Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Session 3: Wants Become Reality

Arkana and Kaldwin are in the midst of their first dungeon run. They just slayed a Stormclaw Scorpion. Freaking exciting.

(Use the labeled diagrams near the bottom to follow along)

This session starts with them resting in hallway connected to the scorpion pit (14). At the end of the hallway, there is a wooden door. Right away, Kaldwin attempts to kick the door down.... Jordan rolls a 'one'. Damn. Arkana hears a large crack noise, which he sees is not the door giving away but Kaldwin's foot (-1 to Kaldwin's speed). Kalwin's anger is apparent but is even more visible when Arkana simply opens the unlocked door... How embarrassing. In the next room, the two adventures find a large double-door-sized barred gate with a giant exotic looking padlock. Along with this locked gate, they find two doors, and stairs leading back up to the first level (15). Looking to make up for his embarrassing door incident, Kaldwin jumps on the attempt to use his trained rouge skills to pick the exotic padlock. Even after a Nat. 20 roll, Kaldwin fails to pick this lock. (This is me being an inexperienced DM. I should have created a more believable way to make the gate impassable.)

Upon hearing bandit voices up the stairs, a clever plan sparks in Arkana's tainted-yet-angelic mind. He ignores trying to be sneaky and walks straight up the stairs to address the bandits. He sees the leader of the bandit group, and two normal bandits around a table (5). One of the normal bandits is covered in blood and upon seeing a towering Deva, screams and points, "THAT'S ONE OF THEM!" Playing it cool, Arkana compliments the bandit leader by saying how good his handlebar mustache looks, but his sly attempt at breaking tension is ineffective against the group that just had one of their members dissolved by an acid arrow... (See Session 2)


Arkana and Kaldwin are pitted up against two bandits and their leader, which mostly happens in the common room (5) and on the stairs (7/15). As a DM, I often tell my players that I reward creativity in problem solving and combat, which almost always leads to a more enjoyable experience. Knowing that, Arkana gets creative as all get out.

In this encounter, Arkana uses Mage Hand to move objects like he has telekinetic Chronicle powers; objects like: daggers that go into bandit's necks, tables that knock foes back into his Icy Terrain, and dead bandit's maces that he flung at the leader until his death.
Kaldwin doesn't get as creative as Arkana but still uses his rogue prowess to riddle his foes with crossbow bolts and do some damage with his new short sword. Nice.

With the dungeon gone quiet, Kaldwin and Arkana hear screams of, "Is anybody there?!" and "Help!" Following the screams to the Bandit Leader's Office and Bedroom (11), the deva and human find a young woman tied up. It's Annie!! The daughter of the doctor that saved Arkana and Kaldwin back in Hyland's Ford! (A good way for players to enjoy the game more, is to learn what they want out of the game and implement it) But now Jordan or Sam gets to flirt and woo a NPC that's controlled by me... Possibly awk. Hopefully it makes them not inclined to head that direction and let it be easy for me to play as another adventurer joining their quest.

Level 1

1 - Cliff illusion entrance
2 - Guard alcove
3 - False floor trap
4 - Armory/Storage
5- Common room
6 - Kitchen
7 - Stairs (down)
8, 9, 10 - Bandit bedrooms
11 - Leader's Office/Bedroom

Level 2 
12 - False floor trap deposit
13 - Stormclaw Scorpion Pit
14 - Dim hallway
15 - Stairs (up)
16 - Outside
17 - Closet
18 - Waste Pit

Friday, January 24, 2014


TWO POST IN ONE DAY?! Let's goooooooooo!!!!

Redshore is located on the most interior point of the largest bay system in Cinarath. It is the center for import/export transport in and out of Cinarath.

It gets it's name from the legend that the sand's around the village turned red from the mass amount of fish being caught and filleted. Everyone in the village could eat and there was no hunger so they started shipping there fish across Cinarath. 

Now ("now" based on the Cinarath campaign), the village stands as a proud city and is one of 3rd largest city in all of Cinarath.

