Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Trow Fortress 00: Prelude; or "Why halflings are kobolds?"

This started as a way to remove damage rolls on BX but still having variable damage, using d6 only. Now, two years later, has shaped my current houserules into something I am very confortable running, and I don't plan on going back. At this point, I don't think I can call it "modified BX" anymore, even though I still keep the book by my side on every session; but mainly I take everything from a small, yellow notebook where I keep my notes.

At this point, the notebook is too big (and also written in spanish hahaha) to be transported to an entry in a single sitting, so I made up my mind to start doing it bit by bit; maybe mimicking BX index to follow some order. It may help to have it written someplace in a "clean" form, in case anybody wants to follow the "camino de la verdadera salud" of the all d6. I will shortly proceed to delete some old posts with obsolete versions of this rules, so there are no confusions for readers. Let this be the preparation of -who knows- a future serious publication. At the very least, this is required reading for anyone in order to understand my houserules from now on.

As my equivalent of an introduction, excuse me if I skip the classic "what is an rpg" section, or forfeit explaining dice nomenclature. I'd rather explain two key parts of the setting. And here it goes:



Trow are in all practical and biological ways humans by other name. Humans just do not exist in Trow Fortress. You have Trow; and this might seem non-sensical to you but I can only tell you about my setting as I "perceive" it.

Trow are a warrior race. They organize themselves on feudalistic hierarchies where every city is run by a Lord, which may or may not be supedited to a higher ranked one such as a japanese Shogun; or in opposition to it or other Lords. (Following the feudal japan analogy, the existance of some divine emperor/empress is still something I am figuring out)

Aesthetically, they dress and behave like a mix of Joseon dynasty Korea, the mongol steppe nomads and the cuman warriors. Expect lots of hawks, composite bows, scimitars and lance charges. Even secular trow such as sages or stonemasons have probably been warriors once.

On the other hand, and with the proverbial exceptions, trow women become either housewives and/or take non-warrior professions: healers, artists, artisans, animal trainers... It is common for parents to arrange marriages to secure a good future for their daughters (or, sometimes, use them as a currency for some benefit). The opposite distribution is true for trow magic users, if we take into account that temples and shrines are almost always mantained by priestesses, and that their society will inevitably push young males towards the martial branch.

Trow live in the titular fortresses. Every city is walled, preferably in stone; and holds a castle inside. When possible, the cities are built against a mountain, which allows part of the city to be excavated. Though they are not "paladins" of any sort, they do have unwritten codes of chivalry that speak of their honor, honesty, valor and loyalty (mantaining them is up to each one, or to their "alignment", we could say)

In every feudal arrangement, the most numerous group at the bottom of the caste pyramid is the serfs. Trow do not plow the lands. They use Kobolds for that. The symbiotic relationship of Trow and Kobolds, where the first give protection to the second in exchange of tithes is a constant in the world


artist unknown


Kobolds are your classical hobbit by other name. I started calling them like that at a given point because it seemed appropiate: thats how germanic peoples called the domestic helpers who lived amongst them; those that could perform trickery, but also house labor and many tasks if treated properly. Well, that's a little bit like how the trow see their kobolds.

This little folk are about 3 feet long (91 cm for euro peoples) who do not actually need trow to survive: They are a rough race which has conquered many wildlands, and you will sometimes find kobolds where no trow has dared to go. I picture them a little bit like the settlers who went to conquer the american west with an axe in one hand and a mule on the other. But you will indefectibly find one of their settlements around any Trow Fortress. 

It is not that they are crazy for breaking their backs, but normally they enjoy the working life; and, when they feel they are being justly compensated, they put love into it. Kobolds know how to grow orchards and how to preserve their fruits; how to grow crops, and how to turn them into bread and brewages. They are good at hunting (preferring the bow) and fishing, and love to build small canoes to do so in big rivers and lakes, installing steady campaments along a river course. Others travel great lands practicing transhumance of buffalos and big goats that are normally mounted by their shepherd. 

Their clothes are usually plain and humble, classically wearing combination of cloaks, viking ponchos and chullo hats. They do not build in stone, but on wood. The central point of their cities is often a wind or a watermill instead of a temple, around which they gather for their seasonal celebrations (that are completelly independent of the trow calendar). Normally a kobold family shares an occupation together. And sometimes, kobolds are sought by trow as personal assistants such as valets, porters or squires. When they do adventure alongside a trow, chances are that is his faithful retainer, though it doesn't have to be the case. Sometimes kobolds form adventuring gangs on their own accord, and is not rare that, given their natural skills to hide in shadows and move silently, some of them turn to crime and theft. 

Note he genesis of Trow and Halflings as a team dates back to this 2012 entry on class-as-race, which now is "semi-canon" lol.

ig: varguy

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