Posts Tagged ‘RPG Blog Carnival’

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Festival – The Empress’ Birthday (RPG Blog Carnival)

27 May, 2021

The year in the Sea of Stars runs as dictated by the Empress and is universal across the entire world, the year consists of thirteen months of twenty-eight days each and one epagomenal day in the middle of summer, the Empress’ Birthday.

495px-Pantomimes_of_1866_-_Hush-a-Bye_BabyWhile the Empress does not demand or enforce celebration on this day, though naturally all of the lands she personally rules do, most communities celebrate it in one fashion or another.  It is often combined with other civic festivals, founding days, name days, all sorts of events get rolled into the big day.

Popular ways to celebrate include parades, speeches and firework displays.  Some groups have martial displays, gladiatorial combats are not unknown.  Plays, songs and other performance art celebrating (or at least acknowledging the power of the Empress) are expected not least because the Empress often visits out of the way communities on this day, sometime she is said to have visiting multiple places across vast distances but that can not be true, can it?

Over time, the plays have evolved from very formal and stately celebrations to more popular entertainment.  Many now use the plays and performances to comment on and satirize local politics and notables.  In a fashion similar to commedia dell’arte or the English Pantomime, the former usually performed by professional with the latter begin more ad hoc productions.  The Empress (and local dragons) are usually not the targets for such frivolity, as most dragons are rather thin skinned, though the Empress is occasionally (and somewhat ironically) cast in the role of deus ex machina on occasion.

How the characters could get involved:

  • Attend a play or celebration.
  • A wizard, or other spell caster, could be hired to provided fireworks or illusions.  Especially at the last minute after the prepared firework got wet.
  • If the characters are well known, they could be asked to perform or be drafted to act in the Panto.  Once in, they might be paid or pressured to include political commentary damaging to one of the local factions.
  • Rumors say the empress has been spotted!  At our festival!

Notes:  This is in support of this month’s the RPG Blog Carnival, Adding Festivals, Holidays, and Birthdays to Your Game hosted by Full Moon Storytelling.

Image Details from “The Pantomimes of 1866”, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

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RPG Blog Carnival – the Parable of the Bridge

8 March, 2021

Bridge to SomewhereIn support of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival Say yes to your players(hosted by the Roll4 Network) I thought that I would tell a story from some years ago that taught me a vital lesson.

So, I had gathered a group of five players. Their characters had all been drawn from across the Sea of Stars to the edges of civilization by a set of powerful dreams.  They arrive in the city of Asku-Korla, once a wealthy city that sat astride a major trade route, which has been slowly dying since the Sundering changed the world.  Much of the city is abandoned and the core is now ruled by the Bronze Lion, a Conan type former adventurer who deposed the former king.  This will be important later.

They find each other at an inn, the Compass, knowing but not knowing each other, where they each receive a letter inviting them to a tomb to discover the truth about the dreams.  Together, they venture out to the tomb, defeat some monsters and each recovers an item from the tomb that seem to be of a deeper significance, almost as if it was made for them.  Emerging from the tomb, there is Burns Brightly, a sorcerer and the source of the letters, who ask them to join her in her plans of conquest as together they can ascend and rule.  The characters refuse, a fight ensures, Burns Brightly escapes, vowing revenge and the characters return to the city.

So, here we have the characters (and the villain) as reincarnations of great heroes (actually demi-gods, but the characters never learned this) set up for a classic conflict of good against evil as they try to reclaim their birthright!  But it did not happen that way . . .

One of the characters, Kao Li, was one of the apprentices of a famous magistrate of the Jade Pillar Dynasty and disliked by his rival apprentices.  An attempt is made on his life and they trace it down to the Resident Magistrate of the Dynasty, who was acting on a request from one of the rival apprentices, depose him and install Kao Li as the new Resident Magistrate.  When they visit the Bronze Lion to introduce themselves, it goes well, and they learn who Ashu-Korla was once a rich and prosperous city on the trade route from the Dynasty to the outside world but it is rarely used now as it marginally easier to sail around the island than travel over it.  The characters decided to rectify this by . . . building a bridge!  Making travel to and from the Dynasty easier and restoring the ancient trade routes.

The rest of the campaign was devoted to the task of building that bridge: gathering materials, drawing up plans, making deals on both sides of the bridge and so on.

But that was what the players were excited by, so that is what the game’s focus shifted to.  That was the important lesson learned, follow what the players are interested in even if it is not where you thought the game was going.  I was a bit surprised at first (“My beautiful campaign idea!”) but quickly adapted and since then, I have never made big plans and let the players choose their direction (if any) for campaign arcs.

Image Suō Province: Iwakuni, Kintai Bridge (Suō, Iwakuni, Kintaikyō), part of the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces, No. 51 (Sanyōdō group) by Hiroshige, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

 

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Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts, ending the RPG Blog Carnival

28 February, 2021

Gifts and CursesFebruary comes to an end and with it, my time as host of the RPG Blog Carnival, though I am sure that I will host again soon.

The framework for Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts, is here.

Firstly, Roleplay-Geek provided thoughtful advice on handing out A Gift from the Gods.

Moving through time and space to Campaign Mastery who presents the Forbidden Weapons of the Omega Archive, a very Whovian trove of items but with suggestions to adapt them to other settings.

Out of the mists comes Owlbear Games with a look at how divine gifts might be twisted in the realm of Ravenloft.

A silver flame leads us to Codex Anathema exploration of the Relics of Old, with a focus on Eberron.

The gentle flow of water is the core of Full Moon Storytelling‘s tale of how the Everflow became a central point of their campaign world.

At Five Foot Square we are introduced to the mysteries of the Hidden Queen in A Gift or a Curse?  The Cult of the Hidden Queen.

Cruel Trinkets of the Mad Gods are presented by Rising Phoenix Games as their contribution to the Carnival.

My contributions were: the Third Celestial Armory, where the gods used to keep their weapons and now the Draconic Imperium does.  Divine Artifacts in the Sea of Stars, where to look for them and where the few new ones come from.

Thanks to everyone who participated and spread the word!

Notes:  March’s RPG Blog Carnival is Say yes to your players, hosted by the Roll4 Network, hope to see you there as well.

Image “Keith Haring – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell [1985]” by Andrea Sartorati is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Tuesday Magic Item – God Seed

23 February, 2021

Do you seek to ascend?“Something feels wrong,” said Gollaon, suppressing a shiver.  “Something in the air?”

“I feed it too, like the sky before a storm,” said Voddick.  He scanned the way ahead, his crossbow at the ready.

“I fear it is tied to that amulet of employer has, it has a powerful aura, and it is calling upon powers . . . well, powers that are not always welcome,” said Gollaon.

“Well, at least we were paid half in advance if we have to scarper.”

God Seed

These fragments of divinity come in many forms as varied as the divine being that they are tied too.  Direct symbols are the most common: swords for martial deities, a lantern for a god of travellers and so on though amulets engraved with divine symbols have been used by all. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Powdered Chaos

16 February, 2021

More magic, safely(?) contained“I would have asked for double if I knew we would be fighting hollows,” said Voddick loading another bold into his crossbow.

“Agreed,” said Gollaon.  He paused to draw another dagger.  “It has cost me two daggers already.”

“Out employer had better have a solution, these hit and run attacks are costing us nearly as much as the damage we inflict on the things.”

Gollaon looked back to see.  “I think they have something that will help . . . but we should give them room.”

Powdered Chaos

This substance is as much metaphysical as physical, magic as material.  It changes from moment to moment, from small pebbles to fine dust, multicolored to dull brown, never the same twice.  It is used to enhance spell casting adding special punch against the agents of the Law Lords. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Divine Artifacts in the Sea of Stars

15 February, 2021

We are about halfway through February’s RPG Blog Carnival for the Month of February, 2021, on the theme of Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts, so time to add some more to that theme.

What will you make today?Unlike many worlds, the Sea of Stars has almost no new divine artifacts being created, almost all of the such items date to before the Sundering.  The God of Smiths, whose portfolio also included creation, was slain before the Gods War even began, throwing the primary chain for the creation of artifacts into chaos and confusion.  Of course, the forges of the militant gods keep working and the Law Lords and the Shadows of Chaos prepared for the coming war, sadly, they were preparing for the wrong one.

But at the end of the Gods War, almost all of the surviving divine artifacts were seized by various dragons, the majority (about three fifths) were grasped by the Empress and her agents, the next largest amount fell into the claws of Ba’ai’ai, the Dark Star, with the remained shared among the other dragons, almost every dragon who fought in the Gods War managed to acquire at least one divine artifact in the process.  Over the years, the Empress has drawn more and more of the surviving artifacts to her, soliciting them as gift, accepting them in lieu of taxes or fines, or, rarely, purchasing them. 

