Thursday, July 30, 2015

Breaking News: Calidar gets a Web Site

I'm pleased to announce that the World of Calidar is about to enjoy its very own web site.  The previews below give an idea of the contents.  So, without any further delay or showboating, roll the drums!  The public launch will be on:

Saturday Morning, August 1st, 2015 
09:30 Central Standard Time

I shall reveal the actual address at about that time, here, on Facebook, G+, the Piazza, and other places where Calidar might be a topic.  The credit for this site goes to Leland Schaidle who kindly volunteered to design and put this great new site together, soldiering on to satisfy his demanding beneficiary.  He's a trooper indeed; my thanks and blessings go to him as he soars to meet even greater challenges.   I hope you will enjoy the site and what it offers.  Though its goal is to centralize as much as possible all that concerns Calidar, it does not mean that support will no longer be provided to other sites, such as my old blogspot page or the Piazza.  Over time, as much as I am able to, my blogspot page may revert to its original goal of "talking Mystara."

So, what should one expect to find on the new Calidar site?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Gary Gygax Day!

Calidar & Game Mechanics

In a campaign world designed without a set of rules from a specific role-playing game, there lies a challenge in describing creatures, spells, and game effects so that everyone can understand and easily express them in their chosen system. Today’s article should give a clear idea of the direction I am taking with CC1 "Beyond the Skies." Some of Calidar’s generic system shown below is abstracted, leaving referees at liberty to interpret my intent in ways that best suit their purposes. The remainder is generally expressed as percentile ranges that can be easily switched back to the chosen game’s desired values. A score expressed here as 50% clearly indicates a mid-range value, so it becomes easy to understand what the actual score should be on a 1-20 basis in the intended game. 100% indicates the top end of a range, and 1% its lowest value. Here are definitions and suggestions on how to handle basis game mechanics.

Die Rolls: A variety of dice commonly used in hobby gaming are often referred to in this book. For example: a d6 is a common six-sided die, 3d20 refers to three 20-sided polyhedral dice, a d% is a (percentile) roll of two d10s, one expressing single digits and the other showing tens. Other dice include d4, d8, and d12.

Career Paths: These refer to the heroes’ prevailing occupations, such as being wizards, priors, rogues, or warriors of various types. The assumption is that heroes progress along these career paths, gaining specialized proficiencies and becoming more powerful as they advance. Use the closest analogy in the chosen game system.

Life Force:LF” refers to the extent of a hero’s career advancement or to the relative vitality of a monster. This rating impacts directly odds of heroes and monsters performing successful attacks. It should be assumed in this book that attack abilities and the amount of inflicted damage are consistent with a creature’s Life Force. A numeral is added to express how far along their career paths heroes have progressed, or how tough monsters are. This number is a percentage of the maximum range used to measure a character’s career or a monster’s vitality, rounded down, depending on the chosen game system. For example: for a warrior whose career is measured in increments ranging from 1 to 36, an “LF3” means 3% of 36, or just about “1” (that is: [36/100] x 3 = 1). Under the same conditions, an “LF1” monster could be a small pest, while a mighty dragon might be better described as “LF70.”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Thraldûr Silvertongue

Thraldûr dwells upon fundamental hopes and fears of the dwarves. Though he embodies chaos and mischief, his sphere of interests also includes greed and the quest for power. He skims much of his personal magical energy from the followers of other gods, especially merchants, diplomats, and many among the Hâradhir. Thieves, escape-artists, tomb-robbers, and all who lust for wealth honor him. Those who fear thieves and trickery pray to Thraldûr, hoping to keep him and his mortal followers away.

Mythology: Last of the five elder gods, Thraldûr ascended not from the summons of Khrâlia’s mortal priors, for his divine seed had already grown in the minds of many. The rise of the first four provoked Thraldûr’s coming. His ideals blossomed among those who could not find solace in their communion with the earlier gods. Others feared his darker aspects, the lying and the thieving of treasures once owned, and they prayed to him so that he would stay away. When he reached Ambrosia, Khrâlia was there, awaiting his arrival.

