Firmel: Greentips and Greatertips


The fantasy world of Firmel is a free-style campaign in progress. This column will be used to create an updating campaign world, usable for most D&D style RPGs. In this, the first column, a detailed description of a ravaging disease known as "greentips": It is believed that the first instance of greentips occurred 1009, S E. (Second Era) in the city of Dryander. Trappers and hunters of the exotic animals and elves in the Resemar Forest noticed loss of sensitivity and blood circulation in their extremities.

The fantasy world of Firmel is a free-style campaign in progress. This column will be used to create an updating campaign world for use with the Rolemaster Standard System produced by I.C.E., but the ideas and concepts will be usable for most D&D style RPGs. The focus will be on the Oldern Empire, an empire recovering from devastating plagues and civil war. As the players in my group explore or I'm inspired on sleepless nights, it will be populated and illustrated. Firmel will be an ongoing project that includes: background stories to set the tone, NPCs with stats, locations of note, history of one age, timeline, encounters, maps, etc. Welcome to the Oldern Empire, and the world of Firmel.

Editor's Note: Firmel is visually detailed in an incredibly professional, high quality, suitable for printing world map. We heartily suggest you make a hard copy for reference - it's too beautiful to be ignored.

Glaucus-cacumen and Amplitdel-cacumen or Greentips and Greatertips

It is believed that the first instance of greentips occurred 1009, S E. (Second Era) in the city of Dryander. Trappers and hunters of the exotic animals and elves in the Resemar Forest noticed loss of sensitivity and blood circulation in their extremities. After a few hours, most cases days, the skin in the afflicted area would develop a slight green hue. In the next two to three days a fever developed. This condition would last three to four weeks in the extreme, slaying most in a week. At the end the victim were suffering hallucinations and had gangrene in nearly all their extremities. Magic did little more then prolongs a victim�s misery, doing naught for the possibility of survival. One in five endure the ordeal sound of mind and whole of body. Infection in the nose or ear was always fatal. The only know treatment and its worth has been disputed was, amputation of the corrupted area before onset of the fever.

The effects greentips had on the Oldern Empire were shattering. Word of its approach caused panic, turmoil, and despair. Families would gather all they owned, and try fruitlessly to outrun the plague. Others took to the streets proclaiming the fall of civilization; its� indiscriminate killing drove many to insanity. Survivors were left horribly disfigured often missing arms, legs or fingers. The history of greentips is a chronicle of families broken, gods questioned, and cultures lost.

In the Oldern Empire greentips quickly spread consuming the populace wherever it appeared. The empires� armies were crippled and the goblin tribes of Oleta swarmed through Yourling Pass. The account of an empire soldier who was able evade the goblin raiders said, the city of Yourling had been so decimated by plague. That the goblins, "walked over nothing but bodies, the regiment was dead at its post." The population of the Oldern Empire plunged from seventy-one to eleven million in ten years. Nearly all fatalities were caused by greentips, others died from starvation, neglect, or at the hands of mobs. In the city of Cessnock refugees and plague combined with stifling heat to produce brutal riots. Dwelling with green crosses painted on their door and sick families within, would be boarded up and burned to smoldering ruin.

A patrol from the city of Elder was sent out along the trade route to Colbinabbin. It passed through Wolfdene, Letern Springs, and Fife Lake. Some cities turned them away at the gates others were ravaged by greentips. Arriving at the city of Colbinabbin, as one member of the patrol wrote, �the barracks and city are filled with decaying remnants of humanity, streets and taverns that once bustled with the living now harbor dim memories; no guards are seen walking post, nor children laughing in the market. The only life are crows covering the dead like black cloaks, and packs of dogs gone feral in cobbled streets. A lone deranged man was found in the herald�s square, carrying a motionless child, weeping, and cursing, his was the only sound to interrupt the fearful silence.�

Greentips rapidly moved beyond the borders of the Empire bringing blight and madness to the rest of Firmel. In the Tlumach Union a terrifying outbreak reportedly, took the lives of eight out of ten in Dolgen Kaya. "Their arms and legs turn to sacks of rotting flesh, its decaying touch takes both master and slave�, wrote one healer. The reaction of those suffering varied from despair to irrational indifference. The healers documented the misery of those around them, the people of Dobromil, �jumped from cliffs into the sea, others built bonfires and scorched the infection with glowing brands. The unaffiliated would cut off hands and feet in attempt to ward off the disease, others driven to insanity wandered the streets to die of despair.� A journal found on the remains of a cleric of Jesslen Loum (goddess of famine and plague) recounted the effects greentips had on the worshipers of other gods. When their deities proved inadequate they, �came dragging their rotting limbs to the temple gateway. Seeking a cure for their bodies and salvation for their souls.�

They do not speak of it, nor are there any human records but the dwarf clans of the Empty Hills suffered greatly from greentips (they called it alfar bane.) Rumors of greentips caused the clans of the Twin Mountains to close their great gates, severing all ties with the outside world including their dwarven brethren. The hill clans believing their honor slighted declared, blood-feud; the armies of the Empty Hills, lead by the Cold Forge clan have laid unremitting siege to the mountains and mines of the Twins. With few prisoners taken in the hostilities and the ones that are, die before they divulge anything valuable. Information on the clans inside the mountain is vague at best. Unsupported rumor suggests they did not entirely escape the effects of greentips. Casualties caused by plague and incessant conflict, forced the hill clans to seek an alliance with the Oldern Empire. Emperor Melkolmur Cemarlin enthusiastically agreed wishing to gain the access to dwarven mines and weapon smiths. The treaty signed made the Empty Hills another imperial territory (this one with a dwarven governor). Dwarves being a long-lived race with only one in four a woman, and one child a century the norm, the loss of innumerable dwarrow holds in such a short time was a grievous blow.

