Archive for the ‘Places’ Category


Effigies and Entombment (A to Z)

6 April, 2020

Abandoned?There are many tombs and effigies of the dead around the Sea of Stars though not many left untouched that predate the Sundering.  Depending on the dragonic overlords who took control of a territory on how their treated the ruins of the past world, some dismantled them for decorative building materials, other looted them for valuables and left smoking ruins behind, a vanishingly small number, hid them against future times of need.

The dragons themselves, in general, like effigies and statues and monuments to . . . themselves.  Other people can have them too, as long as they are on a smaller scale.  But dragons are not much for tombs, dragons know that -for them- death is final, they will only exist as memories, no reincarnation, no heaven, no hell, just nothing. They want monument that they can enjoy while they are still alive, obvious symbol of their power and wealth, as well as the skill and dedication of their subjects.

Simply put, most dragon do not make plans for what happens to them after death seeking to avoid such thoughts all together.  Equally, the family of dragons are not overly sentimental and are happy to convert their dead into valuable dragon bone, hide and other parts.  When there are draconic tombs, they are usually constructed by the followers of a dragon, and traditionally laced with traps, guardians and defensive magics.  Other dragons are loath to raid such tombs, they make them feel the icy claw of mortality too keenly, nor do they encourage others to do so.  In almost all cases, when a new Draconic House has taken control of territory containing a draconic tomb, they have continue to finance its guardians and maintain its outer defense.

Notes: Something to use as inspiration and a plot seed.

Photo Ancient Petra, Creator D-Stanley, used under License CC by 2.0.


Oceans in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, O)

17 April, 2019

When the land sundered following the Gods War, the world was torn apart but not only throw the land but through the oceans as well.  This, being a disaster of equal part magic and mysticism, did not just cause the oceans to all drain away into nothingness . . . though some did (such as the ocean that once existed around where the Gate City of Carcosa now is).

Only a small number of the oceans flowed away, their waters and inhabitants lost forever among the stars.  Most of them just . . . stayed there, as if something held the waters back in a huge wall.  Fish and other creatures can be seen swimming near to the water’s edge, but most know to keep from getting too close because whatever keeps the waters in does not prevent other things from moving in (or out) of the water.  A few specialized fishers use small skyships or lowered platforms to harvest rare fish and other delicacies from the water walls but such is risky work.

A very small number of oceans just pour away into the space between the stars, impossibly never emptying, the sea water just pouring away but somehow eternally refilling.  Needless to say, such places are incredibly dangerous both to ships on the surface and creatures under the sea.

Notes: Image “Osaka Aquarium” by kevin dooley is licensed under CC by 2.0.


Did the Gods build the Sea of Stars?

18 January, 2019

The proginators fallYes . . . and no.  The world that would become the Sea of Stars was, probably, built by the gods, after some fashion.  The legends have been mostly lost, well, not so much lost as deliberately destroyed and suppressed by the dragons.  Some of the stories told are:

  • There was a progenitor race to the gods, titans or such, that created the world or became the world when they were slain by the gods (or both).  The gods took over the rulership of the world from their progenitors until they, in turn, were supplanted by the dragons.  Does this mean that the dragons are destined to be supplanted in turn?  Obviously preaching such an idea will attract . . . unwelcome attention from the draconic authorities.
  • The gods created the world as a place for their worshipers to live, for without worshipers what is the point of being a god?  The world, by this reading, was a giant farm for the cultivation of worshipers.  Some philosophers thus argue that the dragons are better, at at least more honest, in their rule than they gods for at least they make their demands and desires obvious.
  • The world is composed of the body of some vast, once living being that those that would become the gods slew and consumed the vital parts gaining the power that would propel them to godhood.  The Sundering is the result of the dragons seeking the last edible pieces of that being to gain additional power, as dragons are always hungry for power.
  • The world was the shell of the cosmic dragon, bound by the gods, the shell cracked releasing the true power of the cosmic dragon to its descendants allowing the dragons to defeat the gods.  The fact that the sundering happened after the defeat of the gods does not stop this theory from existing.  After all, who really knows what happened (and in what sequence) all those years ago?

