Khazan Descriptive Essay 1989

I am aware that my thinking changes over time. It mutates and things now are not the same as they were then. While going through papers to send off to Tim Hutchings for his university collection of game designer materials, I found this old essay about Khazan. It was in with a bunch of old stuff that I did for a play-by-mail T & T campaign in 1981 for my TnT fanzine, but it is 8 years later. On first glance it appears to be part of the same stuff, but that’s not true.  Pay attention, Ken! This is how history gets distorted–unexamined assumptions that are flat-out wrong.

And there is a lot of difference between what you find here, and what your will find in Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls.  As I said: THINGS CHANGE.

I am retyping instead of scanning this, and will clean up  any obvious errors that were in the original, but word usage and content will be exactly the same as I intended it to be way back then.

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Khazan

04/18/89

Overview

Overview of Khazan

by Ken St. Andre

Khazan lies in the Dragon’s Jaws at the easternmost point of the great inland sea known as the Dragon’s Maw in the northern regions of Rhalph, the great dragon-shaped continent where most T & T adventures take place. It is named after the great wizard Khazan, he who sleeps eternally on an island marooned outside of time. In 666 A.K. Khazan, both wizard and city, fell to the monstrous armies of Lerotra’hh and Khara Khang, thus beginning an Age of Darkness that still hasn’t ended, though the year is now 1289 A.K.

The Empire of Khazan includes all the cities around the Dragon’s Maw as well as mny others in the Dragon’s Head and Breast, reaching as far south as Khosht, and as far east as Tharothar. Along the southern edge of the Empire lie many small city-states such as Knor and Gull, which are sometimes part of the Empire, and other times not.

The Death Goddess, Lerotra’hh, is the titular ruler of the Empire, and does in fact have the power of life and death over every creature within it. However, she has little interest in the mechanics of rule, and leaves the details to her consort and servant, Khara Khang, while she spends her time staging endless battles in the Arena. It is also rumored that she sometimes puts on mortal guise and goes adventuring for years at a time. She is certainly not your common empress.

The many cities of the Empire are governed by numerous Satraps, Dukes, Councils, Oligarchs, and So Forth. Some of them have been appointed by Khara Khang. Others rose to command by their own efforts. Lerotra’hh and Khara Khang virtually ignore them as long as the taxes and tributes are paid on time. Should these revenues fail for any reason, a Death Horde composed of Orcs, Trolls, Dragns, and other Monsters appears and either replaces the ruler, or destroys the offending city. The lost Dwarven capital of Hael’ku was so annihilated in 877 A.K. The local rulers have the power of kings so long as the tribute is paid, and none has dared challenge Khazan for over two centuries.

There are many different races within the Empire. Most numerous are the Men who were the original inhabitants of the Empire. Also common are Orcs, Dwarves, and Elves. The different peoples can interbreed with the help of magic, though it is rare for them to do so. Less common, but not rare, are the Trolls, Ogres, Mer-folk, Lizardmen, Leprechauns, Hobbits, and Fairies. Very rare are the Giants, Dragons, Shoggoths, and other stronger creatures.

Although the general rule is tyranny and a casual horror hard to imagine in our own over-civilized world, there are forces for Good at work in the land. Free Elves still roam the vast forests of Rhalph, while the mountains are honeycombed with the tunnels of Dwarves who pay lip-service only to Lerotra’hh. The Sons of the Bear-God are freedom fighters who battle the minions of death in secrecy. Most of all, there is a certain anarchy at work. The land is full of tunnel complexes, remnants of the Wizards Wars, where Lerotra’hh and Khara Khang have no power. Uncounted numbers of adventurers roam freely while trying to win their way to wealth and fame. The Wizards Guild holds vast power, and is often the true ruler within any given region other than Khazan itself. Lastly, the wilder parts of the world still abound with many tribes of Orcs, Trolls, and other creatures who keep to their ancient style of life, anti-social as it may be, who have never acknowledged any power other than their own.

Technologically, Khazan is about the equal of Europe in 1500. Many remarkably complicated devices are in use–such as glass, printing presses, paper. The metallurgical sciences are highly developed, and the Dwarves have alloys that are stronger and lighter than steel, which go by the names of true silver and true gold. Gunpowder has been invented by the Orcs, though its composition is still an Orcish secret, since only Orcs mine sulphur. However, guns and cannon are still far inferior in actual killing power to war magic, and so there is little impetus to develop them beyond the flintlock and cannon stage. Medicine dejpends almost entirely upon magic. Why strive for natural cures that take a long time when any competent wizard can bring one back from the brink of death with the right spell? Far better to learn magic than medicine!

This is the land of Khazan. As the game begins, it is a time of turmoil. Many forces, peoples, and movements are striving for dominance in the capitol as elsewhere. Simply put, it is a time when a person could easily get killed, you if your not canny and lucky.

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