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PFRPG: Bizantium and the Northern Islands

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Shawn Merrow:
This is my first review here. I originally wrote this for a Palladium FB group.

Bizantanium of the Northern Island Review
   Starts out with a short story about a fishing boat being sunk by a sea serpent and the survivors  being rescued by the Bizantanium Navy. It then goes into an overview of the kingdom covering its reputation, global influence, view on outsiders and the current political situation.

   The next part is a history of the Eoten the original settlers of the islands. They are Human who appear to have been there since before the Elf-Dwarf war. It starts with the Eoten creation myth. There is basic information on them, their oral history tradition, there mentions in recorded history and their possible origins.

   The section ends with the recorded history of the Bizantanium Kingdom. It covers the war with the Western Empire, first contact with the Wolfen and Establishment of the Shadow Colonies. The last part is a information on the current status of the kingdom. Its not looking good as a weak king is setting the stage for a civil war or a coup.

Bizantanium's Origins & History
   Starts with the Eoten creation myth. The Eoten are the native people to the islands being living since before the Elf-Dwarf war if not longer. It has several theories about how old their civilization is. The rest covers the history of the empire. The last section covers the current state of the empire and its colonies.

The Kingdom of Bizantanium
   Has a nice section of the social classes from nobles to peasants. As many men are gone for long periods at sea Women have a lot more power here then in other kingdoms. Also got information on how the government works, taxes and laws. There is an overview of the four fleets that make up the navy.
   The section on the economy goes into its resources for example the hunting of sea serpents for meat and oil to its shipping industry. They have the most shipyards of any kingdom making ships. The colonies provide the lumber to keep them going.

   The use of magic is frowned upon with only Warlocks or priests being accepted. The use of magic against a citizen even in self-defense can result in harsh punishment including execution. There are no public shops selling magic items and teaching it is strictly forbidden.

   There is a nice section on the kingdoms foreign relations. They have a friendly relation with the Wolfen Empire as they worship the same gods. This causes friction with the Eastern Empire who wants them on their side in a future war. The Western Empire has agents stirring the pot as they want to conquer Bizantanium themselves one day.

   There is info on the seven islands of the kingdom with details on the capital and the city of Wujik. The info covers a few of the shipyards and one Dwarven city. They are the only non-Humans allowed to live full time on the island but have less rights then Humans. The last part is info on the Shadow Colonies and the great Ice Shelf to the North. The barrier at the Edge of the World is also covered.

   The important NPC are covered including the King, advisers and various Merchant Princes. There is a group of Warlocks who want to take over the Shadow Kingdoms. Also got members of the clergy that want to bring back Brgg a dark god. As the king is weak some want to remove him from power, a few key ones are also listed.

New O.C.C.
[*]Fisherman O.C.C.: while many on the islands know the basics these dedicate their lives to it.
[*]   Bizantanium Marine O.C.C.: Have a few variants to choose from with each getting different bonuses. Also has the Sky Riders that ride Pegasus but there are not vary many of them.
[*]   Serpent Chaser O.C.C.: They hunt the Sea Serpents for money or revenge.
[*]   Waterchanter O.C.C.: A special Priest of Algor with magical abilities like a Warlock.
[*]Bizantanium Warlocks: Some new spells mostly water.
[*]Skills: A mix of new skills and reprints from Adventures of the High Seas.
[*]Experience Tables: Has them for all the classes.

Animals of the Northern Seas
[*]Black Whales
[*]   Corpse Jelly: Floats on the surface looking for prey.
[*]   Green Fin Shark
[*]   Harbor Seal
[*]   Wolf Seal
[*]   Sea Unicorn (Narwhal)
[*]   Ice Bear (Polar Bear)
[*]   Rock Claw: Giant Lobster crossed with Scorpion, very aggressive predator.
[*]   Walrus

Sea Serpents & Monsters
[*]Ice Bearman: Live on the Ice Shelf with a tribal society that looks down on most races as being soft. They worship the dragons who live in the North. They make offerings and will rush to protect them but are not servants as they very prideful species.
[*]   Sea Ghoul: When someone drowns without last rites there body can be possessed.  They feed on the dead but are also timid avoiding fights.
[*]   Selkies: A type of Faerie that loves to spend time with Humans. If they remove their skin they take on the appearance of a Human. They frequently pick Human lovers but always return to the seas. If their skin is taken they can be made to obey the person who has it.
[*]   Jormund Serpent: A very large serpent (400 to 900 feet) that unlike most will attack groups of ships.
[*]   Northern Strangle: It moves along the surface like a water snake. It wraps its coils around its prey including ships squeezing till it stops struggling or the ship breaks up.
[*]   Winterserpents: A new type of dragon very much in tuned with the cold and ice of the North. They occasionally come down to more southern areas but never stay very long.
[*]   Random Sea Monster Generator:  With the Sea of Despair there are a huge variety of sea monsters. There are random tables for appearance, intelligence and special abilities.

