Archive for the ‘World Building’ Category

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Tuesday Magic Item – Library Bane

23 May, 2017

Before use“Don’t let him tear that!” shouted Gollaon, throwing a dagger at the spy.  Who ducked beneath it but momentary lost the firm grip on the paper needed.

“Right!” said Voddick feinting toward the paper and then driving his knee into the spy’s stomach.

“Bastard!” wheezed the spy trying to tear the paper only to have it snatched away from by Gollaon.  Voddick clocked the spy on the chin and they went down.

“What would that paper do?” asked Voddick kneeling to bind the spy.

“Destroy every book here,” he answered with a gesture to the shelves of the library.

Library Bane

Originally designed as a way for a commander to quickly destroy vital papers so they would not be of use to the enemy, spies then got hold of it and used it to protect their secret intelligence from falling into the hands of the rivals, but soon enough, someone realized that it could be used as an offensive weapon.  This item is a complex magical formula written on sturdy material, it is activated by deliberately tearing the formula. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Jurist’s Ring

16 May, 2017

Justice is blindVoddick leaned over to whisper.  “The judge seems very confident, I would be worried about getting something wrong in such an important case.”

“I suspect she has some magical or divine backing for that surety,” whispered back Gollaon.

“The truth will out,” said one of the other spectators quietly.

“I hope that is so,” agreed Gollaon and Voddick nodded.

Jurist’s Ring

These rings are usually heavy and decorated with either symbols of justice or a civic or royal seal.  Once placed on a finger they are difficult, but not impossible, to remove.

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May RPG Blog Carnival – Occult Mysteries and Magic, Part the Third

15 May, 2017

Occult Mysteries and Magic, Part the Third.

Answering some more of the questions posed in the introduction to the carnival for the Sea of Stars:

It is magic!Who controls magical knowledge and its dissemination?  The Wizard-Scholars of the City of Borusa would say it is them but they do not have a monopoly on such knowledge as much as they would like to.  Most of the draconic houses have vast libraries of magical knowledge, depending on the house it may be well used, or a museum of hoarded (and unused) knowledge.  Other group tend to specialize such as the Necrourgists of Laccini or the Court and Battle Wizard the serve in the Eosiant Kingdom  (with magic licensed and controlled by the Directorate).  But almost every major city has a magical tradition and society of some sort.

Can anyone learn magic?  Yes, but some people are more talented in the magical arts, or particular aspects of them, than others.  Because of the great effort needed to train people with minimal talent, it is rarely done and many folk think that only the right sort of people can become magic users.  A few cultures, however, place great store on everyone having at least a little bit of magic for one reason or another and train their people to express at least a spark of magic.

Or is it confined to particular people?  While almost anyone can learn magic, some are born to it.  Those with natural magic, often but not always from draconic blood, sometimes have it spontaneously emerge.  Emergences can be problematic in the some of the quieter places in the Sea of Stars where people are suspicious (if not hostile) to unexplained magical events but in major towns and cities, such spontaneous emergence often set off a race between various factions to recruit the -usually quite confused- young sorcerer.  Many draconic houses and states (like the Dark Star Dominion) maintain schools to train, and usually indoctrinate, these recruited sorcerers.  Those families that have a strong magical bloodline try to cultivate them and develop their own traditions and rituals to aid their childrens’ emergence and focus their talents once revealed.

In other words, in the Sea of Stars, magic and magic users can be found just about anywhere.  This is party to fulfill the setting’s design goal, allowing for wide player choice and options.

How would you answer these questions for your campaign word?

Notes: See Part the Second here.

Photo “Magic” by Steve Garner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Assassin’s Eye and Cloak

9 May, 2017

Spot the assassin!Voddick launched a bolt down the corridor and was rewarded with a thunk as it hit flesh followed by a soft curse.  “I hate bastard who use magic to hide themselves.”  He struggled to recock his crossbow.

Gollaon wove patterns with his sword through the air.  “It is rare to fight so many unseen foes.”  He winced as a slash appeared on his thigh, he pivoted and thrust and was rewarded by a body, suddenly visible, crashing to the floor.

Revealed, the unseen attacker seemed far less dangerous.  A man of average height in nondescript leather armor, his only decoration a silver headband.

