Posts Tagged ‘Dungeons and Dragons’

When It All Ended Pt. 4

January 13, 2018

Princess Cora stood in the throne room with several members of the Royal Guard beside her. She knew that everything outside must have been chaotic outside. She had been consulting with her parent’s advisors hours ago but it now seemed like ages ago. When the impact had shaken the castle, everybody had rushed off to gather information on what must have been a new threat. Anything that could shake the castle like that this far from the front lines of the war was nothing to take lightly, of course. So, Cora had been shuttled off to the throne room by the Royal Guard. The Throne room was the most secure place in the castle aside from the undercroft. She looked at her hands and they were shaking.

It was not even the first time that her parents had left her in charge but nothing had happened on those previous occasions. Both of her brothers were off at Battle Arts and Cora had felt alone that morning but now she felt helpless too. She had to be strong. She swallowed and took a deep breath and tried to think about her parents’ strength. They had both always been so strong, a shining example to Cora and her brothers. She kept taking deep breaths and looked at the members of the Guard, members who had been chosen to protect her royal family. They were trusted and some of the best in the land. The absolute best were fighting in the war but these men and women were dedicated to Cora’s safety.

“Have you heard what’s happened?” Cora asked the nearest guard. He was carrying a huge two-handed sword which he had out and ready.

“We have no idea, your royal highness,” The man said, his voice rough and a little raspy. “I won’t lie. It can’t be good.”

“Only too true,” Cora said. “I’ve never felt the castle shake like that. I’ve never felt it shake at all.”

The guard nodded. “I can definitely tell you that I have been here since your father was a young boy and the castle has not shaken in all of that time.”

“Have you been here that long?” Cora asked. She could see that the man was an elf which wasn’t very common for members of the Guard but it made sense that it might have landed him in the Royal Guard. Rarities made it into the Elite Guard. There was nothing ceremonial about any of the palace guards.

“Yes,” the man said. “Your grandfather helped save several members of my family so it was only natural for me to come here to pledge my sword. Don’t worry, your royal highness, I have faced many threats before in defense of your father.”

Cora smiled. “That does make me feel a little better. I’m sorry but I don’t know your name.”

“My name is Severn,” the guard said with a crooked smile.

“Just Severn?” Cora asked.

“Yes, your Royal Highness,” he answered with a slight shrug as if he had already explained everything.

Cora’s attention was suddenly drawn to one the other guards whose eyes suddenly widened as her body went rigid for just a moment. The guard turned and nervously brushed the hair from her face even though it was not in the way.

“Excuse me, princess,” the guard said with urgency. Cora knew that the Guard were drilled to use the correct address so she knew that something was up.

“Yes, Abigail,” Cora said. “Please speak.”

“I have just received word that a dragon has landed on the castle,” Abigail said. Cora gasped and she could feel the Guard tense around her.

“A dragon!?” Cora asked. “Are they sure?”

“A green dragon and there have been several sightings,” Abigail said. “The town is in a panic. The dragon gassed the central square. There are dozens dead.” Cora’s heart was both filled with fear and sorrow for her people. It was her family’s obligation to protect and lead the people

“Sightings?” Cora asked. “Are there eyes on it now?”

“It seems to have disappeared,” Abigail said.

“How does a whole dragon disappear?” Cora asked. “Do you think it has moved on?”

The doors of the throne room burst open, the strong hinges of one side actually warped a little bit with the force. “She did not move on,” a female voice called out. “She is just making herself at home.” A tall, lithe woman with green hair and green eyes and a flowing green dress practically glided into the room. She had a very mean-looking smile on her face.

“You!” Cora shouted. “You’re the dragon?” The guard around her had been tense but now they sprung forward as their training had drilled into them. They would not let the dragon take another step forward. “No, wait!” Cora called out. She knew something must be wrong if the dragon was so confident.

The dragon posing as a woman took a deep breath and then blew poison gas from her lungs and it enveloped all of the guards. They dropped like flies as Cora watched but Cora did not stay seated on the throne. She grabbed one of her mother’s swords off of the wall and wheeled around to face the dragon. Her family never gave up. However, when she turned, she could see that somehow Severn was getting up from the floor and he was lifting his great sword. The dragon’s hand transformed into a green clawed hand and she stabbed it through Severn’s neck and the man slumped to the ground. A pool of blood started to form in the middle of the throne room, soaking a carpet that had been there for decades.

“Now, now, your Royal Highness,” The dragon said. “Why don’t you put down that weapon? I promise that I want you alive.” The dragon was strikingly beautiful now that she was moving closer and Cora found the tip of the sword was slowly sinking toward the floor of its own accord. It was foolish to fight such a creature. Right?

“Alive?” Cora asked. “Why?”

“Well,” the dragon said. “I don’t want to break all of my toys just yet.”

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The Singing Sword

January 8, 2018

The sword was singing. It was not humming like it had been struck by metal. It was full out singing mezzo-soprano style. Actual words were coming out of it, pouring out of it while it sat on the blacksmith’s workbench. Of course, the sword was singing in Gnomish which nobody really spoke anymore. So, the blacksmith had to fetch somebody who could actually speak the language because he had not the heart to melt it down an try again. It took two days for the boy who ran errands to find somebody who would come over and check it out. It was a third-string assistant to an honorable wizard on the other side of the city.

The bespectacled young woman scurried her way all the way across town to see the sword. They informed her that they could have brought the sword to her. It would have been disruptive to the flow of the town’s traffic but they still would have done it. Instead, Aricia the Enchantress shoved everybody aside and started yelling phrases at the sword as soon as she arrived. Of course, the sword did not seem to respond and nobody watching understood her or the sword. The sword just kept singing. It was quite close to the strangest thing anybody had ever seen.

“It didn’t seem to respond to you, noble Aricia,” Arik said. At this point, he just wished the stupid sword would stop singing or be removed from his shop. He wished he knew who had dropped it off but nobody could remember who had dropped it off or when. Arik was starting to forget a time when the workshop was not filled with song.

“I think the sword may be stupid,” Aricia said. “It will not listen to reason.”

“I’ll take your word that you were offering wisdom,” Arik said.

“Insolence,” Aricia said but her heart was not in it. “The sword is a mystery. I have never seen such magic before.”

