Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Temple of Catiana in Bloodhelm

Though the current rulers of Bloodhelm do not think highly of the Gods, there are temples to all the major Gods in Bloodhelm.  All are well attended for the common folk still hold fast to their faith in the Gods.  Catiana, the Goddess of Justice, is a Goddess who is venerated highly in Bloodhelm, for everyone seeks justice, whether true or not.

The Temple is three stories high with a cellar (as most buildings in Bloodhelm are apt to have).  There is a small garden in the center of the first floor where people wait to have their cases heard.  It is hear that all but the most grievous of crimes are tried (murder is tried by the House itself).  The priests guide each individual through their cases, being an advocate for who ever wishes one.  People also come here to see what can be done about a grievance (such as the loss of house due to a neighbors carelessness).

The second story is for the hearings and for research on law, with hundreds of books and court cases recorded here.  The rooms are small libraries and offices, sparsely decorated, though the symbol of Catiana is everywhere.

The third floor is living quarters for the priests and their acolytes.  These quarters are sparse, but usually decorated in a blue theme.

The building is protected by armed knights of Catiana, the front of the building looking almost like modern court house faces would look like now.  Anyone can research here for free, though donations are accepted.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Celest Tumblestone

Celest is just a small blip in my stories, but she a good non-player character for your campaign.

The daughter of Derk Tumblestone, owner of the Traveling Tramp, she is a caring, busy person.  Celest stands around five and half feet tall, with curly brown hair which hangs to her waist.  She dresses in greens or blues, keeping herself neat even when serving in the busy tavern for her father.  She enjoys talking to people and learning about them or where they have been.  She really enjoys listening to bards and their tales of adventure.

Her father had her and her sisters trained in weaponry, (though they are just adequate in their use) and reading and figures.  But Celest would like to go to a college for teachers so she could learn interesting things and share them with students of those not so well off.  Her father is all for it, but getting her into the college is an issue.  Derk has the money to send Celest, but not the connections.

If encountered in the Traveling Tramp, Celest is friendly and helpful unless her trust is abused or she is miss treated.  And Crusher, the bouncer, will not stand for that very long...  She might have very interesting tidbits or facts that could be useful for your characters, so she could be used for an adventure starter with ease.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Common Man

In roleplaying, we spend a lot of time talking about the heroes, because that is who your players want to be.  But what about the common man that fills your world and your heroes have to interact with.  Certainly they won't be just slaying monster and selling their plunder to some hole in the wall?

I like to flesh out my non-player characters with at least a description and a name.  (On a side note, names can be hard for some husband takes forever to think of names for characters, let alone non-player characters.)  Sometimes a little background might go a long way, as well, especially if you have a character who likes to talk to the NPCs in their life.

Even if you don't plan on doing much with them, give them a skill appropriate for the encounter they will be in.  Say your players are in a tavern and the NPC is playing cards.  Give them a card skill (good or bad) to just lively up the encounter, even if the players don't play cards with him.  It gives you a good idea of how the NPC may react in a certain situation.

Maybe give them a family, a business, a horse for goodness sake.  Just something to give them a bit of a personality the players might remember.  It gives your world a more rounded feeling and the players will feel more a part of your world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The King's Roads

When Tridon was first founded by Peter and his friends, good roads were far and few between.  Peter knew, with a country as big and diverse as his, they would need to stay connected by good, solid roads.  His first order of business (after securing a good army) was having the King's Roads built.  These are the major roads between Houses and are now maintained by the Houses nearest them.

Each road is five wagon widths in width and cobbled for the most part (near Calabay crushed shells are used in some parts instead, since stone is hard to find in areas).  Trees and brush are cleared from the road a good fifty feet on either side so no bandits can ambush travelers.  (Ambushing thieves were a big problem at the start of the kingdom.)

Repairs are done by prisoners of crimes under the supervision of a patrol of knights and militia men.  They are usually gone for several weeks, though fed well and given rest after a ten hour shift.  Weeds are pulled from the road, cobbles repaired or replaced, the brush is cleared back and if there are runner stations along that stretch they are repaired as well.

