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Included in the latest HârnQuest

Themeson Keep

Themeson Keep (COL #5750, 18 pages)
written by Patrick McDonald, Marc Renouf, and Brent Bailey

Normally $14.99

Themeson is disputed land, seized from the Thardic Republic just over a decade ago. Although technically part of the Kingdom of Rethem, Themeson is more of an independent petty state controlled by the Cohorts of Gashang, a fighting order dedicated to Agrik, god of fire and war. The order is strongly influenced by the priestesses of the Order of the Eight Demons, the dominant Agrikan clerical order in the Thardic Republic. The Cohorts took control of Themeson just over five years ago as part of their split from the Red Shadows of Herpa, a rival Agrikan order. Since then, the order has not sworn fealty to King Chafin III of Rethem and has also publicly maintained its independence from the Thardic Republic. Talks are taking place with representatives of both realms to settle the matter.

Life on Themeson’s lands is harsh for peasants, craftsmen, and others who aren’t part of the Agrikan orders. The conflicts of the past 12 years have reduced the population considerably. The agrarian economy is barely sufficient for the region; many folk go hungry. The region is short on labor and some fields lie fallow for lack of peasants to work them; demand for slaves is high. Those who cannot pay the abusive fines and taxes have no choice but to cover their debts by selling themselves or their families into slavery.

Themeson was once a stronghold of the Theocracy of Tekhos, a brutal regime devoted to the god Morgath, lord of chaos and master of the undead. A dark legacy of that time lingers over the area.

The Themeson Keep article describes the settlement’s history, government, religion, economics, and military forces. It includes color GM and player maps of the settlement, color floor plans of the keep, and brief descriptions of many local craftsmen and other locations in the town. Special attention is given to the locations related to the Morgathian legacy, including the a watchtower, mausoleum, and ruined chapel.

Order of the Eight Demons

Agrik: Order of the Eight Demons (COL #4411, 6 pages)
written by Marc Renouf

Normally $4.99

The Order of the Eight Demons is a clerical order of the Church of Agrik, god of fire and war. The order emerged from bloody schism just over five years ago when female clerics of the Order of Herpa the Mace chose to chart their own destiny. The separatists toppled the Herpan establishment with sudden violence and have quickly become the dominant Agrikan religious order in the Thardic Republic, while also controlling a keep and substantial lands in the Kingdom of Rethem.

Like the Herpans from whom they split, the Order of the Eight Demons places a high degree of emphasis on divination through the interpretation of signs, portents, and omens in a variety of forms. In addition to astrology and an Agrikan form of tarot, they examine sacrificial entrails or blood spatter and the dancing shapes of flames or sulfurous smoke.

What sets the order apart is its all-female membership and dogmatic emphasis on pain, particularly the agony of childbirth. Pain holds a special place for most Agrikans, whether inflicting or enduring it, and many orders of the faith perform some sort of ritualized self-mutilation, such as tattooing, branding, or flagellation. The torture of captives or sacrificial victims is also common. But for the priestesses of the Eight Demons, the concept is central to their identity. One of their core tenets is that there is no pain as exquisite as that of birthing a child; in this state, the supplicant is thought to be as close to the divine as possible. By extension, the mere fact of their sex makes women more godly and thus more apt to truly comprehend the ways of their harsh god. In addition, the Order of the Eight Demons has earned a grim reputation for the sexual torture of male captives and sacrificial victims.

The Order of the Eight Demons article describes the order’s history and current situation, membership and recruitment, organization and practices, and scriptures and lore.

Cohorts of Gashang

Agrik: Cohorts of Gashang (COL #4412, 4 pages)
written by Marc Renouf and Brent Bailey

Normally $2.99

The Cohorts of Gashang is a fighting order dedicated to Agrik, god of fire and war. The order was formed in 714 when Agrikan warriors clawed their way to power through treachery and violence during the schism that also gave rise to the clerical Order of the Eight Demons. Faced with potential enemies on all sides, the order has recruited aggressively and indiscriminately. The order counts among its members the worst sorts from both the Thardic legions and Rethemi chivalry and has a reputation for violence and brutality that is considered excessive even for Agrikans.

Although indiscriminate recruiting has rapidly increased the order’s numbers, most of the new men have been of relatively low quality. Few have any sort of true religious fervor, and most are little better than mercenaries. The order’s leaders do little to curb the excesses of the men, believing that a reputation for brutality serves as an acceptable alternative for true discipline. Although the order now has companies of murderous warriors, those units lack discipline and martial skill. The order’s hold on Themeson Keep (on the border between the Kingdom of Rethem and the Thardic Republic) may be relatively secure but its forces are over-stretched, caught between the Thardic legions and the Red Shadows of Herpa, a rival Agrikan order.

The Cohorts of Gashang article describes the order’s history and current situation, membership and recruitment, and organization and practices.

Atlas Map G6: Tharda

Atlas Hârnica G6 (Tharda: Shiran) (COL #5000-G6)
drawn by Tom Dalgliesh

Normally $4.99

Atlas Hârnica map G6 covers the northeastern settled lands of the Thardic Republic. At the heart of the map square is Shiran, one of the Republic’s economic and cultural centers and a city with a reputation for corruption and hedonism. Other major settlements are Parnan and Firis, important trading towns on the shores of Lake Benath. The region also includes the western edge of the Athul wilderness, the hilly and forested home to the honorable but ruthless Tulwyn tribesmen.