's heir would make him a slave again and use him to further his own ambitions. They carried nothing with them and headed out into the desert. When they needed food and water Geil would sing and they would appear, when they were attacked by wild animals Geil would sing them to sleep, when powerful djinn threatened them, Geil would sing a song to imprison them until his children had passed. Geil had been an old man when they first started their journey and eventually his strength left him. As he lay dying he taught his children a new song of hope and plenty and homecoming. And as they all sang he began to dig a small hole and water gushed out until a great river was formed that lead to the sea, the River of Geil. And his children settled in this new land and prospered.
All descendants of Geil have this power of magic-song to a greater or lesser degree. Song is how the Geilemites conjure spells but is also very popular just for entertainment. Even if they are singing a song for its own sake it can have spontaneous magical results, for instance a particularly good song might suddenly create a flock of tiny colourful birds, while an off-key note or discordant song might produce a bad smell.
The Kingdom of Geilem serves as a gentle introduction to the Outer Continent, a place where the people are relatively friendly, with a cosmopolitan river-port city and easy access to adventure in the hinterlands. One advantage of Ok-Tom-Bo for adventurers is that travellers from across Fallen Sun come here. One can meet ura, dromads, malameks, Imbata and many other folk without having to travel far.
The song magic of the Geilem people can be modelled in several ways.
Any or all of these options could be used to give a mix of different styles of song magic.
- The obvious way is using the Bard class and related prestige classes. This is certainly a workable method, but it does have a predisposition to a certain kind of rootless, roguish character even if variants are used.
- A simple alternative is to allow characters to swap their bonus human skill point for the use of a 0th level spell as a spell-like ability. This can be used once per day per point of Charisma bonus (or once per week if there is no bonus), and requires a Perform (sing) check DC 10 to successfully cast. Failed attempts do not count against the daily usage. This allows Geilemite characters to use a little bit of song magic without committing to a dedicated pathway, and suggests someone distantly related to the royal bloodline.
- Another simple alternative is that, as hinted by the Story of Geil above, a particularly good or bad song will produce some minor magical effect. If a Geilemite (or perhaps anyone singing whilst in the Kingdom of Geil) rolls a natural 1 or natural 20 in a Perform (singing) check, then some magical effect akin to a prestidigitation spell occurs spontaneously; pleasant on a roll of 20, unpleasant on a roll of 1.
- Another alternative is to offer a feat:
Song Mage [Metamagic].
Prerequisites: able to cast arcane spells, casting ability score (Int or Cha) of 15 or more.
Benefits: An arcane caster with this feat may use song to cast a spell. To successfully do so she must make a Perform (song) check of DC 15 + spell level. If successful, the spell is cast with a verbal component only (and so this feat cannot be performed in areas of magical silence or under other conditions that prevent the caster from singing). If the spell requires experience points or a costly component these are still required. If the Perform check fails, the spellcaster does not lose a daily use of that spell. Spells cast in this fashion take longer to cast, however. A spell that normally requires a standard action instead takes one round, spells taking one round to cast take two, and so on.
This represents a magician character who has either made a study of song magic (Wizard) or for whom the ability comes naturally (Sorcerer or Bard).
Ok-Tom-Bo Street Rat
Female Human Exp4: CR 3; Medium Humanoid (human); AL N
Abilities Str 8 (-1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 9 (-1), Int 13 (+1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 12 (+1)
Initiative +1; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 11 (+1 Dex) touch 11, flat-footed 10
Saves Fortitude +0, Reflex +4, Will +4
Hit Dice 4d6-4; hit points 10
Base Attack/Grapple +3/+2
Melee Club +2 (1d6-1)
Ranged Sling +4 (1d4, 50 ft.)
Special Attacks Spell-like Abilities
Special Qualities None
Skills Bluff +7, Gather Information +8, Hide +8, Knowledge (local) +10, Listen +3, Perform (sing) +5, Move Silently +7, Sleight of Hand +5, Spot +3
Feats Lightning Reflexes, Run, Streetwise*
Languages a'Kesh, Low Imperial, Imbatan
Possessions Linen clothes, sling
Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day - guidance. Must make Perform (sing) DC 10 to cast.
Streetwise feat: +2 to Knowledge (local) and Gather Information.
Mpe is a young girl born and raised on the streets, who uses her wits and her charisma to make her way through life. She has narrowly avoided being caught by low-life figures who would sell her into prostitution and as a result hides her singing ability (a prized attribute) and neglects her appearance.
She is available as a semi-reliable guide to the city for kind-hearted (gullible) foreigners, and as she works independently from the criminal gangs she is unlikely to direct characters towards others who will scam or rob them. Her plight at the hands of the pimps of Ok-Tom-Bo may inspire noble adventurers to protect her, and the fact that she has a slight ability with song magic suggests that despite her poverty she is at least vaguely related to royalty and may turn out to be a lost princess or similar melodramatic outcome. She uses the second song magic variant given above.
Male Human Rng5: CR 5; Medium Humanoid (human); AL N
Abilities Str 11 (+0), Dex 15 (+2), Con 12 (+1), Int 13 (+1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 8 (-1)
Initiative +1; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 13 (+1 Dex, +2 armour) touch 11, flat-footed 12
Saves Fortitude +5, Reflex +5, Will +3
Hit Dice 5d8+5; hit points 27
Base Attack/Grapple +5/+5
Melee +1 Spear +6 (1d8+1, crit. x3)
Melee Dagger +5 (1d4, crit. 19-20)
Ranged Longbow +7 (1d8, crit. x3, 100 ft.)
Ranged +1 Spear +8 (1d8+1, crit. x3, 20 ft.)
Ranged Dagger +7 (1d4, crit. 19-20, 10 ft.)
Ranged Bolas +7 (1d4 nonlethal, 10 ft.)
Special Attacks Combat style (archery)
Special Qualities favoured environment (warm desert +4, plains +2), wild empathy +4
Skills Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (history) +5, Knowledge (nature) +8, Hide +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +9, Search +9, Spot +8, Survival +9
Feats Combat Expertise, Endurance*, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bolas)*, Improved Trip, Rapid Shot*, Track*
Languages a'Kesh, Dromad, Imbatan, Low Imperial
Possessions +1 spear, leather armour, dagger, longbow, 20 arrows, bolas, firemaker, waterskins, bedroll.
Spells per Day: 1
Spells Typically Prepared:
1st level (Save DC 14) - hide from animals.
Favoured Terrain: Gain bonus to Hide, Knowledge (nature), Listen, Move Silently, Spot and Survival checks when in favaoured terrain.
Okibwe is a tracker for hire, knowledgeable in the ways of the desert, the coastal plains, and the people who live there. He is a stereotypical outdoorsman; laconic, self-sufficient and judging people on how they cope in the wilderness, and comes from a long lines of Zandis, all of whom were desert trackers. He takes a professional pride in bringing back anyone who hires him safe and sound; dead or missing clients are a bad reputation for a tracker-for-hire. Okibwe likes stories around the fire at night, and is a good source of historical tales and legends.
(c) 2010 The Creative Conclave.
The All Seeing One
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