Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part VIII

House Weatherworn was founded by Gustaff Weatherworn. Though not a mage, his wife, Lillith was a weather mage of extraordinary ability. So he started a college of magic just for her there. He was brought into the fold in Last Stand where Peter and his four friends (the Leaders of Vandez, Cole, Brightwater, and Bloodhelm) saved the populace from the ogres.

The coat of arms for Weatherworn is a white cloud and a lightning bolt on a grey field. The college has its own coat of arms (Gustaff insisted) which is an owl on a yellow and grey checkered back ground. The House colors are grey and yellow.

Weatherworn is the furthest south on the very tip of Tiana. It is 12 days ride south east of Bloodhelm.

In the time of the High King's Sword Weatherworn has around 110,000 people. Most are human, though a portion is elves. They import wood, elven good, dwarven goods, akicitia goods, stone, perfume, leather goods and ore. They export grain, art, wine, silks, weavings, books, magic items and paper. They have a large port below the city which sits on the cliffs of the coast, with good repair berths and they have one building berth which is usually busy all year long. The most unusual of Houses, this House is home to a large group of mages comprised mostly of weather mages. Though Gustoff Weatherworn was only a Knight and not a magic user. The boys all chose to be Knights, but Gustoff's three girls followed their mother, the youngest becoming a healer. As a side note, the girls normally are expected to become mages now and when they marry they usually stay with the House instead of moving off (unless they marry a Leader of another House). Some of the men become mages, but most become Knights. Gustoff is still running strong (some 30 years after Peter is crowned), but plans to hand over his House to his second son Jason, the oldest wishing to remain a simple Knight. All his children are married save Hanna the youngest. The suitors are lining up for her hand.

The common alignments here are Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Good, and Lawful Evil.

The noble houses of Weatherworn number 8: Tempest, Fulmen, Nimbus, Ningit, Imber, Nebula, Frost, and Windless.

In the time of the High King's Sword they are openly neutral, backing no one for the throne of the High King.
Tomorrow: Pathfinder

Monday, August 30, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part VII

The House of Goldleaf was founded by Ryan Goldleaf who was a good friend, a fine warrior, and the son of herb farmers. The village which would one day become the House of Goldleaf was easily defended and produced fine herbs that are loved around all of Tridon, so Ryan chose it.

The coat of arms for Goldleaf is a gold colored oak leaf with a sword through top of leaf. The House colors are blue and gold.

Goldleaf is dead center of the northern coast of Tiana. The time and distance between Bloodhelm and Goldleaf is quite the distance and is the original reason the transportation circles were created (more on this little find later). 90 days of long travel are required to reach there from Bloodhelm.

In the time of the High King's Sword the population is 200,000 (though it is less in the summer as people go out to hunt, trap, and farm). It unsafe during the winter months not to leave in large population areas because of the weather and because of monsters and the Black Wizards. Most are humans, but dwarves and half-elves are a good chunk of the population. Goldleaf imports foodstuff, textiles and livestock. They export, gold, silver, gems, platinum, herbs, elven and dwarven goods.

The House of Goldleaf is the primary producer of minerals and gems and thus the reason for a large resident dwarf population. There is a large contingent of Knights here as well as militiamen to protect the mines. All caravans from here leave with at least 3 squads of Knights. Lord Ryan the second is a sound manager of Goldleaf, as was his father before him. His twelve children include 4 knights, 3 mages, two healers, and one sage in training. His wife Elaine is the twin sister of Madeline Merryweather (of course this is soon after the founding of Tridon. In the time of the High King's Sword, Cailus Goldleaf is the Leader of Goldleaf after the death of his two oldest brothers and father to an attack of ogres and undead where he nearly lost his life as well.)

The common alignments here are Chaotic Good, Neutral, and Chaotic Neutral.

The noble Houses of Goldleaf number 7: Sage, Rosemary, Steelhammer, Gemfinder, Stonegrinder, Coppersmith, and Hunter.

In the time of High King's Sword they are the strongest supporter of the Northern Alliance.

Roleplaying Tip of the Week: Colored Pencils are a wonder. Yeah, maps are great. I love them. But, hey, is that forest or hills? Mountain or stream? Coloring a map with color coding or even a forest green and plains brown really helps and cut down on the questions on the map.
Tomorrow: Weatherworn

Friday, August 27, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part VI

House Eton is the 5th House of Tridon and was founded by Ethan Sadnwin, or Eton to his friends. Ethan was a tree farmer, through and through. He liked to be among the trees, like to build things from wood, liked to watch the critters who lived among the trees. He married a half elven woman named Thera and together they raised a huge brood of children. She was a fine weaver and turned the House of Eton into not only a lumber supplier, but a supplier of fine fabrics as well.

