Thursday, November 29, 2012

Schooling in Tridon

Though schooling may not be important to your characters in your campaign, it does shape how the other people of the world will interact and behave.  By the time of the High King's Sword most people know how to read and do rudimentary math.  All city temples have schools which they teach the children, even street rats, how to read and write, and of course getting a little preaching about their God or Goddess in there as well.  Out in the sticks bards work as traveling teachers and sometimes these children learn more because they are so enthralled with the learning.  Those who have money have their children schooled in reading, writing, history, politics, the solar system, sciences, math and even magic.

So the average person is going to be able to read and write.  If they can't, a good roleplaying reason should be given, (whether player character or non-player character).

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Little Goldleaf History

Since Cailus Goldleaf is the center of the background stuff going on in my novels, I thought I might mention a little history about House Goldleaf.  Goldleaf is pretty much out in the middle of no where, but for many reasons.

The first one is Ryan Goldleaf, though an excellent fighter, was also a good herb gatherer.  Though many herbs could be cultivated, there were some that just had to grow in the wild.  Some of those needed for some of the strongest healing medicine were only found in the northern forests so he placed his fortress there.

Second, was all the timber in the area, (which is still harvested for a great profit for the House).  The timber in the area is managed well: planted, thinned and maintained to give a profit and still keep the streams clean that feed the House and surrounding villages.  Goldleaf takes the timber so seriously that a group of fire wardens roam the woods looking for fires during fire season to ensure the forest, and all its commodities, do not fall to fire.

Finally was the high abundance of meat and leather.  The leathers are shipped around Tridon and the meat is dried and stored away for those long winters and when other food sources just fail.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Temple of Tymara in Bloodhelm

The Goddess of the Sun and Elements, Tymara, is thought of often in Bloodhelm.  With the weather always windy with a chance of sun, and the all too often blowing storm, Tymara is always in the prayers of the citizens of Bloodhelm.

The temple itself is small, but the inside is bright.  With only two stories, the central courtyard spans both and is open to the elements.  The frescoes are made of bright tile and many of the items in the courtyard are gilded so as to reflect any light which filters its way in.  The upper story is the rooms of the priests, the bottom floor's rooms are meant for study of weather and how to shape the elements.  Everything, even the priests, are bright and colorful, like the sun.  Outfits of the priests are covered in little golden charms which tinkle with movement, giving a pleasant feeling through out the temple.  The priests here use their talents to help shape the elements in favorable ways, such as water at a good time on farms or keeping the water away from a shoring project in the wharf area.  They also study the sun, stars and weather patterns and are good at predicting the weather for a few days out.  They take all sorts of donations, most of which they use to keep the temple running, but they do run some charity work by feeding the homeless when they can.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Garred of Pathfinder

Garred is a merchant of renowned, traveling the world for the finest of merchandise and bringing it to those who can't quite travel.  He specializes in wines, fabrics and jewelery, but can find books, bowls and all sorts of things from various places if the price is right.  He gets to know his repeat customers so when he is traveling he can bring them just what they want, which brings him just what he wants, lots of gold.

Garred is a middle aged man, stout and able to handle a weapon well.  In his younger days  he was a caravan guard, but learned a thing or two about trading as he wandered around with his merchant masters.  He made contacts in those days he uses currently and isn't afraid to take what is his.  He pays his guards well and treats them with respect, so many people who  hire on with him are good with a weapon and loyal to Garred.  He dresses like a mercenary, in leather armor and stout walking boots.  Though he has plenty of wagons with him at all times, he likes to ride out with his guards and talk about the current topics of the day.  Anything from wenches and to politics, he's up for the discussion.

Garred would be a good way for your player characters to get from one point to another or find some ruin along the way.  Garred is not particular about race or sex, though he likes to look upon the opposite sex if they are good to look upon, but he does have an issue with people who use magic.  He doesn't outright hate them, but they have to prove themselves to him.  In one of his early runs the magic user the caravan had hired ran away at the first sign of trouble, almost costing Garred his life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Red Rooster in Bloodhelm

The Red Rooster is a pretty common inn, with a tap room, rooms upstairs, a big, warm kitchen and a small stables.  The building is unusual that it is made entirely of red brick with a stout, tiled roof.  It has stood for nearly three hundred years, owned by many different hands but has always had good food for the common man.  The current owner is Tossel Branwell, a small man who enjoys cooking more then talking to his customers.

