Welcome to Snowtown

The sixth day of Dice-ember I bring to you images to spark the creative embers that fuel this months adventure. Tonight we officially say welcome to Snowtown as we get a glimpse of some of the people, the village and beyond! So sit down with a hot coffee and enjoy what’s been created.

I should mention that I am looking at another art creation tool tonight, nightcafe.studio. I will give a bit more of my first impressions of it later in tonight’s blog but for now its producing some nice artwork (that is free and able to be used privately or commercially).


Welcome to Snowtown

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Snowtown: Created in nightcafe.studio

The town of Snowtown is set against the high peaks of the Gritch mountains which sees the town blanketed in snow year round. The walls of most building are double or triple bricked with thick insulation to keep them warm year round. Apart from the snow the second most common thing to see in the skies of Snowtown. Smoke rises from each chimney stack just as quickly as the wind that whips down from the mountains whisks it away. There is a single road into Snowtown, a relatively well maintained one due to the town being near some hard to find resources. This promotes trade and trade needs good roads so the trek into the town isn’t as gruelling as one would imagine.

Nightfall in Snowtown: Created in nightcafe.studio

Despite the well maintained road there are pockets where the village isn’t well maintained. Fresh faced villagers are in short supply in Snowtown and slowly the population of the town is aging. There are occasionally a wayward traveller will settle down in the town and re-spruce up an old building as their home but this is a rare occurrence. As such some buildings have fallen into disrepair despite the best attempts of the townsfolk.

The People

Penny Cartwright: created in nightcafe.studio

Penny Cartwright settled with her family in Snowtown when she was a young lass. Now into adulthood she maintains the general store whilst her family travels the roads selling the wares of the village to further villages.

Penn always has a far off look in her eyes, as if not actually looking at customers when they talk to her. It’s almost as if she is dreaming of a different life past the snow, the trees and the road that leads out of the village and into the vast world beyond. But despite this longing for more she is bright and cheerful. She truly enjoys the people she talks to and loves to serve the townsfolk of Snowtown.


Daryll Sootbrow: Created in nightcafe.studio

Stout and gruff is how the villagers would describe Daryll. He is short tempered, strong as an ox and has the manners of one. However he is the first to jump in to do what is right and help those in true need. Once a black smith forging the measly amounts of ore that could be found in the hills around Snowtown necessity saw him close his forge and move to support his then wife at the inn.

One morning he woke to find her gone with no trace or note, but other villagers had known that she left the town and the responsibility of the inn to Daryll. Lying to himself he believed that if he worked hard enough at the Inn she would come back. She never did but he hasn’t the heart or will power to leave the inn to someone else despite hating what it now represents for him.


Thoughts – Nightcafe

An interesting concept of taking text and converting it into images. So far the images that have been created seem to be nearly on-point however the limited ability to modify your existing creations to get them just right (like in artbreeder) is frustratingly odd.

I would prefer to be able to tweak images once purchased (more on that in a minute) so that they are fit for purpose. I tried to get an image of Daryll (as you can see under that gallery) to be just right and to fix the “broken hand appearance” that one of the images has. Alas it was not to be. Despite my best efforts in tweaking the image based on text input it was a throw-away result.

However, the other images are something I would consider a success. This leads me onto the next point. Cost.

Now each image costs .5 (or .25 if you want 4 images created from a string of text for options) of a token. You earn tokens by doing daily tasks but if you are like me and like to sit down and make a bunch of images at once… No amount of daily tasks will fuel the creative need I have or gaining followers (and likes) by sharing your art.

You can of course by more tokens to fuel your creative spark, and they aren’t super expensive however it appears to mainly be subscription based plans which I dam not a big fan of.

I will continue to create a few more images on here and see how we go.


Now that we have a bit more details of the town and people we can begin to get the ball rolling. Thanks for dropping in tonight but don’t forget that tonight it just the beginning of the week, sort of. So don’t forget to come back each day this week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Shadowed Edge

Tonight we look at a very different NPC, tonight we look at the Shadowed Edge – a sentient blade. I tend to stay away from sentient weapons as they are another NPC for me to juggle and manage but this one feels different. So sit back, enjoy and later on we will investigate other sentient weapons and items.

