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6/28/2017 9:13 pm  #1


Winter is coming

As I re-immerse myself in Hyperborea I've found myself thinking about what Hyperborean winter must be like. The boxed set makes it clear it is an absolutely horrifying experience - a year of night, and the years around it not much better. It's an idea I like a lot but also one that I find stretches my suspension of disbelief.

The challenge I'm finding is figuring out how the inhabitants are able to stockpile food - with no daylight growing crops will be quite challenging. Some Googling shows some plants are able to grow with minimal sunlight and I imagine Hyperboreans keep growing them as long as they can as winter approaches - and I also imagine they are likely better at preserving food than one would find in the Middle Ages - necessity being the mother of invention.

I could see how magic might play a roll - sorcerer's being able to create food would be quite valuable, though it is a 3rd level spell. Being able to purify food would likely be of great advantage, stopping food from going bad - and plant growth might have some interesting applications in a hungry community.

I'm a big fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower books and one thing it often features is the occasional remaining technological artifact. With Atlantean artifacts, I could see some communities in Hyperborea having as their most precious possession a set of ultraviolet lights that allow them to grow crops throughout the long winter. Finding a new power source could make for an adventure, as could trying to retrieve stolen lights.

This is just some stream of consciousness - anyone have campaigns take place during winter and have some interesting game experiences/ideas to share?


My blog: 19th Level
 

6/29/2017 8:14 am  #2


Re: Winter is coming

Breschau of Livonia wrote:

As I re-immerse myself in Hyperborea I've found myself thinking about what Hyperborean winter must be like. The boxed set makes it clear it is an absolutely horrifying experience - a year of night, and the years around it not much better. It's an idea I like a lot but also one that I find stretches my suspension of disbelief.

The challenge I'm finding is figuring out how the inhabitants are able to stockpile food - with no daylight growing crops will be quite challenging. Some Googling shows some plants are able to grow with minimal sunlight and I imagine Hyperboreans keep growing them as long as they can as winter approaches - and I also imagine they are likely better at preserving food than one would find in the Middle Ages - necessity being the mother of invention.

I could see how magic might play a roll - sorcerer's being able to create food would be quite valuable, though it is a 3rd level spell. Being able to purify food would likely be of great advantage, stopping food from going bad - and plant growth might have some interesting applications in a hungry community.

I'm a big fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower books and one thing it often features is the occasional remaining technological artifact. With Atlantean artifacts, I could see some communities in Hyperborea having as their most precious possession a set of ultraviolet lights that allow them to grow crops throughout the long winter. Finding a new power source could make for an adventure, as could trying to retrieve stolen lights.

This is just some stream of consciousness - anyone have campaigns take place during winter and have some interesting game experiences/ideas to share?

When you have such a long cycle between seasons you may have an entire campaign without encountering the year of night!  

Though magic would be helpful to the few the majority of savage races would simply endure, hunting the red dear. After a year of darkness many would be lost to insanity, barbarity in the form of cannibalism, starvation, and predations from creatures that only come forth during the long dark!

If you live through that you make great offerings to Xathoqqua and then try to rebuild your tribe!

In the great city of Khromarium the Oligarch would need to stock the granaries and larders well in advance. Many of the poor would be ejected to the fortunes of the wilds to sustain those with means, perhaps a lottery of sorts.  Teams of rangers would go forth in wider and wider circles to forage and hunt the diminishing game.  Foodstuffs would have to be purchased from cities in warmer climes and distributed at dear prices.  The Oligarch may perform dire rituals to dark gods for sorcerous provender, though most "good folks" would not knowing partake. 

The toll of the winter on the peoples of Hyperborea is one of the reasons they can survive and grow stronger!

I apologize for the stream of consciousness as well!

Morgan


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

6/29/2017 10:14 am  #3


Re: Winter is coming

^
In addition to the above, I would imagine the large cities have underground mushroom farms, perhaps operated by Krimmean expatriates.