The Coat of Arms for Eton is a great tree behind a mountain goat on a field of brown/green checkered pattern. The House colors are brown and green.

Eton is north of Bloodhelm, on the western coast, nearly all the way north on Tridon's coast (Calabay is the only other House further north). Eton is 44 days north by horse.

The city of Eton imports grain, spices, ore, elven and dwarven goods. It exports weavings, cloth, silk, wine, leathers, livestock and lumber. The city population is around 100,000 by the time of the High King's Sword, most of which are human, but there is quite a few half elves and elves here as well.

Eton is the cloth capital of Tridon. The finest cottons and silks, as well as works of arts in the forms of tapestries, come from here. They also have great herds of sheep and cattle, though the sheep prove more important. Fields of cotton surprisingly grow well here and actually take more land then grain and produce. There also the House run timber stands which provide fine lumber for houses and furniture. Ethan Sandwin, or Eton to his friends, still leads this House, though as the oldest member of the Company he is starting to show his age. His heir apparent, Jason, is patient with his father and rules House Eton in all but name (This, of course, is soon after Peter creates the kingdom of Tridon).

The common alignments for Eton is Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, and Neutral.

The noble Houses of Eton number ten: Texere, Lana, Bombyx, Materia, Cedar, Shepard, Seedling, Warp, Weaver, and Tingere

In the time of the High King's Sword Eton is part of the Northern Alliance and fiercely wants a true High King upon the throne.
Monday: Goldleaf

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part V

The House of Bloodhelm was founded by Tresh Thasher. He was a stout man, the picture of Knighthood, but he couldn't seem to keep blood off of himself no matter the size of a battle. Thus he took on the sir name of Bloodhelm. He knew he was not a man of numbers or a man who ran much of anything smoothly so he took on advisers who did and married a woman who basically ran the House of Bloodhelm until his eldest son inherited.

The coat of arms for Bloodhelm is a bloody helm and glove on a field of black. The House colors are black and red.

Bloodhelm is a third of the way up the western coast of Tiana.

The city of Bloodhelm imports red meat, textiles, art, wine, ale, silks, cottons, spices, dwarven goods, and magic items. The city exports fish, glass, grain, fish oil, ore, and mercenaries. The population of Bloodhelm around the time of the High King's Sword is about 70,000, one of the smaller cities, most of which is human. This is a fishing and shipping port and boats and ships are coming and going at all hours. The nearby farms supplement the fish, but cotton and textiles are hard to come by.

Bloodhelm is a small House which usually stays to itself, hording its military and resources as much as the High King allows. House Bloodhelm is led by the third son of Tresh Bloodhelm, Caz. Caz is a spiteful man, having initially been passed over as heir. Both his eldest and 2nd eldest brothers (Trav and Caz) died in hunting accidents, but the other House Leaders don't buy such reasons. His mother, still grieving for her husband and sons, hasn't bothered to see the truth yet.

The alignments common here are Chaotic Good, Neutral, Neutral Good, and Lawful Evil.

The Noble Houses of Bloodhelm nine. For a small House they have a lot of loyal noble Houses. Taladian, Merlinus, Draedon, Aevthela, Dumatri, Ganlian, Phaedius, Thunderclaw, and Whitehorse.

This is the center of my High King's Sword series, the House leadership wanting nothing better to put their own heir upon the throne of Peter. They hope the Northern Alliance breaks, but is planning for any eventuality. My main character, Tarkil Bloodhelm, is the third son of the second son and he's the House spy. His life becomes mired by having to choose between his House and his country over the course of my novels. So Bloodhelm is one of my more fleshed out cities. I hope, later, to take you on tour of Bloodhelm, which would help to make a good roleplaying base for your adventures to start from.
Tomorrow: House Eton

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part IV

The House of Brightwater was founded by Hugh Brightwater, the son of backwoods mages who helped local farmers by cleansing water. He always wanted to be a shipwright so when Peter began to assign locations for the Houses of Tridon, Hugh jumped at the chance of being on the coast. He had made huge ship building berths over the time of his reign as Leader of House Brightwater, and now only the best built ships come from this port.

The coat of arms of House Brightwater is an anchor and sword upon a white field. The colors of House Brightwater are gold and white.

The location of House Brightwater is on the east coast of the southern tip of Tiana. It is northeast of Bloodhlem, but north of Cole. It is 37 days by horse to Brightwater from Cole.

