Item Bio: Tsurris

A little bit of lore from the Pathfinder campaign I’m a player in. My character is Cain Ahora, lawful servant of Asmodeus. I’ll probably post a bio of him later. But this post isn’t about him. It’s about his sword.

In the last years of his life, renowned halfling magus and adventurer Macher Kishef turned his talents towards the construction of magical weapons, projects that would contribute in a physical and long-lasting way to his legacy. One of his lesser known works was a certain greatsword made of pure adamantine. It was commissioned by a young man who, despite the loss of several fingers and a violent youth, had found the path of law and had recently been inducted into the Hellknights, an organization devoted to maintaining order and fighting chaos.

The young Hellknight wanted the sword to be enchanted with flame, and asked for it to be called Uris, which meant “My fire” in Thassilonian and “Scorch” in Azlanti (perhaps by coincidence). Macher forged the sword as requested, and inscribed the word Uris in ornate Thassilonian runes on one side, and in flowing Azlanti script on the other side, and studded the hilt with rubies.

Shortly before the sword was completed, however, the Hellknight in question was cursed by Continue reading

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Meier History: Silverstream

This is the history of Silverstream, the city where my mini-campaign in Boulder will be based. Silverstream/Augnagar is part of Meier, the world I used for my piratey campaign. Little if any of this particular story is likely to become relevant in gameplay, but it was fun to write in midair somewhere above the western US.

In the Dark Age after the Gideon Empire fell, all peoples warred with one another. The fledgeling nation of Lasant grew in territory and power, but one foe it could never quite vanquish: the wicked country of Gomdar. Now the Gomdarites were a barbarous people, who practiced such abominations as demon worship and child sacrifice. They even proudly claimed to have a fiendish heritage, selecting the most evil and ruthless among them to lead their cities.

In war, the Gomdarites fought destructively, ruthlessly, and cunningly. They had surprisingly little interest in expansion. Instead, they called upon dark and nameless powers to lay the lands around them to waste.

Gomdar stymied Lasant for many years. Their border stronghold they called Augnagar. Situated on the Tiger River, Augnagar withstood many sieges over the years without one being taken.

Indeed, Augnagar stood right up until Continue reading

Meier: The Old World

I am using a custom campaign setting for my planned upcoming Pathfinder campaign. The setting is a world called Meier, which is experiencing an age of exploration. You see, until quite recently, everyone believed the world was a dome. Everyone knew that there were only two continents forming a ring around the world, and then an infinite sea to the south. But it turns out that there’s a whole chain of islands down south! They’re full of riches, monsters, and strange magic. And that was before explorers from the Old World started colonizing it, introducing civilization, war, and pirates — sorry, privateers — to the savage natives. I’ll talk about the New World more later. Let me tell you about the Old World first…

The “Old World” consists of two continents, Occident and Orient. They’re both long in the east-west direction, with about 800 miles of ocean between the east cost of Orient and the west cost of Occident, and another 800 miles of ocean between the east coast of Occident and the west coast of Orient. The two continents form a band around the northern part of the planet. It is incorrect to speak of one of these as being “East” and one as being “West,” because the conventionally agreed-upon Prime Meridian bisects both continents. The Orient is about 50% larger than the Occident (so the Occident goes 2/5 the way around, and the Orient goes 3/5 the way around). Historically, the Orient and the Occident have enjoyed peaceful relations with each other as far as it goes. Wars are much more common Continue reading

Pirate Discussion Questions

My two-hour pirate class is go for next Sunday Saturday. Apart from the trivia questions I already posted, here are some more interesting discussion questions I plan on asking. More points/treasure/candy will be given out to the teams/ships with better answers. What do you think about these:

  • Why did piracy flourish in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries? (There are a ton of reasons, none of which is buried treasure.)
  • You are putting together a new pirate journey. You need to draw up articles for your voyage. Come up with at least 5 rules for your ship. Think about how the plunder should be divided, what things should be specifically against the rules, what should happen if someone gets injured while taking a ship, etc.
  • Now you need to recruit some sailors for your pirate ship. How would you find new pirates? Where would you look for them, and what kind of people would you look for? What would you say to them to get them to join up?
  • You capture a ship without any resistance. You steal all the treasure, obviously, but what do you do with the enemy crew? Hold them as hostages, or invite them to join your crew, or just dump them on an island somewhere? Or would it be more prudent just to kill them? Why? Continue reading

International Talk Like A Pirate Day Super Fun Time Trivia Quiz!

Yar! Here be a quiz I mean to be handin’ out during Splash! Splash, in case yer a scurvy landlubber what don’t know, be an event where a crew of high schoolers sail to the college, where we’re to be teachin’ them classes on whatever we feels like. I mean to teach a class on pirates! I’ll be givin out plunder (in the form of candy) to whatever swabs be gettin’ these questions right, and any who don’t, walk the plank! I got no candy to be handin’ out to the likes of ye, but I can pay ye in EvilBucks.

No cheatin’.

True or false: Continue reading

TimeWarp Campaign Idea: Time Zones

It’s looking like I may not get a chance to run that time travel campaign I wanted. But even if I eventually do, I figure I may as well share some more of my ideas for it.

There are six main eras for the PCs to visit. To make things interesting I’m going to list them in the order that the PCs will likely visit them, not in chronological order. I’m sure there will be repeat visits to the different eras, though — more on that later.

V: High Medieval Era: Gonland
This is the era that the PCs will come from, although any PC who joins partway through the campaign will likely come from whichever era the party happens to be in. It’s a pretty standard D&D world, with access to all the normal sorts of magic. (The major exceptions, as I mentioned in another post, are that dragons are long extinct, and planar travel is utterly impossible.) Gonland is one of two major powers in this part of the world, the other being Arcus. Historically speaking, this is an age of relative enlightenment. Magic is being rediscovered after a long absence, new forms of government (i.e. parliamentary monarchy) are being worked out, and society is surprisingly tolerant. State religion is a big deal, but not a driving force in most people’s lives. Peasants are enjoying limited civil rights, although of course they’re still peasants.

The major conflict in this era is the cold war between Gonland and Arcus. They have different national deities, and Arcus is much more lawful than Gonland is. The territory between Arcus and Gonland is generally full of much smaller nations that must take sides or be annexed, and are then obliged to fight as proxies against nations that back the opposing state. Rumors say that a secret society of mages and clerics is Continue reading

Exposition and Notes

So I’ve written a bunch of expository chapters recently, Chapter 2 of Gigas’ Tale, and Chapters 1 and 2 of the epic. I’m not very good at expository writing, or at least, I don’t like it. I didn’t even do my normal editing process on chapter 2 of the epic.  My editing process, by the way, is to read through the entire story, to myself, aloud. It catches typos and awkward sentences, and lets me review what I’ve just written. But I need to take a step back from the exposition, and I couldn’t bring myself to edit the forest scene.

As a self-critic, I would like to make a few notes on what I’ve already written, especially the first two chapters (not counting the prologue) of the epic. Both chapters are written not objectively, but from a heavy point of view. The story told by King Thobis, in particular, was biased and inaccurate, although the full extent of this remains to be seen. I do enjoy unreliable narration, although I like to give some hint that it’s going on. It gives the impression that the characters view the world through different lenses, and even with different facts. Some of the mistakes in Thobis’ story are misinterpretations of the facts, or mistakes passed down through history. The idea, for example, that the King’s best friend would march into the throne room and demand half the kingdom is not very believable. It sounds more mythical than realistic, and in fact it’s not quite what happened. Other errors in the story are deliberate half-truths introduced by the Magnolium Order, especially the tale of its own origin. It started as nothing more but the weakest of the various street gangs, fighting for turf. And one particular claim is actually a mathematical error: Each king has not, in fact, died younger than his father did. The historians who have been publishing that fact have been fudging the numbers in order to make that sensational claim!

In chapter 2, there are very few outright untruths, but Prince Romm does have his own take on the world. He is a teenager, of course, and his relationship with his single father is not good. Part of that is teenage rebelliousness compounded by political disagreement, but part of it is a lingering reaction to what his father did to that girl. The same goes for his relationship with Cardinal Alabaster. He had liked both men a great deal when he was 7, but after that day, something changed, and he wanted nothing more to do with either.

I don’t think I conveyed this very well, but Romm’s inability to find a wife is also mostly due to his bad relationship with his father. It’s not intended to be a “rebellious princess” type of thing, where he refuses all comers because of a desire for independence. For one thing, as the man, he is supposed to come to them! It’s more the following thought process: “Anyone my father likes must be no good.” It’s not spite, therefore, it’s mistrust at an almost subconscious level: Romm doesn’t even realize he’s coming up with objections to justify his disapproval of anyone, or in fact anything, his father likes. Apart from that, there are no inaccuracies in what Romm is thinking that I’m willing to reveal.

On the one hand, therefore, I hate writing exposition. On the other hand, I like writing exposition when it’s full of lies. It makes me feel like I’ve got a fuller world, when the characters who live there have differing viewpoints on it.

Coming soon: Prince Romm runs away! Gigas the Halfling vs. Cloud Giants!