Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Battle of Nidus

I'm thinking of having a flotilla of vulture-headed pygmies attack Nidus from several sides. The officers of the army will be orangutan lesser demons in howdahs. The party has no troops to speak of but since Nidus is pretty anarchic, if they take a leadership role I figure some people will follow them. That would include some red sash hirelings and maybe some foreign mercenary bands.

I'm going to try and play this out from what I gleaned from Zak's battle of the styrofoam cup bridge. There will be several battle hotspots and battle off screen will be handled in a fairly simplified dice off.

I would like the ares being attacked to be evocative and also have strategic consequences. Maybe an archway to the north of the city would allow the party to fight fewer of the beasties at a time. A broad stairway near the dock might allow them to save some of the ships being burned by the invaders. A small plain before a bridge into the city to the south would allow them to maneuver troops around if they really want to.

Of course they can also run off into the woods and leave Nidus to its fate, but then . . . no more shopping! hahah


  1. Not there that is... Also, where do these come from? How do they fit into the surrounding area? Are they a common threat? If so, wouldn't the city have defenses against them, although they might be somewhat overwhelmed by these numbers?

  2. I don't know. But I think they're very anti-shopping ;)
    My conception of Nidus is a teeming nest without any real leadership, so defenses wouldn't be something they would concern themselves with. A sort of fantasy port royal, maybe?

    I suppose I could give a more logical threat, a crusade by zealots of St Cecily, for example, but . . . I feel my players are craving the chance to slay a bunch of evil little bastards. So maybe they drifted through a mist that shifted them through the planes (like those old Ravenloft mists).

  3. flotilla of vulture-headed pygmies attack is a beautifully evocative sentence. You know what's wrong and have an idea of how wrong it is. Bravo. I'm very curious about the orangutan lesser demons in howdahs - what are the howdahs mounted on? But I'd warn against going too jungle exotica unless that's really what you want, because I'm guessing the players will want to know a lot more about these guys and where they came from.

    Anarchic cities are fun. In practice, though, people will defend sunk capital costs. The alternative, which you see a lot of in historical SE Asia, is cities made mostly out of wood and bamboo, which get abandoned when the warfleets come - the population melts away into the forest for a while. Trying to mount a defense during a mass exodus could be alarming.
    Anarchy can be its own defense: street-to-souk-to-house fighting could be an enjoyable nightmare. Or might just be a headache for you.

    If you're thinking Port Royal, ships were sometimes converted into houses (longboats by turning them over and using the hulls as roofs).

    What's the landscape around like? If there's no city wall there are no gates and many entrances, so are there other choke points/hard places to use? Swamps, cliffs, buttes? Is there a palace or a church or a central market hall where you could make a stand? Bridges, fords, dams are all useful chokes, or if coming by water, straits, canals, locks. Meanders in the river that make moats around peninsulae. It strikes me that totally fluid war across a flat world would be the hardest thing to run.

  4. I think of Nidus as rock-cut and stone. Hard to hurt. The merchants will return after the trouble passes.

  5. As long as the invaders don't move in. . .

    I'm picturing bird-men in your army. They'd love those Cappadocian caves.
    I should probably go run my own game, though.

  6. ...sorry if this is too much. Just thinking: if you need a map for Nidus you could just swipe Petra: people know the one famous "treasury" facade but generally don't know the topography, and you could partly flood it or invert the elevations so it's a keel of rock sticking up out of the sea, rather than a valley between highlands.

    OK, I should really go start my own game. I have just restrained myself from detailing the city of Ar-Tepe, known to its inhabitants as Su-Din, which honeycombs a great finger of multicoloured rock thrust out from the coast. Known to the Ancients as The Shining Mount because of the veins of quartzite and mica that light it up at sunset, it is currently beset by millenialist cults that dread the coming of whatever it's supposed to be the mount for.

  7. Haha, creative stuff richardthinks. I got a long day at work today so I'll probably just have to muddle through the session tonight. I'm finding improv is often forced on me by circumstance.

    Though I don't want a map of Nidus, its supposed to be abstracted. I'll have these battles on the outskirts and leave Nidus in all its hazy shifting glory.