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

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Crux

Crux

Crux is on the east side of the Jenarild River nestled in the mountains. The surrounding land mass between the Jenarild and the Curving Stream has almost no living animals on it. Due to the lack of herbivores the plants have grown to great heights except around the city where the plant life is held back. This is due to the necromantic nature of Crux.

Crux has a population of about 11,000 living people. The rest of the population is undead. The workforce for the city is Skeletons and  Zombies for menial tasks and Ghouls and Wights for tasks that require intelligence. Almost all the people in the city have the ability to turn or rebuke undead from one class or another. This power is necessary to make an unliving servant do your bidding, unless it is intelligent and not already under orders from somebody else. A quirk of the city is that positive energy will allow control of undead in Crux instead of destroying them.

This city is made possible by the silver tower at its center. Inside at the top of the tower is a three-headed Bodak, known as the Antenator. The Antenator imposes his will upon all undead in the city to serve living people if the living people can call upon the power of Hades. Intelligent undead are affected by this to, but can resist it if they have an extremely strong willpower.

In some sense this is Hades’ city on the real world. All the intelligent undead must swear an oath to serve Hades or risk him collecting their souls for his kingdom. He hates losing any subjects unless they continue to serve him in the Material Plane. Any knowledge about rituals related to death can be easily found in the city, but not demon lore.

The buildings in the city get progressively higher as they go away from the city wall until they reach the silver tower at the center of town. It is more than five hundred feet high and reinforced with adamantine and alchemical silver. Anyone may enter the tower in an attempt to reach the top where the Antenator resides. It is said that the Bodak will answer a single inquiry or attack anyone who reaches the top based on that person’s intentions. Most wish to ask it a question about a dark ritual that cannot be found in any book, but some go to try to kill it. The many challenges on the way up have stopped everybody so far.

The Bank of Lamentation is found in Crux. It is a bank staffed entirely by Vampires. They protect the valuables put inside without question no matter what they are and collect their fees in blood or in a percentage of what is stored. The bank is guarded during the day by golems imported from Crafterton and is only open at night for withdrawals or deposits. The bank does not offer loans unless you are willing to put up souls for collateral.

There is a potion shop in the city of Crux run by the venerable lich, Vectra. Not much is know about this old specimen, but she seems to know everything about anybody who walks into her shop. It is said that she does not belong to Hades, but to herself. She is missing her left hand and eye probably from before her, “death,” or she has used them as her phylacteries. Every potion imaginable is available in the shop including some rarities from the Factory of Ideals in Crafterton. An amazing destructive spell is also sold in Vectra’s shop. It is rumored that the spell ends all life within a three mile radius of its casting. She sells the scroll of this spell to countries, kings, and other powerful people, and is willing to do a demonstration casting on the land outside of Crux for any who seems capable of paying her. The countries that are known to possess this spell are Xoria, Persia, India, and Ethiopia. None of these countries plans on invading the others.

In recent history the city of Crux has begun to move southwest. Undead work tireless, day and night, to pick entire buildings up, move them a few hundred feet southwest, then go back to bring forward another building. Rumor says that Crux will enter the Second Alliance War, but it is not yet know which side they will fight on.

-GoCorral

League of Legends Map Part 3

https://i2.wp.com/ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Nocturne_0.jpg

League of Legends Map Part 2

In this post I use the word champion a lot. A champion is the character a player uses within League of Legends. There are over a hundred champions to choose from. The picture above is of one of my favorite champions, Nocturne.

How do people actually play on the map for League of Legends? Why have I described all these turrets and minions and monsters?

The reason is the one of the in game currencies, gold.

League of Legends has three in game currencies, Influence Points (IP), Riot Points (RP), and gold.

IP and RP aren’t used when actually playing the game. They can get you new champions to play with or new looks for those champions. They also get you minor bonuses in game called runes.

Gold is used for purchases while actually playing the video game. Gold starts at 475 at the beginning of every game, enough for one small item.

For a bit of perspective, short games often end with each player having 6,000-9,000 gold. An average length game ends with each player having 12,000-15,000 gold. A long game ends with 15,000-20,000 gold for each player.

Gold buys items. These items can do tons of different things.