 


Shadowed Edge

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This is a unholy blade as once a noble spirit that drifted in neutrality between the shadowlands and lands of men. This didn’t last long as the Shadow quickly tainted the creature and tortured it until its mind split. Now a fraction of what it once was the creature that dwells within this blade corrupts the body of any it touch.

The condition I would impose on the party member who uses this blade is that they would need to make a Charisma save vs dc 10 at the start of every week. If they succeed then they are currently in control of the blade and despite its influence they are sane. If they fail they slowly start to assimilate the personality of the blade starting with the Personality trait, then the Ideal, Bond then Flaw for each additional failure. At which point they have disadvantage on all future checks.

If they succeed after obtaining one of the personality traits of the blade they roll back one stage. ie. From Bond to Ideal then to Personality trait then no changes.

Every month that they are attuned to this blade the DC increases by 1 to a max of 20.

Becoming unattuned removes the ability to hear the weapon and utilise any of the benefits from it.


Thanks for joining me tonight. Tomorrow night we will look at a potential alternative ending for the campaign, if they fail, and prepare ourselves for dice-ember!. Don’t forget to come back for this and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Surprise NPCs

Welcome to a slightly different NPC Tuesday where we look at surprise NPCs. Tonight I didn’t want to create a new NPC or look at expanding upon an existing one but I wanted to look at the process I follow.

 


Surprise NPCs

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Tonight I wanted to explore something that we may realise we do that’s natural for some of us who have been in the game for a while. Creating NPCs is an artform. Whether we take the time and effort to carefully sculpt a NPC to fit our campaign or we just need to answer the question our players throw at us “Hi, my name is Togrim the Terrible. Who are you?”

To aid in the brief discussion I have created a flow diagram that I asked myself when thinking about the different NPCs that I have created before (created in Canva)

As we can see we have a few questions here to answer and the rest are kind of obvious but I will explain below.

  • Quest – Is this for a quest. Is this the princess coming to the Tavern to find the roughest looking group around to ask them to kidnap her?
    • Side – Is it a side quest? See “Can you get me floof mellons from a nearby field. I will pay you handsomely for each one you can bring back?”
    • Core – Main story line quest. The princess changing her mind or the parameters around her kidnap.
  • Actor – is this someone on the streets / road / in the building. Are they someone you need to add in that doesn’t immediately result in a quest.
    • Agent – A spy, thief, butler, someone working for someone.
    • Distraction – a pickpocket, crying maiden, innkeeper – someone who serves no immediate purpose other than to distract from the main quest at hand.
    • Vendor – someone who sells something to the party whether its potions, lotions, axes, mittens, information or.. errhm.. something more non-pg friendly.
      • Stocked – are they in stock? Do we need a side quest to get that item in?

There are some common themes across the trees. These are things that will pop-up constantly the more you go through your NPC and jot down notes.

  • Dangerous – Are they dangerous..
    • Yes? Does the party know this? How to they react?
    • No? What do they do?
  • Help/Hinder? Are they friend of foe? Gere to help the party or here to set them back?
  • Motivation? – what motivates them? If they aren’t pushing the core plot along then what do they want with the party?
  • Permanency? Are they permanent? Once this interaction is done do they disappear, or die? OR do they stick around and reappear later?
  • Vulnerability* (only called out once) – Do they have a weakness. Are they vulnerable to silver. OR do they only want to save their family and that’s why they are working with the Kings hunter to bring back his daughter?
  • And of course, Appearance – This includes the name but how do you describe this person/creature/thing? Are they a human, bat, lizardfolk or talking spoon. Descriptions including how we Role play NPCs can cement them into permanency for our party.

Although not an exhaustive list I will use this for the next few months and see if I can tweak it. Most of us follow something similar and occasionally do it automatically when our party asks the dreaded questions “what’s your name” or “who are you?”.


Another night down and I have a new printout at my desk. Thanks for joining me tonight and hopefully this can be useful for you in impromptu NPC creation. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow as we cover off another end of campaign writeup and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Servants doubt

Welcome to Tuesday night where we look at NPCs for the party to interact with. This week we have a npc experiencing what I would call servants doubt as they witness the end drawing near.


Servants doubt

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The diminutive creature watches as the party squared off against the ogre and a silent smile crossed its face. This could be it, the moment its freedom was bought.

