Friday, October 29, 2010

Healing Magic

Healing magic in my world is a little different then most mainstream roleplaying worlds. Priests, mages, druids, and magic users of all kinds can heal, though priest and druids can do so better then arcane magic users.

Priests draw their healing power from the Gods' powers, then ultimately from the magical weave which Targon controls, (which is why Dasa's priests' power wanes or waxes depending on how Targon is feeling toward her at the moment). The ability to heal for priests is tiring, but they can continue to do so for an extended period of time. Druids find their power from nature, from Iktomi, and though not as proficient as priests can use nature to heal very well.

Mages and casters of the arcane work differently. Instead of working through the Gods or nature, the arcane users draw directly from Targon's weave. This is not only more tiring but consumes a bit of the magic user in the process. Arcane users can heal most wounds, but the more severe the wound the more likely the arcane user will succumb from fatigue. They will recover after some rest, but they aren't meant for long times healing.

As a generalization Arcane users are field medics while priests and druids would be neurosurgeons in comparison of ability of healing.

Not all arcane users (or priests for that matter) can heal. Black Wizards can not heal nor can priests of Lokar, the God of Death. Some people are more natural at healing then others. these people Tinaka's priests try to bring into the fold, though some are simple arcane users. Amber Blackwolf, a Wolf Warrior, and Duncan the farmer turned mage were/are some of the strongest healers and are arcane users.

For Game mechanics give classes that can't normally heal one less level of healing at one level later. Also if your system allows Resurrection, arcane users can't do this except with Tinaka's Healing Bag, an artifact coveted by the priests of Tinaka and usually only in mortal hands for a small time.
Monday: Guthlaf, son of Fried

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Item: Magic Mirrors

Over the centuries mages have been perfecting the ability to speak magically across great distance. Discovered by accident, (an apprentice believed his master was shouting at him despite being clear across the city) the ability to communicate over long distances was seen as a boon. The ability to send troops to places quickly was always an advantage, but the ability was very unpredictable without a focus. Mages could speak telepathically to a colleague a distance off, but the messages weren't always clear or complete.

Mary Sandturn was a powerful mage who loved fine mirrors. She collected them and always picked up new ones when she traveled. She also liked to talk to her friends and couldn't do so when she was away. She worked on many enchantments until she came up with a good combination of dust from crushed up dragon scales (later on gargoyle horns were used instead), gems, and gold gilded hand mirror. The process takes a month, finishing on the night of a full moon. Only master mages can make these, so they are quite expensive. They range from 100 platinum dragons to 1,000 platinum dragons depending on size and decorations. Only those with magical aptitude can use them, since it does take a bit of magic to operate.

Each mirror has a command phrase to awaken or turn off and contact any other mirror. A person just has to know who they wish to speak to. Anyone can see the other person using the other mirror, but only magic users can make the mirrors work.

Possible uses for a campaign might be the mage of the group wishes to make one and has to gather the pieces.
Tomrrow: Healing on Martapa

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

History: Runner Stations

With such a large area for the High King of Tridon to keep in contact with, and the mages who could communicate over great distances rare at the time, the High King had to have a way of somewhat quick communication. Thus came the runner stations and the runners who went with them.

Each station is set along the High King's Roads a day's run apart. Originally only horsemen were used, but eventually businesses and private citizens who couldn't afford a horsemen employed human runners . Each station has a small shack furnished with a bed, cooking stove, food supplies, wood, and even changes of clothes. They are set off the roads and sheltered from the weather as best possible. The troops who patrol the roads make sure all the stocks are well supplied so the messengers are never in need of anything. Lost travelers or people of need of shelter can use these buildings, for they are never locked or barred, but it is general knowledge that a person should replenish wood or food stocks if they are capable before moving on.

The High King pays for the supplies out of his coffers, but people who pay for a runner also pay for the supplies from a tax the High King puts on any profits the Runner Guilds make. There is a Runner Guild at every major city/House and even some of the little cities spread through out Tiana. The size depends on the size of the of the city, but at least a dozen runners are available, though maybe not all at once. Large cities will have not only human runners, but horsemen as well. Bloodhelm has a "stable" of over 100 runners which most are always in use.

At the Runner Guilds the runners/horsemen are taught to read and write, speak many different languages, learn about culture, and taught self defense. These people are often on their own for long periods of time so they are taught survival as well. They are payed a small stipend to spend on what they want, but are provided room and board, and healers, by the guild. Fees are fairly expensive, but that doesn't stop people form using them.

In the time of the High King's Sword there are more and more mages who can speak with each other magical over great distances, but a mage must have a magic mirror to speak through. (Most traveling mages have a hand mirror which has been enchanted for such a function.) The Runner's Guilds are becoming increasingly alarmed as more and more of their business is heading toward the mages, especially since more and more of the Houses are using them.

A Runner/Horseman can cost anywhere from one gold ducat to several platinum dragons, depending on the location the runner/horseman is going. If the location is in turmoil, then guards have to be hired for the runner and the cost goes up significantly.

