Ode to Zaheer

Zaheer is the best villain the Legend of Korra has ever put together. 

He looks cool.

4016697-zaheer

 

He goes too far but he also has a point.

z1

He leads a team of total bad-asses. You can feel their shared history when they are on the screen together.

Zaheer_meditates

 

And he is voiced by:

Henry Rollins

Daydreaming about a Hexcrawl

Thinking about Quinn’s posts about Drow and thinking about West Marches, I’m daydreaming about a hexcrawl.

Your maps are a thousand years out of date as you make your way to the surface…

It is one thousand years since the Drow exodus to the Underdark, soon after which the Web Matriarchs went to war against the Star King in the West. The Drow cut themselves from the fate dictated by the stars’ song, bound themselves instead to the Matron’s Holy Web. 

Every nation was drawn in to this elven civil war. Gnomes, dwarves, drow, quaggoth and githyanki allied against elves, humans, hobbits and githzarai. On both sides, there were those who went against the majority. Undead were split – Ghouls and zombies made alliances on the surface while vampires and liches made alliances with the under-kingdoms. Orc were found on both sides.

Terrible arcane powers were unleashed that have left scars above and below, unleashing fell powers into the world. The gods sent visions to make it clear, this war would end the world if it continued. The holy gathered under a cessation of violence and crafted the treaty, binding a devil, angel and demi-god to enforce it. The treaty demanded that everyone choose above or below and stand by that choice for a thousand years: tunnels, stone and secrets buried in the earth or sun, moon and the heroes depicted in the stars.

Your ancestors chose tunnel, stone and secrets. In that thousand years, drow matriarchs have established vast city-states ruled by a complicated alliance of noble houses and priestesses. The githyanki attempted to take over the tunnels some years ago but were shut down by the combined might of their former allies; they are still present, though diminished – all of their red dragons slumber. The dwarves were driven into debt by the war effort and blamed their allies, always threatening to break the treatise as their princes and holdfasts faded from their former glory. The gnomes have quietly migrated deeper and deeper. The quaggoth ride underdark-bred dinosaurs, riding their steeds along ancient tunnel highways, following their mushroom herds. 

Your maps are a thousand years out of date as you make your way to the surface…

 

Question: 1000 years or 10,000 years?

Reading, Planning and Writing: Another Beautiful Friday (Gen Con Jealousy)

Reading: I’ve got The Lone Range and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie on my phone’s Kindle app. I’m really loving the poetry and humor in Alexie’s writing. This might turn out to be one of my favorite books ever. In print, I’m reading Book of the New Sun, which I’m enjoying but can drag a bit here and there.

Online, Quinn’s posts on Drow and race are cool – here and also here.

Planning: I’ve got some gaming coming up on the horizon – not this weekend but towards the end of the month. This weekend I just want to catch up on the exhaustion debt I accrued last weekend.

Writing: This week I’ve really fallen down on my writing. There have been several days when I’d get home from work, skip dinner and go straight to bed. I need to carve out that time-space for my keyboard but I haven’t found it just yet.

And you?

12 Nearby Cities

You’ve got that fantasy city you made up on the map – here are some neighbors beyond the map’s edges:

1

Asmodeen: former capital of the Tiefling empire, back when there was an empire. Made to honor the God-Tyrant, Asmodeus but was never officially recognized as His unholy capital city. The city is guarded by the 13 Altar-Fortresses, each commanded by a warlock-commander.

Exports: goats, obsidian, indentured devil tutors


2

Bahamudad: holy city of the Dragonborn, where it is said that Bahamut and Tiamat’s high priests and priestesses made a peace accord and gathered to create the species after the first Dragon War.

Exports: lumber, ancient coins, accountants


3

The Walking Cathedral: an ancient, lumbering machine said to be built in a collaboration between saints, sorcerers, devils and gods before the world knew of war and blood. The path it lumbers along is completed once every season, said to be on guard against the Tarrasque.

Exports: buffalo, holy books, oracles and scribes


4

Pentacle: a new and growing metropolis made by a cabal of five mages who have built a merchant house from their money made from stolen dragon’s hoards and looted lich’s tombs, surrounded by five towers that are still under construction and stout walls.

