Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Problem Child

Good evening, gentle readers.
Over the last few months, D&D has pretty much devoured this blog. Mainly because it's my primary creative outlet.
But tonight, I'm going to talk about something different.
Tonight, gentle readers, I'm going to talk about my Problem Child.
The Problem Child is the laptop I am currently using. She wasn't always a Problem Child. Once upon a time, not that long ago, she was my 'baby.'  I would lie in bed with her, attempt to write, promote things on Twitter, watch the occasional Netflix show.
Then, in October, the problems began.
She began to lose her connection to the wifi at my house. Just at the house. Not anywhere else. I could even connecting using the POS network at my local bookstore, when I was there.
I thought the problem might have been physical. Perhaps my wifi card was going bad? Perhaps my network adapter was on the fritz? I had them checked and, no, everything appeared to be fine.
It was just at home that my problems persisted.
I tested my home system. Every other device I used had no trouble connecting and maintaining a stable wifi connection.
So, the problem must be with this computer. This laptop. This Problem Child of mine.
Having eliminated network issues and environmental issues, I started poking around on the Internet, seeing if anyone else had similar issues.
I found that I was not alone.
A lot of folks were having similar, or worse, issues.
The culprit seemed to be the Windows 10 operating system.  Windows 10 is a bit of a Nazi program. You can't tell it what to do, it does what it wants. It downloads updates without you having any real control over the downloads.
Since their Fall Creators Update, which included such marvelous things as a 3D paint studio(WTF?), a lot of people have had their wifi screwed up. And Microsoft, after their fashion, has refused to accept any culpability in the matter. Even though their forums are flooded with people, complaining about the issue and looking for help.  They tend to regurgitate the same 'solution' to every problem, none of which seem to work for everyone.
After two months of dealing with this horseshit from Microsoft, I've pretty much given up using my laptop as I would like. No more languishing in bed, taking my ease as I flit between writing and the Internet. Oh no.
Now, like a caveman, I have to go downstairs and physically connect my laptop to my router. I sit, crosslegged, on the carpeted floor, and go about my business.  It feels like I've been transported back to 1995, only not in a good way.
To say I'm a bit pissed at Microsoft regarding this matter would be an understatement.  My anger with them and their piss-all service and support has gone beyond the boiling point.  It has even gone beyond the cold icy hatred normally reserved for certain individuals. My anger with Microsoft has entered hitherto unknown regions for me, a sort of void where I lie in bed and smile as I think of their programmers developing some horrible wasting disease that consumes their lives, slowly and methodically.
Now, this is very atypical for me. I am not normally given to thoughts of vengeance and retribution. So if Microsoft and their crappy Windows 10 can produce such a response in me? Well, I shudder to think what some other people out there are going through.
And I cannot help but wonder if Microsoft invests any of their billions in fortifying their buildings with shatterproof glass and reinforced security doors? Because, honestly, ladies and gentlemen, if I were them, that would be something I would be doing.
As for the Problem Child? As long as I'm not trying to use the wifi at home, she seems okay. But if the problem spreads? Well, I might have to start looking for a new laptop. Maybe one that doesn't have a Windows OS. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Papa Spark


STR     14 (+2)
DEX    16 (+3)
CON   20 (+5)
INT     14 (+2)
WIS     20 (+5)
CHA   18 (+4)
HP       367
AC      14 (Leather armor)

Languages: Common, Druidic, Elvish, Thieves’ cant

Proficiencies: +11
Armor: Light, Medium, Shields
Weapons: Clubs, Daggers, Darts, Javelins, Maces, Quarterstaffs, Scimitars, Sickles, Slings, Spears
Tools: Woodcarvers tools, Land vehicles, Herbalism kit, Thieves’ tools
Saves: Intelligence +13, Wisdom +16
Skills: Animal handling +16, Insight +27, Medicine +27, Stealth +25, Survival +27

Rustic Hospitality
* * *
Druid Circle: Circle of the Land
- Bonus Cantrip
- Natural Recovery
- Circle Spells
- Land’s Stride
- Nature’s Ward
- Nature’s Sanctuary
Timeless Body
Beast Spells
* * *
Sneak Attack (10d6)
Cunning Action
Roguish Archetype: Thief
- Fast Hands
- Second Story Work
- Supreme Sneak
- Use Magic Device
- Thief’s Reflexes
Uncanny Dodge
Reliable Talent
Slippery Mind
Stroke of Luck

Spells Known: 25
Spell DC: 24
Atk Mod: +16
At-Will (6): Druidcraft, Guidance, Mending, Produce flame, Resistance, Shillelagh
L1(6): Animal friendship, Cure wounds, Detect magic, Entangle, Jump, Speak w/animals
L2(5): Hold person, Spike growth, Darkvision, Find traps, Pass w/out a trace
L3(5): Sleet storm, Slow, Call lightening, Dispel magic, Wind wall
L4(5): Freedom of movement, Ice storm, Confusion, Polymorph, Stoneskin
L5(5): Commune w/nature, Cone of cold, Awaken, Greater restoration
L6(4): Find the path, Heal
L7(4): Mirage arcane, Regenerate
L8(3): Animal shapes, Control weather
L9(3): Foresight, Shapechange

Bag of Wondrous Gifts. Unique, magic item.  The Bag of Wondrous Gifts produces a single item for a deserving person. The nature of the gift depends entirely on the recipient. The bag functions only on Winterfest and works only for Papa Spark.
Sickle. Melee. +13 to hit; deals 1d4 +2 slashing. Light.
Quarterstaff. Melee. +13 to hit; deals 1d6 +2 bludgeoning. Versatile.
Leather armor. Light armor. AC 11 + Dex.
A druid focus, a set of woodcarver’s tools, an herbalism kit, a set of thieves tools, a set of traveler’s clothes.

Centuries ago, darkness covered the land and the gods seemed to have turned their backs upon the mortal races. Despair fell heavily upon the hearts of all and the light of hope began to flicker and fade. During this grim age, a mysterious figure appeared who fought the darkness. He did not battle it with sword and spell, but with acts of kindness and generosity. Eventually, the small sparks of hope this man struck ignited a blazing fire within the breasts of mortal folk. They pushed the darkness back, overthrew the tyrants who ruled the land and sent a quiver of fear through the very heart of hell itself. Eventually, the Dark Times ended and the gods returned, but the mortal races have never forgotten the man who reignited the spark of hope.
Today, the man is known as Papa Spark.  They say that he still lives, blessed by the gods he helped to save. They say he exists on a demiplane where time moves much slower and that he leaves his home once a year, on the night of Winterfest to search the world for worthy souls. To these individuals, Papa Spark bestows special presents from his Bag of Wondrous Gifts. He then returns to his home, to rest and prepare for his next sojourn around the world.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lux Tenebris: The Iron Rose

THE IRON ROSE,  L12 Drow (L9 Champion/L3 Swashbuckler)

STR     09 (-1)
DEX    20 (+5)
CON   16 (+3)
INT     14 (+2)
WIS     13 (+1)
CHA   14 (+2)
HP       99
AC      19 (Studded leather armor w/shield)

Superior Darkvision (120 ft)
Sunlight Sensitivity
Fey Ancestry
Drow Magic (Spell DC
- At Will: Dancing lights
- 1/Day: Faerie fire, Darkness
Languages: Common, Elvish, Thieves’ cant, Undercommon

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: All armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: Dice, Thieves’ tools
Saves: Strength +3, Constitution +7
Skills: Acrobatics +9, Arcana +6, Intimidation +6, Stealth +13, Survival +9

* * *
Fighting Style: Dueling
Second Wind
Action Surge
Martial Archetype: Champion
- Improved Critical (19/20)
- Remarkable Athlete
Extra Attack
* * *
Sneak Attack
Cunning Action
Roguish Archetype: Swashbuckler
- Fancy Footwork
- Rakish Audacity

Shortword. Melee. +9 to hit; deals 1d6 +5 piercing; Finesse, Light.
Daggers(2). Melee. +9 to hit; deals 1d4 +5 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60 ft).
Studded leather. Light armor. AC 12 + Dex Mod.
Shield. AC +2.

