Powers and Perils


The Caldans are descended from two Kazi clans who migrated from the Kaz 800 years ago. Until the year 0CA [339SA] they fought a constant war for survival against giants and trolls. In that year, they cleared their plateau and drove their enemies into the Elder Mountains. For four centuries after this victory the nation grew and became civilized. During this period of peace they were given the Dagger and the Jewel by the Dwarves of Kril Schrandor as a reward for a great service the 1st Dagger did for the dwarves.

Under the 13th Dagger of Caldo (392-409CA [731 - 748SA]) a blood alliance was formed with the Kazi. This opened the north to Caldan traders. Over the next 100 years, the Caldans built roads to Djanesborg and Dirllar and fought the Fierazi barbarians who tried to bar their way. In the year 500CA [889SA] Caldo joined Salaq to defeat the Don Host at the Battle of Xad. After this battle, their alliance ended when a Salaqi noble insulted the cousin of the 19th Dagger. Caldo withdrew its forces and swore never again to fight for Salaq when this man went unpunished.

Excluding perennial wars with the trolls, Caldo remained at peace for 200 years after this war. In the year 648SA [987SA] they recognized Donara's right to exist as a kingdom. In 742CA [1081SA] the King of Donara demanded that they pay a yearly tribute or face conquest. Caldo responded by invading Donara. From 742-745CA [1081-1084SA] the war ravaged Donara. In the year 743CA [1082SA], Kazi riders and elements of the Dagger Legion torched manors on the outskirts of the royal city of Donara (during the Battle of Eama). After some minor reverses, the Caldans made peace, with minor territorial gains. In the decade since this war they have returned to their normal pursuits - trade, training and troll-baiting.


Though civilized, Caldo retains its clan organization. There are two clans. Clan Bara dwells in the north, centered around the city of Bara (23,000). It population is 125,000. Clan Caldo controls the south. Its central city, Caldo (20,000), is built in and around an ancient fortress built by, and for, Giants. The total population of the clan is 160,000. The nation has 285,000 citizens.

Caldo's armed forces are highly-trained and elite. Their major military units are the Dagger Legion and the Jewel Guard. The Dagger Legion consists of 5,200 footmen (4,200 in chainmail and 1,000 in platemail), 400 peltasts (chainmail) and 400 cavalry (200 chainmail, 200 platemail). The Jewel Guard is composed of 200 mounted knights in Plate Armor who are the most competent and noble soldiers in the nation.

Other than these forces, Caldo has 1,200 Kazi mercenaries, 400 Guardsmen (a garrison for the northern trade roads) and a national militia of 16,000 trained footmen.

NOTE - Military training is compulsory for Caldan men. Those who show great skill are enrolled in the Dagger Legion. Others are enlisted in the militia until they are too old to serve in battle. Veterans who prove their ability in battle are invited to join the Jewel Guard. Should it be necessary, the nation can levy an additional 8,000 men, by calling on old men and partially-trained youths, to resist invasion.


The Caldan plateau supports large herds of cattle and sheep. Their cities produce some of the world's finest iron and stone work. Caldan armorer's are said to be the finest armor-makers in the human world.

Caldo controls land trade to and from Djanesborg and Dirllar. They charge a high tariff to those who use their roads. Traders who refuse are left to the "tender" mercies of the Kazi.


Caldan religion centers around ancestor worship. They respect the Elder Gods but do not worship them. All Caldans know their lineage for at least five generations. Because of their dedication to their ancestors, many Caldans worship Gods of the Dead (to better the lot of their ancestors in the after-life). They seek to placate the supernatural, not to serve it.


The central feature of Caldan society is family loyalty. Outsiders who insult a family member are rarely forgiven. Except for an obsession with family honor, Caldans are kind, friendly and generous people. As long as family, clan and nation are not threatened, they do their best to help fellow Caldans and guests from foreign lands.

Most Caldans are dedicated sportsmen and gamblers. Theirs is a physical society. They enjoy athletic events and skillfully staged passages at arms, especially when a wager rides on the outcome. It is truly said that "a Caldan would bet on his own death of he thought he had a chance to collect afterwards."

Legal System

Caldo is a dual monarchy, created by the dynastic fusion of Clans Bara and Caldo. Tradition demands that the male leader of Clan Caldo marry the female leader of Clan Bara. The Caldan is called the Dagger of Caldo and War-King. The Baran is called the Jewel of Caldo and Peace-Queen. The Dagger controls the armed forces (except for the Jewel Guard), all fortifications and military affairs. The Jewel controls the economy, trade, the Jewel Guard and civilian affairs.

NOTE - The division of responsibility above is like that of the Caldan family. Men take care of fighting, protecting the home, providing for the family and handling danger. Women hold the purse strings, care for the young and keep the home running smoothly.

Crime in Caldo is resolved in both modern and ancient ways. For most crimes suspects are held prisoner for a fortnight. During this time, people go to the constables and testify for or against the suspect. When the period of investigation is over the testimony is examined by three judges who decide on a verdict. At no time is the suspect allowed to face his accusers or give any testimony on his own behalf. The first that he knows about the trial is when he is taken to court and the verdict is read.

