Friday, June 25, 2010

Arizona Adventures - Temporal and Cultural Setting

The temporal setting of Arizona Adventures is Dawn of Civilization. The civilized, magic- and metal-using humans are in the process of Colonization. Their mode of progress is agricultural settlement, harnessing the river valleys. Their culture is militarized, relying on fortifications to protect themselves from the wild inhabitants around them.

Non-civilized tribes of humans are to be found in small numbers spread throughout the state, in the Cliff Dweller phase of development. These tribal people are perfectly described by the Barbarian class of Unearthed Arcana. They are a warrior people, with shamans as their primitive magic users/clerics. They do not understand civilized magic or technology, do not trust it, and destroy it whenever possible (although they are willing to raid or trade for useful steel weapons).

These barbarians rely on hunting/gathering for their way of life, building their cliff-dwellings near the water sources of canyon rivers and creeks. Their language is strange, and their tribes hostile to the civilized colonizers. An occasional tribal barbarian can be found interfacing with civilization as a strange loner, and trading parties will occasionally be encountered as well, but raiding parties are far more common. The level of mistrust between native and colonizer is high.

Economic Development

Due to the early state of development in Arizona, gold pieces are fairly rare, produced in only two places: the Royal Mint in Tempe, and the Merchant's Bank in Flagstaff. The economy in the cities will run on bitmetalism (gold and silver), but the rural economy is done mainly in barter. Non-human monsters and giants will have items and jewels but little in the way of gold-piece hoards.

The main agricultural center for the state is in Tempe, utilizing the irrigation of the Salt River. His Highness the King is based on Tempe.

Flagstaff is the main center for the lumber industry in the state. Other influential groups in the city include the Slavers Guild and the Magical Faculty of NAU.

The main mining center for the state is in Prescott, producing the various metals (precious and industrial) used in civilized society.

The Highway of the 17 Lords connects these three economic hubs (although the 17 Realms are in various states of organization and stability, and the road is not completely safe).

A secondary mining area is located around the Dwarven towns of Superior, Miami, and Globe. The Dwarves are an ancient and insular people, and there is little interface between them and human civilizations. They view all humans as dangerous barbarians, and are only slowly learning to appreciate the differences between the colonizers and the native tribes. Their metal work (weaponry and artistic) is highly prized for its quality.

Blythe is a fortified trading town at the intersection of the Colorado Rive and the Highway of the 10 Immortals. Trade in any direction through this point faces control and taxation by the powerful Merchant's Guild.

Giants and Humanoid civilization

These groups exist at a very primitive level of civilization. They can be expected to possess naturalistic weapons and armor (wooden clubs and spears, rocks, slings, leather armor). Only their kings and captains would be expected to possess anything metal or magical. Treasure would mainly be jewels and other objects stolen from dwarfs, elves, or humans. Goblins and Hobgoblins infest the southern forests, while Gnolls and Flinds hunt the northern forests. Overall, their social organization is low, mainly clans and tribes, without kingdoms.

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