A somewhat normal outcropping of bare white granite. Not something you want to have to climb but it blocks the beating sun rather nicely providing a good bit of shade.
As the troupe walks one of them does a double take at the rocky outcroppings. Staring for a minute there is something incredibly odd about them. He stops, looks some more and backs up.
There, he immediately sees it. Through a blending and trick of the eye a series of rock formations from 35ft to about 75ft all line up perfectly to form a rather detailed face. They eyes, eyebrows, nose, hair, ears are unmistakeable. Moving more than 5ft in any direction from that spot destroys the illusion and it is just another wall of rock.
A sharp eye and incredible luck will reveal many other such purposeful art. In a village nearby they will find that the village knows of this. There are only a few that know where all of the viewing spots are.....or are there more? Go to Comment
Tidewall Bay is guarded on either side by large, sheer walls of granite that extend into the ocean about a mile created a 2 mile wide corridor of gently sloping bay. This gentle slope adds to the extreme tide that, when it comes in, starts to rise very quickly as it grows up the slope. Before it is done the tide has risen over 15 meters and has covered over 2 miles of previously visible land.
When it departs it does so in the same dramatic manner causing a rather intense tidal pull.
-Rich veins of valuable metals are under the cliffs on either side of the corridor. There are only a handful of hours a day that the mine can be safely worked.
-The corridor is used as a boat launch of sorts. The outgoing tide and the intense tidal pull effectively create a slingshot for boats that know how to navigate it and they can ride the departing tide for quite a distance and higher than average speeds.
-Tide pools leave behind many and strand many odd animals and fish. Holding areas could be made to try and trap fish that the inhabitants can then just go out and collect. Go to Comment
Herodotus assures us that the Greek victory that stunned both sides was the result of a shrewd battleplan: the great Athenian general Miltiades chose not to deploy his troops in the traditional way, with the bulk of his men in the middle of a phalanx of soldiers. Instead, he thinned out the ranks in the center, giving the Persians a false sense of imminent victory. After the Persians easily broke through the ranks, they were swarmed by Greek soldiers attacking from the flanks (Athenians from one side and Plataeans from the other). Herodotus also tells us that for the first time Athenian slaves were freed so that they could fight for the Athenian cause. After the battle, the Athenians built a treasury at Delphi to hold all their votive offerings to the oracle.
The Battle of Marathon spawned legends immediately: witnesses swore that the ghost of Theseus (mythical king of Athens) loomed over the field, giving confidence to his countrymen; the messenger Phidippides is said to have run into the god Pan on his way to ask for help from the Spartans and received the god's help instead (and too, the old story about how he died after running the equivalent of 26 miles to deliver news of the victory at Marathon is not supported by any ancient source...); and some say that the clash of arms can still be heard today on the Plain of Marathon at night.
Pausanias (1.33.2) tells us that the Persians were so sure of victory that they had brought with them a block of marble to be carved into a victory monument. Instead, the great Athenian sculptor Pheidias carved it into a statue of the god Nemesis, avenger of wicked actions, plainly indicating that the Persians got exactly what they deserved. Go to Comment
Battle of Thermopylae
The battle was fought in the year 480 BC between an alliance of Greek city-states (lead by Leonidas) and an invading Persian army at the mountain Pass of Thermopylae. Though vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persian advance until a defector informed the Persians of an alternate route during the night. Rather than sacrifice the entire Greek fighting force by allowing it to be surrounded, the Spartan King Leonides ordered all of the other allied Greek armies to flee before daybreak and raise new armies in the rest of Greece, while he and only 300 Spartans held off the advancing Persians for as long as they could.
The 300 Greeks held the pass against the Persian army of a quarter of a million men for three days before finally being killed to the last man. In the process, they killed over 10,000 Persians. By the time the Persians reached and sacked the city of Athens, it was a hollow victory: thanks to the sacrifice at Thermopylae, the Athenians had enough time to evacuate the entire city of Athens and hide most of their strong navy amongst nearby coastal islands. The forces of Greece would then rally and destroy the Persian invasion army.
It is due to Themistokles' powers of persuasion that the Athenians suffered no loss of life when the Persians marched into Athens and burned it to the ground. The Oracle of Delphi had warned that everything Athenian would be burned to the ground except for what lay behind a wooden wall: some thought that meant that the populace should huddle within the walls of the Acropolis and try to outlast a Persian siege. But Themistokles rightly concluded that the "wooden wall" referred to the battleline of the great Athenian warships. So when the Persians did march into Athens and burn down the city, the women and children had already been transported safely to the nearby city of Troezen (birthplace of Theseus), the old men were taken to the nearby island of Salamis, and only those few who remained behind the walls lost their lives. Go to Comment
#6 - The Bridge
Reply #6 on: December 02, 2004, 10:01:29 PM
(All right already. Too much pressure ;) )
The bridge still sits as a symbol of times past. Neither the country of Trelen nor the country of Loist, of which the bridge connects, would ever touch the bridge. Not because of law or threat, but only for an unspoken feeling that, if anything was to ever happen to the bridge, hope of peace between their countries would be forever lost. The bridge has never been given a name; its location and importance were once insignificant. It is now only called The Bridge and everybody knows of what is spoken when mentioned. Not a soul has stepped on The Bridge since the war and very few living have even seen it due to its complicated and remote location. The river leading to it is shallow and in between the shoals are many rapids that are difficult to traverse. On either side of the bridge are miles of difficult terrain and mountainous territory not worth the difficulty of travel anymore. The towns that once made the bridge necessary have long since been abandoned and few ever adventure this way anymore. Cut throats and brigands rarely even take the trouble to pass that way as there are many easier ways to cross between the warring nations. Even when they do venture that far, not even they dare put foot on the bridge and instead cross at a shallows down river. For all the neglect, The Bridge is far from forgotten.
At one time bridges such as this had dotted the Normas River. Beautiful expansive bridges were decorated with lovingly carved wooden rails showing off the craftsmanship of the builders and the deep wallets of the sponsors. Some so large and arching to allow full masted ships to flow beneath and some, like this one, were built right through the river with underground openings allowing the now tamed water to travel freely. Trade and travel through the two countries over the Normas River was as common as going to market. The world was once at peace and the people prospered.
There are not many that know the root cause War of the Seven Swords but, then again, to few it really matters. Most know that it had to do with the seven Princely offspring of the two countries and conflict between them and that knowledge was enough. History has little meaning to those that must struggle to survive. The only thing of consequence is that Trelen and Loist have been in the grapples of conflict for more then three generations. There are now very few that are still around who personally remember those times of peace. The War of the Seven Swords saw the destruction of all connections between the two countries, of which first and foremost were the bridges. Those that do remember the peace and the freedom they had lament over what they have lost but still hold hope for their children. The hope of peace for them, and most others, lies in the continued existence of The Bridge.
The Bridge will remain now as it has for decades, remembered but neglected. Through time, there will be more visitors that make the pilgrimage to set their eyes on The Bridge. They will continue to propagate the legend and confirmation of its existence. The seed of hope will continue to be nurtured. It is still a vivid hope amongst many that one day the rulers of the two lands will meet on that bridge in friendship. Until that day comes, The Bridge will remain a legend in most people's thoughts. Go to Comment
That last bit of advice is perfect for any size campaign. What is the fun of playing the hero if he can't do some heroic stuff. Swing froma chandelier and make it fall on a group of baddies, cause an explosion and ride the shockwave on a table, or have two people run a rope into a group of baddies sending them all to the ground.
All *really* unrealistic, but all somewhat creative and used in fun adventure movies all the time. I agree, explain it is stupid BUT the logic behind it is sound even though it would never really work. Let it happen, gets them to be more creative then just frontal attacks all the time.
