Monday, July 30, 2018

“What’s in a Name? Part I” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 47: Karendle

Karendle had gotten up very early, as the dawn was first making its light in the eastern sky. She cleaned herself and dressed, then stepped out into the inn’s common room. The elf girl had bought a room for everyone the night before, when they’d arrived. What was her name? Thizarell? Tissarill? She couldn’t remember.

The innkeeper wasn’t up yet, even. The hall was oddly quiet, considering how noisy and smokey it had been the previous night. She stepped through the main door and out into the street. The inn was on the waterfront, and across the street were docks. She could see the giant’s barge docked several berths away to the left. The giant had insisted on staying with it.

She quietly stepped eastward, walking along the river. It flowed calmly past her, moving west toward the swamps of Umbramoor. That’s where the rest of them said they were going, after they got the thing with the kids sorted out. A part of her hoped they would succeed. They seemed like sincere sort of people. Unfortunately, the kind of people that this world would chew up and spit out like bad gruel.

She had other plans.

She felt her pouch bounce against her hip as she walked. In it were the oculi, the gems she carried to give her magic. One of them, of polished granite, contained a wizard, magically trapped in the stone. She had to get this stone back to Twynne Rivers, to deliver this bounty to her contact.

So, first, I have to find a barge to take me back downstream. Actually, first I ought to contact my... My contact... Had she forgotten their names, too? No, she realized that they hadn’t given her their names. In her excitement to get the oculi, and to get access to the powers they brought, she had never thought to ask, and it’s odd that they never offered their names, either.

She took a moment and sat down on a bench by the docks. There was a slow breeze blowing with the river. It was chilly in the morning, even though the weather was warming with the summer coming on.

Where would be a good spot to reach out? They told me to do it in secret, where no one was watching...

She didn’t notice, however, that someone was watching. Someone hiding across the street, by the still closed waterfront shops.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Happy Gygax Day!

Hey, folks -

At this rather undramatic juncture in the narrative, I have a few announcements!

First of all - Happy Gygax Day! Apparently, July 27th is Gary Gygax' birthday.  Who was he, you ask? Only the father of all role-playing games! So, everyone go out and roll a natural 20 today to celebrate!

Second of all, and as a fitting tribute, we now have our rule book available! A work spanning 4 years!  Here's the link to where you can purchase a hardback copy and/or a pdf download.

We're very excited! Through the month of August, the PDF version will be only $10, and if you buy the hardbound version ($29.99), you'll also get the PDF free!

Third, we will be showing the game at the Eagle Mountain Street Fair, in our home town, on August 11th, and we'll also be demoing the game at the SaltCON End of Summer Event in Layton, UT on August 31 and Sept 1!

More to come!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

“Well, Now What?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 46: Antonerri

Antonerri stepped down the stairs into the common area of the Inn. It looked much brighter and more welcoming than it had the night before. He could see the activity of the morning picking up, and recognized a table full of his traveling companions. As he approached, he heard DeFrantis say, “I’ve been in dark markets before. Maybe I’ll begin there.”

There was an immediate awkward silence after her statement, which Antonneri broke by pulling out a chair and sitting down.

Thissraelle was quick with a smile and a greeting, “Good Morning! How did you sleep?”

The sleeping was fine. The trouble was waking up. “Fine, thanks.” He looked over the breakfast food. “Much better than in a jail cell or even an army barracks.”

I’ll try and keep it cordial. No need to bother them with my own struggles.

“Are you hungry? Have some!”

He nodded. He was quite hungry, and so he reached for a plate and the serving bowl. He glanced over at DeFrantis, who returned his look with a slight smile. He nodded a quiet morning greeting. As he began eating, he thought about the interesting collection of souls gathered around the table, from so many different backgrounds and experiences. As they had been traveling the day before, they had talked and, to a certain extent, gotten to know each other. He thought it odd that they would all be together at the same table. Just a few days before, none of them had known any of the others.

Oh! I’m being ungrateful! He suddenly dropped his fork and said, “Forgive me and my bad manners. A thanks to whoever provided this meal, and the bed for the night.”

Thissraelle had a mouthful of food, but gestured with her hands as if to say not to worry.

“So, what was this about the dark market?” He asked, hoping to restart the discussion.

Granthurg answered, “This village has one, but I’m not sure we should get messed in with it. It’s probably dangerous, and, considering how we were run out of Twynne Rivers, it might not be a good idea to be seen here among those who connect that way.”

