Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections at the Cusp of a New Year


Well, it has been an interesting year for me personally and in the gaming community.

I switched out my old blog, which had a decent amount of traffic for this one... less traffic here and this blog has a different tone, yet overall I am pleased with that decision. Focusing on Sylvaeon is bringing it to life in 2012, so it was worth it. I should do some posts similar to my old Retro RPG blog at times, though... some were plain fun to do, so there will be more non-Sylvaeon/Fey material here this coming year, too. Also, I need to review a bunch of products I have gotten last year or at least give them a nod and my two cents worth of note.

On the personal front, this time of year is one I both love and loathe: Winter !!!
So far the weather has not been much to speak of. It was the first Christmas without full ground cover of snow that I can ever remember. I shouldn't complain about that, because doing so will probably bring a blizzard down upon my head! In Sylvaeon, that is just the sort of thing that might happen to a traveler that doesn't appreciate the weather they currently have.


This time of year, I feel much like the Vikings, who dreaded the Wyrd of the Wild Hunt; hunkering down and laying low so that no inauspicious "doom" would beset them. The lesser daylight saps me of energy, because I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) along with my other myriad insanities that make me who I am. Thus, I apologize to those awaiting my campaign - rest assured it will launch shortly. I hope a few sessions will get the kinks out and set a good tone :)

This past year has been a great one for Google+ Hangout gaming, as many know so well! I have played in many excellent games such as:
  • Evan Elkin's spooky and strange Nightwick Abbey
  • Chris Kutalik's kickass Conan/ZEFRS
  • Kyrinn S. Eis' Tunnels & Trolls homebrew exotic weirdness
  • Steven Goodman's trip back in time to The City State of the Invincible Overlord
  • Greg Backus' OD&D-like homebrew with an underground civilization 
  • Rob Cortigino's hilarious and deadly OD&D dungeon crawl
  • Brian Meredith's Mouse Guard campaign
All of these were great fun! I appreciate the efforts of all of the players and the GMs that ran them.

Yep, 2011 has been a good year of gaming, with so many cool products appearing, Hangout games, good blogs to read and a friendly community that seems to love the game ... may the fellowship always stand together!

May 2012 be wondrous for you all  :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Fey: The White Lady


The White Lady is the acknowledged Sovereign among the fairy and woodland creatures of Sylvaeon.

She is generally benevolent, but her ire is something to be avoided. If the Balance is threatened, her subjects are treated cruelly by the servants of the Corrupter or trespasses against the Fey realm are perpetrated by foolish men, the consequences will be dire. Some things are to be feared more than evil and death... the wise White Lady knows how to teach lessons to those that need to learn respect for things beyond their ken.

The White Lady, the Queen of the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon, is truly beautiful, but there is a wild side to her, as there is in all of the fey.

(poster created using The Motivator http://bighugelabs.com/motivator.php )

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice in Sylvaeon

On the Winter Solstice, the Northern lands of Sylvaeon are filled with many sorts of celebrations and dread:


The Druids meet this shortest of days at special cairns, constructed to face the rising sun. The Druids meet in conclave this day and discuss the past year's events, pass collective knowledge to each other and hold mysterious ceremonies throughout the night.


At the palace of the White Lady, the Winter ritual of the passing the Staff of Seasons takes place in the Shine of the Seasons. The silver leaves on the staff fall to the floor of the shine, leaving only the few golden berries on vines which cling to it, still. The passing of Autumn in Winter marks not only the changing of the season, but also the two week long celebration of the royal lady's Winter Court. This is a time of great feasting for her subjects and contests of wit and prowess amongst the knights of the Fae.


In the city state of St. Valens, the Templars prepare for Christ Mass and are already well into Advent time. It is a time of pious reflection and planning for the next year. The people of the city state practice greater charity and turn their thoughts to thanksgiving for another year of survival in the strange world that as become their home.


The Viking clans prepare to celebrate Yule and are conscious that this is the time of the Wild Hunt… laying low and avoiding anything that might bring an inauspicious Wyrd upon them. The Yule fires will soon be lit and epic tales are told, songs of heroes sung and great drinking will abound!


Elsewhere, in the Wilderlands, the packs of wolves and night-lurking snowy owls will look for their next meal as prey animals try to make it through the Winter. Some fairy creatures frolic in the icy forests, while some begin to sleep, dreaming of Spring and the new life it brings...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Knights of Sylvaeon

There are a few variant tales regarding Chapel Perilous in Arthurian literature. One telling of involving Lancelot in Henry Gilbert's King Arthur's Knights is my favorite. It is based on Sir Thomas Mollory's work, but has a bit more flair:


"By the ghostly light that came from the windows of the ruined chapel he saw that under the eaves were hung fair shields, with rich devices, and all were turned upside down.

Many of them were those of knights he had known or heard of, long since
dead or lost. When he had made a few steps on the grass-grown pathway
towards the door, of a sudden he saw, coming from the church, thirty
tall knights, each a foot higher than he, each in black armour, and
each with sword uplifted, as they rushed towards him.

Their feet and their armour made no sound as they pressed forwards, and
a thin blue flame licked about each naked sword.

They came upon him, but Sir Lancelot, with a prayer to God, dressed his
shield and sword and stood firm, though his flesh quaked and his tongue
clave to the roof of his mouth. They mowed and gnashed at him, and
heaved their swords about him; then suddenly their vizors went up and
he looked into their faces. And at that he was sore adread, for he knew
they were dead men.

But he would not be overcome, and said in a loud voice: 'In the name of God, avaunt ye!'

He made a step forward, and they scattered before him, but followed
closely behind. Then he went into the chapel...
"

In the Realm of Sylvaeon, the Paladin is a type of Pious Knight. There are two kinds of Paladins in Sylvaeon:

1)  The one directly rooted in Arthurian tales, similar to Lancelot du Lac and Sir Galahad, etc. This knight is one that serves the Holy Church and its beliefs fervently. In addition to adhering to the Code of Chivalry, they also swear the following:

  • Obedience to God and the Church
  • Chastity
  • Poverty
 

2) The second kind are those knights that swear full fealty and service to the White Lady of Sylvaeon. Generally, only Elves and Fae Folk can be Knights of the White Lady. A rare boon has been granted a few worthy Humans to serve in this capacity by the Silver Lady herself. The Knights of the White Lady swear to general chivalrous conduct and also the following:
  • To serve the White Lady as their liege mistress
  • To protect the Balance of Sylvaeon
  • Never to betray the secret ways to the Green Isle
Where the interests of the Realm of Sylvaeon coincide with those of the Human kingdoms, there has been known to be cooperation in the ancient past. Generally, the fae knights do not interact with Humans or let their presence be known. Most of the fairie paladins reside on the Green Isle itself, protecting the Silver Lady and the mysteries of Sylvaeon.