“Thraldûr Chaos-Monger, I know that for which you stand. You are the Hand of Fate, the Bearer of Change who counteracts stifling tradition. I value what you bring, but know this, Thraldûr Silvertongue, betray me and you shall pay for it dearly.” As the nascent god bowed before the All-Mother, he answered with an ambiguous grin, halfway between smile and sneer. “Ever shall I do your bidding, Khrâlia Mountain Queen, but do not begrudge me my nature, for all things come with a price.” After the requisite baring of teeth and defiant growling on both sides, Thraldûr lowered his gaze and submitted to the All-Mother’s lordship.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kustrîm Stonebrand

Older brother of Djurohr Hammerlaw and the patron of solemn oaths, he follows a harsh and incorruptible way. Among mortals, a binding prayer spoken when taking a hallowed vow typically results in death should its terms be brazenly broken. Though they often serve other deities, many warriors bound to a code of honor pledge to uphold their precepts before Kustrîm. Among gods, breaking a sealed promise results in excruciating pains until proper atonement is made. His power is such that even Thraldûr could not thwart it, if ever this prince of lies were bound by him. Refusing to swear before the Master of Oaths is almost always seen as an admission of guilt or suggests questionable intentions. On the other hand, this god protects all those who take lifelong vows and are willing to die if they fail to fulfill their quests. Though predominantly a Bhalrûd deity, Kustrîm remains popular among all clans, though less so for the Hâradhir who prefer written and excruciatingly-detailed contracts, such as those put together by priors of Djurohr.

Mythology: As their love deepened, Belbryn Sunblade and Klangrîm Thunderforge solemnly swore eternal faithfulness to each other, a celestial event duly recorded in the Krone Skrinâd. When these vows were taken, a new god ascended, sealing the divine covenant. Thus was born Kustrîm Stonebrand and, soon afterward, arose his younger brother. It was written that if the godly love were ever betrayed, the hallowed seal would be broken, and both sons would perish. But fate had it that the mother met an untimely end, and the seal remained unharmed. In memory of his fallen parent and with the blessing of Khrâlia, Kustrîm became master of oaths and champion of order. His younger sibling, Djurohr, became the keeper of laws.

Heavy were the hearts of the father and his sons. While Djurohr immersed himself in his duties, Kustrîm returned many times to the place where he’d last seen his mother. The Great Blacksmith had erected an arcane barrier to forbid anyone breaking through. More than once did the Master of Oaths attempt to find a way past, but his father’s work proved well beyond his means to alter. One day, on his way out, Kustrîm noticed something everyone had missed: a silver button. A face engraved on it jeered and stuck its tongue at him when he looked more closely. He recognized Thraldûr’s traits. Suspicious, he came back frequently, lurking among the rocks until the god of mischief showed up, searching for something.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Shame on Updated 7/30/15

These people are thieves. 

They reprint in poster format images people find on the internet -- for profit and without permission. It is a clear violation of copyright laws (despite what they claim).  This illicit business needs to stop immediately. I'm appealing to all fans, artists, and publishers, indies or otherwise, to join the :: :: campaign against this practice.  If you happen to be one of those people supporting their business, first off "shame on you as well for aiding and abetting," and be advised that what they sell is taken straight from the internet, which means documents are most likely produced from low resolution files.  Also be aware they ship their garbage from China, which costs more than the posters themselves. 

Do you *really* want to trust criminals with your credit card info? 

Please share this article as much as possible, with artists you know.  Thanks!

Update: July 11th, 2015

I contacted a group called :: Piracy Solution :: about Wallpart:com, and chatted with Kelley Manley working there.  He stated that his group is prepared to address the issue (such as handling dmca requests) on a pro bono basis as a service to the art community. You can contact him at info [@] piracysolution [.] com.  If you are an artist and you can see your art showing up on Wallpart:com, you may want to follow this route.  Be sure to save a screen shot of search results showing your art being sold there, without your permission.  I am not personally involved with or related to this group; I am merely forwarding the information. 
Kelly has given me written permission to post this information publicly.

Update: July 13th, 2015

I found this site in the UK that goes even further than my article in their accusations.  You might want to have a look.  Click here. Meanwhile the petition against this site as reached 25,816 signatures as of this morning. Thanks for your support.  Please do pass the word!

Update: July 25th, 2015

I received a good deal of information from Alma Soto (Mamasoto) today (see attached G+ comments). In short, he's confirmed the illicit nature of that site.  I'd found out earlier that its business was being routed through a Russian site, and that the risks of phishing there were very high--in other words avoid that site.  Here is what he suggested: "Just contact the ICANN, attn. Alena Keirstead, the ICANN Registrar for the support team of Corp. You can send her your info, links of violation, proof links of the work and screenshots to show them what these guys are doing so they can stop them. The more they get hit with this information the better and faster we may see some action (. . .)"
The email address :: abuse (at) internet (dot) bs ::

Update: July 30th, 2015

Here's more information.  The offending web site is really more about phishing.  It targets professional photographers.  A good article was recently published about this (click here).  Here's an excerpt: "This contact form is the whole purpose of the Poster Shop's website.  The contact form is a phishing platform that is used to spam the user and potentially infect their computer with malware and who knows what other nasty adware and spyware.  (...)"   Whatever you do, run your anti-malware/spyware apps to clean your computer after visiting that site. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Klangrîm Thunderforge

As his name suggests, he is the grim, scarred, and disfigured patron of miners, blacksmiths, and guardians of clan forges. He embodies the ideals of the ancient Bhalrûd clan and stands as their chief deity. He is also the god of thunder under the ground, the echo of anvils and great hammers at work, the rush of cataracts in lofty caves, and the rumble of volcanoes deep below. Ever since the death of Belbryn Sunblade, Klangrîm has grown more aloof and glum, burying himself ever deeper in his godly tasks.

Mythology: "Ever have dwarves of yore watched fire glaring under a bellows’ breath or a hammer smiting red hot iron amid a shower of sparks, thinking a spirit that dwelled within bestowed life upon the forge and its creations. Under Khrâlia’s guidance, her priors knew how to beckon the Great Blacksmith to life. He rose from the flames of a great forge while a thousand hopefuls recited Prayers of Calling at the beat of mighty hammers striking giant anvils. As life and thought imbued his divine flesh, a tenth of those who prayed became one with their new lord and, for each departed, another became a prior of the new god.

"When he ascended, he met Khrâlia. Krîma stood at her side. “You are welcome among peers, Klangrîm Hammer-Soul,” the All-Mother greeted. “You shall embody the clan forges, the great fires of dwarven industry, and all that is made of iron and steel.” Taciturn, his arms crossed on his cavernous chest, the Great Blacksmith bowed imperceptibly. “As you wish, Khrâlia Mountain-Queen. Speak and you shall receive.” The All-Mother nodded. “Seek the blackstones in Kragdûr's womb. Feed the great forges with them, and instruct the faithful in your craft.” Krîma stepped forward and intervened. “The mortals need fine weapons and thick armor to prevail against their foes. And I require a great axe.” Once more, Klangrîm bowed. “It shall be done.” With a sparkle in her eye, Khrâlia gazed for an instant at the goddess of war, and added, “Well then, if she gets the axe, I’ll have the hammer, a large one.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kjorûn Gatekeeper

A rare deity of the dwarven pantheon, Kjorûn does not condone war, yet he stands as a brave and capable warrior. Though a demigod of humble status in Holmring, many revere him in Araldûr and on Kragdûr for different reasons. On the moon, he unveiled the secret of seitha and a proved himself hero of the early colonial times. On Calidar, he is seen more as a pacifist with the wisdom of being ready for war to best avert it. As such, he garnered respect from Alfdaíners and their spiritual patrons. He protects those who guard citadels, great walls, and towers from invaders. Above all, he honors those who die in this sacred duty. Kjorûn earned the trust of the Dârgilath, and consistently gains followers among engineers, architects, masons, stone carvers. The Gatekeeper is the consummate builder of fortresses, and many mortals pray for his protection when they fear an invasion.  Here is some of his mythology:

"From the union of the All-Mother-Mountain with Kjosgor Stonecrown, an earth elemental ruler, rose their son, Kjorûn. He remained for a time on his father’s plane, learning the ways of the stone realm. Few among the elementals accepted him as one of theirs. In their stolid and rockbound points of view, he was a half breed, weak and soft like his flesh and blood. Fights continually pitted factions of elementals against denizens of fire, air, and water. Tired of their bellicose nature and pointless wars, Kjorûn departed to live at his mother’s court.

“And who is this pebble of a godling asking for entrance in Holmring?,” railed Krîma Ironblaze. “He is of my blood,” answered Khrâlia. “And I welcome his presence under the vault of Tokhrast Bryn.” But the war goddess did not flinch at the response. “He may be so, yet tradition demands he prove himself worthy.” The term “tradition” tickling his eardrum, Djurohr Hammerlaw joined the discussion. “The Thayn of Hûrkhana is right, Khrâlia Mountain Queen. It is the law.” Thus did the door to the Great Mountain become shut to Kjorûn and the demigod depart to the mortal world.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ghedrun Evercraft

Ghedrun is an automaton that ascended to divine status. Her maker, Klangrîm Thunderforge, gave her half his heart, which contained the magical power to make Ghedrun come alive. It imbued her mind with his memories of Belbryn Sunblade, his late wife. She appears in many ways like her predecessor, in body and personality, yet she remains fully aware of her nature. It remains unclear whether Klangrîm first thought of replacing his beloved spouse with an automaton or his mortal faithful did, but the end result is all the same. Since she ascended, his followers readily accepted Ghedrun’s existence and amended the Krone Skrinâd accordingly. The idea of a mechanical goddess captured the minds of countless dwarven engineers and clockworkers of the Dârgilath who soon established her cult. This sealed her status as a rightful goddess of Holmring.

From her Mythology:  When Ghedrun’s eyes opened, she saw at first the concerned face of her maker, as he hunched over her to examine his work. He then reached into her chest, flicked a spinning wheel into motion, and a ticking sound followed. The machinery within her whirred, ground, and chimed as her arms, legs, and facial parts came alive. Satisfied, the Great Blacksmith flipped panels shut on her body, and stood back. As the rest of his figure shifted within Ghedrun’s field of vision, she saw a gaping wound in his chest, and within it, half a heart beating with the same pattern as her own internal workings. He noticed her gaze and pulled up the top part of his leather apron to mask the wound.

“Arise, my beloved. Take your place at my side,” Klangrîm requested. Ghedrun sat up and observed her maker’s sanctum: a forge, bellows, anvil, and great hammer on one side, a wondrous workshop on the other, with spare parts, sketches, and blueprints. The golden bust of a woman stood nearby atop a pedestal. “Who is this?” wondered Ghedrun. “It is you, dearest, or perhaps an image of who you once were.” Puzzled, she examined her hand and the exquisite workmanship of the mechanism within. She then caught a glimpse of her face in a nearby mirror. Her traits were identical to the bust’s. Thoughts formed in the marvelous clockworks of her enchanted mind. “A loved one who was lost?” Klangrîm smiled as much as his scarred face allowed. “Lost? No my dear, not lost. You are in all ways like the memories that lay in my heart and now live within you.” Ghedrun searched her mind and found what her maker had given her. “Yet I am different,” she answered. Gears and springs clicked and droned inside her head. “It doesn’t do well to latch on to illusions for too long, yet a part of me will always be the one you seek, Craftsmaster. I accept it and will return your love, but you must set free what you created for only in this way will our love grow whole.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Khestrid Goldskald

Born from the emotional singing of dwarves, Khestrid rose as the goddess of skalds and as the spiritual patron of Kragdûras art and oral tradition. Djurohr, as Holmring’s Rune Master, favors the written word, although it relates more to contracts and law than to art. She also stands as the keeper of Holmring’s ancient lore and an advocate of the gods. Therefore, she became popular among the Hâradhir who pray for her protection when they become embroiled in contractual disputes. Khestrid favors hunters of ancient lore, sages, teachers, bards, poets, orators, inspiring leaders, and of course, trial lawyers. Warriors of the Khôr-Halad greatly welcome her bards for their compelling songs and entertaining talents.

Here is a piece of dwarven mythology illustrating her work:

As they march to battle, mourn their dead, honor their gods, or celebrate victories, weddings, and new births, the dwarves sing. Be it for the glory of ancient heroes or a tankard overflowing with frothy ale, they laugh and chant wholeheartedly, banging their fists on tables or hitting the floor with hobnailed boots. From the bottom of their cavernous chests and through their powerful throats, dwarven voices soar to the heavens, rivaling with thunder itself. It is said that from the songs of dwarves ascended their divine bard.

“Khestrid Goldskald,” greeted the All-Mother. “You are a most welcome peer of Holmring. Join me at Tokhrast Bryn, and may you bring peace and joy to the hearts of all.” The young goddess saluted her elder before responding. “In Tokhrast Bryn I shall reside, and to all the courts of Holmring I shall impart the wonder of art and of the spoken word. If Fate will have it, upon sorrow, anger, worry, and malice, I shall cast light and perspective, and preserve the Lore of the Heavens.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

Djurohr Hammerlaw

Holmring’s Great Judge is the god of dwarven law as well as the defender of truth and rightful justice. He favors judges, bailiffs, and all those who are honor-bound to follow strict and detailed codes of conduct. Some stand as equivalents to human paladins, while others adopt a grittier take on the means to achieve their ends. Though more than half of his mortal followers are of Khôr-Halad origins, Djurohr remains popular with the Hâradhir who appreciate his priors’ talent at putting in writing elaborate contracts that make the envy of merchants in Osriel and Phrydias. The Bhalrûd and Dârgilath generally prefer simpler and more radical oaths under the purview of Kustrîm’s priors.  Here's an excerpt of his mythology:

