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[Dark Eras fan] Odessos– Early Medieval Odessa, Ukraine – circa 500 – 1055 AD

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  • [Dark Eras fan] Odessos– Early Medieval Odessa, Ukraine – circa 500 – 1055 AD

    Another split mini-setting from my Byzantine Empire fan Dark Era, after Medieval Kiev. It’s natural extension of Wolf & Raven setting from Dark Eras 1, about Vikings journeys in Europe.

    Start this Dark Era is circa 500, i.e. start of Middle Ages, and ends in 1055, when the Cumans first encountered the Rus' in 1055, when they advanced towards the Rus' Pereyaslavl principality, but Prince Vsevolod I of Kiev reached an agreement with them thus avoiding a military confrontation

    History and Future of Area

    Odessa was the site of a large Greek settlement no later than the middle of the 6th century BC (a necropolis from the 5th–3rd centuries BC has long been known in this area). Some scholars believe it to have been a trade settlement established by the Greek city of Histria. Whether the Bay of Odessa is the ancient "Port of the Histrians" cannot yet be considered a settled question based on the available evidence. Archaeological artifacts confirm extensive links between the Odessa area and the eastern Mediterranean.

    Until 13th century, successive rulers of the Odessa region included various nomadic tribes – mainly Bulgars ( circa year 650 ), Khazars ( circa 750 ), Petchenegs ( circa 900 ) and Cumans ( from 1036 onward ). At 1238 the area is conquered by Golden Horde that goes across all Europe. Powerful neighbors are Bosporan Kingdom ( 438 BC- 370 AD ) and Byzantine Empire ( 395 – 1453 AD ).

    Supernatural – Uratha and Shadow World

    As previous ancient Greek colony and later nomadic tribes land, Odessos is strongly in pagan worship of animistic spirits. Previous worshiped in faces as Olympian gods, now as nomads own cults - spirits of Hisil have strong influence on local people. From the prehistoric times, Bear was very potent local spirit ruler, as he was in the Flesh World. Under Bear guidance, local Predator Kings pack is roaming wilderness outside of civilized town.

    Links on bears population in area - https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ODESSA_UKRAINE
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ves_in_Ukraine
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-24-2019, 10:16 AM.


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  • #2
    Help needed – Beside every information you have on ancient and early medieval Odessa, you can help me with writing NPCs. Any idea who local Predator Kings in pack can be?

    As always, I summon historical researchers of the area - Khanwulf and MhicWombat


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    • #3
      For the Predator Kings pack I was thinking about ancient 'hunting bear cult' that is localized in nearby caves. Guys running in rags and in bear skulls on their heads is too much?








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      • #4
        Thinking on the story I have in mind in this area, I think we need to prepare those groups/locations:
        1. Local Khazars garnizon and Khagan - something like 50 people.
        2. Native settlement, that is rest of Crimena mixed with Greek colony - probably 200-250 people.
        3. Greek ruins & necropolis.
        4. Bear cults pack ( mostly ready, will share it later ).
        5. Local Shadow Realm main players.
        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-24-2019, 10:14 AM.


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        • #5
          Predator Kings bear whorshiping pack in format from WtF 2E The Pack book.

          4 - ‘Bear Growl’ Pack

          This is cave bear primitives cult run by Predator Kings under patronage of cave bear Totem. Think of them as Wendols from 13th Warrior movie or Eaters of Dead book. Pack is stealing human children and raise them ‘as bears’ in the caves that are heart of it’s territory.

          Pack Aspirations:

          Short-Term – Raid human settlements
          Medium-Term – Clean area of Forsaken werewolves
          Long-Term – Restore the cave bears to being - May try breeding of brown bears or possessing by their Totem, for example

          Pack Touchstones:

          Physical – ‘Den’ of pack, previous cave bears cave
          Spiritual – Skull of the Totems original ( see below )

          Pack Complications:

          Stone Age Culture – Pack members are living like humans before any technology beside stone and bones tools.
          Hunting Nature: Wolf

          Pack Merits:

          Den •••• – ‘Bear’s Den’, cave system
          Directed Rage ••••
          Magnanimous Totem •••
          Territorial Advantage •••