Males and Females may both become knights of the White Lady.


(more to follow later)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What D&D Character Are You? (Quiz results)


I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Wizard/Cleric (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-12

Dexterity-14

Constitution-13

Intelligence-17

Wisdom-17

Charisma-12


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.


Primary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.


Secondary Class:
Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)




Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wilderness Encounter: The Wendigo


Deep in the forest of Kynmerly, the huntsman has wandered for many days... lost amidst the blizzard and without any more rations to sustain him, he is slowly starving to death. Finding shelter underneath a small rock ledge within the woods. Being too weak to carry on, the huntsman eats some snow and waits for death to come upon him. HAs he begins to doze off, he smells something strange, like rotting flesh. Opening his bleary eyes, he sees a shadowy shape with yellowed eyes rising over him. In fear, he tries to scream, but the sounds do not come. Then, there is darkness...


Upon regaining consciousness, the huntsman arises. The snow has finally stopped and he finds that he is miraculously still alive, but severely famished. Looking around he sees one of the rescue party that his community sent out to find him. The fellow villager waves to the huntsman and approaches. "You're lucky to be alive!", the man says as he draws near. "Here, let me halkp you." But those are the last words of kindness the villager ever says, for the huntman lunges and stabs the would-be rescuer in the heart with his knife. The huntsman eases the body down and removes the knife, licking some of the blood off of it. Now the huntsman is beginning to feel better and now he knows that he will survive.

=====


The Wendigo is a creature embodies the Native myth of what will happen to a solo hunter should they ever transgress the taboo of eating humanoid flesh. If a person is afflicted longterm starvation or is even alone in the wilderness for extended periods of time, etc. they may be visited by the "spirit" of the wendigo. In game terms, this can be a mental disorder and/or a spirit possession. Failing either of two saving throws vs disease, they will turn into the legendary cannibal night monster, the windigo.


A typical description of the wendigo:
The Weendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Weendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody ... Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Weendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.”

Over the years, the Wendigo has been given numerous and varied attributes, including the ability to change shape, a body and/or heart of stone or ice, and formidable strength and speed. In some accounts, the creature was said to be in excess of ten to fifteen feet tall, with sallow, yellowish skin, glowing eyes, long yellowing fangs and an abnormally long tongue. Still other accounts suggested a creature so thin that it couldn’t even be seen from the side.

These possibilities may or may not be the actual appearance of a being suffering from wendigo madness - it is up to the GM. However, to others that encounter such a cannibalistic, anti-social creature that has been isolated (except for feeding killings) they may seem to fit such a description!

If this is just a psychological disorder, then Wendigo psychosis is a condition in which sufferers developed an insatiable desire to eat humanoid flesh, usually of their own kind, even when other food sources are readily available

 It is said that the spirit of the wendigo will attempt to possess any person, especially during a fever, prolonged starvation or an attack of madness. Often it invades the heart as a lump of ice. Once possessed by the spirit of the Wendigo, the person is forever altered, unless they are cured of the psychosis by a shaman or similar healer. Healing a Wendigo possession takes a ritual that simultaneously cures the disease/casts out the possession and sets the mindet back to rights - this is so they may join the community again as a "normal" member.

A Wendigo on the loose in a dark forest may be glimpsed vomiting ice. The victim’s face may turn black with frostbite. He may be able to fly through winter nights in search of new prey, his own species. Any man who goes on a solo hunt and never returns may have fallen victim to a wendigo. Eating human flesh, even in an emergency, may be a sign that a starving hunter as “turned wendigo.” Such a wretch will be shunned by all members of his group, and probably driven from the camp. For once the wendigo has tasted human flesh, he will yearn to feed again.

Northern lore suggests that one can become a Wendigo:

  • being bitten by one
  • tasting humanoid flesh
  • extreme hunger
  • being bewitched by a shaman
  • or even by simply dreaming of a Wendigo


I discovered in researching this, that D&D 4e has a sort of Wendigo "Sub-race" of whatever the character's real race is. The D&D Wiki's tag-line for the wendigo is: Savage, bestial versions of their former selves, Wendigos escaped a cold, lonely death. Now they are marked by the desperate measures they resorted to.

Reading about the Wendigo from the Wiki and various mythological sources, I would suggest for game play, that anyone suffering as a wendigo have these effects:

*their Strength raised by +2/10%
*get two checks for survival on any hardship/toughness saving roll
* -2/-10% to their Charisma/Willpower
*feel the hunger for humanoid flesh... if they do not feed on it within the week, they must save vs Charm/Willpower or attempt to murder and consume the next possible victim they cross.
*Alignment (if any) become more Chaotic/Evil

Rangers, Wood Elves, Hunters and similar classes all are at increased risk of being touched by the Wendigo. There are rumors of talismans, rituals of appeasement, rare herbs and other means of keeping the spirit of the wendigo at bay. These may be superstions or actually be effective at the GM's call. It is rare for a Druid to become a Wendigo, but if that were to happen, it would be a dreadful thing!

Remember, Wendigo's tend to be loners and are generally savage and tend towards paranoia. Only by being cured can they ever hope to be anything like a regular member of communal society... barring a cure, they will forever be touched by the madness of the spirit of the Wendigo.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do Bards Really “Suck”?



I know that bards in Roleplaying games take a huge hit to the balls by many. There have been several posts over the past year in the OSR blogosphere that have amused me as they poked fun at the bard class. Let's admit it, sometimes bards are ridiculous, especially as they are portrayed. I think it is OK to not like the bard class or those that resemble them. Who wants an annoying singing minstrel bothering them? Certainly Sir Robin didn't in Monty Python's Holy Grail movie!


The only cool “Bard” that most people know about was not a singing fool, but Bard the guard in Tolkien's The Hobbit. However, in some cases and in some circumstances, do bards really suck?

