Book Suggestions by Sarah

Good Omens
What is the nature of those who follow the path of good and evil? How does prophecy actually play into the world around you? From a perspective of long ago, how might the future be seen? How can you as a GM write vague but useful prophecies. And some nature vs nurture and the ease of things going wrong. Whats not to like?

The Kobold Wizard’s Dildo of Enlightenment +2
An engaging world it is not. And that rather is the problem. This book may make you reevaluate how you handle descriptions and game focus. How you try and push what the Character thinks for your player’s consideration compared to what the Player thinks. When they make feat decisions and what they should pick.

Rhapsody (E. Hayden)
A rich fantasy with an incredible interpretation of Truename magic. Truly painful loss, how to write and plot arcing sequences, world magic, and how “monsterous” characters may behave in normal society.
Black magician trilogy
An alternate perspective on magic. Some realities of dark magic, subtly, and intrigue. The early chapters also give some good examples of how a magician’s guild compared to the desires of street gangs could play out.
Night Angel trilogy
Another street gangs and magic series. This time with assassins and how they have a sense of legality within a lawful society. This one deals with Artifact magic items and how that changes the world around them.
Kingmaker kingbreaker series
When one race of people holds supremacy for having powerful magic, and the lesser race develops the same high magic, meanwhile the crown prince has none, what happens? Especially when the two are friends.
Chronicles Of The Necromancer Series
Politics and magic, Necromancy in this case is more spiritual/ghost magic. Yet another alternate perspective on magic, what evil can look like, and what Good can look like even if it is coated in some dust.
If on a Winters night (Calvino)
This book spoke to me specifically. We take in a portion of our environment at any time until we focus with intense focus on an object. Sitting at my desk, I am aware I have a keyboard. But as I focus more on it, I can notice that the S key I overuse or hit at a different angle based on how the paint is scrapped. That kind of evolution of description is demonstrated in exceptional skill with the first chapter. The following chapters can be seen as a linked continuity of characters in different situations. Like a West March quest chain.
Godspeaker Trilogy
Religion is powerful. Regardless of what your gods actually are. Evil spirits, divine beings, it matters not. The FAITH that the followers hold when bolstered by something with power can make a street girl an Empress, and in turn conquer the world…well almost.
Night Watch (Sergei Lukyanenko)
Couldn’t find a good name for the series. It has been a while since I read these and they certainly stuck less than the others. Modern magic, the horrors that can lurk as a result, and how you may or may not cope. The power of perspective. The fear around the Other and how it can be played. Let alone the descriptions of what I recall a World of Darkness-esque Russia.

Book Recommendations, by Camber

Book Recommendations, by Camber

Note, In most cases, I’ve recommended the first book in a series where I would recommend the entire series.

1. Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings.
Epic in scope. The first of a series that promises to be one of the best of all time. One of the best examples of worldbuilding I’ve seen; Sanderson is a master of thinking through all the possible ripple effects of his choices as an author. I would rank Tolkien better because he came first, but Sanderson builds on the shoulders of giants and does not disappoint, making him slightly more accessible and satisfying for modern audiences. I’ve found that Sanderson is a rare gem – an author that writes at a very high rate of productivity (at least two books per year) but also at a very high mark of quality. My standard for quality is that the author makes me care about the characters and the story, takes care making a world, is smart enough that I can’t find any logic holes. Most importantly, that s/he depicts relationships, greatness of heart, sacrifice, and beauty convincingly enough that it moves me to tears at least once in the book. Most authors can’t do even one of these well, but so far I’ve never seen Sanderson not deliver on all of the above.

2. Tolkien, J.R.R. Fellowship of the Ring.
The more times I read Tolkien, the more impressed I am at his work. I’m always excited when I see his scholarly work in philology cited in some article I read. Recently I was doing genealogical research on ancient Saxon lines, and found that the definitive study of an obscure text on a historical figure was written by the Don himself. An amazing man. He launched the genre of modern fantasy writing, and D&D owes its existence to The Lord of the Rings.

3. Le Guin, Ursula K. A Wizard of Earthsea.
Le Guin is better known for some of her other works, such as The Left Hand of Darkness. But I loved her Earthsea trilogy when I was in middle school; when I found Tolkien a bit too complex for my young mind, Earthsea was just right. If you ever wanted to see what a Truenamer should really look like, this will excite you.

4. Rothfuss, Patrick. The Name of the Wind.
If it weren’t for the fact that Rothfuss is taking forever to finish his series, this would rank higher on my list. He only makes a few unforgiveable mistakes with his characters (George R.R. Martin makes so many that I’ve banished him entirely from my list), and his writing is so good that I feel like

strangling him every year that he doesn’t add another book. If he continues to deliver, this could put him second or third on my list.

