Archive for April, 2015


May be May begins, Goodbye to April

30 April, 2015

It is almost May.  May is Maius in Latin and probably named after the Greek goddess Maia, who is associated with Spring.  So, what shall the theme be for May?  The fae and faerie?  Spring and nature?  Gods and religion?  Something else?  Let me know.

April, 2015, saw the successful completion of the A-to-Z Challenge for this year and some campaign reports and that was all I had time to fit in beside my work on the Sea of Stars Kickstarter.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Zebra, Riding (A to Z Challenge, Z)

30 April, 2015

Zebra, Riding

Zebra as draft animalsIn the aftermath of the Sundering many areas suffered unusual patterns of destruction, and occasionally creation, but in several areas, horses were almost entirely wiped out and the nearest creature to replace them were zebras.  Zebras can serve in the same role as horses and ponies but not in the role of larger horses.  But teams of them can still be used to pull carts and wagons.

However, zebra are skittish and prone to panic making them nearly useless for military uses.  While zebra can be used to ride to battle but it not recommended that they be ridden in battle.  On the bright side, zebra are hardy and resistant to disease making them very useful for all other tasks.

Treat zebra as ponies or light horses, as is appropriate to their size, with the following additional abilities:

  • Hardy, zebra gain a +2 racial bonus to saves against disease.
  • Skittish, zebra suffer a-2 morale penalty to saves against fear.

Notes: Like X, Z is not the easiest letter to work with.  And with this, the A to Z Challenge for 2015 is successfully concluded.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons and is the Public Domain


PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Bad Racist! No Bomb!” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

30 April, 2015

To understand what is going on here, you had best read the first PinkCat: Running in the Shade post, but short summary, this is a campaign report for our Shadowrun campaign set in NorCal through the filter of a cartoon made by one of the team members.

Episode Nine: Bad Racist!  No Bomb!

Guest Starring: Clawz.

The happy trio are visiting some of their friends in the Friendsville Unified High School when they stumble over a group of mean doberman dogs who are picking on a camel student.  Clawz and Glitter break it up and the dogs retreat saying, “You’ll be sorry for messing with us!  Dogs forever!”  Pink does some net research and finds that the local area is plagued with dog-superiorist propaganda and even pipe-bomb attacks on local non-dog businesses.  They decide that this must be stopped.  Investigation follows and it is discovered that the doberman students are stealing from school supplies to build their bombs.  So, cue comic sneak about and absurd traps to catch the bad dogs.  With Officer Bloodhound trying to catch Pink and co.  End result, Officer Bloodhound, who may be a jerk but he is not a racist, catches the bad dogs with a passel of bomb making supplies in one of his traps and then pretends that was his plan all along.  Baddies go to jail while Pink and co slip away quietly to get burgers and fries.  The end.

What really happened: Read the rest of this entry ?


Ypisaran Serpentfolk (A to Z Challenge, Y)

29 April, 2015

Ypisaran Serpentfolk

Tea with a SerpentladyThe Serpentfolk are the children of the goddess Ypisara, though she is now only acknowledged as the great mother of their race.  A minor race, they weathered the war of against the gods and the Sundering better than most due to the act of submission and self-sacrifice by Ypisara in exchange for the protection of the Empress, she gave her life willingly to the Dragon Queen.

Since then, her children have thrived, in a restrained fashion, under the protective eye of the Empress who acts as their patron and protector.

Personality: The Serpentfolk are a dedicated and loyal people, devoted to their communities and, in a vague sense, the Empire as a whole.  While each of the serpentfolk is their own person they often think of themselves as part of a chain of community and tend to weight the good of the group over the good of the individual. Read the rest of this entry ?


Xyston of Dragon Warding (A to Z Challenge, X)

28 April, 2015

Xyston of Dragon Warding

Spears against dragonsThese long spears are tipped with a sharp blade on one end and a simple spike on the other, the steel of which is discolored as if exposed to extreme heat, the wood of the shaft is dyed a dark grey from alchemical agents it has been treated with.  The spear is heavier than one would expect and gives a great feeling of solidity.  These spears were original constructed for an order of temple guards that had reason to fear dragon attacks, after the Sundering, the method for making them was almost lost except that the dwarves spent a great deal of blood and treasure in assembling the knowledge needed to recreate them.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Wayism (A to Z Challenge, W)

27 April, 2015


The Way is the Tao is the . . .The Way is the Way.  Wayism is as much a philosophy as a belief in higher powers, while existing before the Sundering, it has spread widely since then filling a need among people for guidelines to live by.  The Way denotes something that is both the origins of and the motivating force of all that exists.  A good life is one that is lived in harmony with both the Way and each person’s unique individual way.

Wayist seemliness and ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but they tend to emphasize action through non-action, harmony with the natural world, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Jewels: compassion, moderation, and humility, which form the foundation of Wayist thought and action.

Wayism is in all ways, a faith of the people and is deeply intertwined with folk medicine and magic, divination (primary astrology and coin reading), alchemy and dealing with supernatural threats to the community.  Wayist Ghost Hunters are common in some areas and there is a thriving trade in Wayish charms and talismen.  Only in a few places is Wayism intertwined with the official power structure, usually at best, it runs parallel to the official government providing informal routes to negotiate around official problems.

As it is primarily passive and accepting, the Draconic Imperium has never seen any reason to impose ban or limitations on the practice of Wayism and even a few dragons have found themselves falling in harmony with the philosophy of the Way.

Wayist clerics have access to the following domains: Community, Healing, Repose and Travel.

Notes: While the name is entirely stolen from the Andromeda TV series, the philosophy of Wayism is entirely rooted in the Tao.