Her real name is Malora, but these days most people know her as the Iron Rose. She was born in the Underdark.  When the mindflayers seized power, her mother fled with her to the surface. Malora’s mother entrusted her to a Temple of Abasha, where Malora was raised along with other foundlings. The fate of her mother remains unknown.
Being drow on the surface meant Malora grew up dealing with fear, suspicion and hatred on a daily basis. She found an escape in martial training, studying with the temple’s armsmaster until she had surpassed him.
At sixteen, Malora left the Temple of Abasha and ventured into the world. The world was not exactly welcoming. Nevertheless, she persevered. She traveled, met other drow refugees and, by blind luck, discovered the meaning of the curious tattoos she bore on her skin.
Malora left Nur. Sailing across the Gulf of Promises to the continent of V’Resh, she survived any way she could. She lived as a pirate, a gladiator, a courtesan and a revolutionary.  Eventually, she became known as the Iron Rose, named so for her fragile beauty and deadly skill with a blade. Her reputation attracted an offer from a mercenary group, the Company of the Bloody Red Banner, and she returned to Nur with them.  Hired by the Duke of Alindrast, the Bloody Red Banner was sent north to support the Count of Alindor as he stood against the Draconic Legions. 
After their contract with the Duke ended, the Bloody Red Banners decided to return to V’Resh. The Iron Rose chose to remain in Nur and rode north and west, eventually arriving in the city of Fallen Baramir.
Although she has set herself up as an adventuress-for-hire, in reality, the Iron Rose spends most of her time at the Adamantine Archive. She is researching the history of the drow and has become a common sight in the Archive.  When not at the Archive, the Iron Rose can be found among the labarynthine streets of Trews, where she has taken quarters.
The Iron Rose’s presence in the city has not gone unnoticed or unremarked. The watch keeps a close eye on her, but so far her behavior has been beyond reproach. More disturbing to many people is the fact that other drow have begun arriving in Fallen Baramir, seeking out the Iron Rose. The Iron Rose has met with several drow over the last few weeks, but to what ends no one can say.
Recently, after an informal meeting with the Chief Archivist of the Adamantine Archive, Regent Swann invited the Iron Rose to meet with him at Regent’s House.  The purpose of the meeting remains unknown, but the fact that it happened at all has sparked a great deal of interest and some alarm within the city.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Neava Sinaia

NEAVA SINAIA, L9 Forrest Gnome Sage Wizard

STR 07 (-2)
DEX 11 (+0)
CON 11 (+0)
INT 16 (+3)
WIS 10 (+0)
CHA 12 (+1)
HP 38
AC 13 (Mage Armor)

Speed: 25 ft.
Gnome Cunning
Natural Illusionist
Speak w/Small Beasts
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elvish, Gnomish

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: None
Weapons: Daggers, Darts, Slings, Quarterstaffs, Light x-bows
Tools: None
Saves: Intelligence +7, Wisdom +4
Skills: Arcana +7, History +7, Investigation +7, Religion +7

* * *
Arcane Recovery
Arcane Tradition: Abjuration
- Abjuration Savant
- Arcane Ward
- Projected Ward

# of Spells: 12
Spell DC: 15
Atk Mod: +7
At-Will(4): Blade ward, Mage hand, Poison spray, Shocking grasp
L1(4): Detect magic, Mage armor, Magic missile
L2(3): Invisibility, Shatter, Web
L3(3): Dispel magic, Fly, Slow
L4(3): Blight, Polymrph
L5(1): Wall of Force

Quarterstaff. Melee. +2 to hit; deals 1d6 bludgeoning; Versatile (1d8).
An arcane focus, a scholar’s pack, a spellbook, a bottle of black ink, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch w/10g.

Neava Sinaia is a respected scholar and an authority upon the history of Fallen Baramir and the surrounding region.  Ironically, in a city that his chock-a-block with experts and sages attached to the Adamantine Archive, Mistress Sinaia is not affiliated with the Archive. Indeed, she is quite critical of the Archive, feeling that its reputation as a place of study and educational advancement is not warranted. As you can imagine, this opinion has not made Mistress Sinaia very popular among Fallen Baramir’s academics. Mistress Sinaia doesn’t particularly care. She is the official historian of Fallen Baramir, a position that she relishes, and has recently been tasked by Regent Swann to construct a historical museum to educate the city’s residents.  Mistress Sinaia has thrown herself wholeheartedly into this new project.

Lux Tenebris: Lukus Swann

LUKUS SWANN, L8 Human Noble Mastermind

STR 15 (+2)
DEX 10 (+0)
CON 13 (+1)
INT 10 (+0)
WIS 16 (+3)
CHA 16 (+3)
HP 51
AC 11 (Leather armor)

Languages: Celestial, Common, Dwarvish, Elvish, Orcish, Thieves’ Cant

Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple, Hand x-bows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Cards, Chess set, Disguise kit, Forgery kit, Thieves’ tools
Saves: Dexterity +6, Intelligence +3,
Skills: Deception +6, History +6, Insight +9, Perception +9, Persuasion +9, Stealth +3

Position of Privilege
* * *
Cunning Action
Roguish Archetype: Mastermind
- Master of Intrigue
- Master of Tactics
Uncanny Dodge

Rapier. Melee; +5 to hit; deals 1d8 +2 piercing; Finesse.
Shortsword. Melee; +5 to hit; deals 1d6 +2 piercing; Finesse, Light.
Daggers (2). Melee +5 to hit; deals 1d4 +2 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60 ft).
Leather armor. Light. AC 11 + Dex Mod.
A set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, an explorer’s pack, thieves’ tools, a purse with 25g.

Lukus Swann is the current Regent of Fallen Baramir. A slim, silver-haired human man, Swann is the last living member of his family.  He has been Regent for thirteen years and is one of the more competent leaders the city has had in recent memory. Swann has heard the prophecy of Baramir’s Heir appearing, but until it happens, the Regent will continue to guide his city as best he can through these turbulent times.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Fallen Baramir

            A thousand years ago, in the shadow of the Southern Greytooth Mountains, a hero-king called Baramir fought a demon-prince known as the Unnamed.  Baramir and his companions defeated the Unnamed and his army, but at a cost. Baramir fell.
            As Baramir lay dying, a miracle occurred. A tree of purest gold erupted from the earth where his blood had spilt.  Upon a branch of this tree, Baramir placed his crown and said, “Let my crown hang there until the true king claims it. And should a false king lay claim to it, let him find only death.”
            The golden tree still stands today, and upon a branch hangs a simple, circlet of steel known as Baramir’s Crown, still waiting for the true king to claim it. It is unguarded and more than one man has been foolish enough to claim it as his own.  All came to regret that choice, as all of these false kings came to grisly ends.
            Today, the city known as Fallen Baramir is ruled, not by a king, but by a Regent. The position is not hereditary, but is earned by luck and fate. At the death, or abdication, of the old Regent a lottery is held, overseen by priests of Cyric, God of Truth. Anyone may enter their name in this lottery, but there can be only one winner. The losers must pay for their hubris with their lives; they are hung by the neck until they are dead.  For this reason, the folk of Fallen Baramir often say, “Noble ambitions have a high price.”
            Although Fallen Baramir has stood for a thousand years, established by the surviving companions of the hero-king, the area it occupies has been inhabited for almost four thousand years.  Indeed, Fallen Baramir is the eldest of the northern cities and has often been referred to as the Gateway to the North.  Five hundred years ago, its reputation grew even greater with the establishment of the Adamantine Archive. Since then, Fallen Baramir has expanded and embraced the Archive, even as it remains a separate and independent state within the city’s boundaries.
            Sadly, despite its long and storied past, today Fallen Baramir is not considered a major power in the region.  It is best known as a waypoint for trade with the south and a destination for sages, historians and researchers.  Adventurers sometimes pass through the city, but they seldom stay long; there are no great threats in the area requiring their services. Between the resources of the city, the Adamantine Archive and the Greytooth Dwarves, the region is well-guarded and quite placid.  Monsters and bandits that wander close to Fallen Baramir meet a quick and violent end.
            The Regents of Fallen Baramir, perhaps influenced by the example of the Adamantine Archive, have striven to remain neutral in the region. Their strategy has kept the city safe, but has also allowed Swordhold and Mountgate to surpass it in influence and wealth.
            During the Draconic Invasion, the city was considered of lesser importance than its neighbors. Draconic Legions were dispatched to the city, but with orders to secure the Adamantine Archive. Their efforts were futile and the Legions were decimated by the Archive’s defenses. The few survivors fled to the east, seeking to return to newly-claimed imperial territories around Shrike and Calhorne.
            Since the end of the Invasion, Fallen Baramir has seen an influx of immigrants and refugees from the south and east. Many have moved on, fleeing further north, but some have settled in the Gateway to the North.  It is widely speculated that if the North is to march upon the Draconic territories, the military forces will pass through Fallen Baramir. For the first time in a century, mercenary companies and adventurers have a presence in the city. They are not entirely welcome.
            Of greater interest to the locals is a rumored prophecy that Baramir’s Heir will appear, to claim the crown and occupy the Waiting Throne. Whether this is true or not, a palpable nervous energy now fills the normally placid streets and districts of Fallen Baramir.
            Perhaps Fallen Baramir will regain its fame and influence? Perhaps the Gateway to the North will rise to golden glory again?
            Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Mazz Wyrmhearth

MAZZ WYRMHEARTH, L12 Hill Dwarf Paladin of Halab, God of Mercies

STR     18 (+4)
DEX    11 (+0)
CON   10 (+0)
INT     10 (+0)
WIS     10 (+0)
CHA   16 (+3)
HP       88
AC      18 (Chain Mail & Shield)

Speed: 25 ft
Dwarven Resilience
Dwarven Toughness
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Primordial, Undercommon

Armor: All armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: Mason’s tools
Saves: Wisdom +4, Charisma +7
Skills: Insight +4, Medicine +4, Persuasion +7, Religion +4

Shelter of the Faithful
* * *
Divine Sense
Lay on Hands
Fighting Style: Protection
Divine Smite
Divine Health
Sacred Oath: Oath of Ancients
- Oath Spells
- Channel Divinity: Nature’s Wrath & Turn the Faithless
- Aura of Warding
Extra Attack
Aura of Protection
Aura of Courage
Improved Divine Smite

Number of Spells: 10
Spell DC: 16
Atk Mod: +8
L1(4): ensnaring strike, speak w/animals,cure wounds, divine favor, shield of faith, thunderous smite
L2(3): moonbeam, misty step, lesser restoration, magic weapon, protection from poison
L3(3): plant growth, protection from energy, blinding smite, remove curse, revivify

Warhammer. Melee; +8 to hit; deals 1d8 +4 bludgeoning; Versatile (1d10).
Dagger. Melee; +8 to hit; deals 1d4 +4 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60 ft).
Chain mail. Heavy armor. AC 16; Min STR 13; Disadvantage on Stealth
Shield. AC +2.
An explorer’s pack, a holy symbol, a prayer book, 5 sticks of incense, vestments, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch w/15g.

Mazz Wyrmhearth grew up in the dwarven community of Rhymestone, near the Greytooth Mountains. A scrawny, sickly child, Mazz had little in common with his boisterous family. So when he expressed an interest in becoming a temple accolyte, his parents supported the decision. They were less pleased when they realized the deity their boy was drawn to was Halab, the God of Mercies. Nevertheless, Mazz went off to Fallen Baramir, to serve in a temple of Halab with his parents’ support, if not exactly their blessings.
Kindhearted and patient, Mazz did well in the temple. He was well-liked by the priests, the other acolytes and the folk who came looking for aid. In his second year at the temple, Mazz was chosen to assist one of the priests on his rounds of the nearby villages.  Outside of Fallen Baramir, the pair were set upon by bandits. Without hesitation, Mazz threw himself in front of the priest and took a swordblow that should have killed him. Instead, the bandit’s sword shattered and Mazz found himself serving Halab as a paladin.
For a time, Mazz remained at the temple, but then felt compelled to travel. He stunned his family when he appeared in Rhymestone, and soon fell in with a party of adventurers that included Erielle Greenthorne and the youth who would one day become King Esten of Swordhold.
When Erielle and Esten married, Mazz felt compelled to settle near Swordhold. He was there when their son, Prince Berret, was born and the boy came to view Mazz as a beloved uncle.
When the Draconic Invasion began and the Legions laid siege to Swordhold, it was Mazz that Esten and Erielle entrusted with their son’s safety. Escorting Prince Berret along the treacherous Feywild Path to Moonhome.  He remained in Moonhome to safeguard the young prince and when Berret announced his intention to return to Swordhold, Mazz agreed to accompany him.
The journey back to Swordhold was long and during it Mazz saw Berret tempered by experience and loss. When they finally reached Swordhold, Mazz and Berret were both deeply saddened to learn of King Esten’s passing. 
Since then, Mazz has stood at King Berret’s side, offering wise council when asked and a strong shoulder to lean on when needed.  Recently, King Berret asked Mazz to return to Fallen Baramir as a royal ambassador, to strengthen trade and diplomatic relations with the city.  Mazz has accepted the duty with some trepidation.  He has sensed a darkening within the spirit of King Berret and would prefer to remain close to him, but he has given the King of Swordhold his oath and he will keep it to the best of his ability.
Nevertheless, Mazz worries that Berret may be starting down a treacherous path, seeking revenge for his father’s death. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Erielle Greenthorne


STR 13 (+1)
DEX 14 (+2)
CON 14 (+2)
INT 13 (+1)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 20 (+5)
HP 94
AC 13 (Leather armor)

Fey Ancestry
Fleet of Foot (35 ft)
Mask of the Wild
Languages: Common, Dwarvish, Elvish, Sylvan