The city of Brightwater imports Elven Goods and trade goods from the south. Exports are trade goods from the mainland, magic items, dwarven goods, southern goods, and ship supplies, along with trade ships.The population of Brightwater is around 150,000 (by the time of the High King's Sword), about 5% actually dwarves. The dwarves have a small conclave here and get along with the humans just fine.

Brightwater is the biggest port city in the north, though it does not have an armada of its own. Ships from Ariella and the Dwarven Islands come here to trade. Every nationality lands upon this city's shores and it's not unusual to find magic wares for sale. Jason Brightwater, the son of Hugh, has rule for ten years since his father was poisoned. No one has been found guilty of the murder, but House Brightwater harbors feelings that House Landshire's heirs did the horrible deed but they have no proof. (This is only valid, of course, if you play right after the Houses are founded.)

The alignments common here would be Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral, and Lawful Neutral, though any alignment is possible.

Noble Houses of Brightwater number seven: Avis, Linter, Dulcis, Nemus, Albus, Aurum, Shipwright

In the time of the High King's Sword the House is neutral, though leaning toward the Northern Allicance.
Tomorrow: House Bloodhelm

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Map of Martapa

I'm sorry this isn't perfect, but I hope this will give you a good idea of where my Houses are located. Now obviously there are smaller cities, towns, and villages, (I hope to make smaller sections and upload with color so you can see mountains and forests and the like along with smaller villages and towns like Midway)

So you will notice this mostly shows Tiana, not Ariella (though there is a bit in the right hand bottom corner). I made this map in college and at the time I was writing my original stories on this world only in Tiana. I have a map, somewhere, I used for when we were roleplaying on my world which shows Ariella, but I can't seem to find it. I promise to get that found or draw up a new one soon.
Tomorrow: House Brightwater

Monday, August 23, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part III

The House of Cole was founded by Olaf Cole a very cunning man who was always getting in trouble when he and Peter were young, trying one scheme or another. He was an averaged size man with tousled hear and his later years walked with a limp from their first skirmish at the village of Last Stand.

The coat of arms for House Cole is white/orange checker pattern with a fox, the House colors white and orange.

So Violet from The Eager Readers Blog (a good site for young adult book reviews) was kind enough to show me how to embed images. So tomorrow I hope to have an actual map to reference all these directions for you. But today let me just say Cole is in the southern part of Tiana, north east of Bloodhelm along the opposite coast, 23 days of horse travel away.

The Gods most likely to be worshiped here would be Pezuta, Catian, Sarjon, Sircarius, and Aiyana.

The city imports grains, fruits, livestock, jewelry, ore, elven and dwarven goods. They export deep sea fish, timber, salt, pearls, and Salay warhorses. These horses are the finest, most sought after horses in all of Tiana and people pay top money for them. This is a major fishing port, with repair services and a small boat building port for large fishing vessels, not trading vessels.

In the years right after Peter becomes High King, Cole has become an unlucky House. The leadership has already passed on to the first grandson of Olaf Cole. Tresh Cole came to rule on his 18th birthday when his own father, the only child of Olaf, died in a boating accident. His mother helps him rule and both wish only the best for the House. But Tresh's great uncles wish the House for themselves. Already two attempts on his life have occurred, one of poison and one of a lame horse. Neither has been linked to his two greedy great uncles, who are only in their mid sixties but many in court know they were responsible. Tresh's mother, Mary, is hoping to strengthen their holding by matching Tresh with one of the Brightwater daughters.

For those who are concerned with alignment in their campaign Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral, and Lawful Evil would be common alignments here.

Noble Houses of Cole number four (and these are later on, a few hundred years after Peter): Swordfish, Carpenter, Seafoam, and Boatwright. (The sea is very important to Cole.)

In the time of the High King's Sword, Cole is a neutral entity, neither wanting to put forth a High King of their own or join up with the Northern Alliance.
Tomorrow: A Map of Martapa (Hopefully)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part II

House Vandez was founded by Sean Vandez. He was Peter's best friend and protector from the village of Stormvale. A large man, he was a gentle giant with his friends, but very protective. Nothing angered him more then to see his family and friends in harms way. He married a small, petite woman who had always been smitten with, but it was she who approached him. She loved him without question, but she was the more outspoken of the pair.

The symbol of House Vandez is a sword behind a tower in the colors of purple and green.

I'm going to reference the location of all places to Bloodhelm, since this is where my High King's Sword story takes place. So Bloodhelm is on the western coast, nearly all the way south on the most southern tip of Tiana. Vandez is up the coast about 15 days of travel by horse. (I do measurements in days of horse travel because I needed to know, originally, how long it took my characters to get places.)

