Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Place: Temple of Pezuta

Temples of Pezuta are more or less the same in every place, but each has its own little flare. As the Goddess of Luck, her temples are very fanciful and whimsical. Most are made out of marble (most temples are unless they are a back woods place with no access to marble) and carved with festival people in dance, play, and wine imbibing. Dice and other games of chance are always popular as well. Fanciful creatures such as sprites and satyrs are also common in picture as well as person.

The interiors are always very open, with only a small section of the building built into bedrooms for the attending priests. The lightning is bright and cheerful, to help supplicants feel comfortable. Sometimes a small garden will be in the middle of the temple. Temples to Pezuta usually have a small gaming gallery as well, proceeds going to the temple. Many people come to play, but some think such ideas of trying to gamble in the temple of luck is a stupid idea.

The priests are usually dressed in silk clothes that are revealing, though leave something to the imagination. They always appear young and happy (Pezuta gives her priests youthful appearances even in old age, though not long life). Some priests of Pezuta have the ability to tell the future and the diviners will tell a persons fortune, or luck, for a small fee.

Most people, at one time or another, will pay homage to Pezuta, because everybody needs a little luck now and again.
Tomorrow: History of Unicorn Mounts for Clan Warriors

Monday, November 29, 2010

Character: Marius Vandez

Marius' original name, while in my RPG campaign was Gustave, but that was too close to Guthlaf. I'm not sure where the name Marius came from, but I thought it fit this conniving arch enemy who was thrown at Tarkil and his friends.

Marius is the fourth son of Lord Vandez and Lady Isabella. His mother has always groomed him to become a Black Wizard of Shaniko. She, herself, is a Wizard in the organization and wanted her son to rise higher into the organization. He studied hard, went to the Mage College in Weatherworn, then was apprenticed to a high ranking Wizard in Last Stand, (though his father thought the man was a mage). When Marius finished his apprenticeship, he killed his master and took over his manor and ascended to the rank of Grand Wizard. From there he gained contacts and took over the Wizards running of the Kin. He eventually became the ambassador to the Emperor of Ariella and has been working with them ever since.

Marius is human, 37 years old, five foot eight and 140 pounds. He is rail thin, dandy like in shape. He is not well muscled, but could hold his own in a physical battle for a bit. His face is chiseled, narrowing at the chin. He is incredibly handsome and has the face of a prince. His complexion is pale porcelain in color, as if he is delicate and doesn't get much sun. His black eyes are dark and beguiling. His hair is so black it has a blue sheen and he keeps it pulled back in a short pony tail.

Marius dresses in heavy black robes covered in arcane symbols and fallen God Kahalla, (though when he returns home he always wears proper attire for a son of a House). He speaks with elegance that only people in court are known to carry. Even in the middle of battle he speaks in a calm, collected manner. He is a gentlemen in any situation, even to his enemies. He is used to court life and knows how to get what he wants with words, but can use force if necessary.

Marius hates those of lower classes, those who seek to aid the world and those who do not hold power. He is well spoken, well groomed and very powerful in his chosen craft, not quick to anger. He loves fine wine, fine women and magical power of any kind.

Marius is a background character in the first book, Van being my main "bad guy" there. But his presence is alluded to. He becomes more of a force in the second book, bringing pain and troubles to our would be heroes. I love throwing him up against my heroes and in a book it is so much easier to write the direction things should go with a bad guy. If you have ever GM'd you know how hard it is for your main bad guy to not die on the first encounter, since players are a lot more unpredictable then what you are writing them in a situation.
Tomorrow: Temple to Pezuta

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Long, Unexpected Vacation

To all those who do read this, (which I'm entirely grateful), I will be gone for about 2 weeks and not posting for that time. My husband's grandmother died so we must trek from Oregon to Utah by vehicle with the kids in tow so Internet access may or may not be available. When I return I promise to bombard you with more things about my world. Until then, keep well and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Item: Gems of Translocation

Though travel isn't incredibly hard, with good roads and the like, the kingdom of Tridon is a large place. It takes time to get from here to there, even if the hardships of going from one inn to another isn't exactly the hardest thing to do. Some mages are able to translocate (move themselves from one spot to another instantaneously with the use of magic), but it is hard on the mage and the more people they are trying to move the harder it is on them. The strain can become so bad that the mage can actually die from the strain of magic. But in the cases of emergencies, like the High King is being besieged or something, it is worth the effort.

Magical transportation circles were created, which took the strain from the mages who used them, but they were rare when they were made, and in the time of the High King's Sword they are not in use at all. But some Mages and Wizards came up with a small item which could be used to transport a person from any spot to any other spot.

These gems are covered in runes, about the size of one's thumb, usually a fairly common gem such as agate or quartz. The mage or wizard cast spells of translocation upon it, stopping short of the one word which finishes the spell. This word becomes the trigger word. But the mage or wizard has to put a little of himself into the gem so rarely do mages do this and if they do, they do not do one after another. Wizards, on the other hand, who have perfected this, use the life essence of slaves or captured people to fuel the gems. Usually a dozen or more gems can be made in such a manner before the person is killed.