Photo from Kevin Dooley and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Villains (A to Z Challenge, V)

25 April, 2015


Who are the villains of the Sea of Stars?  It depends on how you define villain, wikitonary defines one as:

  1. A vile, wicked person.
    1. An extremely depraved person, or one capable or guilty of great crimes.
    2. A deliberate scoundrel.
  2. The bad person in a work of fiction; often the main antagonist of the hero.

The dragons are, or could be, the bad persons / main antagonist of a campaign but they do not have to be.  Only a clawfull of dragons, such as Ba’ai’ai, are actively and deliberately evil.  Most dragons are just self-centered and ambitious, they are certainly excellent antagonists but they do not seek to be wicked or vile, they just want what they want and they are powerful enough they people who get in their way, get hurt when they are pushed out of the way.

The Empress take great pride in minimizing collateral damage, which is why she took the War with the Gods to the Heavens (and Hells) rather than fighting on the planet itself, even though the gods would have been weaker there.  That is not to say that innocents were not hurt but that was not the Empress’ intention.  The cynical would say it was because she wished to rule over them but, after the dragons’ victory, she gave even those who had served the Gods a chance to renounce their allegiance and not become her enemy.  So, mercy or greed?  Only the Empress can answer that question.

Beside the dragons, there are the Sen’tek, who sought to overthrow the dragons and take their place as rulers and would try again given the chance.  A variety of militant states seek new conquests and to expand at the expense of their neighbors.  Wizards and sorcerers seek lost secrets and powerful artifacts from before the Sundering to increase their ability to wield magic.  Cults are willing to cross any boundary to restore their gods to the world.  The Dwarves seek wealth and knowledge to prepare and finance their defense against the dragons, what lengths would you go to in order to keep your people safe?

There are no end of people likely to be at odds with venturers on the Sea of Stars.  Which will you cross paths with?

Notes: Dragons are the obvious villains of the piece but far from the only ones that exist.


Underworld (A to Z Challenge, U)

24 April, 2015


Wonders are hidden beneath the groundThere are underground complexes, networks of caves, deep mines and hidden seas nestled in the hearts of the islands of the Sea of the Stars.  Some of the islands are miles thick and have immense areas to be explored and exploited.

The dwarves, of course, have dug deep but cautiously, they use proven techniques and technologies, expanding at a measured pace.  The dwarves wish no surprises and to loose no lives, if possible.  They still have a lingering fear of dragons and they wish to husband people and material in case that conflict does materialize.  But they wish to refine their skills and gather new resources and develop new materials, they take the long, institutional, view of what needs to be done to protect their people and culture.

The Sen’tek are more willing to takes risks, using exotic technologies, slaves and unusual beasts to aid in their excavations, to expand their Homewarrens.  The Sen’tek -unlike the dwarves- know that the dragons are actively seeking to destroy them and they need all of the weapons they muster to defend themselves.  The threat is so great that they consider the risks to be justified.

Humans and others explore the depths of the shattered world as well, indeed some of the Draconic Houses have vast mining concerns, but they rarely dig as far down as the dwarves and Sen’tek.

But within the underworld are lost kingdoms, fragments of hells, fae palaces and other wonderful and strange things waited to be found . . . waiting to be freed.  Mysterious cults hold occult rituals in hidden caves, wizards and alchemist build underground labs away from prying eyes and criminals and revolutions make their plans in caves, a wealth of opportunities hidden below your feet.

Notes: More places to explore and adventure to find.

Photo from colourjungle and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic lisense.


Tea (A to Z Challenge, T)

23 April, 2015


Fancy a cup?Tea is one of the most widely traded and drunk beverages in the Sea of Stars with new types and blends being developed yearly.  Tea is a low weight but high value item well suited for transport by Sky Ships, it can be packed in boxes, tines or pressed into bricks.  Magic is even used to pack and seal tea for transport.

Tea is primarily grown in the lands of and near to the Jade Pillar Empire, indeed it is rumored that agents of the Jade Pillar have sought out and destroyed tea plantations outside of their sphere of influence.  If such rumors are true, they have not been entirely successful in eliminated distant fields of tea but they are fewer and smaller than one might expect.

A few magically enhanced strain of tea have been created that thrive in unlikely area, for example Blue Ice Tea is planted on the glaciers of Osilindan but it takes years to grow enough to be harvested and it is rare outside of its homeland.  Herbal blends, or tisanes, are found across the Sea of Stars especially among those who cannot pay the price of imported teas.

The Empress is said to enjoy a cup, or more, or tea each day which may account for part of it popularity.

Notes: Just a last minute piece to keep the A to Z on schedule and, well, tea is neat.

Photo from A Girl With Tea and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic lisense.


Sisters of the Swan (A to Z Challenge, S)

22 April, 2015

Sisters of the Swan

Enjoying a swimThe Abbey on the Lake of White Lilies was famous for the honor and learning of its sisters and the beautiful swans that populated the lake.  They were not warriors but healers, scholars and gardeners.  When the Dragons launched their attack on the gods, all the sisters could do was pray.

When the Empress visited the Abbey after the sundering, a fragment of a heaven had lodged in the lake and the lilies had changed to gold and the sisters and the swans had been melted together.  The transformation was rough for some, wings for arms or exceeding long necks, others had been killed outright, their new bodies unsuitable for the world.  The Empress used her magic to heal and reform them, making the form of woman and swan, separate, but allowing them to switch between the two.

The Abbey on the Lake of Gold Lilies remains under Imperial jurisdiction and remains a center of learning.  It exports fine lace, goose down and illuminated manuscripts.

Physical Description: The Sisters of the Swan are willowy and graceful with long necks and usually pale skin, pale hair is common as well but their eyes are dark.  Their faces tend to be narrow with large eyes.  They have long delicate fingers and long toes on their feet, with webbing between their toes.

Read the rest of this entry ?

%d bloggers like this: