Characters of Cimmeria: Bigby

Bigby is actually not a creation of my own, but that of Gary Gygax and Robert Kuntz, two of the original creators of Dungeons and Dragons. My creation is more of tribute than a direct port of the character that Gygax and Kuntz created. If you’d like to learn more about the original Bigby, he’s actually important enough to have his own Wikipedia page! Who’d have thought?

bigby

Bigby was an Elven sorcerer whose magical style revolutionized many magical fields and has been often duplicated since. He lived in the forest that now bears his name and defended it from attackers of all sorts. Bigby joined with the other heroes of his time to fight in the Dragon War. He imprisoned the green dragon matriarchs that plagued his forest in the Green Orb of Dragonkind. After sealing away his foe, Bigby slept along with the other heroes of the Dragon War, ready to wake when the world needed him again.

Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Korm

Some of the Cimmeria posts I make will be about two characters. Smaller characters have smaller posts but I don’t want to deprive you all of a decently sized blog post on Cimmeria every week. The information for this week’s two characters is pulled from a forgotten note I wrote a few years ago on how magic items can possess people in D&D. So let’s get started with our two characters of the week, Cecilia (again) and the magic talking dagger, Korm!

Cecilia

Cecilia returned home after traveling with Jovy and spent many years there before the Dragon War erupted. What happened during those years? Continue reading

Characters of Cimmeria: Tentineh

Tentineh

Tentineh was one of the most powerful wizards who ever lived. Master of the elements he came up with many new spells never seen before. He became the defender of Greshendale during the Age of Monsters. Frustrated with draconic tyranny, Tentineh led the heroes of the land during the Dragon War. He invented the Orbs of Dragonkind to imprison the dragons. Greshendale was destroyed during the war, but upon the heroes’ victory, Tentineh used half of the Orbs to rebuild Greshendale as a flying city. Tentineh now lies with the other heroes of the Dragon War, deep beneath the earth awaiting the return of the silver dragons which he personally imprisoned.

Tentineh was the first son born to a wealthy farmer in the Greshen Valley. Tentineh’s family did not know, but he was destined for great things. His mother had been attacked by one of the wyverns of the Terror Mountains in her youth. The poison from the wyvern’s sting lingered in her body and transferred into the babe during her pregnancy. The poison tested the boy and he came through, not weakened, but fortified with the might of the dragon.

Tentineh’s father saved up all his gold to pay for the boy’s education. He apprenticed his son to an accomplished wizard who also happened to be a descendant of Sadroston. From a young age Tentineh learned all the secrets passed down by Sadroston. He mastered them with a unnatural speed due to the draconic power flowing in his veins. He swiftly surpassed his master and rose to be the greatest spellcaster in the whole of Greshen Valley.

The dragons in the Terror Mountains did not permit the people in the valley to organize armies, but the same could not be said for the trolls in the foothills. Tentineh had experience repelling smaller troll attacks with his command over the elements, but his powers could not stop an entire army of the beasts when they attacked. Instead, the young wizard turned to dark, forbidden magicks. He summoned a fiery demon from beyond the realm of Hades to vanquish the trolls. This slaad, as it was called, defeated the troll army, but it demanded a terrible price. It would see the whole world burn in payment for it’s service.

Tentineh moved quickly to thwart this new threat to Greshendale’s safety. The infernal slaad rested after obliterating the trolls to regain its power. Tentineh  dug through old tomes of binding spells. He found what he needed and used the magic to imprison the slaad forever. A magical rod provided the key to the slaad’s prison and the key could only be turned by three mages, one of good nature, one of evil, and one of neither. The rod was broken into pieces and scattered across the realm to prevent the slaad’s return.

Tentineh never wanted to resort to such dire measures again. He began secretly training the people of Greshendale in the magical and martial arts. If the dragons would not let him have an army, then he would hide it from them. In time, a force of giants descended from the mountains. Tentineh could not halt the giants’ advance on his own. He was forced to use his army and in so doing, reveal it to the dragons. The punishment was certain, death.