To use this information in your game, perhaps your PC's need to send a message or have been hired to protect a runner. Maybe they are all runners and they are all starting their first run together. You can even just throw a runner station in as flavor text or a place of refuge for your PCs. Or your PCs can be part of a road patrol and must repair/stock all the stations on their route. Don't let your PC's abuse the system and expect their messages to get to their destination overnight. Feudal areas of ancient times didn't have cell phones or the Internet and thus news moves slow!
Tomorrow: Magic Item: Speaking Mirrors

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Place: Weatherworn Country Manor

This manor, three days travel southeast of Bloodhelm, is one of many country manors which used to be used by all the Houses as a winter retreat for the northern ones and a summer retreat for the southern Houses. It is also where my six heroes have their world turned upside down, where what they think they know turns out to not be.

The surrounding area is forest land, a nearby stream and the manor is a day ride on an old cobbled road from the High King's road which leads to Bloodhelm and Midway.

The manor is two visible stories, all of native woods and a clay tile roof. The doors and window shutters were made of stout wood, decorated with lightning and cloud motifs (to go along with the House coat of arms), dragons and fairies. Now, though, most hang off rusted, metal hinges, though the main door is still mostly in place. There is a six foot wood wall around the building and stables which are mostly intact, but there are holes in the defense here and there. Both the wall and the buildings are partially covered in ivy and shrubbery, plants growing in unlikely spots in the yard of the manor. Moss grows liberally upon the roof and the porch and some of the support beams look none to sturdy. The cobbled road is over grown, save for the ruts from centuries of wagons.

The downstairs of the manor holds a greeting hall, with chairs, a fireplace, couches, furs, and tapestries. All the furnishings are rotten and probably not in their original locations. The glass in the windows are mostly broken, though there are many of them around the room. The library is directly across from the main hall, full of rotten books, paintings, tapestries, and small animals. There are several broken chairs, tables and suits of armor. Animal nests abound, since the main window which faces to the east is broken. A dinning room and kitchen are off to the right. The kitchen has cooking utensils and pots scattered around it and rodents have made them their homes. A ballroom is off to the left, but would hold two dozen people at most.

Upstairs on the left side has three bedrooms and a small sitting room as does the right side. The middle of the upstairs is open to the library. The bedrooms harbor rotten furniture, tapestries, bedding, and clothing. All the windows are blown out and the birds have taken over.

The small, secret room under the library holds a small library in it, mostly of family history, spellbooks, and history in general. The books are in good condition because of the magic upon the room. And there is a large circle of interspersed thumb sized gems upon the floor, a map of all of Martapa made of stone and small divets at each major city upon it hangs on the wall nearby.

Good use for this place in your campaign is simply as an abandoned manor which could hold monsters or forgotten treasure. Perhaps Weatherworn wants the party to retrieve something of value from it. And if not Weatherworn, perhaps a rival House. There are manors from all the major Houses here in the area, so feel free to substitute "Weatherworn" with what ever House you wish to use.
Tomorrow: History of Runner Stations

Monday, October 25, 2010

Character: Elly Folkor

Elly was my sister's character when we played in my world. She was home bound and so playing over the Internet was perfect for her. She was originally a halfling, but since there were no halflings on my world, she just became a very petite, small human warrior.

Elly remembers nothing about her life before the age of 15, or at least the village who found her washed up on the shore of a nearby river think that is how old she is. They didn't find anything with her, but riverfolk often lost their lives upon the river. An older couple, with many children of their own, took her in and taught her the trade of weaving and animal husbandry. She grew to love the couple, Nana and Papa, and was outraged when mercenaries, under the hand of the Black Wizards, swept through the village and killed nearly everyone because they wouldn't pay the Black Wizards tribute. Elly went to Pathfinder and found a trainer in the blade and learned the fine arts of the arcane so as to revenge the village. By the age of 25 she was ready, but needed to hewn her talents and so headed to Bloodhelm where trouble was rumored to be brewing.

Elly is human, around the age of 25 and stand four and 1/2 feet tall. She is probably around 80 pounds but looks more elven then human. Her face is heart shaped, but rugged, her eyes large in proportion to her head so she seems almost doe like. Her skin is a pale color with a silver blue tint. Her hair is blue black and cut neck length to keep out of the way when she is in battle.

She wears dark blue colored pants with a forest green man's tunic. She wears light, leather armor, supple in appearance and touch. A plain belt keeps her sword at her hip and she carries a small metal shield, dented and covered in scratched but well loved. A blue cloak, worn at the edges, flows behind her and she has lace up leather boots.

Elly is open and calm when she speaks, but she gets to her point fast. Generally she is carefree, but hard working and able to concentrate well in the heat f battle. She makes it known instantly if she does not like someone. She doesn't beat around the bush.

Elly hates Black Wizards and slavers, but loves animals, a good joke or two and is a quick thinker. She is obsessed with trying to find her past but can be led astray by animals or small children.

