Monday, April 30, 2012

Cassias Bloodhelm

Appearing only in my first book, and then only mentioned by name, Cassias is the Great Grandfather of Tarkil Bloodhelm.  He and his younger sister were the only survivors of a tragic fire which consumed the original keep on the hill that now stands outside of Bloodhelm proper.  The fire also killed the rest of the family along with all the staff, save the stable master.  The history goes the children were sleeping in the hay loft of the barn when the fire broke out through out the compound. (They like to pretend they were peasants.)  The stable master knew they were there, grabbed them up, and rode out on a charger, saving them from certain death.  Because of this, all Bloodhelm stable masters are treated with great respect, even by the hardest of Bloodhelm heirs.

Cassias lived to be 83 years old, his sister 90 years old.  He was a fair ruler, deferring to the will of the High King often and without question.  Many believe he was trying to regain the honor of Peter which he felt was slipping.  He was a good man with the sword and loved his horses.  He was a dark blond, with light, freckled skin, even into his twilight years, and of lithe frame.  He was soft spoken, but stern and hard when he needed to be.  A painting of him hangs near the entrance of the Bloodhelm manor, riding a horse across a field.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Little Spice to Your Character's Life

Nobody really worries about a character's ability to fish or sew a good dress, but when your a character in a roleplaying game, it can open up a world of possibilities for the GM and the character.  Say a character loves to sew and wants to get that special fabric from the far off kingdom to the north.  Now you don't actually have to make getting the fabric the plot line, but what if you get him moving north and they come upon a small village along the way beset by ogres?  Or the person who sells the fabric is kidnapped and a reward for their return is offered?  Character traits are good jumping off points and give the character a three dimensional feel.  I mean, you aren't your job 24 hours a day.  You have hobbies and things you like to do for fun, why can't your characters?  And why can't the GM use that as another jumping off for his adventures?

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The History of Last Stand

Last Stand has been a pivotal place in history. It was here that Peter and his friends began their arm which eventually conquered all of Tridon.  It was here the Chosen fought against the forces of Shaniko.  It was also here the High King's Sword helped the future High King with their deeds.

Last Stand was made by humans trying to make a stand by ogres, then over run by ogres before Peter liberated it.  It remained in the hands of the Knights of Tridon until the time of the Chosen when Shaniko and his forces over took it.  For a time after the Chosen won, the Knights once again held the city, but by the time of the High King's Sword the city was firmly under the sway of the Black Wizards of Shaniko.

Last Stand is now a huge city, as large as the western House cities, and has a huge market. Traders from all over on the east side, the dwarven islands and even the Empire come here to trade.  Though Tridon doesn't want trade from the Black Wizards, there are western merchants who will come to Last Stand to get goods which can not be found in the west.

At the moment the Wizards rule the city, with the Black Wizard Marius in charge.  Things fairly normally here, just lots more ogres and skiegs in the city then one would find anywhere else.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Treasure Hunt in Bloodhelm

Gambling is never thought of as a good thing to the "virtuous" Knights, but they know people of lesser quality like to do just that.  So gambling isn't outlawed but it is certainly frowned upon.  The Treasure Hunt is a place for people to come, have fun and lose their money while doing it.

All sorts of games of chance take place here in this fancy, two story building.  Dice, card games and betting all happen here.  The top floor holds a large room for wrestling matches, boxing, even games of skill like dagger throwing so people can bet on them.  The bottom floor holds the dice and card games, as well as a bar that is always well stocked. 

Though not busy during the day, at night this place comes alive.  Bouncers are at every exit, and move around the tables to ensure nothing goes wrong.  Mages are brought in so no one uses magic to cheat as well as to take care of unruly customers without too much fuss.

The owners of this establishment change often, but at the moment Zachary Pain and his associate, Glenda Netmender run the place.  Drinking is allowed, and encouraged, but no drugs are allowed and no prostitutes (they take people away from spending money on the games). Anyone is allowed as long as they have money. Once they had a pair of minotaurs come gamble.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Crusher, who's name is Little Brother, has been the friend of Derk the keeper of the Traveling Tramp for a long time.  Crusher, though small for an ogre, is large for a human.  He appears more human then ogre, though his brow is sort of sloped, he has more hair on his body then a normal human, and during the winter his green tint of his skin shows through because his tan is gone.

The product of a rape of a slave the ogres kept, he was never treated well, except by his half brother who was the chief's son.  He left as soon as he could, killing many of his "father's" tribe on the way out.  He met up with a mercenary band who saw potential in his size and showed him how to use weapons of all sorts.

