Developer’s Blog

Town Location 4 for Fragments of Karn World – Holm Lake

Fragments of Karn has many islands and many cultures.  Let’s explore some of these places.

 

On the island of Dainar, there is a beautiful lake to the East of Fendor known as Holm Lake:

 

“Don’t tell me you forgot about Holm Lake?  Gallow Woods gets all of the credit for supplying the timber to construct Fendor, as well as the fresh river water.  But where would Fendor be without its fishing community?  Gallow Woods has some streams where fishing is good but the real seafood for Fendor is from Holm Lake.  Its coastlines are home to fish with some of the lightest and flakiest meat around.  The people of Fendor know how to use it well too…the recipes they come up with…superb!  They aren’t to the caliber of Dainian coastal communities but still…worth a try if you happen to stop by Fendor.

Now the center of the lake, that’s a different story.  You see, Fendor is a war torn area, and this was especially true a few years back.  Some battles were fought over these waters and supplies and yes, even the occasional treasure sank to the bottom.  But these nautical casualties were aided by fierce denizens of the deep that, although not as ferocious as their sea-dwelling brethren, were strong enough to pull light sailing boats beneath the waves and make a hasty meal out of these unfortunate victims.  It really is a shame too…because I have often sat by the shore of this seemingly tranquil lake and caught some rare and prized fish.  Then I get up the gumption to try to rent a boat and set sail to deeper waters of this lake, only to be warned by a local that just the other day, he saw a neighbor of his pulled beneath the waves trying to make a catch in the middle of the lake.  Temptations be damned…I’m sticking to the coastline with this lake.  I’m telling you it’s not worth the risk.”

Town Location 3 for Fragments of Karn World – Gallow Woods

Fragments of Karn has many islands and many cultures.  Let’s explore some of these places.

 

On the island of Dainar, there is a bountiful forest Northwest of Fendor.  The locals call it Gallow Woods:

 

“How do you think we were able to construct all of Fendor’s buildings?  Honestly, do you think anyone would import lumber all the way out here?  Mate, you’ve got to be joking.  No one would bother with the likes of our town in that way.  Gallow Woods provided it all.  A lush, beautiful forest.  Virgil Falls far in the north provides enough water and minerals to the trees and they respond in kind…some of the richest vegetation on our island.  The trees here are solid and healthy.  The grasses are tall and fertile.  During the daytime, this place is perfect for a picnic.  My only hesitation in recommending this place for a vacation is those damned hungry roving band of wolves.  I’ve seen more than my fair share of lonely stragglers taken out by these increasing bold and dangerous canines.  You want a day of sunshine in Gallow Woods?  Pack a sword under the picnic basket.

At night…this place is down-right spooky.  The crickets chirping and croaking frogs make this place  sound like a haunted graveyard.  Worse yet, the sounds are matched by creatures most foul.  Why does the nocturne bring out such peril?  Please, don’t go into these woods at night.”

 

Town Location 2 for Fragments of Karn World – Bellicose Barrows

Fragments of Karn has many islands and many cultures. Let’s explore some of these places.

On the island of Dainar, there is a series of rolling hills Northeast of Fendor known as Bellicose Barrows:

“You want to see the sites around Fendor? Go to Gallow Woods during the day only. Stick to the coastline of Holm Lake. But the Bellicose Barrows…why the heck would you ever go there? Ever?!? Sure, the rolling hills display a vibrant landscape of emerald green grass and a pleasant breeze. But this place has the Bellicose! I’ll even add in giant spiders and ferocious wolves to boot. But who needs them? The Bellicose are bad enough. Rumor has it, some crazy sorcerer accidentally stumbled across a magical disease that infects any person struck by it. Within a few days, that person changes not only physically, but mentally as well…They begin to take on the appearance of a primitive cave man and adopt a savage and dangerous nature. At the slightest sight of a regular person…they go ballistic and run towards you, brandishing sharp, jagged nails, torn bloody clothes, a ferocious unkempt appearance, and maybe even a crude bone club to boot. They no longer recognize their kin. I saw a woman who became a Bellicose who bludgeoned her own daughter to death…tragic. This wouldn’t be a problem so much if it weren’t for the fact that they never seem to attack each other and in fact, often live in burrows together…hence the name, Bellicose Burrows. So be my guest, wander into this area, and try to survive even a couple of hours with a pack of these formerly sentient creatures racing after you. If you outrun them, you can also have a pleasant time with the spiders whose venom takes control of your mind which they use to enslave you before they decide to use you as food, sucking all the life right out of you.

