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.