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#13895137 Nov 07, 2018 at 12:52 PM · Edited 9 months ago
1393 Posts
"The people of Abyzinia are a handsome race. Tall and slender, they have dark eyes, dark hair usually worn short, and skin tones ranging from deep brown to purplish-black." (TVA p. 83)

"Abyzinians of both genders wear long skirts usually dyed deep red or blue, but other colors are not unheard of. The skirt is worn draped over one shoulder and reaches the ankles. The nobility wear much finer clothing; revealing gowns made from cloth-of-gold and silvery fabrics are common. Both men and women often wear jewelry and other adornments made from gold and silver — but unlike their counterparts in Elweir, who tend to wear so much finery it becomes gaudy, Abyzinians are never anything less than elegant." (TVA p. 85).

There were a great many puissant and famous wizards during the Turakian Age, any one of whom could be the "head" who advises your character. However, I'd like to suggest one I think would be particularly well-suited to your purpose. Ansgar, sometimes called "Ansgar the Twice-Lived," was the king of the Turakian realm of Khrisulia. An exceptionally skilled and powerful wizard, known for crafting distinctive and potent magic items, Ansgar ruled wisely and well for five hundred years, his life magically extended. After he finally died he arose again as a lich, a reanimated corpse, and resumed his throne for at least five centuries more. Unlike most liches who descend into evil, Ansgar remained benevolent, continuing the same policies as in life.

If you'd like your character's skull-advisor to be not only knowledgeable in magic, but a positive influence on her, I would recommend Ansgar's cranium. 😉
#13895162 Nov 07, 2018 at 01:14 PM · Edited 9 months ago
1393 Posts
BTW I wouldn't stress much over her name -- Abyzinian names aren't so pinned down that you can't fit her in. At worst, you might consider giving it a more exotic look by swapping the "i"s in her name for "y"s, or replacing a vowel with an apostrophe, e.g. "V'vyane." Essentially pronounced the same, but looks quite different. As an example, the Witch-Queen of Abyzinia at the default start date for a Valdorian campaign was named Zenobia T'numbra. Other named Abyzinians were Zenobia's uncle, Zaid T'numbra, and Razi Simbaktu.
#13898658 Nov 13, 2018 at 12:31 AM
1393 Posts
You know, I've often thought of the tragedy of Champions Earth's prehistory. So many civilizations, nations and empires, whole races... gone with practically no trace remaining. No monuments, no records, from the older eras not even legends. The accomplishments of their thinkers, builders, conquerors, heroes, expunged from history. Their art, literature, philosophy, as if they never existed. A person translated from that past to the modern day would find almost nothing recognizable -- even the continents have changed. It would be like being cast onto an alien planet.

To contemplate everyone and everything you knew, your entire world, dead and forgotten... it would be hard to avoid despair. 😭
#13899157 Nov 13, 2018 at 06:24 PM
202 Posts
The Last Witch-Queen of Abyzinia

Once, she ruled an empire.

Viviane the Abyzinian was born to the commonfolk of that empire, her magical abilities untapped until the day she discovered a lost relic of an ancient age - a mystical gauntlet clutching a magically-preserved skull; both had belonged to the Turakian wizard-king Ansgar the Twice-Lived. The latent magic she possessed was enough to rouse the King of Khrisulia's spirit, and the ancient wizard's relic combined with his tutelage made Viviane the greatest sorceress Abyzinia had seen in generations. She ascended the throne, but though she ruled wisely and was beloved by the commonfolk of the Empire, the nobles took offense at her 'staining' the throne with her common blood. Besieged on all sides, she was forced to turn to the demonic powers she had sought to avoid to protect her reign - and in the end the sacrifice doomed her. Betrayed and defeated, she was dragged away into Hell.

For millennia uncounted she was imprisoned in that dark realm, her power broken and her spirit with it; only Ansgar's company kept her from going completely mad and surrendering to the darkness and evil that surrounded her. Time disappeared. The world changed. Then, one day, Ansgar spoke to his companion with horror that not even Hell could bring. Something had stirred across the cosmos, a darkness thought long-sealed had awoken. Kal-Turak the Ravager of Men had been loosed once more, into an age unprepared to face his wickedness - but his awakening also served as a beacon for the other lich to follow. Though it took decades, he was able to guide Viviane back to the mortal realm...