“Too complicated?” Arik asked. As a master blacksmith, he knew very little about magic. It was not in his wheelhouse. He knew that some of his finely crafted weapons were taken to enchanters like Aricia or her boss now and then.

“Too stupid,” Aricia said. “Who would want a singing sword?”

“It does not make much sense,” Arik conceded with a shrug.

“No,” Aricia said. “It is pure frivolity. An enchantment with no purpose.” There was a long beat of silence.

“So what is it singing?” Arik asked.

“What?” Aricia asked. She adjusted her spectacles as if that would help her hear the question better.

“I mean it’s Gnomish, right?” Arik asked. “What is the song actually about?”

“Oh just some ancient treasure,” Aricia said and waved her hand dismissively.

“Treasure!?” Arik shouted and then he looked around the shop wildly. Thankfully the curious crowds had dispersed due to the sword’s obnoxious song looping. “Um, what sort of treasure is it?”

“Whatever it is, it’s dangerous. Guarded by a dragon of all things,” Aricia said. “Something called The Treasure of Bast.”

“Bast, eh?” Arik asked, taking a moment to mop his sweaty and sooty face with a damp cloth. “I’ve never heard of it.”

“I suppose nobody has,” Aricia said with a shrug. “I’ve never heard of a single singing sword.”

“Nobody?” Arik asked with growing excitement. “Suppose we inform a group of adventurers and maybe we could get a share of the treasure.”

“Adventurers would never bring back a share,” Aricia said. “Adventurers rarely look behind them and they would not for us even if we were on fire.”

“What if we went with them?” Arik asked.

“Do you have a death wish?” Aricia asked, for the first time looking directly at the blacksmith and actually seeing him. She sized him up for a moment.

“I can swing a hammer,” Arik said, a little bit hurt by the assessment. “I’m very strong.”

“Well, suit yourself,” Aricia said with a sign. “I have a million things to do for my master. I can’t go on an adventure.”

“But we need you as lore mistress,” Arik said. “We’ll never find our way without an accurate translation.”

“That makes me valuable,” Aricia said with a crooked smile. “They have to protect the valuable ones whether they want to or not. You? Not so much.”

Arik grunted and shrugged. “So we just need to ask the next group that comes in,” He said.

Aricia pointed at a group coming in the door. “What about them?”

“Oh crap,” Arik said. “Not them again.”

 

When it All Ended Pt. 3

January 6, 2018

“A dragon?!” William Havelock nearly shouted when the group had reconvened. “We’re seriously considering fighting a dragon?”

“Such concern from the man who charged headlong into a cave with three hags in it the day before yesterday,” Morgan said.

“Hags are different and you know it,” William said.

“I think my contract specifically excludes messing with dragons,” Garth said. “Sorry guys, my hands are tied.”

“We never actually got around to drawing up a contract, Garth,” Morgan said.

“Well, that was an oversight on my part,” Garth said. “I won’t make that mistake the next time somebody needs my help.”

Morgan found herself smiling somewhat fiercely. She did not particularly want to go after a dragon either. However, the oath she had uttered when she became an adventurer was similar enough to the one she had made as a ranger. In Morgan Moonglow’s mind, that oath was unbreakable and if she could make a difference then she would. “Well, if you gentlemen are too afraid then there is no shame in camping right here. We should be back to collect you later.”

“Afraid?” William asked. “I wouldn’t use that word exactly. With you all at my back, I could charge into any battle. Garth, you can camp here alone.”

“A talent on my level should not be idle,” Garth said. “You know how my fingers start to itch when I’m bored.” In fact, that had led to complications with various members of the Guard early in their association as a team.

“Your skills are so legendary, Garth,” Morgan said with just a little sarcasm. “We need your sneaking skills and those deadly daggers of yours.”

“Well, the Shadow Teeth are not just any daggers,” Garth said. “That much is true. I guess I’ll have to come along but you definitely owe me for this.”

“Put it on my tab,” Morgan said. “How about the rest of you? This group has always been strictly voluntary. None of you have ever backed down from a fight yet but you can now.”

Cassandra spoke up, almost a squeak of a voice at first. “Well, I backed down that one time early on.” The moment when she had turned her back on them when the fate of the world was in the hands of the Scar Brotherhood would always be a painful memory for Cassandra. The fact that the magic she cherished so much had been her undoing had made the situation all the worse. She had seriously considered going back to the academy after that adventure.

“That’s hardly fair,” Galath said. “You were under an enchantment and at the end of that adventure you redeemed yourself twice over.” In fact, she had. Cassandra had broken the enchantment on her mind at the last possible moment and had provided just the distraction the team needed to save the world that first time.

“And you have been a constant companion ever since,” William said.

“Well, I’m not backing down this time,” Cassandra said. “A spellcaster is needed when taking on a dragon and besides I have studied them excessively. I’m in.”

“I have also read a lot about Dragons,” Percy said. “And none of you are as adept at counterspelling as I am. You would be dead in an instant without me. Besides, I would walk through fire for you, Morgan.”

Morgan found herself blushing, a slight crack in her usual tough demeanor. “And you have. I’m sure you remember the bit with the elementals.” Percival Stardane had seemed like an arrogant know-it-all when they had all met but that moment when he had literally walked through fire to offer a healing word to Morgan had convinced her that there was something more to the librarian.

“I remember everything,” Percy said. He and Morgan kissed. It was still new for them to show affection in front of the others but with a dragon looming on the horizon, neither of them really cared. They could be embarrassed afterward. Morgan found herself blinking and smiling as she finally pulled back and the world came rushing back in.

She cleared her throat. “What about you, Galath? You’re the last of us.” She managed to ask, turning toward the dwarf. He had been the last one to join the group but it had still been a long road together.

“Ms. Moonglow,” Galath began. He was always so formal. “If it were not for all of you then I would have been lost to time. I would have existed only as my own stone memorial, abandoned by the world in the forest. You restored me to life and gifted me with a whole new world and a whole new purpose. Namely, keeping you all alive. I know that all of you save Mr. Whispernight will say that there is no debt. There is a duty, though, because you are the closest thing I have to family now and I will always be there when things get rough.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Percy said. “Well, I probably could have but you get the idea. We’re all in then.”