DeFrantis swallowed her spoonful. “True, but since we’re already in danger, that wouldn’t really make much difference, would it? We really should go where it happens. I mean, children aren’t going to be sold in the open square.”

Thissraelle wondered, “Doesn’t the Church of Three Lights take care of orphans and street kids? Maybe we should ask the local Priest what he might know...”  Antonneri and DeFrantis both stopped eating and shared a fearful glance. Antonneri had to shake his head to resume breathing.

DeFrantis finally spoke. “This is my task. These are like my children. I should have protected them. I have to save them now. I can’t require any of you to join me in this danger. Each of you have things you need to do. Thissraelle, you’re wanting to go to Emberfire. That’s a long Journey. Granthurg, you’re needing to get the barge upriver. Antonerri...” Here she paused, then continued, “You all don’t need more risk and distractions from me.”

No one spoke. No one ate. For a moment, the air was decorated with the sounds of glasses clinking, footsteps, and voices mumbling from other tables. Outside, and child’s laugh drifted through the window. Antonerri saw the elf and the giant looking at each other with questioning glances.

Granthurg cleared his throat. “Well, that’s true enough. We all have our own plans. We don’t have reason to get involved. Except that there are children’s lives at risk.” He saw Thissraelle smiling at him. “So, I think we can postpone our journeys and help.”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Yes! We can!”

DeFrantis sighed with relief. “Okay, then. We’re a team.”

Antonerri nodded his assent, then asked, “So. What do we do first?”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

“A Very Close Shave” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 45: Antonerri

Antonerri awoke disoriented. Morning light fell across his face, making it hard to see. He blinked and rolled over, then rose up on one arm. He was on a bed. A nice one, actually, padded well with what felt like a feather mattress. With real blankets.

Wait. How did I get here?

As he wiped his eyes with his other hand, the memories of the last few days flowed into his head. The last bed he had slept in was in the barracks of the Church Guard, and it was made of rough straw. That seemed like a completely different world, now.

He sat up, then stood. The wizard girl had gotten them rooms at this inn. For a small town, there was one pretty fancy inn, and she had found it. “We should all get a good night’s sleep!” she had said. All but the Giant. He had wanted to stay with the barge. Antonerri had offered to stay as well, but Granthurg insisted he go. The room itself was small, but nicely furnished. The rug felt good on his bare feet. There was a small table with a wash basin and soap. He rubbed his hand across his face and felt the four days of stubble.

He crossed the room again and reached for his pouch. He pulled out a dagger and unsheathed it as he walked back to the table. It was finely crafted and had a good edge. He had picked it up after the fight on the barge. It must have dropped from one of the attackers’ belts. He set it on the table and poured water from a pitcher into the basin. He rinsed off his hands, and got them soapy, spreading the foam over his chin.

His hand shook a little as he raised the dagger to his neck. Memories of the accusations of the Confessor Priest flashed through his mind. I am unworthy. I am rejected. I have nothing, and nowhere to go. It would be simple. It would be quick. The wondering would be over.

He stood, transfixed, feeling the cold edge of the blade on his dripping throat. He took a deep breath and shifted the dagger in his fingers. He drew down, scraping away the soap and the beard.

No. Not yet. I have to help find the children, and free them. Maybe then I can find some peace, one way or another.

When he finished shaving, he dressed. He hesitated to put on his tunic, looking at the emblem of the three star lights over the left breast. Finally, having nothing else to wear, he put it on. Then, he stepped out into the hallway, looking for DeFrantis.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

“Placing a Breakfast Order” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 44: DeFrantis

The bright morning sun shone through the slightly smoke-tinted windows of the lower level of the village inn. Its lower angle swept the sunbeams across the tables and floor. There was already activity in the common room, even at this hour.

“Hearye, hearyeall!” A man in a bright red jacket shouted. The pubcrier’s clothing was vivid, the red cloth trimmed in light yellow piping. His hat had long white feathers sweeping toward his back. His appearance, if not his voice, cried out for everyone’s attention, and everyone in the pub turned to give it to him. He lifted a scroll and began reading the day’s news.

“King Hastone III, of House Twynham, may he live long, and protect us all, has issued a decree of a tax of 5 coppers for anyone traveling the roads to and from Twynne Rivers. This includes the western road that follows the Greater Wynne River, to our fair village. This tax will allow the king to provide soldiers to protect the merchant caravans and travellers along these roads.”

The few people in the common room muttered their complaints and turned their faces back to their breakfasts, or to each other.

The crier continued, “This is primarily due to increased danger from brigands and wizards along the vital trading routes.”

