Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spyglass of Power

All good ships have a spyglass so they can see other ship flags, hazards in the water far enough out, and to look for coast line.  But sometimes a simple spyglass isn't enough.  A Spyglass of Power allows several other abilities besides the obvious.

1) The Spyglass of Power allows a person to see twice the distance of a normal spyglass.  Ship captains love this because they have more options for turning their ships to a safe path.

2) The Spyglass of Power allows a person to see magical auras through the spyglass.  This can be used up close or far away and allows a ship captain (especially of a pirate ship) to see if an attacking ship has any magic upon it, or if any of the crew is carrying magic.

3) Lastly, the Spyglass of Power can hear at a far off distance.  So if a person wants to hear what someone is saying in a rowboat coming their way, or even hear what someone is saying on the docks or shore they can.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pezuta's Luck

Pezuta's Luck is a three mast trading vessel, large enough to carry a lot of cargo from the far reaches of Martapa back to civilization.  There are three internal levels to the ship.  The first level holds the cabins, cooking and eating area and a small area to move about when the weather is awful.  The second and third levels are holds for cargo, which Daraton always makes sure are full when they hit the open sea.  The forecastle has a stateroom for Daraton, and holds the special cargo they may carry, such as magic items, special coins or fine fabric from the east.  The figurehead is of a lovely lady about to flip a coin.  The ship and the figurehead are a bit worn, but this ship has been everywhere, trading everything, save slaves and illegal goods, (though Daraton does have a secret storage unit he's smuggled people in).  A group of adventurers are like to see Pezuta's Luck in about any harbor and Daraton is always willing to take passengers if they have good coin and the ship is going their direction.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daratorn, Captain of the Pezuta's Luck

Daratorn has always loved the open seas.  His father was a merchant captain and took him everywhere when he was old enough to sail.  He wanted nothing more then to have his own fleet and works hard to reach the goal before him.  Daratorn is six foot tall, trim, with weather worn skin that is darkened by the sun.  His features are rugged, but never really handsome. He is a social man, able to make friends where ever he goes.  He is slow to anger, but able to protect himself with ease.  He loves to hear rumors of far off places and share them with others.  His cost for information is usually a drink and some small talk of other far off places.  He has no woman in his life at the moment, but he's always looking for that one woman who will not be jealous of his ship.  Pezuta's Luck is his flag ship, but he has six other ships in his growing merchant fleet.  He stations out of Weatherworn, but loves to travel to Calabay as well.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fog of Concealing

The village of Katzu has remained safe over the centuries because of the mages of the village.  They have developed a spell which allows them to conceal the village with a deep fog that seems to roll in from no where.  Because they are near a lake, (though not right on it), the fog rolling into the area doesn't look very suspicious, (a perception check of very hard would make some one wonder what was going on).

The spell requires at least four mages, one at each direction point around the village, but more makes the spell more powerful.  The fog will roll in to cover the village very quickly, but for those coming toward the village it appears to roll in slowly and make visibility very hard.  (An appropriate spell resistance can be used to disbelieve.)  The mages of the village make sure they have strong apprentices to learn this spell because it is so important to the safety of the village.  And if an adventuring group has proved time and again they want to help the village, the mages are likely to give the spell to a mage of the adventuring party.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Village of Katzu

Village is a deceptive term, but in relation to many of the cities of the House Tayke in it's heyday, this is a small bit of civilization.  The village of Katzu holds around a thousand people, with a library, meeting hall, flour mill, water wheel and several decorative fountains, along with all the normal trappings of a small city.  Though much of House Tayke's lands were destroyed and the people had to flee in terror, the village of Katzu was far enough north that Shaniko overlooked it and the village has managed to survive since then.  The village serves as a learning place for all the smaller villages that surround Katzu.  The people of Tayke have always valued knowledge and even the poorest of children learn to read, write and to do basic math. 

Anyone, even those from poor families, who appear to have a magical inclinations are taken in as apprentices for the dozen or so mages who make Katzu their home.  One of Katzu's defenses is the mages are able to hide the village from those they do not want to see it if they are given enough warning.  It has saved them from ogres, wizards and even demons.

For the adventurer this is a grail of knowledge.  Much, though not all, of the knowledge of Tayke can be found here from how to make special magical items to spells long forgotten, to even forgotten languages.  But there is a price for outsiders to learn such things.  Whether it is a favor to the village or a vast amount of gold is up to the head librarian and how much he trusts the group.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nishee of the Village of Katzu

Nishee is a very quiet girl, going about her studies and chores like any other child of Katzu, but she dreams big.  She listens to the histories of the House of Tayke, of the people who held so much knowledge before the Black Wizard Shaniko came and destroyed the fabled House.  She studies magic with diligence and hopes to some day discover some hidden cache of Tayke knowledge to bring back the House of Tayke.  She is small, about five feet in height and maybe 90 pounds wet.  She has long, black hair that she keeps braided and bright, brown eyes.  She isn't beautiful, but she is nice to look upon, especially when she is smiling.