It was this mercenary band which Derk Tumblestone was a part of, and Derk quickly made friends with the half-ogre.  Little Brother, who now went by the name Crusher, instantly liked Derk for the man never noticed his half-ogre blood and Crusher swore to stick with him through thick and thin.  So when Derk rescued Mina and started the Traveling Tramp, Crusher was not far behind. 

Getting on in years, Crusher is starting to feel his age, but he cares greatly for Derk and his family.  Though still threatening, he isn't the "ogre" he use to be, but Derk would never think of throwing him out or taking his job.  Crusher will not take gruff from anyone, especially if they are threatening anyone in the family.  He is also protective of the bards Derk hires, for most of the time they stay for quite a while and feel no fear of the half-ogre.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Knight Festivals

These tournaments are held when and where ever, but usually once a year one of the noble houses will sponsor a tournament for all the Knights and other men of valor to show off their stuff.  Prizes are awarded for everything from jousting to sword fighting, knife throwing to armor donning.  Often the Lady of the House will offer prizes to the women for best stitching, or best treat made, or even best dancing.

The Lord of the House will also offer prizes for the low born for wagon races (where the peasant pulls a wagon that each round gets more and more weight in it), wood chopping, even just simple foot races.  This is to give the peasants something to be involved in as well so they feel they aren't being left out.

Prizes usually consist of a gold ducat amount (depending on the race and the ranking) all the way up to a title (though the titles don't usually come with land, they are just honorary).

These events usually last a week, at the expensive the lord who is holding the event, but the money that is brought in is worth the effort.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wondrous Dreams in Bloodhelm

Wondrous Dreams is a unique shop. One large building with a cellar for storage, the whole building is almost entirely devoted to sewing. Since nobles love to have costume balls, Marilyn Deepwater and her four seamstresses are kept very busy. Prices for costumes, which can be very elaborate, can range from 50 gold to nearly 2,000 gold. Marilyn also keeps a mage on hand to do those final touches she just can't do with her wonderful skill with fabric.

Masks, made by her husband, are also available and can be just as expensive. She takes all sort of requests, but has to have at least 3 days notice (though she keeps some simple costumes on hand just in case someone needs a last minute costume). The building is crammed with bolts of fabric, samples and busy women sewing. Made of wood and some decorative river rock, the place is fairly simple.

Adventurers could meet Marilyn if they are invited to a ball by a patron or if they need a little extra for one of their jobs. The prices will only go down a bit for those who have good haggle skills. Her ladies work hard and the materials are expensive.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Buster Spender

Buster Spender is just a name, really, in the first book, but he is a huge plot point where Tarkil finds a very important clue as to who the High King might actually be.

Buster is a middle aged man, fit, with average looks though a winning personality. He dresses modestly, though as a merchant of some means he does have access to nice clothes and tailors. His eyes are a dark brown, as is his short, wavy hair. He loves to chat it up with people, even small talk becomes an adventure with him. His nose is slightly crooked, which he loves to say his sister, Shar, broke when they were younger.

Buster travels mostly from Weatherworn to Goldleaf near the Tsalagi Mountains, though sometimes he brings his merchant wagon trains as far east as Merryweather or Varanath. He ships what ever his clients want, buying at a reasonable price then selling a good profit. He is very money savy, though it doesn't claim his life.

He is also part of the Society of the King, a group who's purpose is to find the true High King before Tridon is torn apart by civil war. His sister, and co-owner of the Sweet Water Trading Company, has no idea he is part of the Society and he plans on keeping it that way.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Books of the Mages in Bloodhelm

Though the guild of mages keeps a very good library, the Books of the Mages in Bloodhelm is a great place to get those hard to find books and rare tomes. This three story affair is tended by three mages who love simply to care for books, read books, and find more books. Though they are powerful mages in their own right (Chester is actually the head of Bloodhelm's Mage Brigade) they take great pride in their books. Chester, Veronica and Theodore have been fast friends for years, Veronica and Theodore actually marrying once they got their noses out of their books long enough. They enjoy sharing (and selling) their wares and are always eager to help people find something.

They employ many magical protections upon their building, so theft has not been a problem. They also have several burly bodyguards who they pay well and are respected by. The three live in the basement of the building, finding it hard to leave their "babies" for too long. They are around thirty years old, Chester very charismatic and good looking, Veronica and Theodore more homely looking but still beloved by Chester.

In game terms this would be a good place to have the players find that small tidbit of information they need to go onto the next step of the adventure or even to start an adventure. Say the mage is researching a spell but comes upon some interesting hidden fact amongst his research. Happy Gaming.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Language in Martapa

I wish I could say I was like Tolkien and made up a whole bunch of languages for my novels, but I had to sorta borrow the ones I used. (I'm not an English professor, after all.) Here is the break down of how I see my languages.