Exports: vellum, ink, map-makers


5

High Fell: a city in the middle of the Bright Bay, built atop the skyships, airships and spelljammers that fell to the earth during the Storm Wars. The ships are connected via tunnels and gangplanks, purchasing a ship entangles one into complicated relationships with one’s neighbors.

There are Lower Fells all over the Bright Sea.

Exports: fish, otherworldly artifacts, artifact appraisers


6

Corvuston: the holy city of the Raven Queen with necropolis walls and many murders.

Exports: marble, embalmers, morticians and undead hunters


7

Ulula: the city that clings to the fortress built by the owl god is known for its giant owl steeds and the city’s knights who ride them – delivering messages and slaying monsters that haunt the night.

Exports: wool, flying steeds and astonishingly recent news from afar


8

Endë-Osto: the deepest city of the Drow is ruled by a matriach whose throne is said to float in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the palest of the drow sword-maidens who have never seen sun, moon nor stars; they ride dinosaurs bred for traversing tunnels. 

Exports: mushrooms, ore, gems and Underdark guides


9

 
Three Giants Dam: Before the Curse fell upon the Giants and damned them to mindless savagery, they used their magics to raise a dam that stretched miles wide and half a mile thick and high, sealing the Sunset Ocean off from the Inner Sea, and creating the lush Valley of Indris. The dam still stands inviolate, the three carved giants on its face standing testament to their once-mighty craft. The smaller races have built a city of interlocking platforms, scaffolds, and houses all along its inner face, with the world’s greatest and most dangerous harborage spilling over the top.
 
Exports: wine from scaffold-grown grapes, old Giantish machina from the access tunnels, magebred messenger monkeys.
 
By Jim DelRosso
 

 

J’arr: also know as the City of a 1000 ports it is said to have been created in a single night by a djinn of the first order. J’arr sits at the mouth of the mighty river All’taugh, the Sweet, known for its refreshing and soothing waters.  High minarets and brightly colored palaces speckle the skyline and merchants and creatures of all sorts walk its streets.  It has been thousands of years since the city’s founding but the mage with ruby eyes still rules as he always has. It is said that in the dunes that surround the city a giant insect god with glittering eyes watches from beneath the surface. 

Exports: olives, diplomats, (there is a school for diplomatic and negotiating skills within the city), and pepper.

by Anthony Loinaz


11

Big Shire: a sprawling series of hills inter-connected with hobbit holes, weed dens and sabbatical hostels for over-stressed wizards. The Big Shire is governed by a complicated morass of mayors and sheriffs.
 
Exports: pipe weed, cabbage, fireworks, burglars

12
Labyrinth: an urban maze created by and constantly kept up and altered by minotaur architects and masons. The city is a philosophical statement about choice and free will and is said to be slowly dying along with the minotaur species.
 
Exports: bricks, architects, book-binders

Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Scene 1

Peter “Starlord” Quill and Gamora are at a gala event with a dance floor that looks like a beautiful nebula. A slow waltz is playing and they are waltzing.

QUILL: You picked up on this fast!

GAMORA: It is just like fighting.

QUILL: Is it?

GAMORA: It is just like fighting for those of us who know how to fight.

QUILL: What? You are talking to the legendary outlaw, Starlord, who won the dance-off against Ronan the Accuser when billions of lives were at stake. Here we go.

The music begins to pick up. It sounds like a Kenny Loggins tune from Footloose. The crowd circles up and begins to cheer them on.

Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer are dancing alongside them. Loris Singer is green.

GAMORA: Peter, I’m not sure about this kind of dancing. I’m not sure where to…

QUILL: Just feel it…feel the beat.

KEVIN BACON: I am Groot.

Quill and Gamora stop dancing. The music lurches to a stop. The hologram fades and they are back on the ship.

ROCKET: We’ll be within boarding distance in a few minutes. 

QUILL: I worked really hard on that. Making Lori Singer green was super-hard.

GAMORA: Groot, are you ready to board?

GROOT: I am Groot!

QUILL: You are ready, dancing queen?

GAMORA: I am Groot.

QUILL: How about you, Drax?

DRAX: I am not Groot but I am ready to board this ship and destroy any and all who get in the way of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Drax, Groot and Gamora suit up for space. Quill takes the co-pilot seat next to Rocket.

QUILL: Seems like lots of trouble for a glove.

ROCKET: Gauntlet, Peter, it is a gauntlet. Chitauri are in range. 3…2…1…