5. Jordan, Robert. The Eye of the World.
If it weren’t for the fact that Brandon Sanderson penned a perfect ending to his works, Jordan’s epic tale of Aes Sedai and the Dragon Reborn would just be a sad unfinished tale that started off with more promise than it was able to deliver. The first book in the series was very well written. Some of the later books start to drag. But overall, worth the time it takes to read them all.

6. Kurtz, Katherine. Deryni Rising.
I’m always surprised when I find that Kurtz’s work isn’t better known among fantasy readers. She does an excellent job of depicting an alternative low-magic medieval world, in which a psionic race (the Deryni) play a prominent role. It you want your fantasy to be less fantastic and more realistic, this is a good read. Unlike my other recommendations, I’ve named the first published book as the representative of the series. If you want to read them in timeline order,

start with Camber of Culdi. Yep. That’s where I take my username from. That’s how much I love it.

7. McClellan, Brian. Promise of Blood.
Gunpowder plus magic. Awesome. The setting is kind of Napoleonic in its cultural feel. So much later than what I’m used to in fantasy novels. But wow, very well-written, and very exciting. These are fairly recent, so they don’t have many fans yet. But they are gems.

8. Kowal, Mary Robinette. Shades of Milk and Honey.
When my wife saw me reading Kowal’s books, she thought I was reading some trashy romance novel. I can see how the cover art might suggest that. But these definitely aren’t silly romances. The side of me that enjoys classic literature like Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, or Pride and Prejudice, really appreciated Kowal’s creation of a fantasy magic inserted into the time and culture of Jane Austen, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Where the powder mage trilogy of McClellan is filled with blood and action, Kowal’s novels appeal to my more feminine side. The magic is nearly 100% illusion-based, and the setting is mostly English high society. Be forewarned, this isn’t for everyone. But I look forward to each of her novels, and hope she continues writing for many decades.

9. Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three.
I’d liken this to LotR for younger audiences. If you ever watched The Black Cauldron, this is the first book in that series. Well-written and accessible for all ages 10 and up.

10. Brooks, Terry. Running with the Demon.
If you want to get into Terry Brooks’ immense body of work, I’d recommend starting chronologically, not by date of publication, but instead by timeline. I’m impressed at how he got from the modern world to the fantasy of Shannara. I’d also recommend Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold!

11. Modesitt, L.E. Jr. The Magic of Recluse.
Modesitt has several series, but this is the better of them. If you want to read them in chronological order, start with Fall of Angels. One thing I like about his works are that they pit order mages against chaos mages, but avoid painting one as good and the other evil. Each side believes they are the good guys, and he switches back and forth in showing us their perspectives (not within the same novel, thankfully). His Soprano Sorceress series is also quite good.

12. Hambly, Barbara. Dragonsbane.
Hambly is one of the better older fantasy authors. Between Tolkien and the 80’s, there was a lot of junk written. Hambly stands out as an exception. I’d also recommend her book The Ladies of Mandrigan for the same reason. Unlike most of my recommendations, I’d recommend both of these as standalone books (though Dragonsbane is part of a series called Winterlands).

13. Sanderson, Brandon. The Final Empire.
Several of Sanderson’s works deserve an honorable mention. The Mistborn series is particularly impressive for its inventive magic system. Warbreaker and Elantris also deserve mention for the same reason. The Mistborn series have more of a post-medieval feel, and they’re darker than what I usually enjoy, but very well written. There is a second trilogy in the series that takes place several hundred years later that’s Wild West fantasy. And a futuristic one is in the works. I also love the premise – a hero is destined to save the wold. But instead, he defies the prophesy and uses the ultimate power that would save the world, to instead conquer it and rule for 1000 years as its godlike overlord. Now, against all odds, a band of rogues attempts the ultimate heist – to rob him of his wealth and perhaps even overthrow the Lord Ruler.

14. Card, Orson Scott. Seventh Son.
I actually prefer Ender’s Game (it would rank 3rd on my list), but since this is a fantasy list, I would give Card’s first volume in the Tales of Alvin Maker an honorable mention. I hope he finishes the series, but since he’s already said that the main character will die in the end, I’m not too eager. It seems Card isn’t either. Also recommended by him: Enchantment, Pastwatch, The Folk of the Fringe, Pathfinder (no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the game), and The Gate Thief. Card is one of the few authors I would trust with my time no matter what he writes. I’ve read enough of his work to find that he’ll only write about characters that he cares about, and that he’ll quickly make you care about as a reader. He also understands what greatness of heart is, and is able to depict it well enough to move me to tears in nearly every one of his books.