Soon after the ascension of Kustrîm Stonebrand, mortals felt a need to write down ancient laws and traditions of Kragdûr. Not all dwarves were keen on taking solemn oaths that could lead to their demises. They yearned for another way to address their many disputes. The desire was strong enough that the Oath Master should have a brother who would keep the laws, and thus did priors of the All-Mother summon a new champion from the world soul. With the love and affection of his spiritual father and mother, Djurohr Hammerlaw took his rightful place among the denizens of Holmring, and Khrâlia tasked him with creating the Barprovâd thal’Kragdûr, the Great Legal Code of Kragdûr.

But all was not fine with his endeavor. A rivalry developed between the two brothers. It wasn’t long before the two accused each other of undermining their respective efforts. Fate had it that their mother, Belbryn Sunblade, perished during this time. After decades of grieving, their jealousy grew anew. Kustrîm’s self-righteousness and his strong relation with Khrâlia only succeeded in alienating Djurohr. Revered among the Khôr-Halad, the younger god turned toward their leading patron, Krîma Ironblaze. The goddess of war swore that she would seek revenge for his mother’s death, and he became grateful for her pledge despite his father’s stern words of caution.

Along a deserted hall of Holmring came Brâlkha Shadowfist, swarthy minion of the war goddess. “Welcome, Djurohr Hammerlaw, friend of Krîma. I praise your work in Holmring. Long has a voice of reason lacked in Tokhrast Bryn.” Uncomfortable with the salutation’s bold implication, the Keeper of Laws responded gingerly. “I too greet you, Mistress of the Nolnâgh. What brings you to me?” Brâlkha laughed as she faded in an out of the hall’s dimness. “I know what you seek in the Hamardûl. We all heard of your dispute with the Oath Master. You owe him naught but scorn and retribution for his arrogance.” Shifting the weight of the heavy codex of laws tucked under his arm, Djurohr worried about the aim of the discussion. “My brother does what he feels is right. So do I.” The Lady of Shadows reappeared next to him, and whispered in his ear. “There is a way to put him back in his place, Djurohr Son-of-Klangrîm. Change the law so that you may earn what is rightfully yours. Not even the All-Mother will question your judgement, for you are the law. Make the rulings you need and rid Holmring of those who challenge your divine might. It will be our secret.”

The Dark One had used all the magical skills at her disposal to enthrall, misdirect, and influence her august visitor. Yet, Djurohr’s astute mind methodically churned through her words, weighing them against his articles of law. One by one, her dweomers failed before his statutes, decrees, regulations, and precedents. And light dawned upon him about what she expected. “It is my finding that the Law is the Law, and I do not change it to suit my needs or yours. I further caution you not to meddle in my affairs. Mistress of the Nolnâgh, I judge you guilty of promulgating seditious behavior. May justice be rendered.” He suddenly brandished his massive tome of laws and slammed it hard upon Brâlkha’s head as she reappeared from the surrounding dimness. In a roll of thunder, she vanished from the hall. Ever since this encounter, Djurohr retained his most popular name: Hammerlaw.

Click here to find out more about this project: "CC1 "Beyond the Skies."  If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar, check these two articles:  "Bye-Bye Princess Ark" and "Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar."  Feel free to comment about the material presented above. Since this book is being developed prior to its crowd funding project later this year, your comments may be reflected in the final version.  Also related is Thorfinn Tait's celebrated work.  Click here for a glimpse of his contribution to the project: maps of course!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Brâlkha Shadowfist

Brâlkha stands as the bogeyman of dwarven deities. Few honor her directly and openly. Those who pay tribute to her do so to ward her off, to obtain protection from their foes, or to wish ill upon them. The Mistress of the Nolnâgh (meaning the “night on the sides”) skims much of her power from the consciousness of superstitious dwarves, doting upon their fears and more evil aspirations. Adopted as their patron deity by assassins, spies, and those whose desire it is to eliminate the weak and the sick, she is generally associated with the Hâradhir clan.

In the darkest of times and in the darkest of lands dwelled a slayer whose skin was as black as her heart. She sold her services to the clans who paid her the most, hunted their foes, and often assured victory on the battlefield. Celebrated by some as an epic hero, she was feared by most as an epic villain. At the height of her notorious career, she ascended as a demigoddess and stood before Krîma Ironblaze.