..and beneath a bloody moon on Halloween of 2018, the Last Witch-Queen of Abyznia and her Turakian counselor collapsed through the realms into a world neither recognized....
#13899158 Nov 13, 2018 at 06:26 PM
202 Posts

The Last Witch-Queen of Abyzinia

Viviane and Ansgar

Viviane (without cowl and helm)
#13899168 Nov 13, 2018 at 06:46 PM
1393 Posts
😈 💀 😎 👍
#13899872 Nov 14, 2018 at 11:20 AM
1393 Posts
FWIW I passed along your character's bio to Steve Long 'cause I thought he'd get a kick out of it, since it uses lore he created or oversaw. His reply: I like it! Reminds me a bit of Dilvish the Damned (from Roger Zelazny's novel of the same title) and the Grim Ghost (an Atlas Comics character from the mid-Seventies). Sounds like the character will be a blast to play!
#13900033 Nov 14, 2018 at 04:20 PM
202 Posts
#13899872 Lord Liaden wrote:

FWIW I passed along your character's bio to Steve Long 'cause I thought he'd get a kick out of it, since it uses lore he created or oversaw. His reply: I like it! Reminds me a bit of Dilvish the Damned (from Roger Zelazny's novel of the same title) and the Grim Ghost (an Atlas Comics character from the mid-Seventies). Sounds like the character will be a blast to play!

Aww, always great to have a stamp of approval!

And I'll admit, Int-primary Magic blasting has been fun so far.
#13900231 Nov 15, 2018 at 12:50 AM
1393 Posts
So, what kind of person is Viviane? What are her attitudes? What motivates her? And what do you want her to do in the modern world?
#13900399 Nov 15, 2018 at 06:43 AM
202 Posts
#13900231 Lord Liaden wrote:

So, what kind of person is Viviane? What are her attitudes? What motivates her? And what do you want her to do in the modern world?

Still working out personalities and the like - those tend to develop as I go, you understand; my creative process tends to be layered, with characters being rounded out and expanded as I play.

One of my least-favorite tropes, however, is 'high-ranking member of a society who has/had elements modern sensibilities are rankled by who opposes those elements with the same fervor a modern mind would' - the joke that the entirety of Drow society in D&D is composed of Chaotic Good rebels fleeing their evil homeland, and so forth. A character from an empire - and honestly, largely a time and place worldwide (unless Abyzinia was a real outlier and the rest of the period was far more progressed than our own ancient history) where slavery and worshipping capricious powers of other realms was just par for the course is not going to find those elements overly shocking.

The clash of a 'hero' who is likely more-violent and more-ruthless while still being 'good' has potential I think (though not in the grizzled 90s mode of that), but the differences in ambient magic levels is definitely going to be a focus on responding to a strange, new world.

I'm debating how much whimsy to slide in -a lot of comic book arch-sorcerers tend to have those quirky elements, and untold millennia in Hell probably has not done her mental health any favors (especially given the mention most Abyzinian rules went mad as a matter of course from trucking with demons...)

The Good Queen, but ruthless and perhaps a little less than warm and trusting of 'nobles,' - to use a movie reference, somewhere around the level of the Terminator in Terminator 2: dedicated and well-meaning, but lacking a modern moral context (at first); Ansgar acting as the morality pet (toan extent that he was from descriptions from a 'nicer' society than Abyzinia?)
#13900466 Nov 15, 2018 at 09:20 AM · Edited 9 months ago
1393 Posts
Cool. Sounds like lots of RP potential. 😎

Abyzinia was a "world power" to the degree the world was known at the time. The region its inhabitants called Il-Ryveras consisted of two continents about the size of Australia, a few very large islands, and a large number of smaller ones. Abyzinia was near the center of Il-Ryveras, taking up a significant fraction of the northern continent. It's the oldest realm in the known world. As The Valdorian Age p. 81 notes, "it has a reputation for sophistication and cruelty, wisdom and ruthlessness, knowledge and decadence." And from p. 82: "They're considered the most sophisticated and elegant of people, and the goods their craftsmen make fetch high prices nearly everywhere... ranging from soft, well-woven fabrics to the finest jewelry."