This is a port city, and does some repairs on boats, but does not build ships. Population depending on which time period is around 200,000, mostly humans though you might find a few dwarves. (The population is going to be smaller if you start a campaign right after Peter becomes High King). Government is obviously a monarchy, with a Leader being the head of the House and his brothers being Knight-Lords. The oldest son is the heir, though younger sons may be made heir if the oldest die, if the Leader finds his oldest unfit, or if the oldest feels he is not capable and gives his power to the next brother.

The Gods most likely to be worshiped here are Catiana, Iktoma, Sarjon, and Pezuta.

The city imports textiles, livestock, silks, magic items, furs, leather, elven and dwarven goods. They export cocoa beans, foodstuff, weapons, armor, mercenaries and fine Vandez ale. This is a major farming community (granted not right in the city of Vandez) and there are a lot of druids in the area.

For those who concern them with alignment in their game the major ones would be Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, and Neutral, though you will always find a little of every alignment everywhere.

Noble Houses of Vandez number eight. Noble Houses are usually nobles who are related to the House and remain loyal, in theory, to the House, providing a tithe to the House and troops. The names of the noble Houses: Hollow, Manaius, Bluerose, Starwolf, Silverstone, Infinity, Ignis, and Stiria.

In the time of "The High King's Sword" Vandez is at odds with the other Houses, wishing to put their own person upon the High Throne and provides me with my two main antagonists.
Monday: House Cole

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Houses of Tridon, Part I

After Peter and his friends rescued Tiana from the ogres and their kin, the business of making a functioning government had to happen. Of course, this is never a good read since none of us really like worrying about government in the real world. But I thought about it long in hard since it is very central to my plots for not only my High King's Sword series, but my original War of the Gods series (which needs serious work on them) as well. So following are the Houses of Tridon after Peter. Those with asterisks after them fall before the War of the Gods to Shaniko's minions, all of which are on the east side of Tiana:
1st House: Vandez
2nd House: Cole
3rd House: Brightwater
4th House: Bloodhelm
5th House: Eton
6th House: Goldleaf
7th House: Weatherworn
8th House: Pathfinder
9th House: Greenthorne
10th House: Merryweather
11th House: Calabay
12th House: Varanath
13th House: Tayke*
14th House: Landshire*
15th House: Sunvale*
16th House: Karoon*

Of course over all of these is the House of Peter Thorson, the throne of the High King in Stormvale. In the next few weeks I will take you through a brief history, location, trade goods, emblems and colors, and other tidbits of each House, to give you a good working idea of the ruling class of my world and the places they call home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guilds of Martapa

The guilds which populate Martapa encompass many things. There are guilds for virtual every trade, there are Finder's Guilds, and even Mage Guilds. Their size and scope depend on where they are located and which trade they belong to.

Trade's guilds cover everything from carpenters to merchant businesses. Most require dues in the form of five to ten percent of what ever the person or business makes. This money goes to training apprentices, paying for guards (if applicable) and paying for bribes if needed in certain areas. They also pay for housing and medical help if the person is injured on the job. Some guilds also give a benefit to the spouse of a guild member if they are killed on the job. Those who come to an area and are not part of the guild are severely frowned upon and may be asked to leave by not so pleasant means. The guild has a simple hierarchy, one leader per guild, who reports to one overall leader of all the guilds of that type in Tridon. In Tridon, most main guilds are in Stormvale. I should clarify that there are associations in Ariella which might be construed as guilds, but they are all overseen by the Emperor's people, so they aren't as free as the northern guilds. Their structure is similar, but tightly monitored.

The two most numerous and powerful guilds would most certainly be the Finder's Guild and Mage Guild. The Mage Guild has a presence in every major House and their main hall is in Stormvale. Their primary purpose is to train up and coming mages and to make sure they are not abused by people of power, since magic can be used improperly by these political figures. But, of course, politics does wrap itself around the Mage Guilds and if the leaders of such guilds want to stay in power they sometimes give into the political pressure. Most mages train for five to ten years, depending on their ability and power. They come in at around the age of majority, maybe a little sooner. There are exceptions, of course, like Duncan the farmer from my series who goes when he's about forty. Their normal dues is 10% of any income and in most places being a guild member is mandatory, though there are always those who refuse to participate. For the dues, members get training, a safe place to research and a place to retire if need be. Most senior mages are required to teach at the guilds to pass on their knowledge.