Elly was a fun to write about. Her whole past slowly comes to light through out the four books and makes life for Tarkil oh so interesting. Elly finds companionship with Krom and Guthlaf, brothers in arms actually, while she feels instantly protective of Duncan and Kenna, or her "Little Dragon". Tarkil she keeps at arms length, but tolerates him because Kenna likes him. She and Krom make up the muscle of the party, but never the stupid barbarian type.
Tomorrow: Weatherworn country manor

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prologue continued

A sleepy, muffled response wove its way out of the blankets and Lee managed a laugh for her granddaughter’s benefit, careful to hide her growing fear.

“I know it’s cold, but Joseph will most certainly have a hot treat for you when you arrive. Now, no more fusing, child. Out of bed.”

The young girl muttered a complaint, but complied with her grandmother’s wishes. Margaret was always a good child for Lee, which she greatly appreciated. Joseph would see her well protected from everything to come.

The city beyond her door would be awakening this fine spring morning, people slowly going about their routines. The caravans would begin arriving, travelers would fill the streets, bards would wander about singing songs of the past. The market would open, slowly filling with multitudes of people. Normally Lee would make her way to the fine stalls and cheerful venders, seeing humanity at its best, taking in the buzz of chatter. But not today.

“Get dressed in an extra layer and pack a small bag. You’ll be staying with Joseph for a bit.” As she spoke, Lee shook free the sand from the parchment, unconcerned the tiny grains fell to the table and the creaking floor. There was no reason to worry about the mess.

Lee carefully, but quickly rolled the parchment tightly, Margaret packing a bag with her clothes. She knew Margaret wouldn’t ask why she was doing such things, after all she often sent
Margaret to stay with Joseph and his family. But this time she hoped desperately the child wouldn’t ask her grandmother’s intentions. She didn’t feel she would have the strength to lie to Margaret.

“Grandma, will we practice writing when I return?”

The question was innocent enough. Margaret enjoyed writing and learning to read, but it only emphasized to Lee what she was about to leave behind.

“If you would like, child.” How could she say no even when she would never be able to fulfill the promise? “Now, when you give this scroll to Joseph tell him not to get involved until the old man and the sword comes. He must keep the scroll safe. It is important to the world.”
The seer tied off the scroll with a stray ribbon, handing it to Margaret. “Repeat my message.”

Margaret quickly did so without error and the Seer patted the child gently on the head. Margaret had never failed her and she certainly wouldn’t now.

“Why don’t you give Joseph the scroll yourself? He likes when you visit.”

Another innocent question to be answered with a powerful, partial truth.

“I am expecting an important guest soon, Margaret. It would be impolite to not be here.”

“A king or a prince?” Margaret scooped up her bag and hugged her grandmother.

Lee smiled gently, knowing many such men had come to her door for answers in the past. “Something like that, child.”

Margaret smiled in turn, heading for the door, Lee following her with a heavy heart. Despite wanting to forget everything she must do she had a task set to her by the Gods. They would see her Margaret was taken care of when she was gone.

“Now don’t dawdle, child. I know how you like to talk to the baker. Straight to Joseph’s, no matter what happens.”

“Yes, grandmother.”

Lee held the door for the child, following her out into the street. She pulled her shawl tight around her shoulders to stave off the cold of the early spring morning. She kissed her granddaughter on the head, gently propelling her toward Joseph’s inn.

Margaret skipped happily down the nearly empty cobbled road a few steps, then turned to wave at her grandmother before continuing on.

Lee waved, wanting to give Margaret one more happy moment to remember. She watched her for a few heartbeats as the city of Devonshire came to life with the morning’s light.

Lee turned from Margaret, pulling her shawl tighter around her once again, but this time it wasn’t to stave off the cold. She stared at the giant gates which led through the only maintained pass in the Tsalagi Mountains. They were barely visible from her stoop and though she could not see them in the dim light, she knew guards patrolled the gate and the wall. They were there to protect not only the city but the pass as well from the evils of the east.

“So, today it begins.”

Lee’s whispered words were punctuated by an explosion so sudden it rocked the sleepy dawn.
Monday: Character: Elly

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magic Item: Mage Quill

Writing quills probably were one of the first magical items created by mages for their ease of writing. Mages write large amounts of research down for spells and magical incantations, and even the most patient mage gets a cramped hand now and again.

Gregory thimble was one of those mages who loved to research just for the shear fun of it, but his notes were always spread out between vast amounts of parchment. It would take weeks to sort out one day's research. He figured there had to be a magical way to speed things up so he set about researching the idea.

Though he did not find something to help him sort his research, he did find a magical way for a mage to have the quill write for him. Using a combination of levitation and magicks to read minds and words he developed a quill which will write what ever the mage says or pointed thinks at the quill. He used special feathers from intelligent flying creatures (Winged Elves, Pegasi, and griffins mostly), powdered silver and various dyes.

