Monday, December 30, 2013

The Beast of Thane's Sorrow

Near the House of Sunvale there is a village on the Willowstand Lake.  In this village rumors run wild about the beast of Thane's Sorrow.  The beast is said to be ten feet tall with green skin and hair made of seaweed.  It moans in pain from the arrows that stick out of its body but can't kill it.  The creature's moans are said to drive insane any who hear it and that the smell alone of the creature could kill a full grown man.  Even the most hardened of hunters and adventures try their best to stay out of the creature's hunting area, not wanting to meet it.

The beast, who's name is Garron, is really an ogre who was unfortunate enough to have a little fey blood in his veins.  He's smarter then the average ogre, even the average human, and blessed with extremely long life.  He likes to hunt and make potions that might heal others.  He knows no one wants to talk to him, being as he's an ogre, but he wants to help others with his healing.  Knowing adventurers like to find treasure he purposefully leaves stashes of healing potions, curatives and healing herbs around the area he lives.  He hides when people come, because he does look like an ogre, but is always happy to help if he can.  He lives near a hot spring with special herbs used for high fevers and other hard to beat illnesses and so will listen to see if the village herbman is looking for curatives.  Surprisingly the herbman will then find a potion he might need if he tells the hot springs what is wrong.  He has no idea that Garron is there, but is always appreciative of the "spirits of the hot springs", leaving gifts of food, clothing and equipment in exchange.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Toran the Bard

Bards love to see the world, wander the cities, meet people.  Toran would not be your typical Bard.  Toran loves just staying in Goldleaf in the Stone Wall Inn and ply his trade to the locals.  He's not always up to date on the news, which bards usually are, but his voice sounds like the most beautiful birds of the world. His voice is so lovely the House Leaders have been known to come to the Stone Wall to hear him sing and tell tales.  He has traveled to Stormvale and Weatherworn, and farther, but he's never stayed away for long.  The owner of the Stone Wall, George Hardstone, gives Toran a room for free since he gets so much business because of Toran.  The real reason he stays so close is that he has a love he hopes will notice him, which she has, and his mother can not take care of herself and his younger siblings on her own, so he does so.  He holds a lot of knowledge of the area and would be a big help to any adventuring group in search of knowledge.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bell of Notification

With so many coming and going through the doors of the Dandy Lion, Seth Vonderhorn wants to know who is coming through his door.  He found a mage who could enchant items and together they created a Bell of Notification.  The purpose of the bell is to let Seth know whether or not the person coming in may be trouble.  It allows him to know whether the person may be a little on the rough side or will be sweeter then his mother.  In game terms it lets Seth see their alignment aura for about 30 seconds so he can see if they are good or evil or somewhere in between.  Unless a person has a spell upon them to alert them to such intrusions, the person doesn't even notice.  This has allowed Seth to watch those who may be trouble and trust those who ask for something extra but are very good.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Thornside, being a caravan route village, is set up to supply caravans and travelers.  There are two inns, a supply store, a farrier, a horse trader and a blacksmith.  And there is little else other then houses for the people who work and live there.  The inns always have heavy busy in the trading season, though the winter is slow, since it sits on the road between Merryweather and Greenthorne.  There is the Lucky Rock and the Dandy Lion, each having a tap room, ten rooms and stables.  Most people who clean the rooms or work at the stables, also have nearby farms and just use the coin they get for buying items they can make.  The supply store is a little expensive, but not overly so since the village is only a week out of either House.  The farrier, John Strongbear, works when ever he is needed, whether day or night and the blacksmith's forge is always going during the summers for those needed repairs.

Most of the local population is human or half-elf, though a few dwarves live nearby as they search for ore.  The village has had issues with wolves and ogres, but lately one of the ruins of a village long overgrown has been spawning tales of undead.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Crazy Cat Lady of Thornside

Near the city of Merryweather is a small village called Thornside.  This small village is a stop over for caravans, with farmers nearby, and little else.  but Thornside does have one claim to fame.  Larinda, the medicine woman.  She has a small hut on the outskirts of the village that smells like herbs and spices and wood smoke all times of the year.  She also has lots of cats.  Last count she had close to fifty cats, all who adore Larinda.  Larinda is in her mid sixties, greying and losing most of her teeth.  She laughs at everything, which unsettles those looking for medical help, but she is a good healer.  She also knows every single cat that calls her place home.  She knows when they were born and if they were missing and does not take kindly to anyone messing with her cats, who she terms her "children".  She is willing to help anyone as long as they bring something in trade, such as food, work or trade good.  She'll not help ogres or half ogres, for her son was killed by one.  He was her only child that lived to adulthood so she will not help anyone with ogre blood even if they are dying on her doorstep and she could save them.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Researching for Your Game

Here are some things that I do to get ready to write up an adventure.

1) I always write an outline, just like I would for any school paper or story I might write.  This helps me figure out where I'm going or where I'd like to go.  In doing so, sometimes I get more ideas.

2) Flip through your game's "monster" books. Sometimes, just looking at the monsters or NPCs might help you come up with an idea.  My son loves to just read through them and figure out how to fit in the odd and unusual monsters into his campaign, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

3) Watch movies or read books of that genre.  Now, you don't want to send them on a Lord of Rings style adventure ever time you game, but what if you added in being rescued my giant eagles or something of the like which led to another aspect of another adventure?  Sometimes just watching movies or reading books will perk your imagination and get you going in the right direction.

4) Talk to your players.  What do they want to do?  Do they want to delve in a dungeon, trudge through the wilderness looking for ruins or do they want some intrigue in the city?  After all, its about you all having fun.  Sometimes just going with a one off dungeon delve is a great idea!

5) Read roleplaying forums.  There a tons of GMs out there waiting to share how they have dealt with stuff.  Maybe they'll get you on the right track.

Happy Gaming

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cloak of Warmth

Many travelers get stuck out in the wilderness in some pretty bad conditions.  A guide named Scout, was no exception.  Traveling all over the wilderness near the Tsalagi Mountains, Scout got stuck in some pretty awful snow storms.  So he and a mage friend came up with a cloak that could keep you warm in all sorts of weather.  This cloak appears to be normal size, with a hood.  Scout's cloaks were normally made of sturdy wool and lacked much decorations.  Later on his friend made cloaks of fine silk and with many decorations for this richer clients.  The cloak itself doesn't do much until the wearer speaks a key word (usually designated when made), then the fun begins.  The cloak does several things.  One, it keeps the wearer at a constant temperature of 65 degrees, regardless of the weather outside. Two, it turns into a small, one person tent that will keep out the weather.  It isn't comfortable, a person really can not spread out, but only curl up inside, but better then nothing.  Third, the cloak allows fire to be made inside and the smoke magically disappears without harming the person inside.  So if water needs to be melted or something needs to be cooked, a person could do so.  This cloaks are fairly common, especially near the Tsalagi Mountains, but it one is commissioned it will cost nearly 2000 gold.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Home of the Gods

The Gods all live on another plane then their creation, Martapa.  The rules of up and down, side ways and reality don't really apply in the realm of the Gods.  Most Gods have a special little bit of the plane they have made their own, such as Aiyana and her beautiful gardens and animals.  Others just make up their world with what ever mood that suites them at the moment.  Targon would be a great example of this, though scantily clad elven women are usually involved.  When Gods meet, they often meet in a created tavern or a meeting hall, or even a throne room when the mood suites them.  Nothing is predictable or stable with the Gods environment.  If a mortal is brought to the realm, such as Mouse, when Aiyana brought him to be with her, that small bit of the plane becomes completely stable and can only be changed through great effort to the God or Goddess.  (Not that Aiyana would change anything because she loves having her mortal love with her.)  The Gods can traverse across the Plane very easily, merely with a thought, but can not enter another Gods domain without permission.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Old Man Winter

Even Martapa has stories about someone in charge of the ice and the snow.  Furere is the God of Storms, but his helper, Old Man Winter is charge of snow storms and ice.  Old Man Winter is usually a lazy minor god, but when he lets loose, he lets loose.  Usually he lets loose with snow just up north or far to the south in Ariella, but sometimes he gets the urge to just snow everywhere.  When this happens he rides through the sky in his magical sled pulled by magical horses dumping snow and ice from the skies.  People will sometimes light candles out side to ward him off, though this really does little except show him where to dump the snow.  Others will whispers prayers to him and if he is in a generous mood, might miss that house or village.  He particularly likes to hit major Houses and cities to see all the city folk miserable.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Keeping Your Campaign on Track

You've come up with this wonderful adventure.  The bad guy is all planned, the setting is described, his minions are all rolled...and then your players go off in a totally different direction.

It happens and as a GM you have to be prepared.  When I was GM for our college Star Wars adventure my players would always veer in a weird direction.  The key is to get them back on track without pushing too hard or look like you are leading them by the nose.

1) Have a back up plan.  Have some NPCs or monsters rolled up, just in case.  It never hurts to have this sort of stuff anyway for random encounters.  Think on what the players did last time and make sure any tangents are covered.

2) Saying that, even covering the would be tangents may not be enough.  There were adventures my players went off in a very weird direction.  In this case you have to be light on your feet.  Don't get frustrated, just go with the flow.  and as your players go along on their tangent you need to think on how to get them back on track.  Did they go after some peon you didn't plan on.  Let them go but throw in a clue that leads them back to the main adventure.  That may not be enough, but if you keep doing it, (say they keep going after peons but not the direction you want to go, yet keep leaving clues to your main adventure) eventually they'll get back on track.