The Finder's Guild is the respectable front of the Thief's Guild. These people can be hired to find a person, object, or information and retrieve said object or person if need be. This arm of the Thief's guild is very reputable. In fact they go to great pains to ensure they stay within the law and satisfy their customers' needs. Sometimes they use the information the obtain to help with a heist, but they never mix the business of the Finder's Guild with the theif and assassin end of business. These members pay low dues, usually around 1 to 2 percent, because some of the information they find for customers bring large pay offs for the Thief's Guild later on. But their fees are high because they have such a high success rate. A Finder's Guild can be found in every major city all over Martapa. The guild provides information and lay over places for both theives and finders. Retirement is in the form of food and clothing, as long as they help train up and coming finders and maintain their network of sources.

Your players can come into contact with any of the guilds for various reasons. They need information, one of them is mage. Maybe they have a skill that requires membership in a guild. The number of guilds is limitless and can be good background group for any adventure.
Tomorrow: Houses of Martapa, Part I

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Disciples of the Gods

These people can only be called fanatics of the grandest sort. They believe in all the Gods, worship them all, and feel the Balance must be upheld to the strictest of standards. One day they may be aiding the side of Light and the next the side of Dark if they feel the Balance needs to be turned back toward the middle.

As contradictory as this may seem, they follow all the doctrines of all the Gods. Clearly some of these will chafe against others, but this clear fact doesn't seem to phase them. If one day they need to protect and innocent, they will cite Aiyana's doctrine. If the next they need to steal something, they cite Sircarius' doctrine.

Started in Ariella, they have become a thorn in everyone's side. They are, at best, mercenaries, at worst they are fanatics who would give their life for their beliefs, no matter how deluded.

A party of characters may come across them in their travels as enemy one time and a friend the next. Which side they appear to be on at the moment is up to you. I would make them Ariellan, though northern converts can be amongst them, mostly men, and the classes of fighter or priest (the title of Mage in my world).
Tomorrow: Guilds

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hand

The Hand is an elite group of legionnaires who protect the Emperor, who are Bladmasters, are spies or all of the above. They are the Emperor's eyes and ears as well as the protectors of his very life.

Most have been hand picked by the leaders of the Hand after years of service in the legions. They are given additional training in the blade or weapon of their choice, hand to hand, and espionage. Only those hand picked by the Emperor protect him at all times. These are the Order of the Gryphon and would willing die to save the Emperor.

These people are very serious, usually do not have families of their own, though their parents (if living) receive a monthly allowance if the member of the Hand dies, and only associate with other Hand members. Their mind set is no one is as good as them, not even the legions they served with before becoming a Hand member. They do not take guff from anyone.

This group of people would work best for an antagonist organization. Your players may not be going after the Emperor, but one of the higher ranked Hand members could be in charge of finding the players and stopping them from doing what ever it is they are doing. This people are specialized in one, if not several, weapons, and can have some thief abilities. Depending upon what you want to use them for possible classes could be simply fighter, or fighter/bard, or fighter/thief, if your system allows such things. They can often speak High King speech along with Ariellan.

Roleplaying Tip of the Week: Pictures. Have your players draw pictures of their characters and if that is not possible, maybe somebody in your group can draw them. (We were so lucky in college that one of our friends was an art major). Baring this, the roleplaying system "Elfquest" has character templates which have figures which you can draw hair and clothes on. Something like that might be just what your players need to feel they can see their character and it will help you greatly as a GM to be able to describe their character during battle.
Tomorrow: Disciples of the Gods

Friday, August 13, 2010

Society of the King

The Society of the King is a group of peasants, merchants and nobles who want to find the true High King with or without the help of the southern Houses. These people do not want to see their country torn apart by civil war and believe if they find someone of the blood it will be avoided.

The society was founded by two merchants, Jared and Thad Blessing, who had been stopped by brigands and lost too much of their cargo over the years. They brought in historians to research the lineage of the High King, brought in locals to have supply stations, and finders to locate members of the royal family.

Those who have served for more then six months are given a ring with a "C" on the top face and an inscription on the inside which says "May the Gods watch over him." This helps identify them to other members of the society. This is a newer addition since the identity of the True High King has tentatively been made in the time of my High King's Sword series.

This is a good group to use as a place to sell information to or to gather it from. If your players want to help the High King this would be a good group to try and join. Most of the help is from the northern Houses, and most likely a society member or a player who is society member would be killed if they were found out.
Monday: The Hand of the Emperor

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Kin

The Kin are a relatively old assassin guild which started in the City of Salvation. Just coming out of the chaos which King Peter brought the human race through, there were still dark and nefarious elements of society who craved the power over life and death. A loose cabal of assassins and thieves bound together to get such jobs and worked hard to keep themselves secret.