The Empress keeps these artifacts sealed against times of great need, for example she is well equipped to repulse any attempt by the Law Lords or the Shadow of Chaos, should either return by some means, to restore their power using the arsenals prepared by their opposites.  Further, the Imperial Arsenal lacks no number weapons optimized towards the slaying of angels, demons and devils.  For most situations, normal draconic might and enchanted weapons are sufficient, divine weaponry is only used when it is desperately needed.

Naturally, there are very few divine artifacts made in the Sea of Stars now, the Sun Cult produces a small number of items (such as the Sun-Blessed Diadem) but no weaponry . . . that the dragons know of.  (There may be a cyclops smith still producing Sun’s Champion’s Blades somewhere.)  The Moon Cult sporadically produces divine items for its members use, though with little rhyme nor reason.

There are a handful of hidden artifacts left, placed for divine quests which were . . . interrupted or never started.  It is possible that someone could stumble onto the items or into the quests (and thus, eventually to the items).  Unfortunately, the cyclops who made the divine artifacts were almost wiped out, a few were captured by the Empress, if any other survived they were likely hidden away by one of the Draconic Houses or the Dwarven Holds, the only groups with the resources to hide such a valuable being from the eyes of the Empress.

Notes: Who makes the divine artifacts in your campaign world?

Image “Venus at the Forge of Vulcan” by Louis Félix de La Rue (French, 1731-1777) is marked with CC0 1.0.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Sun-Blessed Diadem

10 February, 2021

“Must everything be so . . . bright in the Sun Temple,” said Gollaon, looking around through squinting eyes.As bright as the Sun

“You did not have to indulge so much last night,” chided Voddick.

“The wine was good and the acolytes were . . . friendly,” smiled Gollaon taking brief comfort in the hazy memories.

“Come on, the high priestess awaits.”

Sun-Blessed Diadem

These diadem are made for the highest priests among the followers of the Sun.  Made of gold, often decorated or bejeweled as fits the personality of the person it was made for (and the pockets of those commissioning it).  It is a potent symbol of status. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Red Banner Flight Lance

2 February, 2021

Charge!“While they would be useful, I am not sure if I would be comfortable on a flying horse,” said Voddick.

“Perhaps to your surprise, I agree,” said Gollaon.  “The fall from a horse on the ground can be painful enough.  And there you are only likely to break one or two bones.”

“Truth . . . and you are a much better rider than I.”

Red Banner Flight Lance

These lances were designed for the elite flying cavalry of the Red Banner Flight by the God of Smiths, though made by his cyclops servants for the most part.  The lances are beautifully crafted and perfectly balanced, the shaft is highly polished reddish wood, the spear head and butt-spike are of gleaming bright steel, though when it reflects light, it seems to be a crimson red.  Streamers and banners are common accoutrements but not universal. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts, beginning the RPG Blog Carnival

1 February, 2021

Is all right in the heavens?Welcome to the RPG Blog Carnival for the Month of February, 2021, on the theme of Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts,

Such items figure in highly legends such as:

  • The Aegis of Athena, the shield that protects her (and indirectly the Olympians).
  • Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, popularized in the Marvel comics and movies.
  • The Yata no Kagami (the sacred mirror) of Japanese legend.
  • And in fiction with such items as Stormbringer, the soul-drinking demonic sword and tool of the gods of Chaos.

A small number of such items, the thunderbolts used by Zeus, are mass produced.

So, let your imagination run wild!  Make up new items or stat up those from myth, describe places where lost items can be found or quests set by the gods for those who wish to “borrow” item for an important task, what artifacts would your campaign villain seek?  What is the craftsman of the gods working on?

I hope you find inspiration.  Please leave a comment on this post with a link to your submission.  As people post link, please take a look as the idea is to share, inspire and bounce of one another’s ideas.  At the end of the month, all of the links will be collected in a wrap up post.

If you are not a blogger hopefully you will be still be inspired.  If you start a relevant thread on Reddit or Discord or a forum or whatever, then please post a link to it in the comments so that can be shared too.  The more people involved, the merrier!  Let us create some wondrous things together!

My first contribution, the Third Celestial Armory.

Notes:  This will be the third time the Sea of Stars has hosted the RPG Blog Carnival, the first time back in May, 2017 with the theme of Occult Mysteries, and the second time in February, 2019 with the theme of Making Magic Wondrous.

Image Royal Armory at Leeds by Lofty found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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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.

Contributions:

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.

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