Summer is a traditional time of experimentation in the eponymous Hill Cantons campaign. Generally that experimentation clusters around opening up a whole new geographic area with some tinkering around the edges of things that strike my fancy (the Feral Shore phase two years ago around this time coming into being with my conscious experiment with a pure wilderness area with super-dense hexstocking and an unobtrusive domain game).
This summer I wanted to broaden the traditional Tuesday night on Google Plus stable of (absolutely great) players with some new/old friends and reset the campaign a bit from its pushing 8th level power range back to my old baseline low-level game (at least for a bit, the object being to integrate back into that campaign in a couple months). Thus Revoca Canton is born.
What is this place?
Nestled up near the northeastern corner of Marlinko Canton in the Weird-haunted, barely-borderlands backhills is the smallest and (perhaps) oddest of the Hill Cantons, Revoca. Indeed it's a patch of humanity so tiny and remote that its government isn't even centered in the place. A modest little, quaintly-gabled townhouse in Marlinko harboring two ancient, retired swineherds cum public officials makes up the entirety of the cantonal Rada (council), tax collection and other administrative functions in one cranky, “it's cold in here” epicenter.
Townhouses aside the real day-to-day governing of the canton is just where it has always been with: the Lord of Revoca. Or rather, Lady, as the seat has not been held by a man for over 17 generations. Somehow, miraculously even, succession always comes back to a female of the Morva family. The closest to producing a male heir being three generations ago when the then Knyaz, Vlanka the Knob-Toed, begat three sons—only to see each die in an abrupt freakish accident—and her niece Draga I succeed her. Currently the title is held by the winsome and hard-nosed, Knyaz Draga III “the Twitterlight", who at 17 remains scandalously unwed.
What is Worth Seeing/Avoiding?
The Tarn. A cold, dark uplands lake said to have harbored its own Old Pahr nymph-godlet, Mojca, back in the hoary day. The locals in Revoca Town refuse to acknowledge the lake's existence:stubbornly refusing to address questions about it and going as far as to build a tall obscuring palisade to block its view.
The Stuz. While the Tarn is utterly ignored the thick old-growth woodlands to east are at least acknowledged—and deeply feared. Ancient beeches mix with sour chestnut, gooseflesh vines, large-leaved lime, gnome pine and a startling profusion of hypervividly-colored fungi (many said to hold sorcerous powers) on its murky, trunk-littered forest floor.
The Stuzika (or Stuz in local slang) is mythic wilderness staying always at an almost evening hour and an eternal early autumn. The Stuz is said to not just have a single, terrifying Leši (great, hairy, green-eyed woodland spirits like one would find in a sensible forest, but no less than three of wildly varying temperaments—all ruled over by a “silvan czar,” a venerable and highly erratic Leshy overlord. Travelers are advised to keep slices of salted and buttered bread at hand as these offerings are reputed to be much beloved.
|They would kill you, soon as look at you.|
Vlkodlak Reserve. When an infant is born with teeth--feet first--in the Hill Cantons, the parents shudder. Inevitably despite any supplications to our dear, inestimable Sun Lord, such an unlucky babe will find themselves shifting into the bestial human-eyed wolf-like creature called the vlkodlak. In times past great maroon bands of such shapeshifters would roam these backhills rudely fostering plagues among cattle, gobbling up children and urinating into any open container visible.
The great scout and wolf-fighter Nit Arseson put an to the local menace in a spirited, martial campaign a decade back, corralling these creatures into a picturesquely arid and refreshingly wind-swept strategic hamlet amply protected by march-wardens and inwardly-barbed walls. Local denizens pay in great numbers to watch the Vlkodlaks perform with charmingly morose faces their monthly ritual of peeling off their wolf skins to hang dry on tree branches.
|Poor sad Vigbrand|
Revoca Town. Town being a very generous term for this largish village of slate and dung-mortared towerhouses, it does fill out the role of a market town with its twice-a-week open-market. Improbably enough it is rumored that once a month when the two months are high that even Lesi (appearing no higher than a blade of meadow grass when outside their leafy home), spirit-maidens, man-wolves, marsh-witches, dirt-gnomes, chaos-monks and other fell creatures can be seen leisurely ambling among the market stalls and bidding on sheafs of barley, colorful beads, nunchuks and other goods.
Perversely enough, the townsmen maintain a charmingly rustic shrine to Mojca and all water in the town is provided from the Tarn through well-serviced, lead-pipe conduits.
A local “throves of vigbrand” mine, an eye-grating reddish precious stone attributed by legend to the agonizing stabbing death of Vigbrand, a hero-cult aspect of the Sun Lord, ensures a relatively prosperity to this isolated little burgh.
Chaos Monk Monastery. Really one shouldn't make eye contact with them.
Great Aviary of Komius Otmar. Jaromil of Dvec, a journeyman in the Schrimpschongers and Whittlers Guild in Marlinko and descendant of the great hero Adalfuns, was found dead, from apparent suicide, on the Black Altar of Expediency more than two years ago. Without descendants his famous map that shows the location of the lost Great Aviary of Komius Otmar, the crazed Master of Horse of Overking Raginmud XXXII, has become a matter of public record. Interestingly the location is revealed to be just east of Revoca in the ruggedly hilly part of the Stuz.