Putting Melos on the Map – Aiorskoru


This map was created by Kwickham, the prime driver behind Aiorskoru, of the Melos peninsular. You can hopefully see three little red dots on the far east of the land mass. These are (from North to South) Danusos, Melos and Man’s Head.

The hill giants are occupying the grass lands between these three villages and the woods in the centre of the peninsular and to the north of the woods. As I mentioned on Monday the north coast is harried by raiding parties of sea orcs.

On the map each Hex is approximately 200 miles. The scale also highlights that Danusos is about 30miles north of Melos and Man’s Head about the same to the south as the crow flies and further by the coast road that joins them. This land is populated sparsely with farms, and small hamlets comprising just a scattering of houses. These hamlets are at particular risk from the hill giant threat as they do not have the man power or resources to fend off a giant family or gang. It is in these inland communities that Demelza Wrong‘s reputation was made. Many of the residents here will not hear a bad word said against her.

I have mentioned that Danusos particularly is built aroudn trade. Their primary trading partners are the islands you see scattered of the coast and to the south. I will start to fill these out for you over the next few posts and how they interact with our three villages. I also want to give you more on hill giant culture.

Danusos – Aiorskoru

To the north of Meos is the village of Danusos, meaning river mouth. This village sites just back from a sandy beached esturary. Much smaller than Melos it is less dependent on fishing and more on trade than its cousin twenty miles to the south.

The flat shelf of beach is dotted with man made rings of stone, these are known as a salteksta as they trap sea water at high tide and hold it in shallow pans to evaporate during the day. Before the rising tide floods the pans the villagers collect pails of the the salty brine to use for preserving food stuffs. Many pails of brine are further evaporated off to form crystalised sea salt which is then used for drying and curing perishable goods.

The main reason for the shift away from fishing is that the esturary impassible to even shallow bottomed boats at all by high tide and Danusos does not have the assistance of the Morimanus in finding where to fish and when to fish.

Danusos has sea on both its north and eastern edges as it sits on the extreme north east edge of the peninsular. Because of its location it has becoome the natural place to put a fire beacon which is lit during severe storms or other times of trouble. The beacon itselv is a thirty fot tall stone tower, roughly pyramidic in shape with a five foot diameter caldera scooped out of the top.  Normally there is a canvas canopy over this firebowl to keep the fuel dry and ready.

Several times in the past Danusos has been attacked, but has repelled sea bourne attacks from orcish raiders that often savage the northern coast. Danusos is seen as a prize to raiders as its store houses are often filled with preserved foods awaiting export.

Personalities from Melos

This follows on from last week’s post on Melos.

I mentioned two personalities, Allair Trewaint & Howe Gothnan last time but I thought I would flesh out the people a little more this time.

Jack ‘The Slayer’ Dormer

The militia are an adhoc group but when they are needed the most common leader elected is Jack ‘The Slayer’ Dormer. The monicker comes from his experience in giant killing. In his younger days he lead several successful defences against giants and his place in peninsular life was assured. Now Jack is nearly 40 years old and although solidly built he is a little thicker around the middle that he was in his youth. He has dark curly hair, greying at the temples and a dark mediterrainean complexion. He favours a leather poncho with woollen sock and leggings. His favoured weapons are the spear and sling with sling being the one that he truly excels at. He is an enthusiastic man that loves the wild landscape where he lives and knows almost every game trail, village and villager within 60 miles of his home.

Bill Newlander

Bill is a ‘retired’ fisherman. A grizled old seadog his frequently found on the beaches watching the fishing boats load and unload. He is a preeminent source of wisdom on boat craft but he is also one of the closest friends to the Morimanus. Although no one knows how old Bill is it is rumoured that he has live well beyond the normal span for a human. This is sometimes ascribed to his association to the Morimanus. Local myth says that as a young man Bill fell in love with a Morimanus girl who took him under the waves to live for many years. Eventually he become homesick for his family and desired to return to the surface world. He did return to his family home only to find hat so many years had passed for his family that they had all died or moved on. With nothing to hold him to the land he wanted to return to live under the waves but he found he was locked out from the undersea world. The magical change that allowed him breath below the surface was a one time only change and he had used it and broken it when he had returned to the surface. The truth of all of this is a closed secret and Bill will never talk of it and locals do not mention the stories within his hearing. Bill now serves as a general adviser to the fishermen and has a wealth of knowledge on fishing, tides and the Morimanus.