Rather than submit to the dragons’ judgement, Tentineh gathered the heroes of the land alongside his army. Thus began the Dragon War. The war lasted many long years. Killing the dragons proved difficult. The elder wyrms that ruled their species could regenerate even the most dire of wounds. Tentineh’s past experience proved invaluable in solving this problem. Instead of killing the dragons he bound their leaders to ten crystal orbs. Each dragon color had two elder wyrms that led it. Each Orb contained within it one of those leaders while the other leader was set to guard the Orb for all eternity. The Orbs in turn gave great power to any mortal that possessed them.

Tentineh advised the other heroes he had fought with to place eternal defenses around the Orbs. Those who could not or would not gave their Orbs to their architect. Tentineh used them to build a new Greshendale, for the original city in the valley had been destroyed during the war. Vast power was poured into the city. A volcano imprisoning an ancient enemy of Zeus was used in the creation of the new city, freeing the monstrous Dahak and winning its gratitude. Other powerful artifacts besides the Orbs were used in the city’s construction but it was still not enough. Tentineh took more magic from the surrounding land and the valley died as its life energy was given over to the city. Holes in the fabric of the world were ripped asunder. These holes are still present in the valley as empty spheres, consuming all that is placed within them.

In the end, Tentineh completed his vision. Greshendale flew. The magic within the city made it a paradise, providing light, food, water, shelter, communication, and entertainment to all who lived within it. The people of the valley were offered a choice, live in the floating city or strike out on their own. Many accepted Tentineh’s offer and moved into new homes. The others attempted to settle a new Greshendale to the south, but the settlement upon the ground atrophied within a few generations.

Tentineh did his best to be a good leader to his subjects. He set up the War Mage Academy to teach them battle magic for defense. He invited druids, sorcerers, and psions to the city to teach other forms of magic. He bound elementals to his service to further enhance the city’s comforts. Tentineh even set up a ruling council of mages so that he would not have absolute tyrannical power over the city.

Despite all his accomplishments, a dark fear still lingered in Tentineh’s heart. The Orbs were not indestructible. The dragons could return in time. He worked out a plan along with the nine other heroes who had imprisoned the dragons. Should an Orb be broken, the hero who defeated that dragon would be summoned once more to re-imprison the beast. To keep their youthful edge sharp for all eternity, the heroes would voluntarily accept a death-like slumber. Eons could pass, but they would not age. They would wait, and when the dragons returned, they would be ready.

Tentineh sleeps with his companions beneath the earth now, awaiting the return of the silver dragons.

-GoCorral

Locations of Cimmeria: Geyser of Talos

Geyser of Talos

The Geyser of Talos is a magical location in the far north of Cimmeria. The Geyser lies about a day’s journey west of the origin point of the Great Divide river which separates Cimmeria’s western and eastern halves.

When the Olympians moved to Cimmeria, Hephaestus was looking for a location to set up his new forge. Before finding his permanent home in Horror Peak he made a temporary work station for himself at the base of the Terror Mountains. Needing water to quench his red-hot iron, Hephaestus struck his hammer upon the ground and a geyser shot up. Since the smith god vacated the area, the Geyser has dwindled, only erupting every few months. The water still retains the magical qualities imbued into it by its progenitor, making it useful for all manner of things. Continue reading

Sheerzen

Two notes about this city. First, it uses a numbering city in parenthesis to indicate which floor the current description applies to. Second, the concept for the history of this city was created in part by a member of my D&D group. His screen name is Zigfried and he deserves a lot of credit for developing the unique flavor of Sheerzen’s history.

Sheerzen.png

Sheerzen is a town of about 10,000 people built in the middle of Apollo’s Plains. The town was constructed by an early group of heroes, Brelfagar the Dwarven fighter, Shoree the Human paladin, Sunrise the Elven wizard, and Jeffery the Human cleric of the Muses. This adventuring party known as the Bronze Chords served their bronze dragon master, Rilopenaril. There are not many useful resources in the area around Sheerzen besides good soil. The city is not along any large rivers or trade routes. Earthquakes routinely rock the area destroying most buildings and any tunnels that would provide a connection to the Underdark. Sheerzen was constructed in this location precisely because it had little to offer. With no resources, the Bronze Chords hoped it would always be a peaceful city.

