Monday, October 31, 2011


This young man has never had a chance at childhood, his mother dying when he was 7, his father a mercenary he never met. At the age of 15 he is a master thief and finder of information. He fashions himself the King of Thieves for Bloodhelm and most of the street urchins see him as their leader.

Shadowdancer is four and a half feet tall with tan skin and black hair which he keeps in a pony-tail like nobles. His outfit is cast off, mismatching pieces, but all in very good repair. He carries only daggers, though he only knows how to marginally use them.

In my novels Shadowdancer becomes Krom's information finder and worms his way deeper into the workings of my novels as children characters seem to do. If in Bloodhelm at the time of the High King's Sword, Shadowdancer can be found at the main gate looking for work as a city guide.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Staff of Ukiah

The Staff of Ukiah, though never found after the Master Mage's death, is an object of great discussion. some say it was no more then a carved walking stick. Others say it was the key to his immortality (no matter that he was killed by Shaniko). Still others believe it made the users more powerful.

The following is a sample of what the famed staff could do. Augment spells. Treat spells as three caster levels higher to determine effect. Limited Immunity. Gives a +10 to saves versus magic and poison. Transformation. Allows users to transform to anything alive from mouse to dragon size. Immortality. Give the user protection against natural and unnatural deaths (a +10 save to save versus death).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Expanded Time Line XXXIII

2183 PA (Post Avatar)
The scion of House Vandez and his expedition make it to the top of Elvenhome and find it completely empty. Nothing is left in the great stone aeries except murals on the walls and gryphon nests.

A cocktrice is seen outside Cole. A reward is set of 100 platinum dragons for the person who brings it in, dead or alive.

Ogres attack the pass at Devonshire. The attack is repelled but a bounty is put on ogre ears of 2 gold ducats a piece.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Southern Outfitters

Southern Outfitters is the end all of adventure and travel gear. New and used equipment can be found here at list price, (80% for used). Everything is in good condition and as long as well maintained will last for a long time.

Everything from camping gear to dependable weapons, rations to armor can be found here in this overstuffed building. The brothers, Seth and George Venture own the store and have six full time helpers, one of which buys used gear three days a week. The two story building made of river rock and hard wood always has some one there, though the night watch sometimes fall asleep midway through his watch.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shadizar Snowbird

This elven seer is not your typical hermit seer. The twin of Miyaca Snowbird, he is tall for an elf, with white hair and bright blue eyes. He is a mage of power and a seer of extraordinary ability. He is constantly researching magic, history, and artifacts. Now that Noshi is firmly the strong leader of House Varanath and his sister remains in Qalataqa training Wolf Warriors and Spellblades he is allowed such pursuits.

Shadizar rarely looks for visions, they come to him in their own time. If asked to "see" the future he can do so with great effort and reluctance. He would rather remain a simple scholar trying to help his people.

If he is accompanying Miyaca he will speak with adventurers and give them advice. He will not take anger directed at him, but will only retaliate if he feels in danger. But to feel his wrath is also to incur his sister's, an expert swordswoman and archer who puts her brother's life above her own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ancient Elf History

Though the Ancient Elves play little in my High King's Sword series, I originally had one single living Ancient Elf left in the Time of the Chosen. It was a tragic story of the Wizard Shaniko wiping out all the Ancient Elves and leaving only the princess to try to carry on. Miraculous things happen and she is reunited with a small cadre of Ancient Elves at the end of the books.

But time is not kind to my winged elves and by the time the High King's Sword comes around, there are no more winged elves in existence. So what happened? I'd like to think I had this all planned out, but it's been coming to me in bits in pieces.

Step one, the winged elves do recover for a bit. They grow in population for around five hundred years and become part of the world again. Step two, then, unbeknownst to the whole world, a disease is sent at them by some wizard and nearly wipes them out. Targon, the keeper of strays, scoops up the survivors and presents them a group of Tayke survivors that he had secured for his own purposes. Once with these survivors they are protected by magic that only those of Tayke know and begin to thrive again, once more.

Their numbers are still few and the world thinks them long dead, which they find just fine. Their main city, Elvenhome, is abandoned and falling apart, though wild gryphons (descendants of the gryphons the winged elves rode) still nest there. Nothing of value remains, for strangely the whole complex is devoid of anything save the murals on the walls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Runner Stations

Part of Martapa that is critical, even in this age of magic, are runners, men and woman who run from town to town, House to village to deliver mail and news. These people are trained in combat but chosen for their ability to run great distances every day with ease.

But in order for this to work, these people can't worry about their next meal or shelter. They don't have time for that. So the High King set up Runner Stations. Spread a day's run apart, these small stations have a small cabin which houses two beds, a fire place, and supplies. Each little cabin, usually set off the road in a large clearing (so wagons can also camp here if they need to) is near a water source, whether magical or natural. Wood for the fire is stacked outside and supplies that will keep in the under ground cellar beneath the cabin are restocked when ever a patrol comes through. Runners are asked to chop wood if they have time, but sometimes their messages are vital and they have no time to stop, let alone chop wood.

People in trouble can use the cabins, but few do. To harm a runner or use their supplies and thus cause harm to a runner because they did not have enough supplies, is an offense punishable by death. The cabins on major roads are bigger and better supplied, but locals of off the beaten path roads try to keep the cabins stocked. They love when runners come in with news and want them to feel welcome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts on Campaigns

Roleplayers are simple people. I don't mean they are dumb, I just mean they crave a few things while roleplaying. A good setting, good people to play with, defined rules, and a great adventure. Some of those things are easy to come by. Defined rules, for one are easy to come by. There are literally dozens of good roleplaying systems, and maybe even dozens of not so good roleplaying systems. Pick one that suits you and your math levels. Some of the older systems (like AD&D and Shadowrun) require some good off the top of your head math skills. While some of the newer ones (I'm thinking primarily Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition) require very little math. Some even have some charts that you just have to look things up on to continue play.

But rules are also meant to be bent. Say you don't know what the saving throw for that save versus poison is. Don't spend twenty minutes trying to find it, think of a reasonable number and go with it. Your players will appreciate not having to waste time looking up a single role. The point is to have fun, not bog down play with rules.

Give your players time to roleplay, especially if that is truly what they want to do. Roleplaying shouldn't have that many rules or guidelines (though boundaries on what is acceptable and what isn't is perfectly fine) and you should give your players as much time as possible to do this, especially if that is what they want to do the most. Battles are fillers and ways to get your players treasure. Sometimes it's just the opposite, where they love the battles and roleplaying is at a minimum. Just be prepared for lots of battles and don't allow the Monty Hall treasure hordes in every battle or you will be in for a world of hard planning. If you have all your players carrying around the biggest, baddest of weapons and armor, your encounters are going to look like World War Three every time.

More thoughts later...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Expanded Time Line XXXII

The scholar/scion of House Vandez and his expedition makes it half way up Elvenhome. He finds murals and sculptures of great beauty. He sends them and field notes home, but stays for another season hoping to get to the top.

Prices of grain plummet after there is a bumper crop of wheat. Many have plenty of food, but farmers are unable to buy other things because of it. There is little demand for other items, because no one can afford them, and this sends certain areas into a depression for a few months.

The Council of Leaders, held in Stormvale, is a ruckus as the younger children of House Pathfinder and Merryweather run off and elope. Many of the younger Knights privately praise them, but the House Leaders are upset at the breech of etiquette.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Location: Dragon's Horde Pawnshop

Dragon's Horde Pawnshop is one of those strange but exciting places that people try to avoid but can't stay away from. This place was started by adventurers after they found a treasure "horde" somewhere (they weren't specific on where). They meant to buy others' items cheap, but sell at a good price. Unfortunately all four owners were killed by something big with claws before they did much.

The next owner claimed a dragon returned for his horde and killed the previous owners, thus named the place as it is so named.

The current owner, Gwen Settler, buys average items at forty percent of list price, a little more for magic items, and less for heavily abused items. She sells items at 80% of list, but can be bargained with. Gwen loves to tell the tale of the original owners and can make the tale quite graphic with word and illusion.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Character: Trent

Though barely mentioned in my stories, Trent is a key point in many of my main character's lives. He is the only person, besides Shadizar Snowbird, to be loved by Miyaca Snowbird so deep his death nearly broke her.

Trent is six and half foot tall, with blue/black hair kept in a long ponytail. His skin is a pale color, though he bares several dragon tattoos upon his arms. His eyes are a platinum blue, his face rugged, yet handsome. He wears an eye patch on occasion, not because he needs one because he enjoys the challenge. He wears scale mail, fights with two long swords of exquisite make, and wears a shimmering blue cloak that can change color at need.

He traveled as a mercenary with Master Flash for sometime and it was on one of these trips Trent met Miyaca. If encountered he has a gruff personality, doesn't ever work for free, but will loosen up after a few dozen ales. He is blademaster quality and never leaves a fight if paid to stay, and may not even leave if not paid.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flying Flame Skeletons

During the War of the Gods there were many forms of undead created by the Black Wizard Shaniko. One was a flying skeleton shrouded in flame. The membranes of the wings are arching fire between flame stained bones. The eye sockets flash with flames and they speak what ever language the corpse the skeleton came from spoke in life, though they understand their master's language.

They shoot balls of fire and attack with fiery swords. They are resistant to fire, but vulnerable to cold. They can cast spells, but only fire based. Life based priests can destroy them if they call upon their God's powers and have great faith.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Expanded Time Line XXXI

2181 PA (Post Avatar)
The High King and the Emperor of Ariella join forces to help build the translocation circles. The finest materials are used and artisans of all sorts arrive to help they hope to finish the network in five years.

Reports of every single Black Wizard in Last Stand was killed in a single night circulate. No one claims responsibility, though more then one group is pleased at the outcome.

A scholar of the House Vandez mounts an expedition to explore Elvenhome. The trek alone takes six months and bad weather set ins before they can climb the peak, stalling the progress.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

King's Men Guard Posts

A typical guard post along a major road is usually a ten by ten tower, two stories in height. Built in stone (or wood if it is easier to find) the first floor usually holds a table and chairs, along with a fire place. Upstairs has cots, especially if far from a city, and access to the roof where archers can fire from.

If away from a city or village, four to six people will man the station, two on duty at all times. These also have a cellar with supplies for three or four months. They will offer shelter to lost travelers but not forever. Th guards here hunt and gather in their off time to help fill larders. Most know how to repair armor, bows, and clothes. Most come from ranks of country folk because they can survive better in the wilderness if need be.

If near a city or on the edge of a city, the guards usually live in town, and just show up for their 12 hour shift. Most of these guards are drawn from city folk, since little survival skills are needed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Character: Gladwin

The son of farmers, Gladwin aspired to be a King's Man for as long as he could remember. A large man at six foot tall, with dark hair and a handsome smile he tried to behave as well as he could in accordance to the Tenets of Peter. He trained hard to learn sword and spear and attack while riding, along with reading and writing.

He trained in Midway and was accepted as a King's Man on his 18th birthday. As he grew up he played and became infatuated with Kenna Whiteswan. He would love to earn enough money to marry her and keep her well.

If one goes to Midway he is stationed on the western road from noon to midnight. He is helpful, friendly, but suspicious of any who do not adhere to the Tenets of Peter.