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  1. - Top - End - #391
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So I've been thinking about the setting almost nonstop for the past couple of days. I'm brainstorming ideas for an adventure that I'll be running when I head to my old hometown for Christmas, and it's been a ton of fun to zoom in on a single village. I'll be adding this adventure in the final product of the setting, and I'll be using it as an opportunity to go into the daily lives of people of the Blackwood in greater depth. I'm really excited!
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  2. - Top - End - #392
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    My brother has Assassin's Creed III, so I'll be playing that a lot when the holidays come around. Until then, a friend of mine has let me borrow Brotherhood and Revelations to catch up on the story, and it's been taking up most of my time. Luckily, I like to consider pretty much every piece of information as "research," so I've been having a lot of ideas.

    I'm thinking about expanding the setting to accommodate the Dragon Pistols and Dragon Rifles present on the Warrior, Rogue, and Mage equipment lists, but I can't decide if gunpowder is something I want to introduce. I want this setting to feel really magical, and I consider gunpowder to be one of the major hallmarks of progression out of the dark ages, when magic was a more common answer than science.

    But I think it would be all right if these items were basically like artifacts. I figure there are no more than a dozen of these weapons, and most of them are carried by the Nine Swords as secondary weapons. Here's the basic idea:

    A "Dragonwand" is a rare treasure created by the Classicists from their study of the forgotten knowledge of the ancient past. In addition to being a firearm, it also functions as a bludgeoning one-handed weapon according to WRM rules. I figure it's a "shoot once per combat" type of weapon since it takes a full-round to reload, so giving it a melee attack seems reasonable. A two-handed Dragonwand is a "Dragonstaff," and usually stands as tall as a man's shoulder.

    It doesn't have to be gunpowder; maybe you have to focus all your attention on refilling it for 1 round, then it is magically ready to be shot again?
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  3. - Top - End - #393
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So Brotherhood was a lot of fun, and after being irked about having to start from scratch in Revelations, I'm really starting to enjoy myself.

    Looking at the composition of Constantinople is giving me a lot of ideas for the Kareid of the Central Sea. I've never really had much exposure to the history of the near east, and I have to say that it's pretty awesome.

    In particular, I realized that I've been too hung up on creating "regional races." The Blackwood is a little bit of a different beast (because it's such a small area), but it's something I'm going to have to move away from as I start to work on these larger regions. The Romani people in Revelations are really similar to the way I've been envisioning the Kareid (colorful, artsy wanderers with a vicious streak), but I don't think that needs to be the full scope of my vision for that civilization.

    Instead, my new plan is to start working on at least half a dozen distinct ethnic personalities for the Central Sea. Most of this work will be done in the form of working out the region's history over the course of about 3000 years; that should give me plenty of time to have a few different cultures rise and fall, and I can use those "tent pole" cultures in history to help me flesh out contemporary ethnicities and their relationship.

    For example, the vision I had originally held for the Kareid--remnants of the last great empire meandering down a path of ultimate decadence--can be split up and expanded for a multitude of peoples. It will no longer be the case that the entirety of the people of the Central Sea are mariners who dye their skin as a rite of adulthood. There will be a culture that does that, but they will probably be the scattered remains of a much older empire, and they probably won't even have anyplace to truly call "home."

    Of course, I need to wrap up the several regions in between the Blackwood and the Central Sea, but I'll get there.
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  4. - Top - End - #394
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    The Night Sky of Genara
    (visual: The Ghost Nebula by TylerCreatesWorlds)

    To the player's eye, the night sky over Creation is a riot of bright clusters of stars. The nebula in the sky is so large and visible that it must be very close, and seems to gently change color over the course of weeks. Most of the stars are fixed in relation to one another as they move across the night sky, but there several notable stars that wander slowly.

    To the character's eye, there are many interpretations. The Unified of Cerai believe the night sky to be a war between light and darkness, and their god will lead the light to victory if they spread his word to every corner of the world. Blackwooders believe the night sky to be the resting place of the ancestors and the home of spirits good and ill. The Kareid think that the night sky is filled with the jewels an ancient king had stolen from an evil monster. They also believe that the clusters of stars are distant gods of incredible power, and that one day they will grow hungry, and turn toward Creation.

    Notably, Vindlanders have a curious phenomenon at night where enormous ribbons of light wave across the sky, alight with color. They believe these to be the hems of the sky goddesses dress, and that it increases magical ability and weakens the Ice Giants. They have no beliefs about the night sky beyond this.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-12-05 at 11:36 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #395
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I remember that picture from when you first picked it out. Ahh, nostalgia. Anyway, I thought of a couple questions with regard to the various interpretations. 1) Do the Unified have any idea as to what might happen if Mareal Turi (sp?) wins the "war between light and darkness" they see in the night sky? 2) Is there a deeper legend regarding the Kareid just-so-story (i.e. one you would write down eventually)? And 3) do any of these beliefs mesh at all with the truth (if there is a "truth" to the night sky beyond "distant celestial bodies becoming visible at night").

