Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Cock and Bull

This average inn has three stories, two of rooms and one floor exclusively for the tavern.  Like most buildings in Bloodhelm the bottom floor is river rock with the upper floor being wood.  There is a small stables, which provides shelter and food for your traveling companion, but just that.  The food here is passable, so is the ale, and sometimes there is entertainment to be had.  The rooms are sparse; a bed, table, and chest.  They are not individually heated, so during the winter it does get a little cold, (though it's hard to tell since at night this coastal city is always cold no matter the season).  There is a single suite which the Innkeeper, Bazel Thunderstomp, charges three times the going rate for.

Brawls aren't unheard of in the Bull, but they aren't that common either.  There are a lot of locals that come for ale, or meals if they are single men in from the country to work, but there is a lot of merchant traffic as well.  Mercenaries some times come to try and hire on here and the lone adventure types come on occasion.

The Cock and Bull use to be a small home with a single rooster and bull living in the back yard, where the owner would rent out his loft for a little spending change.  (He kept losing his chickens and the bull he let his neighbors borrow for a fee.) After a while he was making good money, thus he tore down his house and built the inn.  He retired with a good nest egg and sold the business when he was a ripe age of 60.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Temples of Wesa

Wesa has few temples, being the Goddess of Beasts and Animals, but those that do stand are very unique.  Usually on the outskirts of town, these buildings are more like giant stables and gardens then pristine temples.  The whole area is usually fenced, though to keep people out instead of creatures in, with large lawns and small orchards or groves.  Birds are always flying in and out, most temples have lots of cats lounging upon the steps, benches, and window sills, and other, stranger creatures may be inside these temples.  The temple in Stormvale, for example, for the longest time had huge wolves, bears and other lesser creatures before the Wizards started to take over.  The rooms of the priests are usually overhead with the animals having pretty much free rein of the first floor.  The priests who serve at these temples do not eat meat, not because Wesa doesn't believe in eating meat, but they save what they can for the carnivores that may be in residence and many of the priests get very attached to the resident animals and thus do not want to eat any of them.  All the animals in the temple, surprisingly, get along and don't try to kill each other, (which can not be said if they go off temple grounds).  The priests at these temples heal animals, as well as people, and many farmers will bring their sick animals here to have them healed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to all of you and may your new year be warm and bright, or at least productive!  With the holidays upon us you may have noticed I've not been blogging.  As my friends said once, I blog without obligation.  Part of my excuse is the holidays, but the other is my whole family has been sick and thus blogging hasn't been that high on my list.  I hope to start up again on Wednesday.  So until then Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bathhouses of Bloodhelm

Though many English, and thus knightly, realms did not really have bathhouses like the Romans, my world has them all over.  Of a similar fashion as Roman bathhouses, the bathhouses of Bloodhelm has several large pools and several private pools.  Depending on where the bathhouse is in Bloodhelm, the prices vary as does how elaborate they are.  The upper end bathhouses have tiled floors, mosaics, fine art and baths that can be rented singly or as a group.  Wine is usually served and even fine foods if the clients wish.

The lower class baths are sometimes made of stone or tiled, but most of the time the tubs themselves are stone, but the areas around them are wood and maybe not as well heated, or changed as often, as the higher class ones.  These are usually only group baths, though with enough money they could probably be rented by a single person.

Prices vary from a few copper pennies to several gold ducats depending on the location and if  food is provided.  Bathhouses would be great places to learn rumors, perhaps assassinations, or even meeting potential employers.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Weather and You Campaign

As my lights flicker and the winds blow, rain lashing against my window, I realize not only does the weather affect me and my everyday life, but the lives of your characters as well. Whether roleplaying or writing, your characters will be impacted by the weather in your world.

When writing, weather becomes almost like another character.  You must describe it, work it into the scene, have it have an impact on the other characters.  Weather can change the feeling or the mood.  When you are describing the final battle between good and evil you don't want the sun shining down upon the battle, (maybe afterward, but not during).  Dark and dank for those sad and dangerous moments, sunny or pleasant for those good revelations of love and companionship.

When roleplaying, weather should play a part in travel or even battle.  Traveling in hard rain is going to slow a group down, cover ambushes or make fighting harder (for them and the bad guys).  If you use this as a penalty, make sure to describe the weather well before the encounter so the players can't complain about not knowing it was down pouring out.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Choosing of Houses

From the characters' point of view in the  High King's Sword and the Time of the Chosen, the Houses of Tridon started out perfect.  That's usually what happens with time and history.  But in this case, all was not well when Houses were appointed by High King Peter.  Several of the Houses were appointed by near force, specifically Varanath and Vandez, while others were fought over for their prime locations, Bloodhelm and Cole mostly.  Peter finally put his foot down after a lot of bickering and in fighting, saying that the country was going to be torn apart before it started if he didn't do something.  He didn't want to step on his friends' toes, but at the same time he knew he was responsible for all of Tridon, not just individual friends.  There was some hard feeling for a while, but eventually all saw reason to his choices, or at least the history books say.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Soapmakers of Bloodhelm

Though not a very exciting place, and probably one your adventurers wouldn't dream about going to, the soapmaker is an important part, if not stinky part, of any city.  Everyone has to come here for soap, for everyone needs it.  The place is always busy during the day, whether the owners are selling or making soap.  But because so many people come to this large, warehouse type building, gossip also abounds.  Rumors, facts and even little known tidbits are thrown about here like water.  If someone in the party is looking for rumors, believe it or not, this would be a great place. It's not your typical "rumor at the tavern" place and would add something a little more memorable.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holidays, Roleplaying and Writing

As the next few weeks get crazy, I'm reminded how busy life can be and how little time I seem to have.  My family has a family morning during the weekend to ensure that at least for a few hours we see each other and play together, because our kids keep us hopping!  Usually we end up doing roleplyaing, but my son, who is old enough to GM his own group, didn't have his adventure ready this weekend, so we skipped ahead to my daughter and ended up playing "Sorry" instead.  But this brings me to my point.  With the holidays as crazy as they are, time to prepare anything is at a premium.  Here are a few suggestions to keep up with your writing and roleplaying campaigns.

1) My best thinking time is as I'm going to bed.  I let the days worries float away and concentrate on that spot in my story I just couldn't fix or write through or on the next adventure I need to run my family through.  It may only be ten to fifteen minutes of time, but it's enough to start heading in the right direction.  Because of this I leave a notebook by my bed at all times.

2) For those with younger members of the family who like to write, tell them to think on these things when the teacher says they have some quiet time.  A teacher is going to be happy if your child is writing quietly (after all their homework is done) rather then talking to their neighbor.

3) And there are always the long car rides to think on things (notebook nearby so once you stop driving you can write it down!) as our waiting on children's appointments and activities!

Happy Writing!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Braziers of Warmth

Braziers of Warmth are especially popular with the rich in northern Tridon.  Shaped in the form of a normal braziers, when a magical word is spoken, magical flames dance to life, warming an area of about 20 foot radius around the brazier.  The flames do not burn, but make the area about room temperature, no matter how cold the true temperature of the room or area.  You can not cook over the "flames" and can not be used to for any magical spell components. This also gives light similar to a fire at the same range. There is a smaller, more portable version, shaped like a small campfire that fits in a person's hand.  It warms a 5 foot radius, (so good for personal use) and has all the same attributes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Contact

When the world of Martapa was first created, the races started apart, for the most part, since the Gods wanted to give them time to find themselves.  When elves and humans first came upon each other in the now region of  Western Tridon it was a tense, but ultimately peaceful interaction.  The humans came upon the elves in their forests when they went in search of more lumber.  The elves, of course, didn't mind the humans taking some of the wood, but wanted to ensure these strange creatures didn't take important trees.  So ambassadors were sent to the humans and unfortunately killed by ogres that were passing through.  The humans were blamed and the elves were ready to wipe them out until it was discovered ogres had caused the tragedy.  The humans, who had also been preyed upon often by the ogres, learned of the deaths and offered to help the elves have their revenge.  In the end they worked together to secure safety of the area by ridding of the ogres and a truce was arranged between the two races which lasted for some time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Garrison in Bloodhelm

The garrison in Bloodhelm is well staffed, housing over 100 men at all times.  With bunks for 200 men at arms this place is always hopping.  There is a kitchen at one end, (with food available at all times, because the men are always coming and going on different shifts), and an armory at the other.  All men at arms have standard studded leather, short sword or long sword and a halberd.  Some men have their own equipment or better armor, but they have at least this equipment.  There are no rooms, just a communal bunk room with tables for playing cards and eating, trunks for storing personal items and bunk beds.  There are four fire places to keep the place warm and there is always at least two healers on staff to fix what ails the guardsmen.  Not all the guardsmen live here. Those who are married live in town or just out of town.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stubby the Skieg

Skiegs, small creatures with big noes, ears and green skin are not known for their smarts, (though they are smarter then ogres).  Stubby would be a perfect example of this.  This small, green thief grew up in the gutters of Last Stand,  making a living by stealing food and trinkets.  He was so good at such things that the local thief's guild took him in to do those tasks most thieves wouldn't do.  He tailed people, picked pockets of wizards and traveled in not so wonderful places.  But Stubby was happy in his life.  He wasn't rich, but he got fed three times a day, had a dry place to lay his head and he was only slightly beat up instead of kicked and battered all the time.