The rooms are small: two beds, a small chest and stand and a small brazier.  The braziers hold coals to warm the room, (the help brings them around) and there are spells upon the braziers so as to keep them from spilling and starting a fire.  The tap room can hold about thirty people and there is always local brews and food to fill the belly and keep one warm.  Sometimes they have a bard to hold people's interest but most people who come to the Rooster come to talk and spread rumors.

If you are looking for a good spot to spread rumors of the day, this would be it.  Affordable for your PC's and people are always talking about anything here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Roth of Last Stand

Though I make my Black Wizards evil, and most are, and Marius the most evil of them all, Marius isn't the conventional evil.  He's not stupid, he's not mean because he can be, and he is a polite and gracious man when he works.  More flies with honey and all that.  One of the "human" things he has done is take in orphaned children who show magical potential to teach them to be Wizards like himself.  Alright, the children turn to the dark side of things, but he give them a stable home, with food, clothes and learning.  There are far worse things they can become if left on the streets or in orphanages.

Roth was one of these waifs but took to his studies with vigor.  He adores Marius, who rescued him from the thief guild who was trying to train him to be a pick pocket and most likely die young.  He picks up magical training quickly, practicing over and over again what he can not get right away.  He knows that Marius watches him particularly out of all the orphans, but he is not sure why, so he tries even harder to please the man who is his hero.

Roth is not a very charismatic young man, plain, plain spoken and nervous around other people.  Marius is teaching him to speak with crowds and how to bend a person to their side without resorting to power plays or violence.  He wears his grey robes of an apprentice with pride and keeps them and his small cubical immaculate.  His black hair is growing long and his body is starting to fill out now that he is getting food on a regular basis.  He is even starting to make friends among the other orphans.

Roth can be found running errands for Marius in Last Stand or in the great library there.  He would be a good way for an evil campaign to contact Marius or for a good campaign to gain entrance to Marius' lair.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sea Elves and Calabay

I've mentioned in the past the Calabay people revere the sea elves and try to live in harmony with them.  To do so, they keep in touch with banner signals from the castle and magical lights from the sea. Once a day lights will appear in the sea to say whether the sea elves are good or not and the castle of Calabay will put up their banners to say they are good.  If either presents a bad sign the other will come to the others' aid.  Though by the time of the High King's Sword the sea elves haven't been seen in a while, the castle still put up the flags each day, though most do not know why they do.  Magical lights have not been seen in generations so most would not know what they were if they saw them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cynthia's Herbs in Bloodhelm

Though those who can afford magical healing try to stick with that, but many of the poor can not afford the magical healing.  To make up for such lacking, they turn to herbs and tonics to cure their ills.  Cynthia's Herbs, (now owned by Janet Herb), has been around almost as long as Bloodhelm.  With her two apprentices, she gathers herbs in the early morning and late evening, then plays healer the rest of the day, giving out tonics, herbs to put in dinners and teas to soothe people's ills.  She does know a little healing magic, which she will do for free, but donations are always accepted.  Like all her predecessors, Janet doesn't live high on the hog, being paid mostly in produce and other foods, along with clothes, shoes and repair services, but Janet doesn't care.  Her long line of herb gatherers have always done their job to keep those who can't afford healing somewhat healthy as best as they can.

The Healer's Guild wants her fined for practicing without paying guild dues, but the rulers of Bloodhelm see her as an asset, keeping disease among the poor to a minimum and figure the Healer's Guild doesn't need to be blackmailing her.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kohee Brooks

Kohee is an older gentlemen from the eastern side of the Tsalagi Mountains who speciality is old languages and cultures.  He is a scholar, but also a teacher at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm.  He speaks little of his own past, which is strange considering he's a scholar of history, but loves to hear about everyone else's lives.  He stands about five foot, with tanned skin and dark black hair he keeps in two long braids.  He wears the style of Karoon clothing many have not seen in ages, right down to the buck skin and hand made beads.  Kohee is willing to teach everyone, but he will refuse those who obviously want to use his knowledge to harm others.