Humans of Tridon: Well, simply they speak English. They have accents for different regions, but for the most part just modern English. They write similarly (though I'd like to say their spelling is better then real English...I mean, colonel...there is no "r" in that!), and do write left to write.

Wood Elves of Tridon and Ariella: Their language is Cherokee all the way. Yes, not very musical, like most people see elven language, but it's my favorite non-English language... I'd love to say I have it mastered, but even with Mr. Fields from the Cherokee nation, I feel like a five year old trying to learn to talk. They write in flowing script from left to right (just like the Cherokee after Sequoya wrote the alphabet for the Cherokee written language)

Akicitia: This is a hodgepodge of native languages, though I did use quite a bit of Lakotah for names of people, places and objects. Shasta and Chinook were also thrown in. The Akicitia have no formal written language, but sing their histories to remember (especially since they are so long lived).

Humans of the Empire: Latin is the language of choice here. I've made the empire a lot like the Roman Empire (military, dress, buildings) it seemed logical to use Latin as their language. They do have a written language (though I am unfamiliar with the Latin written language).

Ancient Elves: This is the only language I didn't model after any real language. It is musical, like a bird's song, the writing is very flowing and few know how to read or write it in the modern age. Because they are such a mystery, so is their language.

Humans of Janesh: This language is Japenese, right up to the writing up and down with their beautiful calligraphy.

Dwarves: Gaelic is probably the best way to describe this language with the accent and everything. Their written language all in Runes (like the ancient Irish) and originally only written in stone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ruins of Martapa

Martapa, especially at the time of the High King's Sword, is a very "lived in" world. Cultures have risen and fallen, come and gone, and they have all left a foot print. Though I hint at the fact in the third book there may more civilizations across the ocean, probably my closest forgotten culture is the Janesh.

Though the Janesh influence many day to day things, and not so day to day, their culture has been forgotten. Part of the reason is their homeland was destroyed, but part was because they wanted to integrate themselves into local surroundings they could continue their lives without prejudice. But the cities, outposts, and villages they constructed still stand in many remote locations and some even have magic and ancient items in them, ready for the taking.

Ruins have to be placed carefully, because most of Western Tridon is well lived in. Places like Eastern Tridon and Western Ariella are good places to put ruins (and Janesh had places everywhere, so don't worry about going against canon) because there are few people and thus the ruins will still be intact.

These ruins should have lots mystical magic, such as ghostly servants, light sources which come on when you enter a room, or food that magical appears on tables from no where, but not magic that can really be carried off. (Perhaps they can be studied and recreated, but not carried off). Think of the Janesh as the Chinese of ancient times, only with magic. Murals should be everywhere as well as beautiful statues and rugs (some of which might still be good). There will always be libraries, but how intact they are is up the Gamemaster. The Janesh had ways of preserving their library text that if the magic in that room is not disturbed, the library texts should be good.

If the ruins are underground the tunnels have rounded ceilings (as do the rooms) and the rooms are beautifully decorated, even the eating halls. If above ground, the small villages might have magical protection barriers around them. The buildings were made of wood, though magically reinforced so some may be still standing, though they are most likely in ruins. Cellars and the like can be found, but at this point they would still be very run down unless magically preserved (which is up to the gamemaster whether or not they want this to be so).

These ruins are good places for ghosts/specters/ and other undead (since magic and tragedy tend to draw them) but humanoids may also be using them as a residence.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring's Return

Like people everywhere, real and imagined, the people of Martapa celebrate the arrival of spring. There are many ways they do so and here are just a few.

The humans of Tridon have a great celebration involving feasting, bonfires and exchanging of small gifts, usually made during the winter since there is little else to do. Small tokens are thrown into the bonfires (such as pieces of paper with wishes, small bundles of flowers, a dead loved ones lock of hair) to bring happiness and release for the rest of the year to come. Feasts are usually prepared (in the small villages and towns) as a group effort, the mayor or head man providing the pig/sheep/cow that is roasted for a day or two ahead of time.

The elves celebrate spring with meditation and reflective thought. For a whole day they find a place of seclusion and think upon the last year. Many think upon loved ones lost, about futures to come and how to better their lives. A small meal is shared with close family afterwards and small gifts are exchanged.