Since it had watched its friends, comrades and children fight for the Shadow and fall for it. Since it has watched the same once revered master feast on their broken bodies and imbue itself with their dying life force. Enough was enough.

As the ogre strode forwards towards the party the shrieks from those still in cages got louder. Some wailed for saving, some cheered for the party but others cheered for blood. The ogre roared in approval at the terror and lust for blood as it brought its whip and cracked it over the head of the party as it waited for the first move.

Thoughts.

This week in servants doubt we meet an old Butatō who has finally found a way out. This small creature will do just about anything to be spared and will likely ramble in Broken common about what it knows, and the way to the ritual chamber as its one of its primary duties. As the citadel is meant to be a confusing rabbit warren having a way out and direct path, maybe, to the shadow is maybe something that the party would capitalise on.


A glimpse of the bigger picture for this weeks session. As we finalise the adventure and as it looks more and more promising that the Shadow will fall. So don’t forget to come back this week as we investigate whats coming. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Blood, bone and shadow

Welcome to a npc Tuesday where tonight we are looking at the creature summoned from blood, bone and shadow. Tonight the avatar of shadow stirs and begins to prepare to undergo a ritual to boost its power, but is it too late? Is the party and their allies too close to its lair? Let’s find out this week


Blood, bone and shadow

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The creature stirred from the warm granite and ash on the stone floor. Slowly the nerves in its muscles fired and it pushes its face from the ground and looked up at the creatures that served it. They stood around it in reverence, not wanting to be the first to approach the fallen figure that had, until this moment, lay crumpled on the ground.

“Master. The humans. They have pushed us from the wall. I.. er.. some of the others feared you had fallen and ordered a retreat.” A large, although cowardly, oni spoke as it shuffled forward towards the large humanoid figure. “What would you have us do? We may be able to rally the spirit folk and have them take back the ground we lost when the ice witch..” his speech was cut short as the creatures hand shot forward and plunged into the chest of the oni. With a look of shock and horror the oni watched as its heart was pulled from its chest, all but one artery detached as the figure drank deep from the pulsing organ.

“I would have you shut up” the creature said as it drank its fill from the warm blood. “I would have you all not have retreated from the wall. It was ours to take. Victory was within our grasp and you let it slip through our fingers.” The creature said as it shuffled to kneel on the ground.

No creature dared speak or move for fear of suffering its wrath. Although it wasn’t the shadow itself it was a vessel for embodying its unholy form within this plane and its power was unfathomable to the mortal creatures that served it.

Finally a ogre like creature spoke. “Master. The humans. They are come here…” The rest of the servants moved from the avatar.

It slowly looked up at all those who were gathered. “The ritual must be done again. Before they get here. I will need to bolster this body and prepare to do what you can not. Kill a party of humans. Take the slaves, take the captives. Grab the weak and injured. Their bodies will renew my strength. Go now” The avatar if shadow barked and delighted in the creatures panicked scurry.

 


Thanks for dropping by tonight. A short one but it helps set the scene for us DMs as we move forward into the final push. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to get more info and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Rejoicing Spiritfolk

Tuesday is here and that means that means looking at expanding or creating a NPCs. Tonight’s writeup is about rejoicing spiritfolk as explained by someone who we haven’t had much to do with, yet, as we get to know them a bit more.


Rejoicing Spiritfolk

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“Sir, I volunteer to lead the operation to retrieve the intel.” His voice echoed in his mind as he looked over the battlefield. In four hours the sun would begin to set and he would begin the mission.

As he looked across the soldiers clearing the battlefield of their dead and piling the enemy corpses onto a pile he called out. “Place the spiritfolk in a separate pile. They dont burn their dead with the Oni. They think it an offence to the spirits who guide them.” He said to Kit who, as punishment, was in charge of the bloody duty.

When the party and Kyoko looked his way he smiled sadly. “I spent some time with the spiritfolk when I was young… Some things you cant forget.” He began. After a moment he explained further.

Gin was born the son of an alchemist, two infact. His parent’s were non-conventional to say the least. His mother was a human but his father was one of the Spiritfolk who fell in love with the human woman who kept foraging in his forest.

Intially it was professional completion amongst each other. Finding the best reagents or herbs before the other could. But before long it blossomed into more.