Sheerzen has only one building, a gigantic castle built atop an even bigger hill and surrounded by a moat. The keep rises about one thousand feet into the air. At the center of the tower is an empty space about forty feet across. This area is called the levitation elevator and bestows the power of levitation on all those who come into it.  There are stairs, but most residents use the elevator. The elevator does not reach the top six levels of the fortress. A magical waterfall goes through the center of this great empty space and provides all the water the citizens need. The waterfall disappears into a magical hole in the ground floor to prevent flooding.

The whole structure is reinforced with adamantine and lead making it impossible to teleport or scry into. The first five (1-5) levels of the castle are entirely defensive except for a park at the base of the elevator. These defensive levels are a show of force to visitors and an actual precaution against those who might attack Sheerzen. Hundreds of arrow slits look out on Apollo’s Hill making sure no army can approach within a mile without being shot at by ballistae, bows, crossbows, slings, catapults, and magical defenses.

The next dozen or so (6-19) levels are mostly commercial, so that tourists and visitors to the city need not go too far to find what they are looking for. The town sells commemorative items with a specialty in complex imitation weapons and armor for children to wear. Many famous painters, sculptors, and architects are also from Sheerzen and copies of their works are sold in numerous shops. The hotels and restaurants of the city are also on the commercial levels.

The next few (20-26) levels are where crafting takes place. These levels although unattractive need to be low in the fortress so that resources would not have to be taken all the way up to the top of the building. Sheerzen has a large available space for making items, but not enough people using that space. It would be a rival to Crafterton if it shared a similar central location in The Magical Lands. The work place and tools are free to use for all, but craftsmen must provide their own materials. A popular recreation for the people of Sheerzen is to see who can make the best of a particular type of item or how fast someone can make such an item.

The next couple dozen (27-93) levels are mostly residential with parks on some levels surrounding the elevator. A few hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses take up shop on these levels as well, but it is against an unenforced law for them to do so. These levels are considered claustrophobic by the people who do not live in Sheerzen because of the low ceiling on the wide boulevards.

The next (94) level of Sheerzen contains the city’s legal facilities, jail, and police headquarters. The police headquarters is on the inner circle with the jail in the middle circle and the courts and lawyer’s offices on the outer circle. The town has no punishments for which the jail is required. The jail is used to house criminals before their trials. Sheerzen’s legal code is regular except that during a siege or war almost every punishment is death. Capital punishment is always carried out by tossing the convict off the roof of the fortress. The landing spot is surrounded by a railing to prevent an innocent person being crushed by any falling felons.

The next three (95-97) levels are for the administrative offices of the town. The treasury of Sheerzen is on the 95th level with an extensive guard contingent to prevent theft. The bureaucrats are on these levels as well as the library and hospital. The elevator does not reach these levels. Permission from Sheriff Dratles or another person of similar importance is required to access the staircase to the 95th floor and above.

The 98th level is entirely empty except for the stairs going up and down directly across from each other. Most people upon entering this room for the first time find it unsettling due to the low ceiling. Some with weaker constitutions have even thrown up when walking across it. The rumor is that it serves some purpose for the defense of the city, but no one really knows.

The 99th and 100th levels make up the palace of the large royal family. The royals are descended from the Bronze Chords. Rilopenaril repeatedly seeded the adventurers’ descendants with his own bloodline ensuring that any member of the Sheerzen royal family would have some draconic features. Additionally all of the royal family members have some command over arcane power due to their draconic descent. Rilopenaril encouraged the development of this arcane power in the royal family and eventually he became obsessed with it. The dragon organized magical duels for his children to determine who was the best sorcerer. This tradition expanded until the successor to the current monarch was chosen by the winner of a series of lethal duels between the bronze dragon’s grandchildren.