As the crier droned on, DeFrantis squinted in the sunlight and looked across the table at Thissraelle. “I don’t understand why wizardry is so despised recently.” Thissraelle shrugged, as DeFrantis continued, “I guess there are always those who use powers to steal or hurt others.” I guess I have, too, but I do try to only use it to protect myself.  Still, I’m not really a full wizard.

Thissraelle leaned forward. “I spent my life hidden away in the Twynne Rivers Guild Towers. All I’ve known is wizards and wizardry. Mages are wonderful people. I don’t understand the fear, either.”

The front door swung open, flooding the floor with morning sunlight. Just as quickly, the light was obscured by a tall silhouette that stepped into the doorway and ducked through. As soon as she recognized the giant, Thissraelle waved. “Granthurg! Over here!”

DeFrantis was surprised. “Didn’t he stay in the inn, too?”

“He insisted on guarding the barge.” She waved again. “Here we are!”

Granthurg stepped over to the table and pulled out a chair. It was clearly too small for him, but it was steady enough to support his weight. “Good morning. I trust you slept well.”

DeFrantis smiled. “I’m not used to beds. It was...” she paused, thinking of what to say, “..oddly restful. I’m very grateful to you both.”

Granthurg nodded and looked around. “Where are the others?”

“I’ve not seen either of them this morning. Antonerri is still asleep, I suppose. Presumably, the bounty hunter has left to return her capture and collect her pay.” DeFrantis hesitated, “She kind of scares me, honestly. I’m not quite sure what to make of her.”

The innkeeper interrupted them with steaming bowls of meal and eggs, and set drinking glasses before them. He stood at the tableside for a moment, looking at them awkwardly. It suddenly occurred to Thissraelle what he was wanting, and she dug into her purse for a few silver pieces. “Does this cover the rooms and the meal?”

“Thank you, miss!”

DeFrantis hung her head.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’m not used to beds, or.. kindness.”

They began eating. After a moment, Thissraelle broke the awkwardness by asking, “Will you begin your search here?”

DeFrantis nodded between bites of egg. Granturg said, “This is the village of Dirae. I heard it’s named for one of its founding settlers. It’s mostly farmers working the land for a few remote nobles. It’s the first trading stop on the westward trip up the Greater Wynne. It’s not a big city, but it might be where they brought the children. I’ve heard there is a dark market here, but I don’t know where. They could have tried to sell the kids there. Of course, now there are brigands in the forest attacking the caravans and even the barges. They could be holding them hostage.”

The two women paused in their breakfast and just stared at the Giant.

“What? I stop here in this village every time we sail up the north river. Granted, it’s not very often, but still, I hear things. People talk, especially the river runners.”

“I’ve been in dark markets before. Maybe I’ll begin there.” She returned to her meal. She didn’t see the concerned glances between her table companions.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

“Placing a Dinner Order” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 43

Tonklyn stood on a large balcony, jutting out from halfway up the side of a mountain. Really, to say the balcony was large was really an understatement. It was easily thirty to forty feet wide, and it jutted out over the mountainside at least twenty feet in a sweeping half circle. The light glowing from the oculus at the end of his staff barely chased the dark from the balcony’s edge, enhanced a bit by the moonlight. There was no ledge or railing, just a stonework masonry floor, and then a steep and fast drop down the side of the mountain. Below the balcony were crags still full of unmelted snow, spotted with trees.

Tonklyn stood a safe distance from the edge, but not against the mountainside opposite the drop off, or particularly close to the gaping open mouth of a corridor carved into that mountain. The night breeze was cold. It was the late spring, of course, but at this altitude, the air was still winter. His heavy dark brown robes and hood kept him relatively warm as he waited.

It was a clear night, with lots of stars, and an almost full moon. The view of the forest at the valley floor below him was stunning. His eyes, however, were up in the air, scanning, looking, watching.

The balcony was built just at the timber line. There were trees below, but above him only rocks and mountain, except for two other constructions, watchtowers jutting upward out of the mountain on either side of the balcony.

The wind blew stronger for a moment, and he drew his hood and cloak tighter, though his breath still formed a mist in the chill before him.

He caught sight of a motion in the air far off to his right, and his eyes focused on it immediately. It swept across the sky, silhouetted before the moon. He stepped forward and stood a little taller. As the shadow turned in the air, he raised his staff and waved it from side to side. It grew larger as it drew closer, and it came quickly. It dropped down, and for a moment was out of sight.