These are hard to make items which are coveted by everyone and guarded well by those who make them. This should be a rare item found only if it moves the GM's plot along, but is a good escape device for your villain if he is need of such an escape.
Monday: Marius Vandez

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Place: Vandez

Vandez is a busy port, though not as busy as Bloodhelm. The 1st House and capital city of the House of Vandez, this is the most populace city of the area. The port is in the northwest part of the city, the western wall portion rises from port level to a height of three hundred feet above the ocean. The wall surrounds the whole city and the gate is manned twenty four hours a day. In the time of the High King's Sword, a shanty town has sprung up around the outside of the wall. The bazaar is smaller then Bloodhelm's and located in the north eastern part of the city.

Between the port and the bazaar are the guilds, shops, and a small warrior college. The Vandez compound in the southwestern corner, while the majority of houses and temples are in the southeastern part of the city. Most shops have second stories which serves as homes for the owners or the workers. Near the warrior college is a large armory/blacksmith which is always in production making fine weapons and armor, along with mundane everyday items, for use in Vandez as well as export.

Religions strong here, at first, are Catiana, Iktoma, Sarjon, and Pezuta. At the time of the High King's Sword, those temples remain, but there is an underground religion which leans more toward the darker Gods.

This is a good starting area for warriors, since mercenaries are one of the major exports of Vandez. There is good training here and access to good weapons and armor. Also it would be a good place to be hired for a protection job. If your party has druids (or some sort of nature player character) this is a good place to start in the early years, for the city pays homage to Iktomi, the God of Nature.
Tomorrow: Gems of Translocation

Monday, November 8, 2010

Character: Vandalar Vandez

My first arch enemy for my players, he was little more then a blip on my roleplaying radar. But books require a far reaching villain, and thus, in the first book, Van becomes my villain of note.

Van is the youngest of the six Vandez children of the current House Leader of Vandez, Lord Brent. Being the youngest, he is always looking for attention and praise, and thus why he is so taken with his brother Marius. The Black Wizard (who is estranged from his father) praises and uses Van. Van knows this, but revels in the praise Marius gives him.

Van is human, 27 years of age, five foot 9 inches and about 170 pounds. He is lithe, but more athletic lithe then wiry. His jaw is square, his face handsome but rugged. He is well tanned, his eyes are cold, winter blue and very enchanting. His hair is dark chestnut brown, with two dark gray streaks running just above the ear toward the nape of his neck.

When Van is running errands for his brother he wears blacks and browns, though always of the highest quality. When in public he wears the finest of clothes, billowy shirts and pants, highly decorated and lavishly colored. Knee high boots in either style, a fine saber at his left side, daggers hidden about his person. The sheath he always has, which is covered in twisting snakes, has a poison reservoir at the tip. In public he has a large hat with a dark blue feather which dangles over the back.

Van is a smooth talker, fine with the ladies, polite to gentlemen. When he is with the darker elements of the world he tends to talk in a coarser tone and curse far more. But he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He talks people up until they do what he wishes or he can catch them unawares. He enjoys tormenting people and taunts his victims mercilessly. He is also very sadistic. He likes to have his way with woman, often beating them and torturing them at the same time he does so.

Van hates the underclass, they are merely dirt to him, and those who will not do as he wishes. He is the epitome of a gentlemen in social situations. He is an excellent swordsman and cares greatly for his brother Marius. He is sadistic, he likes to pray on the weak and rape women. He likes to get his way.

Van is the first major villain in my series, who eventually leads to Marius, the ultimate villain of my series. He's not a nice guy and there are certain things he eventually does to party members that my husband will not forgive me for. But he is a dark hearted bastard and I like to write him that way because he plays off Tarkil so well, making the morally lost Tarkil look so much more likable.
Tomorrow: Vandez

Friday, November 5, 2010

Item: Compass of Finding

The compass of finding was created by the explorers of the humans near Calabay. Thar Darkstone loved exploring but after getting lost in a snowstorm, he set to working on a compass.

He consulted the dwarves, the masters of stone, who showed him the powers of the lodestone. He was impressed by the stone, but wanted more.

Thar consulted the mages as how to find a specific item, not just north. The mages he consulted took over six years to solve his problem but came up with a novel idea. There were spells to locate objects or places but it required a piece of the object, something similar to the object, or something from the place. But it was a s short distance spell.

The mages modified the spell to find locations in addition to north, but it has to be a place the compass has been. Becaues of this, most compasses are shipped in mass to all the nearby major cities to get a person started. The words "Lead me to (place), good lodestone, so I may be safe," must be spoken over it. This must be done every hour or otherwise it resets to finding north. If the compass doesn't know the location it will spin three times before stopping on north. This works on land or sea and most travelers in the present time carries one of them.

The compasses are made by the Finder's Guild's apprentices in cooperation with the Mage Guild. They are fairly inexpensive, less then a ducat in most cases.

For your campaign you could throw one in which leads to a famous ruin. Perhaps they find it in a treasure horde and are chased by some person or group which wants to find the ruin.
Monday: Vandalar Vandez

Thursday, November 4, 2010

History: Migration of the Dwarves

The dwarves, long ago, lived deep below the Elvenhome Mountains, beneath the aviaries of the ancient elves. They worked cooperatively, one supplying what the other could not. But eventually their area to expand and explore disappeared and they grew restless.

Tangier, God of Dwarves, heard their pleas and appeared before their king. "I shall give you your own homeland, but you must have faith." Taniger bade his rock bound dwarves to craft boats and gather supplies. Dwarves, though now great boat builders, had never built boats, thus they hired humans to guild them a fleet.

The process took five long years. During this time the King sent scouting parties to pick landing locations and create temporary shelters, to plant crops and fruit trees, and do exploration digs.

The armada of dwarven ships took a month to sail to the new dwarven homeland and as the king stepped from his ship he praised Taniger for the rocky home they had been given.

If you do an early campaign the PC's could be a scouting party, taking out monsters before the fleet arrives. Perhaps they are a ship crew or maybe their are ambassadors (or part of their party) who are to negotiate with the humans for the ships.
Tomorrow: Compass of Finding

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Place: Isles of Taniger

The Isles of Taniger or Dwarven Isles are six islands are the home of the dwarves. Though they have enclaves in different parts of Martapa, this is the homeland which is defended staunchly. The largest of these Islands, Standing Stone, houses not only the capital city of Delve, but the majority of the population as well. The ground is very fertile from a long dormant volcano and the farming is very good. There are few native trees, so wood has to be imported. Originally there was a forest of some size on the northwest part of the island, but that was cut down long ago.

To the west and southwest of Standing Stone is Pillar and Gem. These two out posts house gem and mineral mines which have yet to peter out. There is a good sized standing army here to protect the dwarves investments. Pillar has a port city of Miner and Gem has a port city of Granite.

To the south of Standing Stone is the island of Stone Hold. This island has fruit trees and cocoa beans growing on them and houses enough dwarves to tend these crops. The port city here is Stone Hold.

To the northeast of Standing Stone are two islands, Tinder and Axe Handle. These islands produce wool, cloth, and meat since they are very rocky and only sheep and sure footed grazers are able to get to outcroppings of grass. The port city of Tinder is always busy and Axe Handle's port city of Cloth always has trade traffic.

Most dwarven homes and cities are underground, so above ground can be completely devoted to growing crops and animals. The port city of Dwarven Home on Standing Stone is always busy and home to the dwarven ship building berths. The majority of the standing army is on Standing Stone.
Tomorrow: The Migration of Dwarves

Monday, November 1, 2010

Character: Guthlaf, Son of Ferid

Guthlaf was our friend's second character. To be honest, we just needed a thief and our friend was kind enough to make a second character. But as we began to play, our friend really put some effort to fleshing out Guthlaf and he bonded well with Krom.

Guthlaf was a typical dwarf for most of his childhood, but as he began to age he noted that he preferred to be out on his own, discovering new things. Every trip to the mines became an adventure, every new stone pried from its bed was a new discovery. Soon he was wandering the isles to find hidden caves, dungeons, and forgotten tombs just for the shear joy of it. After some time he decided the mainland would offer him more discovers and made his way there. Taking a ride with his cousin to the mainland he met Krom, the Akicitia, and began a grand adventure which he would never have imagined.

Guthlaf is about 4 and 1/2 feet tall, 160 pounds (all muscle, except for an ale belly), with a short broad body. He is more lithe then most dwarves, but like them his arms are slightly longer in proportion to his body and his legs are slightly shorter. His face is round with square cut features. His beard is big and red tinged, with beads, braids and other small objects woven in. His eyes appear small compared to his face, his brow slightly overhanging and his nose is slightly bulbous.

Guthlaf's skin is tan and weathered, his knuckles scraped and bruised from working with stone and searching for traps. His eyes are dark brown and small. His hair is dark brown with a reddish tinge. It is braided in the back and goes to about mid shoulder blade.

Guthlaf wears dun colored pants, black and blue striped shirts (the stripes run vertically) to denote clan colors, a leather belt covered in pouches, gadgets, and daggers, along with a battle axe. He has a good, solid pair of boots and a travel stained cloak. He speaks with an Irish type accent (most dwarves do) and he loves to joke. He is straight and to the point, though he loves to joke around with people. He's hard to make friends with, but once you are his friend, he is a good friend to have indeed.

Guthlaf is not fond of human nobility or authorities in general. He also prefers dwarven made items if he can get them. He's a good friend to have in a pinch, whether it's trying to make an escape or fighting to break free form some tavern brawl.

Guthlaf is the solid rock of the group. He loves joking with the party, finds Elly and Krom adventuring soul mates, and finds Kenna odd but exciting all in the same breath. He finds Tarkil hard to trust, even though he doesn't know Tarkil is a noble, and Duncan he respects but takes time to really get to trust him. Guthlaf is more of a background character, keeping Krom from loosing his temper and helping the Akicitia grow into his responsibilities, but it doesn't make him any less important to the threads of my book.
Tomorrow: Dwarven Isles