“Mistress of the Nolnâgh, I value your skills with shadows,” said the goddess of war, “and I praise your talent for finding your way where few others can. I will stand as your Divine Liege, Swarthy One, but know that treachery against me will not be forgiven, and should you be tempted, stand ready to be cast out and to face my wrath.” Brâlkha bowed to the elder goddess. “Ever so faithfully shall I serve you, Krîma Thayn of Hûrkhana, though the manner in which I fulfill your wishes my choice shall remain. If in so doing I incur your heavenly ire, thus must it be.”

Fate decided, however, that the demigoddess should fall in the service of her liege. She’d dwelled for a time in the Ambrosian, spying on frost giants prowling near Holmring’s gates. Suspecting an unwanted presence as he prepared to assault the dwarven domain to avenge his sibling’s death at the hands of Krîma, Sfyrtur, kin of Graltur Icecrown, ordered his minions to search the shadows. The demigoddess was forced out and though she fought a great battle, the Swarthy One perished at the hands of Sfyrtur. He devoured her, leaving just her head stuck on an icy shaft, not far from Krîma’s gate. The goddess of war later exacted a pitiless revenge upon her sworn enemies, after which she enabled the Mistress of the Nolnâgh to ascend once more, as a peer of Holmring.

Long after her ascension and no longer bound to a divine liege, Brâlkha’s shadowy path in the Ambrosian led her to tangle with Ashebai of the Tolarin elves. “Brâlkha Dirt-Monger, dim are your past and your intentions,” said the Whisperer in the Shadows. “You reek of dwarf and other things I cannot fathom. Away from my realm! The shadows are mine and they do not welcome usurpers.” The dwarven goddess drew her blade and responded in kind. “Ashebai Later-Born, I owned the shadows well before you ascended. Take them from me if you dare, elven cur.” Casting waves upon waves of shadowy monsters in colossal clashes, ambushing each other from the dimness of the Ambrosian twilight, spinning in an out of pools of darkness, neither could defeat the other for they were kin of the same element. Exhausted, the two withdrew at last, vowing to seek revenge.

Click here to find out more about this project: "CC1 "Beyond the Skies."  If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar, check these two articles:  "Bye-Bye Princess Ark" and "Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar."  Feel free to comment about the material presented above. Since this book is being developed prior to its crowd funding project later this year, your comments may be reflected in the final version.  Also related is Thorfinn Tait's celebrated work.  Click here for a glimpse of his contribution to the project: maps of course!

Monday, May 25, 2015


Balir is Krîma's ally and companion, at least from a philosophical point of view:  whenever there is war, death follows.  He isn't the father of her offspring Arnmîr and Arkhâna.  Those where born from Krîma's fallen foes.  He stands as their stepfather.  He is neither evil nor good.  Though he does not show it openly, he favors his stepson who deals with death and hunts the undead.  The story below helps illustrate his nature.        

A fearsome spirit existed in ancient times, before the rise of the dwarven gods. It inhabited sacred burial grounds, haunting places of death and desolation. Those who transgressed the clans’ taboos heard whispers of their ancestors beckoning them before the cold hand of death clutched their hearts and led them to their final fates. The shamans knew well of this ancient spirit and, at Khrâlia’s behest, besought it to rise from the stony depths of the moon and take on a sentient form. It would be known as Balir-the-Whispering.

When he ascended and met Khrâlia, he extended pale and skinbound fingers toward her. “Take my hand and gaze upon my soul,” he whispered. And the All-Mother seized his hand to peer into his eyes. There, she watched a myriad spirits rise, fight on, and relinquish their existence, all in mere instants as the dwarves of Kragdûr battled each other. Khrâlia released the god of death and considered his words before answering. “Balir Soul-Master, unveil mortals worthy of divine honor, and lead them safely to those they must serve. Take the unworthy to a place of your making so that they may be punished. Release all the others so they may find their own paths.” Balir bowed to his elder and endeavored to follow his divine mission.

As he led worthy spirits away from the world of the living, one Balir recognized as a demon of ogres stepped in his way. Towering, misshapen, with a gaping maw filled with twisted fangs, and its belly a mass of wriggling maggots, Aroogh stood somewhere between demon king and god. “Relinquish your charge, dwarf, and you shall go free,” it demanded. “Take me instead,” Balir whispered, “so the meek may pass unharmed.” The beast approached and plunged its claws inside Balir’s chest, intent on ripping out his beating heart. Instead, the demon’s hand remained trapped while its own flesh turned as gray as ash and flaked away. While the ogrish beast fought in vain to break free, Balir wrapped bony hands around his foe’s neck. “One does not defeat death so easily, demon” he rasped. As the beast collapsed into a pile of dust blowing away in the ethereal winds, the god of the underworld added, “Balir fetches the worthy, and he does not forsake them to the spawn of demons.”

