Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cultural Influence

Many people start writing for many different reasons. Mine are convoluted, mostly having few kids to play with in the remote outposts of the Forest Service life my dad got us into and thus had to make up friends. I've reams of paper with bad little stories I wrote as a child, but it was what got me going. When I got older it was trying to understand where I came from.

My Grandpa was half Cherokee...not that I knew until I was fully an adult. It wasn't something that was talked about in polite circles, apparently, though if I'd known as a kids I would have been overjoyed. I loved anything Native American, ate up anything on them in fact. And here I was part Native and didn't even know it! So when I did find out in college the fact that such knowledge had been hidden from me crept into my first attempt of a story on Martapa. My main character, Amber, is a half elf and knows so little of her mother's race (elf). It bothers her greatly and drives many of her actions.

My elves are my Cherokee...I've made them mysterious to my reader as my history was to me. Now I spend lots of time researching my family tree and Cherokee history, as well as online classes to learn the language from Mr. Ed Fields (He's awesome by the way if you really want to learn the Cherokee language!). But this one small spot in my life influences how and why I write, (not to mention got me hooked on genealogy!). What influences you to write or even come up with fun adventures? Think on it, because it might help you write better if you know where you are coming from.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Air Fairies

These little six inch tall creatures don't spend most of their time in any tangible form. They prefer to float among the breezes, travel with the clouds, or even just be part of a wind storm. But they can take physical shape when they want to. When in physical shape they have a transparent body (no, you can't see their organs) with wispy wings, all a blue-gray color. Their eyes are large and round and their hair seems to be streams of unruly wind of white and gray color.

They often transform into birds, for they are the creatures of the air. They live solitary lives for the most part, but often love to fly with flocks of birds while in that form. Little is known about their lives, for they are so shy compared to other fairies, but whole cities have been known to fall to wind storms if an air fairy is harmed or insulted.

Their magic extends mostly to the element of air, though they do a little earth magic as well. Storms, big and small, are often started by these little creatures, or at least folk lore likes to say.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Water Fairies

These elusive creatures are shy, but folktales say they are very important to the welfare of crops and the supply of water. Those in Ariella pay homage to these small sprites often, hoping they keep the wells and springs filled with life giving water.

Standing about six inches tall with teardrop shaped blue or sea green wings, their bodies appear to be made of water, transparent blue or sea green in color. They are solid enough, but can meld with water if they wish to travel great distances in but mere heartbeats. They have big blue eyes and antannae used for finding water when they can't find the water visually. They wear no clothes, either, but are beautiful to behold.

They live anywhere from solitary to in huge family groups. The Ariellans beleive that when the spring floods come this is when the little water fairies come together to have their celebrations and if anyone is stupid to disrupt them there are droughts to follow. Many leave small trinkets for the fairies so they will bless them with water. The fairies love the trinkets and in some places have become very protective of "their" humanoids.

They command the waters with ease and can save a life or snuff it out easily. They do guard water ways, wells, and springs and can take or give the water as they see fit.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fairies of Martapa Part III

Fire fairies are a mean spirited little sprite. They are about six inches tall in shape of a small humanoid with flaming wings and flames framing their body. They are beautiful creatures, alluring and stunning in appearance. Their eyes are oval but filled with fire. They wear no clothes, since that wouldn't be practical with all those flames.

Fire Fairies are not social creatures, except when enraged. They are solitary creatures who like to play jokes on any one unfortunate to fall onto their path. They live near natural steam vents, lava flows, volcanoes and other fiery place. Once a year they will gather to trade information, supplies, and mate. Children grow fast and do not stay long with their mother. Scholars have no idea how long fire fairies live but suggest that they do not live long because of their burning aura.

Fire fairies will not help humans or other travelers but most likely will help them into more trouble, especially if they are in trouble already. They have the ability to shape change and might try to lure a humanoid into danger by turning into a beautiful version of the opposite sex.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fairies of Martapa, Part II

Earth fairies are perhaps the most common of all fairies on Martapa. They stand about 6 inches tall, have large leaf shaped wings (oak, willow, maple...etc.) and are usually a brown or green color (from skin to hair) just varying shades. Their faces and bodies are rather androgynous, but there are two sexes. Hair of both sexes can be long or short, covered in leaves or grasses, or be just a tangled mess. The clothes are at a minimum and most just go naked, figuring a body is natural. Their eyes are big, round affairs, though usually green or brown in color. They also bare antennae, much like an ants, though what their function is remains to be seen.

Earth fairies live in "flocks" of about thirty to forty. Most of the time the flock is related to one another, but they have no problems bringing other fairies into their flock from different ones. There is usually one male and one female in charge of the whole flock, chosen by those of the flock to lead. They aren't necessarily a married couple, they can be brother and sister, cousin and aunt, father and daughter, etc. The leaders are followed for as long as the flock has confidence in them.

No one is sure how long an earth fairy lives, but scholars estimate into the hundreds of years. Little is known about their gestation period or how often they have children, so numbers are hard to estimate.

Magic is a big part of their lives for they have been known to save whole stretches of forest with their magic. Most magic they cast will be earth based, very little arcane and certainly not fire based. A little water and air, but these are hard for them to cast. They have been known to help travelers who have shown respect for their stretch of nature, but will not lift a finger if that traveler has harmed their haven in anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


There are so many kinds of fairies in our world, from the cute Disney Fairies to the mean, nasty critters of legend. Mine are some where in between. Oh, don't get me wrong, they are cute, but they aren't the happy-go-lucky ones you'd love to have for your kids either.

