Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love and Marriage Part II

So for humans there are two distinct ways people celebrate weddings, depending on their class.

1) For peasants, the ceremony and festivities is fairly simple.  Usually a special place is decorated with flowers and symbols of the favored God or Goddess.  The whole village usually gathers, along with relatives from other villages.  (Sometimes other villages will gather, too, if the person is well known.)  The couple will give vows before a priest of the God, (or the mayor if no priest is available), then the celebration will ensue. Most guests will bring presents of blankets, household goods, and other items needed to start a house together.  Then a feast, provided by the woman's family (though sometimes both families chip in), will ensue.  Usually whole cows, pigs or sheep will be roasted, home made brews will be brought out and sweets of all types will be made.  This is a time of soft competition, where housewives will try their best to make the best dish to share with everyone.  Anyone who can play an instrument is pressed into service to play songs for dancing and most people enjoy the challenge.  After a good afternoon of feasting, the married couple will be escorted to their new home, (which the groom and his family have been working on before the marriage), and be left to their own devices as their relatives and friends continue to feast into the night.  Depending on the wealth of the family these feasts can be huge or just small.  In the case of some families where the daughter is well loved but the family is just not well off, the rest of the village will pitch in a little bit of food or help to get things done.

Tomorrow the human noble class.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love and Marriage

Though while roleplaying your characters don't usually find time to marry, maybe not even have time to fall in love, it is an integral part of the world they are a part of.  There is always a chance they will come to a village in the midst of a wedding celebration or need to sneak into a noble's wedding ceremony to glean some information or take some item.

There are some basic needs to know on any marriage in any race upon Martapa.
1)All races will want their marriage sanctioned by the God of their choice.  For dwarves that will be Taniger, though other, lesser Gods may also be mentioned.  Most humans want a priest of Catiana present, but many will have Wesa and other nature Gods' priest there as well.

2)Feasts will ensue.  Something about marriages making people hungry.

3) And presents of some sort will be given.  In the ancient elven culture the bride and groom give away presents instead of receiving.

In the next couple days I'll give a brief overview of what might be done so you can use such things in your campaign to lighten up or complicate your campaigns.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fine Leather Bound Books in Bloodhelm

Fine Leather Bound Books is a small building holding all sorts of printed texts and blank books.  The building, itself, is two stories, river rock on the bottom floor, stout wood on the second floor.  The roof is pitched and the owners, George and Sora Thinker, store items in the free space.  Like most businesses, the upper story is the living area and the bottom floor is the business.  The first floor is filled with hundreds of books, some penned by the couple, others they have picked up from adventurers or in their travels.  Each shelf is neatly organized and cataloged, with about a half dozen cats wandering through the building.  They also have blank, bound books which they sell, some are even good enough for mages to use for their spellbooks.

The pair can imprint the leather covers with House marks or personal marks or even just pretty designs to personalize books.  They love to discuss their books, but make sure people understand they are not running a library.  Though they are an unassuming couple, they also are part of an underground information network to keep people free that truly do not deserve to be held against their will.  They house fugitives from justice, that need to flee, in their extra space in the attic and pass on information about others when they can.

The location could be good for a jump off adventure or just for your mage to find a new spellbook.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Werring the Paladin

Though dwarves have no knights, per say, they do have virtuous fighters.  Werring is one of those fine few who shine in the night.  Werring is around two hundred years old, with a gray streaked beard.  He keeps his hair cut short and his beard long and wears plate that almost looks platinum blue.  He small eyes are a dark brown, his nose big and his face wrinkled and scared.  If he didn't bare a glowing sword and stout shield he'd look like some one's grandpa.

Werring has always been a fighter.  He took to blacksmithing, but his love has always been taking down enemies of his people.  He married fairly young to his sweet heart and the pair went to live in one of the outlying villages on the Dwarven Islands to serve as protectors.  Shortly after his son was born, Werring was called away to fight some minotaurs and when the returned with victory in hand they found the village smashed and all within, including Werring's family, dead.  Werring grieved, but pledged to never let such things happen to any other dwarf.  Now he goes where he is needed, righting wrongs, helping the weak and healing those who can not afford healers.  His name is spoken in awe in some places and cursed by the dwarves' enemies not only on the island, but the mainland as well.