Stubby can be found in Last Stand in the days before the High King's Sword happens to be there.  Things don't turn out so well for Stubby when the Sword arrives, but until then he is happy to pick pockets or run errands for even just a pentance.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Schooling in Tridon

Though schooling may not be important to your characters in your campaign, it does shape how the other people of the world will interact and behave.  By the time of the High King's Sword most people know how to read and do rudimentary math.  All city temples have schools which they teach the children, even street rats, how to read and write, and of course getting a little preaching about their God or Goddess in there as well.  Out in the sticks bards work as traveling teachers and sometimes these children learn more because they are so enthralled with the learning.  Those who have money have their children schooled in reading, writing, history, politics, the solar system, sciences, math and even magic.

So the average person is going to be able to read and write.  If they can't, a good roleplaying reason should be given, (whether player character or non-player character).

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Little Goldleaf History

Since Cailus Goldleaf is the center of the background stuff going on in my novels, I thought I might mention a little history about House Goldleaf.  Goldleaf is pretty much out in the middle of no where, but for many reasons.

The first one is Ryan Goldleaf, though an excellent fighter, was also a good herb gatherer.  Though many herbs could be cultivated, there were some that just had to grow in the wild.  Some of those needed for some of the strongest healing medicine were only found in the northern forests so he placed his fortress there.

Second, was all the timber in the area, (which is still harvested for a great profit for the House).  The timber in the area is managed well: planted, thinned and maintained to give a profit and still keep the streams clean that feed the House and surrounding villages.  Goldleaf takes the timber so seriously that a group of fire wardens roam the woods looking for fires during fire season to ensure the forest, and all its commodities, do not fall to fire.

Finally was the high abundance of meat and leather.  The leathers are shipped around Tridon and the meat is dried and stored away for those long winters and when other food sources just fail.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Temple of Tymara in Bloodhelm

The Goddess of the Sun and Elements, Tymara, is thought of often in Bloodhelm.  With the weather always windy with a chance of sun, and the all too often blowing storm, Tymara is always in the prayers of the citizens of Bloodhelm.

The temple itself is small, but the inside is bright.  With only two stories, the central courtyard spans both and is open to the elements.  The frescoes are made of bright tile and many of the items in the courtyard are gilded so as to reflect any light which filters its way in.  The upper story is the rooms of the priests, the bottom floor's rooms are meant for study of weather and how to shape the elements.  Everything, even the priests, are bright and colorful, like the sun.  Outfits of the priests are covered in little golden charms which tinkle with movement, giving a pleasant feeling through out the temple.  The priests here use their talents to help shape the elements in favorable ways, such as water at a good time on farms or keeping the water away from a shoring project in the wharf area.  They also study the sun, stars and weather patterns and are good at predicting the weather for a few days out.  They take all sorts of donations, most of which they use to keep the temple running, but they do run some charity work by feeding the homeless when they can.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Garred of Pathfinder

Garred is a merchant of renowned, traveling the world for the finest of merchandise and bringing it to those who can't quite travel.  He specializes in wines, fabrics and jewelery, but can find books, bowls and all sorts of things from various places if the price is right.  He gets to know his repeat customers so when he is traveling he can bring them just what they want, which brings him just what he wants, lots of gold.

Garred is a middle aged man, stout and able to handle a weapon well.  In his younger days  he was a caravan guard, but learned a thing or two about trading as he wandered around with his merchant masters.  He made contacts in those days he uses currently and isn't afraid to take what is his.  He pays his guards well and treats them with respect, so many people who  hire on with him are good with a weapon and loyal to Garred.  He dresses like a mercenary, in leather armor and stout walking boots.  Though he has plenty of wagons with him at all times, he likes to ride out with his guards and talk about the current topics of the day.  Anything from wenches and to politics, he's up for the discussion.

Garred would be a good way for your player characters to get from one point to another or find some ruin along the way.  Garred is not particular about race or sex, though he likes to look upon the opposite sex if they are good to look upon, but he does have an issue with people who use magic.  He doesn't outright hate them, but they have to prove themselves to him.  In one of his early runs the magic user the caravan had hired ran away at the first sign of trouble, almost costing Garred his life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Red Rooster in Bloodhelm

The Red Rooster is a pretty common inn, with a tap room, rooms upstairs, a big, warm kitchen and a small stables.  The building is unusual that it is made entirely of red brick with a stout, tiled roof.  It has stood for nearly three hundred years, owned by many different hands but has always had good food for the common man.  The current owner is Tossel Branwell, a small man who enjoys cooking more then talking to his customers.

The rooms are small: two beds, a small chest and stand and a small brazier.  The braziers hold coals to warm the room, (the help brings them around) and there are spells upon the braziers so as to keep them from spilling and starting a fire.  The tap room can hold about thirty people and there is always local brews and food to fill the belly and keep one warm.  Sometimes they have a bard to hold people's interest but most people who come to the Rooster come to talk and spread rumors.

If you are looking for a good spot to spread rumors of the day, this would be it.  Affordable for your PC's and people are always talking about anything here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Roth of Last Stand

Though I make my Black Wizards evil, and most are, and Marius the most evil of them all, Marius isn't the conventional evil.  He's not stupid, he's not mean because he can be, and he is a polite and gracious man when he works.  More flies with honey and all that.  One of the "human" things he has done is take in orphaned children who show magical potential to teach them to be Wizards like himself.  Alright, the children turn to the dark side of things, but he give them a stable home, with food, clothes and learning.  There are far worse things they can become if left on the streets or in orphanages.

Roth was one of these waifs but took to his studies with vigor.  He adores Marius, who rescued him from the thief guild who was trying to train him to be a pick pocket and most likely die young.  He picks up magical training quickly, practicing over and over again what he can not get right away.  He knows that Marius watches him particularly out of all the orphans, but he is not sure why, so he tries even harder to please the man who is his hero.

Roth is not a very charismatic young man, plain, plain spoken and nervous around other people.  Marius is teaching him to speak with crowds and how to bend a person to their side without resorting to power plays or violence.  He wears his grey robes of an apprentice with pride and keeps them and his small cubical immaculate.  His black hair is growing long and his body is starting to fill out now that he is getting food on a regular basis.  He is even starting to make friends among the other orphans.

Roth can be found running errands for Marius in Last Stand or in the great library there.  He would be a good way for an evil campaign to contact Marius or for a good campaign to gain entrance to Marius' lair.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sea Elves and Calabay

I've mentioned in the past the Calabay people revere the sea elves and try to live in harmony with them.  To do so, they keep in touch with banner signals from the castle and magical lights from the sea. Once a day lights will appear in the sea to say whether the sea elves are good or not and the castle of Calabay will put up their banners to say they are good.  If either presents a bad sign the other will come to the others' aid.  Though by the time of the High King's Sword the sea elves haven't been seen in a while, the castle still put up the flags each day, though most do not know why they do.  Magical lights have not been seen in generations so most would not know what they were if they saw them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cynthia's Herbs in Bloodhelm

Though those who can afford magical healing try to stick with that, but many of the poor can not afford the magical healing.  To make up for such lacking, they turn to herbs and tonics to cure their ills.  Cynthia's Herbs, (now owned by Janet Herb), has been around almost as long as Bloodhelm.  With her two apprentices, she gathers herbs in the early morning and late evening, then plays healer the rest of the day, giving out tonics, herbs to put in dinners and teas to soothe people's ills.  She does know a little healing magic, which she will do for free, but donations are always accepted.  Like all her predecessors, Janet doesn't live high on the hog, being paid mostly in produce and other foods, along with clothes, shoes and repair services, but Janet doesn't care.  Her long line of herb gatherers have always done their job to keep those who can't afford healing somewhat healthy as best as they can.

The Healer's Guild wants her fined for practicing without paying guild dues, but the rulers of Bloodhelm see her as an asset, keeping disease among the poor to a minimum and figure the Healer's Guild doesn't need to be blackmailing her.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kohee Brooks

Kohee is an older gentlemen from the eastern side of the Tsalagi Mountains who speciality is old languages and cultures.  He is a scholar, but also a teacher at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm.  He speaks little of his own past, which is strange considering he's a scholar of history, but loves to hear about everyone else's lives.  He stands about five foot, with tanned skin and dark black hair he keeps in two long braids.  He wears the style of Karoon clothing many have not seen in ages, right down to the buck skin and hand made beads.  Kohee is willing to teach everyone, but he will refuse those who obviously want to use his knowledge to harm others.

Many people come from all over Tridon to seek his help in matters of culture and language and he loves to talk their ear off even as he helps them along.  He has two apprentices, one male, one female who he is trying to teach everything.  He treats them as his children and will not see anything bad befall them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust, or magical dust, is used for many magical items, potions and scrolls.  Made from ground gold, or more rare metals and gems, this dust is put into the ink used for scrolls, liquids used for potions and materials used for magic items.  Imbued with magic by special formulas on special nights, (usually full moons or high holy days), these dusts are important to mages and priests alike.  Literally worth their weight in gold, caravans carrying small chests of this material are always heavily guarded and usually commissioned by Leaders themselves on behalf of the mage guild in their cities if they have no one who can make pixie dust in their city.  It is a hard skill to learn to do well and most who can make the pixie dust hide their secret and only give it to their most trusted apprentices.  Leaders will usually keep the person with a stipend so they have a ready supply of the pixie dust in case their need weapons enchanted or wards secured they are able to do so.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tutors of Bloodhelm

This small, unassuming building is made of brick, has a stylized roof and baring strong shutters holds a few desks and a small library of books.  Here an army of tutors come to check in for the day to see who they will be teaching.  Most of the time the assignments are the same, but some nobles become fickle and want a new teacher ever day for their children.  The scholars who run the building and operation take a small cut from the tutors, but ensure they tutors are paid, treated well and have assignments appropriate to their specialities.  All tutors are paid well so they can afford the nice clothes and court training they are expected to have and know. New tutors are taken with an older mentor for a few months to make sure they are capable of working with all sorts and so to ensure they know their material.