Their son looked completely human except for a light covering of fur across his torso. His fathers goat legs, horns and tail were not gifted to his son but his reflexes and inhuman strength was. In the village they lived in the villagers quickly accepted Gin and his parents union. Especially when the quality of potions, charms and lotions were as high as his parents. However, happiness – like most things can’t remain for long.

Halfway through Gin’s tenth cycle an oni raiding party attacked his village. His parents locked him away and kept him hidden from the oni. But the Oni eventually found his parents. When they worked out that a human and spiritfolk were a could they made a sport out of their torture. It was ok display to the whole village yet Gin couldn’t see his parents in their last moments. But he could hear them.

The following month he pledged himself into the service or the Harimasu military and dedicated his life to hunting Oni.

“and I’ve been here ever since..” he said with a touch if pride on his face.

“sir! We have movement!” A guard shouted as they hurried towards the wall.

“Hold! It’s the spirit folk to send off their dead.” Gin called out to his fellow guardsmen. “See. Wait and watch”

A few moments passed and gradually all types of Spiritfolk appeared around the pile of their dead. Then slowly they formed a circle and began to sing and dance around their fallen. “They are celebrating the reunion of their parents, elders, children and friends and the spirit world. Where they believe they will hunt in the endless plains of their ancestors.” He explained. “This will last until sunset at which point they will take the bodies away and burn them amongst the rest of their kin.”

Sure enough as the sun set the spiritfolk gathered their dead and singing out in joyous tones they carried them away from the battlefield and into the wilds beyond.


The month as begun and soon it will be over. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for a bit of a twist in this weeks adventure as all best laid out plans tend to have hiccups. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Shadows Throne

Welcome to the bonus week Tuesday where tonight I wanted to have another go at Artbreeder and have some fun creating weird stuff. One such outcome was the image of the mountains known as The Shadows Throne. Oh and a super creepy image of The Shadow itself. Enjoy!


The Shadows Throne

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Created in Artbreeder

It’s hard to find images of a mountain that recently had a great swath of its peak crack and fall to the ground below. Let alone one that is glowing red. This image however after toying around with a few cross breeds and manipulation of what else was out there came up a winner in what could constitute the image I was going for. So I give to you, The Shadows Throne.

This image should hopefully bring thoughts of a grand conflict to the foremind of our players as they gaze upon its shattered and discoloured peaks. That is in fact the reason I create images for these campaigns to help the players and the DM get into the world. Sink in and really feel what it would be like for their characters. Immersion is a big thing for me and I hope the next image does just that too


The Shadows Avatar

Created in Artbreeder

Now apart from maybe the occasional slipup The Shadow does not have a gender. Blending a previously used image used to create Mugrave’s imagery as well as a dark shadowy image I give you. The Shadows Avatar.

This is hopefully enough to give the players a shiver down their spine and create that atmosphere where we don’t quite know what’s going to happen. But we are all there for the ride regardless.

The Shadow is more-or-less a minor deity and to simply walk upon this world is not an option. But to have a mortal body be a vessel for your power, that’s something we can get behind.


As we get closer to the end of the month I find myself looking at where I can add, tweak, correct or change content. Tonight I wanted to add something to help describe some events or narrative description that could come as a result of the defeat of Yukri. Also, with those afflicted, who weren’t slain, recovering from their madness they have some more details to reveal… But that can wait for another night so don’t forget to come back for that. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Call of the Dragon

Welcome to another Tuesday where we don’t look at adding new NPCs but look at fleshing out and adding more to an existing one. This week we look at Kit Hou and her answer to the call of the dragon which led her to choose between her mission and her father.


Call of the Dragon

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Created in artbreeder

As Kit sat down at the table with her hands crossed in front of her face she met the uneasy stare that her father was giving her. “So before you begin I want to explain why first…” she said as she accepted a hot cup of tea. “I had a vision…”

“A vision of your death?” her father, Captain Hou interrupted bluntly. His displeasure mixed with concern evident on his face and in his voice.

“No. If you’d let me continue, I had a vision of a golden dragon asking me to find out why there was a demon at the wall. It asked me to have faith and stay on the outside of the wall and watch the enemy as they went by with their attack. And I did.” she stopped to blow on her tea before sipping it slowly.