    Also, could you possibly put a smaller version of the sky in the spoiler box? I hesitate to ask this, but as it is, it's very unwieldy to scroll around, esp. if you don't have a mouse with you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by blauregen View Post
    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

  6. - Top - End - #396
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Thanks for asking!

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    1) Do the Unified have any idea as to what might happen if Mareal Turi (sp?) wins the "war between light and darkness" they see in the night sky?
    That's actually tied up pretty closely with their religion. They believe that Mareal Turi sits in the sun, and that he is the king of light, sound, and harmony. All the evil gods, spirits, and demons of the world are actually angels that fled from Mareal's splendor in the beginning. They hide in darkness, and the stars are the loyal angels of Mareal Turi seeking out these dark places. When their quest is complete, there will be no more night, and heaven and earth will be joined as one for eternity.

    These elements give the Unified a strong impulse to proselytize, and create a sort of "be our friends (or face our wrath)!" mentality, which I like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    2) Is there a deeper legend regarding the Kareid just-so-story (i.e. one you would write down eventually)?
    I just made that blurb up from scratch last night, but absolutely! While I'm working on content for Blackwood, I'm still brainstorming about the other regions. I'm beginning to get a very clear picture of what the Kareid are like, so I think I'll be creating content pretty quickly by the time I get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    3) do any of these beliefs mesh at all with the truth (if there is a "truth" to the night sky beyond "distant celestial bodies becoming visible at night").
    That's another thing I want to leave up to the interpretation of the GM and the players. In this section in particular, I bothered to point out several perspectives (even a "scientific" one with the player perspective), and I'd like to let people choose as they see fit. Maybe they play a game in Cerai where that cosmology is the only thing that's true. Maybe instead it's a game in Cerai where, say, the Vindlander cosmology is the real one. Maybe it's a game anywhere where all of the cosmologies are true (either all at once or "as you need them"). Whether it's a single sky or a cluster of different planes, as the builder of the sandbox I'd rather keep options open for people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Also, could you possibly put a smaller version of the sky in the spoiler box? I hesitate to ask this, but as it is, it's very unwieldy to scroll around, esp. if you don't have a mouse with you.
    I hear you loud and clear. I didn't want to resize and reupload the guy's work, so instead I made the image into a hyperlink. Your browser should automatically fit the image to fill the tab/window you open it into.

    While I'm talking about the night sky, I'm leaning more toward this one:
    The Monster Within by TylerCreatesWorlds
    Thoughts? Either way, it will be the case that Creation's night sky is bright enough to provide shadowy illumination that's considerably brighter than our own.

    On another subject (and you may have noticed this already), I've decided to change the name of the setting to the Creation Campaign Setting. I like the idea that ASoIaF has in terms of place names: use english translations whenever possible, because it's not like the characters of the world are really speaking the english you're reading, anyway. The book itself is a sort of translation of the setting, so there's no problem with translating place names like that. I'm sure there will be places with names from unknown languages, but they'll be more like a seasoning than the steak.

    Lastly, I lied earlier. The Vindlanders do indeed have a separate story for the stars and nebula in the sky. The post is about to be updated to reflect that.

    I lied about lying. Instead of what I said, here's some info about Vindland dragons!

    Dragons In Vindland
    Earth, Sea, and Sky are the most basic elements of Vindlanders cosmology. Dragons in Vindland culture are embodiments of these traits, and many believe that the dragons move through each element as they mature. All dragons grow in the earth, the spawn of Foldormr, the earth serpent. They lie along ridges, eventually rousing in great quakes. They wander the land for many years, feeding and growing on whatever they can find. As they mature, they inevitably seek the waters, transforming into fearsome sea serpents. Eventually they mature again and take to the skies, slowly shedding their mortal coil and growing into the powerful storms that are common on Vindland. Once here, they move beyond Creation itself, joining with Skina's retinue, in service to Vald himself.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-12-05 at 11:45 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #397
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Watching Pocahontas. I want to create a spell that, when cast, allows you to permanently learn any single language you are hearing. Thoughts on which circle this belongs in?

