A Year in Review

 

So, on 12 December 2015, my 2 year blogging anniversary came and went without as much as a whimper.  2015 has not been a good year for me, as far a gaming goes.  Ever since the ending of the “Giants in the Earth,” my attempts at running a campaign have gone poorly.

My “Shadowfell Road” campaign died a malingering death of extended inaction.  My “Pellham” campaign (with all the great modules that I combined) couldn’t continue, due to my players’ extra-game commitments.  My Zentlan campaign is not dead, but it stuck on an extended hiatus…I have hope that after the holidays that it will be back.  My blogging has been spotty, at best.  I haven’t finished the corrections for my StatBonus.com submission.  I haven’t completed my review of Morgan Newquist’s story, The Blacksmith and the Ice Elves.  All in all, I haven’t gotten my game back.  Even my fiction writing has suffered.  All of this has been pinned on the backdrop of my friend Ed’s death.  He did not win his fight with cancer, but left this world with his pride and dignity intact.

I miss gaming.  I miss my friends, both those living and those beyond.  I miss my creative spark and I want better things to come.  With only five days left till Christmas, followed by a trip to visit family and friends in Mississippi, it is unlikely that I will post on my blog again this year.  I just wish I could feel better about this post and be more positive in this missive to my readers.  Alas, I cannot.  May the year’s end find you, my readers in better light.

I am struggling, but I haven’t given up.  Please dear readers and friends, Game On, until we meet again.

 

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Retconing (or How to Get From Terah to Nibiru)

During my downtime from actively running a game, I have started to work on my settings and I have discovered something upsetting.  I have found better ideas for things, than those that I originally created or stole.  Now, what do I do?

During the Dark Time, after the glory of Second Edition was over and before the messianic arrive of Third Edition, I decided to run a campaign that was set on a world other than Rilmorn.  I had planned on using only modules and nothing else…No Gregory Created Stuff.  I failed, but I did end up with a fairly cool setting based of B2 Keep on the Borderlands and Return to Keep on the Borderlands.  The PCs started at and basecamped out of Kendal Keep, a keep on the borders of the Empire of Namoria.  I never named the world, because I didn’t need it.  Years and campaigns later, I would name it Terah.  Now, I want to change its name to Nibiru.  I never heard of Nibiru, until I was watching Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated.  Later, when I was rewatching Star Trek: Into Darkness, I noticed the opening sequence took place on the world of Nibiru.  Thus, my desire for the name change.

During the last game I ranin my Pellham campaign, I named an NPC Gabardine.  I knew that she was one of five “sisters” and I decided that three of the others would be named Fescue, DoTerra, and Cusped.  The fifth sister is to have an “E” name.  I later decided that DoTerra would be an alchemist and Cusped, a mage working with the Teeth of Dahlver-Nar.  Then, I decided I needed to have one sister that worked magic with plants and one that worked magic with cloth, but I’ve already got one name wrong…Gabardine is a florist.

What do I do?  I retcon!

I can’t retcon, because I believe this (I wrote this as a rebuttal in a debate about Lucas’ retooling of Star Wars.”

To alter a work once it is released to the public is be unfair to the audience, forever tweaking something prevents it audience from being able to fully connect with the work, because there are multiple versions and analogues of the work and any of them could be the true work.  I know how it feels to put something out there and then decide it is flawed.  Even though I presented it to two different audiences, I should not have changed the wording of my poem.  Now, there exist two quanta of the same work, but I have undermined the readers of the first version of the poem.  I have effectively told my first readers that what they got was crap.  It does not matter that there is very little to change in a two stanza poem, but it doesn’t matter.  It says that I put out bad stuff that I of which wasn’t proud.  Altering Star Wars is no different…

I can’t just change a draft and then run my campaign.  I’ve already put these events out to the public.  In days past, I told Mike Magee about the quintuplets born to a descendant of his character Gareth Eybender.  I never got to run those NPCs at that time, so years later when I found Ptolus, I could lift the name Danar and rename Janel the Herald’s oldest child without incident.  My two examples of Terah/Nibiru and Gabardine/Fescue are both events that have “been published.”  They are given events.

I see way to fix each of these problems.  With the Gabardine/Fescue event, I tell my plyers about my desired change and then if they agree with it, it changes.  The Terah/Nibiru change is a more of a cheat.  Not every culture calls the world upon which it dwells the same name.  Even on Rilmorn, where everyone does use the same name, each culture alters the spelling and sometimes the pronunciation.  So, Terah is the gnomes name for their former homeworld.  Everyone else gets to call it Nibiru and I get to steal the crazy that goes along with the story of Planet X.  Will I do them?

So, until we meet again, Game On!

B is for Bull

2015.04.05

In the history of Rilmorn, two Players, John Hesselberg and Robert Hegwood, have made use of bull imagery when designing countries within the game world.  John did it within the game as the PC Alkin du Fey Duncan; while Robert created Xshathapat externally as a designer.  While they each came to the art of creation from different directions, John and Robert both gave me ideas, events, and images that I intend to use in my Pellham campaign.

The first use of the bull imagery in Rilmorn came when John’s half-elven ranger, Alkin du Fey, attempted to free an area from an oppressive bandit overlord.  After a bit of deft diplonacy, Alkin and his friend and fellow adventurer Gareth Eybender convinced the overlord to a contest.  The contest would be a fight between two bulls.  The winner of the contest would take leadership of the populace and the loser would depart.  The local populace would attend the contest and assure that both parties abided by the outcome.  There was supposed to be no magic involved, but of course the bandit overlord had his bull’s horns enchanted to be sharper and deadlier than normal bull’s horns.  Alkin, on the hand took a nursing male calf and had a blacksmith craft a harness with large spikes at the shoulders.  The day before the contest Alkin and Gareth kept the calf from its mother; so when the calf was released into the arena with the bandit overlord’s enchanted bull, it rushed toward the first cow it saw and attempted nurse.  Even though the populace acclaimed Alkin their ruler, Gareth and Alkin were still forced to fight and slay the bandit overlord.  After that was done, Alkin declared the red bull as the symbol of the Alki; a symbol that would remain when years later the ruler of Alkis would marry an heir to the Duchy of Dyskor and form the Kingdom of Alko-Dyskoria.  The

The next time I encountered bull imagery in Rilmorn was when Robert Hegwood handed me a red folder; handwritten on the cover were these words: “A NOT BRIEF ENOUGH OVERVIEW OF XSHATHRAPAT, THE ISLAND Empire of The WEST.”  Robert had designed an entire culture based around some background history and mythology that I had created for Rilmorn and Persian Zoroastrianism with a touch of medieval Christian missionary zeal.  Among those pages I found coin emblazoned with a bull’s head and the note, “The bull is the symbol of “Godly Rule and Might.”  Later I found the flag for the Xshathrapatian Navy, which bore a winged Bull.

Robert also created a timeline for the combined efforts of Alko-Dyskoria and Xshathrapat to colonize an unnamed continent to the West.  I never really dealt with any of that information until I started working on Iolta and Thrain.  Using Robert’s work, I filled in a lot of geography and history about Iolta and created the legends of the Tribes of the Winged Bull and the Red Bull.  Also, there are “Bulls,” gold coins bearing the image of a bull, hidden among lost treasure hoards.

The point of all of this is that letting your players create can help a GM to build other things.  I don’t recall planning on letting Alkin become a ruler, but I am glad he did.  Having Alkis as Alkin’s home base gave me plenty of hooks for games.  Alkin and Gareth had to defeat evils threatened the populace.  Some games required Alkin to be a diplomat; while others made him an archaeologist in his own kingdom.  Robert’s work offered broad stroke history from which I could mine.  Xshatrapat became a story to be told around tavern hearths.  Legends of its rise and collapse added to relics and artifacts found in dragons’ hoards and ancestral tombs.  Later all of this would be used as underpinning for Iolta and Thrain.

Game On!

From Tree to Letter to Month (or How Does Gregory Make a Place Unique?