Proficiencies: +5
Armor: Light
Weapons: Longsword, Shortsword, Shortbow, Longbow, Simple wpns, Hand x-bows, Rapiers
Tools: Lute, Harp, Pipe
Saves: Dexterity +7, Charisma +10
Skills: Acrobatics +12, Arcana +6, Athletics +6, History +6, Insight +6, Medicine +6, Perception +11, Performance +15, Persuasion +15

* * *
Bardic Inspiration (d10/5x)
Jack of All Trades
Song of Rest (1d10)
Bard College: College of Lore
- Bonus Proficiencies
- Cutting Words
- Additional Magical Secrets
Font of Inspiration
Magical Secrets

Spells Known: 16
Spell DC: 18
Atk Mod: +10
At-Will(4): Dancing lights, Friends, Vicious mockery, True strike
L1(4): Charm person, Detect magic, Cure wounds
L2(3): Blindness/Deafness, Invisibility, Pass without Trace
L3(3): Dispel magic, Leomund's tiny hut, Stinking cloud
L4(3): Freedom of Movement, Greater invisibility, Polymorph
L5(2): Geas, Greater restoration
L6(1): Otto's Irresistable Dance, Eyebite
L7(1): Regenerate, Prismatic spray

Shortsword. Melee. +7 to hit; deals 1d6 +2 piercing; Finesse, Light.
Dagger. Melee. +7 to hit; deals 1d4 +2 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60 ft.)
Leather armor. Light armor. AC 11 + Dex Mod.
A diplomat's pack, a lute, a bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague, posing a question you have not been able to answer, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch w/10gp.

Erielle Greenthorne was born in Swordhold. Her mother was an artisan and her father was a merchant. Both of her parents died during the Succession Riots and afterwards young Erielle was sent to live with her grandmother in Fallen Baramir. Erielle's grandmother was a scholar, working at the Adamantine Archive. Although she loved her granddaughter dearly she had little time to devote to the child and so Erielle learned to be independent and amuse herself. This led her to apprentice with a local bard named Ulden Nix. Erielle soon surpassed her master and eventually struck out on her own. Returning to Swordhold, she fell in with a group of adventurers and began to make a name for herself. During one of these adventures, Erielle met the dwarf paladin, Mazz Wyrmhearth and a mysterious young fighter named Estan. Eventually, Erielle learned that Estan was Prince Estan, heir to the throne of Swordhold.  
Esten and Erielle fell in love and married, despite Erielle's grandmother advising her not to, because humans lived such short lives. Nevertheless, Erielle married Esten and the two were very happy prior to the Draconic Invasion and the Seigne of Swordhold. When her husband was killed in battle, Erielle ruled Swordhold as Regent until her son, Berret, was old enough to assume the throne. 
It was Erielle who sent Berret away, to Moonhome, accompanied by her old companion, Mazz Wyrmheart.  In his absence, she held the city against the Draconic Legions, until things became dire. At that point, Queen Erielle treated with Warheart Greyscale to peacefully surrender the city. The warheart was magnanimous in his victory and spared the city's denizens. He and Queen Erielle met frequently to converse and rumors abounded that the queen had charmed the paladin. When the Legions were ordered to raise the city, the warheart allowed the city's residents to exit the city walls before he put Swordhold to the torch. He then withdrew with his army to the east, to Calhorne.
Eventually, Prince Berret returned to Swordhold and claimed his father's crown. His mother gratefully handed over power and went into a brief perior of formal morning for her slain husband. Soon, however, she was asked by the new king to travel to Goldsun and renew diplomatic relations with that elven nation.
Queen Erielle now serves as Swordhold's formal ambassador to Goldsun. Although she recognizes the necessity of her work, she would rather be at her son's side in the city she loves.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lux Tenebris: King Berret

BERRET, KING OF SWORDHOLD - L11 Half-Elf Noble Paladin
STR 17 (+3)
DEX 14 (+2)
CON 11 (+0)
INT 11 (+0)
WIS 14 (+2)
CHA 20 (+5)
HP 64
AC 18

Fey Ancestry
Languages: Common, Elvish, Dwarvish, Halfling

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: All armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: Chess set
Saves: Wisdom +6, Charisma +9
Skills: Athletics +7, History +4, Insight +6, Intimidation +9, Persuasion +9, Religion +4

* * *
Divine Sense
Lay on Hands
Fighting Style: Protection
Divine Smite
Divine Health
Sacred Oath: Oath of Devotion
- Channel Divinity: Sacred Weapon or Turn the Unholy
- Aura of Devotion
Extra Attack
Aura of Protection
Aura of Courage
Improved Divine Smite

No. of Spells: 10
Spell DC: 17
Atk Mod: +9
L1(4): protection from good & evil, sanctuary, detect evil & good, searing smite, thunderous smite, wrathful smite
L2(3): lesser restoration, zone of truth, branding smite, magic weapon
L3(3): beacon of hope, dispel magic, crusader's mantle, daylight, remove curse, revivify

Longsword; melee; +7 to hit; deals 1d8 +3 slashing; Versatile (1d10)
Javelins (5); melee; +7 to hit; deals 1d6 +3 piercing; thrown (30/120 ft)
Chain mail; heavy armor; AC 16, Min ST 13, Disadvantage Stealth
Shield; AC +2
A holy symbol, an explorer's pack, a set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, a purse w/25g.

Berret Estanson is the current king of Stormhold.  He grew up in the city following the Mad Decade, as Stormhold sought to recover from the depredations inflicted upon it by the abolethic monstrosity, Y'vern.  His closest companion was the dwarf paladin, Mazz Wyrmhearth. When the Draconic Empire laid seige to Stormhold, Prince Berret was smuggled out of the city, via the Feywild Path, to the elvish city of Moonhome in the far north.  There, Berret's safety and education was entrusted to the Temple of Cyric.  When word reached Moonhome that Stormhold had fallen, Prince Berret insisted on returning to his homeland.  Accompanied by Wyrmhearth, the young prince traveled overland, batteling both monsters and invaders. He arrived at Stormhold as the Draconic legions were withdrawing.  Although shattered by the death of his father, King Estan, the young prince gravely accepted the crown of Stormhold. 
Although a young king, Berret has already earned his people's love and admiration. He has focused his efforts on rebuilding the city, feeding its people and fortifying their defenses. Berret has dispatched his mother to Goldsun as an ambassador, seeking whatever assistance the elven nation can provide. He has sent Mazz Wyrmhearth to Fallen Baramir on a similar mission.
Although King Berret longs for peace, for his people and his kingdom, in his heart, a righteous anger is growing. He knows that, eventually, the westlands must unite and march on the Draconic invaders at Calhorne.  When that happens, the young king plans to be at the head of the army and has begun a deep and thorough study of Imperial tactics and strategies.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Writers are weird

Hello, gentle readers.
I have the horrible desire to write but, alas, I cannot satisfy that itch.  Not like I would like. 
When I write, I do it on my laptop. My laptop, alas, is having problems. It needs to be repaired and I'm hesitant to use it until it's repaired lest I exacerbate the problems.
I'm on a Chromebook, at the moment, but I cannot stand Google Docs. It's an aesthetic thing, I suspect. And a trust issue. 
I don't trust the cloud. And given how so many people couldn't access their Google docs earlier this week, I feel weirdly vindicated in my disdain.
I suppose it all comes down to comfort level. When I was younger, I wrote on a typewriter. An honest-to-God typewriter, with an ink cartridge and correction tape. The whole nine yards. I imagine that must sound like a caveman, banging away on a rock to today's generation.
Then I transitioned to a desktop computer and lastly to a laptop. The laptop I had before my current one lasted almost 8 years. Transitioning to the new one was mildly traumatic, like burying a beloved pet.
And now the thought of writing anything longform, with pen and paper, is just daunting to me.  
So, here I sit, typing this up on this Chromebook in blogger, because this is more comfortable to me than writing stuff in Google Docs. 
Writers are just weird. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Swordhold

The City of Swordhold

"Swordhold endures."