“Then we’ll be off to save the King’s house and all the people of the city,” Morgan said. “We’ll be facing a green dragon. We do not know how old this thing is. It could be an adolescent, it could be ancient, or it could be anywhere in between.”

“If it’s ancient, there are many things that it is capable of,” Cassandra said. “Percival and I can write up a list together.”

“Between the two of us, we can probably tell you everything there is to know about it,” Percival said.

“What I’m wondering,” William said. “is why the dragon would attack the capital now. Is it just opportunity or is it part of a bigger plan?”

Morgan had not thought of that yet. “What are you saying, William?” She felt free to use his real name while they were all alone. Addressing him by his real name was a show of respect. “Do you think that this is somehow connected to the war?”

“That was my thought,” William said with a grave nod.

“That’s a scary thought,” Percy said. “There aren’t a lot of ways for the army of Shera to both summon and control a dragon. I have never heard of a dragon working with demons. They are usually selfish, arrogant creatures that have to be in charge and I would bet you that Vistra is much the same.”

“Well, whatever the answer to that mystery is,” Morgan said. “We might discover the answer.”

“If we survive,” Garth said.

“I have faith in us,” Morgan said.

 

When It All Ended Pt. 2

December 30, 2017

Morgan Moonglow put a hand on Hamm’s shoulder as he fell to his knees and breathed hard, he seemed to be coming down from some sort of panic. She shouted. “Galath!” When the dwarf ran over she spoke again. “Check him out, please.”

“I’d be happy to,” Galath said. “He looks physically alright but mentally… well, we’ll see won’t we?” He pressed his hand to Hamm’s other shoulder and it glowed for a moment and the color returned a bit to Hamm’s cheeks.

“Can you tell us what’s wrong?” Morgan asked. Hamm looked at her helplessly for a moment and then at the five others clustered around. Morgan gave them a look that clearly said to back off.

“I am happy to scout ahead a bit,” William said. He was a big knight in thick, steel armor and Hamm tilted away when he spoke. He ruffled Garth Whispernight’s hair, obviously part of a good-natured rivalry between the halfling and the human. “I’ll take Garth with me. Won’t I, Garth?”

“I guess I could stretch my legs,” Garth said. The way he talked, it sounded like he did not really care much.

Henry whistled for Hengroen and climbed aboard the horse. He rode slowly to allow Garth to keep up. The halfling eyed the horse with some nervousness. That left Galath, Percival Stardane, and Cassandra Oakspring nearby. Galath went back to tend the fire and the cooking he had been doing. Cassandra sat daintily on a log and opened a book. Morgan could see Percy’s eyes give that book an envious look but he stuck by Morgan’s side with a half-smile. She smiled back and turned to the dwarf in front of her who seemed to be coming back to reality.

“Now then,” Morgan said. “Can you tell us what you’re running from? I promise that we can protect you.”

“And we will also believe you,” Percy said. “We have already seen some crazy shit.” He smiled warmly at the man and Hamm couldn’t help but smile back.

“Well, I only saw it for a moment but I swore it saw me and it killed Moira and who knows how many others,” Hamm said. He realized he was still holding the satchel of firewood over his shoulder and he put it down.

“Yes, but what was it?” Morgan asked. The question was kind but firm. She had softened some working alongside her team but that ranger training was ingrained and kept her on task.

“A dragon!” Hamm blurted out. “A green dragon.”

“A dragon!?” Percival said loudly. There was something between fear and excitement in his eyes. Cassandra’s eyes went wide over on the log and her back went absolutely straight. “There hasn’t been a dragon sighting in Eloria for the past two years or so. A green dragon is even rarer. Hmm.” Cassandra was staring into space, seemingly doing the related calculations already.

“It had to be a dragon,” Hamm said. “It couldn’t be anything else.”

“As I said, we believe you, friend,” Percival said. “Besides that, there is no mistaking a dragon for anything else. The green ones are especially vibrant and easily recognized at a distance even by the yokelest of yokels.” Morgan reached over and physically covered his mouth before he could say any more.

“Where is the dragon?” Morgan asked with urgency. She had just let two of her people scout ahead and she was now doubting that decision just a little bit. She knew that William and Garth could take care of themselves but a dragon was a dragon.

“It’s in the capital,” Hamm managed. He was very tired even with Galath’s healing and it almost physically hurt to think back to what he saw.

“The capital?” Morgan asked, her eyes going wide a bit. “That’s about five miles from here.”

“Is it?” Hamm asked, blinking at that realization. He felt a bit safer with that knowledge but also completely out of place.

“And you were there earlier today?” Morgan asked. “That’s quite some run, um, sorry what was your name?”

“Hamm Stoutfire, at your service,” He said. “I owned a shop in the merchant’s district. Well, I guess I still own it if it was not destroyed.”

“I hope it’s still intact,” Morgan said. “Cassandra, please summon the boys back here. We need to gear up and ride on. We might be the only adventurers in the area capable of taking care of this.” Cassandra pressed a finger to her ear. It was an unnecessary gesture that usually signified that she was using a sending spell.

“You’re going to fight it!?” Hamm shouted, his eyes tinged with panic again.

“We’re going to try,” Morgan said.

“Really, it’s lucky we were in the area,” Percy said, pushing Morgan’s hand from his mouth. “We were dealing with a bit of business with some hags and a prophecy and funny enough we ended up fighting a newly minted vampire lord that some other country had dumped here. So we were just riding away from all of that when we met you. See? Lucky.”

“I could do with less of that kind of luck,” Galath said. “You’re never lucky to meet a dragon.”

Morgan covered Percy’s mouth again and gave him a pointed look. “Mr. Stoutfire does not need to know all of our business,” she said. She turned her gaze back toward Hamm. “You have been very kind to give us this information. We will be riding on to the capital. Do you have somewhere safe to go in the meantime?”

“I think I still have a cousin in Stoneswallow near here,” Hamm said. “Besides, it might be better to be underground right now.”

“Probably a good call,” Galath said. “And yet.”

