Posts Tagged ‘Dungeons and Dragons’

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 White 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. Its 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.

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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.

Media Update 2/9/17

February 9, 2017


The Librarians

I have seen the first Librarian movie and I liked it well enough that I have seen bits and pieces of the sequels. I love the idea of a secret organization that must protect the world from the myths and legends that are usually dismissed as fiction or urban legend. It is a very similar idea to Warehouse 13 but with a slightly different flavor. The show was created by the very awesome Dean Devlin who also created Leverage. It has a lot of the feel that Leverage had with a mix of action, intelligence and comedy with a few moments of emotion thrown in. I have to step in here and admit that I only started watching this show halfway through season two because I am late to the show and I have not obtained season 1 and 2 to watch it in order yet. Still, the show was really easy to pick up right in the middle of a major story arc and they did a good job with the characterizations that made them easy to understand.

Like Leverage and Warehouse 13, every episode is epic but manageable. Noah Wyle returns from the movies but is more of a special guest and not guaranteed to be in every episode. Instead, we get a team headed up by Rebecca Romijn who is an excellent ex-military character. Previously, I had only seen her in blue makeup in the X-Men movies. She is joined by Christian Kane, who is always awesome. John Laroquette is great as their mentor. I absolutely fell in love with newcomers John Harlan Kim and Lindy Booth. More than anything, I love how the show is a celebration of learning things through a love of research. I definitely recommend it.


Emerald City

There are two stories that I will always go back to that have a goldmine full of great imagery. One of them is Alice in Wonderland and the other is the Oz books and movie. The Wizard of Oz has been adapted over and over and I have checked out the majority of those adaptations. I really enjoyed The Wiz Live and Wicked particularly. So when I saw a trailer for the new show coming out that would be adapting the Wizard of Oz, I knew I would have to check it out. The show is set in modern times which is not exactly a new idea (Tin Man) but it is definitely interesting right off the bat. Dorothy is not a young girl but is instead a highly competent nurse. Wicked was given a good name because it was clearly a look at the story through the eyes of The “wicked” witch of the west.

I think that it is fitting that this show is called Emerald City because it deals more with the politics between the Wizard, the witches, the land of Oz and the newcomer Dorothy. It includes a lot more characters from the books and has very little to do with the 1939 movie. I am fine with that because I love adaptations that bring some new energy to the table. So far, the writing has been on point and I really have no idea where the story is going next when I watch each episode but when things do happen, they feel right. Much respect so far to Adria Arjona as Dorothy and Ana Ularu as West. Both of them add new facets to familiar characters. Vincent D’Onofrio is great as The Wizard, showing that simmering crazy energy that he has made his trademark lately. I definitely recommend this one as it is just beginning.


The Last Witchunter

It is interesting to me that I finally watched this movie just before starting my first ever Dungeons and Dragons game with my friends. Vin Diesel is an avid D&D player (he apparently even taught Judi Dench how to play) and has been playing the game for years. This movie was kind of his dream project. The main character is based on a character he rolled up years ago who was a custom ranger build that included some other spellcraft. The opening of the movie even looks like a D&D party going after the big villain of their long campaign.

We fast forward to modern times and Vin Diesel is so good in this movie. It is clear that he really liked the character and plays it with subtle humor and depth. I quickly fell in love with Rose Leslie’s character who had an interesting take on witchcraft and was anything but just a side piece for Vin Diesel. Michael Caine and Elija Wood were also great but both of them have never turned in a bad performance. At least, not that I have seen. I thought the visuals were really good. Where possible, they did practical effects but the digital effects were really smooth and felt like they had weight. It felt like a more expensive version of the great effects that I have seen in The Magicians. I really liked the feel of the story. It concerned itself with how to deal with the past and how that past affects the future and if somebody even belongs in the future. I definitely recommend this movie. It was trippy but a fun ride.

Music of the Week:

Adelitas Way – Ready for War (Pray for Peace)

Sick Puppies – Gunfight

LazyTown – Dansa, Áfram Dansa!