          Secondary Packmembers

          ( Standard are 5/4/3 pools, but I changed them because of this packs profile. )
          Physical: 6
          Social: 4
          Mental: 2

          Totem: Paw in Darkness

          <Echo of roar of the raged bear in cave>
          Totem Type: Hunting Bear Spirit ( Cave Bear )
          Totem Rank: 4
          Background: Paw is prehistoric being, first created when Neanderthals killed local cave bears colony. By death of biggest male, the spirit awoken, taking it’s form. It’s survived and roused in power when first humans took the bones and relicts from its physical bodies, starting to worship it as ancient primordial god. In a year or two, first local Uratha that later become Predator Kings found the spirit – and sign the bloody compact. Werewolves will bring the spiritual hunting offerings to Paw, and it will grant ‘the might of 10 bears’ for them. It’s the same now from the millennia. Pure kidnap humans and Wolf-Blooded to run primitive cult in caves nearby that’s worship generate Essence for the Paw to survive all this years. Spirit lord also guide and watch over local brown bears population, like his own grandchildren.

          Description: Paw physically is great cave bear male – looking like weighting over 500 kg - only shrouded in darkness ( like permanent shadow ) and dirty in blood of it’s victims.

          Storytelling Hints: Paw understand that time of his kind is over. He is using Pure and humans as Essence generators, but in secret he loathes them. However, he is not stupid and knows that without constant spring of worship, he would perish quickly. He then transfer his inner rage on the civilized settlements of humans he destroys with his Uratha adopted children.

          Aspirations:
          To resurrect glory of bear-kind
          Destroy human civilization

          Rank: 4
          Attributes: Power 12, Finesse 8, Resistance 10
          Willpower: 10
          Essence: 25
          Initiative: 18
          Defense: 8
          Speed: 25
          Size: 10
          Corpus: 20
          Influences: Bear ••••, Hunting •••, Darkness ••
          Manifestations: Gauntlet Breach, Image, Materialize, Posses, Twilight Form
          Numina: Awe, Blast (Claw marks on victim ), Host Jump, Might*, Pathfinder, Regenerate, Shadow Form**
          Ban: Cannot rest in man-made den ( Paw is nocturnal creature of darkness - and Helios make Shadow Realm more dormant in day - so rest means in the light of day hours. Thanks nofather for that idea! )
          Bane: Stone weapons of the Neatherdals that killed it’s physical original

          New Numina

          Might
          Spirit can blessed itself – or other being it is touching – with supernatural strength. After activating power with touch, next roll based on Strength or Power of the target use this trait multiplied by the Rank of spirit. Each blessing costs 3 Essence and takes one action of the spirit if made on other being. If spirit is Totem for the pack, it can bless pack members from the other side.
          Shadow Form
          Spirit can take form of living shadow, indistinguishable from normal lights effect. It became two dimensional and moves on any surface just like shadow could. Change cost 1 Essence and is instant. Change back to more physical form cost the same.

          Uratha

          Alpha
          Seer
          Tracker

          Wolf-Blooded




          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-24-2019, 10:26 AM.


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          • #6
            And here is first faction described for this mini-setting...

            1 – 800s – Khazars garrison

            Khazar Khanagate stretch on whole area of Great Steppe, up to it’s boarders on the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Odessos is boarder outpost of this proto-empire, located near estuary of (later known as) Dniepr river. As it’s beach area, garrison is limited only to local Khagan and 30 of his most trusted man, their horses and their families – in this order. Khazars, following their general liberal approach to ruling, let inhabitants to follow their own gods. Some of the Khagan men even comes after local beliefs in Olympian gods! None the less, Khazars are vigiliant and watching over the population for possible unrests.