On Martapa there are many different kinds of fairies, but all are linked to the elements in one way or another. The major ones are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Life fairies, though there are many other lesser fairies that populate Martapa. In the next few days I'll detail how they defer and how they are the same in the hopes you can use them to help or hinder your player characters in your campaign.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Magical Rings

Magical rings are items coveted by all, from rich to poor. They can protect the wearer from poison, allow flight, and even store spells. Most magical rings are made by mage guilds, though temples are known to make some, such as healing rings. Individuals can make them as well, but they may not always have the resources to do so.

Most rings offer protection from specific elements, poison, or physical attacks. Most rings made by priests offer healing though a rare few protect the wearer from death. Some mages also put offensive spells on them, allowing even non-casters the aiblity to cast spells. Some favorites are "fly", allowing a user to fly, "fireball", the abilty to cast balls fo fire, and "bolts of lightning" which allow lightning to be called forth at your enemies.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Temple of Aiyana in Bloodhelm

The Temple of Aiyana in Bloodhelm is a small, but beautiful temple. Inlaid frescoes with mother of pearl and quartz, the place sings of beauty and innocence. Two stories, with storage below, the main temple is filled with statues of young lovers, small children, animals, and Aiyana herself. Water fountains and small indoor gardens fill the place.

Upstairs are the rooms of the priests and the small orphanage the Priests of Aiyana run. The orphans are taught skills to make their way in the world, though many become priests themselves.

People who wish for love or for innocent children to be found or healed often come here with offerings. It has been noted the scions of Bloodhelm rarely come here. It is rumored their family has become so dark that Aiyana won't let them in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Extended Timeline 45

2195 PA (Post Avatar)
Called the year of the Howling Moon, strong winds blow along the west coast and earthquakes rage in such ferocity a Tsunami sweeps the coast. The major cities, and some smaller ones, are saved by the power of magic. Most of the small cities suffer huge loses and damage.

A bright star falls to its death over Ariella. Some say its a fallen God, others say it is a treasure from the Gods. Scholars, adventurers, and treasure seekers go in search of this great find.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Runnel Icehamer

The dwarven warrior of legend died protecting his friends and protecting all of Martapa. This dwarven man, near 300 years in his prime, was a special breed of dwarf. He had been selected to protect the last ancient elven princess. He did so to the best of his ability, helping to return the ancient elves to the world of the living.

He stood four foot tall, barrel chested, with a thick, black beard streaked with grey. He preferred chainmail, for it was lighter yet capable of protection. His flint grey eyes were beneath a sloped brow and sat on either side of a bulbous nose. He was gruff but cared deeply for his charge and his friends. A statue stands in the dwarven capital in his honor.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mage Apprentices Part II

Another apprenticeship is with a single master. An apprentice mage learns many of the same things, but doesn't have the knowledge of many masters to learn from. Often, unsavory masters will make virtual slaves of their apprentices. Some masters expect payment for taking on an apprentice, while some just want an heir to their power before they die. Many must research their own spells, though some kindly masters allow them access to their own spellbooks. These apprenticeships can last anywhere from five to ten years, while a guild apprenticeship usually only takes around 5 years.

The benefit of a single master is that sometimes the master will leave his home/fortune/knowledge to his most favored pupil. Or maybe they are so famous the simple prestige of being their apprentice will give the apprentice mage a boost in the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apprentices Part I

When one is an apprentice mage there are many things which could occur. One is a young mage can find themselves in a guild. Here they are taught humility, for mages wield great power, how to concentrate, how to harness the elements and how to write neatly. The first few years is filled with repetitive, back breaking chores. Cantrips (small spells like bringing light to the end of a staff or detecting magical energies) are taught as is control.

When they reach the journeyman stage they begin to learn spells of power, many of which are for mending and crafting so they can earn their keep.

Once their master deems them ready and safe they are given tests to earn the title master. They can either strike out on their own or remain on at the guild as a teacher and researching. Many hire on as guards, librarians or scholars for rich folk.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How Spells Work

Mage and priest spells work pretty much the same as each other. Each will call upon either the elements or their Gods in the language of the arcane (Latin if you are equating it to something on Earth), gathering the magic around them to focus the power. This does take something from the mages or priests, which is why it takes time for mages and priests to cast more and more spells, as well as more powerful spells, each day before they have to rest.

Those who cast spells spontaneously (with out study) draw the power form within. Clan Warriors, Spellswords, and bards all use single word, or just a few word, spells of power which draw a lot of energy from themselves. They can cast spells the more traditional way, but don't normally need to study. (Though if they do they can cast like mages.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Extended Time Line 44

2194 PA (Post Avatar)
The High King father's a daughter who he names Willow. Strangely, the purely human girl has streaks of green in her golden hair.

A toy maker sets up shop in Stormvale, using magic and engineering to make life like animals and dolls. Royals from all over seek his attention.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mina Tumblestone

Mina is reaching her fifth decade and barely looks a day over thirty, her curly brown hair just slightly streaked with grey. Her face is barely wrinkled and her blue eyes always twinkle with love.

As wife of Derk, owner of the Traveling Tramp, she does many things. She's bookkeeper, cook, seamstress, and head maid. She oversees her two daughters and three sons and leaves Derk to serve ale and talk with the customers. She hires herself to sew up clothes for adventurers and chides them for their misadventures that brought the holes about.

Saved by Derk from slavers, she feels instantly responsible for any run away slaves who make it to the Tramp. She despises nobles and loves bards.