The Divided Kingdoms - Faarstadt

Faarstadt is located at the northern side of the continent, east of the Backbone of the Gods. A large portion of the country is uninhabited, mostly due to the deep forests and inhospitable landscape. The weather itself is nasty - lots of heavy blowing winds, torrential rains and, in the winter, snowfall deep enough to cover homes. Few people traverse this land, and some of the ones that do, do not return.

Deepwell is located in the forest known as the Deepwood. This is the most well known forest in the entire country. It is dark, thick and treacherous. Dangerous creatures live within the forest, waiting for the ignorant to come wandering in. It doesn't happen often, but those that have made it back out have stated that "bones litter the ground". Deepwell itself is located somewhere in the middle of the forest in a hole in the ground. The only way known to enter the city of Deepwell is to drop down a sheer shaft by grappling hooks and ropes. This city is said to have been the home of the dark humans who inhabited the world before the other races started to come about. Of course, there is no proof of any of this. But it sounds nice...

Runeforge is a Dwarven Kingdom settled into the Fangtongue Mountains. They mine gems and metals to forge into their own works and to sell to others. The Elves have been known to buy quantities of both gems and metals from them for their own magnificent works. Rumors also state that some dark humans and dark elves have bought from them but the Dwarves don't talk about that. Runeforge is actually located in the mountains above their mines. Everything is carved from the stone of the Fangtongues. There are some farms outside of the mountains that the Dwarves work for vegetables and some meats, but for the most part they stay within the darkness of the mountains.

On the farthest side of Faarstadt are the Shell Shores. These pink and white shores attact many of the wealthiest people of the lands. They are brought here through portals that are provided by the mages of Highrule and Chantrya - that way they don't have to brave the horrible weather. The "sands" of these beaches are actually broken and battered shells from the ocean.

There are small villages here and there, dotting the landscape, but no large cities or kingdoms. There are no rulers of this land. But, far to the north, near the shores and the legendary location of the Peak of the Sun, are the Troll Kingdoms. No explorer has been there, so no one really has any clue where these kingdoms are located. The trolls come down to Runeforge once in a great while to purchase metals for their tools. It has been almost a generation since the trolls have been seen. Many believe that the Gods have brought the Trolls down because of their vicious nature.

Next - Karris.

Nerdy Girl's Book Recommendations

In a recent comment to my book review of Downshadow by Erik Scott DeBie, Devin asked for recommendations for game fiction. I can think of a few good ones, so I thought instead of responding as a comment I would just make a general post, that way everyone can see them.

Ok, here goes (though it's not in order):

"Neversfall: The Citadels" by Ed Gentry is a pretty good one. It's a good, quick read that's captivating without being too intense. It gathers together the good things about the Forgotten Realms and puts them in front of you without making you choose the parts that you want to read. I liked it. I kept it instead of taking it to Half Price. That means a lot with me.

"Obsidian Ridge: The Citadels" by Jess Lebow has to be one of the best ones that I have read yet in the Forgotten Realms series. It is leading and misleading with it's characters. Said characters are interesting and intriguing, without being whiny or tiresome. I loved this one enough that I might read it again once I let more of it leak from my memory.

"Swordmage: Blade of the Moonsea" by Richard Baker
was pretty good. It was a little slow in places, but I enjoyed it. Even though there wasn't as much sword play as I would normally like in a Forgotten Realms, book I found that the parts where it was slower were still engaging enough that I didn't really notice. The second book in this series just came out in hardback, but I am waiting for either the hardback to pop up at Half Price or the paperback to come out.

"The Fanged Crown: The Wilds: by Jenna Helland
is another one of the ones that I really enjoyed. The main character is snide and enjoyable in his banter with his friend, who is also witty and fun to read. The story is good and engaging, while being a quick read. It also involves lost civilisations, which is always a good thing for me.

"Crypt of the Moaning Diamond" by Rosemary Jones was very fun. This was the first one that I picked up when I decided to start reading Forgotten Realms fiction. I loved it. The main character is a lot like one that I would have created for a game and that really drew me into it. I like the strong female warrior character type. The story was good without being too deep, so I didn't really have to think a lot - no flipping back through to find a place that explained something. I highly recommend this one.

"The Crimson Gold: Rogues Book 3" by Voronica Whitney-Robinson was the first one out of the series that I read. It doesn't look like any of the series actually is connected when it comes to the characters, so I don't think that I missed anything in the Rogues series. This book was pretty decent. I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters, though I was a little disappointed in the conclusion of the Prologue, but after further reading, I see where it went.