“Grab the headband!” shouted Voddick.  Firing another bolt down the corridor, it embedded itself in the far wall.  “Damn.”

Gollaon did.  “I can see them!  There are three of them and coming fast.”

“Damn,” Voddick tossed aside his crossbow and grabbed for his sword.

Assassin’s Eye and Cloak

These items are made in groups sometimes as small as pairs and rarely more than a dozen.  The cloak is  of a nondescript but durable make with a dull clasp, the eye is a headband sometime made of cloth or leather (especially for the expendable version) or of dulled copper or silver.

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May RPG Blog Carnival – Occult Mysteries and Magic, Part the Second

9 May, 2017

Occult Mysteries and Magic, Part the Second.

Esoteric SymmetryAnswering some more of the questions posed in the introduction to the carnival for the Sea of Stars:

How is magic used behind the scenes in a setting for good or ill?  In many ways, from simple weather forecasting to construction of starships, magic underlies much of day to day life in the Sea of Stars.  Mostly these are for positive things, household magic, crafting magic, travel magic, all ways to make life a little easier for the users of such.  Of course there are always those with a black heart who turn to curses and ill-starred magic to get what they want (or revenge on those who thwarted their ambitions) but they are in the minority.

Are there magical conspiracies afoot?  Throw a wand in any major city and you are likely to hit one.  Conspiracies among or against the dragons, secret cabals of wizards, hidden cults worshiping forbidden and esoteric powers, groups practicing folk magic away from prying eyes and so on.  Many of these are local conspiracies aim at protecting or improving the lot of a minority; the island or even multi-island wide conspiracies are the rare exception aiming to change the status but they are difficult to maintain, partly because even with magic they are hard to coordinate and maintain, but a few exist.  The most well known would be the Sen’Tek, the Moon Sect and the Redemptionists, all opposed to the dragons to one extent or another.

Does magical power imply other kind of power (political, criminal, economic)?  Yes, magical power can be converted into any other kind with the right application.  As magical power is usable to perform so many other action, those with magical power usual aligned (or are aligned) with a particular faction soon after revealing or mastering their magical talent so that they can use their magic to advance that faction’s goals.  Once enmeshed in a faction, a magic user’s magic tend to be bend toward that faction’s ends, guild wizard master guild spell, military wizards learn combat magics and so on.

How does your campaign world deal with this questions?

Notes: Photo “Esoteric symmetry” by fdecomite is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Plot ideas for the Secret Society Ring

3 May, 2017

I was a little rushed getting the Secret Society Ring out, and some ideas came to me tonight, so some thought on how to use the Secret Society Ring to drive adventure:

What secrets do you hold?Firstly, I was thinking that the identification sensation would vary from society to society: a spider cult would feel the sensation of spider legs along their spine, members of a celestial back conspiracy would see the other member with a halo, and so on.

So someone who is sensitive to magic emanations might still get the sensation that the ring triggers when member exchange handshakes when they touch someone wear one of the rings.  How would they react?  And what might they do to find out why that sensation was triggered?

A flawed ring, one that just requires that it be worn for a day to align it to the wearer, and that wearer would suddenly be treated as a friend and ally by people they had never before met.  How long can they keep up the charade?  What about when other member of the conspiracy start asking them for help and expected that it will be given, what then?

What is the group found a stash of these rings and the ritual to activate them?  What would they use them for?  And if they do use them, how will they react when they start encountering other people who have activated rings of the same type?

How would you use the rings to spark adventure?

Image “Ring” by Celtic via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

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Tuesday Magic Item – Secret Society Ring

2 May, 2017

Who are you?“The local nobles seem especially cliquish,” muttered Voddick over his mug of ale.

Gollaon nodded.  “More than just usual exclusion, I believe.  I suspect we are in a den of conspirators and not just one conspiracy but several,” he said in a quiet voice.

Voddick sighed.  “Idiots.  Open debate and honest disagreement produce a stronger polis than continually fragmenting conspiracies.  One day an outsider will come along and kick down the whole rotten house.”

“Agree, so we had best make our money quickly and move on.”

Secret Society Ring

These rings are defined entirely by their magic and rarely have any fixed appearance, they are made for expansive secret societies that for, whatever reason, have a far-flung membership and need a way to recognize each other that is more reliable than coded phrases.

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