Morgan shot him a look and he smiled and shrugged. He was already carrying over a bit of sausage and bread which he handed to Hamm along with what seemed to be a full waterskin. Hamm bit into the food without a second glance but did manage to mumble something thankful with his mouthful. With an uneasy glance back the way he came, he hurried down the road on wobbly legs. He had no more desire to be with people who were comfortable fighting dragons than he was to be actually near the dragon.

“Farewell, new friend!” Percy shouted after him, once again extricating himself from Morgan’s grip. “Safe travels!”

More Common Knowledge (Elorian Campaign)

December 18, 2017

The Guard

The law keepers of the Kingdom of Eloria are comprised of able-bodied men and women who act as both patrollers and first responders for any crime and unrest. In a pinch, they also act as medical first responders. They are primarily stationed in the cities and towns but there are various rangers who are stationed in guard houses in the wilderness. These wilderness officers tend to be a bit more rugged as they spend a lot of time out on their own. These officers carry badges that are readily visible, clipped somewhere onto their armor. The badges are recognizable and known to all citizens of Eloria. Most municipal localities have a station or two depending on their size which includes some sort of jail for prisoners. What is most interesting about The Guard is that they are trained as both a police force and a military force. In times of war, most of the guard ship out to the front lines to fight in the war. The guard, along with the military members who patrol the Elorian border, makes sure that in times of war the fighting force is seasoned and experienced.

The Royal Arsenal

They are a legendary team of former adventurers, most of them Elorian, who have become agents of the military. The Arsenal is used as a forward fighting squad in military conflicts as they are experienced with tough battles. When there are no military conflicts, they are installed in various municipalities as heads of law enforcement, beholden both to the King and the local nobility. Their assignment to the military was done as a reward for killing an ancient white dragon named Kanaaq. They saved the royal family and the royal city from destruction and the King could not think of a greater reward than employing them. Thankfully, they all graciously accepted after a short period of reflection. Each member is renowned for their incredible fighting prowess and their legendary accomplishments. Each member of the Arsenal approaches their duties differently but all of them are dedicated to the greater good. Of course, they are all semi-retired which kind of took the edge off their former strength but none of them should be underestimated. They are often consulted by adventuring parties, as they have a lot of good stories and great experience to draw on. Also, it does not hurt to have a government official who has a sympathetic ear for adventurers.

The Demon Vistra

Vistra is the demon lord who tried to invade the kingdom of Eloria and also, at one point, the Kingdom of Shera. He has twice found some sort of exploit that allowed him to travel to the Material Plane from his keep somewhere in the Abyss. Both times he was able to bring an army with him full of both weaker and powerful demons. On both of these known occasions, he supplemented his army by forming an alliance with enemies of the Kingdom of Eloria. On the first occasion, his emissaries were able to help form an alliance with Orcs from the Kingdom of Khull and the two armies were barely routed during the origin of what is now known as Eloria. The second time, his armies raised the dead to create an undead army during the war between Eloria and Shera. There are rumors that a part of that plan was an alliance with the dragon Khandaaq, an agreement that Khandaaq could turn the royal capital into its icy lair but those rumors have not and can not be confirmed. There are also whispers of Vistra’s private war against an unnamed Devil in the Nine Hells which is also unconfirmed. Finally, there are rumors that not all of Vistra’s army went home and that there may be remnants stored somewhere in Eloria. There are three generals under Vistra and they are named Balor, Abraxas, and Halfrek.

The Republic of Shera

Once known as the Kingdom of Shera, this place is mostly farmland, forest, and swamps. That is not to say that it is not civilized, it just lacks the diversity of biomes that Eloria has. Sherans are not completely unlike Elorians. The main difference has been formed by their more recent history. Years ago, the King of Shera decided to forgo all previous treaties and attacked the Kingdom of Eloria in a bid to gain all of the shipping resources of Eloria.  As has been stated, that war was interrupted by Vistra’s forces and those forces killed the entire royal family of Shera. Liam III, the King of Eloria, decided not to annex Shera in the absence of their royal family. The grateful Sherans formed a Republic and they are now ruled by a council made up of the Mayors of their cities and various intellectuals. The new government reestablished treaties with all of its neighbors and work toward a brighter, more peaceful future.

The Kingdom of Khull

The Kingdom of Khull is a large country full of desert and scrubland near the middle of the Emerald Continent of Taldonta. Since Orcs are almost certain to maintain a constant violent relationship with the other races on the continent, many decided to seize land inhospitable to less rugged races where they formed their own Kingdom. This Kingdom is undoubtedly ruled by one person, the King, and everybody else is more or less on equal footing. With Orcs, the strongest often rules and makes the rules so aside from the King, the most brutal often keep the others in line. Their thoughts are constantly bent on war with their neighbors but it has been a long time since an actual war has taken place. Their southern neighbor is Shera which has built a tall wall all along the border to provide some relief from these vicious creatures. After its founding, the Kingdom of Khull opened its borders to any Goblins and Kobolds who wanted a new home. The newborn alliance worries the rest of Taldonta.

Races (Elorian Campaign)

December 11, 2017

As D&Dcember continues, I thought I would continue to work on my campaign and do a little thinking of the possible player character races. I used the Player’s Handbook as a guide but I am toying with offering more options as I flesh out the greater world a little bit. There are definitely other races in the world but it might be a little too complicated to offer them as player options especially since some of them are rare or inconvenient. Anyway, I have decided to spend much of my time this month that is not taken up by work or the upcoming holidays working on this and connected projects.

Elves

Elves are quite possibly the first creatures to walk the earth. Their blood and bodies are closely attuned to the magic of the World as the first elves were carefully crafted from a deep primordial magic. Elves have been around so long that they cannot even remember everything their race has done. Ancient structures were abandoned in times of war only to be forgotten in new lands. Their language has also evolved beyond what it has been in the past mostly because they have to deal with the younger races and these new experiences inform and enrich their lives. Older elves are more likely to be more somber as there is not much that surprises them anymore and their young adventures are well behind them. Of course, this means that younger elves (and young is a relative term here) are often more eager to join the world and explore the world the older generations have given them. Elves end up being a bit judgy about the activities of the younger races, forgetting that the younger races often do not have the equivalent benefit of experience.

