An illustration of a stone golem monster for any fantasy-themed role-playing game settings. In addition to the full illustration I decided to share an early black & white sketch as well in a transparency-enabled PNG format.
Name: Ungrug the Stone Golem
Race: magical construct
Location: Northern Groam
Ungrug is the creation of Archmage Chenius of Myrna. He constructed the golem many years ago while he was living alone in his keep in northern Groam and he needed protective measures against both superstitious locals and inquisitive rivals. Chenius’ keep was later almost destroyed as a result of a magical experimentation but Ungrug survived the mayhem. And when years passed and Chenius moved to Myrna, Ungrug was left behind. Only the most powerful wizards can create golems that continue their existence after their master has abandoned them. Ungrug remains in his post guarding the ruins of the archmage’s keep.
It is not certain whether the ruins of the keep still hold something of value or if indeed the keep contained underground levels that were left unharmed in the initial destruction. Ungrug guards it regardless as it was it’s purpose. The only person ever to have entered the ruined keep is Chenius’ apprentice, a powerful cosmologist named Sirlo Shakrav who currently lives near the ruined keep. Ungrug is commanded to protect Sirlo as well and instructed to let Sirlo come and go as she pleases. And Sirlo indeed spents an awful lot of time in the ruined keep which naturally begs the question “Why?”.
Ungrug stands guard in the vast foyer of the ruined keep which is now partially exposed to the elements and partially covered by the remnants of the former top floors. Nature has started to take over the keep and indeed even it’s loyal guardian. At times Ungrug activates and shuffles around the foyer, patrols around the keep or just shifts it’s position. The creature has limited intelligence with little means to express even that although it is known that it can sometimes make deep sighs and moaning sounds scaring the hell out of rodents and birds used to seeing rocks remain steady and quiet.
A character illustration for any fantasy -themed role-playing game setting. She is designed to fit my own fantasy -themed setting Cresia.
Name: Sirlo Shakrav
Location: Northern Groam
Sirlo Shakrav spent her childhood in a small and strict monastery. She was essentially abandoned after having showed dangerous signs of unexplained phenomena happening around her before she was even one year of age. Her parents were deeply superstitious and feared they could not handle Sirlo. Although they eventually left her to the monastery, they still retained visitation rights and tried to understand their daughter’s abilities to the best of their limited minds. Sirlo’s early life was simple and restrained; she was essentially denied cultivating her innate natural abilities as a magic user and she was actively discouraged to stifle her talents. The strategy of the monastery failed royally and at the volatile age of ten she was returned to her parents as an abomination the monastery was not able to guide to the path of the righteous. A few years went by and after constant struggling with their daughter, her parents sought help from outside. Eventually they found a suitable mentor for Sirlo – Archmage Chenius who is currently a member of the ruling elite of Myrna. At the time Chenius was conducting unknown experimentations in a private keep some in northern Groam and he had cultivated a reputation among the local populace as a powerful wielder of the ancient magical arts. Chenius took young Sirlo under his wings without testing her in any way; he immediately recognized the uncultivated potential the young girl had.
Sirlo remained in Groam after Chenius returned to his homeland Myrna to regain an active position in the ruling council after an absence of a decade. She “inherited” Chenius’ lands and property although the archmage’s keep had been reduced to a pile of rubble after a spectacular magical catastrophe that only miraculously didn’t consume any lives. She now lives in a nearby cottage. Archmage Chenius taught Sirlo many wonderful things over the years and instructed Sirlo not to come to Myrna until she has attained a much more fine-grained control of her powers lest the powerful but unpredictable mana currents inherent in Myrna would surely produce catastrophic problems. Sirlo remains in Groam trying to control and master her powers and has become a local figure of importance as she provides assistance for a myriad of problems against a small fee.