I say: “NAY!”

In the Middle English epic poem Sir Orfeo (based loosely on the tale of Orpheus), a king is so taken by the music of minstrels that he decided to take on their craft. The poem is written as a tale that could be told, set to music, by those in the real world that were the basis of the bard class in AD&D. I will post the very beginning of the poem to set the tone:
   
        We often find it written,
        And scholars know of this well,
        Verses that are set to music
        The content of which are marvelous things:
        Some concern war and some concern woe
        Some concern joy and mirth also,
        And some concern treachery and guile
        Of old adventures once upon a time,
        Some concern jokes and ribaldry
        And many are set in the lands of fairies.
        Of all things that men relate,
        Most of them, in truth, concern love.
        In Brittany were these songs first wrought,
        Set to music and then forth brought.
        They concern adventures set in the olden days
        Whereof ancient Bretons made their lays.
        Kings, at times, might hear a tale
        Concerning marvelous things,
        Then take up the harp and minstrelsy
        And write a lay and give it a name.
        Of these adventures that have taken place, 
        I can tell you some but not all.
        Now listen, lords and ladies true,
        I shall tell you the tale of `Sir Orfeo.'

        More than anything in this world
        Orfeo loved the joy of music.
        Such was it that every good mistral
        Paid much homage to Sir Orfeo.
        Orfeo set his keen, sharp wits
        Upon teaching himself to play the harp.
        He taught himself so well that no one could find
        A better mistral than Sir Orfeo.

Here we find a King, the one that Bards desire to come and play before, becoming a minstrel himself!
Not only does the Bard-King play well, he is described thusly:

        Orfeo was a king
        Of England and help high honor;
        He was a man both brave and strong
        And also elegant and generous.

Obviously, Orfeo is a brave and chivalrous warrior, a refined gentleman and of noble character – everything a Bard might wish to be! This is no Medieval Hippie strumming silly tunes... Orfeo is someone to be reckoned with.

In the tale, Sir Orfeo uses skills and wit that would be considered common fair for Bards to single-handedly rescue his wife from another Lord who kidnaps her. After questing in search of his wife, Sir Orfeo comes as a minstrel to the offending lord's castle, which he has finally discovered. Because Orfeo impresses him with his entertainment, he is granted a anything he wishes. Orfeo asks for his kidnapped wife and even though the lord protests, he must keep his word. Orfeo could have battled the Faerie lord - he was certainly capable of doing so, but his wit won out! The Bard-King returns home "and there was much rejoicing” ;)

Peter the Hermit exhorting the faithful to take up the cause of the First Crusade

Monks who were also Poets, which might be considered Bards, were instrumental in creating works so magnificent that they were added to the abbey's liturgy. They wrote in praise of the nobility, who gave to the monastery generously in return. They made social commentary (some of which might even be considered subversive) through their prosody. Orations from ascetic, traveling monks like Peter the Hermit did much in stirring the people's faith to join in the First Crusade. The influence of those skilled in poetry, song and oration in the Middle Ages is nothing to be sneezed at – they had tangible effects in the world.... I haven't even mentioned the Viking Skald (saving for a later post!)

As I said earlier, it is OK if you think D&D bards suck... but perhaps you think they suck because many do not play them as they were in the actual Middle Ages. In my own Sylvaeon campaign, they function much more like the bards of history.

                After that harpers in Brittany
Heard how this marvelous tale
        And made a lay of great delight
        And named it after the king.
        That lay is called `Orfeo';
        And it is a good song, sweet in its notes.
        Thus was Orfeo delivered from his cares:
        May God grant us all so well to fare! Amen!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wilderness Creature Encounter: Borealis Spider


(Deadly Borealis Spider stalking its victim)

In the coldest, frigid Arctic places of the realm of Sylvaeon live the deadly Borealis Spiders. During extremely bitter and long-lasting Winters, they have been known to migrate down during the season into the colder temperate regions. The largest among them are sometimes solitary creatures. However, a hunting pack of a few to a dozen spiders roaming together is the usual behavior for these icy, deathly stalkers.

These spiders are extremely silent stalkers. Also, when they remain motionless, these creatures look like snow and ice, blending with chameleon-like ability into such Arctic and sub-Arctic terrain. If lying in wait for the kill, the spiders can only be discovered on a 1-in-6 chance by normal vision. They range in size from a small piece of ice when young (1 HP) to that of a large boulder (10 HD). They are extremely patient hunters who pounce on prey when they least expect it. They look like tarantulas made of snowy fur and icy limbs. Borealis Spiders (also known simply as Ice Spiders) are patient and aggressive hunters.

The poisonous bite of the Borealis Spider freezes those who fail a save to ice. Their saliva unfreezes the frozen flesh, which they eat. Every other round, the spider may also cast a web of sparkling ice particles, which will immobilize those it ensnares, doing d6 cold damage per round. The web may be broken only by great strength (18+ ) and then only by a Save vs Strength) or by causing the web 6 points of damage for spiders that are from to 1 to 5 HD. It takes 12 points of damage to break the web of those that are larger.

Heat/fire do double damage on the Borealis Spider. Impact damage is normal, but slashing, and piercing do half damage. Cold heals Borealis Spiders on an equal point ratio.

Attacks:
  • 1 bite for 1 point per HD + Save vs Poison or freeze solid … still ALIVE!
  • Spin web every other round to immobilize + d6 damage per round (Save vs Immobilization/Paralyzation causes only half damage, but the victim is not immobilized).

Movement: The movement speed of Borealis Spiders is that of most man-sized creatures (double for those that are the largest variety).

The Borealis or Ice Spider is a feared and deadly creature to encounter... and those that do encounter them seldom realize it.... until they are being eaten alive!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nightwick Abbey Session #3 Character Play Report


There are many dead in the world. Some lie quietly in the grave. Some are the living-dead lost souls that walk among us... lost and in need of the Church... and some have come back prematurely from the grave and Hell; the undead.”
Brother Damian Bernard in his homily: The Dead Are Among Us


On the feast day of St. Crispin, I joined the efforts to rid the ruins Nightwick Abbey of the foul pestilence that has infected that once holy and sacred place. The company was made up of another cleric of the order (Brother Kolvun), myself and some companions that made me question the wisdom of the superiors that sent me to this task.There was a strange person named Blixa, who was an unseemly yet resourceful sort, who showed great ingenuity in laying traps for our foes. They had a canine compatriot that spoke! I know the Lord has used an ass to speak to his wayward servants, but I have never seen such a thing before... nor a talking, intelligent pig, who also accompanied us.