"Sands of the Soul: Sembia" by Voronica Whitney-Robinson I picked up at Half Price not realizing that it had same characters as "The Crimson Gold" and not be part of the same series. It was kind of nice to read more with the characters in it since they were engaging in the first story.

"Lord of Stormweather: Sembia" by David Gross
follows more of the family of the previous two. There are more book in this series, though I haven't gotten them yet. I'll check Half Price later on when I go up there in July. Anyhow, it was enjoyable, though a little slow since there wasn't a whole lot in the way of action. It involves several characters and some of them don't get a lot of chapter-time so you start to wonder what happened to them after a while. Then the next chapter is about them.

These are the ones that I have read recently and enjoyed. I hope that anyone else who reads them enjoys them as well.

Review: Book - Downshadow

So this book wasn't too bad. It wasn't great, but I recommend it for a decent Forgotten Realms read.

It involves a man named Kalen Dren who lives a double life as a paladin of the Three-Fold Gold and a member of the Waterdeep Guard. He suffers from the Spellplague which keeps him from feeling anything physical. His boss Araezra Hondyl has a secret "love" for him though she doesn't know who he really is. The only one that does is his adoptive sister Cellica, a halfling with the ability to charm with her voice.

But someone else has a desire for him - red haired half elf named Fayne. Unfortunately, she's a bitch and turns out to be some sort of demon with the ability to cloak her image. She changes faces and has some sort of agenda which seems to be guided by her patron, a gold skinned elf. Fayne is not really a likeable character. She's a user, a slut, and a generally crappy person. Then again, she's a demon, so I guess it works out.

Then there's Myrin, who has no idea who she is, though she appears to have some sort of spellscar as well. Blue runes flame up and down her body when she gets angry and then she unleashes a powerful magic. Unfortunately, she's also has amnesia. Myrin falls for Kalen - also known as the Paladin, Shadowbane - but he doesn't believe that he's good enough for her.

There's also a bald headed, smooth skinned Dwarf named Rath, who is a monk and has completely turned away from his people. He's a jerk and out for himself. He has little or no monk like qualities, except that he can beat the crap out of people with his bare hands. He gets involved with Fayne and they both want to take down Shadowbane, but for different reasons.

All of this seems to revolve around this Myrin girl, but there's never really an explanation as to why.

I found a couple of mistakes in continuity, but for the most part it's well written if not a little confusing in places.

One can pick it up at Amazon for about $8. I got mine at Half Price Books. I probably would have paid full price for it, but I didn't and that's ok with me. It'll head back to the used book store next time I head up there, though. Gotta recycle those books, ya know. =o)

The Divided Kingdoms - Ithryshal

Ithryshal is located on the southeastern side of the continent - south of the Fangtongue Mountains and east of the Backbone of the Gods.

Within the land of Ithryshal is Meadowsgate, Elthador, Eshaval, Windswept, Lunimyr, Palishar, Peravayle, The Court of Kings and Olanthir. The people of Ithryshal are primarily Elven in all but Eshaval which is under human rulership. There are also half-elves, not surprising since humans do live in among the elves, and halflings which seem to have no real home anywhere in the Kingdoms. Rumors fly of Deep Elves and Deep Humans who live under the ground in the city of Teshyvle. These peoples are originally known as Ithryians - hence the name of the land Ithryshal - and supposedly went underground when human "took control of the land". Many believed that these Deep People died out long ago, though some claim that they still see them near the mountains and in the forests at night. The elves believe that there would be none of their kind had it not been for these people and their kindness and wealth. Since they went underground these people have changed greatly - their skin has gone to black and dark grey, though there are a few that have white skin; hair has lost all pigmentation and become completely white; eyes have taken on a bioluminescent glow, becoming almost a greenish-yellow to a bright peridot and able to see in complete darkness, but at the cost to a light sensitivity; they are usually along the range of average human height (5'2" - 6'2") and quite slender. These people are extremely fine crafters of jewelry and have a tight trade agreement with the dwarves for gemstones and precious metals. Their jewelry ends up on the market, but no one knows exactly where it comes from.

The Court of Kings is located right where the Fangtongue Mountains and the Backbone of the Gods split off. It is a cavern buried deep within the mountains that contains monuments of great human, elven and dwarven kings of ancient times. Each monument is a likeness of a king seated on his throne. They are all arranged in a circle, each looking toward the center where a golden pedestal sits with a deep blue orb floating above it. The Orb of Kings supposedly contains all of the wisdom of the ancient kings and the secret of why things changed. Many have gone to seek out the orb and the monuments, though no one has ever actually found any of it.

