I realized I never posted this commission I had made of Sibiliss back from the D&D campaign, which needed to be remedied immediately because I absolutely love it. I loved the concept of the character, a Medusa Sorceress turned Queen of the Pirates, and I feel she went over exceptionally well with the players as well. They did wind up working for her after all, despite my original intention for her to be a villain.
I have created a few generators, usually just names, for fantasy RPGs using perchance.org. I recently found out they allow embedding. This generator in particular pulls together from a few different generators I made on perchance. It’s still barebones, but functional and perfectly useable if you need a quick place for adventurers to visit.
Pronounced Boll-weigh-ho, but often bastardized by other cultures as Boll-eh-gah or Boo-leh-go
The Boluego is a mass-produced shoulder fired weapon powered by 12 inch wands of reconstituted Litia. It looks like a cross between a quarterstaff and a rocket launcher where one end has been replaced by a fist sized crystal. It generally has a hand grip, a receiver, and a bolt for loading the wand into the Boluego. A single wand can power 10 shots, and the wand’s type determines the spell used. While the Boluego can be scaled up in power, the physical size of the weapon scales up as well, as does the amount of power necessary to operate it. A Boluego capable of firing a level 3 spell is the size of a cannon, and any Boluego larger than the original size requires a crew to operate it effectively.
Historical Notes: The Boluego made its first appearance at the Battle of Torre Arranes, and turned what should have been an unmitigated disaster into pyrrhic victory. The Battle of Torre Arranes became the bloodiest battle in written history -but it was a record that it wouldn’t hold for long.
Pitbull’s Fireball needs to be playing instrumental/karaoke style in the background. Quiet at first, getting louder the closer they get to the main room of the cavern.
The various rooms leading into the main room are scattered with dead, unconscious, or barely conscious kobolds and goblins (a check of the living will tell they are deeply intoxicated or under the influence of something, likely a powerful drug. A check of the dead shows a 50/50 split between violent death and apparent OD).
Kobolds, goblins, and other assorted ‘minor’ villainous types are dancing in a conga line around a ‘treasure’ trove of mostly shiny looking junk and baubles. The treasure appears to be on fire, the flames are a whole rainbow of reds, blues, greens, purples, and yellows, flickering and dancing to the beat of music. Hovering two feet above the pile of treasures is a crystal about 3ft tall, glowing dim white and pulsing with streaks of opalescent rainbow colors to the music.
The music is performed by a diverse and raggedy group similar to those in the lines. Scattered around the room are the bodies of mostly kobolds and goblins.
Occasionally a fireball with materialize from the hovering crystal and land in a random part of the room, killing or roasting whatever happens to be there. A cloud will be released from the epicenter of the explosion and disperse around the room, adding to the haze. This cloud is what causes the intoxication. (roll a medium/hard Con check against. A fail results in a 50/50 roll. Result A means the character falls into blissful partying trance with the rest of the partying creatures. Result B means the character has a deep yearning desire to go and round up more ‘silly little creatures’ and bring them back to this neverending party.)
Why is this happening? It can be for whatever reason you find that fits best with the campaign.
Great Elven kingdoms once spanned the world. Each with their own unique culture and history, the descendants of these kingdoms are the different Elven subraces. Their long lives allowed for deep study of magics, according to the needs of the kingdom. Magic became common and integrated deeply into their culture, the likes of which has never been seen before or since.
They traded magic for raw materials with the various Dwarven kingdoms under the mountains, and nearly drove Dragonkind (their only rivals in magic) and Orcs (whom they considered barbaric) to extinction. All other races, including humans at the time, were too few in number, too tribal, or too scattered to be anything more than exotic oddities and lesser beings.
And then almost overnight by the span of the Elves, the human population -which had been burgeoning but still mostly unnoticed by the Elvenkind- coagulated into their own kingdoms and revolted against the Elven powers with help from the remaining Dragonkind. None will ever know what the result of the wars would have been, because it was about that time the Apocalypse happened. 80% of life in the world was wiped out. It was an irrecoverable blow to the Elves, as they could never hope to recover their population faster than the other races, and their great cities and kingdoms were mostly lost or abandoned. Millenia later, they yearn for the old days as they fade toward irrelevance, watching the the world pass them by.
Even now however, on average, Elven magic remains only equaled by Draconic Sorcery.
