Rihan’s Revenge is an immersive-style campaign that emphasizes survival and character interaction. For the first part of the campaign, the story focuses on human enemies and local politics, rather than monsters or traditional dungeon-crawling. It is recommended for about 4 player characters, starting at Level 1. For the purposes of this guide, I use a Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, and Wizard as examples of PCs. The rules are variants of Fantasy AGE/Dragon Age RPG, but they could easily be adapted to other systems.
The World of Rihan’s Revenge
This campaign is set in a world loosely based on Europe and the Middle East after the Third Crusade. Human place and personal names derive from this period, as does the technology. There are five major civilizations that are crucial to the political and social interactions in this campaign. Their languages, religions, and naming conventions replace the standard human and elvish conventions from D&D.
The three major religions—Alassen, Thummam, and Zaori—share the same Holy City, which has been the center of religious conflict for generations. The current cycle is only the latest in a lengthy period of turmoil, beginning with the First Cycle and the birth of the sacred child Orrian, known as Godslayer and Orrian Life Giver. Orrian was the child of the Zaori goddess of justice Amyria and the human priest Camlast the White.
In his lifetime, Orrian slew the god-dragon Lagrocrius on Mount Qabais where the holy city of Arihalla now stands. The Zaori hold this spot sacred because their goddess, the mother of the Godslayer, gifted Orrian with the Greatsword Aetherius. Forged with the dragon’s own blood, it was the only earthly material that could pierce Lagocrius’ hide. Both the Thummam and the Alassens claim descent from Orrian. The Thummam believe their ancestor was Thum, the only son of Orrian’s first wife Zaharie. The Alassens believe Orrian’s true heir was his daughter Alasse, born of his second wife Keya.
The debate over the legitimacy of Orrian’s true heir has sparked enmity between the religions for centuries. One of the major casualties of this constant war was the magical destruction of the Zaori homeland, the great city Lellalenor. The Zaori are now a nomadic people, traveling back and forth along the northern edge of the Middle Sea. They are often traveling bards and storytellers, and they are renowned for their healing abilities. However, the human residents of the Middle Sea often treat them with suspicion and hostility, so they do not remain in any place for long. The Zaori who have taken up permanent residence in some of the larger cities are usually relegated to ghettos and subject to discrimination from law enforcement. Some Zaori live as hermits in nature. The Zaori have many gods, but the main three are Ellmalume the Moon Goddess, Amyria, and Rasa Kalom the God of Nature.
While the Thummam religion is mostly relegated to the empire of the same name, the Alassen religion has spread west to many smaller nation-states. The Alassen Hierophant lives in Monte Serini, in the capital of Ambracia. Ambracian is the lingua franca of the western lands, spoken by scholars, merchants, and royals.
To the west of Ambracia are Capet and Genest, two countries whose kings share a common lineage. Both royal houses are derived from Geoffre of Angeve, who divided his kingdom between his two sons. As such, Capet and Genest together are called the Angevin kingdoms, and that is also the name of their shared language. These two countries have been the greatest of allies and the greatest of enemies over the years. They countries have much in common, from a cultural and religious point of view, so while their rulers may squabble, the lower classes of the two nations usually get along.
North of the human countries are the mountainous Dwarven Kingdoms. To the north of Thummam are steppes controlled by nomadic barbarians. The lands south of the Middle Sea bring trade in spices and silks.
It is now early autumn in year 43 of the 11th Cycle. Despite the best efforts of Capet’s border guards, Ambracian refugees flood into the border towns, pushing west. On their heels follow Rihan’s Outriders, a swift and lethal group of soldiers sent to terrify the enemy populace. Their arrival is the harbinger of a true invasion. Contrary to King Roland’s hopes, it seems that Ambracia was not Rihan’s only target. No news of the Hierophant since he crossed the borders into Dwarven lands. No one has heard from the lands south of the Middle Sea in years, and no adventurers are brave enough to face whatever the plague wrought there.