Humans

The youngest race created on purpose, humans have the ingenuity of gnomes combined with the size of elves and some of the hardiness of dwarves. Humans were made without the magic that elves are born having deep in the core of their being. Earlier humans sought that magic, which led to pacts with all sorts of things to even the playing field with every creature out to dominate the continent. These warlocks were the first human magic users and a lot of them were not trusted. Others decided to go another route and worked on their physical prowess and weapon skills. The first wizards emerged sometime later as humans were able to obtain knowledge from the older races and joined in innovating new magicks. Twenty years ago, the wild magic finally found humanity and their first sorcerers emerged. Humans are the most prevalent species on the continent (with Orcs coming in second) and are just about everywhere. Humans have way more variety in their appearance than the other races.

Half-Elves

When human and elf relations started to pick up, a lot of humans were fascinated with their fey-touched cousins. It was only a matter of time before physical and romantic relationships sparked up. It turns out that the two were more compatible than they had both previously thought. The first Half-Elf children were a surprise to everyone (except maybe the Gods who had created both races). This first generation was caught in a sort of limbo. Neither elf nor human, their respective parents did not know what to do with these new children at first. Sure, they were part of loving families but it was difficult at first, especially since, at that time, humans had not yet discovered their capacity for magic. Now that humans have figured out magic, the two races have warmed to the benefits of these progenies. The existence of this hybrid race has drawn the worlds of elves and man closer together and it has brought many elves away from their lofty enclaves to live among the other races.

Dwarves

Dwarves are an ancient race born deep under the land. Born near the roots of the earth, they were the first to harness the ore that they found there. As they extracted that ore, they were left an abundance of rock. Many dwarves not involved in the actual mining became master stone crafters and this, in turn, led to the discovery of dwarven runes. Dwarves became the first to discover techniques to imbue the magic of the world into physical objects. They remain the foremost experts at enchanting but their enchanters are always eager to get their hands on other races’ work to stay ahead of the curve. In a similar way, dwarves can be great students of architecture and often go on walkabouts from their underground civilizations to check out how the rest of the world is building things. Some dwarves also tire of the heat of the forges and the threats from things in the mines and journey away to live out in the open.

Halflings (Hin)

It is theorized both that “Halflings” were a first attempt at creating humans or a second attempt at creating gnomes. Neither theory has been proven but, of course, neither could be proven conclusively. For the most part, the Hin (as they are rightfully called) are a happy folk who are content to farm the land and create rural communities. However, every race has those struck by wanderlust and the Hin are no different. Their small, yet hardy stature allows easy access to all sorts of mischief. Many traditions of the roguish variety came from those first members of the Hin who left home and found that sticky fingers could be a benefit. In fact, the special language Thieves Cant evolved at first from an obscure Hin “tapping language” on the walls of their tunnel-like houses. Although they are small in stature, many have achieved more than the humans twice their size and nothing is really out of their reach when they put their minds to a problem.

Gnomes

Gnomes are very rare to see in the surface world these days. Gnome flesh must be tasty to orcs and other nasty critters because the tiniest race was facing extinction at some point. Of course, as far as most on the continent know, gnomes may still be endangered and some may not have realized that the gnomes are not extinct. Gnome culture and knowledge adapted to the world. Gnomes became more secretive and protective. They went back underground like the dwarves and only a few gnomes live in towns and cities on the continent. Those who do are usually very security-minded. In fact, gnomes are largely responsible for the advances in locks on the continent and have come up with some particularly nasty mechanisms. Gnome burrows are often situated in secret locations near Dwarf settlements and they are often meticulously clean and efficient towns. They often have a deal with Dwarven mining operations to help fix their equipment and innovate new ways to obtain ore.

Tieflings

Tieflings were once humans but at some point in their lineage, demonic energy twisted their family line and children were then born with red skin, tails, and horns among other demonic traits. Their infernal blood gives them abilities different from normal humans. Tieflings are rare in Eloria, mostly because there were not a multitude of families affected. Many Tieflings are from families who made pacts with Visna’s forces or Visna himself during his first attempted invasion. Other Tieflings in the area come from other lands or even other planes. Tieflings are not well liked by many in Eloria since there are still bad memories connected to demons and it is hard to separate their lineage from who they might be now. Tieflings are both good and bad, the bad ones pretty much lack the backing of Visna so they have to be more subtle.

Half-Orcs

The progeny of both humans and orcs, the half-orcs are not accepted by either race. These mutts are often spotted on the edges of society either in slums or in the wilds. There are exceptions, of course, but most of them are proud outcasts. Many of them chose to renounce their human heritage and work hand in hand with orcs. Others work harder to endear themselves to humans and other races in an effort to make their lot in life a little easier. They are tough and strong and harder to put down than a human. They are easy to spot by their grayish-green skin, tusk-like incisors, and abnormally tall height. Scars are not uncommon in some communities of half-orcs as they often lack proper medical care either physical or magical.

Dragonborn

The Dragonborn are incredibly rare on the entire continent. They are a humanoid race which has a lot of traits in common with dragons. They are scaled beings that walk on two legs. Most of them are bigger than your average human and some are even born with tails. Their scales come in every color that dragons come in. Chromatic Dragonborn are treated with almost as much disgust and fear as the chromatic dragons they resemble. However, they do not have the innate reality warping abilities that dragons do. Metallic Dragonborns are more tolerated although misguided prejudice does exist. In reality, no color of the spectrum is more likely to be evil than any other. Chromatic Dragonborn are often nurtured to be evil and are more likely to identify with the old stories of chromatic dragons.

Pantheon (Eloria Campaign)

December 4, 2017

I thought I would add more to my Dungeons and Dragons fantasy setting and create the main pantheon of gods and goddesses. While these are not the only ones allowed by players, these are the most widespread in the continent where the game would take place. These are the temples that are most often constructed and the prayers most often uttered in public and in private. This does not include any evil gods or goddesses as this central pantheon is kind of my campaign’s Breakfast Club. As with all things I post on this blog, this is a rough draft and is only a first stab at what would be provided for players.