They didn't adopt the name Kin until after the War of the Gods, where they were made a tool of the Black Wizards of Shaniko. Many attempts on the Chosen Richard and Amber Goldenstein were made by the Kin on behalf of the Wizards, but none were successful. The name Kin comes from the practice of the current assassins stealing young boys who show promise from their families or off the streets where they were orphaned to train them in the way of death, making the Kin their only family.

Training is hard, some of those brought into the fold die from the training. But those who make it through the training become a part of a tight knit network of assassins who work for the Wizards, but will also work for the highest bidder. They have no loyalty save money and their fellow assassins.

Kin members are almost always human, though some elves and dwarves have been known to be taken in. In recent times the Kin have taken to tattooing their symbol (a striking snake) on their face, where their nose is being attacked and the tail is wrapping around their neck. Though easy to spot, they do have ways to hide such things when need be.

Everyone, from the lowliest peasant to the High King himself, fear the Kin. The Clan Warriors can best them, as can some individuals, but these are the best of the best and if you are marked for death, it will come swiftly by their hand.

Do not allow these as a player character class (unless you are doing an evil campaign). These are purely background filler or a super foe for your players to encounter. I would use the thief class if an assassin class is not available in your system, though focus on those things that would make it easy to kill. They do not train in a specific weapon, but learn to use anything as a weapon. Some, though, are highly trained Blademasters, so they are twice as deadly.
Tomorrow: Society of the King

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snowbird's Spellblades

The spellblades are a group of individuals who are fine fighters and can cast magic in battle. Normally it is difficult to cast magic in armor, for it limits movement needed for hand gestures to call forth the magic, but these individuals have learned to shorten the spells, which also weakens the spells just a bit.

Miyaca Snowbird, Wolf Warrior and friend of Lady Noshi Bluecrystal, returned home to Qalataqa after her adventures with Noshi, Sebastion Blackthorne and her brother, Shadizar to find her Wolf Warriors were few and, she was honest with herself, not as needed as in the past. But there were many elves who had the ability to fight and cast spells so she decided to train them to use their abilities to help all elves (and extension humans as well). It took her several decades to build up her ranks, drawing even from the human population as well. As soon as Noshi created the Crystal Brigade she joined the fight with her spellblades.

A typical Spellblade uses a longsword or a sapaka (my version of a katana). (I will bring this up later, but because some of the elven ancestors were with the humans from Tayke, some of their weapons have made it into mainstream elf culture). They wear leather armor and can cast spells. These spells are typically quick binding or slowing spells or small damaging spells. Some are capable of healing, though normally not during battle. They train for two to three years with Miyaca or her captains, learning the basics of weapons, spells, history, and reading. (Some of the people she finds are from poorer beginnings so need to be brought up to speed). They are also taught how to track, sneak, and climb into odd and unusual places.

As a character class this would be a fighter/mage, perhaps even a fighter/mage/thief, though progression would be very slow. Though they are crack fighters, I know a lot of systems will not allow specialization if you multiclass, so maybe think on giving them a magic weapon sooner to add to the flare. Elves or humans can be spellblades, maybe even dwarves, though they rarely have natural magic users. Akicitia would be poor spellblades, since they can't cast spells well to begin with, because of their rolling r's.

As a side note, Miyaca also trained a new generation of Wolf Warriors (few of which have charges), feeling she owed the God Targon to continue the tradition. These Wolf Warriors are devoted to her (as are her spellblades) and treat her as royality.
Tomorrow: The Kin

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Crystal Brigade

The Crystal Brigade is an elite group of Knights who have proven themselves true to Peter's ideals. These brave Knights serve as protection between Tridon and the realm of the Black Wizards of Shaniko because there is no High King to gather and send troops to the border.

Noshi Bluecrystal took it upon herself to defend her country and asks all those who are part of the Northern Alliance to send aid. These brave men and women (for the Northern Houses allow women amongst the ranks of Knights) fight ogres, Kin, and minotaurs. The weather is hard and unforgiving in the mountains. These crack fighters lose more people to long falls and frostbite then the numerous ogres and the like.

The Brigade also employs Spellblades, mages, and thieves to act as scouts, magical firepower and infiltrators. Most of these are common stalk, but the Northern Houses don't discriminate by class. Whole mobile camps of cooks, blacksmiths, healers and camp followers support them.

This is a group which would be an excellent jump off point for beginning characters. They could be support staff, children of those at the front, or even scouts. I would not allow them to be Knights but squires might work. Give players who work with the Crystal Brigade survival and fire building skills for free if your system allows such things.
Tomorrow: Miyaca's Spellblades

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Northern Alliance

This coalition of Northern Houses has taken time to put together and Noshi Bluecrystal, Matron of House Varanath, has worked hard to make it so. Begun around 3240 PA the Alliance began with Varanath making trade and defense pacts with Calabay as long as both Houses follow the way of peter. It was agreed if either failed in this regard then the treaty was null and void.

