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The Southlands Comes Alive: Venture Forth With Us

The Southlands Comes Alive: Venture Forth With Us

Southlands Teaser Image #1

Nkumu flailed through the vine-choked trees with death only steps behind. He had watched his companions fall one by one. The three Nurian merchants screamed as their skin peeled from their bones. The two Zobeckian swordsmen choked and gagged, infected by tiny green tendrils that crept out of their eyes and mouths. Now alone, Nkumu staggered on. Come what may, he was going to make it. He was going to live!

The twisted, thorny tip of the vine burst through Nkumu’s chest from behind. Other vines exploded out of the jungle canopy to wrap themselves around his arms and legs. As his body was dragged back, Nkumu realized he should never have entered the Living Jungle.

One of the most fascinating locations in the Southlands is the Living Jungle of Kush. When Ben and I decided that the Southlands had produced a “nature-based” Green Walker, it was logical that the catalyst nature of the entity would change the once-normal jungle of Kush into a semi-sentient ecosystem tied to the Walker’s own subconscious mind.

I have to be honest; I had a marvelous time coming up with the weird (and lethal) plant-life that a perpetually evolving, living jungle produces. Greenspore pods that infect their victims with vines until they end up as plant zombies controlled by the walker. Flesheater orchids whose lovely fragrance melts the flesh for easy consumption. Even Impaling Vines, huge animated vines that lance through their targets like spears.

And yet, where there is risk there is also reward. For every plant that can poison, maim, melt, impale, or kill, there are others who heal, restore, and even enhance. My favorite is the Redsight Berry; the juice of which, when squeezed into the eyes, grants darkvision for a few minutes.

If you are looking for an exotic location to entice your players, the Living Jungle of Kush is sure to please.

Ben’s offering takes us out of the hinterlands and back into the many civilized realms of the Southlands…

The sultry air hung thick with the smell of curried goat, sea salt, and the bleating calls of both slaves and camels. Dusk in Mhalmet was always a rich, decadent time, where exotic music mingled with the scent of lotus, and tantalizing dancers seemed to make the wine more potent. I knew I couldn’t trust the merchant across the pillows from me as he laughed a deep, booming laugh, which was why I had paid for a heroes’ feast that afternoon. But this man held the key to the ruins I sought beyond the Crescent Desert, and I would need to tease it from him if I hoped to decipher the glyphs we’d recovered from the sandship wreck. I smiled and laughed back at him, raising my cup in celebration…

For me, the best things about a fantastic setting like the Southlands are cities on the edge, or just over the edge of the border. The cities like Siwal and Mhalmet, where the strangeness of the lands beyond mingles with the brave explorers from the heart of the familiar. These are liminal places, straddling both known and unknown worlds and yet existing in a heady realm all their own. Who needs planar metropolises and dreamscapes and crystal spheres when I can give you nearly alien skylines on your own frontier?

And that’s the part of Southlands that gets me all excited when I start writing: the cities. It’s creating the shadowy alleys concealing thieves and spies, the secret societies hunting occult lore, the byzantine courts loaded with intrigue—sometimes all in the same city. There’s an art to it, though, giving you just enough so that you can imagine what it’s like to be walking down those ancient flagstone paths amidst the dark outlines of small palaces and foreign temples, seeking out magics you only learned of the afternoon before but could answer the mysteries you’ve been chasing for weeks.

That’s what I’m hoping you’ll think, too, as your adventures lead to places like the rich desert city of Siwal or the twisty aisles of Lignas’s Scroll Market, or the trading crossroads of Mhalmet—gateway to both the Crescent Desert and the Tethys Sea, a staging point for caravan routes, wending through the dunes and back to the heart of Nuria-Natal. We’ve laid a foundation across the Southlands with these cities, each one hopefully serving as a vivid locale where you want to explore. But don’t linger too long, lest your lurking rival claim some glorious treasure first.

11 thoughts on “The Southlands Comes Alive: Venture Forth With Us”

  1. Wow! I hadn’t seen that picture in color yet. Awesome!!! In case anyone was wondering, that’s the Tamasheq Paladin with his rock elemental companion.

  2. Patrick aka Bullonir

    Woo! Hoo!

    I was really starting to wonder when the next KS was going to be announced.

    Where do I sign up?

    Where?

    Are we there yet?

    Patrick

  3. The Kickstarter is not live yet, but we’ve been bursting at the seams to get things ready for a mid-September launch. We’ll absolutely have a LOT more information in the weeks again, and will make a splashy announcement when Southlands is live.

    There’s still a few issues to sort out before then, though!

  4. Summer Is Comming!

    (Since, you know, Southlands and all.) This is a terrible thing to spring on North America as Fall starts!

  5. hmm would like to see a series of modules or book set in this area based on the tales from the 1k1 nights classic.

  6. No plans for a 13th Age version of this, no, but we have done a 13th Age Midgard Bestiary and a 13th Age Deep magic conversion.

    If the project is well-received, we might do the same here.

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