Lathander – God of Light

Lathander is known as the Morning Lord because there will always be another dawn. His followers tend to be an optimistic lot, always looking for the next dawn and knowing that Lathander’s light can wash away even the darkest shadows. Because of this optimism, his followers are probably the most vocal of any religious person in the land. When you are sure that your chosen god will get you through a dangerous situation, it can become an opportunity to get others to turn toward his light. Lathander himself is a champion of good and has little patience for the truly wicked things in the world and beyond. He is a beacon of hope but also a bastion against the nine hells, the abyss, and the undead. His temples tend to be elaborate affairs, usually with a lot of windows to let the light in and candles and lanterns for the night times. He is a tall man, clad in golden armor and he carries a long shining spear. His hair looks like the first rays of sunlight. His symbol is the dawning sun.

The Raven Queen – Goddess of Death

She forsook her true name in death and ascended into godhood to serve the people of the land. Her reputation is that of creepiness and darkness but she also has a gentle side to her. She is death but death is not always bad. She is most concerned with unnatural life and the perversion of natural death. She is a constant enemy of vampires, the undead, necromancers, and anybody else who would return from the dead to do evil. Because of the way people fear death, she does not have many followers but her name is often uttered at funerals of all faiths to keep loved ones from crawling from their graves and tombs. The followers she does have are dedicated to exterminating those who have unnaturally returned to walk the land. However, she does make exceptions for those earnestly resurrected with good intentions, knowing that letting a good adventurer return can mean all the difference in her constant crusade. She is a silent, enigmatic goddess. She wears dark armor that conceals her movements and a white porcelain mask that hides her features. Nobody knows what weapon she carries as nobody who has seen her use one has lived to tell the tale. Her symbol is the raven.

Ioun – Goddess of Knowledge

Above all things, Ioun hates an unrevealed secret. She feels that too many secrets lead to the division of society and causes pointless fighting. Why engage in fighting borne from ignorance when there are so many more real issues to debate? Ioun supports the revealing of secrets through education and the dissemination of information. She is a supporter of writing, reading, schools, and any other medium used to reveal the secrets of the universe. Ioun would be the first of the pantheon to admit that she is not omniscient. She constantly seeks out new knowledge and eagerly watches her followers’ progress towards amassing knowledge. She delights in discoveries and encourages the literal and figurative asking of questions. While most of her followers pursue magic, they are also credited with the modest advancements in science. It was most certainly her inspiration that helped create clockwork mechanisms. She takes the form of a young goddess, looking at the world with wide-eyed wonder but also holding a wisdom far beyond her apparent physical age. She is not really a fighter, only fighting in the past when it was absolutely necessary. She does not forbid violence for a good cause as she recognizes that there are plenty of great causes for violence. Her symbol is the open eye.

Saranrae – Goddess of Life

Patience and forbearance are definitely virtues of those who worship Saranrae. She does not push her followers to publicly praise her or to try and convert people to her cause. She prizes one earnest follower over a dozen insincere ones any day. She is the wellspring of life and a common source of healing magic for clerics and other healers. Her followers are often quiet about their religion, hoping that their good acts and curiosity will win their goddess new followers. Saranrae’s temples are beautiful but they are also usually simple and quickly constructed. They are a place of calm reflection and sanctuary from the bustle of city or town life. The goddess herself is non-violent, having never laid a hand on another with bad intentions in mind. However, she is not by any means a pacifist and understands and supports battle medics who pursue peace by any means necessary. She has a calming effect on her followers and also on the pantheon around her. She is often a voice of reason, urging the others to consult Ioun or look within their hearts before acting. During the last great battle, her magicks saved the lives of Lathander and Kord and they are eternally grateful. She appears as an unimposing woman except for the fact that she has two white wings growing from her back. Her symbol is the winged woman.

Sylvanus – God of Nature

Obviously, Sylvanus is mostly interested in nature and the untamed life on the land, the sea, and the sky. Sylvanus is the Oakfather and he is a proud father indeed. He loves to see the trees grow, wild animals flourish, and most of all he loves to see harmony between man and nature. While he is often uncomfortable with civilization, he is glad to see the masses of humanity clumped together instead of stomping all over creation. He definitely respects that everything has its place and gets pretty upset when the natural order of things is disturbed. While he loves to observe the trees and the remote grasslands, he also will direct his attention to the ocean depths and to high mountain peaks. Really, he just loves to watch the splendor of nature. He also supports the defense of that splendor. Druids are his favorite pupils but he also has great respect for those who respect nature like barbarians, rangers, and farmers. He will support any adventurer or follower who seeks to remove that which does not belong from the land. Abominations are particularly troubling to Sylvanus and he looks on chromatic dragons as troublemakers who twist what was already perfect in his eyes. He is a solid man who has always fought with a long gnarled wooden staff but somewhere along the line also took up archery, inspired by the rangers. His symbol is the oak leaf.

Akanay – Deity of Chaos

As Akanay will tell you, a little chaos in the world can be a good thing. Without change, there can be stagnation. Without challenges, there can be no improvement. Without interesting times, there is only boredom. And so chaos took a form to further its cause which is basically no cause. Basically, it took the form of a deity because they thought it would be fun. So far, they have not been disappointed. Akanay delights in those who act as agents of change when things are too sad and sober. By the way, I say ‘Deity of Chaos’ because Akanay is literally genderfluid as he/she/they takes whatever form pleased them in the moment. Her ways can be a bit too destabilizing for the others on the pantheon and beyond but they do have a reprieve. Akanay is obsessed with the sea because of its ever-swirling nature and often focuses her attention out there which allows others to catch their breath. Akanay also adores cats as they view them as bucking the system. It has become a common practice for ships to carry a cat on board to appease Akanay. Akanay does not have a common appearance but is often known to have multi-colored hair. Akanay also does not have any temples as building one kind of goes counter to their personality but Akanay’s name is mentioned often by sailors. Prayers to Akanay are also usually begging for the deity’s mercy, to look elsewhere. They have no symbol.