Upon reaching the almost totally destroyed walls of the abbey, we saw that the two north and south towers also lay in near ruin. To the west were the crypts and graveyard surrounding the abbey enclosure. We decided to descend the stairs to the catacombs that lay beneath the north tower.

It was not long before we ran across the bodies of those my companions called “berserkers” - no doubt some of the godless heathen barbarians that have plagued civilized lands for some time now. The bodies wore armor and face masks made of human skin. I would have felt revulsion if I was not so shocked at their cruel barbarity! Going yet deeper into the catacombs, we found passages that led to the what had been the shrines and tombs of the sainted dead. The funerary art work customarily placed on the walls of these has been worn from time. Many were also desecrated by blood and vulgarities painted over them in human gore and blood. I rinsed away the filth from as many as I could with holy water, but as I had little with me, I could not rectify all of what the cultists of the devil had done.

The third encounter with the undead in my short service to the church occurred upon the stairway leading down into the catacombs. The party was assailed by zombies. All of the party fought valiantly, but we had much distress in defeating these corruptions. My fellow brother was badly hurt, but I was able to assist him and he returned with us to finally destroy the undead creatures. The intelligent animals were very effective and even if I am unsure of their nature, I still thank the Holy One for their aid in this  pursuit.

We were able to liberate offering boxes of silver that were in one of the shrines. I have received no orders regarding recovered property of the Church, but if I survive, the share that I have from our explorations I will return to the abbot of my own monastic order. We plan on temporarily exiting the catacombs and returning with better provisions to continue this most righteous labor. God-willing, I will be able to soon report in person to both my Father Confessor and the Abbot of all that transpires at the ruins of Nightwick Abbey.

I shall end this report for now and I pray that I am granted valor and success in the name of all that is holy.
-|-

(This play report was written for Evan Elkins' Nightwick Abbey G+ session #3
for more info on Nightwick Abbey please see: http://inplacesdeep.blogspot.com/search/label/Nightwick%20Abbey )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

School girl recovering after 'goblins' attack


A reported case of a modern goblin attack!

I find this article (linked below) very interesting because it involves:
  • Goblins
  • Witches
  • a Prophet

According to the article, the unnamed school girl was calling out the names of the witches. This act somehow provoked the goblins to attack her, She claims they come after her and demand for her "flesh and blood".

If this were a weird fantasy adventure, I would imagine that the witches disliked their names being called out by the unwitting girl for no purpose and that they sent the goblins to wreak retribution. Is there now a curse upon the girl and perhaps her village? Will the prophet be able to help? Would the PCs need to destroy the goblins and ultimately the witches?

This is surely a case where "real life" is stranger than fiction! 

Check out the news story here:


I definitely see an adventure in this story!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cosmology of Sylvaeon (#2)





Silent, the mist forms slowly. Coalescing over aeons, shifting unhurriedly in the deep quiet of sleep, the mist dreams of all things magical and beautiful. In slumber undisturbed by time, when time was not, the Presence slowly gathers her wispy, wraith-like form and sleeps on... weaving dreams within dreams.

Eventually, after uncounted eras, the Presence stirs amidst her luxuriant nocturnal fantasy and a great isle rises from the vapors. Her mirthful mind begins to enter the reverse twilight of sleeping to waking and stirs again; some of the vapor becomes a sea that washes back and forth upon the rocky island, an aqueous heart set in motion. More quiescent gestures and the psyche of the Presence is almost awake, now. A soft, pinkish light emanates dimly from the Eastern horizon as a young star begins ascending over the mighty ocean of preternatural consciousness. Casting off sopor, the sentience opens her blinking eye upon a new world. A cool morning breeze touches her cheek softly. Hovering high over the clifftop of the green-covered isle, a seagull cries out as it glides, like an infant coming from its mother's womb, seeing the world for the first time. Sunbeams lightly illuminate the foam of waves lapping at the white sands below, while the canopy above is steadily bluing.

A knowing smile of contentment spreads across the face of this newly formed realm. “Yes, awaken now likewise, my beloved children.” Sylvaeon is born...

(note: this is a rough draft version of the Sylvaeon intro)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Troll Lord Games Kickstarter Project

I decided to back this project.
Troll Lord Games' Castles & Crusades is a nifty rule set... and I figure this classic monster collection (and some new ones, too!) would not take much, if any, conversion to use in other systems.

I own some of the C&C books... I should give it a try! I have an upcoming campaign that I am currently working on a mega-dungeon for. It might be a suitable system for it :)

-Jeff

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/castles-and-crusades-classic-monster-a-monster-man

(special thanks to Dungeoneering Dad for making me aware of this project)



Monday, November 7, 2011

Two Gonzo d30 Random Tables



30 Odd Random Inns, Taverns and Sundry Establishments
(roll a d30 for the name of an establishment. May be used for urban settings, towns or wayside stops, etc. as the Gamemaster wishes.)

01 – Center of the Multiverse
02 – Drunken Paladin
03 – Last Place to Be Inn
04 – Laughing Lich
05 – Inn of the Bastard Princes
06 - Basilisk’s Gaze
07 – Gallant Goblin
08 – Axes & Ale
09 – Sunken Ship
10 – The Gregarious Hermit
11 – Sword Sisters
12 – Three-Legged Unicorn
13 – Last One Standing
14 – Delver’s Repose
15 – Golden Skull Inn
16 – Fey Spirits
17 – Angry Toad Tavern
18 – Prismatic Tankard
19 – Iron Gut Grog & Grub
20 – Legion of the Unlucky
21 – Cutthroat Gentleman’s Club
22 – The Silent Banshee
23 – Minstrels Not Allowed Inn
24 – The Tavern Time Forgot
25 – Dwarven Comedy Club
26 – The Underground
27 – Two Sheets to the Wind
28 – Troll’s Trove Tavern
29 – Inn of the Moon Beast
30 – Dead Sages’ Society

=================


30 Odd Random City Encounters
(roll d30 for random encounter)
01 – An unsavory-looking person approaches a PC to return a pouch/item that they have dropped. If offered a reward, they decline.