Guy Hydroc

Guy is the Constable or the elected upholder of the law. He normally has two or three sheriffs in his employ. Guy is about 30yrs old and is normally dressed in a rigid leather breastplate when on duty and has a dark suede jacket that he wears off duty. He is an accomplished horseman which is unusual for the local population. He constantly travels from village to village as the visible symbol of he law. Most minor crimes he will act as police and magistrate but for anything more serious the village elders will sit in judgement. Guy carries a spear and on his hips are a pair of hand axes.

Guy is very popular and respected both as Constable and as a barritone singer. When in a vllage he is often drafted in to male voice chiors (a popular past time).

More next time!

Melos, a contibution to Aiorskoru

I have been working on one little part of Aiorskoru. I thought I would share what I have so far.

Coastal Villages – Human Settlements

These coastal villages are many in number and are strung out along the coast, mostly near coves or river estuaries that offer safe landing for fishing boats. Each village supports only 100 to 200 people most of whom are subsistence farmers, sheep herders and coastal fishermen.

These settlements are frequently threatened by Hill Giant family groups (one male with a harem of females or lone wandering males) This gives the villages a reason to cooperate and work together.

The village of Melos is one of the most substantial and successful because of their relationship with the Morimanus. The Morimanus guide fishermen to the exact location of the fish shoals and have a greater understanding of off shore weather. In return the Morimanus young are not endangered by fishing nets and the morimanus kelp beds are not damaged by dragging anchors.

Population: Almost entirely human with a vary rare half giant sub group
Political Structure: Gerontocracy (ruled by village elders)
Strong Influence: brawn
Popular Issue: The weather
Stability: very stable
Personal Freedoms: free
Scandals: infrequent
Foreign Relations: few

Main Export: Fish, fish oil, wool, cloth
Main Import: metals
Main Resource: fish, sheep
Trade: minor surplus
Strength: weak
Wealth: evenly spread across all classes

Main Climate: temperate
Ocean: on all sides
Mountains: none
Frequent Trouble: tidal surges, storms
Wilderness: 30%
Wild Animals: dangerous
Natural Resources: ample

Highly Values: seamanship
Known For: giant killing
Popular Entertainment: music and dance
Respected Profession: fisherman
Discrimination: physical stature based
Major Taboo: adultery
Major Social Ill: addiction (alcohol)

Strength: weak and fragmented
Focus: defence
Main Unit: militia
Soldiers: volunteer, all able, only when required
Main Use: defence
Rank: earned through social standing

Occurrence: only a very few
Source: spiritual
Major Use: healing, divination
Viewed: respect
Enchanted Items: very rare

Type: elemental Wind/Water spirits
Focus: elements
Worship: Public services
Associated Artform: song, dance
Prevalence: followed by all
Holidays: weather dependent (following storms or events)

Urban: 3%
Rural: 97%
Literacy Rate: 5%
Gender Ratio: 1.35 male(s)/female
Fertility Rate: 1-2 babies
Life Expectancy:45

Melos is the largest village in a chain that follow a coastal path around a peninsular. With a population of nearly 800 it is considered by many to be a town or even the regional capital. Immediately off shore from Melos is a Morimanus (Merfolk) settlement and surrounding that a submerged petrified forest. The existence of the submerged forest is well know and can be seen by fishermen below the surface at particularly low tides. This forest has lead to a local legend that the Morimanus and the people of Melos are distantly related and that the land inhabited by the Morimanus sank below the waves. Those that did not flee the catastrophe were blessed with fishes tails so they could continue to farm their old lands.