15. Smith, Sherwood. Inda.
A tale of a nobleborn boy who excels in battle and gets caught up with pirates. There’s more to it, but hopefully that will get you interested enough to try out this series.

16.Lynch, Scott. The Lies of Locke Lamora.
This was recommended heavily to me as a fan of Patrick Rothfuss. It turned out to be more violent than I’d prefer, but I can see why people like Lynch’s work. Darker than my usual tastes. If you like rogues, you’ll like Locke Lamora.

17. Pierce, Tamora. Terrier.
This is the Beka Cooper series of the story of a young female rogue. The Alanna series, of a young female knight, is also satisfying. I thought they were good, but they are the all-time favorites of my eldest daughter, so they deserve mention.

18. McKillip, Patricia. Riddle-Master of Hed.
These deserve mention as a bardic epic tale. I actually preferred McKillip’s short story, The Throme of the Erril of Sherill, but that is almost impossible to find.

19. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
I suppose I shouldn’t leave Rowling out, even though she almost seems cliche. I enjoyed her work, but I wouldn’t return to it unless I was reading it with one of my children.

20. Mull, Brandon. A World Without Heroes.
Beyonders is a short trilogy that went well, kept me interested, and that was recommended by my kids. Not as overloved as Harry Potter, and you’ll feel less embarrassed admitting you’ve read it. Mull has other series, such as Fablehaven and The Five Kingdoms, that are also well-written (all for YA audiences).

The unholiest of matrimonies

The rain had been falling for weeks at Sithus Castle. The constant downpour made the ground turn into an almost liquid surface of mud and gravel. The moss that clung to the stonework of the castle smelt of death and decay. Lightning painted the sky like a gnarled hand grasping for the highest tower. The thunder soon followed like a cackling laugh to anyone that heard it. The castle itself seemed to have an aura of death around it like a moth to a flame. This would not be the ideal setting for a wedding in anyone’s eyes, but for this couple it was like heaven. Well…more like hell on Earth. It would be the perfect setting for the beginning of end.

At the walkway leading to the highest tower, the shadow of a skeletal griffon could be seen against the bright light of the lightning waiting for it’s rider. A few moment’s later, a figure emerged from behind the lone door leading inside and mounted the griffin with a roll of decerped paper in hand. A sinister grin spread across their face as they commanded the griffin to fly up into the deathly storm. They had finally received the order to announce the most unholy of matrimonies to all of the unsuspecting victims of this world. It was time to finally cause some pure, unadulterated chaos. No matter what these people did to try and stop it, it would be too late for them to really make a difference. The rider began to fly towards each major city in this country repeating the same decree with a bellowing voice.

“Oh citizens of this world. Your world has been graciously chosen to bear witness to the most unholy of matrimonies. It has come to fruition that the Undying King Vecna will soon wed Kiaransalee, the Lady of the Dead. Their union will bring your world to an end. All of the royal houses are cordially invited to Sithus Castle to bear witness to the end of your world. There will even be a seat specially reserved for your Empress. Please dress to impress.”

The last few words of the decree were said with a jeering laugh as the unseen rider continued to deliver M’kal’s unfortunate fate.

This message rang out through the sky for days as each city began to question if this was true. They sought out answers from their city officials, village leaders, druids, priests and priestesses alike, and even some of the criminal circles. Panic was starting to arise in the streets as the rumors of the Undying King and the Lady of Death herself ravaging their homeland began to spread like wildfire.

On a clear night a few days after the decree began to spread, the Empress of M’Kal was sitting at her desk in her office looking at all of the plea’s for answers from her people. She rubbed her fingers across her temples in frustration. Why M’Kal? What can she do? How can she save her people? Questions like this raced through her mind as a sudden icy cold wind blew all of her papers across the floor. She stood up from her chair and turned towards the door leading to wards the balcony in her office with a scowl etched across her face. A spectral being stood before her with a letter in hand.

“From my master. I am here to send his personal regards.” The voice would send any other weak minded person into a petrified fright, but the Empress stood there quietly. She didn’t move a muscle as the specter floated towards her desk and dropped a sealed envelope on the now empty surface. The wax was the color of poison and the design was undisputedly Vecna’s. The specter vanished out of the room as fast at it appeared. The Empress let out a fearful sigh as she reached for the letter, carefully opening the seal.