02 – A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: “Good News! Evil Declining in the Realm”

03 – While passing by a seedy part of town, the PCs see people nailing planks to buildings or painting them. Nearby is a sign that says: “Urban Renewal Project”.

04 – There is a disturbance in the streets and people are milling about loudly.  If the PCs ask what the problem is, someone happily tells them that they just got word that the local lord has announced a cut in taxes.

05 – The PCs see an old man sitting at the side of the street mumbling to himself. He has a tin cup with a few copper pieces in it and a sign that reads: Take One If You Need One”.

06 – A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: “Good News! Peace Treaty and Trade Agreement With Neighboring Kingdom Signed”

07 – While walking through town a group of filthy urchins surround the PCs, tugging at them. They ask if the PCs could retrieve a ball which has gotten stuck on the roof of a small shop across the way.

08 – An very large Orc is pushing a cart with several small dogs in it while shouting “Free puppies!”.

09 – A group of 3d6 bald, orange-robed cultists, chanting and dancing, come near. They hand each party member a flower and continue on.

10 – The party sees a tavern called “The Pink Dragon”.

11 – A black-cloaked figure approaches the party, introducing themselves as “The Dark Assassin”.
They ask the PCs where the magistrate is so they can turn themselves in.

12 – A Dwarven vendor pushes around a cart with a large barrel and small wooden bowls in it, ringing a bell while yelling “Iced Cream! One Copper!”

13 – A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: “Good News! Local Monster Retires to Warmer Clime”

14 – A group of people are picking up liter from the streets. One carries a sign that says “Druids For A Clean City”.

15 – In a square, a very large tent is being set up. Nearby is a sign that reads “Battle of the Minstrels Tonight!”

16 – A shabbily-dressed man quickly approaches the party, seemingly from nowhere. They speedily wash the armor/scabbard or shield of a party member and put out their hand as if expecting payment.

17 – A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: “Good News! Dragon Disaster Averted”

18 – The party see a sign which reads: “Meeting of the Secret Order of Necromancers Midnight Tonight”.

19 – A Hobbit stands at the side of the road with a vending cart full of multi-colored candies on a stick selling for 1 copper each. A sign on the cart reads: “All proceeds go to support the Lollipop Guild”.

20 – The PCs see a Goblin dressed as a clown, juggling and entertaining a group of young children.

21 – A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: “Good News! Local Pirates Turn to Fishing Instead”

22 – The party sees a tavern with a wooden sign that has a cattle head with a halo. The sign reads: ” Holy Cow”. (If the PCs investigate, they find out it serves only vegetarian meals)

23 – 3d6 meowing kittens begin following the PCs

24 – A group of 3d6 peasants approach one of the PCs and start yelling “Hail to the King (or Queen) and begin to bow to and faun upon the PC.

25 – Some interesting type of music that the PCs have never heard before is coming from inside of a cafe. If the PCs investigate they find that it sells bottled flavored water, flavored coffee, small snacks and pastries. The sign above the cafe reads: “The Jazz Gnome”.

26 – An Elf slips a fish into one of the party members pockets/robe.

27 – There is a taxidermy shop called “The Rainbow Rat” that specializes in stuffed rats dyed all colors.

28 – 2d6 local guards come by with a cart full of weapons with a sign on it that reads: “Swords for Cash Program”.

29 – A Troll is vending “Horse-on-a-Stick” snacks from a booth.

30 – Party sees a magic shop named “Crystal Balls”.

==============

All hail the Order of the d30!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things Role Playing Bloggers Tend Not To Write About (Answered)


Being a list of TRPBTNTWAs, or, Things Role Playing Bloggers Tend Not To Write About:

(I will answer these questions posed by “noisms” at his Monsters and Manuals blog and others, like Back to the Keep.)
  • Book binding. (I can't be the only person who bemoans the way new rulebooks tend to fall apart like a sheaf of dry leaves after about 5 seconds of use).
I know my 1e books are in awesome shape compared to the use they have seen! I do think some printing is cheaper on the binding of RPG rule books, even if the paper quality is better. PDFs are nice to have but a printed rule book/Supplement is great to have in hand. I prefer hardcover, but softcover is not bad either.

  • "Doing a voice". How many people "do voices"? Should they? How do you get better at "doing a voice" if that's your thing?
Most players I have played with do not do voices. I personally give a voice or at least an inflection to every Character (whether Player or Non-Player) that I run. A good way to get used to that is to be a Game Master, if even for a one-shot session. You learn that voices add to the atmosphere of the game. I know they aren't for everyone, but I prefer them. A key to doing a voice is to have take into account who it is that you are voicing: age, gender, social status, motivations, etc. If these are not fleshed out or are not part of the tale (in the case of a random, minor NPC encounter, perhaps), then just wing it and come up with one on the fly. Doing is the best way to get better at them. Roleplaying is a lot like acting – get into character and have some fun!

  • Breaks. How often do you have breaks within sessions?
    I think a short break should be taken about every couple of hours, so people can stretch, get some beverages or just move a bit. I don't mind long gaming sessions, but sitting still for hours on end isn't good for anyone.
  • Description. Exactly how florid are your descriptions?
If I am describing a magical, mystical or especially important place or person, etc. I will give a elaborate description. I do try to keep them as brief as possible, though. Going on and on takes away the immediate impression that people can come up with in their own heads. The human mind tends to fill in details if given a basis to go on. If it matters, I describe things as accurately as possible, with the attention gven that is needed. Atmosphere is really a big part of a game. Too little makes it cardboard – detailing everything makes it overbearing. In everything, there should be balance.

  • Where do you strike the balance between "doing what your character would do" and "acting like a dickhead"?
If you have to act like a jerk, you are probably playing a character that is a jerk. Under-evolved character personalities are the types that unimaginative players have. If after a couple of sessions you don't have some motivations and personality traits coming to the surface, you are probably just wanting to play a pure hack-n-slash game by the numbers. That's fine, but you can still hack and slash and have a developed character. The guy that is greedier than greedy and back stabs other people's characters and steals their pouches for no reason, just because he is playing a Thief, needs to learn that there is more to roleplaying than showing off abilities or acting like a dork. I have played with those kind and they are juvenile types, typically.

