Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughts on Adventures

I've been giving you, my reader, a good tour though my world, in hopes you will use my world as your campaign setting. Well that's wonderful, but how about the adventure? How should you go about making a good adventure set in my realm or any other realm.

  • First, know your players. Every player is different. Some like high adventure and magic, while others like intrigue and backstabbing. Hopefully your party is compatable with each other, but even if they aren't make sure you put a little of everything everyone likes so everybody has fun.

  • Take a gander at those characters and their abilities. If your thief never gets to disarm a trap or pick a pocket, they are not going to be having fun. That, afterall, is their strong suit. Don't go out of your way to accomodate every characters special abilities every session, but at least get them in frequently.

  • Pick an area and stick with it. Fleshing out a single area, whether a small forest or a whole continent, is a good idea. This way you can flesh out your NPC's, get good descriptions of locations, and make the players feel like they are there. Here is a bit of tricky spots, some players like lots of "flavor text" (descriptions for those non-roleplayers) and others don't. This goes back to knowing your player. If they like to know what color that building is, you best know.

  • Have a list of names. You have know idea how often we made my husband randomly name his NPC's that he had no intent on actually bringing into the plot. (My husband takes hours to name characters, so we liked to give him a bad time.) At my house we have a book-0-names, just in case. Open it up and randomly pick, it works most of the time. :)

  • If you intend to have the campaign for a while, plot out a main theme or goal. Every session doesn't have to be centered around that goal, but having one gives your campaign life and a reason for being. It could be anything from trying to crown the High King to finding that elusive ruin in some far off place.

  • Be prepared for your players to veer. You don't know how many times my players in our Star Wars campaign went totally off the path I had planned. But don't get upset, the idea of playing is for your players to have fun! Just role with it. I tended to have alternative adventures if not fleshed out, at least outlined so I could always wing things. It takes time and practice to wing adventures on the fly, but don't get frustrated if you have to. Just have those monster books handy and let your players drive the plot for awhile. You can always try and push things back to your plot next session.

  • Most importantly, remember to have fun! No matter what happens make sure you and your players are having fun. Most people say they don't want you to fudge rolls (let the dice fall where they may) but sometimes that heroic leap is only missed by a few points. Let your player have it. Then everyone has fun and its a good story to boot. This is why you should never tell your players the difficulty number so you can fudge if they are very close. I don't suggest doing this often, but sometimes a whole night of fun may hinge on that one roll!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expanded Time Line XIX

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The Emperor of Ariella asks for truce with Tridon and asks the High King to meet in the Dwarven Isles. He proposes trade negotiations and peace talks. The High King's advisers say its a trap, but the High King wishes to go. Many adventurers are hired to protect the wagon trains and work on the ships. The prices along the route become very expensive and raids upon the route increase. Merchants hire on more protection.

The ruins of a city are found outside Karoon. Scholars flock to the area to see who might have once lived there. Protection is hired and opportunities for treasure abound.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saber's Blades

Though not as talented with magic or graceful with the blade work as Snowbird's Spellblades, Saber has made a troupe of his own spellblades. This dozen or so individuals are all good at battle magic, (some better at that then regular magic), and have all learned to fight with weapons. Saber trains them in basic sword play, but mostly in battle magic. He has brought in specialist masters of the blade to help in the training. Each person, regardless of station, is watched by Saber for several years before he offers them a spot.

Saber prefers independent thinkers who he can send out on assignments. He uses his spellblades to recover magical items, lost tombs, and even lost mages. He is working up the courage to approach Miyaca Snowbird about helping him train his own blades so they, too, can be a force for good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Character: Master Saber

Master Saber was not always Mage College material. Once when he was still handsome, this older gentleman was a young man who used his talent as a mercenary for battle mercenaries and caravan guards. He revelled in the thrill of battle, using sword and magic. He dreamed of being one of Snowbird's Spellblades, but knew he'd never give into the discipline.

He hated study so most of his incredible power was channelled into battle magic, short lived magic with a punch. On one escort mission a mage from the College of Bloodhelm asked to take him on as an apprentice he was so impressed with Saber. Saber shrugged and gave it a go.

Twenty years later he became master of the college, hating politics, loving magic even more and beginning to put his own "spellblades" together.

He becomes Duncan's "master" almost by accident. Saber had met Master Flash as a mercneary and trusted the man's judgement about Duncan. He took in Duncan happily.

Saber, like the God Targon, dresses most of the time like a swashbuckler in blues and grays. He carries a magical enscrolled saber instead of staff. He doesn't put up with politics, but knows how to use it to his advantage.

In the time of the High King's Sword he would be the one to say whether a mage can be accepted to the Bloodhelm College or if they are ready to become a master. He would also be the one to speak to if a mage was needed for something. He takes his job seriously and will not willingly put his people in harms way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Items: Dragon Dagger of the Gods

The Dragon Dagger of the Gods is a simple affair, meant for a simple boy with platinum blade and dark handle shaped like a dragon with onyx eyes. Etched with blessings of the Gods in ancient elven, the blade was meant to do several things. The first was to give strength to the bearer. The second was to give immunity to poison. The third allowed the blade to be come a broadsword on command.

In game terms I would give a +5 to strength (or what ever gives the equivalant of +5 damage), a Damage reduction of 10 against poisons, and it takes one game round to turn into a broadsword after the command word is spoken.

This blade was only used by Jared Swiftarrow, the blade itself has been lost to time. Some suspect it is around the Temple of the Gods in Stormvale or hidden in some forgotten elven city by now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Expanded Time Line XVIII

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The druids of Pathfinder forests clash with loggers. Many die and eventually House pathfinder sends a negotiation team. He druids claim a sacred grove was logged and want compensation.

Some Houses require blood pedigrees for Knights after a low born is accepted as a Knight Captain. Some House bulk, but some are eager to accept. Some of the Knight ranks are purged leaving some former Knights disgruntled against the Knights and Houses

Giant sand storms race across much of Ariella, burying some small towns and villages. Adventures are hired to seek out these lost places and offer aid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Location: Village of Star's Rest

The village of Star's Rest sets in the middle of the Pathfinder House holdings. Home to a little over three hundred people this small village appears a simple, normal place. But this village is anything but normal. Originally a druid shrine, wood cutters found the grove a lovely place and a nice place to live. They at first feuded with the druids, but the wood cutters eventually said they would protect the grove if they were allowed to cut some trees the druids said they could cut.

For three centuries the bond held until some in the village became greedy. They took more then allowed, enraging the druids. The druids cursed the village stating they would be part of the forest until the souls of the trees were appeased.

Now every member of the village, even those who marry in or are born after this harsh event, are subject to the curse of the werewolf. They seek what they need to do to amend their transgressions, but the druids have yet to release the village. They change shape on nights of the full moon, but also on other holy days of the druids. They discourage visitors at such times because they do not want to be the subject of werewolf hunters. They can not spread their curse, so unlike other werewolves they will not seek to harm other people, they are just cursed with the form.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Character: Jared Swiftarrow

Jared Siftwarrow, or Mouse as he was know to his friends, is a tragic but loved figure in my original stories from Martapa. Loved by none other then the Goddess of Love, one of the Chosen, and a simple seventeen when he "died" he was the glue of the Chosen. He wormed his way into Eric of Calabay's heart, who had just lost his younger sister to the Black Wizard Shaniko. He rescued Aiyana when she was in her avatar form of Beth and she was instantly taken by his boy like charm and chivalry.

Mouse was dark skinned with black hair which hung in his black eyes. He wore Eric's cast offs, for they were better then what he had. He fought with daggers and always bore a long, dark cloak. In his "life" now he wears fine silk clothes befitting a gentleman and always matches the color of outfit with Aiyana.

At his death Aiyana took him from the God of Death himself and gave Mouse eternal life as her concert. He watched Eric, Richard, and Amber live their lives, but never regretted his own rewards.

Those who are likely to see him are those who are devout to Aiyana and are in need of aid. This would be true for any year after the War of the Gods.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Expanded Time Line XVII

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Magic has become the hobby of the rich and many common mages become tutors, allowing them to research their own magic in their free time and find rich patrons. Many Mage Guilds swell in number because of these want to be mages from the nobility.

An expedition is sent into the wilds near Willowdale to find Master Mage Ukiah's cabin, rumored to hold many elven treasures and magic. The expedition, sent by Varanath, is meant to recover heirlooms of the house, though others want it for the wealth.

It is challenged in Ariella that all mages should serve mandatory time in the army as are all young men. The Mage Council is incensed and withdrawals all magical support for nearly a year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Place: Soaring Dragon Inn

The Soaring Dragon Inn is three stories tall made of local wood and blessed with magical protection. The bottom floor holds the tavern, the kitchen, baths, and a few rooms. The second floor holds only rooms and a small common area. The third floor houses Joseph Sandturn's family and a large suite. The Soaring Dragon is located about half way into the city from the western gate.

Joseph's wife and oldest daughter cook the food and always have a savory stew simmering. Rolls and bread are always in stock and a small selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables are available.

Ale and wine are available, though dwarven rum does come up for purchase now and again. The prices here are those of a common inn, though Joseph tends to charge merchants from the east more.

Rumors fly here, what with merchants coming and going and the locals coming for a cup of warm brew and talk. A bard might be able to find work here as might someone looking for work in trade for a place to stay. In the time of the High King's Sword Joseph Sandturn is the proprietor. He has a blacksmith/farrier on the grounds, as well as a very nice seamstress.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Character: Joseph Sandturn

Joseph Sandturn is the son of an innkeeper and had big goals. He joined the militia in hopes of seeking a fortune, but instead found fame. His squad held the pass at Devonshire, under his leadership by themselves for an entire day until help arrived. After his time in the militia he returned to help his father at the Soaring Dragon Inn and eventually took over the inn altogether.

At the time of the High King's Sword he is a middle aged, balding man, who's middle is a little more round then it use to be. His arms are beefy, from many days swinging pick axes and sword practice. Even now, that he isn't in the militia, he practices his blade at least three times a week with his friend Chet. What little hair he has is salt and pepper mixed with dark brown. His eyes are brown, with good Merryweather stock in his bloodline. His face is round, his nose down turned, and his ears a little bigger then his head should allow.

Joseph wears good, sturdy clothing, never flaunting that he can afford more, especially since he has six children of his own, some of whom are already grown. He keeps good tabs on his friends, always willing to help them, especially the mother of his friend, the seer Lee.

In the time of the High King's Sword he runs the Soaring Dragon Inn. He is willing to help those down on their luck. He also might hire on extra help or a bard for the night in exchange for room and board. He also is the keeper of many rumors and the underground militia, ex-militia who keep secret stash houses and train incase the Black Wizards attack Devonshire.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Excuses

If you haven't noticed I haven't been on for a bit. With the end of school, things have gotten a wee busy and I'll be back on schedule next week. Now off to the next big field trip!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Expanded Time Line XVI

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The gates of Devonshire are closed for a period of two weeks. No one is let through the pass or into the city. Rumors fly it is because of a magical plague or a murder. Magical lights are seen above the city during this span of time.

Gypsies arrive in Varanath and sadly predict a disaster will befall the House some time in the future. Though skeptical, for the time the event will happen is not pinpointable, the Lords of Varanath take the warning seriously and begin looking for ways to stop such a disaster.

A good portion of the Imperial fishing fleet is lost in a hurricane but mages spot survivors with their magic. The Empire puts out a call for aid, even asking via mages any ships from Tridon to help rescue their citizens.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Though mentioned in the first book, Devonshire doesn't really become important until the second book when Duncan and Elly find themselves there. This city is the protector of the only major pass through the Tsalagi Mountains, separating the West from the East, the Knights of Tridon from the Black Wizards. (A disclaimer, there are other passes that people on foot and those on horse can cross, but merchant caravans and large numbers of people would find them difficult to maneuver.)

The gates in the pass are always manned, closed at night and repaired and maintained every day. Mages and Knights, both, along with the common foot soldiers man the gate. Devonshire really didn't start to grow until the time of the Chosen when all the remaining Knights and their armies came here to defend the pass from the Black Wizards. Since then the place has grown. There is a huge market square, businesses of all sorts, and of course the support staff for the people who must maintain the pass.

Every House sends troops to help defend the pass, even Calabay who is the furthest from it. This pass is vital to keeping the Black Wizards out of Tridon and establishing some trade with the east. Mostly humans live here, but elves and half elves come in to trade and the dwarves like to look for minerals and the like in the nearby mountains. Minotaurs are also allowed in the city, though not greatly loved.

Most things can be found here, since it is a trading hub, but items which might be found on the coast cities will be far more expensive then say items from nearby Houses. Any time after the Chosen this city should be huge and bustling, and even before that time it was a very large city for not being the seat of a House. Items should be easy to find, though wait times for items being fixed and made may be longer if not a little more expensive.