Most libraries, mage colleges, temples and counting houses have the magical quills, which can be held or released, and most magic shops carry them. Depending on how fancy the quill they can range in price from 10 gold ducats to 100 gold ducats, but unless they are broken they last forever.

To use, each quill has a command word, (usually please begin/please end in the language of magic). Made mostly by mage guilds, apprentices supply the bulk to help pay on the upkeep of the guild themselves.
Tomorrow: Prologue excerpt

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

History: Noble House Merlinous

Two thousand years before the time of the High King's sword, a woman, Lady Valerie Merlinous, saved Bloodhelm. It wasn't a simple siege or some small skirmish which earned her rank and title. No, it was the death of not only her squad of Knights and footmen, but herself as well. The woman of great stature and baring always wore her dark hair short, wore only breeches and t-tunics, and swore like a sailor on shore leave. But she was greatly loved by her men and she greatly loved her home.

The city of Bloodhelm was under siege for two months by ogres, bandits, and a few renegade wizards. The harbor was barricaded by pirate ships and the populace was slowly starving to death. The Knights within the walls of Bloodhelm sallied forth many times, trying to break the lines and get messengers through to bring aid from other Houses. But no messengers made it through the ranks of ogres bandits.

Valerie knew why they weren't getting through. The Knights refused to sacrifice themselves for the populace by guiding the messenger all the way through the ranks of those who laid siege to Bloodhelm. Sick with the thought of so many dying while her fellow Knights ate well, she asked her squad to accompany her and the messenger as far as they could make it. No one refused her request despite knowing it was a suicide mission.

In the end she managed to protect the messenger to the edge of the enemy encampment, allowing him to ride to Vandez for aid. But she lost her life in the noble effort. The House of Bloodhelm realized their mistake or at least wanted to quell the populace before they demanded she be granted sainthood. They named her son the leader of a newly created noble House in answer to the problem. Since then they have been part of the Bloodhelm hierarchy.

By the time of the High King's Sword, Merlinous has become a thorn in Bloodhelm's side and Lord Ikaris wishes to rid himself of the Leader of noble House Merlinous, Sir Senish, as soon as possible.
Tomorrow: A Magic Item

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Krom's Village

The village of the Grandfather owl clan is surrounded by grassland plains with some rolling hills. Small shrubs and a nearby stream that is about three feet across in the summer, ten in the winter, best describe the area around the village.

From the outside it is a three circles of grass and mud huts (very similiar to those found in Kenya), the outer circle holding twenty huts, the second holding thirteen, the third circle holding six huts. In the direct center is the meeting hall made to hold the entire population of the village. Outside the meeting hall is a large pit for ceremonial bonfires. Around the village is a ditch and a wooden spike fenced palisade of sorts. The logs were dragged in long ago and treated with a compound to make them last, though some need to be replaced now and again. Some aren't as sturdy as they use to be at the moment.

The huts are large enough to house anywhere form seven to fifteen Akicitia depending on the size of a family. The huts are circular and about eight feet tall at the sides (Akiticia are tall people). Low benches circle around the inside wall, personal things are hung on walls or put under benches. Some food and herbs are hung from the ceiling. A smoke hole is in the middle of the ceiling, fire pit below it in the ground lined with rocks. The clan maintains a heard of animals that is usually protected by the young adults or older children. And small plot gardens are kept to suppliment anything found wild. A communical food storage area is underneath the gathering hall.

Good roleplaying opportunities here would be to gather supplies or rumors, or bring rumors. Perhaps they need healing and the shaman here might be able to offer it for a price. The village is well protected, but maybe the PC's know of a threat which if they told the Akicitia ahead of time might save the them from disaster. Also if they are looking for particular Akicitia only weapons (like Akicitia spears and bolos) maybe they can trade for those.
Tomorrow: History of noble House Merlinous

Monday, October 18, 2010

Character: Krom of the Grandfather Owl Clan

Krom was a challenge to GM for. My husband wanted to try a warrior with a twist so he decided Krom could not lie without hurting his honor. And Krom held his honor pretty darn high, even above his life. He was a straight forward character, and is in my story, which led to some fun and exciting GMing moments for me.

Krom is the youngest of three children. He's father Kariwa (brother in Shasta if you are all into name origins) and mother Tarichi (wife in Shasta). His older brother Kunapsi (fox in Shasta) and older sister Kassa (Mallard duck in Shasta) watch over him like hawks but teach him everything. He is a hunter and tracker for his clan and is trying to earn a hunt of his own.

Krom is Akicitia and stands six and half feet tall. He is around 270 pounds and is broad at the shoulders then tapers into the waist. He has a stocky torso but is quite dexterous. He is a walking ball of muscle and fur. His face is round with a sloping snout and prominent upper eyeteeth. Whiskers are nearly invisible near his nose, but very sensitive to vibrations giving him an advantage of detecting people or animals near him. His ears are set slightly forward and at the ten and two positions on the top of his head which stick out of a thick, lion mane.