At the foot of Mount Istegar sprawls the ancient city of Swordhold.  The city was founded over five hundred years ago by an exiled dwarven queen, Svaina Eidiris.  Eidiris fled the Graytooth Mountains after refusing to take part in an arranged marriage. She fled her father's kingdom with a small band of followers and traveled south, guided by divine visions to Mount Istegar.  There, Svaina established her stronghold and welcomed outcasts and exiles from across the North and West.
Although there was an initial effort to establish a traditional dwarven city by tunneling into the mountain, this effort was abandoned when excavated tunnels began collapsing. Taking this as a sign from the gods, Queen Svaina put a halt to the excavations and, instead, ordered her followers to build their city at the mountain's foot.  Today, this area is known simply as the Old City.
Swordhold grew quickly over the next few decades. While dwarves preferred to settle in the Old City, human and halfling immigrants established the Emberhand and Wyverngate districts. As cultural differences and prejudices began to rear their heads, Swordhold experienced several years of unrest.  The troubles came to an end when the factions were forced to unite, to defend the city from an army of orcs and goblins led by a half-orc warlord called Olgren Farseer.
The defense was only partially successful. The invaders succeeded in breaking through the defenses in Wyverngate, but were led into a trap by a human adventurer, Iyumo Scarhand, and his gnome companion, Kerren Eskerose. Scarhand died in battle with Olgren Farseer, but Eskerose survived and was elevated to the nobility by Queen Svaina. This established the precedent in Swordhold of elevating worthy individuals to the nobility.
It's estimated that almost forty percent of Swordhold's population was slain during the Siege of Olgren Farseer. The survivors united around Queen Svaina and the new nobility, many of them elevated from heroes of the siege.
Queen Svaina died shortly after the Siege, passing quietly in her sleep. She was succeeded by her son, Falnar.  Known as the Hammer-Head, what Falnar lacked in diplomatic acumen he made up for in the application of force.  When an army of Greytooth dwarves arrived on Swordhold's doorstep, seeking to seize the city under some obscure tenant of dwarven law, it was Falnar who saw them off. 
In an unexpectedly brazen move, Falnar led the city's defenders outside the walls and fell upon the Greytooth interlopers. He did not attempt diplomacy, he simply broke skulls. When the day ended, the Greytooth forces were in disarray. Falnar showed them no mercy and harried the survivors through the night until none were left alive.  He returned to the city, exhausted, but beloved by the people.  The Hammer-Head would rule for ten years more before meeting his end at the hands of an assassin.  His killer was never identified, but was always suspected to have been an agent of the Lords of Mountgate.
Falnar's death left a power vacuum.  He had no children and had never appointed an heir. The city's nobility met to discuss who would take the throne, but, although there were several worthy candidates, the nobles could not reach a consensus. Eventually, the candidates were presented to the people of the city, who were instructed to select the new ruler by popular vote.
The people chose Lady Asha Shatterheart.  Queen Asha was a human woman who had been adopted and raised by the Shatterhearts, a noble dwarf family.  In many ways, Queen Asha reflected the new face of Swordhold: youthful, exuberant, and civic-minded.
Queen Asha's first act was to establish clear protocols for succession. This would prove to be a wise action as Queen Asha herself died, unexpectedly, from a winter fever a few years later without heirs. 
Following the rules of succession, Queen Asha was succeeded by King Trane. A dwarf of ancient stock, King Trane ruled for over a century before abdicating and passing the throne to his eldest son, Ollar.
Ollar saw Swordhold through a troubling period when the city became embroiled in conflict with other local powers. Swordhold emerged from the Little Wars as one of the three dominant cities in the North, alongside Mountgate and Darkwater. Ollar also saw Swordhold expand, with the addition of the Greybend District and the smaller Grey Arms District. 
When Ollar died, the throne passed to his son, Olleron. Noble by birth but a scholar by inclination, Olleron caused a stir within the city when he welcomed a contingent of displaced elves into the city.  The area these elves settled would become known as the Longbow District and after a period of adjustment on all sides, the elves would become a welcome addition to Swordhold's makeup.
During this period, Swordhold became involved in the War of Three Cities, drawn into conflict with Mountgate and Darkwater.  Eventually, Olleron would ally with Darkwater against Mountgate and the war would come to an unpleasant end. 
Shortly afterward, Swordhold would find itself under siege from an abolethic monstrosity called Y'vern. Assaulted by magic and madness, Swordhold fell into a state of anarchy known as the Mad Decade. It came to an end when an unlikely alliance of paladins and sorcerers managed to banish Y'vern to another plane of existence.
King Olleron had gone insane during the Mad Decade. With Y'vern banished, Olleron was removed from the throne and replaced by his eldest surviving child, Garrador. Garrador held the throne for a year before abdicating to become an acolyte of Arilil, Goddess of Sadness and Despair.
Garrador had no children and, at his abdication, he named his successor. He chose a minor human noblewoman, Lady Trenna Noor, to replace him on the throne. The Council of Nobles was thrown into an uproar by this appointment. Lady Noor had only recently been appointed a noble for her actions during the Mad Decade. Despite her good character, she was an unknown element. The council felt that the city needed someone more established to guide Swordhold and so, for the first time, the Council of Nobles voted to overturn Lady Noor's appointment and elect one of their own to the throne.
When news of the council's decision reached the streets, the city exploded into violence. The so-called Succession Riots lasted barely a week, but left a distinct impression upon Swordhold's psyche.  The council reversed their decision and Queen Trenna was enthroned in a very public ceremony.
Under Queen Trenna's rule, Swordhold reached its current size with the incorporation of the Lightfall District into the city. Where her predecessors had worked to establish and fortify the city, Queen Trenna's rule was spent working to heal the city and care for its citizens. She established a number of charitable institutions and civic policies that remain in place today. Queen Trenna also passed laws requiring all arcane spellcasters within the city to register with the throne upon 'pain of death.'  Although not opposed to magic, Queen Trenna never forgot that it was arcane spellcasters who assisted Y'vern in his siege of the city.  As a result, Swordhold has some of the harshest laws regarding the regulation, study and use of arcane magic on the continent.  She is also credited with the city's motto, 'Swordhold endures.'
When Queen Trenna died, the throne passed to her son, Estan. King Estan continued many of his mother's policies, but focused more on diplomacy and trade than his predecessors. He established better trade relations with Darkwater and Fallen Baramir, and sought to establish better diplomatic relations with Mountgate and Goldsun. His efforts were starting to bear fruit when the Draconic Invasion began.
The Draconic Legions laid siege to Swordhold. During the siege, King Estan was slain by an enemy arrow. His son, Prince Berret, was too young to assume the throne and so his mother, Queen Erielle, has been acting as regent.
After a long siege, Swordhold surrendered to the Draconic Legions under the command of the dragonborn paladin, Eiroth Greyscale.  Following their surrender, the imperial forces did loot the city, but there was little loss of life. When the draconic forces were ordered to raise Swordhold and pull back to Calhorne, Eiroth Greyscale was magnanimous. The dragonborn paladin allowed Swordhold's residents to leave the city before he put it to the torch.
Since then, Swordhold's citizens have worked hard to rebuild their fallen city. Prince Berret has achieve his majority and been enthroned as King Berret.  Advised by the Council of Nobles and his mother, the young king focuses his energies on rebuilding Swordhold and caring for its citizens.  He is already being compared to previous monarchs, like Queen Svaina and King Ollar. The weight of the crown is a heavy burden on the young king's head, but he has risen to the challenge, and his people have followed his example.
Swordhold does, indeed, endure.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Man With the Broken Hearts

I knew a man
who collected broken hearts,
mostly his own,
of equal parts, 
tragedy and grief.