Sirlo is a Cosmologist; she controls and changes the physical manifestations of the energies of the universe. Her innate abilities probably would allow her to master other types of magic as well but for unknown reasons the cosmological powers are so powerful within her that she can barely maintain them at bay even at relatively low magic flow areas such as northern Groam. Perhaps if she finds ways to master these powers she could focus her interests to some other magical arts.
Today, Sirlo lives alone in relative seclusion in a cottage nearby the demolished keep of the archmage. She ventures into neighboring villages and towns regularly to perform odd jobs that earn her enough coin to cope. She is in good terms with all the nearby communities although there’s some friction with small local superstitious groups that see her (and others like her) more of a threat than an asset even if she has time and again proven of not harboring any ill will towards the local communities.
Name: Alyssa Corma
Alyssa is a loner. She has always pretty much shunned company and even avoided her own siblings as much as it was possible for a child in a family of six children. She grew up in a socially active family in a socially active city of Port Magalie in Witchlight Strand … and hated every minute of it. She eventually came at peace with her inner demons and learned to tolerate other people around her. But she frequently sought solace by escaping from the city and enjoying the wilderness that the inner lands of the Witchlight Strand offer to those daring to explore them. Her family did come after her many times and practically had to drag to her back with them but eventually it dawned to them that she greatly suffered living in the city and gradually accepted that her place was somewhere else than with them. They parted their ways when Alyssa was 14 years of age and while there were many tears and hugs involved, everyone understood that it would sooner or later come to this. Her family at least tried to postpone the inevitable until Alyssa would be old enough to cope on herself.
Nine years later and Alyssa has seen the unusual red cliffs that are responsible for the naming of Bloodspires and hold sacred meaning to the demihuman races living in there. She has seen the sparkling white towers of the mighty city of Bedelhaus in Gruenroth resting on the stern arms of Mount Bedel. She has played The Game of the Kings with the legendary champion Merenes Anfala in Jaston. She has bathed in the red waterfalls of Tarsolom and enjoyed her fair share of the relaxing steamy hot bubbling natural waters deep under the city of Illes. She has danced with the minotaur king Maruk in Dumang and watched the setting sun on the endless golden beaches of Sostas. Despite this she has found the time to visit her family at Port Magalie on two occasions.
She travels throughout the vast kingdom of Groam now seeking new natural wonders, experiences and riches that the great nature can offer her. She has become much more composed and confident during these years and can nowadays even enjoy the companionship of others. Larger crowds and packed cities still frighten her but no longer render her unable to enjoy life in such places. Still, she much more prefers wilderness to cities.
Alyssa is an experienced traveler now able to find food and shelter in the wilderness, procure and mix healing herbs to cure illnesses, protect herself against drunken bullies and find hiding places if need be. She doesn’t actively pursue companionship during her travels even while traversing the more dangerous routes but she wouldn’t turn down an offer to join small(ish) groups if they would share the same route. When with others Alyssa is relaxed, composed and natural but somewhat shy. She enjoys the little things and keeps a remarkably positive attitude often mixed with hearty laughter. The elves of Witchlight Strand taught her the valuable skill of writing and on occasion she writes down chapters of her experiences on the road.
Name: Kate Fendale
Kate Fendale was born and raised in the capitol city of Akron – Mayhill. Her early life was dominated by her mother’s affairs with several members of the upper crust of the city. Her father was a local teacher of youngsters up until he died of a heart failure when Kate was merely six years of age. Her mother somehow fell apart mentally and started a decade-long binge of drunkenness and sexual affairs which eventually took her to an early grave. Initially the family was quite well-off financially, but since not a single coin was coming in anymore, the wealth started to melt gradually in the hands of Kate’s mother.
When Kate was 14, she and her mother were practically broke and her mother was seriously ill from impending liver failure. Kate was pretty much forced to deal with the situation, but her means were very limited. She had, however, years of practice on how to sneak around quietly and hide in the shadows due to her mother’s abusiveness and mean spirits when she was drunk. Kate used her developing skills successfully as a petty thief, but soon graduated into full-blown thievery. She was amazed at how easy it was to gain wealth this way. When Kate’s mother died, she had enough money to pay for her funeral – in which she was the only attendee. She was only 16, but competent enough to make a splash in the criminal circles of Akron.
