September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Keltia setting

Making this a new topic rather than still about adapting.  Updating my old Rolemaster setting has turned into a bit of a project as changing deities/role of such etc. lead to other things.

In terms of magic, is there a major problem with paring back access a bit.  Warriors and Rogues could never learn Common spells unless they had a kin or background rationale.

This means something along the lines of only Wizards, Animists, Champions, Dabblers, Star Elf kin or Fey Culture characters may learn Common spells.

Optional Speciality Skills would be available, though would be limited by kin/character national/cultural lines.  Leshak because they are known for stealth and not fighting formally and Illyrans (a nationality of Man) because they're treacherous SOB's (aka civilized) are the ones who may learn Assassination for example.



A larger scale map of Orhan, which can be zoomed in to Keltia, and a pdf of the overview document.

This includes some limits/tweaks such as having Champions choose to be more animist or a more arcane in their bent, adjusting some Culture Skills when the people in question would not favour the ones listed (e.g., the Tolosath don't go in for magic so much but are great riders so a shift of Spell Lore ranks into Riding).

Now obviously this has not been play-tested so any thing that is essentially "we tried that and it tanked" would be good to know.  Any comments welcome. I have yet to pitch this to my regular group (which is in quasi-hiatus) and would still love to find a roll20 or other online group to join.

The Darkmaster's nature is not revealed as when starting out the existence of this threat would be unknown.

The Willow Lake scenario would work in terms of the threats encountered/locations.  Some names would be changed (those that are Anglo-Saxon would in Keltia be Tosolath/Logoth).  The sample characters would work with adjustments to their origins (e.g., Morien is from Greatford etc.) except for the Halfling who would be replaced with a Leshak, though their personal connection would work down to helping by finding missing animals.

The nature of Blaithnaid's tragedy and her history would be a bit different as it would connect to her history and the interest of the Darkmaster's agents would be in how she managed to open the Ghostwalk Pass - was that would be very useful to anyone looking to move an army though it into Keltia.


Fantastic job, it really shows the passion you poured into the setting. Love the bits of history and little details (particularly the "legends everyone knows" part!).

Can't see anything game-breaking at a first glance, were you worried about something in particular?


Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.


It was mostly the tweaking of Culture skills for Nobles and "streaming" Champions' choices of Spell Lores that I was worried about.

The core "post-Roman Britain with the threat of the former conqueror returning, some incoming barbarians adapting, High Men are essentially an Arthurian-version of Atlanteans {which is not far of the Tolkien version}" was the original base.  Events are historical ones modified for most part (the Pessimists Guide to History is a great source for natural and human-sourced catastrophes).

It's still a work in progress (there's an odd "see page xx" in it).

I have updated the Keltia draft doc, same link above, to fix some typos and polish a bit, also adding a Table of Contents.

I've shorted the history included as this would the Player version document and Players would not have as much historical knowledge - so the 'potted history' is more detailed in the immediate past century and gets vaguer going back further.

A GM document would have more detail on some historical events, particularly as relevant to the Rending and Darkmaster, and the outline of the Darkmaster, what the Firbolg are fleeing and some 'cosmological' info PC's would not know, at least at first.

Topramesk has reacted to this post.

Great stuff!

Are you thinking of publishing it somewhere, or is it just for you and your players?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

I'm fine to share once I've tinkered a bit.  It would be less "canon" as I always keep track of what has been put to players and what hasn't and what hasn't "is all held lightly pending the game moving in a direction making something else better".

I've previously shared a fair amount of Warhammer stuff (the Steward of Grauwerk Manor, a Favour for the Fostenklauster are both hosted online at various sites I think) - warhammer broadly also has a "darkmaster" in the form of the Chaos Gods but the overall flavour doesn't quite fit with VsD.

This is an example of what would be in the GM document:


Skathor are Half-Orcs of Seafaring, Hill and Marauder cultures.

The Skathor are native to islands in the North Sea, which they name Earna and Fyrkat.  They have lived here nearly 2000 years.

The History of the Skathor

Small groups of Skathor are found throughout Orhan but their major settlements were on the northern coast of Zama.  They built towns and fishing ports.  They somehow angered the Sea Drake Vendel the Invulnerable – one of the most dreaded creatures of Orhan.  Vendel came again and again to destroy settlement after settlement. Heroes and warbands alike faced the dragon every time to no avail.  Say what you will of Skathor, they do not lack courage.

The hopelessness of the struggle drove the Skathor to flee the region. Some sailed away, establishing the settlements in Earna and Fyrkat and smaller islands around them.  Most migrated west and eventually entered the Elven and Leshak realm, then known as The Two Rivers – Neshoseipei in the Leshak tongue.  They were attracted by the prospect of not having to ‘start from scratch’ because they could take resources from the “weaker” (less martial) peoples of the region.

When the Four-Fold Alliance defeated the Skathor, some again took ship to join their kin the islands, others went south where they became effective slaves of the region’s Orcs.

Skathor Raiders

The Skathor are driven to raid by the poverty of their homeland as their population keeps outgrowing the islands’ capacity to support it.

The wiser among their leaders know it is better to direct the aggressive instincts of their people to going abroad rather than have fighting break out at home.  They avoid the waters north of Zama, for Vendel the Invulnerable still claims that coast.

As it was before, some seek to settle where there is no one oppose them, choosing the coast of Orith and others choose to raid, choosing the coast of Keltia.

Those settling Orith are mostly of a Hill culture.  Those raiding are mostly Seafaring and Marauder culture.

Skathor longships are similar to historical Viking knars, each holding 20-30 warriors. Unladen with loot they can make as much as a hundred miles a day but 75 miles is a more typical speed (a small ship in VsD terms).

It is 500 miles from the Skathor ports to the coast of Keltia, though raiders like to establish temporary bases closer, on islands 200 miles away or on a deserted stretch of Keltia’s coast.

It is no accident that Maenyth, the Belgae Kingdom on an exposed coast, was overrun but those coastal kingdoms centered at the heads of deep bays have survived. The positions of Ascalon and Blackthorn mean that coastal beacons can provide as much as a day’s warning of raiders approaching. The long bays also shelter the Belgae ports allowing Gales and Gwent to build defensive ‘battle barges’ and take other measures to deal with raiders.

Updated and revised to a Players Guide, moving some other information to a GM's Guide

I may post it but it contains a fair amount of background information on villains and possible plans, the special artifact sought by the Darkmaster.

Updated map of region added

Charles Robinson has reacted to this post.
Charles Robinson