Monday, June 29, 2015

:: Random NPC--Forest Marshal Saturnina ::

Forest Marshal Saturnina (“To Sow”)
by Krista Kubie, 6/27/2015

a ranai bulb-lantern bearer
Race: Ranai
Age: Adult
Gender: Female
Stature: Tall
Physical: Broad shoulders
Outwardly: Exuberant
Inwardly: Joyful
Profession: Marshall
Magic: Wunderkind--Enmity/ Love
Catchphrase: “Heeey! You cut that out you crazy...person!”

As you hack and slash and slash and hack your way through the underbrush, you are suddenly halted mid-slash by a shrill exuberant voice. “Heeey! You cut that out you crazy...person!” A tall, braod-shouldered ranai woman swings in from a neighboring copse of trees, nearly tngled in the vine she’s riding. “You just cut through two snakes and a tree that just had it’s four-thousand-three-hundred-and-sixty-first birthday!”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

:: Random Item—Mandeep's Living Nightmare ::

Mandeep’s Living Nightmare
or Dying for Merciful Nirvana
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/25/15

a grimoire
Books: History
Culture: Sirens
Condition: Dirty, Intact
Color: Pastel Pink
Keyword: Nirvana

The siren guarding the underwater grotto agrees to let you pass only on the condition that you read a passage aloud from a book in her collection. When you agree she selects a volume bound in the hides of pink starfish and slimy with algae. Opening the book you discover that it is a history of one Mandeep, a draconian dendrite who once sought to find release from reincarnation and offer her soul to the void of nothingness.
The passage you select details Mandeep’s final attempt at lasting release—a long off-white gown woven from the tendrils of poisonous jellyfish. Upon entering a lake deep within an undersea grotto, Mandeep’s record says that the dress’ poison would sink into her skin and obliterate her soul, granting her true death. After reading the passage you look up to see the siren gazing at the water of the lake with bitter reminiscence. Taking the book from you again she wordlessly escorts you into the grotto.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

:: Random NPC—Yale, Bórean Dendrite ::

Yale (“Fertile Upland”)
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/25/15

a bórean
Race: Bórean
Age: Adult
Gender: Female
Stature: Short
Physical: Small Head
Outwardly: Paranoid
Inwardly: Desperate
Profession: Physician
Magic: Dendrite—Awakened
Animal: Lion “Caerwyn”
Catchphrase:You there. Is the Winslie village up ahead? Tell me truths or I will know! Hurry, speak!”

As you leave the Winslie village toward the Dreaming Desert you see a strange sight; out on the horizon a silhouette wavers in the heat. You take it to be a lion, but struggle to understand why it has the upper body of a snouted creature, complete with two massive clawed hands, growing out of its neck. You shake your head, wondering if the sands have already begun to take hold on your mind. Regardless, the silhouette is fast approaching.
When the beast reaches you at last, your eyes correct themselves—it is not one beast but two. The snouted creature turns out to be a bórean with an exceptionally small head. The mole-woman reins in her snow-white mount and hails you from a cautious distance. “You there. Is the Winslie village up ahead? Tell me truths or I will know! Hurry, speak!”

Friday, June 26, 2015

:: Random Location—Pillars of Qilak ::

Pillars of Qilak
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/24/15

a seraph
Monument: Henge
Nation: Seraphim
Condition: Wild, Elaborate
Weather: Thunderstorm
Color: Light Brown
Keyword: Awesome

After strapping the pirium-wrapped bracers to your arms you tighten the pirium-toed boots on your feet to ensure they don’t fall off mid-flight. The company of seraphim surround you, caked in the light brown mud significant to their religious rituals. The lead escort gives you the nod to activate the levitation gear. Doing so, you rise with them into the night. Lightning flashes in the distance and the thunder soon follows, cracking and rumbling across the cloudy sky as if in recognition of the seraph who lies dead high above.
The funeral site is composed of a levitating henge of pirium pillars encircling the sacred space, blue electricity infrequently snapping between them. In the center hovers a pirium bier, bearing the body of the slain. All around, the attending seraphim don their pirium circlets, glowing brightly in the night, making the scene feel somewhat like a candle-light vigil in a human cathedral. When all have gathered an elaborate ritual begins, thunder rolling after each plea to the Strangers of Darkness. At last, all seraphim close their eyes and the pirium henge is lit up by a web of blue lightning. When you look again, the body of the deceased is gone.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

:: Random Item—Maya's Molten Hide ::

Maya’s Molten Hide
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/24/15

Materials: Copper
Culture: Draconians
Condition: Short/Wide, Dull
Color: Dark Brown
Keyword: Reckoning

Following the earth-shaking bangs and clangs coming from around the bend, you emerge from the gorge in time to witness a reckoning of an epic scale out on the sand dunes. The combatants are two ajagara avatars; one of metal and one of crystal by the looks of them, both snarling with lethal intent. Around them are gathered armies of their younger draconian kin, all gnashing their teeth at their rivals. Though the champions are formidable, the battle looks to be near its close.
You watch as the dragon made of violet crystal clamps its teeth down on the polished copper neck-plates of the other. A noxious fume rises up from the wound as the polished copper begins to tarnish and turn a dark dull brown. The copper dragon opens its mouth and shouts, a bolt of lightning flashing forth. But the arc forks wide, striking the crystal dragon’s kin with devastating results. The crystal avatar turns and roars, unleashing a spray of foul-smelling steam over its opponent. When the cloud clears, all that remains of the crystal’s rival is a bubbling puddle of liquefied copper.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

:: Random NPC—Devadas, Draconian Shaman ::

Devadas (“Servant of God”)
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/23/15

Race: Draconian
Species: Chameleon
Age: Old
Gender: Female
Stature: Average
Physical: Hunchback
Outwardly: Languid
Inwardly: Ashamed
Profession: Potter
Magic: Shaman—Spirit Guide
Catchphrase: “About time you got around to breaking open the door.”

You reach forward to open the entrance to the steppe pyramid, but instead of swinging inward, the whole slab falls backward, slamming with a heavy crunch, splitting into several uneven pieces. Wincing, you gingerly step over the rubble and enter a small antechamber where stands, shelves, and hooks are burdened with an overabundance of simple red-clay ceramics, a ghostly mist swirling inside of each.
You press further, into a slightly larger chamber—what appears to be a ceramist’s workshop—complete with a potter’s wheel, piles and piles of red clay, and an empty bed. “About time you got around to breaking open the door,” says a voice from the bed. Only after you look more closely do you see that the bed was never actually empty; it’s occupant had simply been so well hidden by natural camouflage that you had not noticed her before. The old hunched draconian sighs wearily as she rolls into a stooped sitting position. “Go on, then,” she says as if you’ve been well acquainted for years, “let’s hear what you have to say.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

:: Big News! ::

Hey, everyone! The big news of the week is Grimoire was just voted the best sample world in the Drop Dead Studios' Worldbuilding Semi-Contest! Shout out to all those who voted, and an honorable mention to the other entrants, who all had some pretty great stuff. They say competition breeds excellence, and these entries are certainly evidence of that:

Irnhardt          Erda          Alsaria

Check them out!

In other news, you'll notice I've added tabs at the top of the page so you can now navigate the information from my worldbuilding submission with the greatest of ease. Take note that the classes have now been updated to reflect the full Grimoire-unique classes, and not the simplified adaptations I included with my contest entry. So enjoy!

Thanks again to everyone who reads these words. You're why I do this!
Happy GMing, and leave me some comments about your grand adventures!

:: Update—Grimoire Classes ::

Howdy, everyone!

You may have noticed that the Grimoire classes dropped today! You can find them on the tabs at the top of this page! These are the five iconic spellcasting classes used in the Grimoire campaign setting for Pathfinder and Spheres of Power. I apologize for the poor quality of the tables; I couldn't figure out any other way to get them in. If you need clarification on anything, or if you see something that doesn't look right, do leave me a comment in the appropriate class entry and I'll get to it as soon as possible.

Ideally, I'd like these entries to serve as a reference for you to play some Grimoire campaigns. If you do, be sure to let me know how it went and give me any feedback you have!

Thanks for reading!