3) Go with the flow.  If the players want to go horse racing instead of fighting bad guys, let them.  You're all there to have fun and one night off track won't kill your campaign.

Happy Gaming.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tailoring Magic Items to Your Campaign

As we teach our children to be gamemasters we are also teaching them how to handle treasure. In doing so we have taught them some tricks about magical treasure.

1) Don't give out powerful magical items right away.  This is hard for kids, or even first time GMs, because they want to be powerful right away.  Magic items need to fit the level of power the characters are facing, otherwise everything will fall to quickly before them and won't be as fun.

2) Try not to put too many random items in.  That sounds odd, especially since treasure is supposed to be random, but we mean like the big ticket items.  If no one in the group uses halberds, don't put in a halberd +2, make it a weapon the party uses.  Weapons are so rare, anyway, why make it a big disappointment that it isn't a weapon they can use.

3) Try your best to make sure everyone gets magic items.  Now, don't give a magic item to every player every adventure, but make sure you aren't giving magic items out that only one or two players can use.  Make sure to rotate and that everyone is equally equipped, at least most of the time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Lazy Sprite

This inn between Merryweather and Greenthorne is well frequented by both merchants and adventurers alike.  Three stories with a large stables there is always lamps lit in this busy place.  Jorn Thunder is the owner of the Sprite and always has at least two girls serving at all times, along with one cook.  He has average ale and spirits, good food and warm beds.  He charges a little more then normal for an average inn, but it's well worth the money.  The stables are kept very clean and the mounts and wagon teams are well cared for when they come.  Jorn does not abide by thievery and thus turns all thieves over to the authorities as quickly as possible, apologizing to any who have been affected with a free brew on the house.  Supplies can be bought here as well, just the basics but enough to get to the next town without issues.  The local patrols station themselves out of the Jorn's inn when they are on the move and do not take kindly to Jorn's inn being harmed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toranna, the Carvan Master

Merchants make the world of Martapa tick.  Without them, there would be no great wealth in the world and merchants are quite aware of this.  And in an age where mages can move some things from place to place, good old caravans are still needed.  Caravans can range in size from a few wagons to a few dozen.  Toranna is the master of one of the largest, and most successful, caravans on Martapa.

Toranna is in her mid thirties, a stout human, rough faced and serious.  She takes care of her wagons and people as if they are her children.  She pays her drivers and guards well, knows them all by name and assures them that if they fall to brigands their families will get their pay.  She has transported everything from simple food stuffs to silks from the east.  No matter the cargo, she takes her job seriously.  She is always looking for people to protect her caravan, but she won't just take anyone.  A person has to earn her trust.  She was married once, but he died, tragically when the caravan was attacked by ogres.  The caravan is all she has now and despite the fact she could retire five times over to some nice, safe place she continues to lead her caravan all over Tridon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week and we'll see you all on Monday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Dragon's Rest

Deep in the Varanath Mountain Range is a complex of caves which holds wonders beyond imagine.  The cave complex, with huge caverns and winding tunnels runs for miles.  In spots it only big enough for human to pass through, in others a full grown dragon could be quite comfortable.

And they are.

This complex is the home of not only most of the dragons who were once bonded to Varanath, but also to the great Gate Dragon Fire Flash, himself.  This is where the dragons come to hibernate, meet to catch up and to leave their treasure.  After thousands of years there is quite the treasure horde.  Though there are not many dragons at a time in this complex, all of which are related to Fire Flash in some manner, there is at least one home.  And there are magical and mechanical traps through out the complex.  On top of this, it is easy to get lost in the tunnel system because of its complexity and because of spells Fire Flash has put upon it so people he has not allowed in the tunnels and caverns are misdirected.  Entering here without permission could result in pretty much instant death.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Furball the Dog

Every adventurer, woodsman and pathfinder needs a companion and what better companion then a dog.  Furball is no exception.  A huge, white dog with grey face stripes and  grey socked feet he loves everybody.  Larger then some ponies he carries supplies for his master Thera, a guide near Goldleaf.  He also loves to play chase, retrieve things and be with his person.  But Furball is special dog.  He is smarter then the average dog and some people (roleplaying terms he has an Intellect of 12) and has lived longer then the average dog. (Thera has had him for twenty five years and he was an adult when she found him.)  Thera doesn't know why he is so smart, yet revels in being a dog or where he comes from but she enjoys his company.  He is a good judge of people, ferreting out those who are lying and those who are telling the truth and can sense outsiders and demons easily.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shouting Stone

Though few in the north know of such an object, those of the Empire use a Shouting Stone regularly.  A Shouting Stone is usually a small, round stone with a hole in the middle to have a rope or necklace run through.  Magical runes run all over the stone (or other small object the maker of a Shouting Stone wants to make it) and it glows faintly.  The stone is used to allow a person be heard a longer distance away then shouting would allow.  Most generals use these stones in battle and the general assembly uses it to be heard during debates.  As long as a person is holding the stone in their hand they project their voice up to five hundred yards away.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dwarven Way Station Hardstone

On the east side of Taina, near the southern coast and Karoon is the Dwarven Way station of Hardstone.  This way station is a small fort, with a stone wall surrounding it, three stout buildings, (one of which is a warehouse) and their own well.  There is a cellar beneath each building that connects all three buildings, containing food, weapons and supplies to hold out for at least three weeks.  The well can actually be accessed from the cellar and blocked off so that those up above can't access it.  The dwarves use this way station to move their trade goods from the islands on into the mainland.  There is at least one caravan coming to or going out of here a week.  There is a permanent staff of two dozen dwarves, several of which are blacksmiths and healers.  Dwarven goods can be purchased here but they are expensive, since they are better then most human works of the same kind.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Trist the Mage

Trist is a nice guy, around thirty years old, brilliant when it comes to math and engineering, along with magic, but he's sort of absent minded about where he is and what he is doing.  Trist, being a human, is fairly tall, around six foot in height, medium build with cropped, dark hair.  He can't grow a beard to save his life and his blue eyes are filled with creativity and wonder.  He always wants to know how things are put together and work, whether mechanical or magical.  He will spend days trying to figure out how something works, forgetting to eat and sleep in the process.  He spends his days at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm, teaching mathematics and simple offensive magic.  (They tried to allow him to teach strong offensive magic, since he is very powerful in the arts, but he accidentally a small building at the school when he was teaching one year.)  At night he takes apart or studies items that adventurers or the school have brought him to study.  He is more then willing to look at unusual finds that adventurers come across for free, as long as they give him a good run down at how and where they found the item.

If the party needs a jumping off point for adventure, such as Trist needs someone to do some field research for him, or they need to know about something to find, Trist might be a good NPC to use.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Typical Gypsy Wagon

Several of my characters that I actually write about are gypsies or come from gypsies.  Gypsies usually have at least one wagon to carry their or the groups gear in as well as live in.  The wagon is usually bigger then a typical wagon, covered with solid sides and rough.  It requires at least two horses, (some of the bigger ones require teams of four) to pull.  Inside are bunk beds on one side, cupboards on the other to store everything from food to clothing.  They also carry cooking pots and trade goods inside.  Some gypsies actually carry around blacksmithing equipment, as well.  Anywhere from a single gypsy to a family of gypsies live in the wagon. If there are too many people some will sleep under the wagon.  In bad weather a tent like structure can be pulled out from the side to cover those who can't sleep inside.

The wagons are brightly colored, some times covered in bells, and travel slowly.  Horses are highly prized by gypsies, because without them they could not take their home with them and move on to the next great adventure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tipsoo, Hunter and Guide

Stationed out of Pathfinder, Tipsoo is a likable half elf that loves to see the world.  She gets along with most everyone, loves to go where ever adventurers go to see something new just around the bend.  Standing just over five feet tall, with a full head of red hair and bright green eyes, she breaks down the barriers of even the toughest mercenary.  Everyone loves to talk to her and see what she knows.  She hires out for a reasonable price, as a guide, and knows the good spots to get supplies in Pathfinder before leaving for adventure.  She has a small house in Pathfinder who she leaves in the care of her mother and older brother.  It is hard to find her in town because she loves to be out and about, but when an adventurer does find her she is ready to head out for high adventure as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Roleplaying in the Digital Age

In this day and age of video conferencing, phones that act like computers, and watches that have more memory then my father's TI computer even roleplaying has to catch up.  There are tons of MMOs on line, and while they provide pretty colors and sound effects, they are hard to roleplay on with friends.  But here are some new electronic tools you can exploit for your roleplaying experience.

1) The computer, obviously.  There are so many things you can do with a computer to enhance your roleplaying experience.  Draw maps, do email gaming, use conferencing to roleplay with friends far away.  So many things.  My husband and I did the email gaming, where I got my fodder for my book, but it is a little slow.  Skype and gaming platforms which enable live roleplaying on line are becoming quite common.

2) Small, animated trailers.  Now, you probably have to be pretty computer savoy to do this one, but wouldn't it be cool if you could do a movie trailer type monologue for your bad guy?

3) Just looking for pictures.  Some of us can't draw wonderfully, so what better place to find a picture then on line?

4) Real life maps turned table top gaming.  Why not?  The terrain of some Forest Service maps would be awesome for roleplaying adventures.

5) Digital Dice.  My husband cringes at that, but not all people have a huge box of random dice to choose from.  This way you can have small apps on your phone or computer to roll dice if you need something rolled!