Most who work here are just scholars, but some are also mages or fighters and teach these skills as well.  Most scholars cost 10 gold ducats for half a day, but specialized scholars and tutors may cost more.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Pets of Martapa

As I spend some of my free time I should be writing playing World of Warcarft, I began to think, what would the people of Martapa keep as pets?  Well, how would this affect my campaign or even my novels.  In most cases it won't, but you are going to have that character who wants a pet or that NPC that really would look good with a pet.

When my husband and I played Noshi and Sebastion as roleplaying characters, Sebastion had a red-tailed hawk named Kawani.  (If pronounced right it means "April" in Cherokee.)  It made his character stand out.  And it can make any character stand out.  On World of Warcaft my husband, kids and I play on a roleplaying server, so you come up with cool backgrounds for your character and try to role play them with that in mind as you bash bad guys.  My main has a sprite darter named Apple (now that you can change the names of companion pets...hurray!).  My first hunter only has one hunter pet who is a hunting cat and there is a good reason for that in roleplaying terms.

So here are some suggestions on how to handle pets/companions for your characters.
1)  If the class comes with one (rangers/druids/mages), make sure it is appropriate.  No man eating lions for the mage's familiar and no lizards for the ranger's companion (unless, perhaps they are a secondary companion).
2)  Don't let them have the powerful ones at 1st level, maybe when they get 20th and they have a darn good reason!  My husband told me if I rolled a 20 on a familiar roll I could have a pseudo-dragon...darn, but I'm good!  But to balance that (since I was 1st level) he made her hard to maintain and it took a lot of my gold I should have been using to research to make sure she was happy.
3)  Remember, pets are people, too!  During battle, where are those special pets?  This is to make sure the players don't just get the pet and forget about it, especially if they give them some special bonus or something.  My pseudo-dragon had magic resistance (I think, :) ) but I had to know where the heck she was at all times.
4) Do they add to the roleplaying?  Sometimes a pet can help fill out a character.  My first ranger had a coyote.  He was playful and a big coward.  But he was the tension breaker when my ranger would get down on herself (she had a confidence issue).  Maybe that person on the verge of quiting or just not bringing out the best in their character just needs that little shove of a pet.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Plains of People of Taina

Before Peter and his Kingdom of Tridon, the people of the plains lived a different existence.  They lived in large family groups, traveling with the herds and the seasons.  This brown, almost red, skinned people were excellent hunters not only from the ground, but horseback as well.  When Peter made his kingdom, for years the best fighters from horseback were the plains people.  They hunted bison, range elk, and deer.  Children hunted small mammals with slings and women and girls would find roots, berries and other edible plants to supplement the diet.  Everything was used.  Hides for clothes and shelter, bones for weapons and decorations, sinew for rope.

Before Peter, the people of the plains were matriarchal, where the men moved to the women's family after they were married.  Everything, except a warrior's horse and weapons, was considered the woman's in a marriage, especially the children.  Because there were many ogres wandering the plains, boys and men always ran patrols around encampments.  All children were taught how to use weapons to defend themselves and encampments could easily be pulled down in the matter of an hour or less if need be. (Sometimes only the important items were taken and rest left if the need arose.)

About five hundred years before the Chosen, the plains people became nearly all assimilated to cities, though there was small hold out groups for a while.  Their culture and traditions remained, until Shaniko wiped so many of them out, but were adapted to the sedentary life of a city.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Holidays and Roleplaying

With it being Halloween, I thought it might be fun to talk about roleplaying on holidays.  Our friends and us always get together on Halloween, let the kids go trick or treating and we play board games.  We tried roleplaying, but with all the interruptions of giving out candy, it didn't work well. But if you do roleplay on Halloween or any other holidays here are some tips.

1) Food.  Have lots of it.  What is a holiday without food?  We usually get pizza, have cookies we can decorate and snacks a plenty.  I suggest some healthy food to off set the junk.

2) If you can't roleplay with your group, do board games.  You can chit chat, be interrupted by trick or treaters and still get some gaming done.

3)Do something special in game, if it fits with the plot.  A ball, a party, even a scary dungeon!

4) And most importantly, have fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Keep Time of Bloodhelm

This is a high end building with high end merchandise.  Clocks have been around for a long time, since before the founding of Tridon, but accurate clocks are often hard to come by.  Chase Vanderhoot is the most sought after clock maker in most of Tridon.  His clocks range from tiny, hand sized clocks, to tall clocks which stand taller then ogres.  Chase makes all the mechanisms and puts them together, while his daughter, Stella, makes all the casings like her uncle Ben did before he was tragically killed by bandits.  Chase also makes small clocks which can be put in the pocket to keep time.  They are hard to make and very expensive. Mostly only nobles can afford any of his clocks, but these pocket clocks are only had by the richest of nobles. 

Chase lives in a small estate not far from Bloodhelm with his daughter, wife Maria, and their two youngest sons.  His oldest son is learning the trade from his dad and figures when his father retires he and Stella will take over the business.  As much as he loves his sister he hopes she will find a good man to marry who will still let her work on the wood carving.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mother Mable of Bloodhelm

Every major city has an orphanage.  With war, attacks by humanoids and even just disease, there will always be orphans.  Most who lose their parents go to relatives, but some children just aren't that lucky.  In Bloodhelm, the city provides a small house for children run by Mother Mable.  She is a tall, imposing woman who never cracks a smile.  She runs her house with efficiency and expects everyone to toe the line, from smallest to oldest.  Bloodhelm gives her a small stipend plus living expenses for the orphans, which she has to make stretch, so few of her charges have hole-free clothes.  None go to trade schools or are apprenticed, but she does manage to get a teacher to come and teach her charges to read and do basic math.

Mable does not like her job, but because she is an unmarried woman of age, she has little in ways of prospects for anything else.  She knows many of her charges choose to live on the street instead of be with her, which she doesn't worry about.  She gets the same amount of money no matter how many orphans she has.  Mable also teaches her charges a few other skills, such as begging, pickpocketing and lock picking.  Being an orphan herself, once, she picked up skills and shows her charges how to do such things to help supplement her income.  She is not unkind to her charges, she just doesn't like them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Encouraging Good Roleplaying

As a writer and fantasy reader, I love descriptions.  I know the mainstream novels are supposed to be fast paced, (we don't have time for your 3 page description of the city, people), but those of us fantasy readers we love a good description and lots of details, (hello, council of the elves in Lord of the Rings?).  Roleplaying is no different.  You are trying to put your players into your world, whether pre-made or home grown.  They want to know what the shifty eyed man in the corner looks like.  How pretty is that barmaid?  How high are those buildings in case my thief needs to make a mad dash across the roof tops?  You have to give your players something for their roleplaying eyes to see.  Here are a few suggestions.

1) Pre-make a few NPC descriptions, even if they are only flavor text to fill in the scene.  Players like that added touch and makes them wonder if that NPC is important or not.

2) Make up descriptions of the major buildings in your city.  I would definitely have the tavern made up they will inevitably go to, the manor or castle of the city and any place you want your PCs to go to.

3) Major items they will find should be described.  These include a quest item, weapons of great power, even trinkets they get as rewards.

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

History: The Creation of Martapa

Martapa, like all seven of its sister planets, were created out of the Void by the Gods.  No one is sure where the beings called Gods came from, but it is assumed the Void created them.  Catiana, Sarjon and Targon were the first Gods and the three of them brought forth the worlds of the system as the remaining Gods were summoned forth by Catiana.  (This does not make the other Gods less powerful then Catiana, but she is deemed their "mother" because of it.)   The Gods then decided on the Balance, which creatures to create and how they would interact with the world.  Obviously not all the Gods liked the plans (mainly Kahalla) but all said they would abide by such plans.  Once mortals were placed upon the world the Gods stepped back and watched their world grow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Books of Knowledge

Books of Knowledge is a cozy little shop crammed full of books, scrolls and anything with writing on it.  People and scholars come here to browse or to buy that tome they just would love to have.  The owners, Justice and Mary Binder, will allow people to look through their collection for just research for a gold an hour.  This is how they make most of their money, though they do sell books and scrolls quite often.  They figure they can make more money selling the knowledge over and over again then they can selling the book.

The first of three floors are crammed full of books, with the second floor used for study and research areas, as well as some book storage.  The Binder's residence is the third floor.  Mary is expecting her first child, so Justice is sort of absent minded at the moment and takes a little longer to find what someone is looking for.  If a customer won't be patient with him, he just ignores them and doesn't worry about it.  He is too focused on Mary to care.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sota the Bard

Sota, a human of middle age and originally from Karoon, loves to play it up to the crowd.  He has dark skin, black hair he keeps in a pony tail and dresses in all the latest fashions, (though not at the high end of costs).  He always bares a smile to his audience, takes requests for songs, stories or ballads, and plays for even the smallest of tips. He has an uncanny ability to remember any ballad, story, or song and if he hears a new one will sit and listen to the person telling or singing it until he has it down. He rotates between most of the taverns in Bloodhelm, depending on a tavern's needs.  He actually has a house in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Bloodhelm, with a cook/house maid that keeps him well fed and cared for.