:: Grimoire Class—Exemplar ::

Exemplar (cleric/witch variant)
by Wm Jay Carter III, inspired by the Incanter class from Spheres of Power
An exemplar exercises faith in an eldritch patron—be it a Stranger, the Soul of Athanasia itself, or some other powerful otherworldly entity—to bring about miracles which would never be possible by mortal means. She qualifies for these abilities by entering into a covenant with the being that supplies her power.
This class represents the righteous prophet who serves as the instrument of her god’s will, the priestess of a nature goddess who does as she will but vows to harm none, or the willing thrall of a demon who seeks to spread darkness across the land.
In Athanasia, a worshipper of the Light or Dark joins an order and is called a priestess (male: priest). A devotee of the World Soul joins a coven and is known as a witch (male: wicker). Each order and coven is different, even among those of the same eldritch patron, but each is commonly led by an experienced member who officiates at gatherings and admonishes members to remain faithful to their oaths.
The ways an exemplar conducts herself—as well as the nature and extent of her powers—are based entirely on the terms of her oath. An exemplar’s faithfulness to the oath is rewarded with an increase in power, eventually permitting her to become one with the power she serves. Such scions of Strange Power are called avatars.
On the other hand, breaking her oath can only be interpreted as a rejection of her patron, leaving herself open to the domination of opposing forces. Such oathbreakers become hags (male: warlock).
The Fate sphere best characterizes the influence of the eldritch patron in the life of the exemplar. Exemplars of the Light or Dark take the associated spheres, respectively. Exemplars of the World Soul traditionally take the Destruction sphere, although the Creation and Nature spheres are available to those with an open mind. Exemplars gain the sphere aligned with their eldritch patron by virtue of patron-unique sphere-specific drawbacks (see Eldritch Patrons, below). Any other sphere that aligns with the purposes of the exemplar’s patron is encouraged.

:: Grimoire Class—Dendrite ::

Dendrite (druid variant)
by Wm Jay Carter III, inspired by the Hedgewitch class from Spheres of Power
All living things were created to create again, and by participating in this circle of life the dendrite participates in nature’s inherent magic. Like the seed, the dendrite is meant to grow, achieve the height of her magical potential, and then pass her strength on to the next generation so that the cycle may continue. A dendrite sees all things—including herself—as zoe (“alive”), and therefore equal. She harnesses the land, the animals, and the plants to perform her magic. This, she believes, gives the lives of her fellow zoe greater purpose as she increases in wisdom and power.
Dendrites refer to themselves collectively as the Circle, or the Circle of Life. While not strictly an order in the same sense as a group of exemplars, it shares a similar structure. Instead of being led by one dominant leader, however, each dendrite looks to their elders (whether physical or mental) for guidance.
One is either born a dendrite, or will never be one as long as they live. To be One Who Knows the Oaks is a birthright of the Strangers’ true descendants. For this reason, the majority of dendrites are human, although the Circle will not turn away members who happen to be of another race. They do actively contend against those that claim the members of the Circle are not the literal descendants of Strangers, however.
Those who practice druery (the rituals of the dendrites) but are not descendants of the Strangers are called rangers. Only by being inducted into the Circle and participating in the Rites of Fertility can a ranger become eligible for rebirth within the bloodline. Therefore, if you ask a ranger whether all her years living with the Circle will ever result in her becoming a dendrite, the answer must be literally “not in this life.”
Those known to be of the dendritic bloodline begin their education within the Circle at a very young age. The initiate is taught of the cyclical path all dendrites walk. She learns respect for nature, and the rites of the World Soul. She is encouraged to explore the world and search for some soul, location, or object that might spark the fire of her Strange Memory.
At some time during her wanderings, the initiate recognizes a soul with whom she shares a bond like no other, her animal companion, whom she has known through all her lives. Her mind begins to open itself to knowledge she once had, other souls she was once acquainted with, and experience from her former lives. This event, called the Awakening, marks the beginning of her true life as a dendrite.
A dendrite’s awakening continues throughout her life. Indeed, she does not truly learn new skills or develop new talents, she simply remembers the ones she already had and picks up where she left off.
Some dendrites literally dedicate their lives to meditating on their past incarnations, only to come out of the trance decades later. When they do so, they bear centuries of experience, and—no matter their apparent age—are thereafter known as elders, for they have truly become old souls.
Dendrites have access to the powers of the physical world, favoring the Dark, Enhancement, Light, Nature, and Weather spheres. Their meditations on the circle of life make the Death, Divination, and Life spheres logical choices as well.