The people of Melos and the surrounding villages worship the elements and those of Air and Water above all. These two elements constantly war over the village and command respect. The town of Melos is home to two priests of power, one for each element. The Priest of Air [Allair Trewaint] preaches that it is the air that breaths life into every one of us and can revive a drowned man, it can whip a sinner off a cliff top just as easily as it can rip up trees and smash down buildings, cut a man off from the air and he dies. It is the air that allows birds to stay aloft and can power ships across the sea. The Priest of Water [Howe Gothnan] says that tears are the water of life that accompany our moments of greatest joy and sadness, water is so powerful it can smash cliffs of stone into pebbles and sand, without water the blood that runs through us and gives us life is just a blackened scab. Just as water flows from trickle to stream, to river and then into the great unknown oceans so a man’s live flows from birth, through his days until death and that is the greatest unknown ocean of all. These two priests have a lively relationship that goes from good natured banter to late night beer fuelled table thumping arguments over which element is the greater. The people of Melos are as likely to pray for rain when the crops need water as they are to prey for calming seas when their men folk are caught in a storm. The religious feast days are generally celebrated and involve kite flying and singing on the beaches. These beach choirs are often accompanied by Morimanus who come into the shallows to listen and join in.

Village Life

Not everyone lives off the sea. Many farmers breed sheep and inhabit the landward interior of the peninsular. These support spinners, weavers, leather workers as well as craftsmen that work horn. Other farmers grow turnips, sugar beet and cabbages over the winter and barley during the summer. Apples are another popular crop and most farms have an orchard with some farms making it their main crop and cider production their industry.

Despite the apple orchards the peninsular does not have a great deal of wooded land. Because of this most buildings are built from dry stone walls and topped with turf. Their floors are below ground level, construction starts by digging out the rooms until they find bed rock and only then are walls built up just enough to give sufficient head room. Most floors are three to four feet below ground level. The walls are made up of a great many layers of thin slate stones collected from the foot of the cliffs. They are normally two to three feet thick with very few windows, if any.

Hill Giants

The people living on this peninsular are constantly threatened by Hill Giants. Hill Giant family groups are fairly static, they inhabit one region until they have consumed all the easy game and then move on. These families comprise a single adult male, several females and their children. When a male child reaches maturity it will be driven out of the family by the male leader.

Often gangs of males will form for short periods and these are marked by the amount of infighting that goes on as they attempt to establish a pecking order of dominance and once a dominant male has emerged attempts to usurp that position by dominated members.
When a gang encounters a family it can get violent as the dominant gang male will often challenge the family leader to a duel for supremacy. If in the duel both combatants are seriously wounded then what normally happens is that the gang members will attempt to carry off females and their young to form their own new families. If the gang leader is victorious and has the strength left over then he can and will become the dominant male and will drive off his former gang members.

Duels often start with hurling stones at each other until the two get close enough to start hand to hand fighting. Stone hurling skill is greatly prized amongst giants.

A giant family moving into an area near a village can destroy the village. The giants will eat livestock and once they are gone, start eating people. If a giant is spotted or even suspected then a militia is raised to try and drive off the giant(s). Militia membership is voluntary but to decline the call to arms is considered very bad form or even cowardice unless there is good reason to do so. Driving off giants does not always involve killing them. In a tale that is told on many cold nights one village was beset by two giant families at the same time. They could not fight them off so they started leaving barrels of beer and cider out in fields where the giants were known to scavenge. Each night a new barrel of beer was left out but moved slightly, from top of a field to the bottom, from one side of a hedge to the next field. Each night for a week the giants were treated to free drink until at the end of the week each family spied a great stack of barrels and another giant family about to steal it all away from them. Another giant was tempted into chasing a wagon loaded with barrels of cider. The villages took shifts in hauling the wagon as fast as they could to stay ahead of the giant until they crested the last rise and the horizon was the straight line of the cliff top. At that point the wagon was left to roll under its own momentum and both wagon and giant crashed over the cliff edge to be smashed on the rocks below.