There are many ways your player characters could meet him, but he most likely going to be near a dwarven settlement and may even come to the party's aid if the need arises.  Werring may even ask them to aid him in righting some nearby wrong.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Necklace of Disguise

With as much intrigue that plays between Houses, it was inevitable a mage of some power would be able to create an item to help disguise a person as someone else.  Most necklaces of disguise are simple, usually a small, plain medallion or a House symbol.  The more powerful ones will be designed for just one person and inscribed with the person's name or their House symbol if they are attached to one on the back.  The generic, and less powerful, necklaces will also be medallions but may be stylized with creatures or flowers.  The powers of these necklaces vary, but the primary type will allow a person to take on the features of another for a certain length of time.  The more powerful versions, ones made to make someone look like a single person, will last until taken off.

The necklace will not change some one's voice, their clothes, or their mannerisms, but the necklace will change the facial features of person, the length and color of their hair and even the the appearance of their weight.  Clothes and mannerisms, along with speech, will have to be provided by the person wearing the necklace.  If for any reason the necklace is removed the illusion is dispelled.  Magical creatures and dwarves have a chance to see through such things, and thus people using the necklaces try to stay clear of them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Wolf's Den in Varanath

This inn/tavern is very popular for both locals and travelers.  Sporting three floors of rooms and one large tavern room, along with a storage cellar below, this is the spot all travelers want to come to if they travel through Varanath.  Built like a log cabin, only bigger, the inside has three large fire places down stairs with suites on the third floor with their on fire places.  Meals always have fresh bread and local fruits and vegetables, with stew available at any old time.  Rooms are average size, as are the suites, though they are decorated with thick furs and fine furniture.

What makes the Wolf's Den stand out from other inns are all the decorations of wolves which adorn the walls, doors, and even the ceilings.  Over the decades locals have carved all sorts of decorations in the wolf theme to place in the inn and the owners proudly display them.  With Varanath being connected with the Wolf Warriors of the Elves, all Varanath citizens feel a certain pride when it comes to wolves.  Locals have made a trade out of selling to travelers small wolf trinkets and boxes with wolf themes, often leaving them at the inn in hopes they will sell.

This is an average inn, but the owner charges about 5% higher then average prices because of the novelty of his inn.  On most days, the inn is full, though if the players get there soon enough they should be able to get a room or two.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Market Days

Most people in this day and age just go to the store when they need things.  They don't know about having to grow their own food, shearing their own sheep to weave cloth, or having to walk miles to get that one item which you just can't make or grow.  On my world, and a, lot of fantasy realms, the supermarket is an open air market.  This market might be a place with permanent stalls or just an open space that tents go up once a week.  Most markets are held in cities to sell food or cloth to people who can't grow or make such things.  But small villages and towns also have a market day on a regular schedule to trade goods they can't grow or can't make as well as some one else.

In the city, markets are usually open everyday with lots of fresh food during the summer and more fresh meat during the winter.  Remember, fresh fruit and vegetables during the winter doesn't happen in the fantasy world unless mages have developed some magic to store them like we do with freezers, and importing from the other side of the world doesn't work like it does on our world.  Speciality items like woven blankets, carved items, and trinkets are common in city markets, but most things like thread, cloth, weapons and boots can be found in stores nearby.

In country markets the markets are usually only open once a week, to trade food one family has plenty of and some other family doesn't grow well.  Items that one person can make well are often traded for items another can make well.  Often these markets might occur when a traveling merchant with iron implements or ribbon and thread comes through town.  Such things are usually treated like a festival of sorts and people get together to eat and socialize.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Charmed Feathers

Not all of Martapa fights in hard, metal armor.  Some of the Houses, mostly House Landshire, wore leather armor, fought mostly with spears and bows and rode horses without saddles.  Against swords and the like this is very little protection.  The mages of House Landshire developed feathers to weave into a fighter's hair that gave a little extra magical protection.

These charmed feathers, depending on your roleplaying system, will give a +1 to +5 to armor class (or the appropriate equivalent).  This does stack with any actual armor bonuses from armor, (since armor never gets past thick hide in the area they are used, but of course your fighter with plate will eventually find with it).  These charmed feathers can also have other enchants upon them, usually protection ones such as spell resistance or protection from poisons.  This is up to the game master what he will allow.  Each feather takes at least a week to make and up to 1,000 gold worth of materials for the special protections.  The recipe for making such things is hard to find, especially in the time of the High King's Sword.  You could make it an adventure line just to find the recipe, if you wanted, which would make the reward that much sweeter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Magical Words in Bloodhelm

In most roleplaying games there are magical scrolls to be had, with magical words that can do just about anything if you find the right one.  Though I wasn't keen on handing out such things in my world, I knew that my players would eventually go looking for some, so I threw in the shop Magical Words.