Some years back, Todd Jordan and I were discussing our game worlds and, in noting that each city or region of Rillmorn was unique, Todd said to me, “Your world is like Indiana Jones leafing through a tome of onionskin pages, while mine is like that guy who finds the singing frog.”  To this day, I am uncertain if Todd was trying to say that my games were more serious than his or that because I put more effort into attempting to make each area of Rilmorn distinct that it made my games feel more real.  Whatever he meant, I took it as a compliment and have continued to work hard and give each campaign site a special twist.  Something for my Players to hang on to and work with to give them a sense that this place is different from where the last campaign happened.

Iolta is much like my original continent Moytonia.  Moytonia was originally boiled out of Witch World, Middle Earth, and B1-In Search of the Unknown.  It was later spiced with the works of Katherine Kurtz, various issues of Dragon magazine, other modules and settings books, and finally a good dose of Player and PC creations.  Iolta uses many similar sources.  So, in an attempt to make Pellahm distinct from Kardon, Spellguard, and the Storm Kingdom, I am going to design a new calendar.

When I originally named the Months of the Year for Rilmorn, I decided to go with something different than January, February, etcetera or “Hot Month, “Growing Month,” and so on.  I chose the names for the twelve signs of the Western Astrologic Zodiac.  I did it as much to be different, as I did for it to be familiar.  I did not want my players to struggle with month names in addition to the other Rillmorn specific features: two suns, three moons, and such.  In addition to designing the months to keep track of the passage of time, I created four seasonal festivals for that would be nigh universal across Moytonia.

I have long had an interest in Celtic myth and history.  I remember writing a paper in my History of the English Language class at USM on druids and got to use the 1E Players Handbook as a reference.  Despite my interest and study, I did not know as much as I thought I did.  So when I picked Beltane, Lamas, Samhain, and Yule to the festivals and placed them on the vernal equinox, midsummer, autumnal equinox, and midwinter, I did not know that these were not events celebrated on the equinoxes and solstices nor did I realize that I had didn’t even get all the names right for the festivals that used.  Despite all that, the Four Feasts of the Year as celebrated by the druids of Rilmorn have become a deep part of the myth and lore of my world.  So, I am pleased to keep them, use them in Pellham, and add a lunar calendar to help with the verisimilitude of the setting.

I am basing my new lunar calendar on the Celtic Tree Calendar.  My sources for this are The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray and Celtic Tree Magic by Danu Forest.  While some dispute the historical validity of such a calendar, it is irrelevant for Rhillmoran.  Rhillmoran is not Earth and history and myth unfolded differently there than it did here.  The Druids of Iolta count the beginning of the Year on Samhain the first day of Beith or Birch.

The people of Pellham don’t use the largest of the moons (with its 38 day cycle) in their calendar, because legend holds that The Eldest Sister no longer watches Rhillmoran.  Her gaze is turned outward from world to watch for the return of Bazel, so that The Three Sisters may be ready do battle with him and prevent his return.  So, the Months are only 36 days long, since the two remaining moons have a 9 day cycle and 4 day cycle and they synchronize once every 36 days.  This will have little effect on my Players’ perceptions, but I hope to use the magical significance of each month’s tree to shade the adventures taken during those months and hopefully that will affect my Players’ perceptions.

So, dear readers, what do you do to make your settings distinct to your Players?

Game On!

An Epiphany of Time (or Does Gregory Know When the Prophecy Will be Fulfilled?)

On this the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I want to talk about my attempts at cosmology and calendar keeping.  Before I get to that, I would like you, dear reader, to drop over to Falling Toward Mythopoesis and check out Sarah McCabe’s commentary on Christmas and time keeping.

When I started creating Rilmorn, I decided that Rillmorn had two suns, three moons, and twenty-six hour days.  I did this mostly to be difficult, but soon those features of my game.  My Players and I soon began discussing what would the effect of three moons be upon lycanthropes.  I told my players that Rillorrn was at the apex of triangle formed by the two suns and Rillmorrn and that they all orbited around a central point and that led to all sort of questions concerning the three body problem and how the axial tilt of the world affected the apparent positions of the suns based on the seasons.  I gave the three moons orbital cycles of 4, 9, and 38 days and using those numbers, I created a three-year perpetual calendar that covered the times each moon was full.  While my Players and I often forgot what day it was supposed to be in the campaign, I often got to use those 36 pages to set up important ceremonies and planar openings in game based on which moons were full and were they fell in the seasons.  Over time I added a wandering star that appeared ever 26 years, “God’s Eye,” a comet with a 27 year cycle named the “Dragon’s Tear,” and Mondham, a city that appears for a year once every 7 years.  I never successfully added those cosmological events into my calculations.