Danar the Beastslayer was the most significant king in Sheerzen’s history. Exiled at an early age, Danar returned to the city after training for many years in the swamp that now bears his name. Danar slew his elder brother, Einhart, in a magical duel and claimed the crown. He joined the other heroes of the age in their fight against the tyranny of the dragons. Danar helped defeat his own ancestors, Rilopenaril and the dragon’s twin sister, Langudina. The mortal warrior locked away the dragon monarchs in the Orbs of Dragonkind, becoming the guardian of the Red Orb.

Rilopenaril left Sheerzen after his sister was locked away in the Bronze Orb. He guards the Bronze Orb at a hidden location close to the tower city. The conditions of Rilopenaril’s magical bondage allow him to visit Sheerzen for the coronations, funerals, and weddings of each successive monarch. The current king and queen are Dominiic and Freya. Forty years ago the Xorian army marched upon Sheerzen. The king and queen surrendered the city to Xoria on the condition that their line and traditions be allowed to continue. King Dominiic and Queen Freya elected to keep their mortality, but do not judge the decisions their subjects make. Under these conditions, a mortal and Dragovinian aristocracy have peacefully mixed in Sheerzen.

Sheerzen was built to be a haven for artisans and craftsmen to practice their art without worrying about their income. The city’s enchantments allow the monarchy to easily provide patronage for hundreds of artists. To defend the city the army is outfitted with the best weapons available and focuses on learning defensive battle strategies without losing a single man to the opponent’s weapons. Because the fortress creates its own food and water within it is always prepared for a siege. The magical nature of the monarchy extends to the army where mages are trained to dispel and counter enemy battle mages.

Danar has recently returned to life due to the destruction of the Red Orb. The magic that orchestrated his return will only allow him to rest once Invernix is defeated once more. Danar decided to delay his confrontation with Invernix due to the numerous other contemporary threats to the people of Cimmeria. Once he feels the world is safe enough, Danar will confront Invernix once more.

-GoCorral

League of Explorers Card Highlights

What is League of Explorers bringing to the Hearthstone table?

“The Discover mechanic!” is the easy answer. As the Zinaar boss already showed us in a not so subtle way, Discover lets you pick between three different cards and add one of them to your hand, just like an Arena draft. Discover isn’t going to take over the game, but its a new way to gain card advantage. You play a card that has a Battlecry: Discover effect and then it trades with something. You traded card for card, but you also got a bonus card through the Battlecry.

With that said here’s a few of the cards that look the best to me in the League of Explorers adventure for Hearthstone.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Super useful if you’re building a deck for a class, but don’t plan on using that classes hero power very much. A Rogue Inspire deck for example. And if you wanted to have more Murloc stuff Sir Finley Mrrgglton can be included in a deck with these two beauties: Everyfin is Awesome and Anyfin Can Happen

Brann BronzebeardRumbling Elemental

Both of these cards will make Battlecry decks way more popular and viable. I’d wager that this will be on the level of the rise of Deathrattle decks after the release of Naxxramas.

Reno Jackson

He was released in the first wing and already has a few highlights on YouTube. Good in any control deck. Reno’s Battlecry will trigger based off the cards in your deck at the time he is played, so if you are using a deck that runs two of everything, but you’ve drawn or played one copy of each of those cards then his effect will trigger.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:

Mirror of DoomLantern of PowerTimepiece of Horror

Rafaam has the advantage of giving you whatever tool you need to take control of the game. His disadvantage is that you won’t be able to take advantage of that tool until the turn after you play Rafaam. Also, imagine a combination of Rafaam and Brann. Two super cards! They remain super expensive though.

Animated Armor

I saw a lot of buzz about this card being good and how it will make Mages even more untouchable. I gotta say that’s not true. Most of the time this will act as a 4/4 taunt. Just a slightly different stat allocation that Sen’jin Shieldmasta.