  • PC-on-PC violence. Do your players tend to avoid it, or do you ban it? Or does anything go?
Regarding PC on PC violence, one time a friend of mine and I made new characters to play in a game. I made a Vampire Hunter and unbeknownst to me, he had a Vampire! (oh the irony!) During the session, I had suspicions about him and figured out he was a vamp. To make a long story short, I wasted him with a cross-bowed stake to the heart... and afterwards i felt badly and just retired the Hunter then and there. I acted in character, but hated it! We both spent the rest of the session rolling up NEW new characters while everyone else played ;)

I am not totally against PC-on-PC violence, but it should be rare (if ever occurring) and part of the game. It's like the last question above: If you are playing a dork, why are you doing so? Trying to kill other PCs for no reason is plain stupid – there should be a clear motivation. To avoid this situation, the characters need to have an external enemy that is greater than any animosity that characters may have for each other. I am sure that if I was hunting Dracula, that my suspicion of the vampire player character would have been great, but I might need their vampire expertise to get the job done. I might have made that vampire the only exception of those I wouldn't presently kill if we had come to an understanding, such as “No turning other characters or killing people in your blood drains” or some such. There's a lot you can do with having polar opposites in a group that adds a cool tension that does not have to come down to PC-on-PC violence. A good DM knows how to take a “bad” situation and make it an interesting one. I am against forcing players to a certain type of character, unless it is announced beforehand what is banned or what kind of campaign this is.

  • How do you explain what a role playing game is to a stranger who is also a non-player? (Real life example: my friends and I were playing in the local M:tG club space. A M:tG groupie teenage goth girl came over and asked, "What are you playing?" "[We answered.]" "Sounds kind of gay.")
Well, I just say it is a lot like acting – all we are doing is acting out the parts of a person in a fantastic world. I would tell them that roleplaying is a social thing and that [whatever game] is just a way to have some fun. Personally, I just encourage people to try it. They might like it. I don't take offense if people aren't into it; they might not have tried it so they may have an uninformed opinion.

  • Alcohol at the table?
    I don't mind if people drink, so long as they don't act like “dorks” ala the above questions. The last game I played in face-to-face, there was a guy that got half in the bag that I had never met before. He became very personally insulting about how I played my character in the game and did all sorts of odd behavior in game play himself. No one said anything about it, but that is the last time I will ever play with that guy, because he took the fun out of the session. If you can't hold your liquor, don't drink during a game. Go to a bar and act like a jerk there so I can punch you in the nose ;)

  • What's acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session? Is whatever happens their fault for not being there, or are there some limits?
I tend to play the missing character as an NPC or make them “indisposed” somehow. I won't let a character of someone who isn't there die, but they get no experience points, treasure or anything else from that missed session. Sometimes it may be preferable to side-adventure the people that are there or even play a one-shot of some other game. I let the players decide. Having a character die because of actions imposed upon them by the DM stinks. I won't do that or anything like it to anyone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cosmology of Sylvaeon (#1)


Origin and Essence



The Realm of Sylvaeon is both natural and preternatural; spawned from the Fey place called Faerie. It exists in its own right, but is also a bridge between the mundane Universe and the fantastic places of dream and magic. As such, it is simultaneously a Nexus, a plane and a world. This makes many areas of Sylvaeon very “real” and material and certain others very elusive and magical.

The fabled Green Isle, the heart of Sylvaeon, is where these characteristics both emanate and blur. The Green Isle lies at the “center” of the world/realm of Sylvaeon. However, it is not always reachable simply by traveling to a map coordinate. The Green Isle admits only those it desires to or those that know the secret ways to it. At the very core of the Green Isle lies The Henge, a mammoth stone henge of gigantic size. Inside the Henge is the World Tree, Yggdrasil. Here is the Nexus to the hero gods, Faerie and other worlds – to many places and beings of ancient legend... or yet unknown.

Sylvaeon exists as a manifestation of all things Fey – yet this self-conscious realm has in places become corrupted. Once perfectly balanced and harmonious, in times past a blight infiltrated Sylvaeon. One who has many names that are best not spoken, commonly whispered of as The Ravager, tried to dominate his will upon the Realm. His twisted malice against the pureness of Sylvaeon has upset its original state. As a result, the essence of Sylvaeon is weakened at points. The dark power of the Ravager has caused “leaks” in the fabric of Sylvaeon, where he at times opened his own nexus gates, allowing terrible things to enter in. Whether by design or accident, many of the races of men and other creatures have come to dwell in Sylvaeon because of the thinning of the veil.

Still, Sylvaeon contains much good and it adapts to its new denizens, as they also adapt to Sylvaeon. Even though the dark Ravager has been resisted, his ire against beautiful Sylvaeon continues to grow... and with it, his desire to dominate the Realm.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Bane Toad Ritual


The Bane Toad Ritual
some demented Medieval guy's idea of a toad
A Bane Toad is a magical creature that is created using a ritual on the night of Samhain, the same night which the Holy Church calls All Hallows Eve. Only an Evil/Chaotic Witch or Sorcerer can create a Bane Toad.


The Ritual:
During the night of Samhain, the foul practitioner takes a live toad and places it into a pumpkin which has had the pulp and seeds removed from it. Into the pumpkin is placed a pint of fresh blood, which may be the magician's or someone else's. Three Belladonna leaves are placed in with the blood. The live toad is then put into the pumpkin. The pumpkin is placed over a fire made from coniferous tree branches.

A chant is said over the components as the finally toad boils to its demise:

“In dark night I give of life that woe and ward may become a snare.
Ere one touches this creature again, methinks they should show 'ware!”

Once the creature dies, the pumpkin is removed from the fire and the admixture is allowed to cool.
Eventually the now dead toad will hop out of the gourd. Its appearance will have been altered. This newly created corruption, a Bane Toad, will have pale greenish-white skin. It continually oozes a mucus that is poisonous to the touch. It can also bite someone for the same poisonous effect. The Bane Toad will now have only one, great, bulbous red eye with a yellow pupil. The creature is now able to see not only what it could beforehand, but also invisible beings and also “see” vibrations of moving living beings in even pitch blackness.

a handsome, newly created Bane Toad

The Bane Toad is not a familiar, though its creators sometimes keep them as a pet. Its purpose it to ward and watch over a person (the creator or other) or a singular object. If anyone other than the creator of the Bane Toad attempts to harm the person warded or touch the object so warded, the Bane Toad will attempt to bite them. If a saving roll vs poison at a difficulty of -2 is not made, the person bitten or who touches the toad will become paralyzed for 1 to 6 hours. If the Bane Toad is to guard a person other than the creator, its poison will not affect them.

