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.