Keeper of Uldaman

This one functions a lot like Aldor Peacekeeper but it has an alternative use, buffing a Silver Hand Recruit up! When use that way it comes with a grand total of 5/6 stats making it one of the best 4 mana cards out there.

Unearthed Raptor

I routinely compete in a Hearthstone card creation contest on Order of the Stick’s Forums and cards like this have been suggested many times in the past. I’m glad that Blizzard has introduced the card. It’s got good stats and it should reliably have a good Deathrattle effect. Or it could be used to make Mill Rogue stronger by copying Deathlord or Dancing Swords Deathrattle.

Explorer's Hat

I don’t think this card will be particularly good, but I’m excited that it was released. Hearthstone is based off of Magic the Gathering and there are obvious similarities between the two games. Hearthstone has spells that buff creatures, and Magic has enchant creature spells. Enchant creature spells hang around as a card that is actively affecting it’s creature while Hearthstone cleans up that mess by having the effects of the spell visually appear on the card’s stats.

But what if you want to separate the buff/enchant creature from the creature after you’ve played it? that was easy enough in Magic, if you have a card that lets you do that, you move the enchant creature to a different creature. Wizards of the Coast made that process even easier with the release of equipment cards. In Hearthstone… There’s no easy way to do that and have it integrated with the game’s current mechanics.

So instead we get this janky mess! It hearkens back to the early days before Magic’s equipments were released. When Rancor and Angelic Destiny were the staple for reapplying enchant creatures. I understand Explorer’s Hat perfectly well, but it’s going to be a confusing card for novice players.

There’s a lot more cards but none that wowed me like these ones did. If you want to look at the others they are all posted here.

-GoCorral

Nox

Nox

Nox, the jewel of Xoria, boasts a population of over 200,000 people and the largest collection of magical artifacts. The artifacts are kept at the Museum of Power in the center of the metropolis. Because of the destructive potential of these various weapons, visitors are only admitted to the museum by petitioning King Jevaninada II himself. The collection includes the Sanguine Belt of the Night Mother, the Mace of Slaughter, the Invisible Ring of Cats, the Crescent of Wrath, the Fork of Horripilation, the Ten League Boots, the Face of Gods, the Ring of Impervious, the Prismatic Blade, Sin’s Mask, the Shadowstaff, the Staff of Not, the Ring of Draconic Wizardry, the Orb of Omniscience, a Hammer of Thunderbolts, a Deck of Many Things, and a Staff of the Magi. A few more items would be in the stockpile if the king himself was not using them. The possible depredations these items could commit led to the gods themselves granting aid for their protection. Hades allowed the resurrection of Argus from the dead if he would keep his hundred eyes upon all the artifacts in the Museum of Power. The museum is one large hall with Argus standing in the center of it, eternally watching and guarding the items to make sure none of them go missing.

Nox is the capital of Xoria and is ruled by King Jevaninada II, patriarch of the Xorian royal family. While Jevaninada II’s official duties include the administration of  Nox, he is far too busy with the ongoing war between Xoria and the Alliance in Eastern Cimmeria. Daily tasks in the city are delegated to Firotoshan, one of Jevaninada’s friends from childhood with a great head for numbers. Nearly every day he can be seen leading some public works project to benefit the upper class, executing criminals, or welcoming new Dragovinians into the fold. To many citizens, Firotoshan is the symbol of Xorian oppression. The Rebels have tried to assassinate him several times, but failed in all attempts. Firotoshan was the one who suggested the practice of using Dragovinian beasts to monitor the commoners and crush dissent.

The Kingdom of Xoria began its true expansion under King Demotinira. He conquered the cities of Jeutontic and Cecilia and setup the successful colony of Petar. When Demotinira died he left his throne to his eldest child, his daughter, Tarigananata. His son, Jevaninada I, rallied the nobles of Xoria against Tarigananata, claiming that she was possessed by a demon. She was exiled and Jevaninada I took control of Xoria and Nox. He continued the expansion of the Kingdom, taking over Dradalden, Colchis, Makotako, and Semanarie. As his invasions threatened more and more of Cimmeria, the First Alliance was formed by Princess Tarigananata to reverse Jevaninada’s actions. The First Alliance took several cities and killed Jevaninada I. Jevaninada’s Amazon Queen Anajakaze took control of the growing Empire and ultimately crushed the Alliance.