‘Empress Calmita,

You are cordially invited to be front and center to witness the end of everything that you hold dear. Are you having fun with my little Ravager pets? Those are just the beginning. Once I arrive with my bride to be in one months time, chaos in the truest form of the world will follow. I shall be bringing more of my children along with us to Sithus Castle. Please attempt to prepare accordingly. ‘

The Empress read the letter over and over as she sat back down at her desk. There had to be something that could be done about this. She would not let this be the end of her people. There was no way that Empress Calmita would be remembered as the Empress that just let her people die.

Re-invasion of board game pieces

Re-invasion of……board game pieces?

Outside of each and every one of the 50 cities in M’Kal there is a battle taking place between, of all things, Chess Pieces. There are nine teams of these chess pieces. Each team is a complete set to begin with.

These creatures are, by their own claims, the original owners of the cities on this continent, having left several thousand years ago, well before the first explorers arrived. Their entire race have been traveling other planes for the last few millennia, and are now returning to reclaim what is theirs.

These creatures will attempt to capture people on the roads near the cities for interrogation. Those that do not put up a fight are simply captured, questioned, and released. Those that put up a significant fight will be struck down.

There are 9 groups, in 9 different colors. Colors correspond with their alignment. Each and every one of these creatures has a permanent ability to see the alignment of any creature they look at. Anybody masked against such things as see alignment or detect alignment will appear as True Neutral to them. When they look upon another creature they will see that creature as being colored according to the same alignment rules they are colored by.

Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good White Yellow Pink
Neutral Brown Green blue
Evil Purple Red Black

These creatures believe in absolutes. Those that are of a different alignment are enemies. Those that are of the same alignment are allies. No amount of mundane conversation will change their opinion on this.

For DMs, these creatures can be found in Dragon Magazine 358. More information will be released about these creatures in the near future. If your party attempts to capture/question one of these creatures before then, render them unconscious until I can put the information in your hands.


LOOT! We all love loot right? But how does loot work?

There are eight schools of thought(That I know of) on handing out loot; micro-preplanning, pre-rolling, delayed micro-preplanning, delayed pre-rolling, deadlining, and destiny drops, Vidya game loot sploders, and what’s up my butt?

Micro-preplanning is the school of thought for DMs that are strict on details and have every encounter planned out to the T before the players ever get within 10 miles of the encounter. This means you know an encounter will have 5 goblins, and you know that such an encounter should have 793 gold and 2 silver worth of loot so you prebuild each goblins loadout down to the last bolt to make sure if the party does a full cavity search on all five goblins they will get exactly 793 gold and 2 silver worth of loot, minus what ever is broke during the course of the fight such as potions, bolts, javelins, or what ever else might break.

Pre-rolling is fairly less strict, it involves encoutners being preplanned but extra loot aside from the creature’s primary gear being rolled for on various loot tables. This results in more diverse and more unpredictable play. After all, that CR 1/2 goblin can end up with a +1 sword now. Or a minor wondrous item. These random loot options leads to a possible change in the creature’s behavior as they now have an unusual asset available. It gives the player’s something extra to think about. Why does this goblin have a +1 sword? Goblins can’t make such things… can they? They are just mook. They should not eb able to think or learn or do special things right? Or a wand of magic missile?! This leads to flavor. It also sometimes leads to danger. Might mean you can’t take your own rolls as law. May need to reroll or.. just pick something other than what the dice say. All creatures have a part of their statblock called ‘Treasure’ which suggests how much you should roll for them, or how you should split things up if you are purchasing for them.

Delayed micro-preplanning. Much like micro-preplanning this means buying all the items by hand to make sure the encounter has all the loot it should, but with a twist. You slide the strictly planned loot back 1 encounter. So if your party fights 5 CR 1/2 dire rats, they get no loot. Rats have no pockets. So that 793.2 gold the rats should have dropped, goes onto the next encoutner which may be the goblins. Then the loot the goblins should have dropped goes to the next encoutner, and so on for the duration of the quest. Then.. the big loot pile that should have been on the boss instead is given to the party by the benefactor when they go turn the quest in. If any creatures from earlier fights escape, then you just deduct that portion of the loot from the next fight.

Delayed pre-rolling as you may expect at this point, is rolling for loot but pushing it all back 1 encounter.

Deadlining is perhaps one of the more frustrating ones but it sort of fits with the ‘lazy rules lawyer’ type of DM or the one that lives by the mentality of trying to cram at the last minute. In the DMG there is a table that shows what the expected wealth of a player is. This is what the value of their total ownership should be by the time they begin that level. So lets say that the expected wealth of a level 2 player is 4,000 gold. It’s not. Check the table yourself. But for this example.. that means the DM needs to make sure that before that player dings they have that much stuff. That includes the market value of all their gear, as well as their liquid cash, and adventuring supplies. This style of generating loot tends to lend itself to the DM having out very little loot along the way, then suddenly right at the boss fight trying to rush to do the math to see what the smallest amount of loot the DM can crap into your hands to make sure you have that 4,000 gold worth of stuff when you ding from the boss fight.