Click here to find out more about this project: "CC1 "Beyond the Skies."  If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar, check these two articles:  "Bye-Bye Princess Ark" and "Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar."  Feel free to comment about the material presented above. Since this book is being developed prior to its crowd funding project later this year, your comments may be reflected in the final version.  Also related is Thorfinn Tait's celebrated work.  Click here for a glimpse of his contribution to the project: maps of course!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Arkhâna Emberfury

Here is an entry about the origins of the irascible half-sister of Arnmîr Tinkerbones.  Both are demigods serving their mother, Krîma Ironblaze, and they do not see eye-to-eye. 

Unforgiving is the goddess of war. In her eternal search for challenges in the Ambrosian, Krima Ironblaze defied a god of fire giants, the formidable Arkhroth Bloodboil. After felling his companions, she subdued her mighty foe by brute force and martial means, until he could only submit to her. “Krîma Thayn of Hûrkhana, you have bested me and my companions. I hail your might. Now respect my dignity: slay me at once or set me free, for I shall never serve you.” The goddess of war placed a foot on his chest and her axe under his fiery chin. “If you’ll not serve me, then the spawn of your flesh will.” She callously reached deep into his fiery chest, pulled out a throbbing ember, seed of his divine spirit, and pushed it against her own chest until it sank out of sight. “Thus shall you live on, Arkhroth Fallen-King, and forever remain at my service.” On these words, she wielded her blade one last time and beheaded the giant.

Of this brutal union rose Arkhâna, forcefully-taken spawn of Arkhroth and blood scion of Krîma. The tale was engraved in the Krone Skrinâd, and the demigoddess ascended as the patroness of fire. For a time, she dwelled among mortals to hone her skills and prove her worth. In one her most celebrated feats, she earned the faith of King Khos I, when he ordered the ancient forges to be relit. After centuries of chaos following Kragdûr’s dark ages, horrid monsters had taken over the hallowed caves, and Arkhâna led her champions to defeat them all. Her fury alone was enough to ignite the ancient forges and bring them back to life. As the result, she earned the faith of many a Bhalrûd dwarf, despite her impulsive temperament and fits of rage that have caused countless champions to die at her side.

Note: The demigoddess later attempted to sway the fire giants.  To gain their sympathies, she took upon herself to challenge their rivals, cloud giants of Ambrosia. She sees them as scions of the water element. The fact her half-brother, whom she loathes, is the scion of a fallen cloud giant also gives her the smoldering pleasure of vexing him. Arkhâna often takes her favored spirit servants with her when she seeks battle, earning her mother’s pride, as the demigoddess is a worthy warrior in her own right. She thirsts for blood that could never douse the flames consuming her inner self.

Click here to find out more about this project: "CC1 "Beyond the Skies."  If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar, check these two articles:  "Bye-Bye Princess Ark" and "Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar."  Feel free to comment about the material presented above. Since this book is being developed prior to its crowd funding project later this year, your comments may be reflected in the final version.  Also related is Thorfinn Tait's celebrated work.  Click here for a glimpse of his contribution to the project: maps of course!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Arnmîr Tinkerbones

Arngoth-the-White—such was the name of Krîma’s victim, a god of cloud giants whom she’d slain like many before him. From Arngoth’s union with the goddess of war forcibly imposed upon him, rose the youngest of Holmring’s demigods. Searching his souls and his past, he departed soon after his ascension, on a quest to find his father’s remains. Over time, he snatched the disembodied skull and scattered bones from the gnarled hands of fiends who would deny him, and returned them to his peers in the Ambrosian clouds. “August lords of mountain and sky, here do I bring the remains of my father, and lay them at your feet so that he may receive a rightful burial. Here do I come in peace to humbly ask that I may honor him and pay my respect to his kin. I, Arnmîr, son of she who felled your master, am of your blood and seek no quarrel.”

Suspicious and bitter at first, many of the giants relented, giving in to their wisdom. The demigod’s gesture was enough for them to set aside on this occasion their hatred of dwarvenkind and accept Arnmîr’s offering. He labored with them to erect a great mausoleum in the clouds, following advice from his stepfather, Balir-the-Whispering, who spoke softly in his ear of tomb-building and proper rituals. When the task was done, the cloud giants praised the demigod’s hard work, and Arnmîr departed, his conscience clear and his heart appeased.

During his journey in the world of the mortals, more than once did he encounter towns and villages whose people bemoaned the presence of a haunted battlefield in a mountain pass or in a mighty cavern housing crucial crossroads of nearby dominions. Forbidden cities and forsaken fortresses long bequeathed to bitter shadows abound in Kragdûr’s deep. Arnmîr found his calling in ancient, angst-imbued, and accursed places. There, he defied unholy pawns of undead lords and retrieved myriads of bones left far too long without burial. The most horrid of beasts often guarded these places of sorrow, acting on behalf of dark powers that thrived on hate harvested from friends and foes who could not depart. Arnmîr vowed to dispel the evils of old wars, and gather the bones of the dead, so their spirits could find restful peace at last. And always, the demigod’s stepfather guided him to do his bidding.

Yet, the son of Krîma never forgot the living. In the wake of a battle, the most perceptive of dwarves could catch a glimpse of him in the dimness of twilight, tending to those who could still be saved and blessing others soon to pass. Priors devoted to his quest endeavored to cleanse the land from the scars of conflict. Many among the Khôr-Halad honored this treatment of their wounded and their dead. If not undying faith, they offered respect and gratitude. More than one champion, sickened by the senseless waste of wars not won, took on the blue robe and crook of Arnmîr’s followers.

Click here to find out more about this project: "CC1 "Beyond the Skies."  If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar, check these two articles:  "Bye-Bye Princess Ark" and "Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar."  Feel free to comment about the material presented above. Since this book is being developed prior to its crowd funding project later this year, your comments may be reflected in the final version.  Also related is Thorfinn Tait's celebrated work.  Click here for a glimpse of his contribution to the project: maps of course!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Godly Philosophies (updated 5/14)

I've been revamping the philosophies of #Calidar's gods (their alignments, if I dare use D&D game terminology). For legal reasons, for the sake of creativity, and since Calidar isn't intended to rely on any specific game mechanics currently available on the hobby RPG market, I'm staying away from the old system to express a character or a god's ethos. Here's what I am considering. Let me know what you think.

Philosophy:PH” refers to an individual’s general ethos and personality. Traits are organized in three broad categories corresponding to the Heart, the Mind, and the Spirit. Each features two opposing trends (with a middle-ground third if neither of the first two are appropriate). Up to ten personality traits describe each trend (some or all of them may apply). For example, Heart features either benevolent or malevolent trends (and a “dispassionate” one if a god is neither of the previous two). The general idea is that the prevailing three trends are the ones with the most traits aptly describing personality. As an option, one could simply list the number of appropriate traits after the prevailing trends (or itemize them in parentheses) as a way to express how intense these trends are. Using the elven deity Delathien’s philosophy to illustrate the matter, his philosophy could be summarized in this manner:

Heart: dispassionate (–)
Mind: instinctive (7)
Spirit: lively (6).

Trends and traits are described below.

  • Benevolent: Friendly, altruistic, humble, merciful, considerate, generous, truthful, trusting, tolerant, magnanimous
  • (Dispassionate)
  • Malevolent: Wicked, selfish, insensitive, vengeful, deceitful, unscrupulous, mistrustful, jealous, manipulative, spiteful

  • Rational: Analytical, calculating, patient, deliberate, cautious, stubborn, methodical, conventional, principled, obedient
  • (Practical)
  • Instinctive: Impulsive, hasty, emotional, unpredictable, bold, creative, curious, adventurous, cunning, unruly

  • Lively: Mirthful or sarcastic, cheeky, flamboyant, passionate, outspoken, hedonistic, shameless, feisty, indomitable, eccentric
  • (Even-Tempered)
  • Stern: Ascetic, aloof, brooding, formal, dreamy, haughty, enigmatic, reserved, self-conscious, dour

If any of the opposing trends are selected, they prevail regardless of circumstances.  For example, if benevolent or malevolent, a god always acts accordingly.  However, if a deity is dispassionate, practical, or even-tempered, this could mean two things, one or both of which may be true:

1. Individual personality traits in either of the opposing trends are weak or marginally relevant (therefore the god is neither fish nor fowl).
2. The deity leans toward one or the other opposing trend at different times, depending on circumstances, such as when besotted, jubilant, angered, fearful, saddened, under pressure, etc.

Other traits can be substituted to those suggested above, as long as not more than ten traits per trend are selected (for example: austere, arrogant, boorish, vain, crafty, forgetful, greedy, romantic/sentimental, etc.)