Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Isolde-Delta: A History Part V"

Crestfallen Library: Breaking of the Dawn - 000
January 29, 1977 Original Design

The Temple of The Sun, a living monument to the Creator God Ptah.

In the beginning, he stretched forth his hands and the stars fell from his eyes forming the Cosmos. With the aid of Anubis and Bast they formed the triad of life and proceeded to present the seed to Khepri. He formed the ball into a giant ball of glowing plasma, and rolled it across the heavens. As time past, the various races of Isolde-Delta came to be and they looked to the sky and discovered communion with the Divine.

They were asked to keep a record of their people, and with the aid of Thoth, they learned to read and write, along with understanding the basics of their existence. They built a place set aside to pay tribute to the Divine, where they practiced healing, martial law and studied the stones of the Delta. Over time from these studies Priests, Monks and Geomancers came to be.

The spacious inner-courtyard is lit by flickering torches, each sconce made from one of the nine precious stones of the realm. In the center of the 8 sided star-shaped building sits blessed water, and on an island in it's midst a statue resides paying homage to Ptah.

Thus, The Temple of The Sun came to be. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Isolde-Delta: A History Part IV"

Crestfallen Library: Eyes of Night - 409
January 28, 1977 Original Design

The Winged God, Khepri had disappeared from the pantheon.

Priest's of Ptah and Osiris met to discuss this event, and through communion with their Deities, discovered a conflict had taken place amongst the Sacred. The details of this event have been sketchy, but visitors to the Temple of Khepri which was located in the city-state of Helios discovered the building razed. Throughout the realms similar reports trickled in and it became apparent that no sign of the cult remained, not priest nor their dedicated followers could be found. Stranger still, Hieroglyphs detailing Khepri were torn from walls and pillars as if someone wanted to eradicate the existence of the god.

South of Helios in the dark and fetid swamps, reports from returning parties raised concerns when it was discovered the native fire and giant scarab beetles were more agitated than normal. A troop was sent forth to investigate and were besieged by a massive swarm of beetles ranging in size from small dung beetles to the very rare giant stags. Only two priests returned from the expedition, but they had brought back a piece of torn cloth upon which the following symbol - a stylized M with golden wings - was found:
Over the next 80 years, priests of different sects kept tabs on the swamps and reports continued to be gathered about this mysterious symbol. The swamps grew quiet, and adventurous parties mentioned nothing of beetle attacks. Then, in 504 CL, a monk of the White Lotus stumbled into Coppice from Garroting Deep. His clothes and equipment torn, his body broken. Amongst his possessions a small cloth satchel contained a golden beetle in a design that had never been seen before. Wings blossomed from the back of the beetle and the unmistakable M appeared as a natural extension on it's back.

Helios awoke on the morn of the 100 year anniversary of the disappearance of Khepri and began their day. When petitioners began their journey to the city they came over a rise and discovered a new Temple was standing where the ruins of Kephri had been. It's golden sheets blazing in the morning sun, its door's swung wide, inviting.

A notice  hung from the sycamore trees nearby, its message one of foreboding:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Isolde-Delta: A History Part III"

Crestfallen Library: Breath of the Phoenix - 702
January 29, 1977 Original Design

Davorine the Gray sat at his desk pondering the meanings of the words on the paper and lazily flipping through the ancient book, stopping momentarily, then glancing back at the parchment. He had repeated this same routine for the last few days, mesmerized by the symbol and the odd words. The Sigil drew his attention once more, and he idly traced the outer edge of the embedded stone in the book.

An attendant brought word that The Council of Crestfallen was sending an expert in the field of sigils to see the book. Davorine sighed heavily, as an Acolyte of the White Robe this was what flamed his pride, the ability to decipher symbols and root out their meaning. He glanced over at the hourglass, and felt his eyes grow heavy.

"My liege, they have odd magic, rooted in the very earth we stand. We've lost 20,000 troops and 40 battalions of gargoyles"...Torenticus, General-Advocate of the dark army stood before his master, eyes downcast to the ground as he finished his report. On the throne before him the great maul opened wide and in an instant the general winked out of existence. Lycosis stood to the left near the door of the giant throne room, then he found himself standing, staring into the eyes of his master.