In the time of the High King's Sword some of the roads are in disrepair.  Some of this has to do with the fact there is no High King, thus no central government, to remind the Houses of their duties.  Some is money.  Several of the Houses are using their money to raise an army to become High King.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pleasurable Loans

Tuff Thunderlake is a large man of large means. The middle son of a very rich merchant, Tuff never liked to travel, but  he loved to make money and hear stories.  He also loves food, so he is little round about the middle, his nice clothes always baring a food stain somewhere, usually around the collar.

Tuff loves to hear the reasons people need a loan, though he doesn't always believe them.  But it is good story telling and he loves to see the different lives of people.  But he also likes to make money.  (Someone has to pay for all the food he likes to eat.)  He acts very compassionate when someone has to borrow money, but he charges interest by the day or requires collateral of some very expensive nature.  He can not be talked out of both, for he wants to make money.

The small building where he works is unremarkable.  There is one window, a tightly locked door and a good sized kitchen inside, along with a desk for working his transactions.  He has several body guards, big burly men who were once in the militia.  He is a friendly man, but even he has enemies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kia, Princess of the Winged Elves

Kia was the last of the Winged Elves in the time of the Chosen.  She was protected by Runnel Icehammer, a dwarven warrior.  Together they helped the Chosen fight off Shaniko's forces and in return the Chosen help find the Winged Elves who were in magical stasis so Kia was no longer alone.

Kia was small, as were all Winged Elves.  Around five feet in height with a wing span to match.  She could fly with her silver wings, expert in fact.  A little known fact is that the Winged Elves could carry a person of around their weight at a glide or a child at a small height in the air.  She had silver-white hair, sky blue eyes, and pale skin.

Kia was a quiet woman, but strong when it came to her people and their future.  She knew about the stasis elves, but had no way to free them so figured she would die the last of her people.  She came to love Eric of Calabay, but no one is certain what became of this love since she was the Queen of the Winged Elves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History of the Devoted

When ever you have a God involved, there are bound to be people who worship them.  And if there are worshipers, there will be priests.  But some priests aren't just there to tell about what their God believes, but feel one with their God, so much so, the God takes them as their Devoted and grants them special powers.

A Devoted is, by default, the head of the order of their God, though more often then not, they do not lead but spread their God's faith by traveling.  But if they were to appear at a temple for their God, the Devoted would be greeted with joy and allowed every comfort.

As an example, the Devoted of Aiyana shows their tie to their God in many ways.  One is their true and unblemished love to someone.  If they are protecting their love or the principles of Aiyana they often will be surrounded by a purplish glow, purple motes, or in the most extreme conditions, iridescent unicorns.  They can heal their love with a thought (though not themselves, that's how Aiyana's magic works) and can protect the innocent with shields of magic.

Devoted are given lots of power, along with the ability to live a longer then normal life, but normally they burn out quickly, sometimes to the regret of their God or Goddess.  Gods don't always have a Devoted, because they want one who exemplifies their ethos and sometimes that is hard to find even those among their own priests.  Also, a God or Goddess may see fit to use the Devoted as an avatar from time to time, which most would find as a blessing. There has been a few Devoted from time to time who have though the Gods were just being a pain in the butt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Glad Lass in Bloodhelm

This brothel is a nice building, with a friendly bouncer and friendly staff.  Though most brothels, especially lower class ones, are usually places of quick enjoyment for some and misery for the women who work there, this is an exception.  Though the women still sell their bodies here, they are happy with their job for Steven Weaver is a good "boss" to his workers.

First, he does not allow his women to be beaten.  That is rule number one.  If his women are harmed, out the door you go.  Second, he keeps a healer on staff to ensure the women are healthy and well cared for.  Third, he ensures that his women get paid (which can't be said about a lot of brothels).  This makes them happy and more apt to work longer hours.

Though most of his women are human, there are a few half elves in the mix.  He has two women who have children, (which Steven has educated at his own expense), but Steven asks the women take an herb which prevents pregnancy so they are not out of service for awhile.

Prices here are reasonable (what ever fits your campaign world, being a "common" object for pricing).  Drink and food are served at reasonable prices.  But if one becomes too drunk the bouncers are always there to protect the women from harm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Slip, Guide of the North

Slip, while only fifteen years old, knows a lot about traveling through the western forests of the Tsalagi Mountains.  Born to a half-elf scout and a human woodsman, Slip likes to explore the woods and trails of the mid Tsalagi Mountains.  He hired himself out as soon as he could, realizing that was the way to make money to buy himself good equipment and books to read.  His parents couldn't afford such things as books, but he found one once, scavenging a broken down caravan and wanted nothing more then to learn to read.  He begs those he guides to teach him to recognize words and sounds, and most of the time his employers are happy to do just that.  A historian once gave him a primer book he used to teach youngsters how to read and now Slip can read at the level of a child of ten.  (He's very proud of this feat since neither of his parents can read.)

