Gyddava is a medieval “far east” campaign set in a fallen empire now dominated by ruthless warbands, a corrupt merchant, deadly constructs, and demon-led barbarian tribes. The campaign is set in the midst of zhan guo, or “warring states.” Each region is loosely modeled upon an Asian or Eastern culture with tropes rooted in that nation’s folklore; Suichi, with the mythology of Arabian Nights, where tribal nomads contest the dry plains and deserts upon mechanical horses and flying carpets; Wu-shi, with Hindu and Indian mythology, where priesthoods of elemental gods rule a regimented caste of farmers, warriors, and mystics; and Rosiku, grounded in Chinese wuxia and Japanese samurai traditions, once the egalitarian seat of a proud, honorable Empire, now a corrupt and bureaucratic land of inequality ruled by the robber baron merchant guilds and the criminal Lulin underworld.
-100 years: Chaos ruled the region, its peoples divided, with city states ruled by despots and the countryside filled with warbands.
-90 years: Birth of future Empress Mai Zhang.
-70 years: Mai leaves Wu-Shi and forms the Knights of You-Xia, destroyed many of the warlords and drove the rest, among them Sai Gim, the necromancer, into the northern desert plains of Suichi. In the battle, Sai Gim loses the Rod of Power, a powerful artifact, which Sai Gim has lost. With this power, she eventually leads her to unite the city states of Rosiku.
-65 years: The cities of Rosiku pledge allegiance to Mai and crown her as Empress. Sai Gim, with the power of extraplanar forces, begins uniting the barbarian tribes of Suichi. Mai uses the Rod to create constructs, machines, and steamwork, liberating the poor of the country and ushering in a new era of enlightenment. The cities of Rosiku become flush with modrons, golems, and steam engines.
-60 years: The elves of Wu-Shi recognize Mai as Empress and unite with Rosiku to form Gyddava, the first nation of elves and men. In Suichi, Sai Gim discovers the entry to the Yuan-Ti underground within a temple.
-58 years: Sai Gim leads the Yuan-Ti into the surface world, where they begin to live in common with the barbarian tribes. Under the Yuan-Ti, the Suichans grow in power and learn old, arcane magic. Sai Gim leads a cult, the Wudang, dedicated to the spread of the Yuan-Ti throughout Gyddava. Empress Mai becomes obsessed with growing her military might, constructing war machines and siege weapons.
-55 years: After a series of border skirmishes with Yuan-To, Sai Gim goes to Mai and tells her that with the Rod, she can stop the Yuan-Ti from challenging her power. Gim teaches her to use her Jianghu elemental powers to imbue the Rod, and this gives Mai the power to cast horrifying spells. In battle, she slaughters entire armies, and revels in bloodshed. The Knights of You-Xia, recognizing that the Rod has corrupted Mai, and insist that she relinquish the Rod to their clerics. Mai refuses. When Knight Commander Venson tries to steal it from her, she disbands the Knights, and declares them traitors to the crown. She curses them into avian creatures, and they go into hiding.
-50 years: Empress Mai has been driven insane by the Rod and enforces law and order with utter ruthlessness. The barbarian tribes of Suichi are driven from the capital into their deserts by her construct enforcers. Corrupt noble houses take advantage of Mai’s paranoia to gain power and collect private armies.
-48 years: Sai Gim brokers a conspiracy with the Jianghu to smuggle a jewel imbued with a curse into Mai’s chambers. When she touches it, a great fire Efreet consumes her soul, but not before she breaks the Rod into seven pieces. The Jianghu take the rod’s pieces and scatter them throughout the country.
-47 years: The nobility of Rosiku uses Mai’s death to usher in a new campaign of nationalism, and disband the Gyddava empire. The elves retreat into the borders of Wu-Shi, and the barbarian tribes of Suichi, fall again under the influence of Sai Gim.
• When Zhang was a young girl, her parents were slaughtered and her fishing village destroyed by a warband laying waste to the Rosiku coastline. Taken as a slave, she was eventually left for dead on the steppes of Wu-Shi. She was taken in by the elven mystics of Jianghu – a monastic order who protected the elves of the steppes and whose masters were elemental summoners and acclaimed martial artists. As an apprentice and servant, she was given an education, taught hard work, and was expected to become a monk and serve the elves of the secluded valley of Wu-Shi.
• However, Mai Zhang couldn’t ignore the war ravaging the rest of the country. An accomplished elementalist and fighter, she left the Jianghu, and began recruiting the best and noblest youth left in the Rosiku villages. She vowed to make her own band of heroes who would put an end to war and bloodshed, which eventually became the You-Xia.
• Mai and the You-Xia cleansed Rosiku of the warlords fighting for borders, and eventually established a feudal rule of the country, setting up town councils, receiving tribute, and ruling through the Code of Mai (or simply known as “Xia”).
Code of Mai
• The eight attributes of the Xia are altruism, justice, individualism, loyalty, courage, truthfulness, disregard for wealth and desire for glory.
• Few could live up to the standards of Mai, and eventually, not even Mai herself. Frequently the knights’ sense of justice was subjective, and more often than not was in fact vengeance. Loyalty was one virtue that defined any You-Xia, but it was based on the oft ignored principle of reciprocity. A xia who was not treated with due respect did not feel any obligation to serve his patron with zeal. The courage of the xia was that of any fighting man, and his truthfulness did not always imply honesty. It had more to do with maintaining a reputation as one whose word was sacred, and could often turn to intractability. Even the desire for personal glory was not universal among xia. Some considered it counter to the spirit of wude (martial virtue), which counseled humility and forbearance.
People of Interest
Knight Commander Venson Chaung
Lo Sing, owner of the Prodigious Parakeet
Kun Gao, Constable of the Consumer Consortium
Douglas Stormhaven, or “Doug”