Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Death Amongst the Gracians

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

The death of an individual is seen and celebrated differently amongst all cultures both in our real world and also amongst our fantasy settings. It is such an integral part of our existance that I feel the need to include a brief look at how the Gracian’s view death and how it impacts up the lives of the living. In this way I hope that it helps to increase your understanding of these people and their way of life.

The death of a Gracian is a moving time for the family of the deceased but it is never an unhappy one as Gracian’s believe that when a person dies in this world they become spirits and take on lives in the spirit world. As such they view death in this life as the beginning of life in the spirit world and the continuation of existence. This is why spirits play such an important role within their culture and in the lives of every member, for not only can communication with the spirits be achieved but the spirits will also influence the lives of the living.

In this way the living will bring into their lives the spirits of those people or elements who are truly meaningful to them.

There are typically two types of ceremonies for when a member of a tribe passes into the spirit world, preservation and burial. Preservation is reserved for the noble class and will involve the removal of body parts from the corpse that epitomises the individual. These body parts will be preserved in liquid and placed within ceremonial urns. The urns are highly decorated and made from exotic materials, typical decorations will include imagery that tells a tale about the person and why the body part has been preserved, patterning associated with the tribe and gemstones that encrust the urn. The bodies of the nobles who go through this process will be wrapped and buried with the urns in an individual cairn or family crypt.

Commoners amongst the Gracian’s will by default be buried in a simple grave. The site of the grave will vary depending on the family as they may have an area of the lands that they prefer or have some attachment to that all of their family members will be buried in or the individual may have an affinity with a particular area which they will be buried in such as a favourite hunting ground. Alternatively if a large amount of warriors have fallen in battle the commander may demand that the fallen are all buried on the site of the battle, particularly if it was a great victory, in this manner they will forever be recognised for their part in bringing about glory to the tribe.

Gary’s 1 Year Anniversary – a time to remember

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

It’s been one year since Gary Gygax has passed away and in memory of this event I was privileged to be able to contribute to a remembrance blog written by the guys at Stargazers World.  If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons or have heard of him, as he was one of fantasy’s great contributors, then check out this blog ‘Remembering a Legend’ it holds some great memories of the man, thoughts of how he has impacted our lives and some great history about him.

Woad Tattoos

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

As the next product that i’m working on details a very different culture to that described in my previous work so far I would like to do a series of posts that bring their culture to life.  The first is one on tattoos, enjoy and remember to leave me your thoughts about it.

Markings and body paint are important parts of the Gracian culture; they denote a person’s prowess in their chosen art, station, whether they are favoured by the gods, social rank and a warning to others.  The majority of markings utilised by the Gracian’s are normal tattoos inked upon the body however amongst the Gracian’s not all markings are benign.

The greatest of the markings is made from a plant known as Woad.  When ground a blue dye can be made which is put upon the person and enchanted by the gods in a ritual creating a group known as Woad Warriors.

The ritual must take place in a sacred grove, where a Druid will mark the potential recipient with woad in a simple design.  The recipient will then lay within the centre of the grove as the druids in attendance conduct a ritual which will ask the gods to judge the warrior.  If they recognise the warrior’s deeds and believe that their heart is stout then the gods will enchant the woad permanently upon them and in doing so they alter the shape of the tattoo from its basic form into a symbol of the language of the gods and enchant the tattoo with a power.  Through this enchantment the warrior is given a gift of power that draws on the spirits of their dead ancestors to offer strength, courage and protection during times of need.

This ritual is very taxing upon the druids and is not always guaranteed of success for if a warrior presents themselves in judgement to the gods and are found unworthy the gods will wipe the intended marking from them.  This brings shame to the warrior and his tribe and as such only members of a tribe who are truly worthy will seek such enchanted markings.

Tattoos created in this manner will bear a sparkling silver lining indicating that the person is seen in the eyes of his kin as being worthy and having achieved much.  Yet there is another way that woad tattoos are bestowed.

The second method is rare but is the most revered of all markings, it is a tattoo lined with sparkling gold.  This is given to Gracians by the gods when the gods themselves believe that the person is worthy not when they request judgement.

Elrean Crothus

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

History

Born shortly after the fourth age was recognised Elrean Crothus was born into a life far from normal.  Elrean is the second child of the Duke and Duchess Tysis & Sylicia Crothus of the city of Thor-Relen.   Brought up on the family estates located just outside the city itself she spent much of her spare time running through the fields, playing with the servants and exploring the grounds.

Her childhood was a fairly isolated experience with her older brother often in tuition, her mother busy organising the affairs of the house and attending the court, while her father was nearly always out of the city on official business.  Although not necessarily the most desirable upbringing it allowed her to spend time watching and mimicking the soldiers and guards of the families private army, thus nurturing her interest in warfare and battle.

For many years she would sit upon the window sills and walls of the manor watching the 1st Battalion, her family’s private armed forces, go through their drills and training exercises with interest and excitement.

Although her father was rarely involved with her childhood her continuous voyeurism of his troops had not gone unnoticed.  For her fifteenth birthday he presented Elrean, to her mother’s horror, with her first blade and informed her that his personal retainer, general of the 1st Battalion and best friend Kaldoran will train her in how to use it and how to fight.