Given all this information, I should be able to pinpoint the date of Llywelyn’s Return, but after the Cataclysm that precipitated transition from 2E to 3E, the suns named Mercy and Justice were no longer in synchronous orbit with Rillmorn.  With that, I have too many variables to track.  Fortunately, my friend Thom made me a website that can.  Using this calendar and the information that I created to fit the Prophecy, I know that Llywelyn is prophesied to return 1 Aris 2029 Age of Wyrms.  This stuff makes it much easier to work out prophecies and track celebrations and holy days.  Do any of you have similarly complex calendar/cosmologies?

Game On!

Reoccurring Themes (or Gregory, Don’t go There Again)

I’ve been working on where I expect or hope my Pellham campaign is going and I’ve found myself looking at some familiar territory.  There are types of stories that I like.  I like alternate dimensions stories.  I like time travel stories.  I like Faery stories.  I like to use them in my games, too.  I like them a lot.  In addition to ideas and themes for my games, these stories also connect to places in Rhillmoran; places I have used again and again.  My Pellham campaign has seeds of these stories it and they are leading me back to my favorite, but possibly overused, stories and places.  I wonder if I need to break away from my favorite stories.

Castle Timeless has been a staple of my games since the 1980s.  It has been a rare campaign that did not see at least one trip to Castle Timeless.  During the Giants in the Earth and the Tasque Elzeny campaigns, Castle Timeless got a makeover.  I’ve been thinking about using Castle Timeless, because of a few throw away lines and plot point in the backstory of C5: Llywelyn’s Bane.  It, also, doesn’t help that C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness (one of the other modules slated for use in the Pellham campaign) has an often missed time travel component.  Going to Castle Timeless certainly places Pellham in Rhillmoran, but it opens up a whole can of wyrms in that it will tempt me to run a time travel mini campaign and I’ve done that time and time again.

Faery locales are going to be part of this campaign.  I’ve already placed Ardenmore in Adran Silverleaf’s back story.  So, how do I keep from retreading old ground?  My fey folk and fey realm should be different than they have been before.  This is going to be hard, since I like my fey to have a Celtic sensibility and Pellham is a Celtic-style setting.  It doesn’t help that I’ve got a “Hollow Hills opening on the Night of a Full Moon” idiom running with this, too.  I guess I’ll just have to turn these fey “up to 11” and go full bore with them.  Make them the Fey of the Fey and play it for all that it is worth.  They are capricious, enigmatic, and dangerous benefactors and patrons.  They are brave, valiant, and noble allies and villains.  Their plans and their beliefs are not easily understood by mere mortals, even if those mortals are their elven descendants and cousins.  It should be great fun, if I can play it right; I’ve misplayed this style of NPC multiple times before.

I don’t see how I can get away from alternate dimensions in this campaign.  If the PCs follow through the entire plot as devised by the modules, then they must enter an alternate dimension.  I’ve did a lot of development on this alternate dimension for a failed campaign (outside forces pulled Players away), so I may be able to make this work for me.  The provided storyline only has the PCs there for a relatively short time and the alternate dimension is completely unlike the rest of the setting, so this could easily work to my advantage.  I’ve got an “alien,” but not lethal environment into which the PCs can adventure.  It plots well and is part of the module collection, so if I use it and it alone, then I should not get caught up in a plane hopping campaign, which can really be fun.