“They were studding the wall with these.” she aid as she reached into a torn pocket and deposited what appeared to be a shard of obsidian like material that had been carved into a thin stud. “I wasn’t sure at first but I watched them firing arrows towards the wall and us. I almost gave up when suddenly an arrow hit one of the fragments and this cloud of shadow sped across the ground and attacked all who stood above where the arrow hit. The next wave of attackers did the same thing. Ran up, those that got to the wall embedded another shard and then they would launch a few volleys of arrows. Each time the Shadow demon, the Wrath Wraith, would appear.”

She paused for a moment and let it sink in. “I though that if the creature just did as it was told and attacked where the shard was broken then we may be able to use it as a weapon. So I tried it out and it worked. The wrath wraith appeared and attacked the oni when they appeared over the ridge. They must have worked it out because I was retrieving one of the shards when they attacked. Lucky these adventurers appeared in time and saved me as during the commotion the shard I had scavenged broke in my pocket.” she paused to sip from her tea.

“I grabbed a few more shards on the way here so we can analyse them but if the wrath wraith is dead then there is no ability to summon it again.” she added. “But I think I did what the dragon ancestor had asked as I could see the glow of the ancestors on these adventurers. I decided that my task was complete so I didn’t need to stay out there any more.”

As if to punctuate the closure of her story the room dropped in temperature suddenly and a horrible scream broke through the night air outside. Racing up the steps the party looked over the edge of the wall to see walls of ice littering the battlefield. As they trace the direction the walls seemed to point in the Yuki-onna, Yukir Toshio and a huge Onikage stalked away from the battlefield.

The first flakes of snow began to drift down from the darkened clouds.


Well another night has come and gone and we are now half-way through the weekly content. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the plot twist and secondary hook night and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Wall Guard

Welcome to Tuesday night NPC special where we look at the wall guard. It’s been a few weeks(?) some time any way since I played around with artbreeder and there is an influx of new pictures to modify. So be sure to check it out! Tonight we look at Wall Captain Hou, an image of his daughter (for reasons yet to be disclosed..) and the wall guard that spoke to the party lastly before they descended. I may create a few more of them for later on but that wont be for tonight. So sit back, enjoy and feel free to use these portraits in your own campaign!


The Wall Guard

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The more I look at the portraits created in artbreeder the more I forget that I used to never use this tool. Being able to describe someone and have a face to put to the name and description to show to a party member is awesome.

However… Captain Hou definitely looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger…

Wall Captain Hou
Captain Hou’s Daughter
Wall Guard Gin Seng

Thanks for joining me tonight for a few portraits. Don’t forget that tomorrow night is plot twist night where I hope to shock the RPG world with a revelation!! But its probably already obvious to my awesome readers so it wont be any surprise. Regardless don’t forget to come back for it and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Dragons Tears Items

As we move closer to the end of the campaign I don’t foresee having many more NPCs of note joining us for every weeks encounters. So for tonight I wanted to release the Dragons Tears Items that I worked on a template for last week with some slight tweaks. So enjoy!


Dragons Tears Items

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Dragons Tears Items – Melee

Made at D&D Beyond

Made at D&D Beyond

Dragons Tears Item – Ranged Weapon

Made at D&D Beyond

Dragons Tears Item – Wondrous Item (amulet)

Made at D&D Beyond

Thoughts.

Tweaking the bonus to hit and damage to be all the time was just to make the weapon feel more versatile outside of this specific campaign. Having the damage be activated rather than all the time and only when shedding light means that there is a decision to be made. Stealth or no stealth. The non-optional beacon effect of the light them a target for the minions of the shadow, undead, fiends or creatures in general and that could be enough of a deterrent to not use it all the time.

The ranged weapon didn’t get much tweaking. I know how strong guiding bolt is but granting permanent damage boost on a ranged weapon felt too strong. The three times a day (resetting on dawn) is thematic as well as should make the use of the ability something they save, or risk being caught without an ace up their sleeve.

The wondrous item wasn’t changed too much if at all as the provision of darkvision, the light effect AND the advantage on being charmed should be powerful enough.


Thanks for joining me once again when we look towards Ryokughan. Tonight we looked at some magic items that were gifted by the Harimasu family to defeat the Shadow. Well that’s the hope at least. Tomorrow we look at further advancements as the party travel towards the wall so it aims to be a good one. Don’t forget to come back each night this week to stay up to date on the content here and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe