Hey there! Al Quiff here, dungeon master for The Odbox’s brand new Dungeons & Dragons web-series The Cocked Roll, coming to twitch, youtube and facebook on Thursday, July 27th.
I’ve decided to write a series of articles here on The Odbox to share a little bit of information and lore on my homebrew setting “The Mad Sea” in which the show’s campaign will be taking place to give you some idea of the locations and factions our group might encounter during their adventures.
The Mad Sea is a mysterious and often frightening place, drawing on elements of classic, gothic horror and Lovecraftian fiction. It is not your typical fantasy setting where brave and righteous heroes vanquish evil, long haired sorcerers and the forces of light combat those of darkness in an eternal struggle (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
It is a world where the lines between right and wrong, good and evil are often blurred and not so easy to distinguish.
A world where those who uphold the law are just as cunning and ruthless as the pirates and thieves who oppose it.
A world where clans of hungry werewolves prey on innocent villages, desperate to sustain their cursed and painful existence.
It’s also a world with a lot of pun based tavern names because that’s one of my favorite things about running a D&D campaign.
For the first article in this series, I thought it fitting to feature the island of Waelyn, the largest island in The Mad Sea and the starting location for our campaign on The Cocked Roll, enjoy!
The Island of Waelyn:
Waelyn, the long lost home of the Halflings and the largest island in The Mad Sea was at one time thought to be no more than a myth, shrouded in a thick mist conjured by the druidic magic of its native Halflings and referenced only briefly in ancient Draconic texts.
Around 800 years ago, for unknown reasons, the mist faded and the rest of the world began to take interest in this fabled land, establishing ports, towns and farms under the rule of lords and nobles of various races (primarily Humans, Elves and Dwarves)
The largest and most profitable of these settlements being the port city of Death’s Head, founded and still governed to this day by Lord Vance Siegfried.
The Halflings, initially wary of the colonisers, eventually established decent relations and trade agreements with their new neighbors.
However, less than a century after this peace was established, a devastating plague broke out that spread across the entire land, killing tens of thousands and leaving much of Waelyn’s landscape permanently scarred and corrupted, this calamitous event would become known as the ‘Ruination’. Only the sacred valley of the Halflings, ‘The Cradle’ remained untouched by the plague.
Though the great ruination has long since passed, the flora and fauna of Waelyn’s wilds still bare signs of its ghastly effects with several vicious and twisted creatures posing a constant threat to smaller settlements and bloodthirsty clans of vampires, lycanthropes and other unholy abominations have since made Waelyn their home.
Locations on Waelyn:
Death’s Head –
Governed by the mysterious and often feared Lord Vance Siegfried, the gloomy metropolis of Death’s Head is the largest city on Waelyn and the most prominent trading port in The Mad Sea. It’s dark, foggy streets are patrolled day and night by Siegfried’s Veiled Guard. Armed with vicious blades and hook-whips, their faces hidden behind beaked masks, these well trained and fiercely loyal sentinels are known to pursue even petty criminals with murderous intent. This makes the thieves and scoundrels who operate in Death’s Head among the most cunning in the world.
Below the city proper lie the Death’s Head sewers, a massive underground labyrinth where a class of society known as The Afflicted, who still bear the mark of the plague that once devastated Waelyn, dwell in crudely fashioned homes, living off the meat of sewer rats and occasionally braving the surface city to scavenge for food. The Afflicted are slain on sight by The Veiled Guard.
The city of Lycandale is encompassed by an ancient stone wall, the crumbling remnants of a draconic keep. Its architecture is a marrying of sturdy Calkaen practicality with hints of Elven influence. Gabled roofs with exagerated curves cap off the majority of the homesteads and businesses that line the winding cobbled streets of Lycandale. It is here that the prime lodge of ‘The Brandishers’ stands tall and proud in the centre of the city, serving as a city hall of sorts from which the governance of Lycandale is overseen by the guild itself.
The sparesly wooded ‘Howling Foothills’ which surround the city are known to be teeming with strange and dangerous beasts including werewolves and undead, prompting members of The Brandishers keep a close watch at the city gates at all times and regularly patrol the surrounding wilderness.
Located on the southeastern shore of The Withered Strand, Illenheim is the academic centre of Waelyn. Home to ‘The Illenheim College of Arcane Magiks’, one of the most prominent arcane universities outside of the Val ‘Quelan Empire and the only institution to legally teach and practice magic from the school of necromancy. Also located in Illenheim is ‘The Ephrem Institute of Psychomancy’, the leading establishment in the study of madness and mental affliction.
The city is governed by a council of mages and sorcerers from the arcane guild known as ‘The Loom’.
That about does it for part one of Exploring The Mad Sea.
Keep an eye out for future articles and don’t forget to tune in to The Odbox on twitch July 27th at 7:00 PM Irish Standard Time (2 PM EST, 11 AM PST) for the first episode of The Cocked Roll!