At the age of 24 Kate was already a hard-core member of the Sombra which is a notorious Ferrian -born organisation of rogues and thieves spanning dozens of cities and towns in Akron, Gruenroth, Ferria and Groam. She was severely entangled with complex inter-guild rope-pulling and power politics of shady outlaw characters wanting to restrain the influence of the organization in Akron. Even though she was close friends with Patricia Mael – who runs the organization’s chapter in Mayhill – she was not able to stay in the city. She decided it was time to let things cool down a bit. The next few years Kate traveled around Akron and made acquaintances with other thieves in every city, town and village she stumbled into and under instructions from Patricia Mael she secretly bonded alliances with them in an effort to expand the organization’s tentacles to more and more cities. Finally she ended up in Groam only two years ago and started working as an information gathering specialist regarding trade routes working for the Sombra‘s Groam -based affiliates. She has the skills to sneak into locked warehouses, sniff around a bit and report her findings to whoever pays her the most. Such skill sets as Kate has are highly sought after by other thieves but also by rivaling merchants who want to gain an edge over their competition.
Kate has little tolerance for complex plans and rather goes by her wits. This mindset is especially dangerous when it comes to thievery and burglary, but so far Kate has never been caught – although she has been suspected of such activities several times both in Akron and Groam. Kate has mood swings, a spicy temperament bordering lunacy and a general loathing of all intoxicants. She hates pubs, inns, taverns and public festivities with equal fervor since they all tend to send her to an emotional roller coaster back into her childhood and right into middle of violent drunkenness. Thus she can’t really be reached from these typical locales but instead through common acquaintances only.
Name: Marcheval Dufien
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
The city of Udynaesses located in the border region of Groam and Caheb has been a lawless pit ever since the area was ravaged by a devastating plague and while the region in general has more or less recovered, the city of Udynaesses unfortunately has not. With a long and glorious history as the once capital city of Caheb, Udynaesses was seized by Groam during the period of plague some 80 years ago and is the southernmost population center of Groam. Groam hasn’t had an interest in keeping the place in line though and mostly this is because it’s hard to reach from Groam – one would have to travel through dense jungles, cross snow peaked mountains or risk dehydration if reaching by desert.
The de facto ruler of Udynaesses is now Marcheval Dufien who is known and feared in the region less affectionately as “The Beheader” because beheading his enemies is his signature gesture of power. Marcheval lives in a small fortified desert castle (Villa Hargassah – in reality not a castle but a well fortified villa) just a few kilometers south of Udynaesses. His power in the region is partially backed up by groups of Caheb origin wishing to see the city revert back to Caheb and this goal can possibly be achieved by disrupting the nominal leader of the city – commander Remnor Galant. Galant is appointed and backed up Groam but in truth has little say in the day-to-day affairs of the city.
Marcheval is of mixed descendence himself having a father from Groam and mother from Caheb and he himself initially had no political motivation – he didn’t care which country called the city as it’s own – but things have changed since the day when he saw a possibility, grabbed it and became the feared ruler of the city by joining a few of the bigger outlaw groups and creating a unified force with him in the lead. Formerly he had made a name for himself by running various small-time crime operations in the region and gradually becoming a prominent crime ring leader. Since effectively taking over the city he has had ample opportunities to further line his pockets with coin and strengthen his presence in the region. He has no official intention of competing with the mighty countries Groam and Caheb – both of which countries haven’t shown much interest in returning rule of law to the city – but lately he has been contemplating with the possibility of forming an independent city-state and also seizing control of the harbor towns of Tash and Calemnor located in the south coast of Dhaira Bay. His plans are known only to a select handful of his most trusted men. Common people see him only as a violent opportunistic brute whose aim in life is to cause misery and pain.