Magical Words is a two story building, living area on the second floor, the business on the first.  Owned by Gene and Thera Wordsmith, the pair of raised three fine mages and two priests of Catiana.  The paper is made by Thera and Gene makes all the expensive inks used to create these magical wonders.  They use to go out and collect the rare ingredients themselves, when they were young and full of adventure, but now they buy from a local supplier, which makes their scrolls just a little more expensive.  They can create all sorts of mage and priest scrolls, but will not do evil spells or curses.  Thera will talk a person's ear off, if they let her, but then she will give them a better price if they do.

Prices will be about 10% above the norm, but they are guaranteed never to fail.  If they don't work, Thera and Gene will refund the person's money and give them a new scroll.  Players who abuse the pairs kindness are put on a black list and may be sought after by the pair's children for retribution.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jannesh the Spice Merchant

Jannesh, who never really wanted to settle down and have a family, thought the life a spice merchant would be the best way to please not only his family but get to see the world as well.  He could marry who every his family chose for him, be gone for long stretches of time, and see everything he wished.  Things sort of turned out the way he wanted.

Jannesh is an average sized man, with dark, black hair, almost blue.  He wears a neatly trimmed mustache and beard, despite being from the warmer part of Taina.  His brown eyes twinkle with amusement most of the time and his face, though not to die for, his pleasant to look upon.  He wears sturdy clothes meant for traveling, though when selling his wares he dresses in the finest attires.

Jannesh married a lovely girl named Serena, who thus far has born him three fine sons and two daughters.  He has actually come to love her in his own way, but can never stay for more then a few weeks with her and the family before he feels the urge to be off again.  He gathers spices from everywhere, most of the time personally by going to the actual location they are grown.  He trades for gold, but just as often trades for trade goods that will sell for a high price where ever he is going for the spices.

The twist in his life is that he has been recruited to spy for House Pathfinder, even though he isn't from a House, per say.  He is good at what he does because he is so friendly and open so people just open up to him.  He doesn't actually fear for his life, because he doesn't delve that far into the business of other places, but does worry that House Pathfinder may someday find no use for him and rid of him.

Characters in your campaign may meet him at an inn or on the road, willing to share a rumor or two.  He might also  hire them on as guards for his merchant trains, as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Outfits of Martapa Part 2

Not to feel left out, let's discuss elves and dwarves and their clothes.

1)Dwarves usually wear stout woolen clothes with leather harnesses and belts, as well as leather boots.  Colors vary on clan colors, so anywhere in the dwarven cities are bright and beautiful with color.  All dwarves that can get around, whether from the very young to the very old, have a weapon of some sort upon their bodies, even if it's only a little dagger.

2)Elves dress in either mute colors or bright, joyful colors.  There is no in between.  They wear hunting leathers if they are scouts and Clan Warriors.  They wear fine, shear silks if they are city dwellers.  Few, except scouts and Warriors, carry weapons upon their person and when they do, a lot of them are more ornamental then functional.  Most elves match their cloth color to their hair color.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Outfits of Martapa

Now normally things like this wouldn't bother me, other then when I'm doing descriptions, but my daughter who is 9 going on 30 has decided that clothing outfits are important to her roleplaying characters.  Despite brain washing her that clothing is just a necessity, not a fashion statement, my little tom-boy steps back into girl reality every now and again and wants her characters to look beautiful! So here are some basic ideas for clothing for my world.

1)Northern Tridon is a good spot to throw in lots of furs and leather clothing.  Men are more likely to dress like your barbarians of old, with fur capes, buckskin pants and wool shirts.  Women wear wool dresses and fur cloaks as well.  Type of fur and colors of clothing can be what you want, but colors are normally muted.

2)Southern Tridon.  Here you have fine material like silk and nice wool to make dresses and outfits.  men usually wear doublets and capes, while women wear proper dresses with low neck lines and that show off their figures.

