Friday, November 29, 2013

Into A New Domain

Well I finally did it. I bought a domain. As of this morning is up and running. It's shiny and new and ragged and terrifying!

Blogger has been good to me these past few years, but with the encouragement of friends I have ventured into the land of an actual My hope is that it will corral my many ideas and imaginings into a few webpages instead of trying to keep three separate blogs going with material.

Please check it out and tell me what you think. I'm very open to advice, criticism, etc. Whether new or a regular follower, I very much appreciate the support and readership this blog has enjoyed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Maps by Max

I was blown away by the work of fellow guild member Maxime Plasse. He is obviously a very talented individual with a natural eye for map making. He has graciously permitted this handful of images.
**please note that these are copyrighted images and are NOT for use without explicit permission from the artist**

Because Max did me the favor of allowing me to post his work, it seemed only fitting that he get to pick which pics were shared. Enjoy!

Erin the Green Isle

Oraven the Cold Hell
Oraven the Savage Lands
Oraven the Red Moors
Oraven Mirghor
For even more astounding maps, check out Max's album of original artwork and commissions.

What can I say? I was hooked the moment I saw the Erin map of Ireland. If you remember from my earliest posts, Ireland was the outline map I chose for my first conworld, Schiehallion.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Magic Circles

This post from the Land of Nod blog gave me an idea regarding magic circles. In it he states that the elves made the dwarves construct magic circles for them to harness the energies of the world for better/easier manipulation.

This got me to thinking about my own world. I figure that as deep-dwelling masons and metalsmiths, the dwarves would be naturally gifted in earth and fire magics. Where the dwarves are stalwart and compact, elves are lithe and fluid. Thus the feyfolk's natural talents are in water and air.

Therefore I believe that dwarves would construct magic circles, carved in their angular runes - because it's easier to chisel straight lines in stone, than curves. Dwarf runes are harsh, straightforward, and to the point.

The elves would take a "more natural" approach and bend green trees into enchanted groves, letting them intertwine over time. Elven script is looping and flowing like a stream or a breeze - wafting and winding, drawn out and contemplative.

The dwarves are viewed as more manipulative and prone to take immediate (sometimes rash) action; whereas the elves are more delicate and natural and like to consider (sometimes too long) before moving forward. Elves are thinkers, dwarves are thunkers.

That's not to say that dwarves couldn't build you a stone circle with runes to imbue stronger water magic, nor would it be impossible for the elves to plant and grow a stand of trees the enhance fire magics. Both would certainly increase a mere human's abilites to draw magic from the natural world, but each is directly counter intuitive to the elements working in harmony. So if you want hefty and hearty, go with dwarf construction. If you want ethereal and airy, elves are the way to go.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kickstarter 4 - Blade Raiders Novel

Grant Gould's Blade Raiders was among the first Kickstarter projects I ever backed. And given how impressive the RPG rulebook and Enemy Omnibus were, I see no reason that I'd ever not back more of his projects.

That being said, I've thrown money at his latest project for a Blade Raiders: Exodus Novel. I really like his artwork - Wolves of Odin was fantastic! - so yes it super sucks that this project wasn't funded as another stunning graphic novel, but I agree that it's very likely to come across as a better story in novel form. The stretch bonus is that the book will include a few illustrations per more money raised.

Please please please support this project. Grant is a fabulous artist, genuine geek at heart, and from what I can tell one hell of a nice guy.

Join in. Cash in.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Facts of Life

Because it's quite common for fantasy games/stories to be set in a roughly medieval time period, it's best to do some research so your world fits the facts.

The Middle Ages and the Dark Ages are synonymous. The dates for this period are roughly 400-1500, basically from the the fall of Rome to the Renaissance. And that is broken down further into three periods: Early (500-1000), High (1000-1300), and Late (1300-1500).

The "Dark Ages" is a misnomer in that during this time there was actually quite a bit of information exchanged, particularly via trade with foreign countries. 

Education wasn't limited only to cloistered monks. The later Middle Ages (1000-1500) were a time of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, anatomy, engineering, etc.

Not all knowledge of the Ancient World was lost "in a single day and night of misfortune" like Atlantis. Much learning remained from Rome, Greece, and Arabia. And even more knowledge was introduced through contact with eastern Asia. Silk, spices, gunpowder, and decimals (just to name a few) came to Europe during this time.

Healthcare and sanitation were not as good as they are today (speaking in regards to the sterile and shiny Western world), but it wasn't all filth and squalor either. People took baths, brushed their teeth, and washed their hands after doing their business. The cleanliness of the water being used for these activities is what's really up for debate.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Blackrock Castle Observatory

This is Blackrock Castle. Built in Cork, Ireland in the 16th Century to repel pirate attacks. Its stalwart fortifications boast several towers with walls over 2 meters thick to withstand cannon fire.

It now serves as an interactive astronomy center whose purpose is "The Search for Extreme Life in the Universe".

But let's say you want to convert this to a fantasy/game setting....

Perhaps a "mad" wizard is holed up behind the thick walls attempting to contact other worlds. He could be doing so through use of a massive telescope that sits protected within the tallest tower. Or he is gathering cosmic energy from multi-colored crystals set in the top of each tower that harness various powers. Through manipulation and calculation the wizard is channeling these latent energies into the castle courtyard, whereby the stones themselves acts as one large resonator to open portals to other dimensions.

Is this wizard truly a wizard at all, or is he a misunderstood genius hoping to reach other planes of existence? What is he hoping to accomplish in this venture - a heightened awareness for all mankind, or the destruction of the material plane by otherworldly demons?
How do the players hear of this: flashes of colorful lights in the night sky, a low hum that can only be heard by pressing one's ear to the ground, the crackle of electric charges and freak lightning strikes from a cloudless sky?

Once they know of the experiments, do they wish to stop it, or explore the mysteries with the wizard?
Depending on which they choose, do they attempt to help the nearby villagers breech the thick walls, or must they reach the parapets first to repel the attack?
How does one gain entry? Through a hidden underwater passage, a large magical gate with a series of locking runes, or perhaps an invisible force field protects the castle and someone can only pass through unarmed and unarmored, with pure intentions.

Once inside, it could be discovered that an unstable wormhole has already opened. Maybe the wizard meant well, but the trans-dimensional energies that lulled him into completing the ceremony/opening were in fact malevolent and now a demonic god hopes to reach through and obliterate life as we know it. Or instead of something coming through the gateway, our world is in peril of being sucked into the void a bit at a time. If the portal isn't closed, the very fabric of existence could unravel!
Either way, what are the consequences?