            Mänäs Glorious, Khagan ( Lone Terror )

            Virtue: Driven
            Vice: Greedy
            Aspiration: To rule the people as long as possible

            Best Dicepool: 10 – Enforcing commands, Plan the scam, Persuade listiner
            Worst Dicepool: 2 – Resist the bribe
            All Other Pools: 5
            Merits & Powers:
            Common Sense (•••) ( Rolls Best Dicepool )
            Indomitable (••)
            Iron Will (••) – Uses All Other Pools instead of Resolve
            Staff (•••••) – Survival, Socialize, Weaponry, Enigmas, Brawl
            Status ( Khazar Empire - •••• )
            Trained Observer (••)
            Language – Native: Khazar, Foreign: Cimmerian
            Willpower: 10
            Health: 12
            Defense: 5 ( In armor: 4 )
            Speed: 10
            Initiative: +5
            Armor: Leather (hard) - 2/0 – Str: 2, Def: -1, Avab •
            Weapon: Sword – Dam: +3, Init: −3, Str: 2 Size: 3 Avab: •••
            Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-25-2019, 09:25 AM. Reason: Fixed mentioning of the Black Sea in text.


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            • #7
              Looks like I'll be reading a lot more Werewolf this week 😉

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              • #8
                Only I finish starting write-up for local Cimmerians population, and will share a lot of stuff I have ready already. And here we are...

                2 – Odessos and natives – Cimmerians

                Cimmerians – ancient people from Great Steppe that conquered Steppe, Caucasus and Black Sea from circa 1000 till 600 BCE. Also known as Kimmérioi by Greeks. They are forefathers of present citizens of Odessos. They intermixed with Greek colonist from times of circa 550 BCE – and later under occupation by Rome. Still, Cimmerians ethnicity survived in local people, even when they very strongly Hellenized.

                Christianity's influence expanded gradually but Odessos preserved the old cults prevailed well until 5th century AD. During that period the city turned into one of the most important commercial centers of early Byzantine Empire. It became the seat of a bishop. By the end of 6th and early 7th century Avar and Slav intrusions depopulated and ruined the lands between the Haemus (Balkan mountains) and the Danube river. Gradually these territories were left to barbarians from the Byzantine officials. Odessos still remained the most solid ground for ancient civilization and traditions and it was one of the last cities to fall into barbarian hands. In 614 AD its inhabitants left it, the city overrun and ruined by Plague of Justinian and left without significant population for a number of centuries.

                Now Odessos is only pale shadow of its previous glory. With only few hundreds of inhabitants, it’s much more large and expansive village in Greek ruins, than true harbor. The following description of the settlement can be used at any time during this meta-setting.

                Drakon - Odessos Elder

                Virtue: Reasonable
                Vice: Antiquated
                Aspiration: To restore the Odessos to it’s previous glory
                Best Dicepool: 8 – Planning the city restoration, Convincing to new project
                Worst Dicepool: 1 – Fighting
                All Other Pools: 4

                Eudoxia - Priestess of Demeter

                Virtue: Caring
                Vice: Vain
                Aspiration: To spread the cult of Demeter
                Best Dicepool: 7 – Healing wounds, Supporting families
                Worst Dicepool: 1 –
                All Other Pools: 3

                Aphrodisia - Priestess of Aphrodite

                Virtue: Merciful
                Vice: Lustful
                Aspiration: To heal the hearts of people of Odessos
                Best Dicepool: 7 – Understand love, Seduction
                Worst Dicepool: 1 –
                All Other Pools: 3

                Dalmatius Rhangabe - Bishop of the Church from Constantinople

                Virtue: Faithful
                Vice: Greedy
                Aspiration: To spread the Church as far as can
                Best Dicepool: 7 – Conversions, Theological talks
                Worst Dicepool: 1 – Resist the bribe
                All Other Pools: 3

                Research link – Odessos in Hellenistic Agehttp://baringtheaegis.blogspot.com/2...f-odessos.html
                Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-25-2019, 10:56 AM.


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                • #9
                  3 – Greek ruins & Necropolis

                  Sun Temple

                  In the ruins is temple to Appollon, ‘Great God’, The Sun - now defunct and long not used. It is guarded by Helions spirits on the other side that use unfortunates humans who will go there to their own doom. ( See Helions section in Shadow Realm chapter. )

                  Necropolis

                  Odessos has one of longest necropolis – tunnels of the dead, were corpses were buried – in Black Sea area under its streets. Place shrouded by death and darkness, was popular mark for worship gods like Erebos – Lord of Darkness – and Heckate – Lady of magic, crossroads and undead. Legends say that dead there walk in the darkness on some particularly chilling nights.