The object or person warded is chosen by the Witch/ Sorcerer at the time of its ritual creation. Once the person or object and the toad are joined, the toad will never willingly leave its obligation. It must be destroyed before it stops its warding. Of course, the creator or the person it wards could do so easily. Bane Toads are considered a highly prized pet and guardian by rich, decadent nobles, who will willingly supply ALL of the components, as well as a substantial sum of money to have one created for them, because of their rarity. They are considered a status symbol by those twisted enough to buy the creation of one and are handy for magicians, to safeguard their person or magical grimoire, etc. The toad will croak an alarm if the thing they ward is harmed/touched.

The Bane Toad is a ½ HD creature (1 to 3 Hit Points)
Bite for 1 HP of Damage + Saving Roll vs Poison or become paralyzed for d6 hours.
(Touching the Bane Toad also requires a SR vs Poison)

=========

Components as related in the Bane Toad Ritual description:
  • Live toad
  • Pumpkin
  • 3 Belladonna leaves
  • Coniferous branches
  • 1 pint of freshly spilled blood



Friday, October 28, 2011

Witch Oracle - a strange and powerful NPC encounter


Just in time for Halloween:
The Witch Oracle



The Witch Oracle is a powerful sorceress. They are a rare, solitary type of witch, living in secluded places that others do not frequent. They may live in a hut in a dangerous swamp, in a hidden cave, at a ruined temple, a stormy mountain top or any other creepy, perilous and appropriate site. The point is that finding a Witch Oracle is not easy and the place where they live is fraught with enough natural dangers to dissuade the average person from approaching their lair.

A Game Master might want to include a Witch Oracle in the game when rare and vital information is needed to be acquired by a Player Character or a party of characters. Quests, recovery of valuable artifacts, knowledge of the weakness of a foe, the need to know the whereabouts of a lost loved one, etc. are all possible reasons for PCs to inquire of a Witch Oracle.

Witch Oracles are capable of foretelling future events, remotely seeing over great distances, casting curses and have secret knowledge that no one else possesses. For their information, there is always a price. Here are some possible ways of handling that:

1- The Game Master may have previously made it known that the Witch Oracle requires a specific rare item (such as a spell component that is dangerous and difficult to get – a Roc's egg, for instance)

2- The PCs may not know what it is that the Witch Oracle wants until they ask her for information, at which time, she will name her price – something that could lead the PCs into to a side-quest to get for her.

3- The Witch Oracle may demand to have sexual relations with the querent or the PC with the highest Charisma stat, if an entire party is seeking knowledge. Here is where one of the abilities of the Witch Oracle comes into play. The Witch Oracle is capable of making her appearance be that of any type of woman of any race. When the PCs first see her, she will appear as a woman of any form, with an apparent 18 Charisma. Any person seeing the Witch Oracle in this form must make a Saving Roll vs Charm or be enamored of her beauty. (“Surely the foolish people that warned the PCs of seeing the Oracle must be superstitious and mistaken!”)


Her true form is, however, extremely hideous; that of an old crone, with bugling eyes, warts, large nose or any other way in which the Game Master wants her to truly be – the point being that she is really a Charisma of 3 and extremely ugly to look upon. The crone will not reveal her true form until after the unnatural sexual union has occurred. There is a 20% chance of the Oracle becoming pregnant with a PCs child if they have relations with her. The pregnancy will last 3 months. The child born of this union will be a powerful child, mirroring both the abilities of its mother and those of the father. This could lead to some interesting adventures in the future. The child will always disdain its father and will seek somehow to make their life miserable, if not to end it! It only takes one year for the child to grow to maturity.

=======

Anyone that kills the Witch Oracle is always cursed. This is a good rumor to spread to the PCs beforehand as a warning, to make her seem even more terrifying. No matter how a Witch Oracle dies, even if decapitated or disintegrated, etc.immediately afterwards, an audible voice will curse the specific person(s) who caused her death.

Possible Curses:

1- The PC(s) are doomed to never complete their quest!
In this case, all rolls made by the PCs will be at a minus two [-2] until the quest or adventure is completed.

2- The PC(s) will be told that they will be haunted by the Witch Oracle for the rest of their days!
If this is the case, they will have nightmares every night, slowing healing and causing exhaustion in the character(s) until an Exorcism/Banishment is performed by a high-level Cleric, which is another possible quest.

3- The PC(s) will be cursed to rot until they reach the grave, where the Witch Oracle threatens to consume their soul!
The killer(s) will begin to be covered with oozing sores and begin to rot for 1 unrecoverable Hit Point per day. This can only be removed by a combination of Cure Disease & Dispel Curse(or Chaos) being used upon the sufferer(s).

=========

The Witch Oracle will not harm the PCs if they do as she bids and do not harm her in any way. The Oracle always has a familiar appropriate to her natural surroundings. This creature will fight to protect her to the death, if she is attacked.

An Oracle is always of equal or higher level to that of the most advanced PC and will have Magic Spells of that level (determined by the Game Master).

If treated well and her bidding is done, the Witch oracle can also give a Boon to the PC(s).
A Boon is a sort of “blessing”, such as plus one (+1) to all rolls involving a specific upcoming encounter, which will be foretold by the Witch Oracle. This is up to the Game Master's discretion and can be anything the GM wants it to be, in addition to any information gleaned from the Witch Oracle, as was originally purposed in seeing her.

A visit with a Witch Oracle should be handled as a major encounter in an adventure/quest, not merely as advanced rumor gathering or the like. A good Game Master will be able to use her to good effect in making any adventure or quest more interesting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Grand Basilica of Wisdom




This place of note is located near the heart of the ancient city of Luindel. It dates from the brief period of when Luindel was the capital of the now-crumbling Empire. The Grand Basilica is also the home church (or cathedral) of the Grand Patriarch of the Holy Church of God – one of the powerful monotheistic religions that span the regions the Empire of old has reached. Even though the Empire itself is in a state of flux (with several rulers vying for the throne) the Holy Church is very much alive and is quite influential across the lands that make up Sylvaeon.