Having covered my “big” flaws in the previous three paragraphs, I must now move on and discuss a harder drive in my gaming themes.  I want to connect this game to other games that I have run.  I’ve been thinking about placing a connection to the Shadowfell Road in Pellham or Inverness; this would open up a connection to Moytonia and I would be tempted to pull things from Barovia and the Walking Wood into Iolta and that might dilute this setting.  I really want to place a connection to Castle Timeless and I’ve already explained why that is a bad idea.  While I have not yet designed them, I know there are magical trees in Pellham and they could easily be connected to the Quan.  Even though this campaign takes place over a thousand years after Giants in the Earth and Tasque Elzeny, a connection to the Quaan would let me access Feldspar, E3 Trading Company, and Spellguard.  While a link on Thrain to the World of Terah would allow me to bring threats from the Caves of Chaos and possibly connect the PCs to the Isle of Celestia and the Dreamers, it would be bringing in alternate dimensions.

Want to know what reeks in all of this; writing out this post has given me a half dozen or more ideas that I now am interested in dropping into the Pellahm campaign.  What do you think I should do?

Game On!

From the Ashes of Past Campaigns

Back in the mid 1990s, I tried to run a non-Realmorin campaign.  It was going to be based in Celto-Nordic setting with Greco-Roman invaders as the sometimes allies/sometimes enemies.  I had made many lists of important persons, each list based around a culture or or location.  I had a Bard NPC, who was the lynch pin to the campaign plot.  I got to pull ideas and uses from my Chivalry and Sorcery books.  It was great!

It ended with the first game.  It was not as quick an ending as the “Thirty Minute Campaign” (If you really want to know about this one, comment and I’ll try to develop a decent post about it), but it ended quick enough.  The game ended when one of my Players got it in his head to kill off the Camber McGregor – the Bard that my plot hinged upon.  The game folded at that point, because I saw no way to move the game forward and it seemed obvious that my Players didn’t care for this campaign.  It was sad; I was really invested in that campaign setting. (2013.11.23)

Twenty Years Later – I can make use of the lists of NPCs that I created so long ago.  I don’t even remember the plot line of the original campaign, but that doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the setting.  Iolta and Thrain is a Celto-Nordic setting.  I’ve got my reclusive dwarven kingdom and my hidden elven realms.  Norn is Viking-central.  I am thrilled to have players invested in the setting and since I am not thrusting a plot upon them, I can fill in the Spaces of Setting and enjoy it as much as my Players enjoy playing in it.

Yea!

Do any of my fellow GMs have tales of getting to use things that they failed to use before?

Game On!

Plans of Mice and GMs

So, it has already begun…my Players are starting their own stories!  Yeah!  My best games come when I build the environment and my players move the action.  So, this may be really good.

Vadis Mal and Stone are spending money to find out which prostitution establishments treat their “employees” as free people and which ones use them as objects or slaves.  They plan on ending those that do the latter.  Adran is planning some divination events, but I haven’t gotten any e-mails from him, yet.

These two event-lines will surely take time away from anything that I have planned out and that is okay.  I realized that I set up this campaign, when I was still working under the 3E/4E “Campaign Arc” plan.  I don’t really like the campaign arcs.  I really need to work on my NPCs and settings and let the story build itself.  This is going to be a blast.

Here is a list of the NPCs in the Pellham Campaign.  (linked 2014.11.24)

So, fellow Game Masters, how do you experience Player initiative?

Game On!

Slow Beginnings (or How do I Mix my Plot Lines and my PCs)

So, on Sunday, November 09, 2014, I ran the first game of my Iolta and Thrain campaign.  While it was not my first 5E game, it is still significant, because it is the first game in a campaign created using plot lines from a selection of modules.  I’m going to have an interesting time of mixing my planned plot lines with my PCs’ goals.  Let me attempt to explain my dilemma.

Provided Plot Lines (Taken From my Modules)

Restore the Monarchy – includes prophecies of reborn kings and pretenders trying to claim the throne

Get Help from the Druids – includes an overland journey and diplomacy

Defeat the Risen Evil – your standard stop Cthulhustyle story with ancient artifacts and dungeon crawls

These are all doable plot lines and would not require to much tinkering to build into a campaign arc, if I so chose.  Enter my PCs.