Lunimyr is known as the City of Night. It is called this because of its location nestled between the Backbone of the Gods and the Fangtongues the sun doesn't shine on its buildings. Because it is always night in this small city, thieves and the like have a tendency to gather within its walls. The guard there, known as the Night Watch, usually have their hands full. Monra Neche, head of the Night Watch, is a former assassin turned to the other side of the law. She has the best understanding of the people within Lunimyr and she works as hard as she can to make sure that these people don't take their tendencies outside of the city.

Meadowsgate is a beautiful art nouveau looking city with curving, natural looking buildings. Lots of vinework and twists and turns. The buildings almost appear as if they sprang directly from the ground instead of being built. Everything is white and pink marble, though are some other colors mixed in - greens and browns and their respective shades. The largest building is the far north side of the city and the home of King Elthazar and Queen Melisande. It is surrounded on all sides by gardens filled with flowers that are enchanted so they grow all year round. In the midst of these beautiful flowers are white carved gazebos and marble benches. Statues dot the gardens as well offering rememberence to past family members and rulers.

Windswept is settled in the Emerald Hills and is surrounded on all sides by beautiful green, rolling meadows. This city is a haven for adventurers and welcomes all races equally. The city generally peaceful and kept this way by the Wind Watch, who patrol the city day in and day out. If anyone does anything to disturb the peace and quiet of this lovely city they are fined, jailed or removed from the city's limits. The city buildings themselves are built on the tops of the hills and each hill is connected by well built wooden bridges. Each hill does not contain only one kind of "shopping", instead they are named for something else entirely. For example, Shire Hill has some lovely homes but also has a few shops and at least one feasthall. Central Hill, the one that is obviously in the center of all of them, connects each hill to the others with long bridges, also contains the home office of the Wind Watch, though each hill has its own smaller office. This city is not only a great place for adventurers, but is also wonderful to visit and just take a good look at.

Eshaval is a sad place to be for any elf. Over a hundred years ago, this beautiful Elven city was invaded by a human army commanded by a wicked warlord known as Banelin "The Crusher of the Elves". Being a peaceful people, the Elves were not prepared and could not fight back, therefore they were slaughtered by the hundreds. Those that managed to survive were enslaved and forced to work for Banelin and the other humans. Children were brought up to believe that Elves were nothing more than animals and are worth nothing. Over a century has passed and Elves are still treated same way, though there is a Freedom Movement growing within the elven slaves. This movement is headed up by a young woman named Sharnai, the last of the Elven Princesses. Unfortunately for her, she has few behind her. There is a young man, the son of the ruler, Banelin the Second, who wishes to help her free her people. Should his father find out what he's up to, it could be all out war.

Olanthir is thought to be located somewhere on the eastern side of Ithryshal. But that area is all hills and forests and no one has ever actually seen a city there. Then again, it is said that it was "lost" during the war that brought about the downfall of the Titanic Rulers. Legend says that the beautiful city shows itself as a portal between two huge, ancient trees during a full moon and only for the hour or so that the moon is truly full. So far, no adventurer or explorer has ventured into this lost city and has returned.

Palishar is located down south near the Moonsmirror Bay. It is an ancient elven city though a newer city was built up around it within the last fifty years or so. The structures in the city are nothing to marvel at, mostly half timber with some stone here and there. The most interesting thing is that the old city is still in the center. Walled off and guarded against looters, the crumbling remains of the Ancient Palishar set nestled in a depression in the ground. A great shifting of the land caused the dirt to drop and settle lower down giving the whole city the impression that it had been stepped on. During this time, the inhabitants of the city fled for their lives and the buildings shifted and fell, threatening to crush any in their way. A few years after the ground had settled, the remaining people rebuilt the city, walling off the old. Only those with permission of the Guard are aloud down into the old city.

Moonsmirror Bay, located just south of the city of Palishar, is a lovely, silvery lake, settled in-between the land and the water of the ocean, seperated only by some stone shards poking up through the water.

Elthador is your typical Elven Kingdom, built in the forest, partly in the trees and partly on the ground. The buildings are built of wood and thatch and barely distinguishable from the surrounding woods. The Elves here keep to themselves mostly and are rather unsure of outsiders. Little is known of the city of Elthador, as travelers generally do not add this elven home to their list of places to visit.

Peravayle is the south-eastern most location on the map. It is a port city and attracts mostly sailiors and the like, though regular folk also live there, mostly further in away from the shore. Though it was once a lively, cutting edge artsy place with lots of interesting architecture and artwork. The ruler then, a woman named Shan Morval, loved art and all that comes from it. As she created her beautiful city, people from all over flocked to there to watch great buildings formed from the earth itself with her magic. But, it didn't last long. She died under mysterious circumstances and her magic failed. The buildings fell and what was left became the Peravayle of today.

Next - Faarstadt.

New Creature for Castles and Crusades

I needed an aquatic creature in a pinch and here's what I came up with:

Flesh Eating Flying Fish

Number Encountered: 3-30
Size: Small
Hit Dice: 5HD (d8)
Move: swim 40ft
Attacks: bite - long razor sharp fangs (d6)
Special Abilities: charge attack (burst out of water); rip (bite d6+2); poison (flesh eating)
Saves: None
Intelligent: Animal
Alignment: CE
Type: Beast
Treasure: None
XP: 120+5

Flesh eating flying fish are pack creatures and tend to wait close to the surface for a victim. They are a greyish green with hard plated scales over the back of their body. They have long, razor sharp teeth that can rend flesh with little trouble.

Combat: Flesh eating flying fish will leap out of the water in groups to attack whatever happens to be in their path. They will either attached themselves to their intended victim and inject them with a flesh eating poison or they will sink their teeth in and tear, then drop.

The Divided Kingdoms - Haalspar

Going over the stuff that I have written up, I discovered some mistakes that I had made. Perfect time to clear them up. =o)

The Backbone of the Gods doesn't actually cut the land in thirds, it actually cuts it in half and an off-shoot of the mountain range called the Fangtongue Mountains cuts the eastern half in half once again. This seperates the Dwarves from the others. I'll get to more of that when I talk about Faarstadt - which I don't have a whole lot about.

Ok, on with Haalspar...

Haalspar takes up most of the western side of the continent - all but a small area of the Hoardelands of Dathar (which will be documented later). It is a huge "country" that extends from the northern shore at the Peak of the Sun all of the way down the Backbone of the Gods to the Obsidian Pillars and Flamespire.

Within the "country" of Haalspar there is the Monarchy of Krae, The Battered Expanse, Barony Thal, Shiregreen and Highrule. The Hoardelands of Dathar are technically part of Haalspar though they shown no allegiance to their governing body. The peoples of the Monarchy of Krae are generally human and elven, though any Elves stick mostly to Caydick and Aracdor. Elves were present in the city of Shiregreen until they started making and selling weapons and armor. The Elves felt somewhat threatened by this and decided to leave before they got pulled into the middle of things. Rumors of Dark Humans have been noted deeper in the south, though no one has really ever seen one. Dwarves pop up here and there, usually near Shiregreen since they have communities on the other side of the Backbone.

The Hoardelands of Dathar are comprised of flat grasslands and rolling hills. Small tribal villages made up of huts and long houses dot the landscape. The "capital" of the Hoardelands in a large village called Merk. Here the heads of all of the tribes come together to discuss things that are important to them. Festivals are held here in the spring and fall to welcome the harvest and the planting season. Think Norse and Celtic mixes of people.

The Monarchy of Krae has a very western European feel to it and has lots of rolling hills and meadowlands with some light wooded areas tossed around like pebbles. The largest city within the Monarchy of Krae is Aracador, a feudal kingdom that thrives on war and commerce. It is ruled by Family Borashal who has ruled for generations. The current ruler is King Finar Borashal. He has rule over all of Haalspar. He also has a very large army based in his home city of Arcador. This army offers protection to all citizens of Haalspar. The architecture of Arcador is generally sturdy and well-built with richly decorated homes and shops built from wood and stone.

The oldest city in Krae is Caydick. This city is quite old, parts of it date back a few hundred years, though most of it is under the current level of the city. Some say that underneath the newest foundation of Caydick are at least three levels of ancient buildings and probably at least a few strange creatures. There are a few entrances to these older levels though they are guarded by the city watch. Entering is frowned upon unless special permission is given by the head of the Adventurer's Guild.

South of the Monarchy of Krae is a section of land known as the Battered Expanse. A long stretch of land covered by tall, golden grasses, it is swept violently by constant winds. At night the winds carry the screams and moans of those that died in past battles between Elves and Humans. Traveling across the Expanse requires skill and extra supplies. There are roving bands of nomads that make their way across the Expanse and for a few gold, they will be glad to guide one through to the safety of the Barony Thal on southern side.

The land of the Barony Thal is much like the Monarchy of Krae, just further south. There are more forests in this area and less in the way of meadowlands. The largest city, Highfort, is in the middle of the Barony and is governed by Lord Baron Semoras Takat. Within the Barony is the well-known Singing Blades Warrior Academy. Many of the finest of the King's soldiers come from this school. Most of the Barony is of the half-timber variety and looks much like something that would be middle European.