Over the next five years Elrean learnt everything that Kaldoran knew about swordsmanship, warfare and battle, relishing the physical nature of the career she had now chosen she threw herself into it.  Refusing to sleep in the manor with the rest of her family she took what belongings she thought she would need and moved into the barracks with the rest of the men.

Upon reaching twenty she had learnt everything that she could from those in the north and sought to travel to the Capital of Julan Quo in order to train with the imperial battle master.  Again her father was to bestow his daughter two gifts before she left, the first was a new sword crafted by the Elven smiths of The Lost Wood and enchanted by him, thus he bestowed a weapon of fine make and extreme power to his only daughter.  Secondly he also gave her a talisman and instructed her that in the time of need use it to contact him and he will come to her aid.

Elrean spent a further two years training under the battle masters of Julan Quo before she was approached by a man named Atrimus Detear.  Atrimus was a general from the Guild of Swords, a large mercenary guild of men for hire.  Atrimus offered Elrean a membership to the guild and an initial officer rank of Lieutenant, which would allow her to take command of small forces in their operations.
Taking the offer Elrean saw this as an opportunity to move away from her family’s name and influence and to try and forge a reputation based on her own actions and it is here that she forges her own future…

Description

Although Elrean has now entered her early thirties her facial features still hold its youthful appearance however her Auburn eyes and steely nature tells a tale of experience and age.  Due to the practicality of her profession Elrean keeps her ashen hair short and it is often unkempt from using a helmet during training and battle.

Elrean is of tall and moderate build with defined muscles and quite chiselled facial features which are lingering traits from her heritage.  These have allowed her to be nimble on her feet and powerful with her strikes, a potent combination.

Although initially sheltered from any real issues by her troops when she was living in the family barracks she has spent many of her years amongst the rough and tough attitudes of mercenaries as such she is a little guarded with her feelings, has developed an authoritative tone to her words and a contempt for arrogance.

Works Involving This Character

Free Ebook pdf & prc available Chronicles of a Mercenary Captain

The Flaming Mantle Tavern

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The smell of scented pipe weed can subtly be detected in the air, although the smoke hangs thickly amongst the ceiling rafters from the many pipes that have been lit throughout the night there is little visible evidence of it below the exposed beams of the tavern room’s ceiling.

The roaring fire located in the middle of the room boisterously jumps from the specially made fire pit that restrains it.  Its flames stretching into the air as they consume the precious oxygen that feeds it.  On the floor surrounding the pit are magical runes, carved into the stone floor and glowing brightly, these are what draws and contains the flames straight from the fires of the elemental plane.

The heat from this central source fills the room and would leave it slightly stuffy if it was not for the open windows that allow the mild breeze in from outside.

The open spaces of the taproom has been filled with tables and chairs for the patrons and as you look around, about half of them are full with a variety of groups.  Most are quietly talking amongst themselves over tankards of ale while others are more raucous as the gradual intoxication of the liquor that has been imbibed is taking affect.

To your left is small stage raised a foot and a half above the floor.  Atop it sits a bard on a three legged stool playing a lute; his audacious vest and wide brimmed hat sets an interesting scene as he regales a tall tale of heroics, courage and danger.  Slightly behind and to the left side of him, hovering in midair, is a small harp.  The harp gleams in the light that comes from the magical globes located throughout the room as its strings are plucked and provide accompanying music to the voice of the bard.

On your right is the bar, a sturdy wooden construction, the symbol of a flame is branded into its front and its polished surface makes it look brand new, although your knowledge of this establishment would indicate that it is far from so.

On the wall behind the bar is what gives this tavern its name.  The Flaming Mantle.  A small mantle, only two foot long and made from an unknown stone, has been fitted to the buildings stone wall behind the bar; its black colour is patterned with a green marbling effect and from its smoothly cut surface rises small blue flames.  It is said that these flames, like those in the central fire pit are drawn from the elemental planes.

Sitting atop the mantle is a single bottle of spirits.  The bottle is made from a thin glowing material and keeps within it the choice of drink from a slain Demon General.  The spirits are kept heated and in an evaporated state so that it concentrates the liquid within.  When the bottle is taken from the flames the evaporation condenses to produce the desired liquid.  A strongly flavoured and alcoholic spirit that would warm the coldest soul.

The drink was taken by the barkeep and renown adventurer Hulderic, or Hul to his friends, in his earlier days of adventuring during a campaign into the hells.  Taken as a trophy of their adventures, Hulderic has placed an option for patrons to try the exotic drink however to do so they must first put forward what they believe trying the drink will be worth; a figure that he has not openly released.  So far the current bid put forth by Lord Heleman was 1,200 gold pieces.  A price rejected by Hulderic as too low.

This is the Flaming Mantle Tavern and a hub for adventurers to find out the latest rumours, jobs and opportunities.  As such subscribers to this site will receive job opportunities, adventure hooks and rumours from the tavern that they can freely use in their adventures and campaigns periodically delivered in your newsletter.