Any person who is found guilty of a crime can demand to be tried by ancient law. For minor crimes, this is trial by combat. For major crimes, it is trial by fire (walking hot coals). The standard penalties for crimes in Caldo are mutilation, death and death in the arena.

NOTE - For the death in the arena penalty, the felon is put in the arena at dawn with the non-magical weapon of his choice. He is attacked without rest by various adversaries, who are replaced as they die or tire, until he dies. Should he survive until noon, he is judged to be worthy of life and is banished from the nation under heavy guard. The adversaries selected depend on the reputation of the criminal. They can be other criminals, heavily armored soldiers, skilled warriors or non-human adversaries such as trolls.


Caldo has a familial tie with the tribes of the Kaz. They have friendly relations with Djanesborg, often trade with Dirllar and have a profound respect for Dwarves.


The Caldans despise Kotothi creatures, especially Trolls. They consider the Donarans to be an arrogant and immoral people with no concern for proper honor.



Basic Characteristics

Weight 165lbs

Common Weapons

Pike, Short Sword, Javelin


Caldans are of Kazi stock

Calendar (Solar)

This calendar dates from their conquest of the Citadel of the Giants, the current site of the city of Caldo. It is the year 761 to the Caldans. The reasons this victory is of importance to the Caldans are that it eliminated the last Kotothi stronghold in their land and, as a reward for freeing the Dwarven slaves of the Giants, it earned them the Dagger and the Jewel.

The Caldan Family

The Caldan family is a multi-lineal, communal unit. Children belong to the clan of the parent of the same sex, i.e., all sons belong to the father's clan and all daughters belong to the mother's clan. No birth is illegitimate in Caldo.

NOTE - Caldan society has a class of low status individuals who belong to the Caldan state because their parent refused them and thus, they have no clan. In most cases, foreigners are responsible for this class in Caldan society. If these children are lucky, their other parent's clan take them as a ward. Though they still have little status in this situation, they do have a clan. In Caldan society, to be without a clan is to be nothing.

Caldan marriages are an alliance between two clans, not a license to bear children. The Caldan system does not distinguish between a child of married parents and a child of unmarried parents. What matters is the child's clan affiliation. (By the standards of most societies, Caldo is a promiscuous land with strange and immoral customs.)

The Royal Line

Succession in the royal line assumes that the king and queen are the parents of any child that either is responsible for, as detailed above. In all cases, the first male child of either parent is heir to the Dagger. The first daughter of the Jewel inherits the Jewel. If the reigning Jewel does not have any daughters, daughters fathered by the Dagger on other Baran women may inherit.

The Dagger and the Jewel pass to their heirs when both are at least 18-years-old (the Caldan age of maturity). At this time, the parents step down and become government advisors and office holders. They usually remain powerful in the government until the day that they die.

EXAMPLE - The current heir to the Dagger was born in 745CA [1084SA]. The heir to the Jewel was born in 749CA [1088SA]. The Dagger and Jewel will pass to them on the Jewel's 18th birthday in the year 768CA [1107SA]. The Dagger heir will be 23-years-old at that time.

The Dagger

The Dagger is the symbol of Clan Caldo. It grants its wielder increased strength (+20) and speed (+2 PMR)in battle. When he is sorely pressed, it draws on the strength of the Jewel without the user's direct volition. This power merges his spirit with the ancestral spirits of Clans Caldo and Bara, creating a nearly invincible engine of destruction capable of wielding the knowledge and power of more than 25 generations of Caldan rulers.

The Dagger can only be touched or used by its rightful owner. Any other person who touches it, including a former owner, suffers severe burns (2D6 hit points) and is unable to retain his grip on it. Anyone, except its owner, who touches it with anything except his bare hand is attacked by an MEL14/El7 Physical curse (transforming him into a dog) instead of the heat specified above.

The Jewel

The Jewel is the symbol of Clan Bara. It doubles the Casting Ability of its owner and adds 10 to her MDV. It is the repository of knowledge for, and key to the spirits of, the royal lines of Caldo and Bara. The holder can call on these ancestors for knowledge, information and advice. She may not wield their power in any other way. The Jewel can be used to communicate with the Dagger holder and all former holders of the Dagger or the Jewel who are alive. This ability allows the user to communicate and see what the person is doing (to determine if they need help). It does not extend beyond the royal line and may not be used for any other persons.

Any person, other than its owner, who touches the Jewel, who touches the jewel loses D100 energy points each phase that contact is maintained and will be unable to release the gem without aid. (Some other person must tear the jewel from his hand to save him.) If the person's Energy Level is reduced to zero or less, he is dead and his spirit is sucked into the spiritual realm inhabited by the Caldan Royal Spirits. These spirits will see to it that the would-be thief has an eventful afterlife.

The Culture Book

Population Detail

Caldo has an urban population of 43,000 in two cities (Caldo and Bara).

Caldo (Capital and center of Clan Caldo) has a population of 20,000 and is supported by 4 towns:

Lar Vando[Caldo-4]2,400

Bara (center of Clan Bara) has a population of 23,000 and is supported by 5 towns:

Car Dolda[Bara-6]2,250

In addition, there are three fortress towns:

Ft. Eldando[Caldo]2,070
Ft. Cal Tolda[Caldo-43]1,670
Ft. Don Tolda[Caldo-33]1,630

The remaining population is broken into 590 villages with an average population of 365 each.

Total population is 285,000.

NOTE - This information assumes that each "fort" is a fortress town.


Farming style is "Refined" with a support ratio of 0.15

Travel Notes

The major road south to Donara and north to the Kazi lands have been carved and built (with dwarven aid) out of the natural valleys in the Elder mountain range. The sothern road is broken by two major walled forts. Each fort is built with the road travelling through it, with high stone walls reaching out to the narrow valley walls. These two forts can effectively choke all travel north and south on the southern road, since travel through the mountains is only possible on foot, by mule or by llama (most of the terrain is too harsh for horses). Foot travel in the mountains is limited to 2-6 days per hex under good conditions (2D3) and nearly impossible during storm and dark seasons. Travel on the road itself is limited to 2 days per hex under the best conditions for foot travel, 1 day per hex for mounted travel. During the snowy storm and dark seasons the roads from the Ft. Cal Tolda hex to the Caldan plateau and from just north of Bara up to the Caldan plateau are closed due to snow, and the few villages along the road are pretty much isolated until the planting season.

Within the plateau itself, travel is difficult due to deep snows and cold, but the locals pretty much keep the main road clear as well as roads to the various other towns and villages. The great storage caverns of Castle Caldo and Ft. Eldando are used to store food gathered over the short growing season for the snowy months.

1) Nan Cadra, a trade town that guards the entrance to the Caldan plateau. This is as far as most Donaran and other southern traders get into Caldan lands, unless spoken for by a high-station Caldan. Only a day's travel from Caldo, it is a major transfer point of goods heading south on non-Caldan merchant trains, though most merchants who can will continue onward to the great market at Caldo.

2) Dvar Tolda ("Dwarven Gate") -- This town of 230 humans and 800 dwarves is 95% underground, with only a few human buildings outside a grandly carved tunnel entrance. This tunnel, standing over 20' high and 30' wide travels for over 50' before opening up into a huge, multi-level cavern. 10' before the cavern itself is a 2' wide ditch bridged by a huge metal plate. When the dwarves wish to close off the tunnel, stops are released and the metal plat hinges down and away, allowing for 2 huge doors to slide on great rollers from both sides of the tunnel. These doors are metal covered stone and very heavy. Only twice in recent Caldan history have the gates ever been closed.

The cavern itself is over 100' high at the center, dimly lit by spots of glowing rock. The floor of the cavern is primarily shops and human residence, with dwarven residence and government centers on upper levels carved into the cavern walls. Several stone bridges arch over the cavern floor, connecting opposite sides of the cavern.

For a human in the market area, the scene is an eerie twilight similar to the dwarven lands in the lower world, with untwinking "stars" all about the "sky", and dark shapes moving across them. The market area is better lit with standing stones of glowing rock, providing enough light to see your way around. Torches are not allowed, but covered oil lanterns are common in shops that cater to humans (the dwarvenkind need no such aids). It is in these markets here that the dwarves trade with humans in the middle world, taking in foodstuffs and fine goods for metal work.

In the upper stories is a dwarven barracks of 100 elite soldiers. These soldiers are exclusivly tasked with the guarding of a second tunnel that leads over 70 miles through living rock, to Dvalanhold (the stronghold of dwarves on in the Middle world).

3) Cri Dena -- This town is situated on both sides of the River of Blood, and connected by several stone bridges. The town economy is primarily based on recovering wood logged from up-river as well as sift-mining gold and silver washed from the mountains upstream.

4) Nan Badra -- A border town on the northern edge of the Calda Plateau. This is generally as far as non-allied foreigners get unless spoken for by a high-station Caldan or Kazi.

5) Arala -- A trade town situated on a very tight bend in the valley road heading north, it is marked by thick, natural stone arch that crosses the entance to the pocket valley into which the twon is situated. Long held by the Barans as a judge of bravery to walk across the arch, which is nearly 200' above the rocky road at the highest point. On calm days, the basic difficulty is Agility x5, which can drop to x1 or worse in very windy conditions. A partial success allows you to drop to your belly and crawl the rest of the way in relative safety (x3 to the basic chance). Failure indicates a fall, resulting in 6d6 damage DOUBLED (due to the stone floor. Any 6 that is rolled takes it's value and rolls again. See my falling rules for additional info).

6) Nan Kaza -- A border trade town, primarily dealing with the local Kazi, but also with northern traders who do not plan to go all the way into Caldo. It is here that anyone wishing to hire Kazi mercenaries will gnerally travel.

7) F'kirin's wall -- This finger of hard mountian ridge, over 2 miles long but no more then 300-600 feet in width and about 200-300 feet high, extends onto the Caldan plateau. In some time in distant past, the western side was cut flat and undeciferable runes carved into it. From the sheer scale it is obvious it was created by giants, but the purpose is unknown.

Burton Choinski

Location on PL Maps