Happy Gaming!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy Halloween to everyone!  I hope that everyone has a happy holiday and lots of fun with family and friends.  This time of year on Martapa the citizens celebrate All Gods' Day.  They dress up like what they believe the Gods look like, share feasts with friend and family and give small treats to children.  Sometimes there are contests to see who has the best costumes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Cheetah Clan of the Akicitia

This small clan, only fifty individuals, lives close to the southern mountains of Ariella, about thirty miles away.  They live in underground dwellings that only partially poke out of the ground because it becomes colder during the winter here then in other parts of Ariella.  The communal storage area is in the center, with family dwellings ringing the storage area.  Around the village is a wall of logs to keep out predators which may wander by and evil humanoids which mean them harm.  Because they are so close to the mountains the village is able to have more wooden products and more berries and nuts then most Akicitia villages.  Trapping is also more prominent then in other Akicitia villages.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tooyah, Elder of the Cheetah Clan

Tooyah, once a great hunter for the Cheetah Clan, is now well respected for his wisdom.  This light tan Akicitia elder, graying at the edges, has lost most of his fangs and can no longer run because he broke his right leg and it did not heal right.  Tooyah was a tanner before he was a hunter and then elder and still advises younger members how to tan in long lasting ways with brilliant colors when they dye.  Tooyah rarely tells others what to do, but he does give advice when asked.  He longs to hunt again, but knows this is not something he will ever be able to do unless someone with magic can heal his leg properly.  For now, he is content to help the Clan run smoothly and stay safe.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writing Time and Life

I know I mention this a lot, but with how hectic my life is I feel it can't be emphasized enough.  If you truly want to write, if that is what you want to do, you've got to make time.  Let me list some things you can do to help you make sure you get some "butt in chair" time:

1) Carry a notebook everywhere.  What I mean is if you leave the house, bring a notebook.  Or smartphone, or something you can "write" on when the urge happens.  Doctor offices, kids sports or after school activities, even waiting in line.  The urge to write may just pop up and you may just have time.

2) Schedule time for you.  I say this often, and fail to follow through myself a lot of the time, but if you schedule that time for you, then maybe you'll actually get it.  Mine is after I drop my youngest off at school for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy I am.  My problem is I volunteer at school or sub for their aids so that time isn't always mine, but it's there if I happen to be home.

3) Get into a critique group.  Mine meets every two weeks (barring life).  We read five pages of what we're working on, share a dinner, and talk about the last few weeks events.  Not only do we force ourselves to write that way and get some feed back, we also get some adult time!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wand of Purification

The water keepers of Tayke, though having magic of their own, also had the aid of a magical wand.  This wand, known as a Wand of Purification, could do several things.  The first was make sure water was free of any impurities, such as sand, bacteria, and diseases that might be in water.  Second, the wand could rid of any poisons, whether intentional or not, put in the water.  This took a long time and several "charges" of the wand.  The third and final ability was to locate the source of any contamination.  It did no good to clear the water if it would just become contaminated once again.  The wand has 50 "charges", but is special in the fact with each new week it would become renewed and will once again have 50 "charges".  Only the water keeper or his/her apprentices will use or keep the wand.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Well of Clear Water

In Tayke, protected by the water keeper of each generation, is a well of the purest water.  Because water is very precious in the east of Taina, the well is very important.  At the time of Tayke, before the time of the Chosen, this well kept thousands of people with fresh water.  After the fall of Tayke nomads, bands of survivors and animals would come to the well for water.  The well itself bubbles up into a basin of stone which is decorated with dragons and fairies.  Several of the stone carvings were broken in the time of the Chosen and by the time of the High King's Sword most are so warn it's hard to see which is which.  The water is always cool, clear and filling the basin, despite the time of year.  The magic upon the well and bowl are so strong that seeing them with a detect magic they glow brightly.  Many people, who do not know the history of Tayke, believe the well is magical and will grant long life, causing many to travel to the place in search of immortality.  There may be some truth to the stories, as there is magic upon the well and the people of Tayke did live a long time, but no one knows for sure.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Namiko, Keeper of Water

In Tayke, and the Island of Janesh, there was always a keeper of the water.  This person was in charge of finding and maintaining clean, good drinking water.  On Janesh this was an issue, because the island was surrounded by sea water, but there was very little fresh water so magic was need to ensure there was always plenty for everyone.  In Tayke, this wasn't so much an issue, but tradition continued.  Namiko was the last keeper of water, living until Shaniko came and smashed Tayke to the ground before the Time of the Chosen.  She took her duties seriously, maintaining the purity of the water through magic, teaching others to conserve the water when they could, and bringing water to those who lived far from a clean source.  She was training three apprentices when Shaniko came and destroyed Tayke, one of which escaped with all her manuscripts on water magic which had been passed down from the time the people of Tayke left their island of Janesh. 

Namiko and her books may be a good side adventure for mages or even druids who wish to clean the water or just perform water magic.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chair of Warming

Since so many mages are also scholars, they spend a lot of time sitting in hard, wooden chairs.  Toran Silverwand was one of those mages.  But as he aged the wooden chairs got hard and his old bones easily got cold, so he devised a chair to keep him comfortable.  First he created a fine wooden chair, (he was a carpenter's apprentice when he was younger), then had his wife sew him nice, padded seats and back.  To this he added a spell to keep them perfectly preserved and clean.  (He had a tendency to spill food and drink while he worked.)  After that he added a warming spell to the cushions so they would warm him on those chilly days he was studying.  Though a simple, day to day magic item, Toran's idea took off and he was able to sell the idea not only to other mages and priests, but to nobles who also had to sit and do book work so many hours a day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Floating Island

Floating off the western coast is a small group of boats tied together to make a small floating island of humanity.  There is only about forty people, but this small "island" is very self sustaining.  They fish to get meat, they have small green houses to get some greens, they trade fish for those things they can't make or grow and they trade items from one area to another to make some money.  Most of the people on the island are related, though they take on new blood now and again.  The "island" started out as a refuge from the fighting during the Mercenary Wars and never made a port home again.  They delight in the fact they are able to bring their homes with them.  They have a weather mage with them who warns them of storms or holds them at bay if they can't quite escape them.  They prize mages and druids because they keep the island safe and fed.  Everybody, even the smallest child, has a job on the island and they all know how to do it well.  Sometimes they take on passengers, but the island is slow and most people don't have the time to wait for such slow progress.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shatterax, Dwarven Mercenary

Standing a tall four foot tall, Shatterax is broad even for a dwarf.  He's almost twice as wide as a human and all muscle.  His hair is a dark brown, braided to his waist both front and back.  He ties prizes from previous battles in his hair, usually little metal charms from his foes or barring that, finger bones.  He fights with a two handed axe which was enchanted by a mage friend of his to protect him from poison and give him strength, as well as give him a better chance to hit his foe with his weapon.  He dresses in mix of leather armor, mail armor and plate shoulders.  He doesn't talk much, only when he needs to, but is a good fighter and knows what he's doing.  He likes mages and priests, doesn't quite understand druids, but holds disdain toward Knights, not understanding the notion of fighting for glory instead of gold.  He will help anyone but Wizards, for a price, but has been known to do his own notion of charity on occasion.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Village of Thunderstone

This small village on the east side of the Tsalagi Mountains is south and east of Goldleaf by about four days of hard travel.  Thunderstone is a farming village where people usually only gather during the evening to protect themselves from the wild animals and evil humanoids.  They farm corn, wheat and livestock which they trade with bigger cities for cloth and other items they can't make themselves.  The name of the village comes from a stone naturally found in the area that when put in water tends to explode.  The local lords use to come to take the stone for weapons, but now it is harder to find and people don't want to go to the effort.  The village has the unusual distinction of being under the protection of ogres who do not want the friendly healer, Sweetpea, to be harmed because she has helped them so much.  These ogres would be considered neutral or neutral good when dealing with them.  They do not take kindly to anyone, including other ogres, harming "their" human village.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweetpea, the Healer

Though barely five foot in height, Sweetpea is a large presence in her community.  This little healer uses the magic of Tinaka, the healer goddess, to heal all those in need.  She wasn't always such a kind and gentle soul, but a twist of fate led her to such a path.  When she was young she wanted to be a Knight, even though she was poor born and a woman, but she was severely injured trying to fight with her brothers.  A healer happened to be in the area and was able to save her.  After that she wanted nothing more then to help others with the magic of the gods.  She gives her help freely, helping humans and dark humanoids alike.  Even the ogres in the mountains nearby help her if she is in need for she has saved many of them from death with her magic.  They love her so much that they have even taken to helping the nearby village of Thunderstone, making for an unusual truce between ogres and humans.  No one will take kindly to Sweetpea being harmed or wronged and she will help anyone in need, though may ask for something for the village in turn.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Swords of Varanath

In the story I write about Sebastion and Noshi, Sebastion comes upon a magical sword which can be sheathed in flame while in battle.  In truth it is a standard sword issued to the mage blades of Varanath.  These blades, usually long swords, can be sheathed in flame when called upon.  They deal extra damage, especially if the person struck is in flammable clothing or armor, and do give off some light that a person could use to see by.  The also give extra defense to the wielder, almost like a magical shield which slows down the blades which are meant to strike them.  The blades have runes up the center, spelling out "Varanath's Flames of Protection".

In game terms they do fire damage (what ever you deem appropriate for campaign and level), are a +3 magical weapon, and if the first time a user is attacked a shield spell (or something similar) springs to life around the wielder for the spells duration.  Also the light given off is dim, so a person can't see very far with the light of the sword.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


About three days ride north of Pathfinder and slightly off the King's Road is the village of Treetop.  This small village supplies a lot of lumber to the city of Pathfinder, along with furs and wild game.  The village holds about thirty families who bring in unmarried men during the summer to help speed along the harvesting of timber.  Timber is harvested in a planned manner, with trees being planted afterward, usually directed by a druid or logger who is well versed in how to get the best yield for the planting.  Trappers go out during the winter and in the fall game is taken to keep not only the village through the winter, but to sell in Pathfinder.  The people are friendly, but guarded at first.  They know the area very well and know what belongs and doesn't.  They also know where all the less used paths are and where water and game can be found.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kawani, Red Tail Hawk

Okay, what's this, you say?  A bird as a character? Before Sebastion Blackthorn married Noshi Bluecrystal, Heir to Varanath, he was a mercenary and he loved the challenge of getting things in hard to reach places.  One such place was the royal rookery.  He and Derangos broke into the rookery one night on a whim and stole a red tail hawk egg.  Sebastion wasn't sure what to do with it, but decided to keep it warm until he did.  The next morning, Kawani hatched.  As tough as he was he instantly took to her and fed her until she was big enough to take care of herself.  She lived nearly twice as long as any normal hawk, brooding many nestlings and was always by his side, even when she died.  She was smarter then the normal bird, able to give Sebastion warning of incoming trouble and even able to retrieve certain objects Sebastion may have wanted.  If you are working on Intelligence of 3d6 (or something similar) she'd have been at least a 6.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bracelet of Tracking

Originally made for the royal wizards to track the royal family, in case they were kidnapped, these bracelets have evolved into something more.  These bracelets, mostly made of some fine material in a pleasing design, usually carry the sigel of the House they belong to, (or later on merchant house or personal symbol).  They are imbued with magic to allow a designated wizard with a matching piece (crafted at the same time as the bracelet) to find the wearer of the magic.  The wearer feels a tingle about his wrist every time some one tries to use the magic to find him or her.  If the wearer is unaware of what the bracelet is, he or she will just feel the tingle but not know what it is.  The distance doesn't matter, but the closer a person is, the stronger the feel of magic to the person looking for the bracelet wearer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mountain Hold

A day's travel east from Goldleaf is the small village of Mountain Hold.  Set at the foot of the northern Tsalagi Mountains, this small village is set for mining during the better weather of spring and summer.  The rest of the year the village mine is under snow and thus unminable.  About three hundred souls brave the mine and keep the miners fed and clothed during the busiest part of the year.  The rest of the year there are about twenty hardy souls who watch over the mine and homes from thieves and wildlife.  There is a general store, about forty small houses and a few bunk houses for the single men.  The mine is House Goldleaf's so it is run by a House foreman who is fair, but expects hard work.  Pay is good for the miners and those who come to support the miners.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sara the Druid

Many druids spend all their time in the wilds, only coming out of the woods or wild lands to bless the land for farmers or stop the invasion of humans into a sacred grove or such.  But  not Sara.  Though she loves nature and animals, she also loves the people of the world.  She likes to get out among the farmers and peasants and help them learn about nature, how to use nature, and how to treat nature.  She wanders around from farm to farm in the Merryweather to Devonshire area, really just going where she wants, (which is what most druids do).  She stops to talk to farmers about animals and crops, when the best time to plant is and if there is anything they can do to help her out.  Not only does she talk crops and animals, but she is a very established healer with both magic and herbs, and she tries to heal where she can, both people and animals.

The players might encounter her in need of help or perhaps she is looking for help to aid a village.  She doesn't have wealth to give in compensation, but she may have information about something the group is searching for.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some Gaming Ideas

When you are gaming there is always rules you have to follow.  Some GMs follow to the letter and others do the rule following when it's super important.  Here are some guidelines I like to follow, being a sort of a middle of the road sort of person.

1) Combat.  This is the most important time, in my way of thinking, to follow the rules.  This is the nuts and bolts of the rules and the rules make combat more balanced.  I'd follow the rules as closely as possible, but if you can't remember them off the top of your head and looking them up will slow down play, just go with your best guess and move on.  Fun is more important the rules lawyering.

2) Skills.  This is one you can fudge on.  If your player has worked hard at gathering all the stuff for a fantastic magic item and he had to adventure long and hard to get them, fudge their roll if need be.  One roll should not ruin the fun.

3) Roleplaying.  Let the rules be stretched here, though not so far that the campaign is overwhelmed by super ninjas or anything.  A swashbuckler making the catch on a chandelier, even though he would have missed, will liven up the moment.

4) My suggestion for knowing the rules is to brush up on the rules relevant to your game that night.  If you know there is going to be a lot of combat, brush up on combat.  If there is going to be alot of roleplaying, look at skills.

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spellbook of Spellstoring

The problem with mages and wizards is that they have to carry around spellbooks full of their spells they have researched so they can study them everyday.  Kinda like they are studying for a quiz everyday, only with real world applications.  If a mage lives long enough they acquire quite a lot of research and spells, thus translating into many books that are likely to get lost.  Master Marba was a man who liked to travel out of necessity.  Something to do with his relationships with women, the history books think, and thus needed his stuff to be easy to transport.  Thus, after much research, he came up with a single book which could hold all his spells.  The book appears to have fifty or so stout pages which are fire and water proof.  The only pages that has writing upon it, though, is the first few pages.  These pages are a list of spells, but no spells follow.  If the mage knows the activation phrase, which is created with the book, they may speak the phrase and the spell name and the spell will appear on the next few pages until the book is closed.  To write a spell in, first the phrase has to be spoken, then the title of the spell written in the list and then the spell copied into the next few pages.  The phrase is spoken again and then the book is closed.  There after it will be in the book.  No one knows for sure how many spells can be held in a spellbook of storing, but they are certainly a prize for any mage.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Village of Stone Cave

On the east coast of Taina and near the House seat of Karoon is the small village of Stone Cave.  Amongst the cliffs overlooking the ocean are many small caves sea birds use for nesting, but there is one cave so large a small village lays within.  The cave itself is very large, almost six hundred yards long and one hundred yards wide at the opening.  The only way in, other then the ocean side, is a lava tube that comes out at the surface some half mile from the ocean opening and wide enough for two, small wagons to be driven through.  This opening can be blocked off at any time, making the village pretty much impregnable.  The houses of the village are in the walls of the main cave, usually made from old lava tubes that are in the walls of the main cave.  So house size can vary from two wagon size to a small manor.  There is a natural spring in the cave, which has never run dry and has no surface openings so can not be spoiled or poisoned unless the person is actually in the cave. Several of the lava tubes have been set aside for food and other supply storage and they have enough supplies to last for several months.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lady Nye

Lady Nye, Queen of the Elves, oversaw the kingdom of Qalataqa during the time of the Chosen.  Hidden away as she and her people were, she still knew what was going on in the world and tried to keep her people away from the horrors, though still informed on what occurred out of their sanctuary.  She was a wise queen, tall and beautiful with flowing hair which changed colors, not unlike the Goddess Catiana's was supposed to be able to do.  She loved all her people dearly, but her heart held a special spot for the Wolf Warriors who protected her people, though they had no charges of their own.

Lady Nye was long lived, living nearly 1500 years before succumbing to being "too tired to live any longer".  She was born to Venar and Thela Sunblossom, King and Queen before her.  Nye eventually married an elven man named Tavaen, a blacksmith and swordsman.  They had three children of their own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Timelines for your game

Though you can't get your players to go where you want or when, it's an excellent idea to have your own little timeline of what is going on in your world.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, as in George did this on this day and this on the next day, but world important events.  You might have a list that reads something like this:
Day 1 (or your world date): group gets together
Day 2: Bad guy sends peons out to gather maidens
Day 3: group goes after peons
Day 4: bad guy sends for more peons

And so on.  Not only are you then keeping track of days (and for some things that is important) but you have an idea where your bad guys are in their plans as the party goes about their plans.  Players aren't the only ones to have plans or need magic items made, so this helps you keep track and not cheat (too terribly bad) on where your bad guys are in making/planning stuff.

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Weaver's Port

This port, which sits on the northern shore of Ariella and far west of Notitia, is a freeman's port.  It is not part of the Empire and all of it's citizens hold to no government, except for the one of Weaver's Port.   The Port itself isn't huge, it can hold half a dozen big belly traders and twice that in smaller vessels, but it's a stopping spot for many trading ships as they head either to Tridon or to the Empire's center.  There is one repair bay and the repair men are excellent, though slightly expensive.  There are plenty of taverns, a few inns, a brothel or two and plenty of trade shops, where some captains take on more cargo.  From here the trade spreads to the four winds, carried by camel caravans and individuals who set out to find the nomads, Akicitia, and small, human settlements that abound in the plains beyond.  Most speak not only Ariellan, but High King's speech as well.  Both Tridon's and the Empire's money is taken here, but depending on the day, either may be worth more then the other.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sandra the Dressmaker

Sandra is the most highly sought after dress maker in all of Bloodhelm.  This small, petite woman with bounding auburn tresses loves to talk to her customers so as to find  the best style and color which would bring out the best in them.  She works in anything from wools to silks and all are beautiful.  The dresses, and dress suits, are more expensive then the normal outfit (20% more the book price, at the very least) but they are superior quality and color then anything else you could possibly find.