All your tips are pretty much dead on Manfred and it is a great article. The comfort thoughts are *very* important because it can quickly get awkward if you aren't 100% comfortable with the person, character, or how they plan on playing it. It is much more intimate so things that happen in a group go right out the window.
I have only done this a few times, most of the time we are so pressed for time that we simply do a small background paper on each character, but even in the middle of a campaign some quick solo adventuring is required to move a certain point or give a certain character some necessary freedom from the group persuasion. Go to Comment
Are the Dream Nector addicts on the side of the order and their attacks are coordinated or are their attacks something that just happen and the Order plays them up? From the sound of it the Order incites these addict riots.
These poor Dream Cultists sure do get a pretty bad rap just for supplying 'drugs.' Can't just sell them on a street corner so they must have some sort of underground distribution network or something. I keep looking for more of a reason for everybody to hate the cult so much. Go to Comment
I think fear is a slightly generic answer though. If they know it is the drug that makes the people crazy, not the Cult (yes, they provide it the drug dealers and suppliers are bad), but it is a choice made by the people that get addicted to the drug. They want what the drug provides.
Equate it to the theive's guild. People know they are there, they rob people, cause hardship in the city, but do the people attack and fire bomb them? You must admit that theives are much more active then these cultists which all they want to do is sleep. There is a logic hump that I can't get over. I need to justify everything and this just doesn't get me all the way there.
Now, if you tell me that the Dream Cult addicts people on purpose, break into homes to drug people, kidnaps, maybe just spreading the drug over a crowd by a Cultist...now that would go a long way to justify to me why people hate and fear them so much. But just believing some wierdness and selling some drugs to people that want them (addicted or not, they want them, just like current times) doesn't make me want to burn them.
It would also make more sense that, once addicted, the users would be 'inducted' into the dream cult and not have to pay for the stuff anymore. More cult members is good I would guess? Go to Comment
All in all I like it. The poetic prose had its difficulties as descriptions are somewhat glossed over and left to us to figure out which probably caused me more mental power than I have available at the moment, but it is a solid idea and very interesting too. Fun irony that he was taught by a falcon and then through misfortune had his hands and feet gnarled into bird shapes.
The mentioning of "Wyldlings" without any description of them caused me to stall as did the reference to the capitolized "Teacher." While both can be inferred by the reading, I don't think it is obvious enough.
From another end of the bar two guards that just got off watch are talking to each other and like the attention they are getting from their discussion.
"I tell you, the Edmanciums are a bigger threat than everyone thinks."
"Ahhhh, you are overreacting. The Edmanciums are just another rebel group that thinks they can make a fortune through fear and hijacking. They will be soon enough shown who has the true power. Lord Foxrin will not stand for any brigands near his home and will aid any of the Four Cities if they call for it."
The first soldier shakes his head as he sips his ale, "I fear we will learn too late. You heard of the latest caravan that was robbed on its way to Solar. The Solar roads are the best defended roads in all of Aros. Why then are they having trouble with a few brigands" He smuggly smiles and waits for an answer.
"I cannot say what troubles Solar that they cannot keep their roads clear. The rumors of the caravan were probably exaggerated by those that brought them to sound like they were heroes for the telling of it. I guarantee they got a few drinks from the telling of those tales." He laughs heartily.
The other soldier nods his head, "Yes, I suppose you are right. But Lord Foxrin is worried enough to post double guard duty and has called his militia to scout the country side. His prudence is well founded I would wager."
Their conversation wanders towards the young girl that came through their gate earlier that afternoon and the small crowd that was listening in slowly dissipates. Go to Comment
Grothar leans over the counter as he pours you a mug of ale. "You best stay for the show tonight. I got myself a new entertainer. She goes by the name of Amber...Amber....something or other. Never did catch her name. In and out with her companions like they were into something urgent. Got themselves involved with the seawolves that be plaquing our streets."
"Yep, regular demons running around causing a ruckus. Bad for business I'll tell ya. I hear that they caught a couple of them already and they be holding 'em at the Temple of Sails. Having trouble finding 'em but they say they take to the sea. No chance of rounding them up out there. Not without the help of the mermen anyway and no one seems to know where they disappeared to."