Many people come from all over Tridon to seek his help in matters of culture and language and he loves to talk their ear off even as he helps them along.  He has two apprentices, one male, one female who he is trying to teach everything.  He treats them as his children and will not see anything bad befall them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust, or magical dust, is used for many magical items, potions and scrolls.  Made from ground gold, or more rare metals and gems, this dust is put into the ink used for scrolls, liquids used for potions and materials used for magic items.  Imbued with magic by special formulas on special nights, (usually full moons or high holy days), these dusts are important to mages and priests alike.  Literally worth their weight in gold, caravans carrying small chests of this material are always heavily guarded and usually commissioned by Leaders themselves on behalf of the mage guild in their cities if they have no one who can make pixie dust in their city.  It is a hard skill to learn to do well and most who can make the pixie dust hide their secret and only give it to their most trusted apprentices.  Leaders will usually keep the person with a stipend so they have a ready supply of the pixie dust in case their need weapons enchanted or wards secured they are able to do so.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tutors of Bloodhelm

This small, unassuming building is made of brick, has a stylized roof and baring strong shutters holds a few desks and a small library of books.  Here an army of tutors come to check in for the day to see who they will be teaching.  Most of the time the assignments are the same, but some nobles become fickle and want a new teacher ever day for their children.  The scholars who run the building and operation take a small cut from the tutors, but ensure they tutors are paid, treated well and have assignments appropriate to their specialities.  All tutors are paid well so they can afford the nice clothes and court training they are expected to have and know. New tutors are taken with an older mentor for a few months to make sure they are capable of working with all sorts and so to ensure they know their material.

Most who work here are just scholars, but some are also mages or fighters and teach these skills as well.  Most scholars cost 10 gold ducats for half a day, but specialized scholars and tutors may cost more.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Pets of Martapa

As I spend some of my free time I should be writing playing World of Warcarft, I began to think, what would the people of Martapa keep as pets?  Well, how would this affect my campaign or even my novels.  In most cases it won't, but you are going to have that character who wants a pet or that NPC that really would look good with a pet.

When my husband and I played Noshi and Sebastion as roleplaying characters, Sebastion had a red-tailed hawk named Kawani.  (If pronounced right it means "April" in Cherokee.)  It made his character stand out.  And it can make any character stand out.  On World of Warcaft my husband, kids and I play on a roleplaying server, so you come up with cool backgrounds for your character and try to role play them with that in mind as you bash bad guys.  My main has a sprite darter named Apple (now that you can change the names of companion pets...hurray!).  My first hunter only has one hunter pet who is a hunting cat and there is a good reason for that in roleplaying terms.

So here are some suggestions on how to handle pets/companions for your characters.
1)  If the class comes with one (rangers/druids/mages), make sure it is appropriate.  No man eating lions for the mage's familiar and no lizards for the ranger's companion (unless, perhaps they are a secondary companion).
2)  Don't let them have the powerful ones at 1st level, maybe when they get 20th and they have a darn good reason!  My husband told me if I rolled a 20 on a familiar roll I could have a pseudo-dragon...darn, but I'm good!  But to balance that (since I was 1st level) he made her hard to maintain and it took a lot of my gold I should have been using to research to make sure she was happy.
3)  Remember, pets are people, too!  During battle, where are those special pets?  This is to make sure the players don't just get the pet and forget about it, especially if they give them some special bonus or something.  My pseudo-dragon had magic resistance (I think, :) ) but I had to know where the heck she was at all times.
4) Do they add to the roleplaying?  Sometimes a pet can help fill out a character.  My first ranger had a coyote.  He was playful and a big coward.  But he was the tension breaker when my ranger would get down on herself (she had a confidence issue).  Maybe that person on the verge of quiting or just not bringing out the best in their character just needs that little shove of a pet.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Plains of People of Taina

Before Peter and his Kingdom of Tridon, the people of the plains lived a different existence.  They lived in large family groups, traveling with the herds and the seasons.  This brown, almost red, skinned people were excellent hunters not only from the ground, but horseback as well.  When Peter made his kingdom, for years the best fighters from horseback were the plains people.  They hunted bison, range elk, and deer.  Children hunted small mammals with slings and women and girls would find roots, berries and other edible plants to supplement the diet.  Everything was used.  Hides for clothes and shelter, bones for weapons and decorations, sinew for rope.

Before Peter, the people of the plains were matriarchal, where the men moved to the women's family after they were married.  Everything, except a warrior's horse and weapons, was considered the woman's in a marriage, especially the children.  Because there were many ogres wandering the plains, boys and men always ran patrols around encampments.  All children were taught how to use weapons to defend themselves and encampments could easily be pulled down in the matter of an hour or less if need be. (Sometimes only the important items were taken and rest left if the need arose.)

About five hundred years before the Chosen, the plains people became nearly all assimilated to cities, though there was small hold out groups for a while.  Their culture and traditions remained, until Shaniko wiped so many of them out, but were adapted to the sedentary life of a city.