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                  • #10
                    5 – Shadow Realm

                    ‘Appollon’ and Hellions

                    Because of previous open worship of Helios Spirit God as Appollon in this parts, his messengers and servants are in high and active esteem of local Hisil. As god himself is making almost unbearable hotness in the day in Shadow Realm in this area – leading to almost stop of other spirits activity - Helions are watching over if anyone is not breaking his rules then. And for Uratha. Sun god is very displeased with werewolves, especially of Forsaken kind. Pure ‘Bear Growl’ pack is only operating on ancient compact with Helions that they will take care off any Forsaken forces in area. Even there, relation between pack and Messengers of the Sun are tense here.
                    Rank: 3-5
                    Influence: Sun, Light - Varies

                    ‘Erebos’

                    Being ruling Shadow of Necropolis is described often as made from literal darkness, with a stench of death surrounding it. Those few Greeks that by centuries were seeing this Spirit Lord equated it with Primordial God called in their mythologies Erebos, primal darkness and death. Dihir liked that charade and sustain it as long as he can without really understanding the beliefs of humans. ‘Erebos’ like, from time to time, to rise the dead in the Necropolis as lone undead to re-shock mortals about his domain – and get a nice Essence generated for his own court.
                    Rank: 5
                    Influence: Darkness 5, Death 4


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                    • #11
                      MhicWombat, what do you think about project, right now? Somethings should be changed?

                      Here is Alpha King of the Pack in the caves...

                      Ban (from Totem): Cannot rest in man-made den - Paw in Darkness is nocturnal creature of dark - and Helios make Shadow Realm more dormant in day - so for pack rest means in the light of day hours.

                      Alpha < In First Tongue >

                      Blood: Alpha
                      Bone: Role Model
                      Tribe: Predator Kings
                      Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 4, Strength 4 (5/6/5/4), Dexterity 3 (3/4/5/5), Stamina 4 (5/6/6/5), Presence 4, Manipulation 3 (2/3/2/2), Composure 3
                      Skills: Crafts 3, Investigation 2, Occult 2, Politics 2, Athletics 4, Brawl ( Claws ) 4, Larceny 2, Stealth 4, Survival 5, Weaponry ( Bones ) 4, Animal Ken (Bears) 3, Empathy 2, Intimidation 4, Persuasion 1, Streetwise 2 - Animal Ken, Crafts, and Survival
                      Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Favored Form (Dalu) 1, Fortified Form (Dalu) 4, Grappling 3, Iron Stamina 3, Living Weapon (Dalu) 3, Patient 1, Spiritual Blockage 2, Totem 3
                      Primal Urge: 3
                      Willpower: 7
                      Harmony: 3 ( Bans – Cannot sleep in night, Cannot use man-made weapons )
                      Essence: 12
                      Health: 9 (12/14/13/10)
                      Initiative: 10 (10/11/12/12)
                      Defense: 7 (7/7/7/7)
                      Speed: 12 (13/16/19/17)
                      Renown: Glory 4, Purity 3, Wisdom 2
                      Gifts: Nature, Rage, Stealth, and Strength – Nature: Black Earth, Red Hunger (Glory – Controlling vines ), Pack Kin (Purity – ‘Charming’ animals, often used on Bears), Beast Ride (Wisdom – controlling animals, often used on Bears); Rage: Berserker’s Might (Glory – Miss 1/turn Glory in damage ), Slaughterer (Purity – Adding Purity to Brawl damage in Gauru), Raging Lunacy (Wisdom – Sure Berseker Lunacy in witness); Stealth: Predator’s Shadow (Glory – Shadow Paranoia on target on success ), Running Silent (Wisdom – Stealth even on running, omits Wisdom penalties by terrain); Strength: Primal Strength (Purity – Adds Purity to Strength rolls), Rending Claws (Wisdom – Adds Wisdom damage by claws or jaws on Structure )


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