Slip has very little in elven features, though he can see better at night then most humans and his frame is far more lithe then an average fifteen year old boy.  His hair has streaks of silver (his mother's hair is silver) and his eyes are bright green.  He is very tan, from being outside all the time, and his leathers are sturdy, even if they are well worn.

Slip is a good tracker, a good guide and an excellent survivalist in the woods.  He's guided many groups up and down the Tsalagi Mountains, as well as across the mountains on the hard to travel trail passes.  He charges a silver a day for his services, plus food (though he is capable of feeding himself).  If he really likes the group (especially if they help him learn to read more or give something to read) he won't charge them more then a silver a week when they reach their destination.

Slip doesn't appear in my books, but he would be a good NPC for getting your group to a certain location quickly, or even as a roleplaying bonus on the group's journey some where.  If you have a skill system he has tracking, perception, and survival as high as possible, as well as hunting/skinning and fishing.  He is proficient with spear and dagger, as well, but wears no armor.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ice Skeletons

Undead come in many varieties, from flaming giants to just plain skeletons.  One I like are ice skeletons.

Looking like your normal, walking undead skeletons, (really, normal undead...I guess there isn't any "normal"), they are tinged blue and a cloud of cold hangs about them.  A layer of ice covers all their bones and creeps on to anything they touch (including player characters).  They move a little slower then other skeletons but their grips are paralyzing.  They usually have little armor, but the ice seems to give them some protection from normal hits.  Fire harms them at twice the normal rate but they take no damage from ice.

So in game terms they are human sized, attack like a 2nd level character (because I know some monsters and some systems work this way), but a minus to the initiative (normally 1 or 2 depends on your system).  Fire is doubled for damage (no saves) and cold does no damage.  (If your system has a Damage Reduction system make their DR 5 or 10 depending on how  hard you want to make them.)  You can adapt to higher levels by making them a higher character level, it just depends upon your need.   Your victim needs to save versus magic or be stunned/paralized for three rounds (or what you deem appropriate) if they are struck by the skeleton. They carry no treasure (except the weapon they are using) though some necromancers may want bones from these creatures.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Rights of an Heir

In my world, as any many medival worlds the Lord and Lady nobles all have heirs.  Since I'm not huge on the "first born male" always being the heir, here are some things to consider in your roleplaying campaign.

1)The first child is usually the heir, whether female or male. This is usually easiest to ensure there is no infighting amongst children.  But there are exceptions.

2)More often then not if the first child is female she will pass her right on to her first brother.  This isn't always because of outside pressure for there to be a male heir, but because a lot of the women don't want to be the figure head.  There is a famous case in House Eton where the oldest sister passed the heirship onto her first brother but she was the person pulling the strings behind the scenes.  (Her brother wasn't keen with numbers or strategy so he listened very intently to his sister's advice.)  But women can be Leaders just as well as the men.  All inheritance is through her and not her husband and she can divorce her husband at any time, (just like a man can divorce his wife at any time if he deems fit...this does not affect inheritance of the children, though).

3)An heir can be disinherited if they commit a major crime against the House (or noble House) or are shown to have some deficiancy in ruling the House.  This doesn't happen often, but it does occur.

4)An heir can also be stripped of his inheritance if his father (or mother) is charged with Treason against the High King.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jax's Blacksmith

This small, but busy building is the site of a new blacksmithy, only a dozen years old.  It is hard to break into such things since most blacksmiths have apprentices and pass their business on from one master to the next.  But Jax had a bit of a falling out with his master when he was in Cole and came to Bloodhelm to start his own business.

Though he talks little about it, his master was using him to do all the expensive work, but giving him none of the credit.  Jax has to work hard to get his customers, but after 12 years of good, fine quality work he is gaining momentum.  He has one apprentice, now, and has orders that keep him busy most of the time.  He is hassled occasionally by other blacksmiths in the area who he is taking business from, but for the most part he is left alone.