Actually, that gives me an idea for an adventure. Hmmm.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

6/29/2017 10:25 am  #4


Re: Winter is coming

Blackadder23 wrote:

^
In addition to the above, I would imagine the large cities have underground mushroom farms, perhaps operated by Krimmean expatriates.

Actually, that gives me an idea for an adventure. Hmmm.

Great idea! A year of eating mushrooms would definitely have life changing effects...


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

6/29/2017 1:28 pm  #5


Re: Winter is coming

I think it depends on location.

I would think that Khromarium has an extensive "undercity" with living space, storage areas for preserved food, and cisterns of clean water. Perhaps the Sorcerer-Priests of Xathoqqua provide intoxicating lotus extracts to the faithful that would put them into a dreamy haze most days - basically "hibernating" through the winter.

Conversely, Keltic clans would huddle in their hill forts and round houses and carefully shepherd their diminishing supplies. As Mabon describes, teams of rangers would forage for fresh meat. But despite this every winter would still end up like the Irish potato famine, limiting the growth of the settlements.

More barbaric or vicious groups would simply rely on raiding to survive, moving between small settlements or simply reverting to cannibalism if necessary.

 

6/29/2017 1:35 pm  #6


Re: Winter is coming

Every city and town would have to have an extensive warehouse district just for storing food,  something to keep in mind when mapping.  

 

10/17/2017 9:29 pm  #7


Re: Winter is coming

Isn't Hyperborea basically an island? I assume the seas swell unnaturally with fish, deep ocean creatures and other strange and unspeakable things during the winter, so that the ocean's bounty becomes the main food staple of the large coastal settlements in the dark years (perhaps the Elder Things need regular appeasement for this to happen). There are some smaller settlements inland of course... I assume ritual cannibalism becomes the fashion in these parts, at least to supplement food brought in from hunting and trade.

Last edited by Galadrin (10/17/2017 9:30 pm)

 

10/18/2017 12:45 am  #8


Re: Winter is coming

Galadrin wrote:

Isn't Hyperborea basically an island? I assume the seas swell unnaturally with fish, deep ocean creatures and other strange and unspeakable things during the winter, so that the ocean's bounty becomes the main food staple of the large coastal settlements in the dark years (perhaps the Elder Things need regular appeasement for this to happen).

Talk about Deadliest Catch! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/shocked.png

 


"I, Satampra Zeiros of Uzuldaroum, shall write with my left hand, since I have no longer any other, the tale of everything that befell Tirouv Ompallios and myself in the shrine of the god Tsathoggua..."
 

11/02/2017 10:36 pm  #9


Re: Winter is coming

Yeah, this should inform so many aspects of Hyperborean life. I also try to remember that freezing and melting and flooding in these cycles would affect the riparian landscape in significant ways.

My campaign has sort of developed the idea of a few strains of druids. Your adventuring druids gain experience and unlock more power. They have chosen a path that opens more connection to wild power through personal experience. Call them the self-centered druids--or selfish in the manner of the alignment in TMNT and Palladium games.

Wild druids stand in relation to them the way wild berserkers to do PC  berserkers. They are, effectively monsters, who, basically, have chosen a path to unlocking more power that involves suppressing, overcoming, or disabling their human selves--their humanity. They are feral. This expresses itself in different ways for different groups, but I've taken inspiration from Arnold K's musings on druids on Goblin Punch and Evey Lockhart's "Ruined Palace of the Metegorgos" from In Search of Games.

Then there are the civilized druids. And make no mistake, they are civilized only in that they use their power to sustain human life in a deeply inimical world. These are real wicker-man type druids, burning thralls and animals and prisoners and anyone they can get their hands on because fire and blood awaken the fertility of the land. I think it's unreasonable to think that an agrarian society as small and and as beset by howling, monster-infested wilderness as most of Hyperborea is could grow or even hunt enough food in the four years of extremely limited daylight--let alone the year with no light at all. But the druids are ready. They have been soaking the ground in human ashes and human blood throughout the Celestial Cycle. When the sun starts to die, they keep the ground alive and unfrozen and yielding what it can. But never forget that you are eating people. They died. You live. It is, the druid tells you, part of the balance.