The Grand Basilica has traded possession in history. When the invasion of the Jihadis came to Luindel during the troubled times after the War of the Immortals, the city was under seige for 3 years. Finally, the city fell and the fanatically devout Jihadis replaced the faith of the Holy Church with their own. Some of the architecture inside and outside of the Basilica of Wisdom bears the mark of this 300 year period. Crusaders eventually reconquered Luindel and most of the surrounding lands, driving the Jihadis back to the South. However, by this time, the Empire had weakened, so the Holy Church stepped in as the true binding force of much of society.

There are hundreds of shrines in the many nooks and corners of the Basilica of Wisdom. The various saints and events they are dedicated to, as well as the holy relics they contain, bring many pilgrims to visit each year. The catacombs beneath the Basilica also contain the tombs of many ancient saints and the Grand Patriarch, as well as some of the most famous Jihadis. It is rumored that great treasures that have not seen the light of day for thousands of years are waiting for the pious thief. It is also rumored that horrible creatures and spirit wards guard the tombs and treasures of the dead, so if anyone has tried to loot them, they have not returned to tell about it.

Many different faiths still thrive throughout Sylvaeon. Some of these are folk or tribal religions. The Asatru faith of the Volk of the Nordmen is one of these; which is shared by some of the Elves and Dwarves from the North. The Holy Church faces a possible Schism, because of the increase of corruption and events surrounding clerical backing of the various contenders for the Imperial throne, as well as other, more technical, theological matters. In order to stave off threats to the Holy Church and to increase harmony amongst the citizens of the Empire, the ancient Emperors called for an Ecumenical Council to be held at the Basilica every ten years – a practice that is still observed today.

Only faiths that are recognized lawfully by the Empire are allowed to join in the Ecumenical Council. The petitions of unrecognized groups to be recognized still come to the Emperor – or did- until recent events. This has caused some consternation among the Holy Church (which secretly and openly seeks to repress other faiths) and those groups which are vying to regain or ascend to prominence during the flux that has overtaken the Empire. Of disconcerting note to some is the boldness of the Chaos cultists, who have vowed to attend the soon upcoming 374th Ecumenical Council. Complete with pomp and ceremony and long-winded clerical speeches, the purpose of the Council is to iron out differences, promote harmony and to share religious insights, etc. among the various faiths of Sylvaeon. However, a dark cloud of political and religious intrigue seems to be hanging over it this time.

The Watch of Luindel is on the alert for any increased unrest regarding the Ecumenical Council, but the city Magistrate is reticent to call for the aid of Imperial Guard, because of his own political troubles. It is rumored that Crusaders and Holy Warriors of all types will show – but it is also equally rumored that dark forces are already at work behind the scenes. Even though it is supposed to represent the wonder and joy of holy understanding, the Grand Basilica has always been a focal point of religious and political intrigue as much as it has been of faith. There is much unknown history and an unknown future surrounding this magnificent structure.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Waiting For Midnight



Fog filled the air, coming in off of the bay as a shadowed figure moved through the streets. This night was like many others in the city of Luindel and night was when Adelwulf did most of his business, if he could help it. Slipping down an alley, the rogue stopped and listened for several minutes to determine if he were followed or not. The moon above was as obscured by the fog as he was below. Sensing that all was clear, he made straight for the door of the Drunken Druid inn.


Once inside, the cool damp air turned to alcohol-scented, smoky damp air – but Adelwulf found it somewhat pleasant, because it was the familiar environment where he conducted his affairs. The table at the back of the room was empty, even though the rest were filled with carousers and loud chatter. he threw his cape upon the back of the chair and sat down. This was his reserved spot at one of several establishments around town. Here at the far corner of the Drunken Druid, Adelwulf could spy out the clientele for new-comers, fresh and ready to lose their purses in a card game... or he could sift the conversations for rumors that might lead to other prospects.

Just as these thoughts flashed through his mind, the serving wench, Marie, came with his usual: a snifter of aged brandy from the unusually well-stocked reserves of this otherwise seedy-looking place. She was certainly the best thing to be seen around here. Adelwulf rose, removed his hat and bowed to her as if she were a noblewoman. She giggled as he placed the coins in her hand and let his linger upon hers for a brief moment, smiling. As Marie left, she glanced back over her shoulder at the scoundrel, but he made sure not to be seen noticing. “Another night, like many other nights”, he thought, “yet something more than fog is in the air”.

Adelwulf Volker, supposed son of a lowly baron and master of the underground world of Luindel drank a sip of his brandy … and he waited; waited in this place that he could almost call his second home... waited for his midnight appointment to enter...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Queen of the Fairies

Queen of the Fairies

Like many ancient myths, there is no clearcut or authoritative version of just who the Queen of the Fairies is and what her nature is like. The name of the Queen of the Fairies changes according to different adaptations. She has no name in the oldest times, but has been associated with Morgan Le Fey in Arthurian legends and Shakespeare called her Titania. Oberon (also spelled Auberon) is often considered her consort and the king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature.

William Blake's Oberon, Titania and Puck With Fairies Dancing

Titania. Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders 
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.
(A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, Act II. Scene II. Another Part of the Wood)

The Queen of the Fairies is a beautiful, cunning and commanding Fey creature of great magical power, able to assume any shape she pleases. She is sometimes said to ensnare mortal for her purposes, as in the Queen of Elfen legend of the Scottish Lowlands. Humans ensorcelled by her sometimes become a "tithe to hell", which reflects the conflict between Christianity and Paganism in those days.

In a sylvan setting in an RPG campaign, she could be a figure that lies behind happenings or has agents among the woodland creatures and her various subjects. She appears to mortals only when she desires to be seen. It would be very difficult to trap or threaten the Queen of the Fairies, as her own realm is one of particularly fey magic and possibly a dimension all to itself, where she is in absolute authority. She seems to be favorable to whom she will and as equally capricious.

Certainly the Queen of the Fairies is a fascinating and mysterious figure for any campaign, the mythology of whom has only been scratched here.



I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in



Followers