Tuvâra Review

Alex Greene's picture

If an adventurer wants to begin exploring Anzelôria, there is only one real starting point for all adventures set on that vast continent - Tuvâra.

A 50-page module, Venârivè Almanac: Tuvâra, The Great Southern Savannah forms part of the Atlas Venârivè series, and offers a detailed look at this Lýthian country. The book describes the Tuvâran climate, geology, flora and its diverse, and often lethal, fauna.

The blurb reads:-

"The lush savannahs between the Venârian Sea and the Anzelôrian Rainforest are home to some of Kèthîra's most remarkable fauna. They are also home to the Tuvâra - a race that combines nobility and savagery in equal measure. Gold and ivory lure many an adventurer here, as well as rumors of ancient ruins and hidden cities. But the hazards are as great as the rewards. Some will find a fortune here - others, death in the jaws of the river dragons or a life of slavery in the distant East."

Tuvâra is surrounded by Býria, Thónia, Péchalâr and continental Anzeloria. Home of the Tuvâra and northern Neshái. Faláni visit this place to trade; and Tuvâran goods and slaves can be found in markets as far afield as Dalkésh, Karéjia and the Ázeryàn Empire. There is a strong Dálken presence in Tuvâra in Sóbrash Province, and conflict with Býria. To the West, the border with Thónia is nigh impassable by land, as the trail leads through the Háeah Mountains (described further in Thónia: The End of The World). Býria, likewise, is kept apart from Tuvâra by the Býrios Mountains, which are an extension of the Háeah Range.

Of most interest, of course, are the people of Tuvâra. The tribes of Tuvâra, after whom the country is named, are described, along with their cultures, their religious beliefs, their food, clothing, domestic life, music, trade goods, and so on. Outsiders such as the Dálken and the northern Neshái of Anzelôria are also described, along with the region's history.

Reasons for adventuring include trade in exotic animals and animal products such as exotic furs and leather (fancy getting on the Harnic Agrikan Primate's good books? Go and get him some crocodile skin leather shoes and matching handbag ...); exploration of ruined ancient cities such as the Terrace Culture ruins of Kupriata; and even opening communications with the Ílmè meredragons which supposedly dwell along the banks of the rivers, competing with the "river dragons" (crocodiles) and hippopotami for territory.

This book offers hugely valuable insights into the entrepreneurial people of this region, from the best kind of gift one could offer to an elder, to the meat that is considered most taboo (next to human meat, that is), through to the metal which is most prized in Tuvâra for trade (it is neither gold nor silver). An adventurer with a gift for languages, for example, could accomplish incredible things by learning the separate languages of the four tribal Tuvâra nations Nko, Boro, Salo, and Oro, and setting themselves up as an intermediary between them, and bringing in Péchalâr, exploting their historical relations with the Oro Tuvâra. Trade is also the major cover for sneaking in and out of the secretive, terrifying Holy Matriarchy of Býria (which is covered in another article), and smuggling opportunities abound.

Which brings up the topic of the second most important reason why one should buy this book - the section on smuggling in Venârivè, offered at the back of the module. This supplement looks at smuggling across all of Venârivè, not just between Tuvâra and Býria. Whether your seafaring crew is smuggling goods to and from the island ports of Karéjia, trying to break the Mangái-imposed blockade of Býrian goods (don't bother smuggling their wine - Býrian wine has so little flavour, you might as well tip out the jars at the port and fill them with seawater - at least you'd get money from the sale of the jars) or looking to exploit the Pickled Fish Trick to get prohibited goods through customs at Cherafir, this article is definitely worth keeping handy.

Between the smuggling article and the long, loving look at this thriving hub of trade, smuggling, espionage, intrigue, and diplomacy, Venârivè Almanac: Tuvâra, The Great Southern Savannah is a must-have for Gamesmasters who wish to have their regular characters from Hârn, Emélrenè or Chélemby visit this exotic location, or who might wish to run campaigns set in Tuvâra, where the player characters are beautiful Tuvâran tribespeople.