Lots of adventures could be based around this. Druids should be one of the more common sources of adventure hooks because they NEED things. They do not have time to mess around. If there's not enough lotus to keep the town drugged enough to activate the sacrifices at Bealtainn, someone has to be hired to go into the swamps and harvest it.

So I figure they are strongest in the Gal Hills and among the Kelts--and the Picts sure have their own way of doing things on their islands. But wherever there are human settlements, you are going to have druids. These are tiny lights in the howling darkness, and the druids ensure the flame stays lit until the sun returns. But there's a price.
 

 

11/03/2017 6:14 am  #10


Re: Winter is coming

Handy Haversack wrote:

Yeah, this should inform so many aspects of Hyperborean life. I also try to remember that freezing and melting and flooding in these cycles would affect the riparian landscape in significant ways.

My campaign has sort of developed the idea of a few strains of druids. Your adventuring druids gain experience and unlock more power. They have chosen a path that opens more connection to wild power through personal experience. Call them the self-centered druids--or selfish in the manner of the alignment in TMNT and Palladium games.

Wild druids stand in relation to them the way wild berserkers to do PC  berserkers. They are, effectively monsters, who, basically, have chosen a path to unlocking more power that involves suppressing, overcoming, or disabling their human selves--their humanity. They are feral. This expresses itself in different ways for different groups, but I've taken inspiration from Arnold K's musings on druids on Goblin Punch and Evey Lockhart's "Ruined Palace of the Metegorgos" from In Search of Games.

Then there are the civilized druids. And make no mistake, they are civilized only in that they use their power to sustain human life in a deeply inimical world. These are real wicker-man type druids, burning thralls and animals and prisoners and anyone they can get their hands on because fire and blood awaken the fertility of the land. I think it's unreasonable to think that an agrarian society as small and and as beset by howling, monster-infested wilderness as most of Hyperborea is could grow or even hunt enough food in the four years of extremely limited daylight--let alone the year with no light at all. But the druids are ready. They have been soaking the ground in human ashes and human blood throughout the Celestial Cycle. When the sun starts to die, they keep the ground alive and unfrozen and yielding what it can. But never forget that you are eating people. They died. You live. It is, the druid tells you, part of the balance.

Lots of adventures could be based around this. Druids should be one of the more common sources of adventure hooks because they NEED things. They do not have time to mess around. If there's not enough lotus to keep the town drugged enough to activate the sacrifices at Bealtainn, someone has to be hired to go into the swamps and harvest it.

So I figure they are strongest in the Gal Hills and among the Kelts--and the Picts sure have their own way of doing things on their islands. But wherever there are human settlements, you are going to have druids. These are tiny lights in the howling darkness, and the druids ensure the flame stays lit until the sun returns. But there's a price.
 

And Handy is back! Good to hear from you. 

This is the main reason the tourist trade drops significantly in the year of night.  Tourists are tasty! 
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/03/2017 7:11 am  #11


Re: Winter is coming

Welcome back Handy!

Winter does preserve food, big fridge freezer, if planned major culls occur, the tribes could have pre-planned locations to bury their food in the mountain areas in underground storage pits.

 

11/03/2017 7:26 am  #12


Re: Winter is coming

Caveman wrote:

Welcome back Handy!

Thanks! It's been a long summer!

Caveman wrote:

Winter does preserve food, big fridge freezer, if planned major culls occur, the tribes could have pre-planned locations to bury their food in the mountain areas in underground storage pits.

You *would* advocate for using caves *wouldn't* you!