The Player Characters

Vadis Mal – male, human paladin – His family was betrayed in a power struggle and he was sold into the slave pits of Thulsa Set in Inverness.  During his time in the slave pits, Vadis was possessed by Spirit of Cernunnos and learned it was the Horned God’s will that all be free.  Vadis escaped; now, he and a fellow escapee have begun a campaign of punishing those who would enslave others (slavers, pimps, evil nobles, corrupt governments, etc).  (2014.11.14)

 

Stone – male, human barbarian – Captured as child, Stone was sold into slavery in Inverness.  He met Vadis in the slave pits of Thulsa Set and watched over him when the Spirit of Cernunnos came upon him.  When the revolt came, Stone fought alongside Vadis and now follows him in his quest to bring Vengeance upon those that would enslave others.

 

Ravah Rothardotter of Clan Uldra – female, dwarf fighter – Ravah was the last of four daughters born to Rothar Bloodaxe and his wife.  After her mother was killed in a fomori raid, Ravah was raised by her father alone.  He taught her to fight and named her his heir, since he had no sons.  Ravah served in the Dwarf Crown army and was recognized for her achievements; she reached the rank of sergeant before her father died.  While the clan elders recognized her as her father’s heir, they did it out of their respect for her father, not because they believed she was worthy.  Incensed, Ravah gave her holdings to her eldest nephew as a wedding gift and left the Dwarf Crown.  On her way out, she helped two escaped slaves flee Inverness; they were Vadis and Stone. (2014.11.14)

 

Winguard – male, elf/human bard – Found on the steps of the Brotherhood of Brie, Winguard was raised by the scholars and minstrels dwelling there.  He grew into a young man who believes that everyone should be responsible for his or her own fate.  Winguard seeks to establish a new political order based on one’s own personal responsibility.  He joined Vadis and Stone, after Vadis journeyed to Brie to find a bard to immortalize their campaign against the enslavers in song and verse and to promote the ideals of freedom. (2014.11.13)

 

Adran Silverleaf – male, elf wizard – Born and reared among the Shadow Crowns of Thrain, Adran came to Pellham 300 years ago to study the collected works of the Brotherhood of Brie.  He is beginning to master the arts of divination and is much intrigued by the Prophecy of Llywelyn’s return.  Adran left Brie before he was forced to choose a side as various groups debate the meaning of the Prophecy.  He is traveling with Winguard and the others for reasons that he has yet to reveal.  (2014.11.14)

So, here is what I done so far:

     1. Created or shifted game world elements to fit proposed backgrounds.

2. Couldn’t find my revised copy of the Prophecy of Brie and didn’t give my Players any info on it in game.

3. Added two new characters to the Sovereign Council.

4. Added monsters from a previous campaign to the swamp near the Mad Druid’s home.

5. Altered the personality of the Mad Druid.

6. Hand waved the knowledge of the “Hand of Loring” because I forgot to give the Prophecy of Llywelyn’s Return.

7. Created 3 dryad sisters, Oak Ash, and Thorn.

8. Added hell coin carrying fomori minions working for Thulsa Set which were sent after Vadis and Stone.  (2014.11.14)

So, now my question is, “How close do I hold to my provided plots and how much do I build on my Player’s plans?”  I expect I’ll do much more of the later and once again prove that I am poor at using modules.

Game On!

Iolta and Thrain

Rilmorn, as I conceived of the world, has three times the surface area of Earth, so it always seemed logical that there would be continents that were yet unaccounted.  I had hinted about another continent.  Robert Hegewood, a friend from college worked up an invader’s history for that unnamed continent.  I had long wanted an area that was deeply Celtic in tone. It appeared as Iolta and Thrain.

In early to mid 2013, a fellow member of Old School Gamers asked what people thought about the module Shadows of Evil.  I own it, Evil Ruins, and Throne of Evil; all works by Stephen Bourne.  I told the OSGers that I liked the book and planned on using it, Throne of Evil, C4: To Find a King, and C5: The Bane of Llywelyn as the basis for a new campaign.  Rhonda Hanyes Koti expressed an interest in the final product, so I told her that I would send her a link when I was done.