Nishee is a 1st level mage (or sorcerer depending on your system) and wants to go out and see the world.  If the party mage is looking for an apprentice or a protégé, Nishee might be the way to go.  She does know a few spells that are not normally spread around and would be willing to share.  (In game terms she has those hard to get spells and she does not have to roll to get them.)  She also can read Ancient Tayke and some Ancient Elven.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pirates and Ship Battles

Though most of the ideas I put forth are for on land battles and exploration, there is a lot of sailing around the world of Martapa.  Whether it is fishing or shipping or just exploring there are all sorts of ships that a player could encounter. And one thing a player could encounter on a ship could be fighting on a ship against pirates or just monsters in general.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Your area to fight is limited.  No wide open spaces, not walls to define where you are visibly.  As the GM you have to make sure your players are aware they only have so much room before falling into the drink.

2) It's sink or swim.  Most players do  not bother taking the swim skill.  And with heavy armor...  You, as the GM, should make the idea of falling into the water very frightening.  Say someone hits them, shoving them back. Have the player sit on the edge of the ship but recover, but make sure to mention the deep water below them.  Even with the swim skill being in armor won't be handy.

3) Ships move.  If a ship is docked, this isn't so much of a problem, but if the ship is out at sea or going down a large river, the ship is going to rock.  This is going to disrupt fighting sometimes.  I usually use the rocking of a ship to explain misses or to give that dramatic flare, but you can always give penalties for dex checks or attacks if you wish.

4) And speaking of moving...  Sea sickness.  This is totally open to you as the GM to say whether this is an issue.  But if a person has never been on a ship before they may not have a strong enough stomach to not be sea sick. This could cause penalties to activities on a ship, but it is totally up to your discretion.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fog Horn of Guiding

Near the coast there is always a problem of fog, heavy fog.  So the mages of Weatherworn have created a magic item which can help clear the fog enough to allow ships to come into harbor even on the worst of foggy days.  The Horn, which looks like a giant, curled ram's horn, sits on a high spot in the harbor and on foggy days is activated to guide ships in.  One ship at a time will be locked on to by the magic once the horn is blown and guided unerringly toward the docks. Once the ship is docked then another ship is brought in.  This can only be done for a dozen ships before the horn has to rest about 12 hours, though usually by then the fog has broken up enough for other ships to dock on their own.  There is always six guards and a mage in attendance of the horn, with a small building nearby to allow them to rest in the warmth when the horn is not in use.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Port Inspector Office of Weatherworn

This small, unassuming building is a small wonder.  It is built into the very wall of the cliff side and runs back about forty feet and is nearly fifty feet wide.  Partitioned into three rooms, the first is where the Port Inspector holds his business.  He greets people here, takes their taxes and give them the latest news, (if he or she isn't out on the wharves).   The second room is the Port Inspectors own living quarters.  He stays here if he has no place to live or has a long day and needs a break.  The last room is a storage area in case of siege.  The room has a magic about it that allows only certain people in with a key and can withstand siege engines.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Victor Silversail of Weatherworn

Victor loves his new job, though he misses the open seas.  A sailor on his own fishing vessel for years he gave up the sea to his son and took the job of Port Inspector when he was asked by House Weatherworn herself.  He spends every day talking with people, inspecting cargo and seeing the world brought to his door step.  With so many ships coming and going from the docks of Weatherworn, Victor gets to see the world without ever leaving.  He has talked to dwarves, elves, Akicitia, and people from Ariella.  He has tasted food from all over the world and has learned so many languages.  He loves his job and is happy he can serve his House in such a manor.

Victor can arrange for passage with ship captains if he likes a person, for most of the captains of the regular ships like Victor even is he is a stickler for the rules.  He also knows where to get items and who to ask to ship things.  Victor is always looking for information that might affect his port, but he likes to share what he learned, as well, as long as it doesn't harm the House.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Docks of Weatherworn

These docks of Weatherworn are very unique.  There is a natural harbor far below Weatherworn, but there was no natural way to travel up to the cliff side above.  The Weatherworn mages built a long ramp down to the deep harbor, that switches back and forth and is patrolled heavily, with their magic.  The docks can hold a fleet of deep water ships and is always busy, night and day.  Magic helps to ensure no accidents as well as keep the harbor clean of any obstacles.   There are warehouses by the docks that are bored into the cliff side and many vendors who make a good living selling meals and small items.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Coran the Gate Guard at Weatherworn

Coran is a young man, in love with his young wife, loves his young son and who usually enjoys his job of protecting those coming and going through Weatherworn.  Coran works from sunrise to close to sunset, checking wagons, taking gate fees and ensuring the safety of House Weatherworn.  Most days are routine so Coran likes to dream of adventure and life wandering the hills around Weatherworn looking for ruins and discovering some long lost artifact.  He looks at each person who comes through the gate as the start of some possible adventure.  Though his captain doesn't find his wishful thinking very plausible, it is useful.  Coran gets along with just about anyone who comes through the gates, from caravan guard to little farmer wife so Coran is the one who talks to everyone when he is on shift. 

Coran likes to chat it up with whomever is before him and can usually get the true reason someone is coming to Weatherworn within a few moments. (If you have a persuasion skill or something of the like, Coran has a 75% chance or the equivalent.)  Coran is never mean, even when arresting someone, though he is well versed in his sword and grappling people.

He might flirt with women coming in to Weatherworn but he loves his wife truly and would never betray her.