They all provide a few basic statistics, making your champion stronger in particular areas. Attack damage makes your attacks stronger, ability power makes your abilities stronger, armor and magic resist prevent a bit of damage to your champion. Health lets your champion take more damage over all. Speed makes your champion faster. You get the idea.

The big items also provide a few special bonuses. One of them lets your champion freeze in place for one second and ignore all damage during that period. Another gives extra strength to all the other players on your team. Another makes your attacks hit three enemies instead of just one. There are dozens of other cool little bonuses.

But how do you get more gold to buy items? There are four basic ways, killing things, having items that give gold, destroying towers or other large objectives, and just waiting (everyone gets a certain amount of gold per second no matter what).

First, killing things. If your champion gets the last hit to kill a minion, monster, or opposing champion, then your champion gets a certain amount of gold.

The amount of gold from kills is decided by how hard it is to kill the target. Champions give the most, followed by the big monsters at each monster camp. After that are minions, with the small monsters at each monster camp being last.

There are a few items that give you more gold just by having them. The ways they give you gold vary. Some give it when you are close to someone else who kills a minion, some give you more for each thing you kill, etc.

Destroying towers or other large objectives is the point of the whole game. Taking down one of those gives a bunch of gold to the whole team. Often the team of five people will gather up to take down a specific tower or objective.

What are the other objectives? Remember the Baron Nashor and Dragon I mentioned in a previous post? Those are the other objectives.

Baron Nashor and the Dragon are two large monsters that sit in their camps adjacent to the River. They are effectively as big as a turret and can deal nearly as much damage as one. Because of this the whole team or close to the whole team is usually required to take them down as minions will not be taking the laser shots like they do at towers.

Killing Baron Nashor or the Dragon gives the whole team a buttload of gold. Baron Nashor has the additional benefit of giving a buff to your whole team, increasing all of their statistics. This buff lasts for four minutes.

The Baron respawns after seven minutes while the Dragon respawns after six minutes.

A lot of the gameplay of League of Legends requires teamwork. I’ll describe how a team is chosen in another post.

If reading this has gotten you interested in League of Legends you can click this link to download the game for free. Doing so also gives me a little boost in game, so we’re both winners! League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Meta

League of Legends Map Part 1

This is a map of League of Legends. I figured I’d bring it up to show you a few things about the game to help understand future posts.

The League of Legends map is split into two halves. The middle line is referred to as the River because in the actual game shallow water divides the map. This dividing line goes from the top left to the bottom right.

The two sides, bottom left and top right, are color coded in League of Legends. You can see the little icons on the map above are blue for bottom left and purple for top right. Because of these colors the two sides are always called blue side and purple side.

Each side has a corner deep in its territory where the base of that side is. To win the game your team must break into the opposing base and destroy the giant crystal there called the Nexus. The Nexus is represented on the map by the six pointed star thing.

The map is further defined by the three lanes. The three lanes are top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. The lanes are marked by those helmet looking things you can see on the map.

Top lane runs the perimeter of the map from bottom left, to the top left, and then to the top right. Bottom lane runs the opposite perimeter from bottom left, to bottom right, and then to the top right. Middle lane runs on a diagonal across the map from bottom left to top right.

Every thirty seconds three groups of computer controlled minions spawn at each Nexus. One group goes down each lane. The minions of each side meet at the River and fight each other to a standstill. The actions of the people playing the game will tip the balance in favor of one side or another.

The goal of the game is to destroy the Nexus, but all those helmet looking things, called towers or turrets, protect the Nexus.

Each turret has to be destroyed in succession. An outer turret in one lane must be destroyed before an inner turret can be dealt any damage.

So why not just walk up to a turret and blow it up? Because it shoots lasers at you! That’s why!

The turrets prioritize their laser targets in a predictable way though. Taking advantage of this prioritization allows the turrets to be destroyed.

The first target of turret is always a player on the opposing team if that player is attacking a player on the turret’s team. The secondary targets are minions. If no minions are in range the turret will fire its lasers at any enemy players that come within range.

So the turrets are approached and destroyed by having minions going first and ignoring any opposing players that may be under the turret. This can be quite dangerous so a certain amount of strategy is required to accomplish it.

I’ll talk about those strategies in a different post though!

If you’d like to give League of Legends a try you can click this link and give me a little boost in game. League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 2

Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed