So I’m coming around to my occasional and random musings on Tribe 8 in general, and I was thinking about some slight changes to the canon setting (specifically, pre-Capal Vimary) that might make things a little more interesting. Some of these things are inspired by my delving into other fantasy settings such as Game of Thrones and the Dragon Age series of crpgs.
The first thought I had was simultaneously increasing the amount of threat that the Z’bri pose and the capability of the Joanites to defend Vimary. Basically, the idea is to make an active “Cold War” between the Tribes and the Z’bri – which would fundamentally change the Pact of the Dome. It would also settle a slight incongruity in the setting regarding why the Tribes would completely back off from finishing the Z’bri off after the Liberation. So instead of a sudden and complete truce, the new history would have the Z’bri being actively pushed back into what is now the Hl’kar. Cornered by the combined might of the Tribes, the desperate Z’bri send out secret emissaries to the Fatimas and agree to a forced stalemate between them. This results in the the now familiar arrangements for the Z’bri to sacrifice the Baron if the Fatimas sacrifice Joshua (this part of the canon background still holds – with Joshua around, there’s no way that a stalemate could have worked). To hold the Z’bri to their side of the bargain, the Fatimas commanded the Joanites to build the Seven Fingers at the edge of Hl’kar. These Seven Fingers are quite a bit different than the canon – they are bigger, better defended, better constructed, and actually imbued with Synthesis that both bolsters the power of the defenders and actively prevents Z’bri from crossing them. They’re like a smaller version of The Wall from A Song of Ice and Fire.
The Pact of the Dome would exist to make sure that each group stays within their sandbox, with the consequences of breaking it a renewed all out war. The Joanites seldom if ever venture beyond the Seven Fingers, and the Z’bri can’t cross into Tribal lands without assistance (more on this in a bit). I’d actually push Hl’kar fully back over the river past Laval and off the island. Abonom always struck me as being far too close to Tribal land, as did the Z’bri settlements shown north of Evan land on the south shore of the river. This creates a situation where it’s believable that the Z’bri have somewhat fallen into the realm of bogeymen and the Tribes have no real inkling as to what threat they pose. I would then populate the island north of the Seven Fingers with Squat bands, which provide the Z’bri with a source of flesh. Those Squat bands are actually what pose a threat to the Tribes, as Z’bri raiding forces them to throw themselves at the Joanite defenders in desperation to escape. It also creates believable scenarios for Joanite scouts to move among the Squat tribes to determine if the Z’bri are holding up the Pact.
This new reality would need a few more tweaks to make it workable. I never really liked the idea of Jo’han Z’bri so close to the Tribes – particularly those in the Skyrealms. While I get that the upper reaches of Montreal’s skyscrapers might be near inaccessible to the Tribes, that alone being a reason for the Tribes tolerating Z’bri living there doesn’t jive with me. With better defenses (and the implied ability of the Tribes to ward areas against the Z’bri) that means the Jo’han would be absent from most places in Tribal lands. In their place, I’d actually place any Z’bri that a Tribal can come in contact with in Tribal lands underground. The Emporiums and the underground are where Tribal and Z’bri emissaries meet when needed; they’re also where Z’bri that have escaped Hl’kar live. Known entrances in Tribal lands could be warded similar to the Seven Fingers but there’s a lot of unknown entrances. Any large Z’bri assault on Tribal lands would come from underground as a result (at least until the Seven Fingers are torn down), and also provides the means for Squats from north of the Seven Fingers to get into Vimary undetected.
That’s it for now…I’ll have more when I get some more ideas on how I’d like to change the dynamics of the setting for the better.