During the last months of the war, Anajakaze gave birth to Jevaninada II, the son and king of Xoria. Until he turned eighteen and could take the throne, Anajakaze ruled as his regent. She continued the relentless expansion, taking over Gazeara, Danar’s Swamp, Crafterton, and Sheerzen. Anajakaze implemented a matriarchal system of leadership, placing women in positions of power to undermine the traditional patriarchy. Jevaninada II resented this system and wished to return to the old ways. Anajakaze, aware of this, did not surrender her regency when Jevaninada II came of age.

Both Jevaninada II and Anajakaze were in for a surprise. After months of insisting that his mother step down, Jevaninada II attacked her in an attempt to force her compliance with his wishes. Their battle was interrupted by the arrival of Blendegad the Reaper, vampiric red dragon. Blendegad slew the queen and drank the blood of Jevaninada II. The vampiric dragon blood mixed with Jevaninada II’s divine royal blood creating a new form of vampire, Dragovinians.

A new religion was created for Xoria, Dragoviniysm. The deity, Blendegad, and his avatar, Jevaninada II, asked for service from their subjects and the immortal status of the Dragovinian was gifted to the faithful. The matriarchal reforms were reversed. Jevaninada II spent twenty years securing his power within his own Kingdom. Then in 400 BCE, Jevaninada II mobilized the Xorian people to attack the Second Alliance city of Phoenix. After several years, the city was taken. Jevaninada II splits his time between directing activities on the front and performing his duties in Castle Xoria at Nox.

Originally all the buildings of Nox were contained within the city walls, but more and more people immigrated to the city over the years. Now less than twenty percent of Nox’s population is actually protected by the walls. The rest of the city sprawls outwards to the west and north. After a large fire within the walls decades ago the city was rebuilt with orderly straight streets. The fire also allowed the nobles of Xoria to cluster their estates around Castle Xoria in the center of Nox.

Although Castle Xoria is not as physically strong as Colchis Castle or Sheerzen, it does have the advantage of being a complete maze. Most of the inner passageways are only two or three feet across. Guests often get lost if not accompanied by a member of the castle staff or a noble. There was even one noble who was thought dead for ten years who resurfaced in the castle. He had lost his way and survived on rat flesh and moss for a decade. The problem is so severe that some visitors to the castle are sure that magic is at work.

The nearby wood is called the King’s Copse because only Jevaninada II and his guests are allowed within the forest’s borders. He goes there occasionally on hunting trips, but the copse is used for nothing else. Any who venture into it are never seen again. The wood that Nox uses for fires, buildings, and furniture is acquired from the thin Royal Forest to the northwest or imported from Makotako.

Nox’s main export is food. In the past this was sent to Persia, Scythia, or the rest of Cimmeria. With the war underway, all excess food is sent to the front to feed the troops. This is especially necessary due to the shortage within Phoenix due to the prolonged siege. Nox continues to import luxury items for the many nobles in the city. With the explosion of Dragovinianism among the nobles, rare bloods are now in high demand.

The high concentration of Dragovinians in Nox has also put a great deal of pressure upon the common people in the capital city. The nobles and others gifted with Dragovinian status don’t spend all their time drinking exotic imported blood. Usually they gain their sustenance from the weekly ceremony where citizens are forced to gather in Dragovinian churches to “donate.” Bloodletting is spread throughout the populace to prevent injury or death, but the practice remains demeaning. Coupled with the everyday depridations of the Dragovinians due to their naturally evil disposition and the people of Nox are ready to revolt. The Dragovinian beasts prevent direct action within the city, so many people have fled the city to join the Rebellion in Bigby’s Forest.

-GoCorral