It never fails though…people never learn. There is always the occasional brave soul who goes looking for his wife or daughter after she gets infected with the Bellicose disease and wanders off into the hills. This brave and hapless farmer actually thinks he can bring them back. But soon, he becomes one of them as well if he isn’t eaten by them first. And that’s how the Bellicose survive…how do you kill a loved one, even if that person really isn’t himself/herself anymore? I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

Town Location 1 for Fragments of Karn World – Fendor

Fragments of Karn has many islands and many cultures. Let’s explore some of these places.

On the island of Dainar, there is a small, humble town by the name of Fendor:

“Fendor…what can I say? It’s the prototypical town of Dainar. It’s small and simple. Townsfolk are wary of outsiders yet there is a kindness and hospitality to its people. Once they have come to accept you, they are gracious and caring.

They don’t go much for magic and spell casters are advised to keep their craft hidden. But since this town lies at a major geographical point of conflict, warfare and bloodshed are an all too familiar sight to these people. They try to avoid violence but being a part of the kingdom of Dainar, they understand the necessity for conflict with other island nations.

The land? Simple, rolling grass hills. The summers are quite pleasant here with cool crisp breezes cutting through the summer sun. The nights give way to crickets and peaceful sounds of nature. There are numerous small streams around the town and winters never get too cold.

You won’t find much in the way of food or culture here. Milquetoast is the best description. Good luck trying to find exotic cuisine or rare textiles or magical items or ingredients. But, their fresh food market is renowned and the smell emanating from their grodwen pies entices even the most snobbish of paletes.

The inns and housing here are pretty standard for Dainar: stonework (sometimes wood) with thatched roofs. Landscaping and home decor are pretty sparse: this is a town of simple farmers and peasants. There is not much in the way of creativity or wealth to be found here.

And yet despite all of this peacefulness, this town suffers from the same malaise that afflicts most landmarks in this world…there is a growing unrest. Wild beasts and vicious creatures seem to attack the village with increasing frequency and intensity. Perhaps it wasn’t wise for Karn to fragment…this world seems to be heading toward chaos.”

Town Locations for Fragments of Karn World

Below are the briefs of different town locations in Fragments of Karn World and more to come in the next couple weeks. In the following weeks, we will also expose more details of each town regarding its environment, population and Bestiary. Don’t forget to try our RPG game (online tabletop/pen and paper games) website – www.usorgames.com. It is completely online and completely free!

Fendor

A typical Danian town. Frequently patroled by Imperial Soldiers due to it being relatively close to the coast and a high traffic area for brigands and invading armies.

Bellicose Barrows

Rolling hills, small wooded caves, and primitive hovels. This area is home to the Bellicose and as such is an extremely chaotic and savage area.

Holm Lake

A large, beautiful lake just Southeast of Glavendale. Locals fish in the safer spots of this lake yet few travel into its deeper parts. Many large and dangerous fish inhabit these darker waters and venturing out into the middle of this lake is bound to cause travelers trouble.

Gallow Woods

Bordering the town of Fendor, this dark forest is scary place to be at night with horrific creatures, bandits, and cut throats. Relatively safe place during the day.

Prestorn

A large city with the highest concentration of wealthy Danians in the whole kingdom. The countryside is beautiful here and for the right price, visitors can find rare imports from all over the world

Tombs of Prestorn

Just outside the city of Prestorn lie its tombs…the final resting places of the powerful and wealthy. Unfortunately, its spirits are not at rest and wandering around the tombs at night will inevitably lead to an encounter with the undead.

Featherrock Crags

A wealth of valuable gems, minerals, and ores abound in these rocky hills. Just try to avoid its dangerous denizens.

Virgil Falls

Breathtaking waterfalls just a couple of miles outside the city of Prestorn. Around these waterfalls are numerous caves with not only dangerous creatures but valuable stolen treasure

Galin

A moderately sized town, Galin has several large farms and boasts an impressive culinary populace. As such, travelers can enjoy some of the best food Danair has to offer here.

Adventuring Party Dynamics

A good role-playing game campaign consists of three components: a good game master, players that get along and work well together, and an often overlooked component: a balanced adventuring party.

In pretty much every genre and setting, there are certain archetypical roles that characters need to fulfill in order to effectively handle any situation a game master might throw at the players.  Presented below are the most common essential roles that span across all role-playing game settings.  It is important to note that there are not sharp distinctions among these roles and any given character may fulfill one or more of these roles.  In fact, some of the most popular character roles in any given setting usually stretch across multiple roles.

 

The Damage Dealer

Image courtesy of ractapopulous:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/ractapopulous-24766/

 

Players often associate this role with warriors and soldiers but it can also include espionage characters, spell casters, and even technology-using characters.  It focuses on dealing damage (either physical or otherwise) and destroying opponents that the player(s) encounter during a gaming session.

 

This role is almost entirely focused on the combat aspect of a setting and since action and adventure are almost always a given in every campaign, this role is easily the most recognized and covered of all roles; it is also usually the most popular.  

 

Its popularity also reflects its importance.  Indeed, it is hard to get far in a game without having someone there to kill all of the bad guys that stand in your way.  However, as we shall present in some of the other roles to come, it takes a clever game master to present the players with alternatives to pure violence.

 

The Tank

Image courtesy of Mysticsartdesign:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/Mysticsartdesign-322497/

 

This role often overlaps with the damage dealer role and is also popular among players.  Characters need the ability to take damage as well as deal it and this is where the tank comes in.  The tank acts as a front line character in a battle that can take lots of damage and protect other weaker characters from harm.

 

As mentioned earlier, this role is often connected with a damage dealer and it is quite common to have a character in a game that can both deal and take lots of damage in a battle.

 

The Healer

Image courtesy of Darkostojanovic:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/DarkoStojanovic-638422/

 

The importance of this role is often recognized but is not nearly as popular as other roles.  Its primary duty is that of healing, supporting, and protecting other characters from harm.  Since characters whose sole duty is to be that of a healer tend to be weak in combat, blended role characters that act as a tank and a healer tend to be more popular.

 

But while a character that purely fulfills a healing role can be challenging, it can be extremely rewarding and fun in hands of the right player.  It is also the best role to play if you want to make friends in an adventuring party.  After all, who doesn’t like the guy or gal in the party who looks after his or her teammates and heals them when they are hurt?

 

The Specialist

Image courtesy of andreas160578:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/andreas160578-2383079/

 

This is the broadest and hardest role to clearly define.  But, roughly speaking, the specialist is any character that is skill-focused.  This role often includes characters such as thieves, scientists, engineers, and scholars.  Depending on the focus of the skills, their role can differ slightly.  Generally speaking though, these characters are useful for those parts of the story that are outside of combat and social situations that instead involve the characters using their knowledge to overcome a situation.  This typically involves repair, infiltration, puzzle-solving, and similar skill based tasks.

 

These roles are often a challenge for game masters to fulfill as they are often pre-occupied with setting up the next battle for players to engage in but a good game master will recognize the need to challenge the players’ skills.  Doing so makes a campaign much more fun and interesting while at the same time rewarding those characters that focus on specialized skills.

 

The Socializer

Image courtesy of langll:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/langll-822640/

 

This role usually gains some attention from the game master but is often neglected by players.  Characters who fill this role focus on socializing and interacting with non-player characters.  This often appears in the form of talking but can also include singing, dancing, carousing, and other skills that make others like the character.  

 

This role is usually the least favored by players and as such, can be overlooked by some game masters.  But it can be a rewarding role especially when a game master allows characters of this type to further the story or get the adventuring party out of difficult situations by merely getting others to like them.  

 

The socializer’s strength really lies in the storytelling power of the game master.  The more the game master can steer a story towards character interaction and away from combat, the more fun a player can have with this type of role.

 

Conclusion

A good adventuring party will incorporate a good balance of all of the above focuses.  And since it is usually the case that no one character can excel at all of these archetypes, it is up to players to work with each other to create a team of characters that complement each other well.

 

As mentioned above, these roles occur in most game settings and any given character will usually be a blend of one or more of these archetypes.  As such, a good game master will make sure to cater his/her campaigns to each of these focuses and must be mindful not to neglect any of them.

 

For more good gaming advice, be sure to visit us at usorgames.com.

 

HAPPY GAMING!!!!

USOR Games World Series 2 – Legacy of Ancients

By the 89th Century, mankind has reached the stars and beyond, establishing colonies across numerous worlds and galaxies.  His technology has been boosted to godlike levels and in the course of his travels through space, he has encountered numerous new technologies and sentient life forms.  Fortunately, all of this has only strengthened mankind as he wisely learned to coexist with these new life forms.  There are of course always wars going on and dangerous new encounters to deal with, but overall mankind has triumphed and joined with fellow sentient species in the peaceful habitation of space.

The catastrophic event occurred in 8803 when the 69th United Space Systems Armada encountered an unknown alien artifact.  Of course, all sentient species in the universe held council to determine its origin and their course of action.  To the surprise of the council members and to their respective races, none had ever encountered an alien artifact of this nature and none (not even the top archaeologists and scientists) could determine its purpose.  The 69th Armada was ordered to investigate the artifact.  Within seconds of sensor-scanning it, the artifact “came to life” and sent an energy surge through the solar system that instantly obliterated the entire armada.  The energy surge was determined to be a combination weapon/radio transmission.  Questions arose: why the attack?  What did the message say?  Who was the message sent to?  Almost immediately, additional forces were sent to the area as well as science teams.  The area was declared off limits.  For decades, the situation throughout the universe was tense as all its sentients felt on the brink of extinction by this powerful artifact.

Centuries pass and no other events occur with the object.  But something else happens.  As space exploration continues, more and more similar artifacts are found and while hesitation is the initial response, curiosity gets the better of civilization and it turns out that these artifacts can be utilized safely.  Structures of this ancient alien race (generically dubbed “The Ancients”) are discovered too.  Some of them even have fully functioning systems even though the race seems long gone.  These structures have been determined to be millions of years old.

As the galactic civilization expands, more and more of these alien remnants are discovered.  It seems that this race has already explored and conquered the entire universe.  Then for some reason, it died out before humanity was even born.  The strangest thing about the artifacts is that some of them are not only compatible with known galactic technology, but it seems as if it was made to perfectly fit the technology (almost as if this ancient race could see the future and predict the coming of this galactic civilization).

The first incident of this technology compatibility occurred when a lone mercenary was exploring an uncharted planet.  She was in a full environment power suit and discovered one of the Ancients’ structures.  Upon entering it she found a sealed capsule.  When she approached it, it glowed bright green and opened to reveal what looked like a power suit add on.  Instinctively, she grabbed the artifact and took it back to her ship.  There she was quite easily able to attach the add-on (which to her complete surprise matched perfectly into her suit’s system).  This artifact was a plasma cannon that had unparalleled firepower and with it she became a famous and powerful soldier.  Within the following decades, more and more of these artifacts were found allowing explorers to upgrade their technologies.

The big mystery then is who are these Ancients?  Are they still alive somewhere in the galaxy?  Where do they come from originally?  And more importantly, how and why did they leave artifacts for our use?

USOR Games World Series 1 – Fragments of Karn

Karn, The Creator of our world, of all things. He has existed since time immemorial and is all powerful. In the beginning, it was only Him. Yet through the eons, he grew bored. So, he decided to create our world. And in it, he populated it with all sorts of creatures. But there was one creature in particular that he bestowed sentience to: man. At that time, the land was one large continent and man ruled over it.

But eventually, Karn got so bored with this world and its people that he decided to do the unthinkable: he decided to destroy himself. In a blast that shook the cosmos, Karn willfully split himself into a multitude of separate entities: Demi-Gods. Each Demi-God has a distinct personally and powers. Along with splitting himself, he also cast the land in the world apart into separate continents and islands. There, each Demi-God would rule over a given piece of land and there, would modify and evolve his portion of humans to his liking.

The end result is a world populated by numerous islands and continents, each with its own Demi-God and unique sentient species.

This is the world of Karn.

 

How to Create a Truly Unique Character

While the game master is responsible for creating an intriguing and fun world within which the story and adventure unfold, it is the players who create characters that will interact with this world. However, to create a compelling character that is memorable can sometimes be challenging. Here are some suggestions that can help gamers get a start.

  1. Follow your gut feeling and express your creativity.

As with any role-playing game, creating a character is limited to the rules set forth within whatever game system the character is created in.  Some game systems have fairly strict character creation guidelines while others such as USOR Games, utilize a character point system for expanded flexibility in assigning stats and abilities to a character.  However, the true meat of a character, is his/her personality and background.  The true heart and soul of a character goes beyond mere stats on a page.  Remember that while the rules are there to facilitate actions and consequences within the game world, the real fun in a game is the great characters and their personalities that are created by the game master and by the players.  So, once you’ve finished jotting down all the stats for your character, remember to give them a really memorable and interesting background and personality.

  1. Determine the role of your character based on the world the character will be in

A lot of times, especially in a role playing games, the world is pre-defined before a character is created. Thus, the character you create must fit within the confines of the reality he/she exists in. For example, if your character is in a mundane world set in the modern era in a spy thriller campaign, you cannot have him/her be a powerful wizard.  But, you can try to have an interesting background twist for the character that the game master may not have expected.  What if your character was a chef with no espionage background and he/she is suddenly and unexpectedly thrown into this spy world?  

  1. Define who your character is.

So you’ve given your character a background and a personality.  But what are the overall values and goals that define the character?  Characters who highly value honor and sacrifice will behave differently from ones who put their own interests above all else.

  1. Construct the character with details surrounding the core value

The final piece to creating a truly memorable character is to flesh out the details.  What are the character’s personality strengths and weaknesses?  Maybe he/she is paternal and protecting of others yet is short-tempered and prone to anger?  Maybe the character has a fondness for animals and gets upset anytime he/she sees someone eating or harming animals.  These little but subtle intricacies to a character turns him/her from a mere set of stats to a living and breathing alter ego of the player.

There are many great role-playing games out there that will let you do just that.  We encourage you try them out for yourself.  Also, you can try this link to create your own character for free at USOR Games.

Try here to create a character for free!

How to Create a Fantasy World

To create a compelling world that feels magical and interesting to players in a role playing game can be daunting, especially if it is your first time as a game master.  There are a lot of game systems available including paid virtual tabletop game platforms that feature digitized versions of traditional pen and paper games, or free game platforms like USOR Games that are entirely web-based and feature the ability to create your own world and content based on a pre-existing platform.  These systems can help you gain a good understanding of what an interesting fantasy world should be like. Here are some tips to help you create an interesting world for players to play in:

  1. Determine the layout of the world – create a map

Mapping out the world will help give a concrete sense to both the game master and players of where the story will take place and what the geography and environment of the world is like.

You can draw your own map, download a free one from public domain websites, or use existing maps from a game system you are currently using.

  1. Decide the setting of your world.

Since imagination is all you need to create an interesting world, the possibilities are limitless provided the game system you are using can accommodate your ideas. It can be created in a historical setting such as medieval times or the stone age. Or, it can set in the far future such as mankind in outer space.  It can even be a modern setting.  It is completely up to you. Players often pick the game they want to play based on the setting alone. So, make it an interesting one.

  1. Set the mood of the world

While the first two steps describes the physical aspects of the world, mood is important too.

Is this a dark, dystopian world that is very serious and gritty?  Is it a wonderous and beautiful world full of magic and mystery?  Or is it a light and comical world?

A setting is nothing without the proper mood to accompany it.

Different values in the world will influence characters’ behaviors and even the character creation process.

  1. Make your world consistent

A world can be fun and creative but it must also have a consistent and recognizable set of rules to it.  This will let players know what kind of environment to expect and gives them the chance to let their characters logically interact with the world.  If you created a chaotic and lawless world, events and characters within it should behave accordingly.  Alternatively, an organized and civilized world will have dire consequences for characters that frequently do not adhere to its strict rules and laws.  Either way, players should be made aware of these rules in advance as their characters may have been living in this world for their entire lives but the players certainly haven’t.  It is unwise for a game master to assume that any given player will know exactly how the rules of a given world will operate.

  1. Be spontaneous with story telling.

Story is what makes life interesting. While rules can keep consistency, a good plot in story telling can create unpredictability and twists and turns necessary to keep players engaged with the game. A good game master can craft a story that is so full of suspense and excitement that players will want to keep playing the game for days, months, and even years in the future. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous!

There are many great role-playing games out there within which a compelling world can be created.  We encourage you try them out for yourself.  Also, you can try this link to create your own world for free at USOR Games.

Good luck and enjoy!