Jax can craft weapons, armor, horseshoes, plows, pretty much anything and do so very well.  His prices are a little lower as he tries to build a customer base and he is always willing to redo something if a person finds it unacceptable.

Jax is a 30 year old human, married with a baby on the way.  He speaks softly, but is a huge man at six and half feet and shoulders to match.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Griffon is probably one of my more unusual characters in the mere fact that he is dead.  A circle guardian, for many years, he was bound to the transportation circle at it's making.  To do so, he had to die physically and become bound to the circle itself.  He retains all his knowledge he had as a powerful mage in life and has gained centuries of knowledge since then.  A benefit of bein a circle guardian is the ability to retain names and faces of people, even after they are long dead.  If the historians were to sit down with a circle guardian, especially Griffon, they would get a good ear full.

Griffon is transparent and ethereal, being dead and all.  But he is dressed in robes of a high mage, has a long, wiggly beard and balding head and stoops a bit.  Sometimes he walks around with a cane, sometimes he walks fine without one. (Though, technically he floats everywhere and has no need for a cane.)

As a circle guardian he can cast spells, operate the transportation circle, and even gather supplies.  (Circle Guardians can manifest in the physical realm for a short periods of time and thus can move things or gather food and other supplies for their circle.)  Griffon likes to talk, a lot, and might just chat off any traveler's ears before letting them leave his domain.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wolves of Martapa

Wolves are an important part of my life and thus it bleeds into my stories just a wee bit.  I have Wolf Warriors, wolves show up from time to time in my scenes, and it was thought dragons use to turn themselves into wolves because Amber Blackwolf, one of the Chosen, was a Wolf Warrior.  So here are a few notes on wolves that you might be able to use in a campaign.

1) Wolves look like your standard timber wolves you would find in North America.  They can be anywhere from gray to black.
2) They live in packs as they would in North America and make dens in the same way.
3)Waya, Goddess of Animals, has chosen this form as her favorite avatar.  (For those who don't know Cherokee, Waya [prounounced wah-yah] is wolf...imagine that).
4)As I mentioned, the dragons liked to change into wolf form when Amber was around, because of her connection with the Wolf Warriors.
5)Wolves are neutral, in terms of game terms, but there is such a bond of wolves and elves in Tridon, even though many have not been near elves in a long time, that wolves will tend to help any party with elves in it.  They might not understand why, and maybe the elf won't either, but they will feel compelled to do so if it doesn't greatly endanger them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Odd Facts

Here are some odd, fun facts about my world:

Varanath does not allow any wolf to be killed anywhere near the House.  If one is spotted, a mage is sent to relocate them.  It is thought this might be the case because Wolf Warriors can turn into wolves and they are afraid that they might be harming a Wolf Warrior.

The House Pathfinder allows wild animals into the walls of Pathfinder.  Because this House was founded by a scout, who had many animal friends, the place is very friendly to animals, having places for them to drink all over the city.

Mouse, one of the Chosen, and young boy in my stories, is modeled after my friend, Jennifer.  To me, she was my protector and guide and those virtues shine though in Mouse.

The people of Janesh were an after thought and now a huge part of my stories.  I added them in because one of my friends in college loved the oriental culture and I liked added things into my story my friends liked.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Magical Arms in Bloodhelm

So what kind of magical world would I have if there wasn't a shop for magical weapons and armor?

Magical Arms carries all sorts of magical weapons and armor, really only price is the limit.  Everything from daggers to two-handed swords, from leather armor to full plate mail is available here.  This is one business highly regulated by the Bloodhelm guards, though.  Each piece of magic arms and armor is required to have a name for the seller on record.  This list is kept in the event a special magic item is used to commit a crime or murder.

Weapons and armor can be special ordered, but cost 3 times as much and takes several weeks to make (saying that the regents are available for the weapon or arms).

Mages and blacksmiths are paid well here, as are the guards that patrol the building night and day.  The weapons are actually made outside of Bloodhelm, in a small hamlet the owners of Magical Arms owns (and has for nearly three generations).  Because they bring in so much taxes for Bloodhelm, Bloodhelm is apt to come to their protection without question.

The GM is the last say on what the Magical Arms can make and sell.  Think carefully before letting your warrior find Excalibur just sitting around.