Archive for February, 2019


Marching out of February

28 February, 2019

Ares/MarsWith the start of March the Equinox and Spring draw near, though with the weather here cannot make up its mind on what it wants to do.  The name of March is drawn from the Roman month Martius which in turn gains its name from Mars, the Roman god of war (and more a soldier than a warrior as opposed to his Greek counterpart Ares).

The theme for March is the military and things martial.  If there is anything in particular you would like to see, please let me know.  I will try to do something, spell or item, for the Equinox as well.

February, 2019, this journal saw the following posts here:

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Making Magic Wondrous – February RPG Blog Carnival Wrap Up

28 February, 2019

Magic is ColorfulAs is the way of February, it comes to a close quickly and with it, February 2019’s RPG Blog Carnival on Making Magic Wondrous comes to an end (though late submissions are always welcome).

The introductory article is here.  And I wrote a supporting piece, Everyday Magic in the Sea of Stars.


Roll4Net brings us the 3 Laws of Magic, showing how magic can work in a world.  And it is supported by the 3 Laws of Enchantment as well.

The Library of Legends uses an eponymously named article to look at magic items and gives advice I strongly agree with (I removed Detect Magic from the Sea of Stars years ago).

Codex Anathema looks at The Color of Magic to see what Magic: the Gathering can suggest to designing magic systems for RPGs.

Campaign Mastery, who is hosting March’s Carnival, contributed the math heavy but intriguing The Language Of Magic: A Sense of Wonder for the Feb 2019 Blog Carnival.

Thank you all for your words and thoughts!

Notes: Photo is “colour drops” by friedwater is licensed under CC by 2.0.


Everyday Magic in the Sea of Stars

27 February, 2019

Magic is everywhere in the Sea of Stars, it is a constant, like air and sunlight.  Almost everyone knows a worker of magic in some form, villagers would know a hedge wizard, priest or witch, townsfolk meet alchemists, priests and wizards, while those in the cities may know those who follow an even more exotic path.

Many, even most, people know one or two small magics to make their tasks easier, charms to keep milk from curdling, a cantrip to keep a needle sharp for a seamstress, and other such things.  These narrowly focused spells can be used once or twice a day are with in the realm of almost anyone with even a spark of mystical talent to learn.  Guilds keep their specialized magics, no matter how small, secret and are only taught as people move upward through the ranks.  Farmers pass their tricks and charms to their children.

Colorful imageOver the years and centuries, many magic items have been constructed and enchanted.  Many of those are for small or frivolous things, enchanted combs, magical serving sets and such.  The dragons value luxury and convenience, leading to a continuing expansion in the creation of helpful items that have filtered down to the wealthy and even to the middle class (and no small number have become Visse family heirlooms).  While expensive, the durability and usefulness of such items often make them worthwhile purchases for major occasions, such as marriages, so their number in circulation grows.

Those who live in the countryside and the wilds have their own traditions of folk magic to call upon, it is rarely as long lasting as the carefully constructed masterpieces of the wizards and guilds but they serve their purpose of helping the community in good times and ill.  Druids and others with understanding of natural lore guide magic into living things, growing magic items for later use ranging from as simply as unspoiling fruit to as complex as living buildings.

If you listen in the right places, there are rumors of divine items predating the Sundering hidden in lost temples or abandoned shrines, must of these have long since been looted (not least by the dragons) but a few unspoiled troves of such valuable magics must still exist.

So, for those seeking magic there are many places to go searching.  Occasionally wizards guilds (or other magical organization) will organize expeditions to investigate folk magic, which do not usually work as well as either side might hope.  Others seeking lost magical items among the heirlooms and artifacts of families, treasure hunters and confidence tricksters to profit from acquring such, legitimate researchers and historians to study them.

This also mean that people who consciously eschew or avoid magic are looked at as being a bit strange, who would abandon such useful everyday tools?  But they are usually just viewed and treated as being eccentric, not actively dangerous, unless they start trying to stop other people from using magic.

Notes: A late add to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival.

Picture is from the ‘Talbot Shrewsbury book’ held by the British Library and is in the Public Domain.



Tuesday Magic Item – Dust of Dispatch

26 February, 2019

Source of the dust?“I care not for that new wizard, they seem to . . . attracted to power,” said Voddick, watching said wizard performing some sort of ritual.

“Truth,” said Gollaon.  “I fear that one dips into necrourgy and, perhaps, more dangerous arts.”

Voddick grimaced.  “That is likely to cause trouble.”

“Agreed,” nodded Gollaon.

“Would a complain to our commander do any good?”

“Probably not.”

“I do hope it will not fall to us to sort this,” said Voddick.

Dust of Dispatch

This dark grey dust smells faintly of dust and old bones, it is unpleasantly cold to the touch.  It clings to living fresh if given a chance.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Spectator’s Mirror

19 February, 2019

Mirror mirrorVoddick looked behind the tapestry, again.

“What is the matter?” asked Gollaon, eyebrow canted curiously.

“I just cannot shake the feeling that we are being watched,” explained Voddick, bending to look under a table.

“Hmm.”  Gollaon took a silver coin and set it spinning on the table, seemingly unconcerned.  When it stopped spinning and landed with on side up, he glanced at it and swept it up with his hand.  “We are being watched by some sort of magic.”

“Ah, that explains it,” nodded Voddick.  “But why?”

“No idea.”

Spectator’s Mirror

These mirrors always seem to have some small flaw, not quite casting a prefect reflection.  They usually have ornate frames and can be of medium to large size.