Destiny drops is one of the more pandering options. This is when the DM looks down a character’s sheet, and sees an out of date item that needs upgraded, then purposefully makes sure that exact upgrade ends up in the next loot pile. While this is not a bad thing it does begin to feel transparent if it happens a lot. The players will also learn (and exploit the fact)that if they complain about a weak item enough they will get an upgrade for it automatically.

Vidya game loot sploders is when the DM rolls for the loot after the party defeats the encounter. This gets it’s name because it follows video game logic, or lack of logic. Fight that wolf and.. it drops a +2 flaming sword? Where did it keep the sword? Why did it have a sword? Or that goblin drops a Sword of Three Wishes.. a very powerful magic item. But it didn’t have a long sword when we were fighting it. Why wasn’t it using it’s best weapon? Why was it using trash when fighting for it’s very life? That could have saved it’s entire tribe from being wiped out. That orc had a necklace of fireballs… why did it never use that? or it’s 17 potions.. Or the archer with 4 arrows of greater slaying for the exact race the party is made up of. It’s good loot, nice drops… but it rapidly will slap the players right out of any measure of immersion if they are pulling magic items off of creatures that didn’t have magic items until the moment they died. By the counter point, if you try to loot a mob and you have to constantly slap the DM to remind them that THIS THING JUST STABBED ME WITH A SWORD I WANT THAT SWORD because the DM is forgetting that the weapons it was swinging is legit loot too.

What’s up my butt is a style of loot generation where the DM just.. hand waves loot. You ask what the creature has because you are searching it. Your DM then makes a zombie noise ” uuuuhhhhhh braaaains… err I mean.. five gold. ” If you fight 17 goblins and they all have exactly 5 gold each.. That’s a sign the DM is pulling it out of their butt. The mobs have no flavor, they are just XP bicsuits with just enough gold to shut you up.

Of course, I do realize that the point table do tamper with some DM’s plans. But they are there to increase player engagement, to grant the players an extra layer of interaction with the world and such. Still, this post isn’t intended to call anyone out. This is food for thought. Chew it. Try it. Make joy.

Path to the Divine

For those planning to bring their characters far enough to become divine beings, to become deities, you may wish to know of this.

Rank 0: Quasi-Diety

Typically the results of having one deity parent and one mortal parent

Levels are as PC

Will have an extra +10 in 1-3 stats depending up their parent diety

May have other supernatural abilities based on what or who their parent deity is.

Creatures of this rank are sometimes called quasi-deities or hero deities. Creatures that have a mortal and a deity as parents also fall into this category. These entities cannot grant spells, but are immortal and usually have one or more ability scores that are far above the norm for their species. They may have some worshipers. Ordinary mortals do not have a divine rank of 0. They lack a divine rank altogether.

Rank 0-1: Petitioner

Level 40

Must control 1 domain

May have 1 chosen

Chose Template is +1 max by Savage Species rules

Rank 1-5: Demigods

Level 50

Must control 2 domains

May have 1 chosen

Chosen template is +2 by Savage Species Rules

These entities, called demigods, are the weakest of the deities. A demigod can grant spells and perform a few deeds that are beyond mortal limits. A demigod has anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand devoted mortal worshipers and may receive veneration or respect from many more. A demigod controls a small godly realm (usually on an Outer Plane) and has minor control over a portfolio that includes one or more aspects of mortal existence. A demigod might be very accomplished in a single skill or a group of related skills, gain combat advantages in special circumstances, or be able to bring about minor changes in reality itself related to the portfolio.

Rankl 6-10: Lesser Deities

Level 60

Must control 3 domains

May have 2 Chosen

Chosen Template is +3

Called lesser deities, these entities grant spells and can perform more powerful deeds than demigods can. Lesser deities have anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of worshipers and control larger godly realms than demigods. They also have keener senses where their portfolios are concerned.

Rank 11-15: Intermediate Deities

Level 70

Must control 4 Domains

May have 5 Chosen

Chosen Template is +5

These entities are called intermediate deities. They have hundreds of thousands of mortal worshipers and control larger godly realms than demigods or lesser deities.

Rank 16-20: Greater Deities

Level 80

Must control 5 domains

May have 10 chosen

Chosen Template is +7

Called greater deities, these entities may have millions of mortal worshipers, and they command respect even among other deities. The most powerful of greater deities rule over other deities just as mortal sovereigns rule over commoners.