:: Grimoire Class—Shaman ::

Shaman (shaman archetype variant)
by Wm Jay Carter III, inspired by the Soul Weaver class from Spheres of Power
Sometimes known as a spirit guide or medicine woman (and erroneously labeled "witch doctor" by the ignorant), the shaman not only remembers the dead, she walks with them, communes with them, and draws her power from theirs.

She honors the spirits, whether those of her ancestors, the animals, or the Great Spirit which lives in all things. She believes that to dishonor those who came before is to weaken oneself.
To the shaman, the departed still live, separated only by the mist of mortality called the Æther (Ethereal Plane). One need only learn to part these mists if one wishes to see where the dead continue their journey, and walk beside them.
A shaman's connection to the Æther comes from ancestral influence. Somewhere along the way—intentionally or otherwise—she made contact with the world of spirits. This experience marked her as a liaison between the world of the living and the dead: a medium.
Mediums are revered and given a place of honor in tribal communities outside Euzoria. If they wish to advance their gift, they are given to the tribe shaman as an adopted child, and eventually become shamans themselves. Within Euzoria, however, a medium’s gift is often seen as a haunting—or worse, a possession—and dealt with accordingly. For this reason, very few mediums find the support necessary to become shamans within towns and cities.
Eventually, the more a shaman exposes herself to the spirit world, the more she becomes a part of it. The most advanced shamans—known as mystics—sacrifice their mortal senses to gain yet greater clarity on the other side of the Æther. Mystics walk the boundary between life and death with every step, and some do not even realize when they have died and become ghosts themselves.
Her connection to the Æther makes a shaman likely to use the Death and Life spheres. Her access to the knowledge of the spirit world makes the Divination and Mind spheres likely as well. Those shamans who commune with animal spirits might also take animal-themed talents such as Animal Friend and Speak with Animals (Nature).

:: Grimoire Class—Wunderkind ::

Wunderkind (sorcerer variant)
by Wm Jay Carter III, inspired by the Eliciter and Fey Adept classes from Spheres of Power
The seventh child of a seventh child, born on a midsummer's eve in a fairy circle, or taken by the fairies as a baby and replaced with a changeling, the wunderkind (plural: wunderkinder) has an innate connection to the Fey Realm, and therefore to magic itself. Wonders and strange happenings follow these magical prodigies from a young age, earning them the epithet "wonderchildren."
Willful to a fault, the wunderkind looks on those who submit themselves to others’ commands with disdain. Experiencing the fullest range of emotion and experience for herself is a wunderkind’s ultimate goal, and it is therein that she finds her power. A wunderkind’s approach to magic is intense, passionate, and personal.
Wunderkinder are shunned by most in Euzoria. The unintentional havoc she is capable of causing at an early age draws the attention of local peacekeepers, who prevent future problematic outbursts by issuing the wunderkinder a pirium torc or bracelet. The magically reactive metal drains the mana from her, thus diminishing her chaotic potential. For this reason, any person wearing pirium is commonly suspected to be a wunderkind and considered “dirty” or “troublesome” by scholarly spellcasters.
A wunderkind’s only chance for a normal life lies in a safehouse for her kind, called a kindergarten. Typically located outside city limits, each kindergarten is tended by a wunderkind—called a gartner—who is able to help the fledgeling spellcaster harness her emotions and abilities to her benefit, eventually teaching her to control her magic without the use of pirium.
Fortunate wunderkinder are apprenticed to a wanderer (nomadic wunderkind), as a herald, tasked with announcing her master’s arrival at each city they visit within Euzoria’s boundaries. Without pirium to clearly identify the wanderer as a wunderkind, permission must be obtained from the governor of a city before she may enter. The wanderer’s apprentice dons her pirium and negotiates with the governor for her master’s entry rights. No matter how gracious a host the governor may be, however, wanderers and their apprentices are typically permitted to stay inside city limits for only days at a time.
The most prestigious wunderkinder, however, are the magisters, and most wunderkinder seek to join the Magisterium. A group of wunderkinder in a league of their own, the Magisterium is known for hosting an annual 3-day event known as the Gathering outside the boundaries of Euzoria. The Gathering brings together all the wanderers and their apprentices across Athanasia and sets challenges for each to establish a loose ranking system among them, called leagues.
The crowning challenge at the Gathering is the Spectacle, where the most skilled wanderers and apprentices compete for a chance to join the Magisterium, though a rare few succeed. Indeed, it is rumored that the Magisterium have no set terms for inducting new members, and though many outside the Magisterium have claimed to be magisters, the Magisterium’s roster remains mysteriously unchanged.
A wunderkind’s connection to the Fey Realm causes her to prefer the Alteration, Illusion, or Nature spheres, although the expressive nature of her powers can take the form of any sphere.