Sota's only downside is he likes his drink.  He tends to try and stay away from drinking, especially when playing, but if he is being social he tends to drink a lot and get himself in trouble.  The last time he barely avoided a duel with a minor noble for hitting on his soon to be wife.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

History of Squires

The Knights of Martapa didn't start out as Knights, they were just the men who fought along side Peter and his friends at the battle which made Peter High King.  They fought in leather armor, (if they had any) and some hardly knew how to use the weapons at their side.  Peter knew such a condition could not continue if they were to keep mankind safe from the darkness.  So Peter instituted a learning situation where older, fighting men, no matter rank would take in the younger men to teach them what they knew.  Originally this was just anyone who served in Peter's army, because there were no nobility.  As time marched on those who fought for Peter and Tridon and were of nobility were termed Knights and they took on younger nobles as their squires.  This took generations to be so selective, and for a long time even common men could become Knights and squires.  (As a side note a lot of the minor noble houses are led by men who descended from just those sort of common men.)

Squires are usually in training for three years, after which they are sent on a quest to better not only themselves, but Tridon as well.  Now adays very few squires come from common stock, but it is not unheard of if a man (or woman) in the regular army or militia proves themselves to the local lord and granted such a boon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Assassins Guild in Bloodhelm

Though official named, "Fugitive Capture", this building is the base of all the assassins in the area.  They work under the pretense of finding escaped prisoners, but will kill or capture just about anyone if the money is right.  Numbers are hard to pin down, and they purposefully keep it this way, but there are always three people working the building, taking information or giving updates on escaped prisoners.  Prices are steep, for actual escaped prisoners, and even more for assassinations, especially if they are hard to get at people.  Names are never asked, only payment up front.  The assassins are honor bound, believe it or not, and if they do not finish a contract, they return the money.

In game, the group may be working against this guild, or if you have an evil based campaign, they may be working for this group.  Take assasinations seriously, because this is a very evil act, and it would be better to be working against this group.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Average Home Guard

Though there are hundreds of people I could detail, there is also the average "Joe" that your player characters are going to encounter: bakers, merchants, and even guards. Here is an average profile of a guard at Bloodhelm.

A home guard at Bloodhelm will most likely be light skinned, blond or brown hair, with blue or brown eyes.  (Not racism, just the make up of this area...have to have those sorta disclaimers now a days...)  They usually stand around six foot tall, give or take bit.  Most are fairly broad, though wiry is somewhat common.  Most are men, somewhere between eighteen and twenty five, though captains and sergeants are usually older.  Most can read and if they can't, the Home Guard gets them a tutor to at least read the bare minimum of things.  Some are married, but most are single though want to gain some savings to impress some young woman so they can marry.

Home guards are trained in bow, short sword and spear.  Some know magic others know how to handle more exotic weapons, but they are far and few between.  All are equipped with brigidane armor, weapon of their choice and a dagger.

If they chose to no longer serve as a home guard after their seven years of service they are given a small stipend and many become crafters or guards for caravans.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Butt in Chair Time

Like most writers, I find it hard to find time to actually write.  I have two very involved kids, I help with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Battle of the Books and our school's TAG program.  I'm a substitute teacher aid and I volunteer my "free" time with the school and the local Grange.  Somewhere in there I'm supposed to write.  It doesn't happen as much as I would like, but here are some things I do when I can't be home typing away at my laptop.

1)I think about my story as I drive or walk to my next project.  It may only be five or ten minutes, but it gives me a little brain storming time I don't have to do when I actually can write.

2)Bring a pad of paper with you to your child's next activity.  My daughter has a class in town (20 miles away) and I can't exactly just drop her off and go home.  So I will bring a pad of paper with me and outline the next chapter, write a segment that has to get out, or think on things I need to edit or add in and write it down so I don't forget them when it comes to actual writing time.

3) Try to pick a time each day that you know you can usually count on to write.  Even if it's just 15 minutes it's better then nothing.  My best time is right after I drop the kids off at school.  I don't always get that time, subbing sometimes as I do, but I can usually sneak in a half hour or more of writing.  Be flexible.  If you have to be somewhere a half hour earlier then normal, then write earlier or just take that ten minutes over nothing.  If nothing else look for spelling mistakes!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hall of Kings

In the royal palace in Stormvale is a hallway lined with paintings and statues of men in different poses and attire, but always wearing the circlet of the High King.  This hallway, about two thousand yards along the outside western wall of the palace, is the display area for all the portraits and statues of High Kings long gone.  Naturally there are far too many such pieces of art to be put up at all times so a caretaker swaps out the various statues and paintings every once in a while (usually once a month) so all the High Kings can be seen now and again.  The painting and statue of Peter are always present at the north end of the hall and the current High King (if there is one) is at always at the south end.  Scholars often come to gaze upon the portraits for study or to look at painting and carving techniques of eons gone by.

Those portraits and statues not in use are carefully stored in a room in the lower levels and always under lock and key.  For the last sixty years or so the paintings have remained untouched, even by those who were friends with the Wizards and Kin.  A new caretaker with knowledge of the past High Kings will need to be found soon before all knowledge of the paintings and statues are lost.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Rat Tavern

As the name suggests, this location is in the seedier part of town, in a run down building with not so desirable patrons.  Originally, this was a nice building and meant to be an escape for those husbands who needed some time away from their wives, (thus the "RAT" in the name).  At one point it served good beers and ales (not expensive, just good), but now everything is watered down and brewed nearby with questionable methods.  Meals can be purchased, but the chance a rat might actually be in the stew (whether purposefully or not) is quite high.  Meals used to be made by the wife of the owner, with fresh bread, but now the owner just throws something together at the beginning of the day and calls it good.

An added feature is the few whores that work from out of the inn.  The upstairs used to be a family residence, but now the owner, Butch Tarstring, rents them out to down on their luck whores to make a little side money.

There are no bouncers and the bar brawls get exciting here.  They are an every night occurrence (though some rougher then others) and the patrols have stopped responding they happen so frequently.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wings of Stars

Wings of Stars, or Star as her friends call her, is a wood elf.  But she loves magic and loves being with humans so she came to Bloodhelm to learn about the craft.  Though she knows more about magic then most of those who are "teaching" her, (she is, after all, nearly 200 years old) she loves to see the different views on magic and the different ways people use magic.  Though she wanted to be nothing but a student at the Bloodhelm Mage Guild, they have put her in charge of the more earthly magics and teaches as she learns.

Star is only about four foot five, short even for an elf, with silver and grey hair and bright blue eyes.  She bares tattoos of ivy vines on her forearms and a small grouping of stars beneath her right eye.  She dresses in blues, silvers, and greys and despite being an elf, will talk a person's ear off.  If a person bares some new magic she has to know all about it.  This sometimes gets her in trouble with people, but most like to hear her point of view on such new magics.

She can be found at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm most of the time or wandering the market.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bards of Martapa

Not only is this a common class in most roleplaying systems, (who doesn't want that swashbuckler to swing from chandeliers?), but the bard is also a very important person in the world of Martapa.  Bards are like the news media of today.  They spread news, both good and bad, as well as bring cheer.  They often come to a new village and tell what is going on in the world for a dinner and a room.  Because there are few people who travel outside their villages, bards are life lines to the outside world and are treated well.  It is considered bad luck to harm a bard, but if they do behave badly, (aka make a pass at the mayor's wife or worse), then they are fair game.

Bards usually carry their own instruments, weapons, and gear and dress in bright colors.  Some can afford a horse and even an escort.  They can be found everywhere, even in areas controlled by the Black Wizards and the Empire.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Brief History of Weatherworn's Mages

In my stories, I hint at the fact that Weatherworn's mages are powerful weather mages, people who can change the weather at a whim.  I don't ever explain it in depth, just hint they can do colossal damage if they truly want to.  Originally, when Gustaff was given charge around the area of Weatherworn, his wife Lillith was a powerful weather mage.  In the "old days" they were called witches, but now all who use magic are termed mage.  She could control the weather around the stormy coastal city, which allowed for ships to enter the deep harbor without fear of smashing into the tower rock cliffs.  It was her magic, and the magic of her daughters, which made the long, rock ramp leading from the harbor to the city up above.

Tradition shows that all daughters of the current Weatherworn Leader are born with the ability to cast these strong magics, though there have been a few born without such talents.  Everyone of them are trained and cared for by the House until death, even if they marry.  This makes for a very large "stable" of weather mages, all of whom live in the area of Weatherworn, but not necessarily in the city itself.

Very rarely have they had to be called upon for to protect Weatherworn, most of the time they are used for making sure crops grow and ships make it into the harbor safely.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Eastern Imports of Bloodhelm

This shipping company specializes in moving items from the east side of Taina to the west side. Though they mostly move fabrics and specialty foods, they also bring baskets, pots, wooden items, just about anything only made on the east side of the Tsalagi Mountains.  The company has a dedicated fleet of thirty wagons, 200 pack animals and about 400 employees with stations in just about every major city, even on the east side.

The business is currently owned by the Janson brothers, Torak and Thane.  They station themselves in Bloodhelm, but sometimes work out of Varanath as well.  They are around thirty, human and get along with most people.