Rank 21+: Overdeities

These entities are beyond the ken of mortals and care nothing for worshipers. They do not grant spells, do not answer prayers, and do not respond to queries. If they are known at all, it is to a handful of scholars on the Material Plane. They are called overdeities. In some pantheistic systems, the consent of an overdeity is required to become a god.

Some flaw inspiration

So, one of our players took a flaw from dandwiki that was more debilitating than flaw rules says it should be. So they wanted to change their flaw. I agreed, but they had to ‘pay’ for it by coming up with a list of 10 flaws we could put here for inspiration to others. These flaws have not been approved by any DMs at this time so don’t take this as any sort of official homebrew for M’Kal. Take this as a spark to help you creatively come up with your own.



When you hit, you often do not hit as hard as you otherwise would, resulting in less damage.


You deal -2 damage with all attacks.


You cannot speak. As a result, people find you less threatening and harder to take you seriously.


You take -4 to Intimidate and Bluff checks.


You cannot see.


You are permanently under the Blinded condition.


You cannot hear anything.


You are permanently under the Deafened condition.


Even on your best days, you are tired.


You are permanently under the Fatigued condition.

Slow to Start

In combat, you are like the sloth. Slow to respond and you often get punished for it.


You always suffer from the Flat-Footed condition the first round of combat. This affect wears off on your second turn. You also suffer from a -2 to initiative checks.


You tend to be less brave than most and take whatever measures necessary to avoid combat.


You are permanently under the Frightened condition in combat. Outside of combat, you are otherwise normal.


You love to fight perhaps a little too much, to the point you don’t know when you’re in over your head.


You will not pass up the chance to get into a fight and are constantly in Heartened morale. Take a -4 to Diplomacy and you get a +10 bonus on all morale checks. If you ever fail a morale check, you drop immediately to Crazed (Berserk) status. You also will never run from battle; you would rather die than run.


You are easily distracted. As a result, your focus wavers inevitably.


You take a -1 penalty to all skill checks, attack rolls, initiative, and armor class. You also cannot take 10 on any skill checks.


You are an insufferable prick who thinks anyone different is trash.


Take -4 to all Charisma-based checks with anyone who falls into the category you discriminate against. You decide the way you disciminate against others from the following list:

Origin – Where the person originates from

Heritage – Their family history

Classist – Whether they are noble or commoner

Profession – Whether their work is respectable or not

Creed – If they have class levels, whether you approve of their chosen class or not

Gender – You hate everyone of the opposite gender. And anyone who relates to them.

Race – Are they your race? Then you’re fine with them. If not, screw them.

Age – You are prejudiced against people in a different age group from yourself

FUBAR – You just hate everyone. Your mother must be proud.

Knight of the Golden Dragon

A class I worked on a long time ago. This was intended to be available only to those that serve as the elites of the Empress. I ended up getting depressed how little interest there was in being one of the Empress’s elites so I never did finish the class. Chances are these days the class would end up region locked if I were to finish it, so perhaps it’s best I never did ehh?

Journal Entries – Berebold the Weezard

The High Tor

How delightfully funny, what Hallie did to Landald! Half-asleep or not, she had to have aimed to cover him in that much effluvia, a fate I find most fitting for his endless mockery of my new poncho; I refuse to believe that I look “like a gay matador” no matter how much he insists that I do (and my poncho is not pink – it is light red, a subtle shade of masculinity for such a refined and subtle man like myself.)

It is fortunate that we found the ruined tor in the middle of that terrible storm; I wasn’t sure if I was going to drown or be struck by lightning first, and I felt just awful for Hadwisa slipping halfway down the hillside before Landald caught her hand – although I must admit I rather enjoyed watching her hair come loose, wild and flying and whipping just like the storm itself, her eyes bright enough to shame the lightning. I can’t ever forget how raw she looked, how wild-eyed and wild-haired. I can imagine her standing over me like that – how delicious! It just sends shivers down my spine.

Is it terrible of me to say that I am glad we are rid of Dameron and Clay? I admit being in shock for about a week after it happened – it was so quick, Clay’s death, and Dameron’s, too – but I was in just as much shock when Clay challenged an entire temple dedicated to The Black Lord to a duel, and that fool Dameron backed him! He sounded so manful talking about honor and esprit de corps the night before his death, sharpening his sword before we went to bed, but I didn’t recognize them as synonyms for stupidity. Poor Clay – are all paladins so stupid? Or just those dedicated to Bahamut?