Sandra talks to all her clients, usually the nobility or wealthy merchants, so she learns a lot.  And there are people who would pay a lot for what she knows.  She keeps careful records of what she learns and then shares that information, for a price, with certain groups of people, depending on their source.  Her prices are high and she doesn't give information to people she think will harm Bloodhelm herself.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Barter System

Though all gaming, and story, worlds have money, the lower class usually deals in bartering, not hard coin.  Here are some simple things to remember when your characters are bartering with NPCs:
1) They have to offer something of similar value.  If the character wants to buy a horse, even a plow horse, a water skin of wine or a simple blanket isn't going to cut it.  Check the prices in the equipment list and compare.
2) This doesn't mean the NPCs won't try and cheat the PCs.  If the player thinks its a good deal, who are you to disagree with them.
3) Even large items, like magic or homes, can be bartered for.  In the case of magic items, maybe the person holding it may want the group to go do some task in exchange for it.
4) Be reasonable.  Don't let your characters get away with murder.  They can't exchange something for a title (like being King) or for relics.  That would break your campaign in no time!

Happy Gaming.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Temple of Sarjon in Bloodhelm

The Temple of Sarjon is just as big as all the other temples in the city, but the building of stout marble is plain in comparison.  The marble columns circle the outside of the temple and the walk way to the altar inside.  Arms and coats of arms line the inside of the building, and any public or gathering place in the temple, recognizing those families or individuals who have held true to the ways of Sarjon.  All the priests are dressed in chainmail, except at meals, and each helps in the maintenance of not only arms and armor, but the grounds itself.  The cells which the priests sleep in are sparse, with only the essentials, and the only thing bright is the coats of arms and any blood that may be upon them.  The building is three stories tall, with a cellar below.  The first floor is the altar room and the training spaces.  The second floor is meant for study and teaching rooms, and the thirds is the sleeping rooms.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teachers of Mage College of Bloodhelm

With the first day of school upon us, I thought it might be fun to talk about the teachers of the Mage College.  Not only does the Mage College teach mages, but they also house the tutors for the rich and teachers for the common folk.  Calabay started the trend of teaching it's populace to read and work sums, and Bloodhelm would not let itself be out matched.  Bloodhelm pays for anyone who wants to learn to read and work sums to come for a small amount of time each day.  The students change day to day, because peasants have to work to make a living, but there might be anybody from six year old to old grandmothers, all rapt on learning how to read and write.  At any given time there are three teachers available for such task.  There is one for reading, one for writing, and one for sums.  Lady Alex is the youngest daughter of Noble House Taladon and spends her time helping the poor learn to read.  Her father approves, for it keeps her out of trouble and helps make Bloodhelm better.  Trevon Thunderhorn teaches writing, is a strict man and wants only perfect handwriting, though he is a big softy at heart and will bring snacks for the children who's families are very poor.  Von Sunsetter is the sums teacher and he is brisk, efficient and expects his pupils to pay attention at all times.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tapestries of Spying

These tapestries, usually very elaborate with people gallivanting about hunting, or singing, or making war, were once what every Leader wanted in the castles of their rivals.  There was a link between one of the figures on the tapestries and a stone the user would have in their possession.  The figure usually had a smaller, matching gem sewn somewhere into the cloth.  The user of the stone could activate the magic once every day for an hour, or sacrifice a few days for additional hours.  For every day it has to recharge another hour of spying may be used.  The user can see and hear everything the figure in the tapestry can see and  hear and nothing else.  The figure can not move, but does have 180 degree view from its position on the tapestry.  After the user is finished he can do nothing strenuous for an equal amount of time he spied because of the draining effects of the magic.  (In game terms there is a huge minus to attack, dodge, spell casting, etc.)  There are few of these tapestries still in exsistance, and ones with the matching user stone is even rarer.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Bard College of Calabay

This wonderful college in Calabay is mentioned many times in my books, because Kenna hopes to one day go there.  Here is a small tour of the college.

The college is set in one of the older keeps which once housed House Calabay, overlooking the sea.  It has a hundred rooms for students and teachers, twelve large and twenty small class rooms and a huge courtyard.  There is dinning hall, kitchen, ballroom and servants' quarters, as well.  An old dungeon serves as storage for manuscripts and instruments, temperature controlled by magic.  There is always a dozen or more masters on hand, along with double that in journeymen and at least forty apprentices at any given time.  Not only does the college teach about music, but they are charged, by the House of Calabay, to teach the basics of reading, writing, and history, along with mathematics to any child in the area who wishes it, whether rich or poor.  If this is not done, then Calabay will no longer pay the college, money the college desperately needs.  Classes if this nature are usually taught by journeymen.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Matron Maggie

In the city of Goldleaf, Matron Maggie is Queen.  Oh, there is actually a House Leader and his wife, but Maggie runs the hall of the Goldleaf like the High King runs Tridon.  Even the House Leaders and heirs ask how high when she says jump.  Matron Maggie has been part of the household of house Goldleaf for at least four generations and is still going strong.  Some say she is part elf for she doesn't look a day over sixty and gets around better then some young people.  She runs a tight ship, making sure that everything is stocked, that meals are presented on time and linens and clothes are always clean and ready for her lordship and his family.  She does not take kindly to people slacking at their duties and carries a big, wooden spoon to whack people with if they do something stupid.  Despite her dour demeanor, everyone loves her.  Once, when she got sick, the whole castle fell into disarray and the House Leaders fear that they will never be right once she does pass on to the gods.  Despite her age she has thick, dark brown hair, bright brown eyes and is fairly trim, though a little set with age.  She dresses in plain grays and blues, despite the fact the House colors are blue and gold.  She says gold is too bright to sneak up on her charges.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Notebook of Fun

So after a bit, your campaign is going to have lots of notes, side adventures and plots and character info.  Here's my suggestion.  Have a two inch (or bigger) binder with all the following in it so you have easy access to everything you need to know:

1) A running plot.  I have a spiral (though loose paper works, as well) where I right down my running plot.  Not necessarily the nuts and bolts (though that's in there as well), but the main idea.  So my characters in my current campaign are looking for a series of artifacts.  I have written down where they are, the order their patron will send them to get them and notes as to what they  have found so far.  I also have a list of sub plots (like introducing followers) just so I know what I need to throw in at some point.

2) Characters.  I like to have copies of the character sheets where I can look at them and plan something special for that character or try to get them to use a skill they have put  points in but never get to use. Plus, I don't really want to throw creatures at them that they have nothing they can use to stop them.

3) NPCs and major bad guys.  Got to have the people and villains they are interacting with somewhere.  This way they are all together and you don't have to scramble to make a new one because you lost the old one.

4) Treasure lists.  Character sheets get lost, it happens.  And your copy may not be up to date.  So this way you can always go back and tell your player, yes, you had this item.  But this also holds true that the character may not have had said item.

5) Maps and graphing paper.  Players like to know where they are going and where they have been.  So having old maps as well as graphing paper to lay out new ones is always a good thing.

6) List of random names.  For those NPC's that just pop up during the game.

7) Extra character sheets.  For those times your players just can't manage to stay alive.

Happy Gaming

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stone Bed of Sleep

This sounds comfortable, right?  The Stone Bed of Sleep was made to let people who were deathly ill to sleep in a sort of hibernation until someone of magical strength could come and help them.  The people of Janesh had at least one of these in each village, town or city, so those who could be helped with a little healing, could be helped.  The Bed is magically enchanted to put a person in stasis for however long they are upon the bed.  This could be minutes are years.  Though capable of saving a person's life, not every person wanted it used upon them and chose to die from their wounds or illness.  It can not cure anything and if the person is dead, the bed will not bring them back to life.

The mechanics of this item is simply a stasis spell, (or the roleplaying systems equivalent) cast upon the stone bed and anyone who is placed upon the bed is placed in the stasis spell.  The cost is enormous, as is the magical cost.  Don't let your players just make one of these everywhere they go.  It takes blood from a dragon or other magical creature, as well as months of magical incantations by mages or healers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This small, insignificant village sits on the eastern side of the Tsalagi mountains north of Devonshire's pass a day's ride.  The people here are farmers and huntsman and scratch their living out of the earth and try to stay out of the way of the Black Wizards.  The main village is surrounded by a ring of earth works and sharpened wooden poles in hopes of keeping out not only wild animals, but marauders and wizards as well.  The farmland is outside the protection and men have guards posted at all times when they work the fields to ensure they are not attacked unawares.  There are a forty or so houses, small affairs meant for sleeping and eating in, but not much more.  Most of the sewing and larger activities take place outside in the summer and good weather and in the communal house in bad weather.  The communal house is right up against the mountain cliffs that loom overhead.  Beneath the communal house is a cellar and a tunnel.  The tunnel is natural, leading to a small cave on the other side of the Tsalagi Mountains near Willowdale.  This tunnel is kept clear in case the villagers need to escape.  There are many caves in the cliffs near by and all would serve as good hiding spots in case of emergencies.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stardust and Fierygold

These two dragons only appear through out the High King's Sword books on occasion and for most of it, they aren't even in dragon form.  But these two are the gold Gate Dragons tied to Amber Blackwolf, and Fire Flash's brother and sister, for lack of a better term.  Created by the power of the Gift of the Gods and the blood of the Chosen, these two began the line of gold dragons which now populate Martapa once more.  They are both quiet, retrospective types and tend to love to hide in their forests in the form of wolves, not dragons.  They love wolves because they remind them of Amber, dead and gone almost three thousand years.  Even their children prefer the form of wolves, though they love the freedom of being a dragon, as well.