But he was brave,
and kind
and forthright too.
He'd give his last dollar,
to you.

But when it came,
to matters of love,
he needed guidance,
from above,
because he always
made bad choices.

Pretty faces turned his head,
and more than once,
led him to sleep in the bed,
he had made for 

Until the day,
his heart gave out,
and he not longer went about,
looking for true love.

And wouldn't you know it,
when he stopped,
that's when his bad luck
seemed to pop,
and he finally met
the right one.

His broken hearts are things
of the past,
he's found a love that 
will last,
and we're all 
very happy
for him.

He found a dog,
a noble breed,
who loves him dearly,
yes, indeed,
even if he isn't

Because love,
you see,
is all you
It's all any
of us

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Comic Recs!

Hello, gentle readers! I'm currently neck deep in some personal projects so haven't been able to post as much as I used to. With that in mind, here's this week's comic recommendations. Enjoy!

The Gravediggers Union
The first issue of The Gravediggers Union sort of throws you, neck-deep, into the story. It's a bit jarring, but I'm curious to see what happens next issue. Whether this is a longterm read? I'm not sure. I'd give it 3/5 stars.

Lazarus X+66
I've enjoyed these one-shot stories being told in Lazarus X+66.  This month we get a glimpse into the complicated relationship between Lazari from two families that seem to be gunning for each other. Overall, I'd give it 3/5 stars.

Atomic Robo
It's always fun to read Atomic Robo, and this issue is no exception. We've got Robo and his support staff at Tesladyne, an amusing cameo by Sir Richard Branson and hints at a dangerous cybernetic hivemind up to shennanigans.  I give it 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Comic Recs

This is what I'm reading this week. :)

Another dark story from the folks at Archie. Jughead is a werewolf. Betty is a werewolf hunter. What more do you need to know?

Lark's Killer is the latest creator-owned title from Bill Willingham of Fables fame. I'm enjoying this book for the most part, although the art seems inconsistent.

If you aren't reading Saga you should start. Right now. Put down that hot dog or martini or screaming child and go buy the first volume. You probably won't regret it.

I'm a sucker for alternate universe stories and this story-arc looks to be a real humdinger.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Captain Akernu

CAPTAIN AKERNU, L9 Dragonborn Pirate

STR     09 (-1)
DEX    18 (+4)
CON   16 (+3)
INT     10 (+0)
WIS     10 (+0)
CHA   10 (+0)
HP       80       
AC      15 (Leather armor)

Draconic Ancestry: Copper
Breath Weapon: Acid
Damage Resistance: Acid
Languages: Common, Draconic

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: Navigator’s tools, Water vehicles
Saves: Strength +3, Constitution +7
Skills: Acrobatics +8, Athletics +3, Perception +4, Survival +4

Ship’s passage
* * *
Fighting Style: Archery
Second Wind
Action Surge
Martial Archetype: Champion
- Improved Critical
- Remarkable Athlete
Extra Attack

Longbow. Ranged.+10 to hit; deals 1d8 +4 piercing; 150/600 ft., Heavy, 2-handed.
Daggers(4). Melee. +8 to hit; deals 1d4 +4 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
Handaxes(2). Melee. +3 to hit; deals 1d6-1 slashing; Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
Leather armor. Light. AC 11 + Dex.
An explorer’s pack, a belaying pin, 50 ft of silk rope, a lucky charm, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch w/10gp.

Born in the Draconic Empire, the dragonborn who would eventually call himself Akernu began life under a pall. A sickly infant, Akernu was cast out by his clan, placed in a community creche with other rejected dragonborn infants.  Under normal circumstances, if he survived, he would have been relegated to a life of community service, performing jobs that no one else wanted. And, initially, that seemed to be the dragonborn youth’s destiny.
But then, while scavaging for food along the docks, the youth met a human pirate called Gulliver.  Captain Gulliver took a liking to the youth and brought him aboard his ship, The Gale, as cabin boy.
Life at sea agreed with the youth and when he discovered his benefactor was a smuggler and a pirate, he simply accepted it. After all, honest dragonborn had treated him like trash all of his life, while Captain Gulliver had shown him a whole new world.
Choosing a new name, to go along with his new life, Akernu remained a loyal member of The Gale’s crew.  When Gulliver fell in battle, the crew chose Akernu as their new captain.
Under Akernu’s leadership, the fortunes of The Gale and her crew rose steadily. In fact, Akernu did so well as a pirate he was offered a place in the Kraken Brotherhood.  Although he refused,  preferring to operate independently, he remained on good terms with most of their members.
When the Draconic Invasion began its invasion of the West, Akernu was operating in the Bittersalt Sea. The Imperial Navy was small, the empire’s resources focused more on the Legions and their spellcasters. When the teleport system connecting the Empire to the west failed, the Draconic Navy was dispatched to offer support to the Legions.
With no great love for the Empire or its people, Akernu has had great sport, hunting down the naval vessels and sending them to the bottom of the Bittersalt Sea.  He usually allows the crews to evacuate before doing so.  Usually.
Recently, Captain Akernu has turned his ship east. He sails for the coast of the Draconic Empire, intent on harrying the small ports that offer safe harbor to the Draconic Navy. He may even attempt to do some damage to the naval shipyards at Hesik-Tet.
The Kraken Brotherhood has been watching Captain Akernu closely over the last few years. They’ve decided to offer him a place among them again. However, if he refuses this time, the Brotherhood will declare him an enemy and Captain Akernu may find himself battling both the Draconic Navy and the forces of the Kraken Brotherhood.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Skera Dirr

SKERA DIRR, L12 Dragonborn Necromancer

STR     11 (+0)                       
DEX    10 (+0)
CON   13 (+1)
INT     20 (+5)
WIS     13 (+1)
CHA   11 (+0)
HP       62
AC      10(Unarmored)/13(Mage Armor)

Draconic Ancestry: Blue
Breath Weapon: Lightening
Draconic Resistance: Lightening
Languages: Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elvish

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: None
Weapons: Daggers, Darts, Slings, Quarterstaffs, Light x-bows
Tools: None
Saves: Intelligence +9, Wisdom +5
Skills: Arcana +9, History +9, Investigation +5, Religion +9

* * *
Arcane Recovery
Arcane Tradition: Necromancy
- Necromancy Savant
- Grim Harvest
- Undead Thralls
- Inured to Death

Spells Known: 17
Spell DC: 17
Atk Mod: +9
At-Will(5): Chill touch, Fire bolt, Mending, Ray of Frost, Shocking grasp
L1(4): Chromatic orb, False life, Mage armor, Magic Missile, Witchbolt
L2(3): Darkvision, Gentle repose, Phantasmal force
L3(3): Animate dead, Feign death, Vampiric touch
L4(3): Blight, Greater invisibility, Phantasmal killer
L5(2): Modify memory, Teleportation circle
L6(1): Chain lightening

Dagger. Melee. +4 to hit; deals 1d4 piercing; Finesse, Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
Arcane focus.
A scholar’s pack, a spellbook, a bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch w/10gp.