I try to remember to reference the Cycle as often as possible--have old necromancers refer to their age by the number of times they've seen the sun die and be reborn, that sort of thing. I like the idea of there being a larger crop of new adventurers in the early years of the Cycle as those who survived the year of darkness as older children are tougher and marked by it on their passage to adulthood. Children of the Long Night. I tried to tie the creation of some magic items to the Cycle, too, in the new magic items that are included in the second ed. of AS&SH.

 

11/03/2017 8:44 am  #13


Re: Winter is coming

mabon5127 wrote:

And Handy is back! Good to hear from you.  

Good to be heard from!

mabon5127 wrote:

This is the main reason the tourist trade drops significantly in the year of night.  Tourists are tasty! 

And how would *you* know, hmmmmmmmmm?
 

 

11/03/2017 6:27 pm  #14


Re: Winter is coming

Handy Haversack wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

And Handy is back! Good to hear from you.  

Good to be heard from!

mabon5127 wrote:

This is the main reason the tourist trade drops significantly in the year of night.  Tourists are tasty! 

And how would *you* know, hmmmmmmmmm?
 

I don't dine and tell!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/04/2017 8:44 am  #15


Re: Winter is coming

Handy Haversack wrote:

You *would* advocate for using caves *wouldn't* you!
 

Lol, well some caves, ya never know what in them!


 

 

11/06/2017 11:26 pm  #16


Re: Winter is coming

Handy Haversack wrote:

I try to remember to reference the Cycle as often as possible--have old necromancers refer to their age by the number of times they've seen the sun die and be reborn, that sort of thing.

I like.  Makes the old "get off my lawn" have new meaning---"you've still got summer in your hair, whelp!" or "you've still got light in your eyes, youngling" etc.

Handy Haversack wrote:

I tried to tie the creation of some magic items to the Cycle, too, in the new magic items that are included in the second ed. of AS&SH.

I like this idea a lot.  Haven't gotten to that in the my 2e reading yet, and will definitely keep an eye out for it.

Allan.

 

11/07/2017 10:08 pm  #17


Re: Winter is coming

Handy Haversack wrote:

My campaign has sort of developed the idea of a few strains of druids.

Handy, I am going to shamelessly rob some of your thoughts on Hyperborean druids.

I imagine that during The Long Night (the commoners' name for year 13 in my campaign) citizens of Khromarium scrape by on hard tack and fish, usually herring. Naturally, the wealthy and powerful will have access to a greater variety of foods, including those produced by magic or eldritch science.  For the average person in Hyperborea, preparation for the winter years occupies a significant amount of time and resources during the other 8 years. 

 

11/08/2017 1:11 am  #18


Re: Winter is coming

Don't forget fuel as well, it gets mighty cold without a fire.  Hyperborea probably has no coal, and it's going to take a LOT of wood and charcoal to last through the long winter.  Peat moss too, maybe some of what's getting shipped out of Swampgate is being stockpiled.

 

11/14/2017 4:59 pm  #19


Re: Winter is coming

Brock Savage wrote:

Handy Haversack wrote:

My campaign has sort of developed the idea of a few strains of druids.

Handy, I am going to shamelessly rob some of your thoughts on Hyperborean druids.

I imagine that during The Long Night (the commoners' name for year 13 in my campaign) citizens of Khromarium scrape by on hard tack and fish, usually herring. Naturally, the wealthy and powerful will have access to a greater variety of foods, including those produced by magic or eldritch science.  For the average person in Hyperborea, preparation for the winter years occupies a significant amount of time and resources during the other 8 years. 

Go for it!

I also wonder what tides are like. And whether sea ice forms in the dark years. That would make herring acquisition a frightening task.

 

11/14/2017 7:11 pm  #20


Re: Winter is coming

Anyone ever read the Helliconia books by Brian Aldiss?  There's a lot of great stuff about long seasons (I think centuries or at least decades long) and the changes society (and human physiology) goes through to adapt.   Lots of weird creatures too - I should re-read them with Hyperborea in mind.

 

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