Neither are as big as Fire Flash, but they are both the largest gold dragons on all of Martapa.  Stardust is streaked with greys and blues, while Fierygold is streaked red, like his brother Fire Flash.  They stayed to help raise Fire Flash's brood after Elemental Storm disappeared, but they went into hiding, just like the other dragons did after Amber died.  They have always helped humans and elves, alike, if they get the chance, but never if it puts their true identity at risk.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Family History

In my world of Martapa it really depends on who you are on how important you come from is.  For the common human peasant, you know who your grandfather's father was, but not much further back.  For nobility, there are probably books and books full of your ancestors linking you all the way back to the time of Peter or earlier.  Akicitia see knowing their family history as a mark of pride.  Krom could mark his family back to the time of the Chosen, at the very least, making him a descendant of Mahatalo himself.  A player needs decide if they want a long drawn out family tree or just one that can be traced back to grandpa.  Give rewards to those who figure it out, either way, with a good reason for both.  A Knight without a known history of family ties had better have a good reason, just as a peasant born character must have a good reason to know family ties back more then a dozen generations.  Was the Knight raised for some deed he did the crown?  Was the peasant descended from some High King's bastard and they were extremely proud of that fact?  It all ties back to having a good background for your characters, because good backgrounds not only round out the character but give a good GM something to play with while planning out adventures.

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Horseshoes of Flight

Flight is not unheard of in Martapa.  After all, people use to fly upon dragons and pegasi.  Most flight in the time of the High King's Sword, though, has to be magical.  About two hundred years prior there was a Knight who took the winged horse as his standard and thus really wanted his mount to fly.  He consulted some mages and after some research and lots of gold passing hands the mages created him a set of magical horseshoes which allowed his mount to fly.  He would charge onto battle fields from above, frighting foes and winning the day.  It was said, that one day he was in a battle and his horse was slain as he tried to fly in and he was killed, as well.  The fate of the horseshoes are unknown, but many copies have popped up around the realm through the years.  The horse must be fitted with four shoes, all enchanted together, for the flying to work.  And when the horse is told to fly the first few times the riders must make a difficult riding check since the horse will not be happy about being off the ground.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interpreter of Bloodhelm

With Bloodhelm being a port city, there are lots of different languages spoken. Common, dwarven, Ariellen, they are all there, and not everyone can speak every language.  So there is a small group of people, trained in many languages and dialects who hire out their services not only to the incoming passengers on vessels, but to those who need documents translated or deals negotiated.  The Interpreter is a group of about two dozen people who know at least three languages each.  Their leader, Joseph Redbeard, knows a dozen languages himself.  Many people use their services not only for conversation translation, but for translating books and other items they might find in their adventures.  Services range from a couple gold ducats to hundreds, depending on how demanding the need is.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Old Crone of Willowdale

Hunched over, grey haired, wrinkles which abound.  These are the first things you notice about the Old Crone, but it is the wisdom in her eyes which stays with you.  The Old Crone lives alone, though her granddaughter often visits from another, nearby village, but tends to the hurts and aches of those who live in or near Willowdale.  She speaks softly, is kindly to all, but can be hard if need be.  Bandits have tried to take the village on occasion and none have walked away because of the Old Crone's magic.  People of the village adore her and will not allow any harm to come to here.  Though she can't move fast, she gets around to collect her herbs for healing and to see her patients.  The village sees she's fed and has everything she needs since so many times she has meant the difference between life and death for so many of their families.

In truth, the Old Crone, is a disguised elf name Canatha.  She is there to keep track on the outside world for the elven city of Qalataqa.  Her daughter, Cynthia, comes to visit on occasion, so when the Old Crone "dies" they have a well trusted person to slip in as the next elven spy.  Canatha loves her humans and each death is hard on her and each birth is a joy.  She takes the safety of "her" village seriously and will not let anything happen to it or the humans there if she can help it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keeping Items Reasonable

So your mage wants to make a ring of unlimited teleportation?  That warrior, he wants a sword of kill everything +5?  The priest wants an ankh of turn everything?  You know you can't let your players have anything like this because it would ruin your campaign, so here are some things to keep in mind when letting your players make or have crafted magical items.

1) Is it appropriate for their level?  Obviously if they are making it they have to have the spells to even make the darn thing, but you can always goof and let them buy something above their level.  Check similar spells and items appropriate for their level to see if it about the same power.

2) Is it appropriate for the character?  The mage should not have a sword of dragon slaying.  They could make one, if the have the right spells and ingredients, for a fellow player's warrior, but they should not be getting one for themselves.

3) How powerful is it?  Artifacts should definitely be handled with care because they should be powerful, but think what a sword of dragon slaying would do to your campaign if your main bad guy is a dragon?  Balance is essential.

4)  Now that you've deemed it appropriate how much is it going to cost them?  If it is truly powerful, but alright for their level, make the components hard to find or ubber expensive.  The gathering of components can be several adventures all in itself.

Happy Gaming

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mapping Your World

Here are some ideas for mapping your roleplaying world, whether you are doing fantasy, space or even cowboys and Indians.

1) Graph paper.  For those who just need a quick sketch of an area, graph paper is the way to go.  Square or hexagon works fine.  If you are doing a dungeon map, each square (or hexagon) should represent 5 feet (or what ever is your games break up for movement).

2) AD&D's World Builder's Guidebook.  This is an older book, 1990's I think, with specialized graphing sheets for everything from the world view to village view.  It also has hints on how to make a world from the climate to the gods.

3) Computer programs.  We used the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas for awhile.  It had Forgotten Realms maps on it, but you could also make your own.  I'm sure they have better mapping programs now, for such things.  AutoCAD might also work, if you are into computer programs.  My son uses Excel and just makes the cells five foot spacing.

Happy Gaming

Monday, August 5, 2013

Random NPCs

I think I've touched on NPCs in the past but here are some points to remember for those NPCs you need for your adventures:

1) Have a list of handy names for both girls and boys, and if you are really inventive, make sure you have names for different races as well.

2) A list of quick descriptions and equipment can never hurt.  Players like to hear what someone looks like to make snap decisions about how good or bad a person is.

3) For major NPCs make sure to have name, description, equipment lists and even some background to help you with interaction with the players.  If they are to be major players you want them to make a major impression.

4)  Keep track of your NPCs.  I had a player who loved to talk to that barkeep or traveling bard when ever they met again and he knew exactly what they looked like and their names.  Players never forgive those mistakes.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The High King's Succession

The High King has always been and will always be a powerful position in Tridon.  Being the ruler of all of Tridon and the Lord of 12 (once 16) Houses and so many standing armies brings power.  But what happens when a High King dies?  There are several options for succession.

1) The High King's eldest son.  He is always the first choice, though there have been several High King's that have passed to a second or third son.  There has only been one time this has proved problematic, but it has been done.

2) The High King's eldest daughter.  Twice in the history of Tridon, the High King has been a High Queen.  One was Lady Elizabeth who ruled for thirty years before passing crown on to her son.  She fought along side her father because she had no brothers.  The second was the youngest daughter of the High King Joseph, who's sons fought amongst themselves, eventually killing each other and leaving only  her.  She married to an heir of House Weatherworn and let her husband rule in her name.  He did rule fairly, but was happy to pass it on to their son when he was of age.

3) A Leader of one of the Houses, chosen by the Council of Leaders.  Sometimes the High King dies without heirs.  It's happened three times in recorded history.  But when the Leader is chosen, the Council tries to find a Leader who may have Peter's blood in him.  At the time of the High King's sword, a fourth occurrence, the Houses can't agree and thus why there is so much turmoil.

4) The last option is to find someone of the blood.  This has not be exercised, but most certainly could cause civil war if not handled correctly.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Titles of Martapa

Here is a quick list of possible titles that might be used through out Martapa:

1) High King of Tridon
2) Leader of House (fill in the blank)
3) Sir (name)
4) Lady or Lord (name)
5) Master Mage (name)
6) Master Priest of (name)
7) Master (name...usually used for the bard or warrior college teachers)
8) Emperor (name)
9) Council (name)
10) Advisor (name)
11) Any military ranks (Captain, Sergeant, etc)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Silver Lady Falls

These beautiful falls, not far from Varanath and Ardiango, is over three hundred feet tall and cascades down over the mountain from a bowl shaped pool even in the middle of winter.  There is a small bowl shaped pool at the top, where the river comes to the edge of the mountain, then the river plunges over the steep cliff into a bigger bowl shaped pool below.  At the base of the falls is an opening, leading to a network of natural caves.  These caves are fodder for many an adventure story for nearby locals, but few have actually been in them.  It is believed there was once a druid who protected the falls and the nearby lands named the Silver Lady, but little is known of her or why she chose this spot or even where she might have gone.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Noshi Bluecrystal

Noshi Bluecrystal started as a small doodle in my work notebook as I sat watching tree planters.  A bubbly lady with curly, black hair which hangs to her waist.  Her complexion is pale, almost porcelain white, with brown eyes that can beguile almost everyone.  A gypsy waif, or so she thought, she traveled the country side with her uncle selling their wares.  Her life is turned upside down with the death of her uncle and she starts on quite the adventure with Sebastion Blackthorne, Miyaca and Shadizar Snowbird and Derangos the dwarf.  In the end she finds she is the last living heir to Varanath and becomes lady of the House after many trials and tribulations. 

