Friday, November 21, 2008

New Options

The new Martial Power is looking pretty good, so feel free to integrate some of that content into your character build. It's useful for rogues, fighters, rangers, and warlords.

The Forgotten Realms Players Guide has the swordmage and the warlock dark pact, which I think would work well.I haven't read the spellscared and I definitely don't want drow right now, although I could be convinced that a genasi works, with the right background.

The new Bard in Dragon Magazine is incredibly intriguing to me, and I would love to see someone play that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Historical Stuff (some meta)

For those who have an interest in the real-world area we're playing in:

  • Baal-gad, the home town for the party, is geographically correct, as are the major cities of the region. The citadel exists, but it was built during the Middle-Ages, likely by Christian knights.
  • The roads I've included in the player's guide are mythical; they're based on modern day highways. Since highways are often based on older routes, I suppose it's possible these were used.
  • The Fertile Valley, was in fact called that, kind of like California's "Central Valley." It's in the northern part of the Golan Heights region of Israel. Everything in this region has a biblical name as well, which I try to avoid. If it has an obvious biblical name, I'll research back until I find something older. Sometimes too far (I now like Tyre rather than Zor, for example). Newer names are often Arabic, which is far too modern a feel for what I want.
  • Leish and Dan. Leish on my map is actually the real Dan, which had a biblical role as a city of many religions, as I've tried to portray it. Sometimes the bible is perfect for my fantasy life. I moved the mythical Dan in my game farther south, because I wanted it to have a lesser influence. The small farming village of "Leish" on my map is the real world location of Dan (now a ruin and Israeli tourist site).
  • Samaria is the land of the Philistines. I couldn't really leave it as Philistines, right? In the game, it's a confederation of barbarian tribes, devolved from a greater civilisation. It's likely it happened in reverse in real life, a primitive sea people that evolved into a civilized group of traders and city builders. I didn't want another human civilization right there, so they now roam the coast as barbarians.
  • Thunderspire Mountain. There appears to be a modern day highway through this pass area. I originally planned to have it as a mountain pass, with a haunted citadel of some sort there, guarding it from my Syrians (Tash), but Thunderspire fits much better, with its underground highway.
  • Lake Genneseret. Also called The Sea of Galilea, Lake Tiberias, Lake Kinneret, and several other names. Sometimes I have to work to obscure names.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

About Thunderspire

click to enlarge

As told to you by Mayor Haroum:

Everything you have been taught about our history and geography is true. We guard the Southern route into our once great empire from Tash invaders. We guard the Western route from ogre tribes. And as you now know, we guard Shadowfell Keep from those who wish to open the portal and expose us to an otherworldly threat. There is another way into our lands that is not often discussed, it is gained from under the mountains.

To the south, at the top of the fertile valley, lies Thunderspire Mountain. You may know of the ancient watchtower, now abandoned, that observes the movement of the Tash armies on the other side, giving us advanced warning. What you probably don't know is that there is a way through Thunderspire. A great city was built within the mountain by a race of minotaurs during the ancient days. They kept the ogres in check, but also enslaved the Samarians, the southern coastal peoples. The Samarians once had a brilliant, learned kingdom while we were still picking olives and living in caves, but the minotaurs reduced the Samarians to simple barbarians. It is said not two bricks were allowed to sit upon each other when the minotaurs punished them for their rebellion.

The seat of power of the minotaurs within Thunderspire is now just a small trading post. It's called the Seven-Pillared Hall. The place is run by a group of powerful wizards, called the Mages of Saruun. They were once Phoenicians too, until they renounced our rules and were banished to the south. We are forbidden to trade with them, but somehow goods get through anyway. What's important now is that the mages maintain a balance of power within the mountain, including the deep labyrinth to the underdark, which also leads through the other side of the mountain to Tash. Be wary of these mages, and keep in mind that whatever happens, a balance of power needs to be maintained within their realm to protect us from this back door to our lands.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More on Phoenician Gods

Here are more Phoenician deities and how they map over to the D&D deities. Some of these are only outlined in the Dungeon Master's Guide, so you may not have seen them before. I suggest you print this, if you care about this kind of stuff.

Asmodeus Asmodeus Power, domination, tyranny
Avandra Shamash Change, luck, travel
Bahamut Bahamut (Tash god) Justice, honor, protection
Bane Anath War, conquest
Corellon Corellon (Shamar
Arcane magic, beauty, arts
Erathis Melqart

Civilization, laws, underground, Patron
God of Zor

Melora Yamm The Sea, wilderness
Moradin Kothar Creation, Artistry, Family
Pelor Baal Sun, summer, time, agriculture
Raven Queen Melqart Death, fate, winter
Sehanine Yarikh Moon, trickery, love, autumn
Tharizdun Seth (Badar god) Annihilation, Madness
Tiamat Tiamat (Tash god) Wealth, greed, vengeance
Torog Horon

Underdark, Good aspect revered by dwarves.
Also worshiped as god of slavery by evil underdark creatures.

Vecna Mot Death, secrets, necromancy
Zehir Ejo (Badar god) Darkness, Poison, Serpents

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Find the Slavers

Mayor Haroum of Baalgad pays out the various rewards to the party and listens carefully as you tell him of your adventure. One thing sticks in his head, a letter that you found that was bound for Kalarel, the evil priest of Orcus you stopped. The note you have reads:

"Greetings, Kalarel,
I have recently learned of your actiity in the area and have an offer for you. During your time in this region, if you should capture any humanoids, we are eager to buy them. We have duergar allies in Thunderspire in need of slave stock. If you are interested, send an envoy back to me. My messengers will show the way.
Krand of the Bloodreavers"

There have been many disappearances over the last several months, some have been our own townspeople but most were travellers coming into or leaving the area. At first I thought it was the Harad or a result of more sinister activities, which you've recently uncovered. Now I think some of these people may have been captured by these slavers, and might still be alive. I know a little of these slavers, they are vile tieflings from Badar, who travel up and down the coast in search of victims. I believe stopping them is your next mission.

(more live discussion to follow)