He takes out a towel and wipes down the counter with loving care. "People around here are spooked and are ready for the end of it all. Don't want to leave their homes for fear of running into one of the beasts. Lord Foxrin is in an uproar I hear. Sent out the guard to be patrolling round the clock. Enlisting common folk to help hunt them down. Only problem is nobody knows how many of the devil-kin there are."
Grothar shakes his head with unease. "I best be tending the rest of the bar. Be sure to give a holler as soon as your mug runs dry. Remember, show starts at 8:00...well, usually anyway."
"Ach welcome, welcome. We are under new management now. I am Brawn Hammerstein an adventurer of many years, I could tell you a tale or two, the things I could do with a donkey and a carrot.. ach those were the days.
Mind that table, yes you can seen that we are still under con..
Morgan watch where you throw those blasted til.. don't give that boy or i'll ^%#&^^$ come up there and beat the *&^% out of that small head of yours.
Apologies it's hard to find good help these days. Where was I oh yes - under construction, dusty here ain't it.
Last stop you get though before you reach the mountains to the East, There's the woods to the South and the port nearby, Although between you and me sailors always smell of fish and I don't trust people who call floating on blasted bit's of wood a living. Yes there's been quite a bit trouble with the woods lately, wolves mostly, getting a bit daring these days.
I have to leave you now, I haven't recieved the barrels from Isocarta yet, blasted expensive the Taverns down there. And the barmen,.. wouldn't trust em as far as I could throw em, and believe me that's some distance. Now where have those blasted monks got to.. MORGAN!? blasted quite
they are.... when I find th...... MORGAN?!" Go to Comment
Hugghhh der still be much grumbling from dem people on the plains, more sightings of flying things, and now sandstorms too, come out of nowhere rage for hours and den vanish at the blink of an eye. As if dat should be bad der been funny business about dat Talan puddle too, been more
sightings of dem water things, creatures made of water, rising and sinking, it not be right I tell you, it was enough to have a few sightings now and den, but every body that pass dis way from the Lake tell of sightings. Me bones a creakin at der thought of it, something bad is a coming." Go to Comment
"Ah me friends welcome, here ave a draught on the house. You've come at blasted bad time. There's been nuttin but bad omens around for weeks, first dem blasted raids by those so called Edmanciums and now..
By Ventors beard had I been there..
A guest has died in der house of old Hospis, der lord, he's been a raging for day's I pity der blood stained hand of him who killed him. Blast his eyes I do not, I would hunt him myself if I we're not tied to this place.
Hospis has called out the guard, too stubbon he is to call for help from Foxrin and dem other Lords. It be a slur to his name, a guest dyin under his protection.
But what be reason I say, the Edmanciums are bringing themselves up for the wrath of four lords if this carries on.
Achh it be bad times, ders also been rumours from the steadings to der west, strange sightings they says. Strange looking birds over the plains and fires in the night, goats missing and the like. Although in dem plains it be no rare thing. Dey be soft and moan like women but with the recent happenings...
Go south if I was you, find the Last Stand Tavern in Isocarta, me old friend Grothar might know more. Tell him from me dat business here be flowing freer then his watered beer, AH HAAAAA ahha ha" Go to Comment
"It has been a long time my friends, no doubts you been out saving the Land of Aros and such, hehe.
It has been quiet, I thinks dat der king has those Edmanciums hiding for now, blasted cowards. Goblins be better, dey at least will fight in der open, not run and hide.
It be der forest, too many places to hide, dem lords should hire more rangers to patrol dem, adventurers to clear it. Ahh if only I wear a young lad again, there'd be nowhere to hide. It seems that the trade from Isocarta be slower then it twas too, probably fear of dem bandits.