    I'm also thinking about making the spell require physical contact with the person speaking. Thoughts on that?
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  8. - Top - End - #398
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Important Peoples of the Blackwood

    Woodfolk
    Once, the Elder King held law and order over the people of the Blackwood. The cities maintain their grip on these things, but--since his silence--life has become hard the further one ventures into the Wood. The trees themselves seem to darken, the ground becomes rocky and wild, and any sort of foe or beast could attack at any moment. This is the world the Woodfolk must test every day to provide sustenance for their families. They are a wary, simple folk, with few needs and resourceful minds. They are weathered against hardship, from hard winters to bandit raids.
    Riverfolk
    To "talk like a Riverfolk" is to speak with passion and skill. Lately, it also means to argue about nothing important, but only amongst the Woodfolk. Since the silence of the Elder King, the alliances they had forged and the laws they had spread have begun to splinter. Corruption gathers in many corners of the Cities of the Way, and its people either aid it or feel its weight upon them. They grasp at a slipping culture, though they are still clever enough to save themselves. They are the bandits and the knights who fight them both.
    Elderfolk
    Once, the Elder Kingdom was a paradise on earth, a fountain of wisdom and guidance the likes of which had never been seen in the Blackwood. Its people possessed great knowledge, and passed it freely out into the world. But for 50 years, no word has come from the Elder King, their ruler. The wise among them struggle to remind the people of the ancestors' words, and the people struggle to carry on. None are greater in matters of lore, though many are adrift without their King.
    Pagans
    The phrase "fly like a pagan," hearkens to the tales of these tribal peoples shunning the earth itself in their flight, flitting from branch to branch like birds on the wing. They live beyond the reach of civilization, and avoid contact with the people of River and Wood. It is said that they worship the elves, and draw magic from them to work great and terrible things. They are often considered to be a race of primitive sorcerers, and are almost universally known to be fatally hostile.
    Elves
    The Blackwood has always been a place of deep wilderness and powerful magic, and elves are the union of those two elements. Just as often playful as they are malevolent, elves are capable of many illusions, and their minds are beyond mortal understanding. Most Woodfolk are superstitiously repulsed by them, though they have been known to grant magical favors for those willing to pay the price.

    I feel like I'm really starting to find my vision for the setting. This is the right mix of fantasy and intrigue to suit me just fine.
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  9. - Top - End - #399
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Watching Pocahontas. I want to create a spell that, when cast, allows you to permanently learn any single language you are hearing. Thoughts on which circle this belongs in?

    I'm also thinking about making the spell require physical contact with the person speaking. Thoughts on that?
    Specify the type of contact, otherwise you end up with PCs emulating Starfire.

    To explain the joke, when Starfire kisses someone (on the lips, where else?) she instantly learns their language.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by blauregen View Post
    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

  10. - Top - End - #400
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Specify the type of contact, otherwise you end up with PCs emulating Starfire.

    To explain the joke, when Starfire kisses someone (on the lips, where else?) she instantly learns their language.
    Hahaha... I had looked it up just before I realized you had some white text up there. I'm tempted to leave it as-is, partly because I think that kind of Starfire homage wouldn't be out of place in a setting inspired by fairy tales (If Snow White was roused from magical sleep by a kiss, why not learn a language that way?), but also because most of the people I play with IRL have next to no idea who she is.

    I posted the idea in the OOC section of the game I'm running in this section (which has a much better post-to-response ratio than over here), and sdream over there suggested that it be a dual-function spell. For example, make it 2nd level, and say that it allows you to understand any one language you hear for the duration of the spell (probably 10 minutes-1 hour), or you can learn it permanently if you touch someone. Because of the permanence clause, I'm thinking about making it a 3rd level spell. Thoughts?
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  11. - Top - End - #401
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    (If Snow White was roused from magical sleep by a kiss, why not learn a language that way?)
    Because Twu Wuv works the same as Circle Of Protection: Evil and Anti-Magic Field rolled into one, esp. in fairy tales.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I posted the idea in the OOC section of the game I'm running in this section (which has a much better post-to-response ratio than over here), and sdream over there suggested that it be a dual-function spell. For example, make it 2nd level, and say that it allows you to understand any one language you hear for the duration of the spell (probably 10 minutes-1 hour), or you can learn it permanently if you touch someone. Because of the permanence clause, I'm thinking about making it a 3rd level spell. Thoughts?
    Sounds pretty good, esp. if you keep people of different languages from coming in contact until 3rd level.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by blauregen View Post
    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

  12. - Top - End - #402
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Eight Kings

    A long time ago, over three thousand years into the cloudy past, the Blackwood was home to no more than eight human souls. These men and women lived before the time of complex tools, or even weapons. They were masters of their domains by the strength of their bodies alone, and laid claim to many deep secrets of power. During their battles for dominance in the Blackwood's youth they shunned the earth, fighting in the skies and hurling bolts of thunder and fire. The Eight Kings were beyond the reach of age, and battled one another for 300 years before disappearing after a final, climactic battle.