As a man Marcheval is cunning and brutal. He believes that maintaining and attaining political and military power as well as coin actually requires the use of violence and that the brutality of the violence used must exceed that of the opposition – whoever it happens to be. Mercy and forgiveness are not words in his vocabulary. In a relaxed state he is actually quite jovial and friendly even but he rarely shows that side of himself in public; it’s strictly reserved to close friends and manifested within closed quarters.
It has been rumored that Marcheval is somehow linked to the so called Dhaira Cult and one of it’s leaders – the High Priestess Chya. The nature and intimacy of their relationship is subject to speculation, however, but apparently Chya has been spotted at Marcheval’s villa on several occasions when wild (and some witnesses would use the word vile as well) festivities have taken place. Whatever their relationship actually is, some of Marcheval’s backers are less than thrilled about it since Chya’s activities directly threaten many prominent families and the coastal city of Tash in particular. And since the city of Tash is firmly under Caheb control, groups that are friendly with Marcheval against the invading Groam are very wary not to undermine their own country’s power in nearby Caheb -controlled cities.
Name: Hart Miklo
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
The life of a treasure hunter is really not that glamorous as common tavern chatter would have you believe. Then again, only the most extraordinary feats are usually good enough to end up as tales repeated over a tankard of ale. Hart Miklo was once a farm hand and a stable boy making a barely meager living in a small rural town of Maekones just north of the northernmost tip of Dhaira Bay in Groam. On free evenings he marveled at the tales spewed forth by a local veteran treasure hunter by the name of Janos Martol who liked his mug full of ale and a crowd around him centered at him. Janos Martol was full of big fat lies about his travels in search of long lost treasure from the jungles west of Dhaira Bay. His tales of bravado and untold riches just waiting for their finder were enough to convince young Hart that his place in this world should be somewhere else than in a quiet little farm surrounded by horses, pigs and goats.
20 years later and Hart Miklo’s name is quite well known among the people as a treasure hunter of some fame. He has never struck gold as such but has been part of several successful expeditions that made back their investments a dozen times over. However, gambling, drinking and stupid wagers have been around Miklos’ adulthood as flies are around a dog’s turd and he has pretty much lost every penny he has ever gained. He also buried a sizable amount of money a few years ago while he was extremely drunk and come next day he forgot where he buried it. It’s somewhere in Udynaesses for sure and contains a few kilo’s worth of gold and silver artifacts retrieved from an ancient ruined temple.
Hart is an easy going fella with a witty mouth and fast legs both of which are many times used in conjunction as he has the bad habit of not controlling his verbal output while intoxicated and intoxication is not an uncommon state for him. He is quite funny to be around and while a bit mischievous at times, he is still trustworthy and values a good friendship above else. Hart has been in Udynaesses for a few years and considers this lawless city as his home now. He is always looking for jobs somehow related to treasure hunting and has a rather well rounded skill set for such work.
Name: Ludwig Morton “The Crimson Knight”
Location: Morton, Thrubmorton Fens, Gruenroth
A member of a long line of knights and other noblemen of Groam descendance, Ludwig Morton is the current ruler of the city of Morton and the neighboring lands known as Thrubmorton Fens. Thrubmorton Fens is the southernmost area of the kingdom of Gruenroth covering a large area of mostly forested swamp land. The people of the area are packed into few town and cities and they consider themselves to be more part of Groam (or Akron) than Gruenroth due to their cultural and genetic past. Ludwig is the primary ruler of the city and the lord of the lands surrounding Morton (the fortified city of New Mere Fort and the trade city of Mullion both fall under Morton’s rule). And as is common in Gruenroth, he holds no title as such and the lands he control are not that well defined. Morton is known throughout the lands as The Crimson Knight – a nickname that originates from his youth. He supposedly defeated a red dragon (making him one of only a handful of men ever to be known to do such a deed) living in the mountainous area known as the Bloodspires and that was said to be the mother of a strange variety of reddish brown lizardmen that have been seen from time to time in Thrubmorton Fens but who seem extremely rare or elusive now. He brought the remains of the dragon to Morton where the parts were displayed in front of hundreds of citizens in the market square of the city. Ludwig then hired a well-known dwarven alchemist by the name of Durgar to extract the fiery redness of the dragon and instill it’s power into hardened armor plates that would then be molded into a suit of armor. The process lasted for two years during which time Ludwig rose to lead the city and the area. Morton’s red armor is said to contain extreme magical properties but those can as easily be old wives’ tales than absolute truth.
Ludwig Morton is married to one Lady Sullivan and they have two sons and one daughter now. The immediate family of Morton’s include a total of 24 living persons, most of whom live in the city of Morton or Mullion. That fact makes the Morton’s family a rock solid clan that is likely to stay in power long after a single of it’s member is gone. The family is close, effective and stable unit whose members share common interests and strong beliefs in how the area should be ruled and nurtured. They also maintain a strong presence in every possible city function and even though the family is well liked by the citizens, their apparent need to control everything is frequently causing problems in the area.
Ludwig is a rather well-mannered and civil man despite his reputation as a fierce combatant. He is comfortable in a leading position but his close ties to powerful people in Groam and Witchlight Strand make him suspicious in the eyes of other Gruenroth leaders – many of which would gladly see his family banished from Gruenroth. He is very much a hard-working man and regularly accompanies common citizens in even menial tasks such as bridge-building, tree-cutting, roofing etc. He gains enormous amounts of respect thru these events but in all honesty he doesn’t do those to win popularity contests. He simply enjoys manual labor and getting his hands dirty. Perhaps he senses that he needs to stay in shape for who knows what unpleasant events the future brings?
Name: Lucius Valonia
Location: Warder Keep, Akron
Warder Keep is a small fort in Akron just south of the Witchlight Strand border, some 100 kilometers North-East of the city of Agale. It originally belonged to Groam but as Akron separated from Groam and became an independent kingdom, the fort was abandoned and fell into disrepair for several decades until purchased by the mercenary leader Artor Gambori who renewed the fort and made it the base of his mercenary group.
Formerly a general of the smallish military forces of the independent city state of Karthis (located at around the border of Groam and Akron in the north) , general Valonia fell into severe arguments with the city-state’s new ruler. The arguments were mainly fueled by Lucius’ insistence to grow Karthis’ military presence in the area. Lucius believes that unstable times are ahead and that Karthians should wake up and stop smelling the roses – he thinks that the time of independent city states is running out. Lucius wanted to enhance Karthis’ military by growing all the aspects of the armed forces, forcing a mandatory military service time to all male Karthians and to set clearly defined borders (including peripheral forts and outposts) that the city-state will defend with vigilance and vigor. The soldiers in Karthis are all skilled and honored professionals, but Lucius thinks there are simply not enough of them to meet the challenges of tomorrow which eventually need these professionals of violence.
Lucius was eventually politically crushed over the course of three years and none of his ideas were taken seriously enough by the civil rulers. The mind-set in the city-state is that the skilled mercenary groups present in the city are enough of a military presence. After a time general Valonia found himself time and time again in bitter arguments and one day after a heated discussion with the leader of the city guardsmen – a man blindly loyal to the civil rulers – he simply announced his retirement, packed his belongings and left Karthis.
He rode straight to the Warder Keep where he met several men who he had both fought against and fought with in the past. And of course he knew their leader Artor Cambori very well too. The Warders were commonly used by Karthis to accomplish several semi-military tasks in and around Karthis. And many times Lucius was the final link in the hiring of these mercenaries.
