Archive for April, 2012


To May, leaving April

30 April, 2012

Tomorrow brings the first day of May.  May was Maius in Latin and was named after the Greek goddess Maia, probably, who is associated with Spring.  So, what shall the theme be for May?  Spring and nature?  The fae and faerie?  Something else?  Let me know.

Unsurprisingly April’s writings were dominated by the A to Z Blogging Challenge, which I am pleased to say I completed (second year running).  So, the posts for April, 2012, were:

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Seattle Scream (#33) prop and Shadowrun report

29 April, 2012

My monthly Shadowrun demo/continuing campaign moves on with the largest turnout yet (9 players!) and here is the latest Seattle Scream #33 used pregame and, yes, devil rats did make an appearance in the scenario.

I also had an opportunity to play Shadowrun!  I know, crazy right?  We are using a shared world, so most of the characters from the game I run were used while I played Slappy, ancient explosives expert from California, complete with green hat with a flower in it and an umbrella (she models her runner persona on Slappy Squirrel for those who did not immediately grok the reference) who was an absolute blast (pun intended) to play.


New Magic Item – Portable Bath

29 April, 2012

“Squire, bring fourth my bath,” called Sir Liormore.

“Where will you get water?”  asked Sir Tyenvel, looking around the empty plain.

“Just wait and see,” grinned Sir Liormore.

Portable Bath

These items are composed of a two wooden panels two foot wide and three foot tall with two brass handles on the top of each, usually a markers mark is placed on one of the panels.  It is heavier than it appears but not so much that it cannot be moved by a single person.

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Otherplaces – Zand, Gold Stream of (A to Z Challenge, Z)

26 April, 2012

Yes, it is true, it is out there.  I have seen it.  It is a river of liquid gold, but not burning hot, not like molten gold should be.  More like water for tea hot, you can burn yourself but you can avoid it if you are careful.  But taking gold from the steam, an art and a challenge, it does not give up its bounty easily.

Gold Stream of Zand

Among the jagged hills, sheer cliff and blasted valleys that make up the land known as Higher Zand, there is one thing -and one thing along- that draws people up into them, the gold stream.  At dawn it appears, running a new course through the sharp stones, cutting through loose rock and pouring into pools, and then vanishing back into the earth, as the entire stream does as duck before reemerging again the next day.  When it vanishes at night, it leaves almost nothing behind, a few nuggets might be found where it passed but that is rare.  If you want the gold, you must pluck it from the stream while it is flowing.

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Otherplaces – Yotenschlachtfeld, Blasted Plain of (A to Z Challenge, Y)

25 April, 2012

When the giants heard that the gods had been slain and felt the world shatter, their rulers called their armies and began to prepare for war.  But the Empress was already prepared and the massed flights of the dragon descended on the giant as they gathered.  The battle lasted a day and a night but the giants were not organized and the dragons were flying powerfully on the strength of the godsblood they had consumed.

At the end of the battle, the nobility of the giants had been slain and their army shattered.  Thus the Giantkin would not be a serious threat to the Dragon Imperium.

Blasted Plain of Yotenschlachtfeld

Even a millennium later this place is still recognizable as a battlefield, and one where terrible things happened, the ground is torn and rent, columns of unmelting ice are lit by pools of ever burning flame.  The only thing lacking is bodies and a few of those can be found where a dragon or giant’s body was melded into the earth through powerful magics and no one has been willing to risk breaking them free.  All of the loose bodies and other items have long since been looted, leaving it a quiet, haunted place of reflection.

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Otherplaces – Xarixes, Stone Army of (A to Z Challenge, X)

24 April, 2012

The hilltop had been fortified, the walls were lined with guardians, it was only as we crept closer did we realize that they were statues, carved and armed as though they were soldiers dating from a distant age.  Inside the walls was a palace surrounded by parade fields and a small number of barracks.   Even there, the statues of soldiers were everywhere, a army of them.  But all was quiet, no living being seemed about.

It was as we moved among them, closer to the central palace, that someone observed that the grounds and buildings were in perfect repair, as were the statues . . .

Stone Army of Xarixes

Abandoned by people

The Fortress

The Emperor Xarixes defeated by an alliance of petty city-states in his drive to conquer, retreated to gather a new army and resume his conquest once all was prepared.  His advisers and his children were worried about his obsession, and slowly maneuvered him out of power, moving him to a newly build fortress-palace to “oversee the raising of the army” and cycled small numbers of soldiers through to keep him happy.  Once he was seen talking to suits of armor as though they were soldiers, they started replacing some of the soldiers with statues, and as Xarixes demands for new and varied troops increased, it became easier to assign sculptors than to send new troops.  Then, at some point, all of the living people vanished from the fortress and all that were left were the statues.

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Otherplaces – Wollanfuft, Bottomless Well of (A to Z Challenge, W)

23 April, 2012

Wells should have a source or at least a bottom, the well at the center of the village of Wollandfuft has neither.  The water is so clear that you can almost see all the way down and, yet, it seems to go down forever.

Bottomless Well of Wollanfuft

The mountain village of Wollandfuft is in an otherwise unremarkable place apart from the well, the neat stone houses with steep roofs are just like any other in the region.  But the well is known all around the area, almost everyone withing a days travel has visited it at least once.  The well is steep sided, descending straight down and the water is clear, oh so clear, when the sun is above the well you can stare down into the depths forever and ever.

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Otherplaces – Vys, Silver Tower of (A to Z Challenge, V)

22 April, 2012

The rulers who founded the kingdom of Vys sought a land ruled by justice and virtue.  The silver tower was an attempt to ensure that goal.  It is said that the wall of tower are only pure when the ruler is, as a ruler falls to vice and corruption, the surface of the tower tarnishes.

Silver Tower of Vys

At the heart of the capital city of the kingdom of Vys is a tall silver tower surrounded by a walled garden.  It is in this tower that the princes and princesses of the kingdom are raised and educated under the watchful eyes of the Knights-Tutorial.  During special occasions, the public is allowed into the garden but never into the tower itself.  It was thought that the heirs of the kingdom should be raised where they could see the people they would be responsible for on a daily basis.

The exterior of the tower is plated in a thin layer of silver, magic has been used to make it seamless, though there are windows and doors, the same magic keeps it beautiful and uncorrupted as long as the ruler is just and pure.  The heirs of Vys are raised in a highly structured and competitive way, with moral instruction being the centerpiece of the curriculum of the Knights-Tutorial.  As all of the children of the extended royal family are in competition for Crown, the word of the Grandmaster of the Knights-Tutorial weighs heavily as to deciding which heir will inherit the kingdom.

Occasionally outside scholars or specialists, occasionally even venturers, are invited in to the tower to teach specific lessons or tell their stories to the heirs.  It is considered a great honor and, as such, only pays a token amount.

As no one is entirely free of temptation, the reading of the patterns of tarnish on the tower has become a cottage industry among the townsfolk.  The exact amount of tarnish on the tower that will trigger the removal of a reigning sovereign is unknown but it is known that a level of one part in ten is not sufficient to do so.


Review – Resnet’s Spellbook

22 April, 2012

Resnet’s Spellbook provides a wide variety of new spells and there are some good ideas here, especially the new bard spells, but it is a mixed bag.

Resnet’s Spellbook is a spell sourcebook for the D20/OGL/3.x Fantasy written by Quentin Hudspeth and published by Hudspeth’s Games.  A variety of other formats are included, .mobi, .epub, along with pretty, printer and screen friendly PDF versions so you should be able to find a version that you can read comfortably.

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Otherplaces – Ul’Ulasian, Dancing Sands of (A to Z Challenge, U)

21 April, 2012

Where the winds blow sweetly and the sand sigh in harmony, there you will see and hear the most wonderful things.  Dancers that skill and beauty defy the imaginations of mortals.  But do not join the dances, for if you do, you may join the dancers forever and never return.

Dancing Sands of Ul’Ulasian

In an area between three oasis, a area frequented by the caravans that travel across the burning sands of the desert is a place, never quite in the same place twice making it impossible to deliberately avoid, where the sands are laced with crystals.  During the day the winds blow the crystals into pleasing patterns that flash and dance in the sun.  Occasional faint musical chiming can be heard, if one stops to watch, the chiming continues and intensifies and the patterns begin to solidify into dancing forms, beautiful humanoids, matching the viewers ideals of beauty, skilled and flexible.

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