The Dresden Dolls – Backstabber

Chris Dane – Shine on Me

Weekly Update:
– I’m on Season 4 of Haven
– I finished Season 6 of Parks and Recreation
– I’ve watched more Law and Order SVU that I had not seen
– I have been watching Conan again
– I am starting to plan for April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge
– I am also starting to plan for my annual Halloween event as well
– I have been watching a new show that I may reveal soon
– I did not watch the Super Bowl. The Ravens were not in it.
– This week’s theme is “Policing Magic”

Media Update 11/24/2016

November 24, 2016


The Grinder

I knew I was going to watch this show when I heard the premise around the time I started thinking about studying the law. After the election, I decided to watch it and it is a very funny and relevant show right now. Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson, an actor who played a lawyer on television. He has now decided to help out at his brother’s actual law firm. It is a great story about a man with a ton of ideas but no training trying to bluster his way through being successful. Meanwhile, his intelligent and well-trained brother comes in and saves the day. It is a great story about how you cannot just charge into a situation and be successful without knowing the rules. The rules matter and watching somebody with great confidence fail and adapt is very funny and interesting to me. Fred Savage, who plays Stewart Sanderson, often acts as the last sane man and tries to reign in his brother. Happily, Savage is not viewed as the villain for doing this because he is both correct and Lowe’s character is usually being flagrantly ridiculous. A lot of the humor comes from the clash between the everyman and the celebrity. There is a big of vaudeville in Fred Savage’s performance and a ton of melodrama in Rob Lowe’s performance. The two characters slowly start to affect each other so that they can take on a bit of each other’s positive characteristics. They are backed by a great cast and great guest stars. The first episode even has Kumail Nanjiani in it. It is a little unfortunate that a good show like this went off of the air so quickly but there is a lot of that going around. I definitely recommend it, especially for how it tears apart shows like Boston Legal, JAG and Law and Order.


The Big Short

I was glad to have an excuse to make myself watch this one because I have had access but had not gotten around to watching this movie. It was right up my alley. First, it had Christian Bale in it and that is an automatic point in favor of a movie for me. Christian Bale does not really play sane and normal people and this movie is no different. Here he plays a guy in charge of managing an investment fund who is a genius who is good with math but not people. He sets in motion a chain of events which leads to himself and others shorting the US housing market in 2007. Everybody thinks they are crazy because up until 2007 the housing market was mostly stable. As we know, the subprime mortgage crisis along with horrible banking practices created a financial crisis that we are still recovering from. Early on, the movie is actually kind of funny and quirky as we meet our characters. As it continues, it becomes more of a horror movie as the characters begin to realize just how messed up things are and how doomed the economy is. It is also a story of realists vs. optimists as we see professional economists and bank representatives try to paint on a smile as the world starts to burn around them. The movie could have been much more melodramatic but one of the things that breaks the tension a bit is the constant breaking of the fourth wall. The characters (who are based on real people) turn to the camera and explain the economic and banking concepts involved or explain what happened in real life. They also cut to famous celebrities three times to help explain things which is great because it gets a bit complicated. Slowing down to explain the concepts really helped the movie. It ended up being a really good but sickening movie because a lot of the stuff in it really happened. I definitely recommend it.


Dice, Camera, Action: The Curse of Strahd

The tabletop roleplay gaming group that I am in is gearing up to play Dungeons and Dragons. While I have watched my share of streams and listened to podcasts, I am not completely in tune with the new fifth edition rules. As I have stated in the past, I am a huge fan of “Commander” Holly Conrad who is a YouTuber and a cosplay wizard. I am also a fan of Chris Perkins, who has become kind of a dungeon master to the stars as a Wizards of the Coast employee. So, it was a no-brainer to start watching episodes of this stream. Watching it reminds me of our gaming group and how our characters instantly like or hate each other and all of the group dynamics. The story is also interesting as it covers a module called The Curse of Strahd which is set away from The Sword Coast or the Forgotten Realms. Instead, the players are magically transported to a new but dark land where vampires are the main threat. This makes the story pretty dark and Halloween-y but the players manage to keep it light. For instance, they call themselves the Waffle Crew and constantly bicker and snark at each other. I was not as acquainted with the other players but I really like NateWantsToBattle and Jared Knabenbauer who both know their stuff. I have absolutely fallen in love with the sunny, silly portrayal of a paladin that Anna Prosser Robinson achieves. Of course, I love Holly’s socially awkward tiefling warlock and her epic weirdness. I am way behind on this show but I will continue to watch it.

Music of the Week:

Cashmere Cat – Trust Nobody ft. Selena Gomez, Tory Lanez

Slapbak ft. Miss Aleida “Dance All Night”

Television – See No Evil

Em Sea Water- The Box Theory

Train – Play That Song

Weekly Updates:
– I watched more Galavant and it just gets better and better
– I watched a lot of Markiplier’s Undertale streams
– As I mentioned, I watched a ton of WWE programming
– I watched a bit more Lucifer
– I continued Once Upon a Time Season 6
– This week’s theme is “The Importance of Rules”
– Happy Thanksgiving!


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