The goblin tribes of Oleta knew of greentips as helt gav (cold death). They proved remarkably resilient to the plague (spawning like clurichaun in a Lake Heights vineyard.) and vast numbers of goblins moved through Yourling Pass. In the years of the outbreak the tribes were stopped just north of Unumgar, war parties were fought as far east as Lentern Springs. What is known of greentips among the Oleta tribes is; yes they were affected, but it seems not to have slowed their armies.

For many years there was only fragmented news and hearsay from the rest of Firmel. One of the massive city-barges of Ratzen was washed aground near Grassmere. All aboard had succumbed to infection. The results of greentips within the close, humid-holds of a city-barge was devastating. The pilot�s log was found; in it she describes what occurred. They made port at Ratzenberg and a launch was sent ashore, �to get water and dry goods. They returned with news of an epidemic in the city. The Captain commanded us turned about and full sail, straight out to sea.� This was not done soon enough, greentips swiftly spread from stern to aft, �The Skipper and Sea- master are both delirious with fever, their flesh wasting away with sores festering in the heat. To walk below deck is to enter a charnel house, entire families have been destroyed, their corpses left rotting in the hold. The screams of those infected echo throughout the ship, no place aboard is safe from their tortured cries. � The last entry states, �Those of use left will beach the Cair [the city-barge] near Grassmere.�

With the resumption of trade, news from furthest parts of Firmel reached Oldern. In the year, 1104 S.E. merchant ships from Anchor Head brought cargo and tales of the far coast; the Tlumach Union was able to successfully revolt. The Dagalyn Empire was incapable of sustaining a war of attrition and was forced to the treaty table. Their legions of dog soldiers were overcome by the plague before reaching the rebellious provinces. The trade center of Anchor Head became a shadow of its former self; with its self-proclaimed Merchant Kings brought low. Haven secured its bronze sky-ships in an attempt to isolate the floating isle. This failed and the guild lords of alchemy and engineering died in great numbers. In the Isle Kingdom of Kerlingar the Sea Monarchs restored the worship of Cepceler in his darkest aspect; however, they too died with their sacrifice. The free cities were decimated, the Magi of Emsdale (who some believe created greentips) died like any other mortals. Greentips has since vanished spreading out from its origin passing from one city to the next, through the empire and beyond. Like a stone dropped into a pond. The ripples moved out never to return.

What we have currently occurring in the Empire is greatertips; the first documented appearance was in the city of Grants Patch 1127, S.E. (It overwhelmed a population that had just stared to recover from the devastation a century prior.) Greatertips has the same properties and mortality rate as its predecessor but only takes two-three days in humans and three-five days in dwarves to run its course. Its been confirmed that people who survive greatertips are resistant to re-infection, just as the survivors of greentips were. The only known advantage greatertips has is that an infected individual can be quickly identified and quarantined. The shorter period of development makes it more difficult to spread, either killing its victim or quickly moving on.

Of all the races it is the elves that are resistant to both of these diseases, as they are all others. We have accounts in Oldern that survived the burnings of Ash Night; they tell of patrols sent to Sofan inside the Resemar Forrest, and others sent into Dust to capture an elf. All the patrols sent into Dust disappeared, one sent into Resemar succeeded. An attempt to transmit the disease to the creature was made. Spores from a dead victim were put into its water and food with no success; the elf survived all attempts at infection. Later this was again tried with the first emergence of greatertips with similar results.

If these two plagues are an attempt by the eleven nations to scourge the other races from the face of the Firmel (as most believe.) Then they have not taken advantage of the Empire�s vulnerability. Their only major offensive was overrunning Grants Patch and burning it to the ground shortly after the outbreak of greatertips. Some believe this was done by the elves to stop the spread of the disease to other settlements. If this is the case they have in no way explained their actions. Excluding the massacre, they have limited their raids to isolated villages and settlements with an occasional war party to panic the countryside.

Since the first infection in Grants Patch, greatertips has appeared without obvious explanation throughout the Oldern Empire. Striking cities, dwarrow holds, isolated farms, and ships at sea. How greatertips is transmitted is not know; that it is still around today is. It takes equally highborn and low making no class distinction; healer, mage, and warrior it kills with equal proficiency.

Annalist, Bounden Regiments
Ketill Gregen
1210 Second Era

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Black Death all over again. ;-)

Having said that, I prefer my fantasy a little more fantastic. One thing that I don't like about a lot of the modern stuff is that a Twenty-First Century voice can clearly be heard throughout, no matter who the supposed narrator is.

Case in point. The elves were suspected of spreading the disease and so one was captured to see if it could catch it. That assumes that the Empire understands the process of infection, which isn't something I associate with medaeval-style thinking.

Nice idea otherwise.

Nice story telling ability... Quiet medieval;) However I would like to see some d20 stats some day on the Green tips. I want to ... borrow... it for my campaign :)

Stats for greentips and greatertips have not been written yet. The idea of getting a disease that could kill their character without a fight worried some players, others thought playing a survivor would be fun. No one liked the idea of getting greatertips in game. For now it's only background material.