"The cities of Abyzinia are elegant beyond human ability to craft -- many of them come from before the world's death rattle when the Abyzinians had recourse to magic. The palaces are open and airy, because Abyzinia is even hotter than Elweir, and wide eaves shield broad windows from the frequent rainfalls. Impossibly high towers mark most of the cities; wide balconies run all up and down their length, and these serve as homes for the wealthiest of the nobility. Most of the buildings are made of ebony wood, hardened (so they say) via magic and decorated with carved flowers and vines. The rooms are sparsely furnished with floors covered in elegant rugs and walls hung with tapestries." (TVA p. 83)

"Abyzinia's entire economy rests on the backs of slaves. Legends say that once sorcery provided for the livelihood of the realm, but as sorcery faded from the world, Abyzinia had no choice but to rely more and more on slaves, until now even the rank and file of its army consists of slaves... No law protects them -- they are only chattel, their living conditions dependent entirely on the predilections of their owner." (TVA p. 84)

"The rest of society is divided between nobles and commoners. The main difference between the two is commoners must work to make a living, and nobles can spend their day at whatever pursuit strikes their fancy. The commoners make up the ranks of the sea captains, farm owners, inn- and tavern-keepers, artisans, and the like. One must be born into the nobility -- no one ever rises to the rank -- and each noble can trace his family back for millennia. Only three professions are deemed suitable for a noble: sorcery, war, or diplomacy and government. Since sorcery is such a rare talent nowadays, most nobles who choose to do something with their life take up war or politics. From these come the officers in the army and the chancellors and ambassadors in the government. A vast bureaucracy of these nobles runs Abyzinia, which is why the madness of the sorcerer-kings has little impact on the realm as a whole." (TVA pp. 84-85)

A few role-playing elements I suggest you could take from all this: An Abyzinian isn't as likely to be awed by modern technology, architecture etc. as a person from most pre-industrial societies, particularly a puissant sorcerer. I don't imagine modern urban noise, dirt, and crowding would appeal to Viviane, though. OTOH the notions of democracy and "progress" are likely to be rather baffling to her. But as a former commoner, Viviane would probably have more sympathy for the lower classes than most Abyzinian rulers. It's not unimaginable for a non-noble to ascend the throne, if he or she has enough magical power and can command enough armed supporters. In the (typical) war for succession that led to Zenobia T'numbra taking the throne, one of her rivals was a foreigner, a powerful sorcerer with an army of mercenaries at his back. However, I would expect Viviane to have faced many hostile Abyzinian nobles as Witch-Queen.

A little about Ansgar: also born a commoner, his homeland of Khrisulia had been conquered and oppressed by a foreign nation for over a thousand years. Ansgar showed a great talent for magic, and apprenticed with several wizards, becoming a highly-successful adventurer and obtaining several formidable enchanted items. Always concerned for the plight of his people, he eventually returned to Khrisulia and led a revolt to win their freedom, and was chosen to rule the new kingdom by universal acclaim.

Ansgar was known as a wise and fair ruler. He even inspired a revolt in a neighboring land, Eldrasan, which was also oppressed by foreigners (albeit with the intent of creating a buffer between Khrisulia and that aggressive kingdom). Ansgar allowed the Eldrasani to choose their own ruler, and gave them several magic artifacts to help protect them.

Khrisulia was a small rugged land settled by tough, independent-minded people, and Ansgar mostly left them to manage their own affairs as long as they obeyed his laws. Like in most lands of its region, the trade in slaves was illegal in Khrisulia (although not in the kingdom which had conquered them).

In the years leading up to the default start date for a Turakian Age campaign, Ansgar displayed increasingly erratic behavior, and his people feared he was finally succumbing to the evil and madness typical for liches. The truth was that Ansgar was fighting off magical psychic assaults by Kal-Turak the Ravager of Men (the living form of Takofanes), who was attempting to dominate and subvert him. Ansgar's final fate is not revealed and extremely unlikely to ever be officially defined.
#13900488 Nov 15, 2018 at 10:02 AM
202 Posts
Thanks for the help- and honestly, funnily enough that description of 'impossibly tall towers' and 'sprawling balconies' sounds.. well, rather like Millennium City, doesn't it?