:: Grimoire Class—Mage ::

Mage (wizard variant)
by Wm Jay Carter III, inspired by the Incanter class from Spheres of Power

a mage
Having studied in an academy of arcane education, the mage finds her truest self in the possession and wise use of knowledge. She prizes information above most other treasures and pities the fools who do not have enough sense to use what knowledge they have. To her magic is a science; empirical and exact. For this reason the mage’s approach to magic is a practical, methodical, and exhaustive.
A mage in Athanasia begins as a scholar magician in Elementary School where she learns how to harness the classical elements from arcane textbooks called grimoires. There, she also learns the Wizard’s Creed, a set of ideological tenets that are intended to guide a mage’s actions when using magic. The next step is Dueling College where she learns the form and function of the Wizard’s Duel, and focuses her arcane learning toward one or more specializations (spheres).
After graduating she is known as a mage, and she may wish to join a mage’s guild focused in her specialization, or further her education pursuant to becoming an archmage. Those mages who learn the arcane arts outside of Euzoria’s educational system are known as hedge-mages.
Among spellcasters, archmages are the academic elite, regarded as the foremost authorities in their specializations, even taking part in composing grimoires for the up-and-coming generation of scholar magicians. Archmages may choose to teach in institutions of arcane learning, or establish their own guild. An archmage’s journey is not complete, however, until she one day becomes a fully-fledged wizard.
Wizards are spellcasters appointed by the Wizard’s Tribunal to be the steward of some powerful magical artifact or crucial ley-line. A wizard is granted a tower in order to better safeguard her magical charge, and she receives a personalized staff from the Tribunal as a symbol of her position. Should a wizard ever fail to follow the Creed or dishonor the Tribunal and her craft, her appointed stewardship is revoked, she is dismissed from her tower, and her staff is broken.
The Wizard’s Tribunal is composed of three governing members: Alkandros of the bóreans, Kléber of the leonians, and Ipiktok of the seraphim, each of whom holds one of the three remaining staffs of power. Based out the Tower of Towers, the Tribunal oversees the creation of arcane curriculum, enforces the proper use of magic by the Wizard’s Creed, and monitors the activities of all wizard’s towers across Athanasia.
Throughout a scholar magician’s education, career as a mage, and her potential appointment as a wizard, she is always seeking knowledge from any source available. The most accessible source is a network of formless, ambient intelligences that pervade the length and breadth of Athanasia. According to extensive academic research, these intelligences are theorized to be the state of fey beings before they materialize in the Fey Realm. Regardless of their true nature, however, they are employed constantly to aid a mage in her research, most notably through the Divination sphere.
The subject of a mage’s research is most often words of power from the language of the Strangers (Druidic), a language that actually defies being written, and is only comprehensively understood by the dendrites. The Wizard’s Tribunal has formally requested that the Circle divulge the language many times, always with the provision that its use would be duly regulated, but over the centuries the Circle has consistently refused.
Mages from Euzoria consider at least some knowledge in Divination and Destruction as essential components of their magical education. Beyond this, they are equally likely to learn any other sphere, with the sole exception of the Death sphere (Necromancy), which is forbidden by the tenets of the Wizard’s Creed. Hedge-mages (from inside or outside Euzoria’s boundaries) do not follow the Creed and acknowledge no such limitations—much to their dismay when the Tribunal sends representatives to censure them...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

:: Random Location—Tor Ysbryd Garreg ::