   To sum them up, very scary. A good comparison for them would be the Reavers from Firefly. They are a humanoid race that lives on the Great Ice Shelf. They are tall ranging from 6 feet, 5 inches to 7 feet, 6 inches. They raid the northern wilderness and the Bizantanium islands. They will also take ships at sea. Their most common tactic is to leave a ship or village intact for the purpose of spreading fear.

   They live on ships called Necroilus which are made from the bodies of sea serpents reanimated by a dark form of Necromancy that only they know. There are also longboats made from bones that are used for scouting and raiding missions. Their weapons are mostly made of bones or stones with only leaders having metal or magical weapons. They wear little to no armor.

   They live a very structured life with the ships lead by the Serpent Captain with Clan Captain underneath. These positions are held by men with the rest making up the raiders. The majority of women learn the magic to create items from bodies of their victims. The most powerful are the Sea Witch with some being warriors who go on raids.

   They eat their captives using their bodies to make clothes or horrid decorations for their ships. They will take prisoners but only to be used as slave labor or to be eaten later. Its better to die then become one of their prisoners.
[*]Male Iceborn R.C.C. - Strong able to handle the cold and water with ease.
[*]   Iceborn Raider O.C.C. - The main fighters, well trained in combat and sailing.
[*]   Iceborn Captain - As above but has access to Necromancy.
[*]   Iceborn Female R.C.C. - Much like the male. (86% Skinbinder)
[*]   Skinbinder Female O.C.C. - Makes the tools, clothes and other items.
[*]   Iceborn Sea Witch O.C.C. - A unique witch that makes a contract with the Old One Netosa.
   The last part is a description of life on their ships followed by the stats. The Necroilus can range from 200 feet to 4000 feet! They are propelled and regenerated by magic. The smell alone makes most that board start vomiting. Its not a standard undead so magic that works on them will have no effect on the ship.

   Their major activity comes in waves and are currently building up to a new series of heavy attacks. With the Bizantanium Kingdom having a weak king this could mean disaster for them.

Necromancer O.C.C.: The O.C.C. and its spells.

Weapons & Armor & Ships
   A few unique weapons and armor.  The ship section has reprints from Adventures of the High Seas with a few new ones like the Icebreakers and Battleships. The Stone Ships are also included.

Dangers from the Past
   Beastla: She is the Queen of Sea Monsters and mother of Od the All-Father. Her body lies somewhere in the North buried under the ice. In the past she was worship by the Ice Born who are currently looking for her.

   Brgg the Destroyer:  He is the brother of Algor and used to be worshiped by the Eoten. He saw all dragons as his enemies to be destroyed. He was defeated and sealed away by Algor when the Eoten started worshiping him instead due to Brgg violent nature. His prison chamber under the island of Torn is described. If freed he would seek revenge on Algor and all the people of Bizantanium.

Seven Treasures of the North
[*]They were supposed to be a gift from Algor but Brgg hide them. A legend says they will be brought together to save Bizantanium.
[*]   1. The Wolf-Son's Sword: A Major Rune Short Sword that once belonged to Wolvenar.
[*]   2. Hammer of Belimar's Blessing: A Major Rune weapon that can magically repair items.
[*]   3. Stone of Lacknar: A small rune statue with a variety of magic powers including ones to confuse the minds of others.
[*]   4. Rauga the Giantslayer: A spear that does additional damage to large creatures.
[*]   5. The Seahawk's Eye: A gem that allows one to see what the weather will be like in 48 hours.
[*]   6. Aragat, Sinker of Ships: A bow that only does damage to inanimate objects.
[*]   7. Trident of Valfdan: Has the power to freeze the water it touches.

   All of the seven treasures can cast a number of spells. If you can find at least four they will point to nearest one when places on the ground.

Avenues of Adventures
   They are not full adventures but they do give you a number of idea on how to make one.

   There is a mention of Red Barnacle Armor that the author says was cut but a few reference were left in the book. It also appears they may have been a map of Wujik as the city description indicates one but it was cut if there was one.

   I really enjoyed this book and think its a great addition to the Palladium Fantasy collection. There is a free preview of the book on DriveThruRPG.

Good to see you at Mos Eisley Shawn! :) Thanks for posting the review.

Have you had a chance to run a PF game using Bizantium / Northern Islands?

The Iceborn sound like good human villains for the setting. Are they a new threat or do they have a history of raiding Bizantium?

Shawn Merrow:
Haven't had a chance to use it yet. The Iceborn have a long history of raiding the Kingdom of Bizantanium.

Anything new with the Necromancer, or is it just yet another reprint?

Are the Eotan secret? Seems like the evidence for humans pre-dating the Elf-Dwarf war grows with every book.

Glad Palladium is doing something with the Fantasy line, but disappointed that it is a book about a place they already have a book about.

Shawn Merrow:
On the Necromancer its the O.C.C. and its magic spells, so not anything really new. On the Bizantanium Kingdom there is a lot excellent new information and the material on the Great Ice Shelf is all new.


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