3)Ariella.  Here you would find the typical ancient Roman attire, purple usually reserved for the emperor's family and blue for the senate.  Mostly out of wool, though silk is more then common.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bowyer/Fletcher of Bloodhelm

Though an unassuming building, tucked away in Bloodhelm and sometimes smelling of lacquer, this building houses an important part of Bloodhelm.  Most everyone, from peasant to Knight, needs a bow and arrows.  Though many city folk don't use the items, unless for that special hunt or their turn on the militia, this simple building is where most people in House Bloodhelm's jurisdiction get their new bows or arrows.  Granted, those in outlying areas make their own, but Grundle and Gurp, (not their actual names), do make the finest bows and arrows known to the civilized world.  Grundle, (Thane Tenderfoot) and his brother Gurp (Tod Tenderfoot) have been working as bowyers since they could reach the top of a bow staff.  They know their business and know what kind of bow will work for each person.  They take pride in fitting a bow to a user.

For your campaign this is the place to get bows made to later be used to make magical bows, they are of such good quality.  Grundle and Gurp use the finest of materials that will last a long time, so even just for common gear they will always be considered "Masterwork", thus giving a plus one to damage.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stephan, Knight of Bloodhelm

Though many would like to deny the fact, pretty much anyone of noble birth can become a Knight.  A few gold coins in the right pocket and even the stupidest and uncoordinated of sons can become a Knight.  Stephan is not one of those.  He fights hard to uphold the code of the Knighthood and strives to be the best he can be, even in the worst of conditions.

Born to the noble House Ganlian, Stephan knew he wanted nothing else but to be a Knight.  Despite the laziness of most young men his age, he worked hard, trained hard and lived by the code of Peter to the letter.  It doesn't hurt that he is the picture of a storybook prince, either, with his blond hair, blue eyes and strong chin.  He has a squire he treats well, tries to right wrongs and knows that his Leader and High King are always right in what ever they do.  He challenges his fellow Knights to always do right, and is baffled when they don't reach his level of ability.

Stephan can be found on patrols or riding the country side in search of the next wrong to be righted.  He might be a good jumping off point for an adventure or even just a tid bit of information for your campaign.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taylor the Stable Boy

Taylor was an orphan at a very young age, somewhere around 3 or 4.  His parents both died of a winter fever that swept through Bloodhelm that year.  He finally wandered out of his home because he was hungry and scared and probably would have been snatched up by slavers or worse if Master Carden hadn't been out for supplies that day.  Not normally a soft man, Carden was in a dark spot with the recent loss of his own wife and child and tried to find Taylor's family.  When he found them he took in the boy as his own.

Taylor is not a large lad and probably will never be a big man, but he loves being a stable hand and it's assumed he will some day take Master Carden's place as the stable master of House Bloodhelm.  He has blond hair, dark blue eyes and a smile that won't quit.  His clothes are sturdy and well cared for, since Carden is in the employ of a House.  Though he stays with Carden in his small cabin, Taylor loves to sleep in the barn with "his" favorite horses.

During the time of the High King's Sword if the party has any dealing with House Bloodhelm they may come in contact with him.  Also, he runs errands for Master Carden in town so he may be seen there as well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Campaign

With the New Year here already, I have been making goals (like everyone else) to do with my writing and my roleplaying campaign I do for my family.  Some of my goals are simple: Write more, get the next adventure done, actually LOOK for an agent. (Okay, that last one is not simple, but I need to do it.)  So here are some suggestions to make and keep your campaigning/writing goals for the year.

1) Write a list of things you want to get done this year.  Or even this month.  What ever doesn't overwhelm you.  Because I'm so busy (and I'm sure you are too) I begin each week with a list of those things I have to get done.  Of course, for me there is a lot of volunteer stuff, housework and other items on that list, but I make sure that my writing at least makes the list, even if it's just a little editing.  for those long term lists, just write down what you really would like to see done this year.  My short list of must get done this year is finishing editing my book enough so I can feel confident to find an agent.

2)  Since the year is young, choose a time for just you and your goals.  Pick a time and tell yourself this is when I'll (fill in the blank).  I have about a half hour between the time my husband leaves for work and I have to get the kiddos going for school. I use this time to edit or do outlines.  I may not be getting much writing done, but I at least work on my manuscript.

3)Prioritize.  Oh, sure there are lots of things I'd love to do, but I have to be realistic that there is only so much time in the day.  I picked my top four or five things and put them at the top of the list, though I leave the other things I'd like to get done, as well, on my list just in case I have time to get to them as well.

Happy Writing!