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.