The Dragonspire. Created in a time lost to even the most ancient of dragons, it is a labyrinth, a fortress, a temple, a vault, and a battleground. Its dark halls filled with a history of blood, violence, and treachery. Where the bravest, smartest, and most cunning of all the draconic clans vie to reclaim the Ring of Dragons, and claim control of the Empire for their clan. For when the Empress dies, the ring magically disappears into the depths of the Dragonspire, and the magic barriers preventing entrance into the mountain vanish.
You are one of the small armies of dragonkind sent into its depths. Proven warriors, sorcerers, scouts, and leaders, you are in it to win it or die trying. Success for you is to reclaim the Ring of Dragons and present it to your clan’s Dragon Queen, becoming a true legend of the Empire, your name and likeness etched into the Pillar of Heroes.
I’ve been wanting to write a novel for a long time (see my Solethania is 20 years old post), but always had excuses and/or was too worn out mentally from work to make writing the strong habit it needs to be to accomplish that kind of task.
I finally had enough of my excuses (in the same way I had enough of my weight and dropped 30lbs in a couple months when I went keto) and sat down to figure out my plan of attack on this thing.
First, I knew I’d have to do something to bypass the mental fatigue from work. So I adjusted my sleep schedule. I now wake 5am and try to be in bed by 9-9:30, M-F. This gets me a solid hour and forty-five minutes of pure writing time with no distractions every weekday.
Second, I have to have a method, a step by step, orderly way of doing things. I need a framework, because that’s just how my brain works. So I searched around for such a thing and found the Snowflake method. It’s like it was designed specifically for me. It was no surprise then when I noticed the creator was also a software architect.
I then sat down and made a list of the ‘one sentence summaries’ (the step 1) I had rattling around in my head. Then I mixed, matched, and narrowed them down until I had just one left.
“A young wizard and a priest lead a scientific expedition into a magical desert and find more than they bargained for.”
Yesterday, I wrote the five sentence summary paragraph and part of the first character page.
So I now know how it starts, ends, and the three major ‘disasters/events’ within as well as the names and general-ish idea of who and what the various characters are. This morning I worked through the characters themselves, building them out, gaining an detailed understanding of them, who they are, and their story beats, which I caused me to change some things around (to be expected, and I expect it to happen a lot more). So far I only have the primary protagonist’s summary ‘done’. Tomorrow I should probably get more than just one, but it’ll take me a couple days to get them all fully fleshed out.
I really like having a plan, strong concrete and daily achievable goals beyond ‘write X number of words’. So I am highly confident I’ll actually be able to pull this enterprise off. I’ll update at various notable points on this site.
Wherein I stroll down memory lane, and the origin of Rins. I’ll be adding some of the artwork of the various stages.
I feel absolutely ancient, realizing the first seeds of the world of Solethania began at the young age of twelve. Though honestly it probably began even earlier, when my sisters and I used to stay up way past our bedtime creating stories involving our myriad of stuffed animals while we laid in bed (the three of us shared a room until we had our own house in our teenage years, because we couldn’t afford anything else). We never got in trouble for staying up that late because my parents thought it was adorable.
At 12 years old I was writing into a raggedy little handheld notebook I carried with me. It was a simple, flip-over thing. I think they’re called memo books on Amazon these days. My mind was filled with the works of Brian Jacques, his Redwall series being something I was all but obsessed with (A couple years later it’d be Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. Followed by Golden Sun on the GBA) and I wanted my own world like that. So I made one. The concept of worldbuilding was utterly unknown to me at the time -nevermind actually writing it down- until I went off to college. What I did do however, was daydream about it, write stories (well, pieces of stories usually), or doodle an absolutely ridiculous amount of images.
So the world itself shifted with all the whims and whimsy a young boy could have. Then in college it became more grounded. More official. Rules were set in place. Then broken, rethought, and set in place again. Documentation, words like ‘demographics’ and ‘rules of magic’ started appearing. Rules of magic came, went, and came back more convoluted (or simplified) than ever before. And so it went, back and forth, the world slowly fleshing itself out, until very recently I created a landmass as a basis for a map I was perfectly happy with.
So. What has changed? What has stayed the same?
If there’s one thing that has stayed true through all 20 years is this absolute basic statement:
“It is a world of magic.”