You could use this place as someplace to hire on to, as a way to get specialty products or as an adventure jump off point.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Lady Kell

(A little background on this character.  Though she never is in any of my stories, which some of these characters I've posted haven't been, she was a well thought out character.  My husband introduced me to roleplaying when we were in college and this was my very first character.  I have used her as an NPC in my roleplaying campaign and she could also be used for such in your campaign!)

Lady Kell is an elf who loves working with and being with humans, or any race for that matter.  She is a mage of the highest caliber but loves to share her knowledge.  She lives near Varanath, just to the east of it, in a small, secluded wooded area.  She lives by herself, though she certainly has lots of guests, and her constant companion, Apple.  Apple  is a small fairy dragon who has taken a liking to Kell and her shiny baubles.

Kell is only five foot tall with flame red hair and emerald green eyes.  She speaks a half dozen languages and dialects and has a library crammed full of knowledge.  Though her modest cabin has only three rooms, the third room is an extra-dimensional library and study which can only be entered with a password or special key.  If the room is entered by someone without the key or password it just appears as extra bedroom.

As for in lore, yes, Kell is a descendant of Veo Sunstar, (thus the red hair).  She knows it, but doesn't brag about it or worry about such ties.  She judges a person on who they are not what they are.  She will help those in need if she can, take down bad guys if she is able, and aid adventurers with their questions if they perform some task for her.  She has a lot of access to lore and history so would be a good place to search for tidbits for some plot line for the GM.

Happy Gaming

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Magical Scrolls in Bloodhelm

Magical Scrolls is a small building which smells of vellum and only a few enter.  Inside are shelves and shelves of rolled parchment, some with magical writing, some with maps, and still others with knowledge of the ages.  The proprietor is Cedric Howling, an older man who's writing isn't so steady anymore, but is why he has a handful of apprentices to make his scrolls for him.  Maps are always accurate (well, as good as they can be in this day and age), scrolls will always do as they are supposed to and the knowledge is always obscure but important.

Cedric charges the going rate plus 10%, since he doesn't get a lot of business.  His apprentices earn little, but are learning the art of scroll making and magic, and are fed on a regular basis.  Cedric doesn't talk much, doesn't want to share his knowledge unless paid, and can be down right grumpy if pushed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tips the Ranger

Stationed out of Calabay, Tips loves the outdoors.  She loves to travel with the caravans, hunting parties, even mining expeditions.  She loves to be out in nature and away from civilization, though she likes to be with people.  She knows much about nature, medicinal plants, how animals behave and how to survive in the wilderness.  Surprisingly, she also can handle herself fairly well in more sophisticated circles, knowing how to dance, use the right fork at dinner and how to make small talk.  She was schooled in such things because she is the daughter of a minor noble, but doesn't want to be stuck away in some house, playing mother.  She is human, about 20 years old, with dark blond hair and tanned skin.  Her eyes are blue and her mouth is never without a smile.

Tips can be found outside of Calabay, in Calabay or wandering with some group in need of a guide.  If the party hires her she asks for a 3 silver a day, plus food.  She loves to talk about everything they are doing and will love to hear back stories on everyone.

Happy Gaming.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Collar of Taming

Though druids and priests of Wesa abhor such things, Collars of Taming are very popular amongst horse trainers and dog trainers. These collars allow a wild animal to become as docile as a milk cow by merely slipping it on the animal.  Once on, the owner of the collar can make them do tasks they are suited for (such as being ridden or guarding something).  The collars will not, however, make them do something that will harm them, (such as running off a cliff or attacking something which would most certainly kill them).

In game terms, a collar of training gives a person a bonus to charm animal or training an animal.  This will have to depend on the game system (since some do a d20 roll, while others do percentiles), but it gives a plus 50% chance to taming an animal. These collars are usually plain iron, though some are decorated with gems and gilding.  Mages are capable of making them, but Priests of Wesa and druids will find them and destroy them.  They might also attack anyone using them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

History of the Term Houses

Capital cities, or Houses, are the center piece of every Leaders responsibility.  This is where he or she trains her troops, has their base of operations and where the royal family lives.  But how did such an important place get such an odd name?

Originally, when Peter's friends set off to rule their small section of Tridon, they build houses for themselves and their followers.  Simple, one or two room houses that were merely utilitarian in nature.  From here they made policies and handed out grants of land to those who would eventually become minor Houses.  It was Olaf Cole who termed the title "House".  He joked he was ruling his people from his small house and how could anyone ever take him seriously.  But the name stuck and even today Capital Cities are termed "Houses".

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tresh's Imports of Bloodhelm

This large, almost warehouse type building is two stories high, though only one open air story inside.  The original owner, Tresh, trekked all over Martapa to find the best location to buy, then resell exotic items.  Over the years the business has expanded, but they still pride themselves in finding the best and hard to find items.

Tresh's Imports sells everything from dwarven crafted steins to the zebras of the southern continent, from spices of the east to elven wine, rare as it is.  Items are expensive, but are all guarenteed they are authentic.  This is a large operation, with outposts in many cities, bringing the exotic from one side of the world to the other.

Players may be able to use this business to find some exotic spell component or hire on as merchant guards to get from one point to another.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Joel Thunderclaw

The youngest boy of three possible heirs to the Thunderclaw fortune, Joel is never idle.  He is a plain man, who hopes to find a good wife he can live with and who will give him fine heirs of his own.  As third son, he has little hopes of inheriting, so he works hard at the family business of cloth, threads and other fine decorations.

Joel takes the business seriously, never skimming as some who will not inherit do, and runs it with a strict hand.  Schedules are to be kept and money is to be made for the noble House.  His older brothers are both Knights and have no head for business so leave him to it, even though this is how the noble House makes its money.  They trust Joel to do what is best for the family so they don't suspect he will try to take over their inheritance.  Which Joel really doesn't want to do anyway.

The problem being their father, Joseph, doesn't agree.  He is trying to find a way to make Joel his heir since Knights drain money from the noble House and Joel is bringing in money for the family and keeping it afloat.  Not to mention he likes Joel better, seeing as his older boys only demand things and never give back to the family.

One could encounter Joel at their business front or even on the road as he travels with certain caravans to deliver product.  (If Joel is traveling with the train it is because the product is expensive and going to a House leader.)  He can always be met if he is hiring new guards for his wagon trains.  He is reluctant to hire new ones ever time so he usually keeps contracts with the same guards, keeping them paid even if they are not escorting.  He figures this makes them more loyal.  But sometimes he needs more guards and has to take the risk of hiring new ones for a short period of time. This might be a good way to get into a noble House's good graces, for your adventuring group to get from point A to point B, or to start of an adventure plot line.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Waterskins of Holding

As the explorers of the world traveled around, water and food were always an issue when exploring those hard to reach places.  Most of the time they could hunt or gather food, though not always, but sometimes water was hard to find.  So the explorers would have to carry a lot of heavy water.

A ranger/scout, who loved to explore those  hard to reach places, asked his friend, a mage, to help him with this problem.  The mage, in turn, came up with the waterskin of holding.  This waterskin is normal sized, usually with runes painted on the outside and a stout brass or steel cap.  They can be actual skins, metal, wood or glass, depending on what the mage prefered.  The mage actually casts an extra dimensional space upon the bottle and the bottle serves as an opening for it.  So all sorts of water can be held in the bottle.

There is a limit to the amount of water, however.  There is only about a month worth of water for one person in each one.  They can be refilled manually, though it does take time (1d4 hours).  They are very sought after by adventurers and armies alike.  Few know how to make them so if someone finds a waterskin of holding they are worth holding on to.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Blessed Pawnshop in Bloodhelm

This small shop is always busy, with people bringing in wares to sell or those looking for a bargain.  Most who come here need quick money because a relative is sick, because they need to pay off a loan, or they have a gambling debt they just can't pay.  Few actually return to reclaim their items.  Poorer people like to come here to shop because they can find bargains on items they couldn't otherwise afford.

Run by the Temple of Sircarius, the workers here are all priests of the God of Thieves and Assassins.  They drive a hard bargain, know if something is hot (which means they give less for it, not that they turn it away) and love to outwit everyone.  The proceeds go to the temple, (though there is some skimming involved and expected).  Because it's run by priests of the god of thieves, there are few break ins and no need for guards.

There are usually two priests and at least that many apprentices on hand at all times of day, since there is no time a day a person may not need money.  There are wards upon the entrances and windows, and all who are running the business have poisoned blades, (though they are covered in a sleep poison, not a harmful poison). 

The proprietors only offer 40% of value but sell things at 30% profit.  They will not budge much from the 40% offer, no matter how hard someone tries.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nandy the Cloth Seller

Nandy, who is in her sixth decade, loves the market.  She gets to see people, sell her fine fabric which she makes herself) and hear rumors of all sorts.  If anyone needs to know anything, they go to Nandy, who loves to talk in turn.  She loves the bribe or two of small coins or treats but she will talk your ear off if you want to know something.  She is small, unassuming woman, with gray streaked hair and wrinkly skin.  She wears layers of shawls and skirts, so there is no way to tell how round she might be.

In game, this person would be a great way to get rumors in.  She usually will know something about what a PC wants to know, but she might mess up a detail or two about 20% of the time.  She will chat anyone's ear off but she should be able to tell the PC what they want to know if it has anything to do with Bloodhelm or her inhabitants.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Little Research...

For both writing novels and making your roleplaying world come alive, you want to make it feel as real as possible.  The cold chill on a winter's morning, the sounds of a market place, the clashing of battle, you want all these things to feel as if they are really happening to your characters or player characters.  For me I like to watch movies, read other books or experience such things myself.