"It appears you've been promoted Lycosis" ...a voice, like molten gravel rumbled through the room... "do not disappoint me"  The new general bowed so low his horns scraped the rock in front of the throne.."as you command my liege!". 

A sharp knock brought Davorine back to his senses. He hurried and opened the door and a thin man, hair pulled back in ponytail strolled into the room. His cloak fell in a heap as he turned to eye Davorine. "You've been sleeping with the book" ... it wasn't a question. "No I would never.." ...

"Understand me well Davorine" the man continued to stare at him, voice soft and chilling. His face was thin, and his clothing well kept. "The sigil is written on your face, the energies twist and churn below the surface, waiting to be released. We must hurry, for you've but a week to prepare"

"Prepare?..for what?"
"You've been chosen young Geomancer, for the journey of a lifetime".

"Isolde-Delta: A History Part II"

Crestfallen Library: Day of the Meteor - 702
January 28, 1977 Original Design

Davorine the Gray woke with a start. He threw back the heavy blankets and rushed to the window, thrusting closed the heavy drapes. Shivering in the cool air his head snapped around and he stared at the dark mark on the floor, uncertain. 10 minutes later he had lit every candle and drawn a circle of protection around the room, sealing all the windows and doors with a dweomer of locking.

What had become known as "Vesper's of Stonework" lay open on the old desk, quill pen near by. Davorine settled into the chair and leaned over the ancient book, instantly drawn into the weave of the magical text. Like before when he turned the brittle page to the center, the massive sigil glowed in the candlelight, an odd green glow faintly visible around the edge of the stone inlaid into the page. He knew magic lived within that shape, but unlocking it was a task he couldn't undertake, just yet.

"...the massive boulder hurled through the night, over the dark army and crashed into the wall of the castle. A shudder of resonance sounded through the ancient stone yet it held...for now. Ozem the Blind stood on the parapet, staff stretched downwards and touching the stone, his white eyes unblinking. The vibrations rolled up into the staff and along its length, gathering in the massive thunder egg attached at the top. Energy congealed, writhing into the core of the egg and bright white light began to shine forth, dazzling and drawing the attention of the black army gathered below. 

Lycosis, demon lord and second in command instantly screamed an order "Felgekh dur nortiem!" (Kill the mage!). A battalion of gargoyles took to the air and flew directly towards the wall. As the gargoyles flew over the mass below, a hail of arrows and bolts flew upwards to greet the winged creatures. Eight of the beasts fell, and in that instant, the staff grew as bright as daylight in Ozem's hands.

A distant sound of thunder rolled outwards from the castle wall, and the wings of the remaining gargoyles shivered and flexed uncertainly. Gargest, leader of the battalion, screamed and dove downwards preparing to rip the heart from the chest of the human. Then he blinked and the mage was gone.

The staff stood balanced perfectly on the rock facade, it's gem like a beacon of light. Gargest hesitated, and in the next moment an explosion detonated outward. A wave of pure sound shattered Gargest, his skin turned to powder as he simply crumbled and fell like rain onto the army below. The battalion of gargoyles followed suit, while Lycosis faltered. He watched the wave pulverize the front lines of his army and when nine Stone Giants fell in the blast, he suddenly felt ... fear.

Davorine woke with a start, and raised his head from the table. The quill pen, loaded with ink rested in his hand on the fresh  parchment paper. He wiped the spittle from the corner of his mouth and looked down at the paper. On it, in a flowing script were nine words.

"The power of the Geomancer lies within your grasp"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Isolde-Delta: A History"

Crestfallen Library: Night of the Vain - 698 
January 27, 1977 Original Design

The mage scrunched over the table, lit a candle with worn fingers and blinked in the light. He had spent the last four months deciphering the ancient broken text that had been found deep in the bowels of a dungeon, name long forgotten. A Paladin had brought the text to the Library originally, having felt its energy and knowing it contained something. Finally, it was finished:

" The Black army filled the horizon in both directions from the castle's highest lookout post. For 10 days they had advanced, and now the citizens of Crestfallen saw their doom clearly and plainly. War plans, drawn up over the course of the last month would be tested this night.

In the midst of the slobbering mass, hidden behind a large group of Giants a crude yet exacting circle etched into the dirt and mud began to pulsate with a horrid green light. The dark ones, bound to their task fell to the ground utterly exhausted by three day's of eldritch casting. As one, the entire army turned their heads and fell silent while in Mayna's Swamp, crickets began to chirp. Then their legs froze mid-song.