On my map of Redshore, the black buildings represent import non-citizen-access zones. These could be anything from barracks, armories, walls, guard towers, and any building that the governor of the city deems off-limits by the town folk.

The city is large enough to have it's own districts and neighborhoods. South of the river lies the original village location. The farm houses and fishing shacks remain mostly separated, which allows for more farmland and trees.

The more blocky residential district is north of the river and extends to the lone guard tower in the northeast portion of town. The district of town where all trading, shopping, and work happens on the island and just north of the island.

Creative Break

Sometimes when I'm not working on building my own worlds, I like to keep practicing on the map making. I then look to some of my influences to recreate worlds. A lot of my style will come from a few of the places that have wonderfully designed worlds like Tamriel (the continent that Skyrim is in), Pandyssia (the unseen "new world" in Dishonored), Middle-Earth (The Lord of the Rings), etc.
This map is of Tamriel, the setting of the Elder Scrolls games. I tried to make it as clean as possible and only focus on political boundaries and city names. I did a lot of work getting it to scale from the map that I was using as a model, but this is my first attempt in recreating maps to scale. Because of this, Skyrim and the whole North 1/3 of the map got pretty distorted and stretched. Kinda embarrassing, but this only means I can improve.

I've been wanting to post a dungeon that I created for the Cinarath campaign, but Kaldwin and Arkana haven't yet gone through it completely. That should be my next post, maybe...


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Session Two: Troubles on the Forest's Edge

Hyland's Ford is reduced to a pile of burning corpses and destroyed buildings by an evil wizard. Forcing Kalwin the Rogue and Arkana the Wizard to leave their home and follow the Queen's dream instructions.

Kaldwin and Arkana are traveling on a well traveled road toward Cinarath's capital. They are traveling for a few hours and not seeing anyone before something interesting happens... Kaldwin hears some suspicious noises coming from the forest on the left side of the road. Maybe because he has some muscle memory from being an assassin or he has trust issues, he dives into the forest into a hidden position. Suddenly a throwing dagger comes out of the foliage and hits Arkana. Kaldwin spots a human bandit at the base of a tree who is readying a throwing knife, which means he wasn't the one to throw the first knife. Now they have no idea how many that there could be...

After an artful display of tree climbing and magic, one bandit is dissolved by acid and another escapes leaving a trail of blood. The two track the blood trail to the base of a cliff. After a short investigation, they find half of a foot print that seems to go into the base of the cliff. Using his knowledge of the arcane, Arkana informs Kaldwin that there is a cave here but an illusion hides it.

Taking the stealthy approach, both sneak into the cave. In an attempt to avoid a group of bandits at the end of the hall, Arkana doesn't avoid the false floor trap, leaving Kaldwin in the dark hallway.

Arkana lights up the room that he lands in with a light spell and an ever-burning torch (a gift from his father). He sees a goddamn Stormclaw Scorpion (the lower one on the photo). These scorpions have claws that harness lightening that they generate in their bodies. They also only perceive things through their tremorsense, so they feel footsteps and vibrations through the ground. Not knowing the fate of his friend, Kaldwin jumps into the pit after him. After combating the scorpion together using crafty illusions and cheap tactics, the two Heros take a breather in the hallways that leads away from the pit...


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Session 1: The Wizard's Plague

I recently started running a game with two best friends set in Cinarath. Jordan is playing as a Human Rogue named Kaldwin and Sam is playing as a Deva Wizard named Arkana.

Kalwin is an immigrant to Cinarath. He came looking for work, but after months of not being able to make enough money to support himself, he sought out more desperate options... He joined a guild of assassins. Eventually, he could not handle the life of being controlled by his occupation and left. Now he lives in hiding, not knowing what the guild thinks about his abandonment to their cause...