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Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report

17 February, 2019

Well, as this has now become an actual campaign rather than just a few one off adventures, let me start to record the adventure of our brave (?) heroes (??) in the city of Taren Kost.  This game is played with D&D 5E rules modified for the Sea of Stars setting.

Our cast:

  • Hartesa Wormwort UlshyveYosef the Well-Balanced, human know-it-all wizard.  (First appearance Episode 1, on hiatus after Episode 2, played by R)
  • Hartesa Wormwort Ulshyve, dark elf mushroom farmer and inferniculturalist, and self-described hick, with imp familiar “Portobello”.  (Warlock, first appearance Episode 1, retired as of Episode 10, played by B2)
  • Mercutio “the Green”, dissipated human conman and wild magic sorcerer, color changes as a side effect from his wild magic.  (First appearance Episode 2, played by J)
  • Skatska, self-exiled acid-breathing Dragonborn who seeks the old gods.  (Paladin, first appearance Episode 3, played by D)
  • Fiorentino, Prezzo dei Raditor,one of the rare fae gnomes who works as a ratcatcher, secretly building a rat army, wears a cat-fur cloak.  (Ranger, first appearance Episode 4, played by B)
  • Reed Greenbottle, Visse agent of Taren Kost’s Trade Directorate, License Enforcement, and stickler for the proper rules.  (Rogue, first appearance Episode 4, also played by R)
  • Agrippa, tortoise beastkine martial artist seeking his three lost brothers.  (Shadow Monk 3, first appearance Episode 11, played by B, naturally, as his other character is very city focused)
  • Natya Gefeltewulf. a brave if none too bright scion of a noble family, trained in the arts of the eldritch knight and assigned to a desolate border region to keep her out of trouble. (Fighter – Eldritch Knight, first appearance Episode 15, played by B2)
  • Episode 1: The Beginning

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Tuesday Magic Item – Devilskin Unmentionables

13 February, 2019

Stylish“The new superintendent seems much more commanding since that package arrived from home,” said Voddick watching the action.

Gollaon nodded.  “I wonder what was in it?  I see no new jewelry or symbol of office, nor a new sword or baton . . .”

“Maybe it was just good news from home.”

“Perhaps, but I just cannot but think there was something more.”

“If you think it is a matter of concern, we will watch,” said Voddick, shifting to keep the superintendent in view.

“I think we had best.”

Devilskin Unmentionables

These underthings look like thin leather, usually black or deep red, and fit like silk adapting both shape and form to the wearer.  This effect is mostly under the control of the wearer though given its choice, the unmentionables will always choose revealing and enticing styles.

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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Babysitting” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

10 February, 2019

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 Forty One: Babysitting

Kids todayGuest Starring: Clawz, Rani, Tora and Doc Cav.

Pink is asked to watch over the children of her neighbors, all six of them, all troublemakers, so she has to call in help from more and more of her friends as the night goes on.  Much classic comedy shtick ensures, Rube Goldberg-esque traps, chases in and out of doors on a long corridor and so on, lots of call outs to classic cartoons.  At the end, Pink and her friends are frazzled, the kids are exhausted and asleep and the parent arrive to see that nothing went wrong . . .  and the whole back wall of the apartment building falls off.

What really happened:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Showman’s Blade

5 February, 2019

That sword

“It is good to have some time to enjoy a carnival,” said Voddick enjoying a mug of spiced ale.

“But we should keep our wits about us,” said Gollaon eating some honeyed almonds.

“Truth.  Some here are looking for entertainment of a more violent fashion.” Voddick nodded to a group of swaggering toughs.

“We had best keep an eye on them so they do not spoil the festival for the rest,” said Gollaon with a sigh.

Showman’s Blade

These weapons, almost always swords, have elaborately decorated hilts and are often decorated with runes or designs on the blade that flare with magical power when it is used.  Unlike many swords with overly elaborate hilts, the blades are well made and suiting to combat not just show.

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RPG Blog Carnival – Making Magic Wondrous

1 February, 2019

More magicIn February, 2019, the Sea of Stars once again hosts the RPG Blog Carnival!  We hope you will join in.

Magic is the defining characteristic of fantasy settings, it is even one of the primary way we use to define fantasy settings: the Low Magic (magic is rare and dangerous) to High Magic (magic is everywhere) spectrum.  But too often, magic just becomes another game mechanic and it loses the wonder and, well, magic of it all.

For this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, we will be looking at how to bring the wonder back into magic and the fantastical into fantasy games.  All ideas and contributions are welcome.

Some suggestions on themes to explore:

  • How magic works in your game world and ways to describe it.
  • The origin of magic in your world and how that shapes its form and function.
  • How the magic of gods and wizards differs or does not.
  • Do the different cultures in your world have different magical traditions?  If so, how does that express itself in play and description?
  • Is magic new or old?  Traditional or innovative?  Constrained or disruptive?
  • How do you make magic items more interesting than just their mechanics?

As to that last question, I devoted an article to it back when the journal was just starting up, Putting the Wonder Back into Wondrous Items. (And more recently, it has been discussed on RPGNet thread, Making Magic Items more Unique)  So it seems a topic of continued interest.

Expect more on other magical subjects here through out the month and please share links to your thoughts and posts in the comments section, let us get some ideas and discussion flowing!

Have a magical February!

Notes: The Sea of Stars previously hosted the RPG Blog Carnival in May, 2017 with the Theme of Occult Mysteries and Magic.

Photo “The Magic Flute @ BAM” by Global X is licensed under CC by 2.0

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