    By this time, other humans had ventured into the Wood, lured by hard times in the wide lands beyond. They began to worship these sorcerers as gods, and kept close account of each of their battles. No longer a source of worship, the stories of the Eight Kings are still passed down through the generations of the Blackwood, a vital part of their culture and history. They are told to children to convey moral lessons, and also recalled amongst adults for entertainment and rumination.
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  13. - Top - End - #403
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I watched The Hobbit last night. All you haters are crazy; this movie is great!

    Some things I took away:

    If you're telling a small story, individuals are more important than races. A Song of Ice and Fire follows this lesson, even though it takes place over a huge area.

    Painting with saturated colors does a lot to establish tone. I want to do more of this with my worldbuilding.

    Orcs and Dwarves might be great for fantasy, but fairy tales need sentient (potentially talking) animals.

    My vision of the Blackwood is always changing, and I think watching this movie has really helped to definite different parts of it for me. It's a children's movie that adults can enjoy, and that's kind of what I'd like to do for my setting.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Hello all! It's been quite some time since I've posted, but I've thought about the Blackwood just about every day in the intervening time.

    The most significant thought I've had over the past few weeks is that I'd like to change direction as far as the finished product for this setting is concerned. Instead of building a setting with a lot of potential for adventures (which--let's face it--will never be used by anyone but me ), I'm going to start constructing an adventure path that takes place in a sandbox about 50 miles on a side. I can realistically fit 9 different settlements into this area, which will give me roughly 1 large town, and a network of 8 satellite villages, hamlets, etc. On average, each settlement will be one days' cart ride from at least 1 other settlement, though traveling by foot or horse would get you there faster.

    Overall, this will serve as a microcosm of the Blackwood for GMs and players. Every piece of flavor involved in the setting will be revealed through a specific location, NPC, item, or event. The recent history of the region will reveal the greater events of the Blackwood at large, and each of the threats facing the folk of river and wood will be present in some form or other... but only as it pertains to the action of the adventure.

    I am really excited about this new direction! Not only will it help me develop my adventure design skills, but it will also end up being the finished version of the Blackwood Campaign Setting!
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Watching "Wild China" on Netflix. Research!

    Red Bear: This small, intelligent bear lives primarily in the treetops along mountain slopes in the south of the Blackwood. It is renowned for its grace and agility, both among the branches and on the rock faces of its home.

    River Fishermen: In small villages, fisherman among the Riverfolk still fish by an ancient tradition: trained ducks. Each fisher tends a flock of 4-7 Blue Ducks, whose feathers are are so dark as to almost be black. They take them out each morning just before dawn, and feed the ducks with the remains after harvesting enough for the village.

    Farming: There is very little level ground in the Blackwood, so a common practice for the cultivation of wheat is to terraform a hillside with terraces. Every village has at least a dozen terraces, but large cities could have hundreds. Town and city councils always consult the ancestors in these matters, but the return of the Golden Swallow at the beginning of Spring is a significant omen as well.

    Limestone Mire: Many rivers drain from the Spires into the Way. Where they meet, the gargantuan column-mountains have bowed, forming a tangled network of razor-sharp rocks, often reaching up hundreds of feet into the air. Water drifts through this morass sometimes as far as a mile inland before reaching the foothills of the Spires. The mists of the Spires don't fall down this far, but their madness still looms in the area.

    Dragons: These legendary creatures are renowned and feared across the Blackwood. Dragons are long and sinewy, with long whiskers, and thick scales of black and gold, which are so hard that not even a firecat's claws can rend them. They dwell in mist, which they use to fly, and are found within the many lakes and rivers in the land. They are said to be powerfully magical, and can be wise or terrible as it suits them. When roused to anger, they attack with tongues of flame, and slashes from their sharp claws.

    Stags: Among the deer of the Blackwood, doe and buck may be found far and wide. However, once in a great while a stag may be found. These are great and mighty specimen, with shaggy fur of brown and white, and a single upward-curving antler. The world around them is vibrant, and seems to bloom anew. They are powerful omens of prosperity, but can be fearsome if angered.

    King Pheasants: This large bird has a long, flowing tale, and feathers of every bright color. Though beautiful, they are seen as bad omens, because legend says that even though they are the kings of the birds, they still must be the steeds of the elves. A strong wind follows in its wake, and is a sure sign that an elf might be nearby.

    Firecats: The rarest of the creatures of the forest is the firecat. Its coat and great mane are patterns of red and yellow, and cannot be harmed by fire. The drink in the light around them, and shine in the shadowy aura they create. They are quick to attack when threatened, and have been symbols of strength and courage for as long as any tale tells.