Noshi had decided after saving her House all of Tridon needed direction, especially after not having a High King for so long. That to save her country she had to bring it together by returning to the ideals of Peter.

The Northern Alliance is made up of five Houses (Calabay, Varanath, Eton, Goldleaf, and Merryweather) who aid each other, strive to raise up the true High King, and supply members to the Crystal Brigade who patrol the Tsalagi Mountains. They provide information, supplies, and transportation to those who seek the truth and hunt any of the Black Wizards who try to make their way across the mountains.

Peter's ideals are beginning to become strong in the north and Noshi hopes to see them everywhere soon.

This is a good background group for player characters to encounter. Maybe they receive aid or gain information from this group. Your players might even have key information for the alliance which could lead to a good adventure plot.
Monday: The Crystal Brigade

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Black Wizards of Shaniko

This group is the source of most of main antagonists in all my stories upon my world of Martapa. In a world which revels in magic, these individuals are the most hated and feared not for their power and dark magic, but for their core ideal: Raise Kahalla to the only God and ruler of Martapa.

Shaniko was the beginning of this group, rising in power and destroying many races nearly to their last individual. There are prophecies, in his time, which said a dark Wizard would rise and conquer the world for Kahalla, but that a small group of people would stop him. He took several centuries (dark magic extends life, but he has a secret no one knows...he's an elf) to find who these people would be/were and hunted down the elves for one of the numbers was to be an elf. This individual would be the one with the magical power to stop him, so Shaniko thought taking them out root and stock would be best. In the end, he was unable to stop his own demise or bring his God to the mortal plane, but his many apprentices continued the fight.

It was these apprentices who formed the Black Wizards of Shaniko. (As a side note, there were many cabals of wizards at the time and Shaniko had belonged to a cabal at one time named the Black Wizards, so they simply added Shaniko to the end after they wiped out Shaniko's old cabal). They sought to succeed where their master had not. They researched, took on apprentices to teach said research to and took their time until they could build their power not only to rescue their God from the Void, but to wipe out any opposition upon Martapa before hand.

Three thousand years passed before Marius Vandez became the head of the order and with his ability to bring people together and his power there is hope he can fulfill Shaniko's goals. He manipulates people very well, playing the Empire against Tridon as they seek to stabilize each of the countries to stop Kahalla from returning from the Void.

Apprentices are taken by force from their families, though Marius begin the tradition of actually taking them after talking to the family and paying for their loss. More flies with honey... They were trained harshly and mercilessly, some dying in the process. Any rebellion amongst the apprentices was punished by death. Apprentices are just that until their master determines they are ready to contribute to the order, which may take decades.

I wouldn't use Black Wizards of Shaniko as player characters (unless you are doing an evil campaign) but as your main villain. They cast mostly necromancy spells, life spells are impossible, and even spells which would mend things or create things are hard for them. Manipulation and social skills are good ones for these Wizards. I suggest if you use these Wizards as a villain to surround him or her with lots of meat shields, mercenaries for those who are not gamers. I found this out the hard way in my own campaign... especially if you want to use them for a long campaign and more then one appearance.
Tomorrow: Northern Alliance

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clan Warriors of Martapa

So by far my favorite group of people, they are little used in my High King's Sword series. They are alluded to with cameo appearances by Miyaca Snowbird and another Clan Warrior which turns directions for Krom, my Akicitia warrior, but they are not the focus of this set of books.

There are seven Clans of Warriors, all overseen by the God Targon, since he is also the protector of elves, along with the God of Magic. Clan Warriors are always elves, but they may protect any race if they are deemed important to Martapa. The goal of all Clan Warriors is to protect someone important to elven society or to the world. Kings, Queens and those who's destiny shines bright. The Warrior gives their live to protect the person, giving up freedom and family to see that person lives to accomplish what they must. Sometimes things work out well to where the Clan Warrior protects a family member or someone they like and know well. Not all Clan Warriors find a "charge" so they assist other Clan Warriors if the need arises. If a Clan Warrior needs aid other Clan Warriors are obliged to give said aid if it is in their ability and does not endanger their own "charge".

The seven Clans are Wolf, Pegasus, Griffin, Unicorn, Lion, Lynx, and Dragon Clans. The elves can come from anywhere, but for the most part the Lion, Lynx and Unicorn Clans are in Ariella and the others are in the north. To help them they were also bonded with special mounts who chose them. Originally it was an animal of the Clan name, but as the dragons began to decline and Clans began to disappear only the unicorns remained (this would be around the time Shaniko is trying to take over the world). After the War of the Gods unicorns, griffins, and pegasi are used by most of the Clans that return from the brink.

Each Clan Warrior has a necklace which they give to their charge when they feel a magical bond develop between themselves and their charge. Sometimes this bond develops overtime or comes in rush in a hectic situation. Some Clan Warriors do this in the form of their Clan animal, remembering little until they see their necklace upon the person. People are proud to wear the necklace and often are the subject of envy.

Clan Warriors can use magic as well as melee and ranged weapons well. It's a hodgepodge of magic: a little defensive, offensive and healing. Half-elves rarely become Warriors, but it has been known to happen. These elves live outside the caste system and are revered by all.

So for roleplaying purposes you may have to make a class for this, or a fighter/mage/priest might work. The spells I had originally given them was shield, speed (or haste), blind, flight, light, strength, healing, charge, darkness, summoning a sword, ice, pain, climb, and summon dragon (this last is only for the most devote and powerful Warriors). So as you see it isn't a lot of spells, but you could work in new spells if you want (Personally I'm working on rearranging some of them now that I've been exposed to more magic since I wrote my original series. In my books these are power words (for those who played 2nd edition D&D) and require no casting time, thus why I would stick with about this number of spells if you do power words. Clan Warriors should be able to use a bow and a melee weapon, but only has to be specialized in one (yes, I know you can't specialize if you multiclass in D&D. Bend the rules...) They can ride a mount of some sort (though they do not have to have bonded mount if this will overbalance your campaign). These elves can also speak High King's speech along with elven. Only Elves of the Sunstar line may have red hair. So if they must be from this prestigious line, most likely they will be a Wolf Clan Warrior, but they could be from the Clan Leader descendants in other Clans if need be.
Tomorrow: Black Wizards of Shaniko

Monday, August 2, 2010

Knights of Tridon

Created in the time of Peter, this order of human men, and a few women, was created to protect the human kingdom and their High King. Unlike the Clan Warriors (which I will get to later, promise) these men are not solely dedicated to one person, but to the Kingdom of Tridon. They do lay down their lives, but Knights will retreat when necessary and not surrender an army to save a single person as might a Clan Warrior (unless, said person is the High King, of course). They are men of honor and sacrifice, priding themselves in being able to serve those who are weaker and not able to defend themselves.

On a whole the Knights are comprised of the noble sons of the Houses of Tridon. Service is required for three years and they must come to the aid of the High King if there is need of their service. Few who are not noble born ever become a Knight, but there have been occasions when it has occurred. Clearly Peter and his friends were not noble born, and for a few generations after Peter the Knights were chosen amongst any who showed skill. Fewer still are not of human birth. Lord Tristian of Eton and Jared Swiftarrow are some examples of being non-human or poor born and still becoming a Knight.

Starting at age eight these would be Knights begin their training. At this age they are sent to be fostered by a Knight of another House so as not to suffer from indulgent training, though they go home for a month during the winter. The boys or girls run errands for their sponsors, take care of their sponsor's gear and mount and are taught the basics of scholarly pursuits. Around the age of twelve the boys, or girls, are made squires and take on more adult responsibilities. They begin arms training, fighting mounted, and often accompany their sponsors onto the battlefield.

Only once the squires become the age of majority, learned all that which their sponsors believe they should know, and have participated in a battle are they Knighted by the High King or his representative.

There can be around three hundred Knights per House, usually sons, uncles or cousins (And their descendants) of the House Leader, though some promoted militiamen could fill in the ranks. Along with the three hundred Knights about 2,000 to 3,000 militiamen from minor noble houses and general populace fill the armies ranks.

I would caution allowing a player to become a full fledged Knight. They have prestige, money, and pull with a lot of people. A squire might be a better idea or even a disgraced Knight. If you allow a Knight in your campaign they should have mounted fighting, riding, lance, a sword or mace skill, shield skill, diplomacy, animal care, and repair of armor if you have any of these skills. Treat them as a fighter class for all intensify purposes.

Roleplaying Tip of the Week: Miniatures. What? Those archaic things! Trust me this goes along with the "catch them while their young" segment. My children love the miniatures we've dragged out to represent their characters and demand to have some of their own. Plus, even if you don't admit it, you like to see your character in living, breathing color. That's why online games are so popular. People like to see what they are playing, because sometimes their imagination isn't great enough! Happy roleplaying!
Tomorrow: Clan Warriors