In the time of the High King's Sword she is nearing seventy, though she looks like a woman half her age.  Her hair is slightly streaked with gray and her son now rules Varanath in all but name, which works just fine with him.  She is a bubbly woman, who sees the bright side of everything, but she is still a practical woman.  She can cast magic of some powerful means, which is true of most Varanath heirs, and could use a longsword very well.  Varanath and Noshi side with the True High King, and  she has taken to mothering Cailus nearly as much as you mothers her own Daniel.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The King's Council

The High King, if there is one, rules from Stormvale, a city not within a House.  Stormvale is independent of all other Houses, because the High King rules all of Tridon, not just the area of a single House.  But the High King needs help from time to time, and thus has a Council to help him make decisions, (if he is so inclined to listen to them, though he doesn't have to).

The Council is made up of all the House Leaders, the head of Council of Priests, the head of the Council of Mages and the head of the Bard College, Warrior College and the head of the druids.  Usually the people upon the Council do not change often, but sometimes there is totally upheavals which throws the Council into disarray.

The High King asks for help in matters of state, such as going to war or major trade agreements, but ultimately the High King is still in charge.  His word is law.  Being on the Council is an honor with perks.  People who have the King's ear tend to be able to elicit favors more easily.

In game, the characters may have to sit in on a Council meeting as a squire or even as a guest of one of the Colleges.  This should only happen if the characters are very important (aka very high level) or if the High King needs them for some mission his normal troops can not do.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sleeping Rolls of Warmth

Mages don't travel often.  They have too many tomes and research that can't be carried around easily and they'd rather be researching then riding.  But for those mages who have to travel or just want to want to travel want to be comfortable.  One of those was the royal mage Sentorian.  He had to travel with the High King often, but was always cold in his sleeping rolls, no matter how many blankets he added.  Thus, after returning from one long adventure with his High King, he created a sleeping roll of warmth.  The roll emanates low amounts of magic aura, but works wonderfully.  It keeps the sleeper at a constant temperature, determined by the user.  It works for about 10 hours then has to recharge itself for at least 10 hours before it can be used again for anything other then a normal sleeping roll.  They used to be very common, but people aren't as interested in paying so much money for a sleeping roll, so they are harder to find.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Village of Sunberry

Sunberry is a small village near Karoon.  This village is small, maybe a dozen families, with adobe houses and small goat and sheep herds.  The people here are quiet, retrospective people, slow to address others and slow in their conversations, as if they have all the time in the world.  The landscape is mostly plains land, but a small stream burbles forth from a spring that is active all year.  Bushes of berries grow around the stream, providing lots of berries to supplement a limited diet.   Most people miss Sunberry, but those who wish to take a more direct route to Karoon from Sunvale may sometimes come across this small, unimpressive village.  The village's biggest secret is that a source of raw gold is near by.  The village doesn't talk about it and only a few elders know where exactly it is.  The gold is used sparingly, but it allows the village to buy necessary things they couldn't otherwise afford.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sorathen, Scholar and Mage

Sorathen would like nothing better then the world to go away so he could be at peace with his piles and piles of book.  This older gentlemen, of long greying beard and not so well kept robes loves knowledge.  He doesn't actually use any of it, he just like to have it.  He scours bizarres and libraries in other cities for magical and historical knowledge he doesn't have.  He lives at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm, teaching history and magical theory to earn his keep, but his true love is finding new knowledge.  He pays adventurers well for any new book they may find which appears from a good source and is something he doesn't already have.  This last may prove challenging, but does happen.  He'll either buy the book or scroll or ask to pay a lesser fee to copy it.  He pays well, especially since he doesn't spend any of his stipend on anything but books he doesn't have.  He can be found at the Mage Guild in Bloodhelm or at random bizarres and libraries through Tridon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lockets of Communication

Magical communication is a regular occurrence in my world, though it still hard on the mages who perform the task.  One way to overcome some of the stress is the magical mirrors.  For those who have no talent for the arcane there are lockets of communication.  The name is deceptive, for the people involved can not actually talk to each other, but they can sense the other person wearing the matching locket.  Each person can feel the others emotions, such as being happy, sad, tired, etc.  They can tell how intense the emotion is and how far the person is away, but they can not tell why the person is experiencing the emotion or exactly where the person is.  These lockets are expensive and highly coveted by royals, but even the odd adventurer can find them separate or in pairs now and again in their travels.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pre-House Varanath

Varanath, in some ways, is not the typical House city.  The keep of Varanath is actually separate from the city of Ardiango, instead of part of the city, as many Houses tend to be.  Before the time of Varanath and Houses ,though, Ardiango was a small hunting and wood cutting village.  Wood cabins were the housing of the day with a small, wooden palisade to keep out ogres and wildlife.  There were only a dozen families when the village started, the lumber being traded for food they could not hunt or find in the woods, such as wheat and sea going fish.  Pelts were also traded and used by the people of Ardiango.  This village would take centuries to grow into a large city, even after Varanath become a House.  It is such a far, out of the way place, that few wanted to travel there, let alone live there.  The people who lived in Ardiango were tall, burly men and good, child bearing hipped women.  They were no nonsense type of people who liked to talk about everything.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dustin, Minotaur Foundling

Dustin was, his adoptive parents think, the son of a caravan master and his wife.  It was hard to tell for sure, but when his adoptive minotaur parents came upon the shattered caravan it was all they could piece together for the toddler.  His adoptive parents were told to just rid of him, but Thera begged her husband Arani to keep the child.  As a blacksmith, he was entitled to pretty much anything he wanted and agreed.  He was distant with the child, but when Dustin seemed interested in blacksmithing, Arani showed him the way.  In time Dustin came to love blacksmithing as much as Arani and worked only to please his adoptive father.  He isn't able to smith everything his "father" can at the age of 17, but he can certainly do some very fine work.  Even the minotaurs of the city have come to appreciate his work.

Dustin is a large, heavily muscled human, with tan skin and black hair.  He speaks minotaur fluently, though he only knows a little High King's Speech.  He takes pride in his work and pride in the fact he pleases his adoptive parents.  He can be found on the east side of the Tsalagi Mountains, always in the accompany of minotaurs.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roughing it with Your Characters

I know a lot of times the actual travel and camping part of adventuring gets left out, not only in books, (because who wants to read about that), but in roleplaying as well.  But if your characters are roaming the country side with enough items to fill several pack animal trains, maybe you should take the time to slow down and take stock.

1) Make sure that a character is not exceeding how much he/she can carry.  A little over, don't worry about it. Carrying two anvils and a forge, maybe you better audit the character.

2) If a player complains he actually does have all those items, make sure he has the pack animals and feed for those animals.  And as an added perk, the GM then can have more random encounters because the party is so big with so many pack animals.

3) Be realistic, but fair.  This is, after all, a roleplaying game, but don't let the players just have everything.  Make sure they got those big items down, but don't sweat the small stuff.  Sure they have food and water when they are in a forest, but in a desert?  They should definitely make sure they are stocked.  And unless those big, powerful magic items are located on their inventory sheet, then they don't have them.  No matter how much they whine.

4) Lastly, watches.  You can't just camp out in the woods and not attract monsters or animals with all those people and animals.  Make sure the party has watches which rotate through out the night and ask for order.  Order could be very important to the random encounter table roll.

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making Your Own Magical Items

Here are some rules that my husband and I use when allowing players and the GM to make new magic items.

1) Make sure it isn't covered by some other item that isn't just a different shape.  As an example is there a ring of polymorphing and your player just wants to make bracers of polymorphing?  If that is the case, just charge the same price and components and let the game go on.

2) Look for similar types of items to get a feel of how powerful or how much an items will cost.  If your player is looking for polymorphing and their is an item that does the spell shapechange instead, see how expensive it is to buy/make and what components it might need.  This will give you a good idea of how to start.

3) Don't let it overpower the game.  Do not allow your players to make a sword of +20 of killing dragons.  I mean, seriously?  Some GMs like to have lots of magic and please their players, but magic that is ubber powerful takes the fun out of the game. Don't get me wrong, everybody likes to be super powerful, but after awhile it gets boring when you  have to take on three full grown dragons for a challenge.

4)  Be reasonable.  If the player wants it more as a roleplaying item then for a game changer consider it.  I had a ranger who was a drow, (okay, who didn't), but she couldn't levitate.  So my GM and I talked about it and we found in one of our adventures an ioun stone of levitation to help with character development.  Making a magic item could be used the same way.  Even though I didn't  use the levitation that often it gave me a little roleplaying aid, which is really what you want.  So if that mage really wants to make a staff of his own with a little out there magical enchantment, you still might consider it.  If he/she says it's simply for that little added character development it might be worth it.  My husband had a mage who's hands would start flaming when he was scared or upset.  So we added a flame enchant to his staff that would only work when he was upset or scared.  It was powerful at first level, but there were stipulations as to when it would work.

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Calabay, Pre House Status

I've been focusing mostly on the time of the High King's Sword, but as a GM you may want to do some adventuring well before that.  Let's start with Calabay.  It was once nothing more then a fishing village, with goat herders and some rough farming.  Picture Ireland with goats instead of sheep.  The village itself was perched on a cliff above a natural bay, with a natural wind break of stone.  About two dozen families lived there, most were fisherman, while the older boys would herd the goats and the women would spin the wool and try to farm.  (Yes, there are goats who have spinnable wool.)  The houses were made of wood and stone, only one level high with a loft for the children to sleep in.  The one floor had a spot for a fireplace, bed for mom and dad, and an open area to sit and do repair work or spin during the harsh weather.  Usually there was a cellar to store food and other supplies during the rough winter.  They did get quite a bit of snow, being so far north, so boats were always hauled out of the water in the winter.  (These weren't great sailing ships like they have in the time of the Chosen and the High King's Sword.)  The people of the village are wary of people they don't know, but if they like a person they make them feel right at home.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Armetrius, Caravan Guard

Armetrius has always been a quiet guy.  Not that he is stupid or slow, he just doesn't have a lot to say.  He likes to observe what is happening around him then proceed from there.  He looks for the best time to act or not act at all.  Thus he is a favorite amongst the caravans, known as a fair man who will work hard for the money he is given.  As captain of any caravans he will take no guff and won't allow people to slack off.  He takes a firm hand with his mercenaries or guards under him, but he is fair.