Kord – God of Battle

Kord is somebody who understands that battle is not necessarily an evil thing. Physical challenge, even in times of peace keeps the people healthy and works out all the negative energy they store inside. In fact, Kord does not battle angrily but is instead known to laugh as he hurtles headlong into the fray. He often transfers that joy for fighting to his followers. He supports entertaining martial arts like boxing and other hand-to-hand combat even in peacetime and his followers often set up fighting rings and arenas in his honor. In solemn times of war, Kord encourages brotherhood and sisterhood in battle and a togetherness unlike anything else on the planet. Followers of Kord take battle very seriously but also can be the first to crack a joke on the front lines to ease the tension a little bit. Kord does not judge how anybody does battle. While he personally wears plenty of armor and swings heavy weapons, he marvels at empty-handed monks going against armies with swords. He does, however, stress honor in battle especially when it is done for fun. In battles between good and evil, he is much more willing to see the rules bent in good’s favor. However, he stresses that bending the rules is a slippery slope toward the very evil that good combats daily. His symbol is the clenched fist.

Eloria

November 13, 2017

(This is an early draft of the basic description of the 5e D&D campaign setting I am working on)

Eloria Rough

Sitting on a huge peninsula at the base of the so-called Emerald Continent of Taldontei, Eloria is a jewel nearly surrounded by the Calm Sea. For centuries, it has been ruled by the Royal Family in an unbroken chain since Galen I led the armies in the First Great War, defeating the devil, Vistra, and his Orc/Fiend alliance. At that point, the borders of the kingdom were re-established with neighboring Shera and the castle was rebuilt. The people crowned Galen and he laid down his sword in order to lead and protect his people. The crown was passed down the line from King to Queen to King and so on. Now it adorns the head of the current King, Liam III. He is supported by his wife Gianna, his heir Ariana, and twin princes Galen and Bram.

The Kingdom of Eloria is divided into six districts that surround the capital where the royal residence is. The land was divided into districts by land type and each is locally managed by a noble house, supported by lesser noble houses. The King has full say but cannot micromanage and a lot of trust is placed on the nobles and the people to maintain both efficiency and harmony. To that end, the Crown took two major actions to make sure the kingdom was safe. Galen I established The Guard, a police force that is stationed in every municipality. These armored law keepers work with the noble houses and magistrates to mete out justice as fairly as possible.

Five years ago, Liam III established a new tradition with every intention for it to carry on into the future forever. Nine years ago, the Kingdom of Eloria fought in a war against the bordering kingdom of Shera to stop an invasion. Partway through that war, both sides were assaulted by an undead army lead by the returning devil, Vistra. Both armies, although weakened, campaigned to combat the horde and eventually defeated the threat. A truce was signed between Liam III and the new king of Shera.

Meanwhile, a large Chromatic Green Dragon took the opportunity to try and make the royal castle its new lair. A band of adventurers sprang to the castle’s defense in the king’s absence and slaughtered the dragon after a lengthy, difficult battle. As a reward, Liam III named that band of adventurers as an official royal fighting force. He called them the Royal Arsenal. Each of them was given a commission in a district of their choosing. Officially, they are officers in the military and can be called upon to face threats to the kingdom. In everyday life, they are in command of the Guard of the biggest city in their district.

And now, the Kingdom of Eloria thrives. It is still healing the wounds caused by the war with Shera but relations have normalized. Vistra has been sent back to the Nine Realms of Hell again and no signs of him or any new armies (undead or otherwise) have been spotted. Since the Kingdom is once again at peace after a long war, it is once again a great time for adventuring as the armies recover and the wilderness remains unguarded. Also, the current king has a very favorable opinion of adventuring parties. So, go forth adventurers and face the challenges of Eloria!

Points of Interest:

The Battle Arts Academy

A sprawling academy located in the district of Stull outside of the city of Hurlock. This is where The Guard and the King’s Army are trained. One of the Royal Arsenal, Sir Havelock is a part-time instructor at the academy and several former Army officers, Guard, and adventurers make up the rest of the faculty. There are other fighting schools in the kingdom but this is the most famous and elite.

The District of Orden

Orden is the tip of the peninsula. Its coasts are heavily fished in seasons and they are home to many ports of call for trading ships. Chief among those ports is Whitecrest, the de facto capital of Orden. The Arsenal member Gareth Whispernight is in charge of law and order in Whitecrest. The noble house of Whitecrest, from whom the city gets its name, is in charge of day to day operations and command their own fleet of ships.

The District of Stull.

The District of Stull borders Shera and the rest of the continent. It is known for its rougher terrain and hardy citizenry. The Cascius Mountains are a major feature of the district. Nestled at their base is the town of Hurlock and the famous Battle Arts Academy. The Arsenal member that lives there is Sir William Havelock who is also an instructor at the academy.

The District of Channon

This district lies near the heart of the kingdom, but a little to the east. Its most dominant feature is the vast Fangleth Forest, a small percentage of which has actually been explored. On the northern border of the forest is the city of Woodright, the de facto capital of the district. The Arsenal member who lives there is Morgan Moonglow who eagerly tracks criminals and monsters in the region.

The District of Hasse

At the center of the kingdom is Hasse which is mostly full of vast plains. Its most dominant feature is, of course, the walled city of Flameheart which is where the Royal Castle resides. Herds of wild horses roam the district which is a major source of horses for the kingdom outside of domesticated birth. Hasse itself is managed from Callida. The Arsenal member there is Galath Wyndham.

The District of Etting

Etting is nestled just south of Hasse and north of Orden. It is small but densely wealthy. It is the main home of Eloria’s alcohol production facilities, most of which are controlled by famous noble houses. The city of Silverlight has somehow maneuvered itself to be the second wealthiest city in the Kingdom but also the center of fashion and entertainment. The arsenal member is Percival Stardane.

The District of Coppin

On the northwestern coast of the kingdom is Coppin. It is most notable for a collection of magic schools as it has cultivated the trade of magical knowledge and the training of innate skill. The main town is Braddish. Cassandra Oakspring is the Arsenal member installed there.

Bron: Neverwinter Arrival

September 25, 2017

It had been a long trip from where Bron’s tribe roamed to the outskirts of Neverwinter. Bron found himself hesitating to check out the city. The thought of it was a bit overwhelming. Bron had been pretty careful to avoid civilization up until that point. The tribe had rarely been in towns before, preferring the wide open spaces and the freedom that lifestyle provided. The humans and dwarves and little folk towns he had seen had only been during attacks. Bron had been in orc towns on a few occasions and one goblin settlement to guard his tribe’s trade delegation. It was not a pleasant experience but nothing was really pleasant back then.