Tor Ysbryd Garreg
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/19/15

Tor Ysbryd Garreg
Prominent Feature: Tor
Nation: Bóreans
Condition: Lush, Holy
Weather: Sprinkles
Color: Redwood
Keyword: Gargantuan

For the last hour of your journey all other conifers have given way to trees as tall as castles—the mighty redwoods. Through the bare lower trunks you see a dim glow the color of lapis gracing the silhouettes of the underbrush; you know you’re close. Finally, as you clear the treeline your full view is overwhelmed by gargantuan hunks of stone piled haphazardly upon one another. Tor Ysbryd Garreg towers above you, above even the tops of the redwood trees.
The company of bórean exemplars has already arrived, attesting to the efficiency of their tunnels. The avatar of stone steps forward, reciting the final plea of the ritual. You pause just inside the treeline to sit and watch the ceremony. The rain sprinkles your face, the spongy moss yields under your hands, and for a moment you let the sanctity of the place ease the tension in your body. Then, the avatar’s recitation reaches a crescendo, the lapis glow intensifies, and the forest floor begins to tremble…

Saturday, June 20, 2015

:: Random Item—Key of Kannux ::

Key of Kannux
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/18/15

a seraph
Tool: Locks/Picks
Culture: Seraphim
Condition: Dirty, Appealing
Color: Tomato Red
Keyword: Liquid

As you march along the forest path you occasionally hear the heavy thud of someone chopping wood. Soon enough you pass a cottage where a dark-haired man is doing just that, the muscles of his bare back flexing beneath his pale white skin with every downstroke. He stoops to gather a few logs and when he stands you see a badge of black metal fixed to his chest, carved with delicate appealing swirls.
Uncertain how the badge manages to stay attached to bare skin, you greet the man and ask about the curiosity. Without responding, the pale man drops the wood in his arms and rips the badge away from his body, revealing a long serrated wooden spike that oozes with thick liquid the color of ripe tomatoes. He offers it to you, evidently unaffected by the fresh wound the spike left behind. “Perhaps you’d like it for yourself,” he says, his dark eyes becoming hungry, his teeth sharpening by the moment. “I won’t need it any longer…”

Friday, June 19, 2015

:: Random NPC—Emyr, Bórean Mage ::

Emyr (“Ruler”)
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/18/15

a bórean
Race: Bórean
Age: Young
Gender: Female
Stature: Short
Physical: Long Neck
Outwardly: Sorrowful
Inwardly: Helpless
Profession: Farmer
Magic: Mage—Conjuration/Abjuration
Catchphrase: “Emyr.”

Entering the chambers of the Athanasian Council, the ambassadors all file in and take their seats. Last to enter is a siren holding the hand of a small, furry child wearing large clawed gloves and a hood featuring a mole’s snout. As the siren raises the child up to sit in one of the council seats you realize that it is not a child, but a little bórean girl with a longer-than-usual neck for her kind. Almost immediately upon being settled, she begins fiddling with her claws with a sad expression, clearly not paying attention to the proceedings. The ambassadors introduce themselves, ending with the little bórean girl. The siren reminds her to speak when it is her turn. “Emyr,” she says softly, and returns to staring at her hands.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

:: Random Location—Fairgrounds of the Emerald Overlord ::

Fairgrounds of the Emerald Overlord
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/16/15

Attraction: Maypole
Nation: Ranai
Condition: Barren, Maintained
Weather: Strangely Cold
Color: Emerald Green
Keyword: Overlord

Ignoring the signs that clearly discourage wandering off the path, you leave the well-traveled road behind and plunge into the forest. You abruptly stop short as a piercing pain shoots through your foot—a razor-thin blade of grass has lived up to its once-metaphorical (now literal) description. Looking closer, you see that the blade retains the vibrant green of grass, but now shimmers like a perfectly cut emerald, and—as your foot can now attest—is just as hard.
Proceeding on stilts as you were wisely instructed, you enter a clearing full of such emerald grass. Within the clearing, you see a joyous celebration in progress—children playing field games, maidens dancing around a maypole, and vendors selling sugar crystal candy. At least, you assume it was sugar crystal candy at some point, just as you assume the occasion was joyous… You shiver in your skin; everyone and everything in the clearing has been turned to hard, cold emerald...just like the grass.