With an explosion of silvery light the circle crackled with energy, and a storm of malachite colored stars formed up in the heavens. The stars coalesced and dark smoke billowed upwards. Stepping forth through the gate, tendrils of energy fell like rain off the demons skin. Wings opened to their full length, while muscles twitched in what could only be described as a symphony of misery. A ripple came from the obsidian maw, a sneer so vile and filled with power that an orc near the massive shape screamed and disappeared".

The next morning an attendant knocked quietly on the door, and not hearing a reply went in. He turned the corner to go into Allister's study, and tripped in the darkness. Cursing under his breath he rushed to the window and pushed back the heavy drapes. The room was bathed in sunlight and then he saw it. The body lay on the floor in the midst of a small pool of blood with one hand stretched outward. Scrawled on the floor were three simple words. 

Mygi has come

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fractal Mapper 8: Case Study - Archipelago

I posted a tutorial and finished map using Fractal Mapper 8 which is a Case Study of an Archipelago over at Cartographer's Guild. Included herein is a copy of the finished map:

 Here as well, is a link to the pdf hosted at 4shared:

Fractal Mapper 8 - Case Study

Non-Commisioned Regional Map

Atherton, one of my friends over at Dragonsfoot, had asked if I could create a regional map for him as part of a module he was working on. The specifics:

50 mile region
Beaver Dam
Salmon Ladder
2 lakes
Black Swamp

The look was left up to me, so I combined a couple techniques that gave the mountains a bit of 3D look, and added in subtle shading on the river itself. What I've discovered in this my first foray doing work for others, is to ask them for a rough sketch of what they need. By doing so, I can save redoing the same piece over since it didn't fit the original "visual" that was needed.

This was done in Fractal Mapper 8, then pulled into Paint Shop Pro to add text and small finishing touches.

DragonStone Map

Over at Dragonsfoot, there's a sub-forum whose focus in on DragonStone - a campaign world for the forum to use, explore, enjoy. The link is:

I created a map for them from the original 4 part image that had been posted to that forum:
Then, on a whim, I created a weathered version:

Well of Lost Souls: Level 3

Level 3 is the dark route that many of the slavers use to enter and leave the Well without being seen. The river exit off map was created to be used in any campaign/module where needed. This level is fairly limited, but has a few surprises. The secret hall leads to a storage facility, that also doubles as a gate region for quick traveling, and perhaps for royalty.

Years later, I adapted this dungeon into "D1-D3", and made the slavers Drow. This was a perfect jumping off point for excursions to the surface.

Well of Lost Souls: Level 2

Level 2's focus is on the slaves, the holding cells and the captors. A brisk business exists here, where many sorts of slaves are held, punished and sometimes sold to varying NPCs. This level is called the wheel, based on its shape, and the ever-branching formation from the central hub - which includes each area having its own subsection of quarters and cells.

Well of Lost Souls: Level 1


I've spent some time working on the campaign proper, sharing notes on the background of various segments of my world, and including my own take on the micro-sandbox design method I've used since 1977.

This section will detail some of the older maps that are part of the Isolde-Delta campaign.

The Well of Lost Souls was based on the concept I had taken from the plight of 5 missing children and the mystery of the Muckdwellers. While that complex was singularly focused on that task, this one took slavery to the next progressive step - and became a full blown complex for the trade of slaves. The 2nd level is accessed by the well in the midst of the dungeon, with a single ladder.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Encyclopedia Magica Random Item Tables


Dragon Magazine issue 217 included an entire index of the Encyclopedia Magica - which used a d1000. I've finished creating a PDF of the entire set of tables. Its 82 pages in length - color coded to make each section easier to find, and is a bit over 2 meg in size.

Encyclopedia Magica Tables


Updated Gem Tables 1.5

This particular collection contains full gem tables for DM usage - which include Quick, Advanced and Complete gem tables broken down by type of stone.

However, I've updated to version 1.5 which includes 2 new tables, the first covers the color of Gems, while the second covers the shape of the gem in question. All the tables included in past works are still there.

You can find it at the following 4shared link:

Gemtables 1.5