Armetrius is around six and a half feet tall, dark skin, black hair he keeps braided and he is broadly built.  He prefers mute colors and wears a well cared for set of mail.  He uses two short swords or a longsword with a shield, depending on the situation. He can be found pretty much anywhere on Taina, usually with a merchant caravan.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 4th of July

This week is getting away from me with sick a husband and the 4th, so I'll just say thanks for reading and I'll be back next week.  Thank you, as well, to all the brave men and women who make my life as wonderful as it is.  Without your bravery and sacrifice we would not have this wonderful country we call America :)  And a special shout out to not only the 19 Hotshots who died this week but to all the firefighters who fight all the wildland fires in this country.  My dad was once one of you and I have a special, fuzzy spot in my heart for you all.  Happy 4th, everyone!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Crystal, the Ice Mage

Crystal of Devonshire loves everything about snow, the ice, the cold, the ability to make live sized shapes in it.  Because of that love, she became a devoted ice mage, specializing in ice and cold spells.  If ever there was an expert on ice and snow spells, it is Crystal.  She is the designated mage on call for the pass of Devonshire and protects her city like a mama bear.  She has several apprentices, though none of them have taken to ice spells like herself.  But when not protecting her city or training the next generation of mages, she has a side business of selling ice during the summer.  She creates ice in manageable sizes and delivers the ice to businesses around Devonshire.  She doesn't make a lot of money, but it makes her awfully popular during the summer.

Crystal is a human, around thirty five years of age, rounded at the edges and friendly beyond belief.  She loves to talk about magical theory, but definitely anything to do with ice or snow.  She'll teach anyone who is willing to learn about magic, but she only has a few apprentices at a time, so they get the most out of her tutelage.  She liveson the edge of town, near the gate so she's in easy reach of  what needs to be protected.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When to Allow Followers

We've spoken on followers and what they should be, but we need to talk about when.  If your characters are only 1st level, even if they somehow talked you into that Leadership Feat, you should not allow characters that low to have followers.  That is not to say you can't start back weaving a story for a follower in the future.  Say the character saves a young man from certain death or pays for him to go to bard school.  Wouldn't he remember the act of kindness and seek the character out to pay back the debt?  Back stories are good, considering you really don't want to say one day, "Alright, you have 20 followers?"  Where did they come from?  Why did they come?  All important things to know. 

Personally, I don't allow followers until at least 8th level.  By then, the players have established their name, are pretty powerful in their own right and won't be greatly augmented by adding another person with talents to the party.  And even if the Leadership feat says they get X number of followers, you don't have to throw them all in at once.  Ease them in, make it make sense.  People don't just pop out of thin air.

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mystic Potions in Bloodhelm

This small, smelly shop has a small store front with an alchemy lab as a basement.  Potions of all sorts are made here and thus the stalwart adventurer can find most potions he needs, if they have enough money.  The stock depends on the time of year and how rare the components for that potion are.  Healing potions are the most common, and are quite expensive, but well worth the purchase.  Other types of potions can be found, but that is up to the GM.  The owner, Jander Hogwallow, loves his job and hates working with people.  He buys components from adventures for about 20% of list cost and will not budge on that price.  There are no magical wards on this building, but there are master quality locks on the doors and windows.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Charles, the Merchant

Charles, like all merchants, likes to make money.  A human, with his dark hair and tanned skin, he is an average looking man not quite to the age of thirty.  He has built up his transport business slowly, starting with a single wagon and he and his brother making the deliveries to over three dozen wagons, teamsters, and mercenaries now protecting his loads.  He takes his job seriously and loves making money.  He tries to balance his gain to danger ratio, but sometimes he has been known to get in over his head.  One such time involved heading into Black Wizard territory to deliver silk from Ariella, but it paid well, even if it did almost cost him his life.

Charles hires on extra protection, now and again, and is not averse to having people travel with his caravan for a small fee.  (He sees them as extra protection for a profit.)  He knows a lot about the countryside problems, problem areas on the roads, and where to watch out for bandits and the like.  He likes to talk by the fire over a good ale, so long as you don't pry into his finances or how his business runs.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Little Language for Your Campaign

The elf is talking Elvish, the tome is in high magic, the dwarf curses in Dwarven.  These are all things your character will experience while they travel  your world.  It's alright to say, "the dwarf curses in dwarven", but wouldn't it be cooler if you actually cursed in dwarven?  Granted there isn't a dwarven tongue all spelled out (though I believe Tolkien did write up a written alphabet), but there are so many languages in the known world that you can just "borrow" one for your dwarven tongue.  With Google language, you can look up phrases and words and throw them in.  Add a little anger to your words and your players will get the point that your dwarf is cursing (or at least very angry).  It adds depths to your character and to your non-player characters.  I love looking up Latin phrases for my spells in books and roleplaying games (I mean, come on, Latin has to be the language of magic, right?).  But it tells your players you are really trying to give your world depth and they enjoy the extra mile.

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hiring those Hirelings

Hiring peons to do what your characters don't have time to do might be a game changer or just add some spice to your campaign.  Once a character gets beyond the first few levels they start making a name for themselves and making money to hire people to do what they just don't want to do.  Here are some things to keep in mind.

1) Hirelings should never be higher level or more powerful then the PCs.  In fact, they should only be 1st or 2nd level if they are just typical hirelings.  Mages and bodyguards might be exceptions to this rule, but you never want the hirelings to outshine the player characters.

2)  While you don't want them running around with a troop of hirelings, don't make it impossible to have them.  Make the prices reasonable, but not cheap.  Have the hirelings want to be treated well and have food provided for them.  They aren't there to roll over, just add to the party.

3) Give them personalities.  In the original published Hackmaster there was a roll for perks depending on your status in life.  One of my characters had the fortune of gaining bodyguards.  Two in fact.  Warrick and Paxton.  Just giving them names and a small description added life to them, then my husband, (who was GM), made them annoyingly protective, which just made them even more likable.  Nothing like giving a hireling a little life.

4) Don't let your players overdue it.  Even if they an afford an army of hirelings, don't let them have it.  The campaign is supposed to be about the players, not their army of hirelings.

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Dark Sage in Bloodhelm

This small, unwelcoming building is two stories, about ten by ten feet, with a living quarters above the small business is tucked away in Bloodhelm.  There are few windows, a lone chimney and a stout wooden door.  Inside, the owner keeps the building very dark, with few decorations and only enough furniture to make it functional.  Dar Blackwood, a half elf, covers himself in black robes, speaks little but tells a lot.  He is a Seer, a real one, who has been scarred by the effects of this strong magic.  People only come to Dar if they are in desperate need to know something, and even then the price may not be worth the outcome.  Dar doesn't soften the blow on anything, he tells it like it is.  He's been threatened many times, but he is secure in his strong magic (make him the highest level your campaign allows and hold nothing back) and takes each threat in stride.  His prices are steep, because he does see the future as it is, and many who want to can not afford him.  He may hire someone on occasion for errands outside of Bloodhelm, but he will never tell the person exactly why he hires them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gloriwynn of Bloodhelm

Gloriwynn is a dwarven healer who has stationed herself in Bloodhelm.  She is powerful, a true believer in the Goddess Tinaka, but she has some issues.  Some of it is self confidence.  She lost a very important person amongst the dwarves because his wounds were so bad, but she blames herself for her inability to heal him. Thus why she left the dwarven homeland to come to the mainland.  Second, she has a drinking problem.  Dwarves are known to drink, but she takes it to a whole new level.  Dwarves rarely drink enough to get drunk, but she does it on a regular basis.  She drinks to forget her mistakes, drinks to keep herself happy, drinks for no particular reason.  Gloriwynn is a nice, easy to get along with person, but she blames herself for a lot.

If the party is looking for a temporarily healer, Gloriwynn might be their person.  She is willing to see the world and help out as best she can, but always has the drink with her.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Little Description Hurts No One

When I write, I like to show how things look, sound and feel.  The tall buildings, the smell of smoke, the musty smell right after a rain.  I want my reader to feel and see what I see.  There is nothing different when you are being a game master.  Whether doing an email campaign or one at your kitchen table, there is no reason you can't add description.  Here are some basic rules to keep in mind.

1)  Try to make all your descriptions about the same length.  If you make the more important stuff longer, your players will catch on and listen only to the super long descriptions.  Never put emphasise on the things you want them to notice.  Make them figure it out.

2) Have your descriptions premade.  It's a little extra work, but it is well worth it.  It was easier when I was doing my email campaign, but table top gaming needs notes as well. 

3) Along with places, have people, too.  Sometimes I sneak in the animals as well, to just make sure the players aren't sure what is important and what isn't.  You want them to feel the people and places around them.

4)  Don't write a novel.  As fun as descriptions are, don't take a half hour for each building.  Just hit the highlights so they know what's going on around them.

Happy Gaming!