Shiregreen is a human community south and near the Backbone of the Gods. They have the most blacksmiths of any other town and export weapons and armor through Haalspar, mostly to the soldiers in Krae. They also make practice weapons and armor for the Singing Blades Warrior Academy. But, at the same time, they will sell to anyone who has money. They mine their ore from caverns cut into the Backbone of the Gods. Rumor has it that they have mined so far down that they have found a completely new kind of metal, though there are no weapons as of yet. The most popular point of interest in Shiregreen would be the Laughing Vixen Inn and Tavern. The tavern is probably the best kept building in all of Shiregreen. Most of the other buildings have somewhat fallen into disrepair since they mostly focus on the weapons and armor.

Highrule is located in the Backbone of the Gods and has no real allegiance to Haalspar, it is just located within their realm. It is considered its own independent nation with no rulers outside of their walls.

Next - Ithryshal.

My Game World

Years ago, before my daughter was born, I started my own game world. And promptly forgot all about it.

But recently I was thinking about it and dug out my notebook. Man, I have a lot of notes. Some of it is even backed up on disc. I had forgotten so much of what I have. And, boy, do I have a lot!

Since I decided to change my blog and do more game related stuff, I'm going to start documenting all of my game world. Originally, I started it up because I wanted to share it with everyone and make a sort of "drop-in" game world. Instead, I wrote a ton of stuff to use and set it aside. Never used it or anything.

I actually have two game worlds that I started - "The Divided Kingdoms" which has a very Faerun - Medieval Europe type feel with some Oriental/Arabic flavor tossed in. And "The Lands of the Azure Orb" which is kind of a melting pot of different cultures and peoples. I'm going to start with the Divided Kingdoms, mostly since it comes first in my notebook.

Everything in there is outlined and listed in order, but I don't think that that's very interesting to look at, so I'm going to try to write it out instead.

----

I've got a rather plain looking map that I drew out for this particular game setting. Nothing spectacular, just a quick sketch. At least it gives one an idea where things are and where things should be.


The first section that I have outlined is the landscape of the world.

The Backbone of the Gods
This is a line of towering, jagged and treacherous mountains that cuts the land into thirds. The tops of the mountains are so high in places that they get lost in the clouds. Snow caps the high peaks giving them a blue-white cast. Passages have been cut through the mountain range in areas so that trade can take place between the lands.

At the northern most point of the Backbone is The Peak of the Sun, the legendary home of the gods. The very top of the peak disappears into the clouds. Sun shines perpetually on the Peak of the Gods, lighting the Ivory City day and night. This City is huge and is the home of all of the deities of the Human Pantheon.

At the most southern end of the Backbone are the Obsidian Pillars, the entrance to the Underearth. Not much is known about the Obsidian Pillars except that no one ever goes there. The pillars are massive and taller than the tallest titan. Between them is the black maw of the Underearth and a horrible sulfuric smell. No human can enter into the Underearth and return unscathed. The Pillars are set into the side of the tallest peak, the Flamespire. An ancient volcano in origin, the Flamespire reaches to the clouds and spews noxious fumes day in and day out perpetually. No one lives near the Pillars because of the smell and the horrible sounds that emanate from the Flamespire and the Underearth.




So I decided...

...to change my blog around.

While I was playing Castles and Crusades today with Doc and our friend, I decided that I really wanted to do my blog as a gamer blog instead. I have so many ideas in my head and so many things roaming around in notebooks and on little scraps of paper. Why not put them into my blog and make it more geared toward gaming.

So here goes...

Sitting here watching Conan makes me want to play a Conan game. I doubt that I will anytime soon, but I always really enjoyed the setting. I like the crazy huge ruins and the impossibly outrageous things that happen. Monstrous creatures and things that slither in the night. Beautiful women, strong men, wine and food. The crazy wanton lust for life in the setting seems so attractive in a game setting.

Damn, now I wanted to play it.

Damn.

Nerdy Girl

So, I was at work the other day and I saw a guy wearing a "Browncoats" t-shirt (you know, Firefly) and I said to him, "Hey, cool t-shirt." He stared at me like I had three heads.

Later, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirts with some DC supers on it. I said, "My daughter would love that shirt. Batman is one of her favorites." Now apparently I have horns growing out of my three heads.

A few days later I saw a guy wearing a Transformers t-shirt (not from the movie, but one of the vintage ones) and I said something to him along the lines of ,"I like your shirt." I have sprouted a fourth head.

Why is it that when a girl says something about liking something nerdy, men stare like there's an alien in front of them. Really now, why? I am just as much a nerd as Doc Rotwang and everyone respects his nerdity, but I get stared at. Am I not supposed to know this stuff or am I just such an oddity that it requires a second look?

I wonder...
 
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