The Noonday Witch had told him to go West and this was the end of the west as far as Bron knew. Even if it was not, he did not know anything about boats and did not want to get on one. He did not know what to do about a city. What few thoughts he could manage were so tied up in that problem that he failed to notice the guard approaching him.

“Hey there, big fella,” the guard said. The man had a wary but amused look on his face. Bron immediately enjoyed the man’s apprehension. “Why are you staring at the city of Neverwinter? I guess glaring would be a better word, actually.”

“Is there a law against that?” Bron asked.

“No,” the guard said. “I don’t suppose there is but it will make people nervous. We get a lot of visitors walking past here and most of them are relatively clothed and clean.”

“I will go in when I am ready.”

“Do you need somebody to hold your hand?” The guard asked with a smile.

Bron narrowed his eyes. “I am Bron. I am scared of nothing.”

“Good,” the guard said. “The gates are open. My name is Aroc Blackstone. You behave yourself, alright?”

Bron was so taken aback by his manner of speaking that he simply just started walking past the man. He did not care who this little man was, Bron would show that he was not afraid. Bron had truly feared little in his life beyond the dark power of the warlock who lead his tribe. And even then, anger could be so much more powerful than fear. He walked through the gates and although he got a few second glances, nobody moved to stop him. He thought there would be several people trying to repel him. He had been raised to be the enemy and yet a lot of people paid him no mind.

He walked down the streets and saw all sorts of new things. His senses were in overdrive as he looked around. There were vendors shouting for people to buy their wares. There were all sorts of exotic looking people. Bron almost bumped into a Dragonborn woman. The woman did not apologize and neither did Bron, they simply stared at each other. If she was waiting for an apology, she would be waiting forever. She finally stepped aside and walked on her way and Bron walked on his. That was the first Dragonborn that Bron had ever seen. It was strange and Bron wanted to fight one immediately.

He continued to walk down the street. He saw men and women creeping in alleyways. He saw women hanging in doorways, calling out to men. He saw warriors, heavily armored and carrying gleaming weapons. He saw temples for the first time. People honoring gods outside of Gruumsh. There were the smells of good food and fresh ale. It was all so interesting. Bron had little experience with all of it.

“Where are you headed to?” A dwarf asked from the open door of an inn. For the second time, Bron had been caught off guard.

“My business,” Bron said. He started to walk

“Where are the rest of your clothes?” The dwarf asked, spitting on the street to punctuate the sentence.

“What clothes?” Bron asked.

“You’re as dumb as you are ugly, aren’t you?” The dwarf asked, narrowing his eyes.

Bron grunted. “I don’t care about thinking,”

“Alright. I’ll try not to tax you. There will be no thinking necessary,” The Dwarf said. “How about a job? A place of your own?”

“A place of my own?” Bron asked. He had never owned anything besides his weapons and the food he hunted or took by force. The thought of his own territory no matter how small was an appealing thought. He could start to make a name for himself here. He could show his strength and earn the respect or fear of those around him. Through those two emotions, he could earn power. Power to do as he wished. The look in his eye grew far too excited and he could sense the dwarf move a little nervously, a little bit of doubt creeping in.

“There is a room upstairs. Unfurnished. I don’t suppose you need any furniture, though. You can stay here if you work for me as a bouncer,” the Dwarf said.

“A bouncer?” Bron asked. “What is that? Is it a kind of warrior?”

“You stand near the door. Anybody who is inside that I want outside, you make that happen,” The Dwarf said. “Anybody who is outside who I want to stay outside, you also make that happen. You exert my will on other people.”

“Will there be fights?” Bron asked with a smile.

“Sure,” the Dwarf said. “As much as you can handle and all the ale you can drink as long as you’re still standing enough to do your job.”

Dungeons and Dragons and More

April 5, 2017


My friends and my enemies.

Dungeons and Dragons is something that I ran in parallel to for a long time before recently getting to play it for real. I listened to podcasts and read the literature. I played a forum version of it which is just not the same thing. Dungeon and Dragons is not a whole lot different from most tabletop roleplaying games. It is a system of collaborative storytelling where you and friends are playing both with and against a friend calling themselves the dungeon master (or game master). Tabletop roleplaying puts you into the shoes of your character and you must control them as you act and react in an imaginary world. Personally, it has helped me come out of my shell a little more.


Like most young kids in the nineties, I wanted to be a vampire at one point or another.

I was a shy kid. I talked to my friends but I did not take a whole lot of chances when it came to social skills. As a hopeless introvert, becoming somebody else was my fantasy. I wanted to be somebody interesting. I played a lot of video games but when I grew up, games were played by yourself or with one friend. A woman I had a crush on in theater told me that she and her friends played a game called Vampire: The Dark Ages. I was enraptured by her stories. I really wanted to play too but I was kind of underage at the time so that invitation never came. I created characters on my own but I never got up the courage to ask my friends to play. Some of them probably would have done it but I will never know now.


And yes, you can work through some issues with roleplaying.

Now that I am running with a group, I wonder how I was ever not doing this. Also, I realize how helpful it is. It forces me to make decisions about what I want to do and what I must do during pretty dire straits. However, those dire straits are imaginary so there is a very low risk. Dungeons and Dragons is really good with this. The game can turn brutal in an instant and what was looked easy has now brought you to death’s door. Will you go down the left or right path? Will you attack the ogre or his wizard pal? In this safe space, you get to act as something more than yourself. The fantasy is an outlet for seeing different parts of yourself. Most of my characters spring from something I wish I was or I hope I am not.


I resisted making this next bit political.

There is also the axis of alignment. That is an incredibly important concept that arose in roleplaying games and Dungeons and Dragons in particular. It actually teaches a bit about the real world. On the far left of the axis is chaotic and the far right is lawful. In between is a spectrum between lawlessness and lawfulness. On the bottom of the axis is evil and on the top is good. In between is the spectrum of kindness and spite. In the exact center is neutralness. I have thought recently about who I am. I know that when I was younger I was lawful good but as you saw in an earlier story, I wanted to be seen as chaotic good. Now, I think I am somewhere in between. I am neutral good. I want to work towards the good of all people but I understand that some laws are good and some laws are bad and you cannot just obey the law blindly.


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