    Sky Pillar hopefuls: For those who are drawn to the sword but despise the rough living of a mercenary, there are two options: knighthood, which is rarely bestowed outside of the nobility, and the Sentinels. They are a chivalric order dedicated to the protection of the people of the Blackwood, and will allow anyone to take their oath, regardless of birth. For most, this life is enough to sate their virtuous souls, but some seek even greater initiation into their order. Among the Sentinels, there is no higher office than to study at Sky Pillar, the ancient home of their order. The wisdom of their entire history is at this place, and only the most talented among them are granted access to the stronghold. Hopefuls for this order must have gained renown throughout the Blackwood for their service toward its people, and then must prove themselves by escorting the food supplies from Grand Delving in the Elder Kingdom. To do this, they must protect the caravan across the bridges of the Spire, an arduous journey that takes more than a full day to complete. Every evening, the mists rise from the base of the Spires, and dragons come with them. Night settles during their attack, making them harder to spot. It is a test of instinct and teamwork as much as swordplay, because the hopefuls must choose which route to take through the bridges. [In gameplay terms, this would be a great twist on a traditional dungeon.]
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I've been pretty quiet in this thread lately, but that's only because I'm doing so much work on the setting offline. I'm coming into the final stretch of putting together a sandbox-y adventure path for this setting, and I can't wait to show it off. Expect to see something by Spring, everyone!
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  17. - Top - End - #407
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    My buddy and I have started a tradition called Kung Fu Friday, which involves a lot of beer and typically a Kung Fu Double Feature. It has been awesome.

    Last night we watched Chocolate and Tai Chi Zero. First, we knew Chocolate was about an autistic girl with incredible muay thai gifts, but we had no idea that Tai Chi Zero also featured a "simpleton" protagonist with incredible secret powers. Go figure!

    Second, they were both excellent movies, and I recommend giving them a watch. Chocolate is almost comical in places, but it's punctuated by some surprisingly brutal and/or gory moments. Tai Chi Zero seemed like a straight up comedy (I'm sure our fan-generated subtitles didn't help ) and was definitely campy, but I guess that's what should be expected from wuxia steampunk.

    There will be minor spoilers from here on. Ye have been warned, traveler!

    Third, this was the first night that I noticed a couple of kung fu movie tropes. In Chocolate, it seems like the mob bosses (of which there are many) seem to masquerade as factory owners etc., and it seems like all of their warehouse workers just happen to be martial arts experts. When I think about it, a lot of kung fu movies treat martial arts with this kind of ubiquity, and that's something I've been trying to figure out for my own setting. I think it will work really well for the masters of a couple trade guild branches to be horribly corrupt, and to hire bodyguards to pose as factory workers; they will always be around each other, and that moment when all the warehouse workers circle up around the party should be a nice homage.

    In Tai Chi Zero, there were several things I noticed. First, the Ultimate Warrior Protagonist needs to travel to a secluded village and learn from a master of kung fu. This is a trope in and of itself. Second, it seems like all of the villagers are trained in the martial art (in fact, they refuse to teach it to outsiders), which is an idea I hadn't considered: a village full of masters, from the children to the elders. Third (and here's the real spoiler),
    Spoiler
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    The master of the village tests newcomers by pretending to be some kind of Diogenic hermit who lives in the sewers. His daughter is the village doctor, but is also a master of kung fu.


    So basically, I want to create a village in the setting (actually, I've already got one) that's secluded, home to a secret martial art, and full of masters of that art. I think this will be the place that Antler Knives come from.

    In related news, this adventure path I'm working on is going to be an excellent, concise introduction to the Blackwood, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun to play. I probably won't get a chance to playtest it IRL for a few months, but I'm excited nonetheless. I probably won't test it online first, because PbP takes sooooo long. However, I'm sure I'll run it online one day.
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  18. - Top - End - #408
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Is your other Blackwood campaign in this thread done/dead?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by blauregen View Post
    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

  19. - Top - End - #409
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Is your other Blackwood campaign in this thread done/dead?
    Sadly, yes. It was a whole lot of fun, but lately none of the four of us have been able to commit to posting regularly, and things got to the point where it was best to throw in the towel. I think everyone enjoyed themselves (I know I did!), and it was a great opportunity for me to look at what I've created so far and to refine it into something that I think will be really awesome.

    I find myself in a coffee shop for the next hour or so, and I've been busy typing up the guidebook for the setting in general, and the adventure path I'm working on at the moment. It will take place in Denvorn Province, which isn't on the map, but lies between the Stag and Dragon and Spearwood. It's going to be really compact, chock-full of information, and open to a lot of player and GM agency. This latest iteration is much more in line with OSR ideas, and I couldn't be happier about it!
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  20. - Top - End - #410
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Here's a teaser for what I've been working on this past week...

    Blackwood Title Page
    Spoiler
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    Blackwood Maiden Valley Maps
    Spoiler
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    The flavor text in the first image is an example of the new, leaner version of my setting. I want to convey as much information (read: as much possibility) with as few words as I can manage.