I never, ever meant it like ‘It is a world that has magic in it’ or ‘magic is a rare or fading thing’. It has always been filled with the wildest things my imagination could think of. When The Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters, two things stood out and stuck with me ever since: The deep beauty, mystery, and sense of loss of the Mines of Moria, and the utter grandeur and awe of the Argonath. To this day, it still fills me with that sense of wonder. I wanted that kind of thing in my world. I wanted that sense of history. I wanted the beautiful and the grand. But I didn’t want these grand things to be relics of an age long past whose methods of creation have disappeared. I wanted the world to be in an Age of Wonders. Where empires, wizards, architects, and armies of artisans were in the process of building these things. The great cities have not fallen to ruin or decay, but are instead at the height of their power. Legends, not unlike the real life American Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, etc. walk unexplored lands and leave their indelible marks on history. Great armies, filled with wizards, and magic weapons and armor march toward glorious battle or certain doom. Solethania has always been, and always will be a deeply magical place. The rules of such magic has probably changed every other year since its inception. Currently it’s pretty static D&D rules, because I was running a D&D campaign in the world. So chances are I’m going to away from that. If only to avoid run-ins with WoTC should I ever try to actually publish a story (I’ll also need to rename a couple places on the map. Like Tabax…).
Another thing that hasn’t really changed is anthropomorphic animals existing in the world. It’s a long time holdover from the earliest days of making my first stab at my own world and populating it with animals like Brian Jacques did (that was like, 90% of my early work. Taking things I liked and mimicking them. I mean, I was literally 12 at the time…). That has faded mostly away, as the Wolfkind and Dragonkind are currently the only anthropomorphic species to officially exist in Solethania (D&D races are acceptable in campaigns, but I don’t consider them official, and any stories I write don’t have them.)
So… About Rins.
Rins is an anthro wolf character who has been around six-ish years at this point. You’ll see her in most of my social avatars and as of the last couple years, various commissioned artwork. Currently she’s in the site’s header banner.
The origin of the character Rins goes right along with the origin of Solethania itself. I felt the desire to draw the various characters in my head, but couldn’t. I knew I couldn’t draw humans well. So I drew animals with human features, because I thought it looked better than my attempts at humans. And it stuck. Also, believe it or not, I didn’t even know furries were a thing until college. I thought what I was doing was akin to cartoon art, a la Disney’s Robin Hood or the cover art of Redwall novels. And then high speed, full access internet happened. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Rins was not always a wolflike creature. She started out as a he. And an otter. Because I liked otters best at the age of 12. And also not named Rins. He didn’t have a name until I discovered I liked drawing the female figure more. It was confusing because I never really ‘set out’ to create a singular character. But when the dust settled after a few years, I did have a more or less consistent character. One who has followed me through the years till now, when I can afford to have actual, better artists draw her the way I see it in my head.
Some more images I’ve drawn through the years. Probably a ‘best of’ to be honest.
Now compare to a commissioned piece, like this. (Artist: Chessi) I much prefer to commission nowadays for some reason…
Oh, and speaking of change… Solethania wasn’t always Solethania. Originally the name of the world was Fraewan. Because Fraewan sounded super fantasy-ish to super young me. Solethania started out a small city state (ruled by a faction that had a magical rose symbol emblazoned on their armor). But Solethania was such a catchy name, and an absolute waste for such a small thing as a city state. There was a brief period of wishy-washy where it was the worlds name and where it wasn’t. And then it just was. And that’s the way it is. I may name one of the continents Fraewan though, as a callback or something.
I have a ton of written work, in various states of “brief sketchy outline” to “This is going to be an epic” and everything in-between. I put a lot of effort at some point in the past converting the handwritten pages to more legible print form. I don’t know what happened with those specific digital copies, so I’ll probably have to type them up again. I may put the ones that have anything remotely interesting in the Z-Scraps category in the wiki.
And that’s pretty much that. I just felt like meandering around the memory lane a bit.
It’s not the end of the campaign, but it is the end of the original story arc I had intended. It, like most homebrew campaigns, went unexpected places and went a whole lot longer than originally anticipated. I’m taking a short break from D&D to try out Savage Worlds, in what I hope to be a ‘Mass Effect meets Ghost in the Shell’ kind of setting. I’m calling it the unimaginative “Solethania Galactic”. Because branding and laziness. We’ll be streaming this too.
Anyway, below is the end of the first story arc of A Tale of Solethania.
And here is the whole messy playlist (apologies for various audio issues and whatnot early on).