MORGAAAANNNN bring me a tray of ales ya lazy oaf!! Ventors beard.. he's been a mooning after that lass at the bakery again. She be after the blacksmiths apprentice.. hehe dat las knows how to sweet talk men, humans I will never understand. I was a talkin to Landra a while ago, now that be a woman. Break your arm with a finger she could, ahaha, not bad for a human she agreed to take him into der guard to train im. That be the women to talk to about troubles in der city.
The loud noises of warriors returning form a long hunt fill the air. The timberwolf hunt was a success and the town should be free of their constant aggravation until next spring.
The shouts of men buying drinks for each other fills the Tavern. Screaming and shouting about the kills each had drowns out all but the loudest of guests. A constant roar fills the place.
As the noise continues a man slams open the door and enters the room with fear and sorrow in his eyes. He yells at the top of his lungs, "THEY ARE DEAD...ALL OF THEM!"
A hush falls over the Tavern as these words are announced.
"They are dead," he repeats with tears starting to sting his eyes. "The Toral family has been murdered!"
"The Torals," a man shouts, "I just saw them this morning. They were going to come in late from the hunt. Alin Toral wanted to show his son where the timberwolves main lair was. We killed all those timberwolves. Who murdered him?"
"It was no animal that killed them. It was bandits."
Shouts and calls are made at this. Solar prides itself on keeping there land free of danger. The town is centralized around an organized militia. It is insane to say that brigands have infiltrated the protected forests of Solar. Many men remark in this way all jumbled together.
"It was bandits," the man repeats. "Alin killed three 'fore they took him and his family. The slimy bandits had a nasty tatoo on there back. It was of a wierd dragon shape or something. The council gathers now to discuss the situation. If only our king were alive. 'Tis a shame he met his fate at the hands of an accident."
The group leaves the bar and makes there way to outside of the castle to find out what exactly has transpired. Go to Comment
The bar is filled with the celebrating of the good people of Solar. A celebration like none have ever heard of in Solar is taking place. Wenches scurry from table to table not moving fast enough for all the orders called at them. The entire place is filled with excitement.
Someone near the back stands on a table and motions for silence. Quickly the entire place calms down as everyone directs there attention to the man standing on the table. Whispers heard tell that it is Glendor Grimdor, the head of the militia in Solar.
Glendor puts his hands over his head and announces to the gathered. "Today we have met a great victory. We have overcome the Edmancium in this great battle."
He is interrupted by mighty cheers and hollers from the bar and it takes several minutes for them to calm down.
"But this is only one battle. We cannot hope that we have rid the Four Cities of this foul clan. We must continue our vigil till every caravan and traveler feel safe to walk our roads. We must remember our losses also. The ones that gave their lives to provide us with the security we expect. Let us give a moment of silence in honor of the few who fell in battle. The greatest honor
to be given to a warrior of Solar."
The place falls silent and is broken a few moments later by Glendor.
"In your celebrating keep in your minds those that have fallen, and remember the ones who have taken them. The coward mage who hid during battle only to attack with cowards magic and then run away. He knows the might of Solar and ran from it. But we will chase him my friends," he continues yelling over the calls for revenge. "He will find no solace in his travels. Not until he rests, buried in the earth."
Glendor picks up his cup and raises it to the air, "To revenge. All the sweeter for the chase."
Yelling loud enough to deafen errupts in the bar. Not one person is left in their chair as they all call on the death of their enemy. Vows to not rest until the land is free are heard intermixed with calls of death to all that oppose Solar. The look of madness is in many eyes. The wenches hide behind the bar, scared of what has turned from a joyous celebration to a call for revenge.
Glendor lets out a mighty yell and jumps from the table and walks swiftly out the door. The bar quiets down and returns to what it was at the beginning. Go to Comment
The idea of using tattoos to contain magic powers is not a new one. The Ink gauntlet follows the basic premise of using rare and precious inks to inscribe spells into the skin of a mage or would be spell-imbued person. Some of these inked spells might be permanent, while others might fade after being used once, or a preset number of times.
Ideas ( System ) | October 16, 2006 |