Hallie says we’re going to be spending a week or better in Wyrm Tribe, which sounds like a week of filthy hell surrounded by rash, uncouth people who don’t bathe, read or listen to opera. Why couldn’t she have decided upon going to Everhart? Oh, she’d probably say something about elves not knowing how to fit someone her size, but surely its worth spending an extra week or two among a people that use clean forks while looking for an appropriate blacksmith? Or perhaps she’s secretly afraid of heights? I just hope I can stick around for her fittings.

Winter: What if?

As the topic of farming, food, and seasons come up in discussion of M’Kal it raises an interesting dilemma. Winter does not exist in M’Kal. It has not for the entire 3,500 years the current civilization has been around.(Did I just say current civilization?) Snow only exists in extreme elevation, or near the city of White Roost. For all but the citizens of White Roost, snow and frost is so uncommon that most have never seen it. If it ever happens it’s the result of magic or a white dragon. Both of which are so uncommon there is no reason to prepare for it. It’s not a normal part of life. You wouldn’t build all the houses in a city to be able to endure a falling dragon just because it happened once 67 years ago to somebody at the edge of town, would you? No. It’s insanely expensive and is likely to never come up.

Get to the point eh? M’Kal has never had problems with cold. The majority of the continent lacks the geography that contributes to extreme weather conditions. Aside from the mountain rainge that forms it’s spine it’s weather is relatively mild year round. Summer, warming spring, and a cooling spring. But no winter. That technically means there is the potential for three growing seasons. So you have a mild wet season, a hot dry season and a cool dry season. Allowing three different crop sets to be grown on a farm each year.

What does this mean, and why does it matter? Storage. M’Kal lacks the culture, technology, or expectations to have to store food. Sure, there are trail rations and such which theoretically have an infinite shelf life. But for the majority of the citizens, their food is farm to plate in a week or two. With no winter there is no need to practice storing food for 2-6 months at a time or more. The worst case scenario that is a normal part of life is some uncommon crops being traded 10 days down the road. SO being able to keep fresh crops from rotting for a couple weeks is uncommon, but happens.

Yeah yeah, I know I have not gotten to the point yet. Farms. M’Kal has fewer farms than a continent with a proper winter may have. This is because if a farm can put out 3 waves of crops a year, you need only one third as many farms to do the same job. But let’s just say for arguments sake that M’Kal has half as many farms instead a third as many. This means we now have a surplus of food, but the surplus is so common that it likely goes to waste. Either being tilled back into the ground or used in rituals and offerings. What we have here is a logistical system that can handle minor setbacks, like a couple farms being burned down. Then the surplus just fills the gaps.

But if something bigger were to happen such as, a level 20 druid decides he wants a winter wonderland and creates a 50 mile wide patch of snowy weather that is perminenced.. that could easily put a thousand farms out of comission. Each of those farms might have fed 9,000 people year round. (My modern technology a 1 season that is 1 square mile can feed 10,000 people. But adjusting for 1400s era technology and wastage I think it’s fair to assume a 3 season farm might do 9,000) That So, 9,000 people per farm that will lose food, and 1,000 farms inside of a 50 mile circle. That’s 9 million people without food. Now, realistically speaking expecting 1 mile square farms to be set up in checker board patterns so that practically half that circle is farmland is unrealistic. Maybe it’s more realistic to say every 1/4th plot of land… Or hell, for simplicity and optimism sake let’s say it’s every 9th plot of land. That way it’s 1,000,000 fewer people that can suddenly be fed. That is still 2-3 MAJOR cities worth of people that suddenly lost their food. Nevermind the fact that the area being permanently frozen will likely make an additional 10 mile area around that area, that is to cold to have a proper summer. Which will increase the total effected area by another 900 square miles, almost 50% more.

Alright, so if that’s not problem enough lets consider some of the other possible implications. Let’s say the insane druid that’s willing to utterly wreck an area so it can make a snowman is a bit more considerate and goes to an area with much less sense farming. So only 1 in 90 plots of land is farm. So he’s only knocking out 100,000 citizens worth of food. That’s still perhaps half, or third of a major city. Enough to create regional shortages for sure. But not likely to result in mass deaths. Some neighboring surplus can solve the problem. Yes it will lead to continent wide rises in food prices. But over the course of a decade farms in other parts of the world can grow to pick up the slack… but farms are not the only problem. Rivers.

For 3,500 years on M’kal the rains come in fairly predictable patterns. We know when there will be flooding and when water levels drop. We know when to irrigate and we know when to get our boats out of the rivers if we want to keep them. Sure it differs back and forth by a couple weeks each year but we know roughly when it will happen. But if this winter wonderland happens to be straddling a river, that river freezes over. With a perpetual winter it will eventually freeze solid. Water flowing into the area from up stream will freeze and pile up creating a damn, resulting in a lake that will continue to grow annually with no way to let it out. Meanwhile down river there… will simply not be a river. Water won’t be able to escape. It’s permanently froze. Irrigation will become increadingly difficult for other parts of the continent. And, depending upon where on the river it is that could mean a village and a few dozen farms, or it could mean several entire cities, dozens of villages, and tens of thousands of farms. That also means shutting down many of the major trade routes so getting in emergency relief in. Because boats.

But, let’s step away from the shit for brains druid and look at something a bit less absolute but just as extreme. Some people want to change an area to have the traditional 4 seasons instead of the 3 that is normal for M’kal. That is going to result in 2-3 months of snow and unworkable cold. The progression into and out of this winter is going to knock another month at least out of 1, but much more likely 2 of their 3 growing seasons. So all farms become 66% less productive. Now it’s likely the entire region can only support half the population it has been supporting for thousands of years.

But for a large chunk of the year, the water ways are not safe enough to bring in extra food. Part of the year the rivers are going to be much lower than they used to be because water is being tied up in ice in the winter areas. During frozen times there is ice in the way. During thawing times there is the flooding and the rivers are unusually high. This difficulty of navigating rivers will result in forcing more caravans to take dangerous slow land routes. The greater difficulty in getting food will lead to more aggressive and more frequent road encoutners too. This makes trade more dangerous for merchants, leading to a need for more guards. Also, the winter leads to it taking much longer to get from city to city. Meaning the traders and their animals need more food per trip. The risks of death are higher due to weather and raids. The risks of accidents such as breaking a wheel is greater due to the snow and ice hiding obsticals. The chance of injuring an animal is higher for the same reason. It’s easier for bandits to stop you by hiding such a trap in the snow on purpose.

By the way, the alterations to the rivers is another big point. With the rivers partially freezing over and thawing on a regular schedule as is normal for a river means effects down stream. less water during what is already a dry season because it’s tied up further up stream. Then when what comes as the normal wet season arrives and flooding is already expected, now you have much worse flooding because all that water retained up river is now coming down more aggressively as it melts, combining with all the heavy rains that normally are part of the seasonal flooding to begin with.

On top of that the wildlife in M’kal has not seen a winter in several thousand years either. Trees have likely evolved to no longer shed and go dormant in the fall. Most of the animals likely have lost the hibernating instinct. scheduled migrations are not a thing. Animals and plants don’t know how to deal with this. Now you have massive amounts of plants dying out, very little of which will recover. You have massive amounts of animals dying off from the cold, and even more dying off from lack of food.

Now.. What is M’Kal have as the best possible chance to fend off this problem if winter starts to occur in a region? Well the first line of defense is to send some druids to dispel the results of the winter and return things to normal. But if that can’t happen then the druids could avert some of the disaster. Help with food, help with water, help with rescues from flooding, and help with disease. But most druids get their magic and power from nature, and nature just got it’s face blown off locally. Will the druids still be as powerful when their power source just got butchered in the area? Sure those down river dealing with only the flooding, drought, and diseases may not be impacted as much. But.. Are those druids in the area effected by sudden winter even going to want to help when their struggling and dying forests are suddenly being butchered by the very cities asking for help, because those cities suddenly need immense amounts of wood to burn to keep themselves warm? Plus it’s not just the trees. The animals are being decimated by the weather too, and now those pesky city folk want a bunch of furs to keep warm in too. The local ecology will become a smoking crater.

Even if it is exactly 1 city and it’s 5 outlying villages that are suddenly struck by having 4 seasons it will hurt. Even if it’s a mathematically perfect 4 seasons so each of them are exactly 3 months long to the day, that 3 months of winter will have such a brutal effect on that city and it’s territory that it’s population of both wildlife and citizens will fall HARSHLY be it from mass die offs or mass exodus. If the time between the last snow of a winter and the first snow of the next winter is 9 months to the day, it is extremely unlikely that the city in question would have time to recover before it is hit again. The city would likely never truly recover.

I think if one region were to suddenly attain a winter, the entire population of the entire continent would tank. It would then take decades for the citizens to develope the technology to store food for long periods, and develope the sustainable farming techniques needed to reclaim the lost areas.

This started off as a small thought experiment. It was only supposed to be a couple hundred words and was going to share it with 2 people. I went a bit overboard and it got bigger than I planned. I am fairly confident to say I have hit about half the points that matter but I am going to stop now. I look forward to feedback, input, and thoughts.

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