Krom's fur is a sandy brown, with a black tipped tail and the ends of his mane, feet, and hands. His eyes are a golden brown, almost a honey color. They are big and round, set slightly farther from center of the face then a human's would be.

Krom's mane is a dark golden brown growing darker as it reaches the ends and finally ends in black, falling just to his shoulder. He looks like a lion wearing it loose.

He wears buckskin clothing with leather scale armor. (The armor is made of leather, but the pieces overlap looking like small scales.) Feathers, beads, and small stone fetishes are tied into his mane.

Krom is blunt and to the point. He doesn't lie and he doesn't mince words. He is friendly to his friends and family but down right vindictive to those who seek to harm himself, the weak, and his clan. Krom's prejudices run against those who prey upon the weak and those who rape and pillage.

Krom is honest, sincere, friendly, and extremely brave, almost to point of suicidal. He will drop everything to help protect women and children and no matter what he just can't lie. But his temper is short, he is very blunt and is very vengeful toward people those who have wronged him.

Krom comes all the way from Ariella via a boat captianed by Guthlaf's cousin. (Guthlaf is my dwarven thief in this story.) He put to the task of trying to find some much needed information about his tribe's attackers by the elders of his clan. He reaches Bloodhelm in time to get mixed up in the mess with Tarkil and the others. He is just as used by the Gods as the others, but in the time he is in the north he grows and matures, making him a natural leader when he returns home.
Tomorrow: Krom's village

Friday, October 15, 2010

Equipment for Adventuring

Since part of my mission for showing you my world is for you to be able to adventure in this world, I thought we might talk about equipment.

Most basic equipment found in your player's handbook can be found on Martapa. Tents, animals, dry rations and the like. They should all be easy to find and normal prices. Some things which may not be so easy to find will depend on region. Elven goods should not be easy to find in the Ariellan Empire or Tiana after Shaniko's time, though fairly easy to get before then. Weapons such as the sapaka (my oriental like sword) should be incredibly hard to find except if your party happens to be playing on the island of Janesh. Racial weapons and equipment should be hard to find, except in the racial cities. They should be expensive for players who are not of that race.

Mounts are pretty standard. Griffons, unicorns and other special mounts can not be bought or sold, but they can be earned by earning the animal's trust. Dragons can never be claimed as a mount, but may allow a person to ride with them.

Magic items are common, but not available to every person. They cost a bunch (make sure that they are level appropriate for your party, so price it out of their range if they shouldn't be using it). The most common magic items would be potions and light stones.
Monday: Krom

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Magic Item: Magic Potions

Potions are always a mainstay of most roleplaying games and fantasy books and my world is no exception, though they are hardly used. Most potions are a cooperative effort between alchemists and mages or priests. The alchemists put together mixtures of herbs (and sometime more exotic items) then the mage or priest imbues the mixture with magical properties. Depending on the potion it can take up to a week to create a batch or even a single potion.

The herbs (or exotic items) that are used depend on the potion. Healing potions take such items as willow leaves or bark or yarrow. Poison antidotes might include snake or spider venom.

The magic spell which would give the desired affect is cast upon the vial (made of refined and polished glass of the highest quality sand) several times, usually by journeymen level mages or priests. Many mages who do not take on the title "Master" make a living working for alchemists for just this purpose.

Originally these items were created by the healers of the elves for their patrols who were gone for some time and may not have a healer with them. They traded them with the humans and the humans slowly began to understand how to make them on their own. Now most races can make them, but maybe not as many different types as the elves.

Prices for potions vary on location and type, but should be fairly expensive for a beginning adventuring party. (Normal prices from your game system would work just fine.) Because many classes in my world can heal (mages, priests, bards, spellblades, and Clan Warriors) healing potions aren't as important but are still expensive to make.
Tomorrow: Equipment for Characters

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mahatalo's Clan

Mahatalo is one of my background Akicitia which I fleshed out pretty darn well in the series which will not be seen, though I hope to rewrite in all my spare time, ha! He is a lively Akicitia, totally opposite of his people, a bard for all intensive purposes, but a warrior as well.

Mahatalo and his small "Clan" of Akicitia came north after Mahatalo had a blow up argument with the rest of his original Clan. He was a major hunter in Ariella, along with his sister and about fifteen other warriors. He felt that they should reach out to the younger races, befriend them and trade with them, but his people wanted to remain isolated. He decided to take things into his own hands and talked to a nearby human tried to try and establish trade. (Which would have been successful given time.) When the elders of the clan found out they banished him from the Clan. His sister and the members of his hunt, along with their families, left the Clan and headed north to Tiana, because they saw the wisdom of Mahatalo's thoughts.

Once there they found a lot of resistance from ogres when they tried to settle and so Mahatalo decided being by the elves might be a good way to start making trade alliances with the other races. As they made their way north they were hounded by ogres and their kin and several of their numbers died in the process. A large attack came upon the Akicitia when they were nearly to the elven city of Qalataqa. It was here Veo Sunstar and his patrol found the harried Akicitia and helped.