    I'll be posting things in a new thread here in a couple of weeks. This thread has been great for discussion, but the setting has changed enough that I need to start from scratch. I may end up cleaning the maps up in Photoshop, but for now we'll be sticking with smart phone pictures of hand drawings.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2013-02-26 at 12:49 AM.
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  21. - Top - End - #411
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Well, my first thought was "he has much better handwriting than I do. By a long shot." My second and further thoughts were much more on-topic namely "nice map", "good that he's streamlining the entire thing", etc. One question tho; The new thread will be very obvious as the thread for the Blackwood Mk. 2, correct? I would prefer that it doesn't get lost in the shuffle somehow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by blauregen View Post
    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

  22. - Top - End - #412
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I don't have much to say. Just that I like the map and title page, and that I'm still following the thread, whatever direction it happens to go. Just keep us updated

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    One question tho; The new thread will be very obvious as the thread for the Blackwood Mk. 2, correct? I would prefer that it doesn't get lost in the shuffle somehow.
    My plan is to name the new thread "The Blackwood Campaign Setting ¦ Folklore. Action. Dice.". Then I'll rename this thread (if I still can) to "Blackwood OLD WORK," and make the first and last posts big, noticeable hyperlinks to the new thread. Is that what you're talking about?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dsurion View Post
    I don't have much to say. Just that I like the map and title page, and that I'm still following the thread, whatever direction it happens to go. Just keep us updated
    Thanks, and will do! I'd like to make a PDF of the setting after I've had a chance to playtest it a little. I'll be sure to post that on here, too.
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  24. - Top - End - #414
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Alright, one thing I've learned from Guild Wars 2: do not have the heroes play second fiddle. A bit of explaination (which spoils pretty much the entire bloody personal storyline of the game, so it'll be in spoilers. Ask me for a non-spoiler version if needed).
    Spoiler
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    So the story comes in three parts: you saving your nation, you saving your order, and then you helping Trahearne with his sacred quest to do the impossible. Trahearne comes off with little depth, and has story powers, wielding a blade out of fable and being one of the Firstborn, the first 12 of a species with more power than the others.

    And you are forced to play second fiddle to that. Everyone HATES the bugger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Alright, one thing I've learned from Guild Wars 2: do not have the heroes play second fiddle.
    I totally agree! Like most gamers I love coming up with new characters, but I don't have a particular storyline planned for this "leg" of the setting. Most of the statted NPCs will be either hirelings or enemies, with the former being generally less powerful than the latter. There may be an alchemist they can hire to brew potions or a thief they can hire to pick locks, but these NPCs won't be quite as good as a PC could be in their place. They're really just for situations where a party doesn't have all the skills they need for the setting. The last heroes to make a name for themselves in the region lived a couple generations before the start of the adventure, so no stepping on toes there, either.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Awesome. I brought it up because I wasn't sure what you were planning with Sir Rinhart the Just.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Awesome. I brought it up because I wasn't sure what you were planning with Sir Rinhart the Just.
    Oh! Yeah, he's about 60 miles outside the scope of these adventures. He made his proclamation a couple years before, and is now sitting in his monastery thinking about what he's done.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2013-02-26 at 11:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Oh! Yeah, he's about 60 miles outside the scope of these adventures. He made his proclamation a couple years before, and is now sitting in his monastery thinking about what he's done.
    So... he pulled a Congress. "We must come together. I will sit here now while you all do the work part of that. And if I disagree with the result, it's your fault."

    "Hm. Why isn't it working?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    So... he pulled a Congress. "We must come together. I will sit here now while you all do the work part of that. And if I disagree with the result, it's your fault."

    "Hm. Why isn't it working?"
    Basically!

    I created him strictly because I needed a mouthpiece for the call to action. I'm sure he's out and about, but he won't be coming into the picture.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    The Blackwood Campaign Setting
    Folklore. Action. Dice.

    Once upon a time, the Blackwood was a prosperous realm in a vast forest, guided by the wisdom and virtue of the Elder King. But his sacred throne fell silent over twelve years ago. An ancient power has stirred since that fateful day, and gloom has fallen on the Wood. Much of the nobility has fallen to corruption, many of the beleaguered folk of the Wood have turned into lawless bandits, and there are rumors that the malicious powers of the Elves have returned.
    The Council at Sky Pillar, an august body of knights, has called upon their fellows to join with the errant heroes that live on the fringe of society. Only through the alliance of all the virtuous men and women of the Blackwood will the common folk find deliverance, though the road will be long and treacherous.

    Welcome to the Blackwood Campaign setting! My goal here is to create a setting based on the folklore of my heritage (German) and the fantasy of one of my favorite genres (wuxia). I want it lean, vibrant, and fun. I want to foster agency, creativity, and bringing your own ideas to the game. Please feel free to try the setting out for yourself, and please let me know what you think!

