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D&D 3E
destruction take 2 
10th-Oct-2005 01:59 pm

Okay, I'm just going to hope my players don't think to read this.

Please help me by commenting. What makes sense, what doesn't make sense, and more importantly How much destruction can I imagine would have happened in the last 20 years?

For the layout of the old kingdom consider france.  There are 22 large cities each controlled by a high ranking knight.  In each "provnice" there is exactly 1 large city, so 22 large cities, 22 provinces. The area is walled in on the east and west by impassible mountains.  To the north it degrades into tundra just north of the northern provinces.  To the south it degrades into desert making this kingdom the entire known world.  At the northwest corner there is a place where the mountains end where the party will be "coming from".  To the east, there is a pass through the mountains that is unexplored.  The entire kingdom is forests  and plains.

The problems started 25 years ago when the mines in the southeast corner ran dry.  Within' five years there was no new mines from which to get iron ore.  This left a fuedal kingdom starving for iron.  At this humanoid invaders began to spill in from the pass to the east through the mountains.  The province that "guarded" the pass fell quickly allowing the humanoid army to strike at the surrounding provinces.  The old king died during this time, replaced by his not as battle hardened son.  There was an increase in scheming and infighting.  The citizens of the three mining provinces to the southeast began to move outwards and upwards (since the mines were gone, there were no jobs.  With no money from ore export, they could not import goods).  This caused TREMEDOUS overcrowding in the surrounding provinces.  While this was happening a plague sprang up  in the southwestern provinces.  Citizens who learned of the plague began to flee to the surrounding provinces (the ones already being overcrowded with job seekers from the southeast).  Some of these fleeing citizens brought the plague with them.   At this same time in the northwest, a strange warparty of questionable origen sacked the cities in the northwest.  These were the lumber provinces, so the supply of lumber was cut off.  Without ore and lumber, the central kingdoms had little left over to fight with, and almost no way to prevent the plague from spreading that way.  Already overburdened with civil unrest, a faction sprang up to try and create a coup d'etat.  The capital Province was caught between the rebels and the invading army.  Eventually it collapsed, leaving the rebels and the humanoids to destroy the middle country with war while the plague reduced the number on both sides.  Eventually the humanoids would back off to the original provinces they conquered, leaving the wartorn, plagued central area to waste away to almost nothing.

Now, one important thing to keep in mind is that this is a very low magic world.  Wizards of more than level 10 are almost never seen. 

There is no contact with the outer planes, so summoning spells, many transport spells, etc. do not work.  Also, most clerics are limited to spells of level 3 or lower. Even higher level clerics are banned from raise dead and ressurect.

Finally, Dwarves are fully and completely integrated into human society (there are many half dwarves). Elves are in another place where the pc's come from and do not have any impact on this kingdom. Finally, gnomes and halflings do not exist. The only two races in this kingdom are Humans and Dwarves (and their crossbreeds).

So with that in mind, what would the situation after 20 years be?

10th-Oct-2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Forum is quiet today...
10th-Oct-2005 07:46 pm (UTC)
Summary of wmute's post:

Physically, you would see very little damage from the elements. Stone buildings would still look like new, and even wooden ones would barely need more than a new coat of paint. Doors might be hanging off their hinges, and thatch mgiht have been blown off the roof, but these are hardly going to apply to every building.

As to the decay of society, this requires knowing what the decay was.

If the kingdom was cursed so that no plants could grow, then there would certainly be no farming. There might be small communities based around temples capable of casting create food and water, but other than that, people would only live on the borders where food could be brought in easily.

If there was a major civil war that tore the kingdom apart, you would almost certainly see the remnants of those armies ekeing out a living by pillaging farms, with a few of the larger bands setting themselves up as hill-kings. Also, many more building will have been burned down, or otherwise demolished during the course of the war.

If a plague wiped out 90% of the population, then you would see a few scattered farming communities (again, clerics would be in high demand), and several bands of brigands, raping and pillaging.

More time means you can get more ruins, but it also means that the political situation will have stabilised, as settled groups take up arms to defend themselves, and then band together for mutual defence, becoming small proto-kingdoms... If enough time has passed and there are still people around, it's a fair bet that a power structure will re-establish itself, and rebuild the kingdom.
10th-Oct-2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
Well for humans anyway, 20years would be the start of another generation. So unless all the population was killed off (and the plague would have to be pretty damn impressive to do this. Remember bubonic only killed off like 1/3 of Europe in places, and even then isolated farm villages were spared. So while your kingdom's population may be lowered and it may no longer prosper, I don't think it would be in 'ruins' per say.

Basically you'd probably get small, isolated farming villages and small towns which have either escaped notice of the various raiders, or have managed to fend for themselves. They probably aren't too nice to new strangers that come by.

Larger cities will most likely have been sacked. So certain structures may still be around, but in general stuff will have been purposefully destroyed and all the loot carried off. But unless you have a really nasty disease or set of raiders, there may still be some survivers living in the ruins of the old city. There wouldn't be any form of government, just scavengers squatting in the remains of the castle or something.

Again, people survive plague. You could have lots of fun with any superstitions that have come about from that ("well if you touch this lamp twice a day, it wards off the disease!")

It seems like you need something really nasty (or supernatural) to bring about such total destruction. Just because there are no new incoming trade doesn't mean a kingdom won't survive. Even a normal plague probably won't kill off an entire kingdom. And raiders can only do so much (and will probably take over the lands if they do kill off the entire kingdom). So either make your disease or your raiders really nasty. I mean, just think of the band of orcs that managed to destroy an entire kingdom!

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