Dwarves celebrate with a large party, celebrating the coming of more light. They drink lots of ale, eat lots of roasted boar and other dwarven favorites, and exchanged tales of times gone by (with much embellishment). Sometimes these feasts can last for days.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


These half lion, half eagle creatures are beautiful to behold, as well as deadly. Living in flocks of three to twenty, with the matron and patron usually being the parent/grandparents of all the adults, they tend to nest in high, inaccessible cliffs where they lay one to three eggs each nesting period. The hatchlings take two months to mature enough to fly and about three years to mature enough to have eggs of their own. In the wild they live up to fifty years, though the ones bonded with the Ancient Elves live quite a bit longer.

They are the size of large warhorses, their wing span twice the length of their body. They bare feathers on their head, neck and around the base of their feet, as well as their wings. Fur covers the rest of their body and they have a lion's tail. They attack with claws and beak, usually raking with their back claws if they get a good hold with their front claws.

The griffins don't usually allow humanoids of any type to capture them as pets, let alone mounts, but they have a relationship with the winged elves and work as partners with them. The griffins that live with the winged elves are bigger then their wild cousins and smarter. All griffins can understand languages (if exposed to them), but the griffins of the winged elves know many languages, though they can not speak any because of their beaks.

Griffins are found mostly in high, mountain terrain as well as high, rocky cliff sides (such as near the coast of Weatherworn). They will protect their territory vigorously and will not take well to any of their numbers (even those not of their flock) being captured.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sarjon's Rest

This upscale inn is run by a former priest of Sarjon, though it wasn't always that way. Tera Sanderson was happy as a priest of Sarjon until her leg became crippled during the capture of a criminal. She does not regret her service, or her injury, and thus has taken on a new life as an inn keeper.

This three story building is well maintained, with river rock decorating the outside of the first level, and carved wood the last two. There is no tavern, though Tera keeps a small dinning area for her guests. Food is prepared by one of her two chefs and can be ordered as one likes, as long as one has the gold and the house has the food.

Rooms are small, but fine. Most are big enough for two beds or one very large one. But each room has a small tub for soaking in which is magically filled on request and drained with magic as well. All the sheets are silk (washed after every guest) and fine wool blankets keep the guests warm if the magical fireplaces don't.

Currently, most of Tera's staff are former priests like herself or the family members of priests' of Sarjon. She expects them to be on time and work hard, but she also expects them to be treated with respect.

Prices here are high. Most rooms go for 10 gold a piece a night, and dinners are at least 2 gold ducats per person, depending on what a person orders. Most of the profits go to the nearby temple of Sarjon, though Tera makes sure her workers and herself can live comfortably.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Johannen, Guard of Merryweather

I have an awful habit of fleshing out even my background characters, which is why I always agonize over ever PC I've ever made for a roleplaying games (which includes the MMOs). Johannen is no exception.

Though he appears only for a few pages while Kenna and Tarkil visit the Lady of Merryweather, he is none the less important to impressing upon them, and the reader, how dangerous the political game of helping the fledgling High King is. Johannen is very protective of his Lady and would die willingly to protect her. He is a stern man, huge in stature, though a very caring individual toward those he loves or respects. One might suspect he is part ogre with how big he is, but he is all human. Standing at six and half feet, and about half that broad, he is an imposing person. He keeps his hair clipped short, his face bare of hair (mostly because his beard will not grow in evenly), and keeps himself well dressed but ready for a fight in the presence of his Lady.

Johannen is of common stock, but he rose quickly in the home guard until the Lord of Merryweather noticed him and stated Johannen would protect the Lady of Merryweather. He has taken on the job with zeal. He is proficient in most common weapons, as well as quite a few exotic weapons (including throwing stars), but he prefers to fight with two long daggers or his two-handed sword.

Johannen wears nice clothing, suited for a ball room, though over a fine mithrial chain shirt. He has many magical protections (because he is protecting the Lady of House Merryweather) but doesn't flaunt them or rely on them. His blades, some rings, and even his bracers are all enchanted to protect him as well as have spells upon them he can use if needed in an emergency.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Writing in Your Own World

Here a few thoughts on creating your own world and writing in it.

Number 1) Don't make a world for someone else. Make it for you. If you don't like what you are writing about, you aren't going to care how things turn out or the characters on it.

Number 2) Think of characters you'd like to interact with and personalities you can write about. If you don't like your characters or don't know how they would actually interact with people you aren't going to care if they "win" or not. (See a theme going on here?)

Number 3) Write about something you know and understand. If you don't understand geopolitical issues, don't stick them in. You'll only confuse yourself more and not make your world as enjoyable as it could be.

Number 4) (And I think the most important) Don't write for anyone else! Strange as that seems if you are trying to live up to someone else's expectations you may not let your creative juices flow like they should. Write for your self and the creativeness will come!

Happy Writing!