Artor didn’t just embrace Lucius to be one of his mercenaries. He thought that Lucius had too much political baggage and too much enemies and was too proud to become but one rank’n’file mercenary of The Warders. After a night involving much drunken shenanigans, they ended up drawing their swords in disagreement. Other Warders stopped the men and threw Lucius out of the keep. But Lucius had made up his mind … he was to become one of The Warders. He set up camp about half a mile away from the keep. He then marched to the keep each and every day for a duration of almost 8 months to ask for a chance to become one of the mercenaries. Artor was not always there. After refusing Lucius for 99 times, Artor changed his mind and finally Lucius was accepted.
That was 5 years ago. Since that time Karthis has been needing the services of The Warders in alarmingly growing frequency.
An illustration to show a typical shield of Aldamar for my Cresia fantasy gaming setting.
Aldamar is the god of Justice and Redemption and his followers (called clerics, healers or arbitrators depending on where in Cresia you happen to be) are usually devoted to either helping people out in general or specifically on matters of justice. The sphere of influence of the god is limited to to kingdoms of Akron, Groam and Calishem with pockets of influence in Caheb and a few travelling healers in southern Gruenroth. The clerics of Aldamar are in grave danger in countries such as Horna (where matters are resolved solely via physical strength) and Zarovna (where justice is merely a distant joke).
Origins of Aldamar are not known but the deity has been known to exist before year 0 and his mission then was to spread the wisdom of rule of law to all people. While the details of his story are vague at best, he still gathered a stout following and attained the status of a demi-god around year 0. His followers today have access to some special magical abilities only available to them and granted only to devout followers. Aldamar has a following of around 300 priests, healers and arbitrators around Cresia and a base of believers in the region of over 80 thousand people (most of which subscribe to many other deities as well).
Followers of Aldamar have no special places of worship and they do not follow any strict doctrines or rituals in their daily life although most have abandoned the pursue of riches and creature comforts. Many of the priests are not at all liked in upper crusts of society since Aldamar does not rank people based on their merits, wealth or bloodline – the lowliest servants are as important as the mightiest of kings even if the powerful people try to pass on laws to secure differential treatment to them. But some benevolent rulers appreciate the followers of Aldamar and treat them in respect because they can provide valuable insight into the mindset of the common folk.
Name: Sir Welyk Paize
Location: border regions of Groam and Zarnova
Formerly a leader of the mercenary group called The Eighteen Griffons, Sir Welyk Paize rose into fame after heroically saving the life of Lady Angelusia Wermander – the daughter to Lord Mortimer Wermander who is the high ambassador of Gruenroth to Groam and one of the chief counselors and a personal friend of the king of Groam. After that incident – which took place about 9 years ago – Sir Paize was recruited to the king’s guard but soon felt this new life was dull and uneventful and that life in the city with it’s comforts was for sissies and wimps. 8 years ago he was relieved of his guard duties and appointed to lead a newly formed military unit called The Emerald Unit. The unit is a first response group of stout warriors sent to deal with marauding undead creatures from the country of Zarnova. The unit operates in the border region of the two countries.
Sir Paize is a true warrior who lives and breathes action, adrenaline and combat. He does have a softer side to him in that he has a beautiful singing voice which he employs on still, cold nights after the duties of the day are over. Sir Paize leads his unit with a fervor and relentlessness but his men are hand picked by him and each and every man has had to prove their worth prior to being baptized in the unit. He enjoys the utmost respect among his men and his unit is well funded and supplied by the king himself who understands that all-out war with Zarnova is not in the best interests of the country but that still brutal force is required to send a message to the controllers of the intruding undead hordes.
Sir Paize is a skilled tactician and a logistical genius apart from being one of the best swordsmen in Groam to ever have existed. Little is known of his past and childhood but it’s needless to say his tough exterior started to grow at a young age.
He has an imposing figure of 190 cm and a rugged, weathered look in his face. His long reddish aubergine hair is a trademark of his and he usually wears his hair free-flowing.