A good hands on research place for you medieval junkies are Renaissance Faires.  Most faires have people decked out period (and not so period) costumes.  You see how they should look (not those mocked up outfits you see in film, but how they should fit on real people) and how they actually move in a real life situation.  You can see how people interact, how they barter and how a market place might appear.  And honestly, I think the costumes go to peoples' heads at these things, because the word "huzzah" pops up quite a bit, even from those not in costumes.

These are also a great place to see costumes to populate your world, as well as music and wares.  At the Shrewsbury festival we like to attend, they have music and performers (all period) at multiple stages all through the day.  The kids, as well as myself, love to sit and watch, even if it's just for a few moments, any we pass by as we wonder this different world for a few hours.

And we must not forget the jousting.  Shrewsbury usually has a group of performers who joust on horseback, sword fight and do tricks on horseback.  All of this in armor and garb and on horses most of them rescue and train to do these tricks.  So a big "Huzzah" for them as well.  But you can get a feel of how the swords swing, how lances actually work and look in combat, and how people fall from horses and from blows of the sword.  Not to mention it's just plain fun to watch!

So if you get a chance to visit such events, do so.  They are fun, informative and a great excuse to spend some money making cool costumes.
Happy Gaming!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The History of Janesh Part II

So after the volcano exploded those who remained of the Janesh culture made their way to the fishing village of Calabay.  (At the time of their landing this soon to be great House was little more then home to about three hundred fishing and farming folk with a very shrewd leader).  In exchange for leading the refugees further inland to an unclaimed area that was large enough to hold them all, the people of Calabay asked for a small chest of gold and teachers to use for five years.  Sterling Calabay knew knowledge was key to making life better for his people and he saw how advanced in magic and technology the Janesh were to his own people.  What was gold to people who bartered for their items?  (Though he did hire some dwarves to make a secure wall around the village and stout stone buildings that could withstand the siege of ogres and the like.)

The advance team for Janesh had built a suitable number of buildings in the area to house most of the refugees but building of more took place right away.  The Janesh stayed in contact with Calabay, but no one else, wanting to keep their great magics out of the hands of those who could not use it wisely.  After ten or so generations, even Calabay forgot mostly about them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The East Gates of Bloodhelm

The east gates are huge affairs which really haven't been shut against brigands in years, but are maintained so they can be.  Two towers border the gate which can allow five wagons through at a time, side by side.  The towers are four stories tall (as is the wall) and archers are always inside or along the length of the nearby wall.

The gate is always manned by no less then fifteen men and at least one mage (often termed a gate mage).  All the fighting men are decked in leather, the captains in chain, and the mages are in their robes.  Each guard has a sword, halberd and a bow on them, as well as a dagger.  Bloodhelm trains their guards well, (so consider them fifth level or so in game terms) and makes sure their equipment is sound.  The mage is usually not a powerful one, but is able to call upon help at all times via their magic, which can arrive in three minutes or less.

The gates are shut at night, though can be opened if the person needing in is important or carries important news for the Lords of Bloodhelm.  The gate is always manned by guards and in times of great distress, the patrol manning the gate is doubled, as well as adding two to three more mages.

Entry fee is a copper penny, though the guards may wave it if they see fit.  (The Lord of Bloodhelm wants commerace in his city, not gate fees.)  The guards will check over cargo or personages, though weapons are allowed, as long as they are peace knotted.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ms. Glenda of Bloodhelm

Ms. Glenda has been a fixture at the Mage Guild of Bloodhelm for some time.  A bubbly woman in her mid fifties she loves teaching new mages everything from small cantrips to the most powerful spells she knows.

Standing around five foot, this rounder, cheerful woman always has time for her students.  Though she specializes in life magics, (healing and growing of plants), she does know quite a few offensive spells and is ready to use them in defense of the school.  She usually wears brightly patterned robes, with some sort of animal or plant woven into their designs, and keeps her dark hair short, so as to keep it out of her way. 

Originally from Weatherworn, she enjoys Bloodhelm because it seems quieter to her then the busier port of Weatherworn.  She spends her days off roaming the market places, looking for new plants, rumors on new healing techniques and speaking with priests of Tinaka and Iktomi.  She is polite and gracious to anyone she meets and finds herself often surrounded by street rats who love the little magicks she performs for them.  She likes to give out small treats and copper pennies to the street rats, because she has found several who have had great magical aptitude and who she sponsors in the Mage Guild.  She does this in hopes of finding any other street rats that may show aptitude. (It is a tradition amongst the street rats that she is not to be pick pocketed and if she is, the offender is turned in by other street rats.)

If a mage is looking for a sponsor, Glenda might be a good way in, as long as the character is kind and respectful in her presence, though she will expect the mage to work hard for her in turn.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Timeline for Janesh

Around 5000 DC (During Chaos): A group of Humans and Elves were saved by the Gods' representatives and taken to the islands which would be later called Janesh.

5000 DC to 10,000 DC: The Empire of Janesh began to form.  What once was small farming villages came together and decided to start schools to share knowledge and build the House of Janesh, a large manor and library to study at and lead from.  Over time the Library of Janesh will span 20 acres with the manor spanning 10 acres of it's own.  The population spreads across the islands and great discoveries in magic and science occur and are shared.  The first official leader of Janesh is crowned.  There is only one break in this family's leadership and they are much beloved for the duration of Janesh's history.

200 AC (After Chaos): The Tayke family is usurped for 45 days by a group of wizards who think the Janesh people need to take their rightful place in the world as the ruler.  Those loyal to the Tayke family take back the capital city and the wizards are captured.  They are sent to a nearby island where magic is not usable and left to their own devices, since the people of Janesh to not believe in death as a punishment.

1500 AC: The dominate volcano on the main island of Janesh begins to resist the magical controls the people of Janesh have maintained upon it for so long.  Knowing they can no longer stay, expeditions are sent out to see where the populations can be relocated.

1520 AC: The mass migration of most of Janesh's population to a new location in Taina, the northern continent begins, landing in the small fishing village of Calabay.  Only a few humans stay, including the ruler of Janesh, trying to save the islands in one last effort.  No one is sure why but nearly every adult elf also remains, though the children are sent with the humans to safety.

1521 AC: The volcano explodes and no more contact is capable with those who stayed on the islands.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

History of Janesh

Janesh, a small group of islands far off the east coast of Ariella, was once inhabited by a group of humans and elves who sought peace and harmony after all the chaos as the world began.  Learning to co-exist with magic and nature, these brave people tamed a volcano which sat in the middle of all their islands so they could live in peace.

There were seven fairly large islands and five smaller islands inhabited by this smaller statue humans as well as elves.  Agriculture was a mix of land and sea, where most meat was either fish or goat.  Rice and vegetables were the majority of their diet.  Learning was an important part of their culture, where even the poorest of the poor knew how to read and write.  Schooling was provided for all, at the cost of the state.  There was even a grand library, open to even the lowest individual to go in and read and study in.

The elves, who shaped their buildings out of living wood, lived in the wilds of the islands, while the humans had their centers of learning surrounded by farm land.  The two races co-existed peacefully and helped each other out.

Tomorrow: A time line as to what happened to Janesh

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Magical Liquids in Bloodhelm

Magical Liquids, a single story building with a good, stout basement is a busy little place.  Usually potions are very expensive, but even the people who are just making it by can afford potions at this little out of the way mom and pop business.

Run by the human husband/wife pair Charles and Clara Densemar, this place smells bad but sells some good potions.  They sell everything from healing in a bottle to the classical "love potion".  Though some potions are simply just herbs brewed to a certain thickness, the magical potions work just as they are intended to.  Magical potions are always list price, though they will give a small discount if a person brings in spell components they need for potions.  They are also guaranteed to work.  If they don't, a person can come back and ask for a refund.

The pair also sell "love potions" and "curses" in a bottle.  They make it clear this potions are just for fun and won't actually work, but people like to buy them just for the fun of it.  They can make actual "love potions" (which I believe in most game systems would be a charm person spell in a bottle) but they are reluctant to, believing in free will.

The pair will buy components at half list price, as well as any potions adventurers may find and not need.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bear the Cat

Alright, so I've been on animal kick lately, but to some, the odd NPC is actually fun.

So Bear the Cat lives at the Traveling Tramp Inn, a fixture of the inn as long as anyone can remember.  He's a grey and black stripped tabby cat with a mind of his own.  He wants what ever you are eating, sleeps where ever he likes and chases everything from mice to familiars if not watched carefully.

Every inn needs a cat so no one ever pays him much attention, other then to share some of their meal or pet him if he so demands.  Even Derk and his family see as just part of the background when he hasn't gotten out of hand lately.  But there is a reason Derk has this particular cat in his life.  Sure, the stables has its fair share of barn cats, but this is the only cat Derk will let in the inn.  And there is a reason.

Bear isn't really a cat.  Oh, he looks like a cat, but in truth he's a druid who just can't remember who he is.  When Derk was a hired guard with Crusher, before he settled down, he ran with a lot of people, including a Druid named Black Bear, or Bear for short.  Derk liked the man who could blend in with the woods and often listened to him speak of certain spots of wilderness with fondness.  Because Bear like transform alot he often smelled of predators and the horses wouldn't carry him so he'd transform into a cat to sleep in one of the wagons as the group travelled from one point to another, able to transform back into his fighting self in a blink of eye.

But the battle which convinced Derk to retire caused Bear to be hit by a curse which locked him in his current form, a cat.  Derk has tried to have the curse removed many times, but mages and priests alike can't undo it.  Some wonder if Bear has just come to like his cat form and refuses to return to human form.  In the mean time, Derk and his family will take care of the special cat and hope Derk's friend returns to his former self some day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pirates of Martapa

Though very little of my story happens on the high seas, sailing and ship trade if very important to Tridon as well as Ariella.  Calabay, Weatherworn and the other sea port Houses all rely on sea trade to supplement their income.  The Dwarven Islands and Ariella also rely heavily upon trade to supplement items they can't get or need to travel a ways to get.

But when ever there is way of making money, there are people to steal said money. Pirates have always been a problem , especially along the coast lines of both Tridon and Ariella.  Calabay had such a problem they made pirate breaker ships, designed specifically to take down pirates without mercy.  Usually the pirates have a single ships under the direction of one leader, his second and twenty to forty crew hands.   Most crews know how to sail their ship as well as fight with swords, maybe bolos as well.  But they may not be proficient in either.  There was a famous pirate captain who would take on anyone as a crew hand and often they had a hard time just leaving the port (he was famous because he got caught so often, though never hung).

Most pirates are humans, though half-elves, half-ogres and even dwarves have been known to take to the pirate life.  Most are men, though there are a good share of women as well.  There is no centralized location or government for pirates, but there is a code.  One, a pirate will never take another pirate's booty if they are engaged in acquiring it.  Two, a fellow pirate is to be trusted.  (This is a little harder for them to hold to, but few violate the rule since they could be on the other side some day).  And three, pirates never rat on other pirates.  This is a stead fast rule and any pirate known for turning in one of his kind is in a race for his life.  No matter where he goes, some pirate might very well take his life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Time and Effort Involved

So one of my writing buddies emails our writing group saying she just managed to get an agent at the conference she went to.  And we are all happy for her, to say the least.  She's been working on the concept for this story since she was my elementary son's age and now has grandkids of her her own.  I'm very excited for her.  But in being excited for her I've been thinking on how long have I been working on my own novel concept.  This is what I came up with.

In 1992-93 I was a freshman in college, home sick and totally in over my head (I did eventually graduate in four years with a biology degree, but at the time I felt like I was swimming in water way too deep).  When I get stressed, I write, thus I began working on my original novels about my world of Martapa.  I did get most of three books done by the time I graduated, but then they sat on a shelf gathering dust.

Fast forward to 2004.  After 2 years of successful email roleplaying with the characters who are now center in my current stories I decide that, indeed, they would make an excellent story. That, and I realized as the mortality of my father was made so clear to me that I didn't have forever to get my butt in gear and try to publish a book.

Current times.  I'm editing four long books that some day I will be brave enough to step up to an agent and show.  In the intervining years I have gotten articles published, which in itself was a wonder to feel.  Even though the checks were merely coffee money, the thought that thousands of people were reading your words was awesome!

So I bring this up simply because you can't give up.  If you are writing keep doing it, if for no other reason then for yourself.  My friend never gave up and now she is that much closer to seeing her book in print!
Keep Writing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Lord's Fine Art in Bloodhelm

Art, really?  But strangely your characters may need some small statue, a painting...a copy of a painting.  This fine art gallery has all sorts of paintings and statues to please the finest tastes.  Many nobles come here to buy something to hang in their home and impress their peers.  But thieves also come here to get copies of such things to replace the one worth money they are about to take.

Areo Stanton was once a thief himself, turned fence, turned fine art dealer.  Though most of his business is from the sale of legitimate art, he does make copies of the art he sells just in case some discerning thief wants a copy.  So far he remains unlinked to any of the thefts but it is only a matter of time before he'll have to move on (which he's done before).

Areo also sells small statuettes which mages use for certain guardian spells.  He never cheats mages.  He did this once and earned himself a permanent limp and an other small curse he doesn't wish to talk about.

The building is good size, protected by magic (after all fine art is in there worth hundreds of gold ducats) and has a guard when Areo is not in the store.  It is two stories with most of the art downstairs, rooms upstairs and in the hidden basement his copies of his art.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Swiftwater is a male unicorn of undetermined age.  What, another animal character?  I know, I know.  But Swiftwater was very important to my books which will never see the light of day (unless, of course I someday publish and need some prequels lol).

Swiftwater is a huge unicorn stallion, larger then all other unicorns.  His body is an opalescent color and his mane and tail are silver in hue.  His eyes whirl instead of having a pupil, per say, and can change upon his mood, though more often then not they are purple.  He has the ability to appear as a plain, dull draft horse if he wishes, but is smarter and more knowledgeable then most humans.  He has magical abilities which include, but not limited to banishing undead, healing, and bursts of speed.  He also can speak mentally with his rider (or any person for that matter if he so chose to).

Swiftwater has always been the Clan Leader of the Wolf Clan's mount, since the time of Veo Sunstar.  Aiyana made him and a heard of unicorns for the Wolf Clan as a favor to her father when Veo created the Wolf Clan and the other Warrior Clans.  Although the unicorns live a long time (hundreds of years) Swiftwater is the only one to live pretty much immortally.  That is because he had a greater purpose then being a simple mount for Clan Leaders.

Because Targon knew sometime in the future the Gift of the Gods would be used after Peter was crowned, Targon selected Swiftwater to be his protection of the one he needed to use the Gift, even if he wasn't quite certain who would use it.  Knowing there were few who actually bore the power to use the Gift, he figured it would have to be one of his highly magical Wolf Clan Warriors and thus gave Swiftwater the gift of long life to be there when he was needed.  Not that even Targon had any idea a half-elf girl would be the world's savior, but Swiftwater was in the right place, at the right time because of Targon's foresight.

One can come upon Swiftwater at pretty much any time period in Martapa, though after the time of the Chosen he is a little more elusive, especially after Amber Blackwolf dies.  He will most often appear as a dull draft horse with a mind of his own, but if the person is an elf he will most likely be in his normal form.  He will help those who need it and are aligned with the light, but will most likely shun or even try to harm those who follow the dark.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

To Track or Not to Track

Way back in the beginnings of time, when my husband, our college friends and I roleplayed we usually didn't keep track of how much rations we had or other supplies unless we were trekking somewhere that might bring us short on our supplies.  But we had one GM that loved to know that stuff, so we dutifully kept track of rations, days, supplies, feed for horses, etc.  It was time consuming and worst of all the GM could use such information against us!

So as a GM you should think on these factors before tracking every little thing:
1) Is it relevant to game play?  Like crossing a desert.  There are penalties for not having enough water and supplies in this case, so it would be relevant. Traveling on a road where there is an inn every night, not so relevant.

2) Are you just doing it to be a pain in the rear?  We once had a player who liked to say he was living the high life, even though our GM rarely charged us for food/drink/inns.  Thus the GM turned around and started charging what this "High Life" would cost.  The player finally realized how much money he was losing and stopped living the said high life.  But we also had a GM who liked to make the men in the party pay for inns, but for some reason he never charged me... Not exactly fair and I did mention it, several times.  So think on why you are doing it.

3) Does it slow down play?  Book keeping is never fun in the best of times, but if you are spending five minutes of ever hour keeping track of money/arrows/food your players may not have as much fun and may not come back.

4)Do your players want to do it?  Most players aren't cheep, they just don't want to take the time to keep track of it.  Some games have a monthly rate of how much it costs to live a certain life style.  I suggest you go with this.  It takes some of their gold (muhaha) but doesn't slow down game play deciding whether they have enough.  Very few players want to keep track of every little waterskin and apple they have in their pack.

Just remember this one firm rule: You are roleplaying to have FUN!
Happy Gaming

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Spell Filch in Bloodhelm

The Spell Filch, run by the Filch brothers, is a place a lot of mages frequent.  Smelling of herbs, crushed minerals and other not so pleasant things, the Spell Filch holds all those spell components a mage may need in his time of magical casting, whether on the battle field or in the lab.

The Filch brothers, mages themselves, spent a life time traveling the country side as mages for a mercenary group.  They made quite a bit of money in their time but they always seemed to be short on spell components (though it never harmed them greatly).  Most mages can cast the minor spells without components, but some of the more powerful spells need a little boost now and again, which is where the components come in.  The Filchs buy from local gatherers or sell stock piles of more rare components they gathered in their career.  They charge about 10% above normal rates because they guarantee their products are always fresh.  Rarer items are about 20% above list and can usually have such items delivered within 24 to 48 hours.  Very rare items may take time and if they have to travel to find them or take out some nasty beast to get them the cost can soar to over 30% of list price.

The building is two stories with a basement, which the brothers keep in a magical stasis to keep their products fresh.  The doors and windows are magically trapped and they have hired no body guards.  The pair, who never married, live above the business and thus can nearly always be contacted no matter the time of day, though night time visits will cost the customer more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nukara, Gate Mage

Nukara, a young woman who is just the right age to enter the Mage College in Bloodhelm, works as a Gate Mage to earn some money so she can go to the college.  A Gate Mage is a mage assigned to the patrols who work the gates at Bloodhelm.  She searches for harmful magic, serves as magical arsenal in case they are attacked, and can serve as a link to the mages of the House if need be.

Nukara is a quiet woman, simply wanting to learn about magic and work in some simple repair shop.  She is not, and probably never will be, meant for the life of a battle mage.  Standing no more then five and a half feet, her face is covered in freckles, her hair is long, dark and bounding with curls.  She is average in appearance but has an aura about her that people just can't help but like her.  Captain Reed insists she be his Gate Mage when he takes a turn with his patrol at the gates because he has a soft spot for her and the fact she is always on time, does as he asks (which a lot of mages don't) and has more power then she is willing to admit.