Years ago, Skera Dirr was a rising star among the students of the Scriptorium. Then, it was discovered that her magical talents were oriented toward necromancy. A forbidden art in the Draconic Empire, punishable by death, Skera became an outcast almost overnight. Shunned by her peers, distrusted by her instructors, the young dragonborn wizard chose to leave the empire. She traveled west, living for a year in Ordotown, then moving further west to Dagger Bay. In Dagger Bay, Skera briefly met the young nobleman, Wallen Randego. She helped him with a small matter, and the grateful Randego provided her with enough gold for the necromancer to leave Dagger Bay and relocate to Greycrown.  Skera did not remain in Greycrown very long, and left the city under a dark cloud of suspicion. She traveled north and west, stopping briefly in Shrike, where she joined an expedition into the Tallshields. On this expedition, Skera discovered the ruined tower that became her home.  She returned there after the expedition ended and spent the next two decades developing her magical skills.
When the Invasion began, Skera used her powers to defend her home, ruthlessly executing any Draconic legionaires she encountered.  Eventually, though, caution compelled her to abandon her lonely tower. She traveled south, returning to Greycrown, where Wallen Randego had become Duke of Alindrast.  He remembered the necromancer from his youth and has allowed her to remain in Graycrown, even though she makes many of his inner circle uncomfortable.
Since the Tarasque Incident, Skera has learned that her old classmate, Arkag Redeye, is now the principal spellcaster among the Draconic forces. Skera doesn’t have fond memories of Redeye and has joined a loose alliance of other ‘freescale’ dragonborn to oppose the invaders.  She has established a network of teleport circles near the imperial positions, which she uses to transport freescale harriers and infiltrators.  Recently, Skera has made the acquaintance of the tiefling twins, Rose and Thorn, and has been assisting them with their efforts in Shrike.
Duke Randego is aware of Skera’s actions, and provides some tacit support to her, but he has made it quite clear that if her plots endanger Alindrast he will expell her from the country and his good graces.  As such, Skera moves very carefully, and often finds herself acting as the voice of caution among the growing freescale movement.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Work in progress...

You made me weak,
standing there,
fingers in your hair,
all hips and lips,
and attitude.

You made me weak,
when you left me alone,
wracked and wrecked and stoned,
like a dog without a bone.

You made me weak.
You tore me down,
right down to the ground,
when you drove out of town.

You made me weak,
but now I'm strong,
I see you did me wrong,
and I don't need you.

You made me weak,
and thanks for that,
i had to face the fact,
that i needed to get strong.

You made me weak,
but that was then,
and now I start again,
and i won't lead with my chin.

You made me weak,
and now I'm strong,
you did me wrong,
so now i say 'So long!'

You made me weak,
but now I can see,
that you aren't what I seek,
because you're weak.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Brother Rishir

DYSOR RISHIR, Level 10 Dragonborn Monk

STR     12 (+1)
DEX    17 (+3)
CON   10 (+0)
INT     12 (+1)
WIS     16 (+3)
CHA   11 (+0)
HP       53
AC      16 (Unarmored Defense)

Draconic Ancestry: White
Breath Weapon: Cold
Damage Resistance: Cold
Languages: Common, Draconic

Proficiencies: +4
Armor: None
Weapons: Simple, Shortswords
Tools: Dice, Vehicles-Land, Woodcarver’s tools
Saves: Strength +5, Dexterity +7
Skills: Athletics +5, Insight +7, Intimidation +4, Stealth +7

Military Rank
* * *
Unarmored Defense
Martial Arts (1d6)
Ki (10 Ki Points)
- Ki DC: 15
Unarmored Movement (+20 ft)
Monastic Tradition: Way of the Open Hand
- Open Hand Technique
- Wholeness of Body
Deflect Missiles
Slow Fall
Extra Attack
Stunning Strike
Ki-Empowered Strikes
Stillness of Mind
Purity of Body

Shortsword. Melee. +7 to hit; deals 1d6 +3 piercing. Finesse, Light.
Darts(10). Ranged. +7 to hit; deals 1d4 +3 piercing. Finesse, Thrown (range 20/60).
An explorer’s pack, an insignia of rank, a broken dagger, a set of bone dice, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch with 10gp.

Not all dragonborn west of the Tallshield Mountains were part of the Draconic Invasion. There were other dragonborn present in the west, living their own lives.  Dysor Rishir was one such dragonborn.
A former soldier in the Imperial Legions, Rishir resigned his commission over moral objections and left the Draconic Empire.  He traveled extensively before joining a monastic order in the Stonespear Mountains.
There, Rishir found a measure of contentment and peace.  Then the Invasion occurred and the dragonborn monk found himself torn between his desire to protect his new home and obeying his monastic oaths. 
As the Invasion drug on, news of the war slowly made its way to the Stonespear Monastery. Rishir learned that the Draconic Legions were as cruel and immoral as ever.  When he learned that the southern city of Calhorne was raised to the ground, its entire population either enslaved or executed, Brother Rishir could no longer remain among the monks.
He traveled south, to the border of Goldsun, where he began using his skills to assist refugees fleeing the Draconic Legions.  Operating within the Endari Forest, Brother Rishir helped dozens of people escape to the safety of Goldsun before the Legions marched on the elvish city. Rishir allied with a ragtag group of warriors to harrass the Legions and protect civilians from the depravations of the Draconic troops.
When the Legions were forced to withdraw further south, following the Tarasque Incident, Rishir and his allies were summoned to Goldsun itself. There, Rishir learned one of his companions was the Crown Prince of Goldsun.  Since then, the dragonborn monk has become a familiar and respected face at the Royal Court.  It is common knowledge the Crown Prince takes Rishir’s advice seriously, which has led some to opine that Rishir is part of an elaborate conspiracy by the Draconic Empire.  These conspirators generally don’t last long at the Royal Court.
Although Rishir would like to believe the war is over, he knows better. He has councelled the Crown Prince that the Draconic Legions cannot be allowed a respite, to consolidate their power. If they do, if they succeed in reestablishing contact with the Empire, the war will begin anew. Rishir is advocating for Goldsun and its allies to march on Calhorne and shatter the Legions before they can fortify their position.
At the moment, though, Goldsun and its allies seem more interested in fortifying their own defenses, rather than pressing the battle. Rishir watches and waits and makes plans of his own. He has recently learned of other ‘freescale’ dragonborn organizing against the Empire and thinks he might be more effective among them, than trying to convince Goldsun and its allies to follow his advice.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Poem: October's Mood

October is in a stormy mood this year.
Her blood is high, her heart is full of fear.
She storms in from the south and east,
searching the coast for some relief,
but finding only memories of grief.

October is in a stormy mood this year.
Her temper flares, her eyes are full of tears.
She could not tell you what is wrong,
except the days all seem too long,
and her head is full of sad and bitter songs.

October is in a stormy mood this year.
Everyone says that she is acting queer.
It’s true that she’s seen better days –
kinder, gentler, golden days -
but now she just seems lost in a lonely haze.