    Table of Contents
    The intro and table of contents will be in the first post. Each underlined item below will be its own post.
    Denvorn Province
    • For Players
      • Folk
      • Trappings
      • Tales
    • Cartography
      • Locations


    The Blackwood for GMs
    • Adventures
    • Spells
    • Allies
    • Foes
    • Random Tables
    • Useful Links


    Denvorn Province
    No province has felt the absence of the Elder King as keenly as Denvorn. Dark powers stalk through the evergreen forest of this region, and its people cling to life against all hope. Many paths have been reclaimed by the trees, and too many villages find themselves without aid as they face bandit raids, dangerous beasts, and foul magic from out of the deepest wilds. Courage, guile, and wisdom will all be needed to face the challenges of this beleaguered province.

    Denvorn for Players
    Spoiler
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    Folk
    Spoiler
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    • Woodfolk are pioneers, and live on the fringes of civilization. They rarely leave the shaded realm beneath the trees, and hold deep superstitions. Hunters are the backbone of their society.
    • Riverfolk are city-dwellers. Theirs is a life of custom and great social disparity, and few venture far into the Wood. The greatest merchants can be found amongst them.
    • Elderfolk are peaceful and wise. They live in the Heights, and are the truest subjects of the Elder King. Classicists are the most important members of any Elderfolk community.
    • Pagans are folk of the deep wilds. These primitives are rare indeed, and worship the elves as gods. Witches are held in great esteem amongst the Pagans.

    ---------------------------
    • Warriors have ever been stalwart protectors and doughty foes. Courage, duty, and vengeance guide them down both virtuous and vicious paths. Sentinels are the iconic knights errant.
    • Scholars are erudite masters of ancient secrets. Whether in the city or the wilderness, knowledge and discovery are their greatest virtues. Classicists, witches, and the Unified priests are all iconic scholars.
    • Hunters have protected and provided for their villages since the misty dawn of time. They are masters of woodcraft and wilderness lore. Teamwork is essential to the task of the hunter.
    • Merchants are the masters of trade and progress in the Blackwood. They are some of the few Riverfolk that journey into the Wood. Profit is their ultimate goal, whether to better the realm or only themselves.

    Trappings
    Tales
    Iconic characters embody the spirit of the Blackwood Campaign Setting. They exist not to overshadow the player characters, but to serve as optional inspiration. While unstatted, the character descriptions nevertheless include a suggestion of their key attributes.
    Spoiler
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    • Sir Rinhart the Just stands as the living ideal of a warrior’s chivalry. He is bold in action, sincere in word, and duty bound to his liege and his people. He is a master of falchion and buckler, and sits on the Knights’ Council at the legendary hall at Sky Pillar.
    • Red Bear is a masked rogue who, like many errant heroes, has forsaken his familial duties to aid the rest of the Blackwood. He is a hero in the eyes of the downtrodden, and an enemy to many a corrupt noble. His twin Antler Knives have never known defeat.
    • The Woman in the Wood is more legend than truth. They say she has always walked the Wood, and that nothing is clever enough to find her home. She knows ancient secrets, and wields all the magic of the Elves toward her own twisted ends.
    • Sparrow Sonne, head of Sonne Security and Shipping, is a savvy merchant and formidable fighter. Once she prided herself on her skill with an axe, but since losing a duel has used no weapon but her body. She carries on her father’s profession, but once wished for a different life.
    • Peak has always towered over other men. This enormous pagan serves as the personal bodyguard to Gerdrud Blackwooder, captain of the Sun Kite. He wields a great club, and protects himself from harm with great superstition and a belt full of magic totems.
    • Moon began her life as the daughter of a noble, where her days were filled with sewing, calligraphy, and boredom. Fleeing an arranged marriage, she found herself amongst the Spearwood Brotherhood, and has become a nimble spear fighter and noted tracker.
    • Owl Guntram is as crafty as Woodfolk come. He knows the names of every animal and plant, and can use both to craft useful tools and potent remedies. He carries a lute when not wearing bow and quiver, and loves nothing more than sharing a tale or striking up a jig.
    • Aleidis Vornem serves as a Classicist in the Order of Iron, and no man or woman in the Elder Kingdom can prove her equal with a longsword. She hides her scarred face behind a mask of gold, and uses the wisdom of the Elder King to guide her body and blade in combat.
    • Werner of Freeport is a young Classicist in the Order of the Court with an undeniable talent for cartography and an irresistible weakness for revelry. He seems to bumble his way into constant trouble, but uses his keen intellect and dumb luck to find his way back out.