Around this time, Chris Perkins, in his DnD Online column: The Dungeon Master Experience, posted a link to his new campaign.  It had a flavor that I liked and the map was wonderful.  I stole it; flipped the map, renamed it, and called it mine.  (Yes, I contacted Mr. Perkins and told him about my conscription of his work.)  The rest of the information may be mined at a later date. (Updated link 2014.08.12)

I named the continents Iolta and Thrain and labeled the large island between them Avalian.  The name Iolta (pronounced  ee ole TUH) was taken from the legal acronym IOLTA (pronounced eye ole TUH) meaning Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts.  Thrain is an old name for Wales.  Avalian is at alternate spelling of Avalon.

Now, that I had a continent, I needed a more detailed map of the campaign area.  I took the overland maps of the four modules I had mentioned plus Evil Ruins, Elven Banner, and N2: The Forest Oracle and began mashing them together in GIMP.   I had to fiddle with the scale on occasion, but for the most part it was a simple cut and paste.  I prettied up later and here is the link I sent Rhonda.

Now, that I had my maps, I needed a background for my game.  So, I took all my source material and my limited knowledge of Celtic myth and history and wrote out a History of Iolta and Thrian.  This document is way too long and covers too much to give to most Players, so I will have to chop things down to a minimum and focus the background for any Players in this campaign.  This is far more background than I ever build into most campaigns before they begin.  There is a great chance that the Players will never learn or have need of most of it.

That just left me with putting together a Gazetteer.  I had plenty of places taken from my many maps and so I filled out the information.  This was in many ways the most fun.  I got to lift histories and etymologies from  multiple sources and to editorialize about some locations.  It was really neat.

I’ve added some stuff, since I posted it on Live Journal and I’ve altered a good deal more.  It is a good example of planning too much before a game begins.  There is more information here than I ever had at the beginning of a campaign.  I’ve got multiple plots.  I’ve got loads of NPCs.  History is overwhelming.  I have huge numbers of sites for plot hooks.  It is overwhelming, but if I get to run this campaign, it will give me a Great Cauldron from which to pull ideas and plans.

When I wrote this yesterday, I failed to talk about what changes I have made in this setting since I posted it and what source materials that I am looking to use in this setting.  None of my games are ever created in a vacuum.  I am grateful for my sources and look forward to taking the original material and blending it to fit Rilmorin.  Every time, I read something or watch a movie or video or even listen to music, I can find something that leads me into new ideas for my game.  Since I posted the original Iolta and Thrain stuff back in June of 2013, I have done the following

  • Decided that the founders of The Dwarf Crown were survivors of a Aegol a dwarf kingdom from another world.  This comes from the book Kingdom of the Dwarves.
  • Decided to use a combination of profiles from Deities and Demigods, Dragon Issue 65, Legends and Lore, and Celtic Age to fill out the ranks of the Tuatha De Danu
  • Got out my Ironclaw books and decided to change the walls at the edges of Inverness and Warfield to the Wall of Calabria.  These walls, ancient and mountainous in scope, once marked the boundaries of Calabria.  Calabria, as a kingdom is long vanished, but its Great Houses with their animal standards and totems remain.
  • Added the city of Triskellian from Rinaldi: Supplement for Ironclaw to the map.  It was the capital of Calbria.
  • Changed a line in the descriptor of the Dwarves of the Dwarf Crown to read:  “Insular and slightly xenophobic, the Dwarves of the Dwarf Crown only deal with outsiders at specific trade moots and as members of small, but highly sought after mercenary bands.”  This change came about because my wife wished to play a dwarf in this campaign.

 I’ve done a lot of development on both continents, but where is the action to take place?  It should take place in Pellham (the most detailed area of the map) and Montforte (since one of plots comes from that area and is the location of a premade adventure site).  I may send the PCs into Inverness, since it is the location of the infamous Ghost Tower of Inverness.  Finally, the PCs may end up on Thrain.  The premade adventure that starts in Montforte ends on Thrian.  Anything else will be the work of the Players and their interests.

I’ve been gathering an Iolta and Thrain collection on LibraryThingPlease feel free to check it out (in the upper left corner of the screen, you will see a drop down menu under the name LibraryThing, go to Iolta and Thrain).

Game On!