October is in a stormy mood this year,
but to me she still remains quite dear.
I’ll hold her hand and keep her close,
love her hard and love her most,
until she can overcome these ghosts.

October is in a stormy mood this year. . . 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lux Tenebris: The Braerosan Wastes

Separating the coasts of Nur is a vast, poisonous desert known as the Braerosan Wastes.  The Wastes did not always exist. Seven thousand years ago, the land was known as the Braerosan Empire. Then, overnight, the empire was destroyed. To this day, no one knows what happened. Ancient records hint at some kind of divine punishment, but there are no concrete facts known about the disaster.  Indeed, most temples and churches actively discourage people from looking into the matter, and the origin and history of the Braerosan Wastes is one subject that even the Adamantine Archive refuses to research.

A harsh sort of existence can be eked out on the extreme edges of the Wastes, but not in its interior.  The landscape is barren and unforgiving. Alchemical storms pour out of the Wastes, scouring the landscape with transmutational rains.  Ley lines flare with unexpected fury, shattering the landscape around them. Most magic falters and fails within the Wastes and in some areas does not work at all.  There are reports of ancient monstrosities lurking in the deep Wastes, joined now by the unfettered tarasque.

Adventurers who travel into the Wastes seldom return. Those that do, claim to have discovered ancient ruins and encountered monstrous creatures, terrifying undead, malevolent elemental beings as well as unnatural weather.  Many who return refuse to speak of their experiences.
For most of recorded history it was thought that travel across the Wastes was impossible. Then, a little over a hundred years ago, a dragonborn explorer named Amarak Rom became the first person in recorded history to travel overland from the Draconic Empire to the West.  The route Rom took became known as the Dragons Road, and is the only overland route through the Wastes.  That said, most merchants and travelers prefer to avoid the Wastes entirely and make the long voyage from coast to coast via ship.

Three years ago, the Draconic Empire successfully transported their military Legions across the Braerosan Wastes by erecting a series of teleportation circles along the Dragons Road. Since then, however, this teleportation network has failed, leaving the Draconic Legions cut off from their homeland. The Empire’s efforts also seem to have exacerbated the magical disruptions that plague the Wastes.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Roja Sograth

ROJA SOGRATH, Dragonborn Functionary

STR     10 (+0)
DEX    13 (+1)
CON   14 (+2)
INT     15 (+2)
WIS     12 (+1)
CHA   11 (+0)
HP       10
AC      11

Draconic Ancestry: Gold
Breathweapon: Fire
Draconic Resistance: Fire
Languages: Common, Draconic

Proficiencies: +2
Armor: None
Weapons: Simple
Tools: None
Saves: Intelligence +4, Charisma +2
Skills: Insight +3, Persuasion +2

Court Functionary

Dagger. Melee. +3 to hit; deals 1d4 +1 piercing. Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60)
A set of fine clothes and a pouch w/5 gp.

Roja Sograth is a civilian functionary working as the personal aide to General Ramar Zenn. Intelligent, organized and personable, Roja probably has a better understanding of how the campaign is going than anyone else outside the general’s closest confidants.
Almost everyone likes Roja. He makes life a little bit easier for the people around him, using his administrative abilities to smooth out the little bumps that can spoil a person’s day. Of course, using that same skillset, Roja can make life extremely difficult for people he dislikes.  He’s not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but if threatened Roja will defend himself to the best of his ability.  Also, he has lots of friends among the soldiers, who won’t take kindly to Roja being threatened or hurt.

Lux Tenebris: Warheart Eiroth Greyscale

WARHEART EIROTH GREYSCALE, L15 Dragonborn Paladin of Sumat

STR     20 (+5)
DEX    11 (+0)
CON   18 (+4)
INT     15 (+2)
WIS     11 (+0)
CHA   20 (+5)
HP       140
AC      18 (Chain mail w/shield)

Draconic Ancestry: Copper
Breathweapon: Acid
Draconic Resistance: Acid
Languages: Celestial, Common, Draconic

Proficiencies: +5
Armor: All armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: Cards
Saves: Wisdom +5, Charisma +10
Skills: Athletics +10, History +7, Persuasion +10, Religion +7

* * *
Divine Sense (6x)
Lay on Hands
Fighting Style: Dueling
Divine Smite
Divine Health
Sacred Oath: Oath of Devotion
- Oath Spells
- Channel Divinity: Sacred Weapon or Turn the Unholy
- Aura of Devotion
- Purity of Spirit
Extra Attack
Aura of Protection
Aura of Courage
Improved Divine Smite
Cleansing Touch

Spells Known: 12
Spell DC: 18
Atk Mod: +10
L1(4): Protection from good & evil, sanctuary, Cure wounds, Divine favor, Shield of faith, Wraithful smite
L2(3): Lesser restoration, Zone of truth, Find steed, Lesser restoration, Magic weapon
L3(3): Beacon of hope, Dispel magic, Crusader’s mantle, Remove curse, Revivify
L4(2): Banishment, Staggering smite

Equipment:      160gp
Longsword. Melee. +10 to hit; deals 1d8 +5 slashing. Versatile (1d10).
Mace. Melee. +10 to hit; deals 1d6 +5 bludgeoning.
Chain mail. Heavy armor. AC 16. Min STR 13. Disadvantage on Stealth.
Shield. AC +2.
A holy symbol, an explorer’s pack, a set of common clothes, a pouch w/39gp.

In the Draconic Empire, paladins of Sumet are referred to as warhearts, and there are few warhearts who can match Eiroth Greyscale. Born into a clan of fearsome warriors, it was no shock when Eiroth was chosen by the God of War to be a paladin. The epitomy of courage, honor and duty, Eiroth Greyscale has protected the Draconic Empire from external and internal threats.  For General Pretek, it was a great honor when the warheart asked to come along on his campaign. Pretek gave Greyscale three legions to command and tasked him with securing the city of Swordhold. 
The siege of Swordhold was long and difficult, but Warheart Grayscale prevailed. When Swordhold was taken, Greyscale was magnanimous to the defenders. Swordhold’s citizens were not put to the sword or taken as slaves. They were allowed to ransome themselves, giving the Draconic legionaires a literal horde of spoils to take with them.  Of course, no sooner had Swordhold been secured than word came of the Tarasque Incident.  Grayscale and his legions were ordered to raise Swordhold and withdraw to the west.  The warheart obeyed the order, setting fire to the city, but only after allowing its citizens to evacuate. Then, he turned west and led his legions and their spoils to Calhorne.
Grayscale is extraordinarily popular with the imperial legions, especially the legions he commanded.  Disciplined, fair and tactically brilliant, the warheart is the sort of commander that soldiers dream of serving.
Sadly, Warheart Grayscale does not reciprocate the soldiers’ adoration. He has seen and heard too much on this campaign and knows that there is an insidious rot festering within the legions. He did not sense this foulness within General Pretek, but has seen shadows of it in General Zenn. The warheart is not certain the general can be trusted, especially given how closely he works with the sorceress, Kannar Atokis, and the spymaster, Semor Illreg. He senses the same darkness growing within them.
Greyscale has prayed to Sumet for guidance, but the God of War has been silent. The paladin has taken this as a sign that he should wait and watch.  He has positioned himself closer to General Zenn, hoping to mitigate the negativity festering within the man. Greyscale sincerely hopes that the general will not succumb to evil, for if he does than Zenn and the legions will learn why paladins of Sumet are known as warhearts.  And they won’t like it, not one bit.