    Denvorn Cartography
    Spoiler
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    Locations
    Spoiler
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    • Talbrand is the first place a firecat was ever spied by man. The people of this sleepy, walled village have lived there for generations, and are proud to know their ancestors as frontiersmen and pioneers. Excepting trade with the King Pheasant for necessary supplies (and lately to aid the failing inn), they prefer to keep to themselves. Especially since the silence of the Elder King, Talbrand has virtually sealed its gates, and very few of its folk venture into the province.
      • The man who discovered the firecat was knighted, and chose the valley as his home. He was the first to settle the region, and raised a small fortress to shelter pioneers and adventurers. He died an old man with no heir, and the fortress was made into The King Pheasant Inn. Twin gates and a high stone wall shield its patrons from the wild wood. Two stables flank a courtyard, but the tavern dominates the scene. From its wide stone porch flanked by carven king pheasants to the great balcony on the other side, it is a relic from a more heroic age. The rear courtyard are a pair of garden pools surrounded by the guest houses and the home of the tavern’s current owner, Frida Fair Beauty. The Elder King’s silence has sent the King Pheasant into obscurity and disrepair, but it shelters all with coin enough to spend.
    • Otto's Gate has recently been renamed after a martyred hero. It is a well-traveled village, and a valuable gateway into and out of Denvorn Province.
    • Altinn was once no more than a roadside inn. Such was the skill of the inn's cook that a village grew around it, and the inn became home to the town council.
    • Hinrick's Glen is a hamlet nestled in a steep valley. Glenfolk have a reputation for wildness and seclusion, and many figure them for pagans.
    • Castle Highguard was once the seat of an Elder Lord. It became a Classicist Monastery when the line died out, but fell to haunted ruin after the Highguard Curse.
    • Old Pine Ridge was the village of Castle Highguard, but fell to ruin after the Highguard Curse. Bandits harry the entire province from its gates.
    • Denvorn is the seat of the province. Built atop a steep hill in Maiden Valley, it has always known safety. Its nobility have soured from a previous Golden Generation.
      • Maiden-by-Denvorn is home to the folk of plough and herd, and to the valley’s finest brewery. It is named for a statue of a fabled princess in its town center.
      • Maiden Valley Hall of Classics is a monastery of the Order of Barhoff. Their extensive knowledge of agriculture and animal husbandry provides for nearly every soul in the province.
      • Wood Camp lies outside Denvorn, and is the labor village for most of the town’s craftsmen. The workshops are protected by resident guards.
      • Hunter’s Hall is the last shelter on the path to Greenpool. Butcheries and leather shops operate just under the Blackwood’s eaves.
      • Red Tower is an overgrown ruin. An evil witch once held a princess captive in the tower, and it has remained a place of deep superstition.
    • Quarry is a stone mining village that clings to a rocky slope. Only the oldest Quarry families enter the mines, which are steeped in mystery.
    • Greenpool is an ancient hunter's hall, and the final settlement on the trail to Spearwood. Many hunters and warriors serve there for a few years to guard Denvorn's border.


    The Blackwood for GMs
    The Keeper shook her head as she replaced the clasp on the tome before her. "The Elder King has said, 'Having studied, to then repeatedly apply what you have learned--is this not a source of pleasure?'" The aspiring Classicist bowed before his Keeper. "Thank you, master." He wanted to know what secrets the tome held, but a wise woman who had seen its pages deemed him unworthy, and she did so for a reason. He would wait.

    If you'd like to play an adventure in the Blackwood, you'll enjoy it more if you don't read this. If you'd like to run an adventure in the Blackwood, this is just the thing for you!

    Adventures
    Spells
    Allies
    Foes
    Spoiler
    Show
    • Elves are an ancient, magical power in the Blackwood. Some are merely mischievous, but others put even the cruelest tyrant to shame with their malevolence. Elves can grant power, but always at a price.
    • Bandits are the spurned of society. Some take to lawlessness only out of need, but all of them are desperate and violent folk. They have abandoned the guidance of their ancestors.
    • Beasts out of legend roam the Wood. The Stag, Dragon, Firecat, and King Pheasant are the greatest amongst them. Each can be good omens, but are fearsome when roused.
    • Trolls are great, stupid monsters that take up residence at places of crossing. Their greed is limitless, and failing to pay their tolls is certain to spark their violent rage.
    • Imps swarm up from the bosom of the earth. They are small, tenacious, and murderous to the bone. Fire excites them, but smoke lulls them into stupor.
    • Ghosts are the persistent spirits of the ancestors. Some village shrines are home to benevolent, afterworldly advisors, but other spirits spoil into tortured haunts.

    Treasure
    Random Tables
    Useful Links


    ((This is a work in progress.))
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2013-02-27 at 02:54 PM.
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