Tonklyn could hear the heavy flapping of huge wings and felt the wind sweeping up from the trees below. Suddenly the balcony was enveloped in shadow as a massive dragon swooped up over the edge, waving its wings to both stop and steady itself. Its neck arched over and its head looked across the balcony, finally focusing on Tonklyn, whose cloak was waving fiercely in the torrent created by the wings. As the wings drew back and up for another stroke, its back legs, easily as long as Tonklyn was high, reached down and settled onto the edge of the balcony. The muscular body was covered in skin of deep black scales with a slight tint of red reflecting on the underside. The wingstroke came, though not as hard as others, and the forelegs reached out and landed on the stone floor. The dragon leaned back on its back legs and lifted up its head. It stretched out its wings and shook them before folding them neatly across its back. It swayed its head from side to side as if to work its muscles, and finally looked at the human.

Tonklyn stepped forward and dropped to one knee, bowing deeply. “My Liege.”

The dragon snorted, enveloping Tonklyn in smoke and fumes. It turned and lowered its head to slide his body into the corridor entryway. The pounding of his feet on the floor echoed through the chambers. Tonklyn scurried after him, trying to catch up to the head. He spoke hurriedly. “There is a scroll for you, a message from the High Priests of the Church of Three Lights in Twynne Rivers. Shall I get it for you?”

“Yes. But I am hungry. Bring me a meal, and read it to me as I feed.”

“Certainly.” They stepped from the corridor into a large open chamber with a high ceiling supported by pillars all around, each with a dimly glowing oculus. In the center of this space was a vast round carpet of soft furs and blankets. The dragon strode in and circled himself onto it and settled down, with his head up and alert.

“But I grow tired of cattle and venison. Bring me something more delicate.”

“Yes, my Liege.”

“Bring me children.”

Yes, my Liege. Right away.”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

“Thoughts” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 42

The morning sun rose, and shone on the barge. When everyone woke, Antonerri offered to steer to allow Granthurg to sleep. After a moment of instruction, Grathurg rolled out a blanket and in moments was loudly snoring.

The others opened up the stores for more bread and cheese, and sat talking and asking questions. After a few hours of sleep, Granthurg woke and joined them. The river flowed under them smoothly and evenly, and the mid-spring breeze kept them cool in the sun. Granthurg got out his maps and each made their plans. Finally, they relaxed in silence as the afternoon approached.


This giant seems very knowledgeable of the things near the river. I’m not sure where to begin looking for the kids once we get to this village. I think they’re somewhere in the forest, but that’s a big area to cover. Maybe someone in the town knows something.

I barely know Antonerri, but he seems committed to helping. I know I shouldn’t ask him to go with me, but I’ll need his help. I don’t know what we’re up against!

The elf and the giant seemed to show concern for the children, but they have their own plans.  That’s kind of a shame. It would be nice to have a giant and a real wizard along! The dwarven lady is very distant. Oh, what am I saying? This is my task, why would anyone else be bothered?


I am so lost. Everything I’ve worked for is gone. Right now, my only clear purpose is helping to retrieve these children. Beyond that, who knows what the Creator has for me? Who knows what the Creator has in store at all?

Maybe He’s forgotten me. I’ve been cast aside, adrift on this river. What’s around the next bend?


It was so kind of Karendle to help me fight against the sentries sent to retrieve me. I know there will be more. My father will not rest until I’ve been hunted and recaptured. I need to be cautious. 

DeFrantis’ story of the children being sold away is so tragic! Her dedication to that quest is so noble. I should help them. I have been so fortunate in my own life. But if I travel with them, I may just bring more danger along.

I DID ask for adventure, didn’t I?


I did it. I actually did it. I captured a wizard. And from the Guild, no less! That will fetch me a nice bounty. I need to get him back to the others. But, this elf girl seems to be pretty important. She seems to be connected somehow to the Guild as well, and she’s a strong wizard, too! Maybe I can capture her, too, if I’m just careful. She won’t go down so easy, though, and it would probably get the giant very angry.

I’ll have to play this very carefully!


This is all quite a big mess. What did Rinkmorr do? What were they after? It wasn’t Thissraelle. I wonder if it was whatever was in Rinkmorr’s trunk. 

I shouldn’t even think of looking in there. That’s his private property. I wouldn’t want him going through my maps and scrolls, so I shouldn’t go through his things. But whatever is in there is changing my life, putting me in danger, so I should have a right to know what I’m tangled up in, right?

Maybe I will look. 

The river flowed steadily underneath them, and the oculus drove them slowly against the current. Granthurg took in a deep breath. He thought, I have no idea what’s going on, do I?


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.