Mahatalo and Veo hit it off immediately and an alliance was instantly born. Mahatalo and his people helped the infant Wolf Clan while the Wolf Clan helped Mahatalo's clan establish themselves.

Wisdom came to Mahatalo later in life as he watched his friend and his friend's children and grandchildren die. He knew his friend Veo and his Clan were important so he kept his clan close to the Wolf Clan knowing they would be needed someday. And they were, protecting Amber Blackwolf and Richard Goldenstern from Shaniko's troops as they searched for the staff of Veo. When Mahatalo died several centuries after the Time of the Chosen his clan of Akicitia returned south and established several different clans in the south (which include Krom's Grandfather Owl Clan). They did so because they figured their role as guardians of guardians was finished and they missed their kin.

For roleplaying purposes, a player could be an Akicitia from this clan if they wish at any time from the time of Veo to the time of the Chosen. They don't have any different powers then normal Akicitia, but they all speak High King's speech and most speak elven.
Tomorrow: A Magic Item

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Duncan's Farm

Duncan's farm doesn't come to light, really, until the third book, but after Duncan's intro I thought it might be a fun place to show.

Duncan's farm is amidst many other homesteads and near his brothers and sisters in particular. It is about a half day's ride north of Midway on the road to Vandez.

The farmhouse is two stories, roughly fifty by twenty feet with a kitchen, master bedroom and living area down below and four bedrooms up above. (This is super large for the area, but Duncan imagined a huge family when he made it.) The hearth is made of river rock, the house is made of whole logs. A small creek runs near by. One barn, slightly singed, sits about five hundred feet away from the house to the east, a chicken coop to the west about twenty feet, and ruins of three other barns are situated around the area.

The inside of the farmhouse is rustic, all the chairs and furniture hand carved and rough looking. There are several handmade quilts downstairs as well as upstairs. There is a small wood counter near the hearth of river rock. A teakettle and stewpot are always on. The whole downstairs is open, save the bedroom, so there is little privacy. Near the hearth is a set of steep, wooden stairs that go upstairs. The upstairs holds four bedrooms. Each has a large bed (meant for several children) a small dresser, and a small mirror. Each has its own window, though they have only shutters, no glass.

The barn has a hayloft, that harbors about two dozen barn cats, and stall space for two horses and an odd assortment of cows, goats, and sheep.

People that might be met here would be Duncan and depending on the year, maybe Audrey, his ex-wife. Also Theodore the third might be here. In the time of the High King's Sword, Theodore's whole family is here, along with his brother and his wife and children.

Duncan will house and feed anyone that asks for aid. He will not allow somebody to take advantage of him, but he'd never turn anyone out in the cold, especially if a child is involved.
Tomorrow: History of Mahatalo's Clan

Monday, October 11, 2010

Duncan the Farmer

Duncan was my husband's character, a reluctant mage of power and a cheerful old man. My husband is obsessed with mages as a main character in a book who isn't a bad guy and had fallen in love with Jim Butcher's Dresden Files at the time I started my campaign. (If you have not read Butcher's Dresden Files run out and get it now! They are awesome.) But he wanted a unique character so an unassuming old man who was once a farmer as his mage we started off into the wilds of adventure.

Duncan is the son of a farmer, Theodore, and his wife Ellen. The second youngest of ten children, Duncan probably didn't pick up as much farming knowledge as he should have, finding his nose often pressed in a book when he could. By the time he married he knew more about mixing potions and the world about him then he did about planting seeds and it showed. He was barely able to grow enough to feed him and his wife, Audry, let alone trade. On top of that problem, his barns kept inexplicably burning down. After a few years, and many barns later, Duncan realized he was calling upon the magic of the weave subconsciously and bringing forth magical fire when he grew upset (which was not often). After a few years of marriage his wife had enough poverty and burning barns and left Duncan for a more prosperous neighbor. He continued to tend the farm for several decades when a Master Mage found him and told him he should train in Bloodhelm to control the magic. The story starts with him heading back to Bloodhelm after giving his farm to his nephew, Theodore the Third.

Duncan is human, forty nine years of age, about 5 foot 3 inches and around 124 pounds. He is a typical middle aged man, stooped slightly, a bit on the underfed side, but not sickly looking. His face is round and grandfatherly like with low set cheek bones. He is tan from working out in the fields. He is going bald, with thinning white hair. His eyes are green and large.

Duncan wears dun colored breeches and shirt, utilitarian leather belt which holds lots of pouches and weathered cloak which has many patches. His boots are short and lace up. It is clearly peasant in origin, but the outfit gives him a dignified look. He doesn't tout his power by showing off. He also has a plain looking staff which he needs to cast his magic, but uses it from time to time to make him look more vulnerable.

His speaking style is that of grandfather, full of wisdom, though he may wander on occasion. He does not swear unless he is truly upset (so flames usually follow). His voice is steady, but quiet and thoughtful.

He is a very calming, reassuring presence. People feel at ease with him because of his age. He doesn't become agitated easily and is definitely hard to anger.

Duncan's largest prejudice is against those who would harm the weak. But he is trust worthy, easy to get along with and a good, solid thinker. His worse quality would be his bad farming practices. His largest weakness is children. He always carries treats for them no matter where he goes, since he never had children of his own.

He loves to whittle and makes small toys for children.

Duncan is my mage of power, power that is needed later on in the series and is used horribly by the Gods. But he is also the father figure for the whole party, especially doting on Kenna who he grows to consider his own child. He is also key to an important magical discovery which drives the first book. Though unassuming at first he is key to my story.
Tomorrow: Duncan's Farm

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Veo Sunstar and the Wolf Clan

The elven prince of the northern wood elves was never one for conformity. He hated parties with nobles, hated the rich life he had been given, hated the politics he was forced to confront every day. He preferred the woods and nature and wanted to serve his country by protecting his people.

In his wanderings he often came upon wolves and slowly became their friends. He would run with them and patrol the woods with the rangers who watched over the forest. It was on one of these runs he saved the Akicitia Mahatalo from ogres. Once he found the Akicitia in the area were being hounded by ogres he and his ranger friends went to war for them.

It was during one of these exchanges Targon, God of Magic and Elves, witnessed the bravery of Veo and his fellows and came to Veo and his patrol. He offered them a chance to protect those who were important to not only the elves but all of Martapa as well. (Targon knew Mahatalo would be part of helping the Chosen, so even though Veo didn't know, Mahatalo was important to the world, he had done a great deed for the world.)

Veo agreed after some soul searching, as did his fellows, though the act angered his father, the king. Only direct intervention from Targon himself stopped the Wolf Clan from dying in infancy. Because Veo loved wolves so much he named the Clan after them.

Veo was the first Clan Leader and created the tenants all Clan Warriors live by, "My Honor is my life." Later he founded the other clans all over Martapa.

Amber Blackwolf was a direct descendant of Veo, though she was half-elf. It is rumored ever first Clan Leader of the other Clans were Veo's offspring. These rumors may be true since Veo was woman's man and charmer.

For roleplaying purposes you can use this in many ways. One, the characters can be founding members of the Clan, which might be fun. You can also use this only as background for those characters who are clan members. And you can even allow a character to be a bastard of Veo Sunstar depending on the time line you are running. If you do, this is the only line of wood elves which has red hair! It was Targon's unique gift to his favorite line of elves. Thus why no other lines of elves have red hair.
Tomorrow: A magic item

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Great Library of Stormvale

The Great Library of Stormvale is in the center of the city across the great plaza from the keep of the High King. The marble steps leading up to the large, oak double doors are carved with the speech High King Peter gave at the final battle to drive the ogres into the ground and which spurred Catiana to give mortals the Gift of the Gods. The colonnades which line the huge porch are carved with ivy, immortals, and the Tenants of Peter.

The doors are open from sunrise to sunset and High King Peter wanted nothing more then the population from the poorest to the richest to be able to read and find knowledge. Books are available while in the library for free, though those who are researching and need a table or someone to find a book for them costs money. If a person is unable to read it is the job of the apprentices of the various temples and mage guilds to teach said person to read, all for free.

The main hall is filled with bookshelves and tables, most of these books being copies of various well known works and even song and story books. There is always a Master Mage near the door who directs a person to where they need to go and take the fees for using the various resources. Paper and writing utensils are available for purchase here as well. The research fee is a silver eagle a day, but does not include paper or ink, just the use of the books and tables. A gold ducat is all that is needed for a whole month.

Below the Library is the magically protected portion of the library which stores old tomes and rare finds, along with maps of ages gone by and some artifacts. This portion is strictly manned by the priests of Catiana. (Let me pause here and say I have come to the realization that having plain mages and Mages who are suppose to be priests is too confusing and thus have changed Mages of the Gods to priests. Sorry about the confusion.) Only the very well connected may come here and then only under the strictest supervision. Journeymen are always down here copying books as precisely and carefully as they can. It is considered a punishment, but some of the Journeyman actually like it.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth floors are also crammed full of informational books organized by history on the second, magic and magical beasts on the third, family records and deeds on the forth and the fifth holds hodgepodge of other information. But on the fifth floor is a special door which leads to a small room which only holds a single table and chair. But with a magical key held by the master of the library a person can open a door to an extra dimensional pocket of magic which is really the old magic school dedicated to Catiana. Shaniko killed all the mages and priests that where there, but one managed to escape and saved the school by placing it in a magical pocket of space. Everything is still intact and originally the school was going to be returned to its original location, but the masters of the library decided to keep it where it was where the knowledge and space could be protected. Untold numbers of artifacts and old books are inside and could lead to all sorts of adventures.

Lastly there is a large garden in the middle of the library, open to the air and allowing those scholars who are inside too long a breath of fresh air in the large city. Birds and small mammals flourish here and magic keeps the animals inside and safe even in the worst of weather.
Tomorrow: History of Veo Sunstar

Monday, October 4, 2010

Character: Kenna Whiteswan

So in my campaign Kenna was my character, a bubbly way to get details of my world into my campaign without being overt about it, seeing as she is a bard. Originally, we'd all decided no romantic entanglements would happen amongst characters, since we'd done that too many times in past campaigns, but darn it all if Kenna didn't just seem drawn to Tarkil. So there it was.

Kenna is my bubbly light of hope in some dark spots in my book. She also becomes the romantic entanglement of Tarkil's, though it takes some interesting turns to get to that point. Kenna was born to the tavern wench, Jamilia, in Midway and a traveling minstrel named Flynn Whiteswan. Though he wasn't a big part of her life, he did at least see her on occasion and teach her some of his craft. Her mother, being originally from Ariella, taught Kenna the art of seductive dancing as well. Kenna has no brothers or sisters, though she grew up with another bar wench's daughter, along with the tavern owners children. When she was ten, her mother bought her some finger symbols and she begun to perform at the tavern when her mother worked, earning extra money for the tavern as well as for her and her mother.

Kenna is human and all of sixteen winters old. She is five foot tall and 90 pounds wet. She is lithe and graceful in appearance. She has a small waist and bust. Her body is basically a body which is just finding its way to womanhood. Her face is elven in type, though round around the edges, almost heart shaped. Higher cheek bones then normal hold emerald green eyes and her nose is slightly flattened which is typical of her southern heritage. Her complexion is mocha in color, a mix of her white skinned father and dark skinned mother. Her eyes always carry a mischievous glint to them and she is always happy-go-lucky. Her hair is ebony and crinkly curly which falls to her shoulder blades and she wears it loose.

Kenna wears Arabian type baggy pants with overlapping skirt of blue. An off the shoulder white shirt goes to mid forearm with a blue, short vest covering it. Off her belt hangs a sword, which she knows how to use in theory, but isn't good at it, and she wears soft, leather boots.

Kenna can talk your ear off, flatter a person until the cows come home, or be short and to the point. Though the last is hard for her. Generally she is easy going and friendly. She will speak with beggars and wayward children in happy tones, but she can make her point clear when talking to thugs. She isn't likely to raise her voice, but try to soothe things over with her speech or a good song or story.

She sings and dances better then some people twice her age and will someday be a great bard. She doesn't like slavers, Black Wizards, or those who would abuse the weak and oppressed. She does have a slight prejudice against nobles which comes from her father. She is friendly, generous, quick thinking, willing to listen to anyone and entirely too trusting. And she is so generous she has little wealth of her own.

Kenna's weakness is the need to help others worse off then herself, whether truly worse off or just perceived. She dabbles in magic, but is not a mage of any ranking She also, via her father, learned to pick pockets, pick locks, and can sneak as well as any elf could.

In my story Kenna is not only the romantic love interest, but the glue that binds this whole group of misfits together. Everyone finds this urge to protect her and love her bubbly outlook on life, despite the darknesses in their own. Even Tarkil warms up to her over time. Her deepest bond is with Duncan, the elder mage of the party, for she finds him to be the grandfather she never had.
Tomorrow: The Great Library of Stormvale

Friday, October 1, 2010

Prologue of High King's Sword

I'm not going to post the whole thing here (since its a wee long). I'll post more the next time I post a part of my book, but I thought this would give you a good feel of my world. Happy reading!

The Illuminations of the Future
"A small light in the darkness can still give hope to those without it." Saying of the Mages of Pezuta

The candle flickered in the slight breeze which often found its way through her shuttered windows. Its illumination was barely adequate in the predawn light to see the aged parchment which lay upon the rickety table in the center of the small room.
Older writing lay at the top of the weathered parchment, but her steady, old hand swiftly added more flowing script to its yellowed length. The woman's movements bespoke need and lack of time but she carefully made each word legible. It was vital the future should know her her precise words.
Lee lifted her quill and inspected her work with a critical eye. She nodded absently, reaching for her bowl of sand. Effortlessly she sprinkled the sand over the top of the words to dry them and keep the ink from smudging before she stood.
Her long, gray skirts swirled about her ankles as she moved across the wooden slat floor until she stopped, kneeling next to a small bed along one of the drafty walls.
Lee couldn't suppress her sad smile when she glanced at the small child who lay beneath several worn blankets. She loved Margaret and was sad she would not see her granddaughter grow into a woman. It was better in the end, though. Seers were too dangerous to live long in this world.
Lee placed a gentle hand upon the child and gently shook her.
"You must awaken, child."
There was no response, so Lee shook the child more insistently.
"Margaret, you must awaken. You need to deliver a message to Joseph for me."