The dragons may know the truth of the matter but they are reluctant to talk of the times when the gods ruled, out of embarrassment or fear that speaking of the gods may give them a doorway to return or some other reason, who can say?  (Though accusing dragons of cowardice is not recommended.)

So the origins of the Sea of Stars remains shrouded in mystery but one can always seek answers to mysteries . . . but you will have to seek them in places from from the gaze of the draconic rulers.

Notes: This is my post in support of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival Divine Worldbuilding hosted by In My Campaign.

Image: The Æsir fight against the Vanir during the Æsir-Vanir War by Karl Ehrenberg found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.


Heavens, routes to the (A to Z Challenge, H)

9 April, 2016

Not here but thereThe Heavens were the home of many of the gods before the dragon declared their war, during the war, they became a battleground and then, in the aftermath, tombs.  But not all of the servants and soldiers of the gods were slain, there was no need and that attack was so sudden and overwhelming that many were not able to mobilize rapidly enough to intervene.  To prevent them from causing trouble, the links between the Heavens and the world was severed by the Empress but not completely . . .

While most of the portals between the world and the Heaven were deliberately destroyed, some were spared for artistic (or other) reasons and some survived as they were not recognized as pathways.  Thus a variety of hidden gates, stairways and more unusual routes remained, most of them lost or unrecognized.  The majority of the suviving portals are Moongates that require the light of the proper phase of the moon to open, though the right magic can trick them into opening as well.

Equally, there are ways to bring those servants of the heavens into the world, by variants of the summons more commonly used to bring diabolic beings from the dark hells.  Many summoners consider the so-called angels more tractable servants, less likely to betray the summoner, but they are bound by other rules that make them less suitable for other tasks, they are terribly prone to issue warnings before attacking and show mercy, for example.

Occasionally -every century or so- someone, usually a dragon, will decide that making a raid on the heavens is a brilliant idea and will launch an expedition to do so.  Most never return but those that do return are blooded and reduced in numbers, bearing back fantastic treasures and tales of horrific battles.

Notes: What better high level adventure than trying to plunder the vaults of heaven?

Snow angel photo by Saskia Heijltjes and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Fae in the Sea of Stars (A to Z Challenge, F)

7 April, 2016

From here to thereThe fae otherworld was once tightly woven into the structure of the world with portals crossing between the two realms and the Courts of the Seasons playing its political games here and there.  But then came the Sundering, tearing the world apart and away, the majority of the portals between the two were torn apart, some changed into new and different paths, and only a few maintained their previous link.

The Courts of the Seasons were still reeling from this disaster when the new draconic lords started destroying or warding the most obvious of the surviving passageways.  Spurred into action, the Courts, fully cooperating with each other for the first time in the long memories of the fae, began to conceal the existing pathways and restore those of the damaged one they could before they were sealed off from the mortal world.  Their efforts were successful but at a cost, not only were many of the best portals destroyed but no small number of skilled fae perished either in magical accidents or at the hands of the dragons.

The first century of dragon rule would be a difficult one for the fae, cut off from most of the mortal realm and its resources they learned how dependent they had become on materials and magic harvested from the mortal realm and they had to find substitutes or do without, not an easy thing for the fae.  But they managed, though a handful kinlines vanished unable to survive the changed world, and planned to rebuild their pathways to the mortal realm.

It was a slow and cautious process, taking several centuries, but aided by the goblins, the warped fae who had been trapped in the mortal realm, secret pathways were reestablished and the fae again gained limited -but reliable- access to the mortal world.  The fae remain exceedingly cautious and try to avoid being spotted by the dragons or their agents, conveniently most of the people the fae interact with feel the same way.

The fae presence in the Sea of Stars is there, but always around corners or over the next hill.  Finding the fae is the first challenge, dealing with them is the second for they are suspicious at best when dealing with outsiders.  That being said, the fae do have unusual items and magics that can be found in no other place.

Recently, some of the fae -especially those from the Court of Winter- have been reaching out to the Sen’tek as both share a common foe, what will become of such remains to be seen.

Notes: A little more on the other realms of the Sea of Stars setting.

Photo by Ruth Hartnup and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Castles in the Sea of Stars (A to Z Challenge, C)

3 April, 2016

Invaders keep outCastles and other fortifications are common to the point of near omnipresence in the Sea of Stars, while of limited use against dragons (but what is?) they still preform a vital role in warfare acting as administrative centers, training grounds, storage depots and, of course, military strong points.

The more advanced the construction of a castle, the greater use of magic in those defenses: walls are warded, built of multiple materials and reinforced by spells or enchantments.  If aerial attacks are expected, one or two tall towers are often constructed near the center of the castle mounting ballista and magical weaponry or, rarely, a small floating island fragment may be moored above the castle to provide the same sort of air defense platform.  Such defense usually deter those with flying cavalry (griffin or pegasus mounted cavalry for example) as they are far too valuable and expensive to replace to risk against such defenses.  Skyships may be used against fortification but they too are expensive and commanders are loath to risk them unless their safety can be guaranteed as for them to be effective with bombardments they must move slowly over the target and not too high up, making them vulnerable to attack from defenders on the ground.

Useful for shooting down flying creatures.Equally, underground (but still warded) storehouses are often constructed to defeat aerial observation as well as to protect against the occasional aerial or magical attack as well as to store the most valuable of items when they can be effectively defended.  When abandoned, they can become populated by rouge wizards, bandits or worse.

Notes: Not sure which key I hit that published an empty frame of this article yesterday, but my apologies all the same.

Abandoned casters provide a reliable place for adventures to take place and can provide an excuse for classic dungeon styled adventuring in the Sea of Stars.

Castle photo by Donna and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license, ballista photo by David Jackmanson and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Tuesday Magic Item – Exile’s Gate

26 January, 2016

Will you cross over?Voddick shivered.  “As a reward for our last service, guarding a haunted gate does not seem like much of one.”

Gollaon shrugged.  “It is only for a few weeks and it pays as good as a war.  Also, we do not have to keep people out, we just have to keep our eyes open for something trying to cross through.”

Voddick shivered again.  “Where does it lead to?”

Gollaon looked at the structure.  “Anywhere, everywhere, as long as it is not here.  If you do not like life under the Empress you can cross to somewhere else . . . but you never get to come back.”

Exile’s Gate

In what was either a fit of pique, an act of mercy or a cruel joke, opinions vary, the Empress built this gate before the end of the first century of her rule.  Constructed of stones harvested from other gates gathered from across the Sea of Stars, the stone arch looks a little haphazard and mismatched but the aura of power from it is quite palpable.  Natural animals must be drugged or magically compelled to get them to approach the gate.

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Petrichor Adventures – Campaign Report

22 November, 2015

This is a recap of the first adventure before I forget anymore about it, campaign background here.

Sort of like this

Port Imperial

First Session, It starts in Nieuw Asterdahl, where Lorrend and Pedr are tasked with sailing along the edge of the island to Port Imperial to recruit additional labourers, they take the cutter Zee Duifje (Sea Dove) and head off.  The travel is uneventful, they arrive on the docks, where they are met by a visse servant of the Imperium and his two marine assistants, who collect docking fees.  The five sailors say they will wait on the ship, or in a nearby bar, for our heroes return.

Where upon: Read the rest of this entry ?


New Campaign – Petrichor

15 November, 2015


The rain it rainethMany odd places exist in the Sea of Stars, one such place was the Wash, a large island that was constantly under pounding rain.  While a few hardy (or unfortunate) souls set up small settlements to sell fresh water to passing ships, expeditions into the exterior never returned or came back with stories of washed out plains and low hills of mud.  Even the expansionist powers gave up on settling the fringe of an island whose only resource was rainwater.

Then, the rain stopped, entirely.  The omnipresent clouds, blew away.  Suddenly, the Wash was just another island.  Cautiously, exploration began, after all the rains could come back at any time.  To their surprise, there were forests, mountains and lush grasslands, rivers and streams, even ruins.  It was as if the real nature of the land had been held ayont, waiting for the rains to stop before they returned.

Now, there is a great rush to claim this new land.  While in the capital, lawyers and surveyors argue over who owns the lands, everyone knows that it will be the facts on the ground that ultimately decide the division of this new realm.

Setting: The Sea of Stars, a new frontier thereof.  We would agree upon what nation /  organization the player characters are representing and what their sponsors are seeking from this new world. Read the rest of this entry ?


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.

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