She dresses in robes, plain as befitting a mage with out standing, of browns or blues.  If she is on duty she wears the black and red robes of the official garb of her position.  She is always lugging at least one book around so she can take notes or read.  Her sleeves are often stained with ink or she might have a smudge of ink somewhere on her hands or face.

Little does Nukara know but the House spy, Kredoc Bloodhelm, has taken to watching over her.  He doesn't find her nefarious, notes that she is powerful and would like to see her generosity and sincerity put to good use.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Xaz's Provisions in Bloodhelm

Xaz Trailson always liked adventure...from a distance.  He dreamed of traveling the wilds but when he was out in them he hated it.  So he figured if he sold provisions for adventuring out in the wilds he could hear all the great stories without having to do it himself.

Xaz loves to hears tales of adventure as he sells his wares.  If a customer takes up his time with stories he doesn't really care.  Xaz sells all sorts of things, (basically any of the basic gear in your players handbook) and a few off the wall the things as well.  Xaz's prices are normal (what ever is listed), though for a good story or two the price might drop a bit. 

Xaz will buy extra stuff from adventurers (normally will pay about 40% of retail) and will love to hear the stories behind them.

The three story building is packed full of stuff, even his living quarters on the third floor.  More then likely if it's in the gear list a player will be able to buy it here.  Xaz hires no body guards and most of the regulars would not take kindly to Xaz being stolen from.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lists, and Lots of Them

As I get ready for school to start, I'm finding myself make lists for all sorts of things: Our First Lego League at school for the TAG kids, Battle of the Books, even my random volunteer times.  So I thought I might come up with one more list for your enjoyment...a list of what would be great to having during a roleplaying session.

For those who table top here is a good place to start:
A location.  Can't very well roleplay without someplace to do so.
Rule books.  Sometimes you just need the basic, but if you have a rules lawyer (I'm married to one) you'll need all the supplements you own.
Dice.  Make sure each player has their own to work with and you have lots for the bad guys.  It speeds things up greatly.
Lots of pencils, paper and erasers.  Your players are going to buy stuff, take damage and want to take notes. And remember pencils, never pens...
Battle Map and miniatures.  This is optional, but my kids love to have their character figures where they can see them and see what they are doing.
GM notes.  Nothing could be worse to not have the notes as to where you need to push your player characters and the monsters and encounters that will do so.
Background music.  If you like music for your battles and encounters, make sure this is set up ahead of time so not to take away from play time.
Snacks.  Feed the hungry wolves or they may turn on you at any time.
(Insert your favorite thing here).  What else do you like to bring to your table?

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Magical Imports in Bloodhelm

Though all cities have their powerful mages to create those magical items that people just can't live without, every city can't have mages who can make everything.  Thus Magical Imports.  Magical Imports is a company who has businesses in all the major Houses as well as several of the smaller cities in Tridon.  They specializing in shipping magical items not normally created in one area from another area.   They have their own staff of mages at each city, to cut an bit of the cost, but sometimes the ingredients are price prohibited.

The Magical Imports station in Bloodhelm is run by Iris Thimblethorn, a Master Mage in her own right.  Weapons and armor always common, as are lightstones and other common items, but magical trinkets and jewelry aren't as common in Bloodhelm.  Thus Iris has quite the selection of magical items, at a price, of course.

The small building, (two rooms, one of which is for sleeping/eating), is watched over by Iris and her husband, who take turns being the one in charge.  They have three guards who take three different shifts, which are never the same so that no one can learn the routine.  They are paid well so bribing them is not an option.  There are magical wards upon the building and thieves are dealt with harshly.  Iris doesn't wait for  the guards to show up.

Prices are 120% of list cost, but are guaranteed to work and have full charges if they have any charges.  Iris, and all Magical Imports, give a 30 day money back guarantee (except on potions and one use objects).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Though not mentioned in the High King's Sword books, Derangos is a huge part of Sebastion Blackthorn's past.  Derangos, a dwarven warrior who was struck with the wanderlust found himself with a bunch of mercenaries who took in a recruit named Sebastion Blackthorn.  The kid was scrawny, but worked hard and had a knack with the sword.  So Derangos mentored him, taking him under his wing until he would be good enough to fight on his own.

Derangos was there when Sebastion infamously killed the last High King (a story all of it's own) and spear headed the retreat for Sebastion and the rest of the mercenaries left after the suicidal charge.  Together, Derangos and Sebastion reshaped the mercenary band and together made Sebastion the most feared Mercenary Lord of all time.

Derangos was a normal looking dwarf, with dark hair, tanned skin, and covered in chain mail.  He wasn't a talker, wasn't extraordinarily handsome and didn't stand out in a crowd.  But he knew how to bring out the best in people.  Derangos died in the rescue attempt of Noshi and Shadizar from the Black Wizard Mathanos who had taken over the House Varanath.  Sebastion thinks of him now and again and Noshi had a small statue added to the hall of heroes in Varanath to honor him.

If your players are in the time of Sebastion's rise to infamy then they may come across Derangos in a tavern.  He is more then willing to talk and will not rise to any bait thrown at him.  Sebastion on the other hand may not care for his friend being harassed, however...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ye Old Sage of Bloodhelm

Danae Jerkins of Bloodhelm never really meant to get into busy, but he was enamored with knowledge and soon amassed so much people were coming from all over the city to ask him questions.  He needed a way to make money, since working as laundry man at a nearby inn wasn't panning out for him while he tried to research things.  So he rented a building, stuffed all his books, maps and other knick knacks and began Ye Old Sage.

Danae makes pretty good money (enough to feed his wife and three kids) and knows all sorts of tidbits most people don't know.  This small building (with living quarters above) is shoved full of books and the like and all sorts of knowledge can be found within.  There is a 90% chance a bit of knowledge not common can be found.  Harder bits of knowledge are found about 70% of the time, and rare bits of knowledge have a 40% chance of being found by Danae.  Depending on the bit of knowledge it could take any where from one day to a month to find.  Danae charges a base fee of ten to one hundred gold (depending on how hard the knowledge might be to find) plus one gold per day.  Danae will try to hurry to find what ever it is because it pleases him to find bits of knowledge quickly.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baubles and Pretties in Bloodhelm

Gloria Downhen has never been rich, even with her jewelry shop, for her business sense isn't the greatest. But she gets by and makes many people happy.  Her jewelry is never the high end items, the gems have flaws, the gold isn't the purest, but that is just fine for those who can only scrape together the money to get that engagement ring or special something for their spouse.

The building is two stories, with Gloria's living quarters above.  There is a little river rock in the base, but it is mostly wood. She doesn't employ guards or the like, but uses the protection magics she casts herself.  Her wares are usually worth 80% of going rate (so the quality is thus just as low) but she sells for about 85% of the going rate.  She can get special orders but they take time, so most costumers just take what she has in stock.  She will buy treasure from adventurers, though only for about 40% of the price.  She doesn't hide the fact her items are not the highest quality, though she has had a few complaints now and again.  It's a take it as is kinda place.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Calender of Holidays Wrapup

So to have an easy reference list here is the months and their major holidays:
Cold Dark: High King's Day
Deep Snow: Day's of Innocence
Melting Snow: Nature's Friend Day, Spring's Return
River Rain: Feast of the Running Rain
River Swell: Flowers of Spring, Celebration of Storms
Green Planting: Blessing of the Druids, Targon's Delight, Summer's Birth
Warm Sun: Days of Sun
Sun Scorch: Race Against the Sun
Harvest: Fall Celebration
Leaves Turn: Harvest Festival
Leaf Fall: Week of the Holy
No Grass: Festival of Snow

Monday, July 30, 2012

Holidays of No Grass in Tridon

This month, at the beginning of winter, is the most life threatening and dreary month of all.  The days are short, people are often stuck inside because of the weather, and travel is very limited.  So holidays are always welcome in this month.

One is the Festival of Snow.  This festival celebrates the shortest day of the year and in most of the northern Houses in Tridon snow has already begun to fall.  Again with the giant feasts, though a little more sparing since no one is sure how long the winter is going to last and this time of year gifts are given that have much thought put into them.  In poorer areas quilts, new sets of clothes, even new boots are ideal presents.  For those a little better off, horses, fine jewels and even small estates.  It is a time a reflection of the year and many seek to atone themselves by giving goodly donations to their favorite temples.  And it wouldn't be the Festival of Snow without playing in the snow.  Sled races, overland races on foot and even races with dogs sleds are often held.  Children build snow forts to be judged and sometimes the adults join in.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Holidays of Leaf Fall in Tridon

This month is crammed full of holidays, though all pretty much the same week named the Week of the Holy.  This is the month which humans and other mortals celebrate their Gods.  Each temple has a week long celebration highlighting the benefits of being a follower of that certain God.  Certainly the darker Gods have trouble getting many people to attend, but they do have participates.  Each temple is different, but always highlight the ethos of their God.  For example, the followers of Sarjon have war games with the temples of Shade.  Taniger's followers have competitions of forging (though these are usually observed only by dwarves) and Pezuta's temples have gambling the whole week.

My suggestions for the Week of the Holy, if you wish for your players to observe this, is to pick your God and decided what sort of thing that particular God's followers would do. 

Happy Gaming!