Arkana was reincarnated (as Devas do) behind a waterfall. The first person to come upon him was Danforth IIV, a hermit gnome wizard that raised Arkana and taught him everything that he knows about the arcane. When Danforth IIV was about to teach Arkana a spell that Danforth IIV had written himself, the spellbook was stolen from their forest cabin. Now Arkana is out in the world, trying to find the final spell in his teachings.

The story starts with Kalwin and Arkana being guided down a highly decorated hallway, marble pillars, ornate shit everywhere. They are lead into a throne room where the Elf Queen of Cinarath is waiting and she tells them about a powerful wizard casting metaphorical shadow and plague across the land and that they have been recruited to try and slay the wizard. Then they wake up...

Yup, they were in a shared dream state. (WHHHHAAAAaaaaaatttttt?....) More on that later.

They meet up near the center of the small village of Hyland's Ford where both of them have been living and go fishing. Sam gets a Nat 20 off the bat and catches a HUGE fish, while Kaldwin has to fish for awhile to catch an average one... The two friends apparently were not looking to eat these fish, but to sell in the town general store so they could buy other food. Arkana goes into the general store and looks to sell his huge fish, but going against all things Deva, he uses Prestidigitation to create a fake fish to sell to the shopkeeper. Rolls a Bluff check and gets out of the place with his HUGE fish and some pocket cash. While this was going on, Kaldwin exits the store and heads across the street to the Inn for breakfast... This is where shit hits the fan.

(Because I was pressed for time whilst setting up this session, I found a map of a village that a fellow map enthusiast had made on a similar type of blog: http://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/)

As Kaldwin is walking across the street, a giant meteor covered in purple flames hits the Inn and showers the town in burning debris. No more Inn. A floating Eladrin wizard descends from the clouds and floats 40 feet above the town (I thought it was fair that both party members assumed that he was the source of the meteors) and launches another at the general store. If Sam would have been 3 seconds slower, he could have been inside. No more General Store. After a quick back and forth, both party members get knocked out via meteor to the mouth.

They wake up while being taken care of my the village doctor (who Jordan and Sam assumed had a daughter named Annie who they were very worried about). While knocked out, the wizard had continued his meteor shower of destruction, leaving the town a smoking pile of wood and corpses. After the wizard was satisfied and left, a mysterious figure wondered into town and left Kaldwin and Arkana a note...

"Your shared experience with the Queen was no mere dream. You both are required to travel to The Capital and present this letter to a city guard. I expect your arrival with haste. -M"

The two defeated friends gathered any gear that they could from their homes and set out toward the capital city of Cinarath, leaving the burning wreckage of Hyland's Ford behind.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First Full Length Project

Cinarath (Kin-uh-wrath) is the name that I gave to my most recent continent and ongoing D&D project.

The original concept was just a sketch in my notebook during the summer after freshmen year when my friends back home wanted me to run a game. There were only mountains and notes about future biomes. Once I liked the layout and positioning of the landscapes, I started doing a second draft on a larger scale...

The 2nd draft (bottom left) has been a work in progress since that summer and included the addition of major rivers, lakes, mountain details, forests, and major cities.

The Final Draft (bottom right) was and is going to be used in the campaign I am running in the future weeks and months. I took art style inspiration from Tolkien's Middle Earth map (two colors, mountain shading, water/land border outline, and forest details).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Paying Homage

I got invited to play Dungeons and Dragons (which I will shorten to "D&D" from now on) during my first quarter at college. It was something I'd only heard about and wanted to try, so I jumped on the opportunity. The game started and instantly fell in love with the concept of creating a whole world and simply playing a part in it. I'm sure that the talented Dungeon Master ("DM"), Peyton Rockwood, played a huge part in showing me how limitless and incredible D&D could be (Whaddup, Peyton?). I started drawing continents in Geography class with the simple thought that this place I created could be a setting for a massive fantasy story that my friends and I could play a role in and that got me excited. 

I'm probably never going to forget that first campaign. Thanks for sharing it with me Peyton, Dom, Cam, Taylor, and Drake!