Ball of String (Pass it on!)

Do you remember the childhood game of passing the ball of string around a circle? When you got the ball you had to add on to the story that someone else in the circle had started. Well – let’s do that.

I’ll start. You add on via the comments box.  Anyone can play.

Genre: Fantasy

Starting setting: Port City in habited by humans mostly. Walled with a castle.

Races: Any. City is mostly Human

General alignment: Any. The city is a “lawful good” city, that is – the government wants everyone to follow its laws and most laws are made for the benefit of the official residents of the city. To be an ‘official resident’ one must have lived in the city for at least six months and have a regular job. A ‘regular job’ is one that a person does at least 3 days a week for the majority of weeks out of the year. The ‘regular job’ cannot be unlawful (for example, your thief steals for a living every night – so that’d be his regular job – however, stealing is unlawful – therefore, to be an official resident the thief would need to have a day job.) If a person loses his job (is fired or whatever) he has to petition to retain his official resident status. Official residents have paperwork filed in the Recorder’s Office that proves their status (their name is on a list).

Leadership: The city is lead by a council (5 people) and the council reports to the Chancellor, who reports to the Baron of the Province, and the Baron reports to the King. Titles are passed on by heredity or by being bestowed by the King.  The Council is made up of “leaders” of the city. They are voted in every three years. People can vote if they are official residents of the city, pay taxes, own property and have voted before. If new to the city, a person can petition to vote and the Council decides on it. “Leaders” are those people who decide money and are approved to run for office by the council. Nobles are related in some manner to the King’s family. Nobles are often elected to the Council.

Religion: Any. Mostly good religions in the city. Currently the “state” religion is that of the Sun God. The King is said to rule by the whim of the Sun God.

Magic: Magic is a hotly debated subject. Some religions claim that it is a gift given by the god(s). Some claim that it is evil and unnatural. There are all the normal types of magic users out there (as found in the Dungeon and Dragons game). Humans can use magic but they have to have an aptitude for it, and most are not innately magical (like dragons and faeries and the like). Elves are partially magical. Most magic is done via spells, potions, magical stones etc. (again – see DnD). Mind powers are not widely known or used.

Climate of the city: The city lies on the western coast of (one of) the northern continent(s). It is north of the tropics and often has the world’s jet stream blow storms in. It has weather like San Francisco.

City Workers: Besides the Recorder’s Office, and the Chancellor’s Office, and the Office of the Council, there is a City Guard (which is hiring). Some religious houses have their own guards, as do many nobles. There is a postal service (which is hiring).

Other things in the city include Guilds of various trades, a farmer’s market, a fisherman’s market, and an artisan’s market (where starving artists show their wares/perform – like a once a month gallery showing).

17 thoughts on “Ball of String (Pass it on!)”

  1. pongowu said:

    Add your World Building thoughts here. Post your city names, character names, whatever here as well.

    You can take someone else’s character to write about but please don’t kill them unless the creator notes that it is okay here in this area.

    Can’t wait to read what you all have to say.
    Actual story starter posted soon…

  2. Character Name: Arsaces, Demonologist from the University of Magical Studies (please don’t kill off. He has to get to Kalix).
    City name: Palarn
    Province to the south name: Kalix
    Tavern name: The Sea Bitch, a good place to booze and boff.
    Thanks – Pongo

  3. Shaka TuMama said:

    Parts of the city:
    Noble sector – area closest to the main castle (has a smaller city wall around it seperating it from the rest of the city) inhabited by the “Leaders” of the city, as well as visting dignitaries and the richest citizens of Palarn. Buildings and businesses include: summer mansions for a few of the baroney’s and kingdom’s nobility, estates of the rich citizens, the high end hotel for rich visitors (The King’s Crown Inn), a high end brothel (The Satin Garter – possibly part of the hotel), a couple high end taverns/inns (The Wyvern’s Nest and The Royal Cask), the Moneylender’s Guild, The Palarnian Branch of the Bank of Kalix, the Noble Guard (a part of the City Guard, but only responsible for the Noble sector – very snooty to the rest of the City Guard), a high end restaurant (The Noble’s Table – specializing in Kalixian cuisine), a book store (The Arcanum Scriptum – if it has been printed you might find a copy here – has a large section of magic tomes and historic information), a fine clothes store (The Silk Bow – gets confused with the brothel sometimes), a fencing school (The DuPree Institute of Foil, Rapier, and Epee), a church/temple.
    Common sector – the main part of the city consisting of businesses and homes (most are one and the same).
    Buildings and businesses include: 3 Bakeries, 7 Taverns/Inns, 3 Weapon and Armor shops, 2 Butchershops, 1 magic shop, 2 Blacksmiths, 2 stables (one at one of the Taverns/Inns), 3 Guard Garrisons (in the North, Central, and South parts of the Common sector), 2 hotels, 4 restaurants, a school of swordsmanship, a school of mace and quarterstaff use, a school of archery and knife/axe throwing, several of the various guilds houses, several religious temples, the City Jail (note – really bad people end up in the Castle dungeons; the City Jail is where the drunks and ruffians are tossed by the City Guard – this is also the headquarters for the City Guard).
    The Docks – adjacent to the harbor.
    Buildings and businesses include: 6 warehouses, a fish preserving plant, the fish market, 3 charter services, 2 boat sales, a City Guard Garrison, 5 Taverns/Inns, a restaurant (The Grotto – fresh fish of the day), the fishing docks, the travelers’ dock, the harbormaster’s office, 2 brothels, temple to the sea gods.
    The Bazaar – on the east side of the city at the eastern gate – this area has to be passes through to get to the central part of the common sector and the rest of the city from the eastern land route).
    Buildings and businesses include: 3 warehouses, 2 overland caravan services, 3 stables, the open market bazaar (can find almost anything here in 20+ makeshift shops), 4 Taverns/Inns, 1 hotel, the farmer’s market (adjacent to the open market – 10+ stalls for food stuffs), a City Guard Garrison, Temple of the Traveller, 1 blacksmith.

  4. Shaka TuMama said:

    Character Name: Duruvamous Busto, a demon living in the Bazaar selling carpets from a (what appears to be) 20’x20′ tent (do not kill off – he is mostly harmless). Busto’s Carpets, the business run by Busto, does indeed deal in magic carpets, as well as fine regular non-magic carpets, but Busto will not sell you or show you a magic carpet without first learing to trust the buyer through long association. Busto is magical in nature and can alter his appearance to appear human. His human appearance as Busto the carpet salesman is a small bald middle-aged man with a greasy thin long mustache, a pot belly, and a dark complexion who wears arabic/middle-eastern style clothing and talks with a heavy accent. He also wears an amulet that will thwart any magical attempt to identify him or distinguish him as anything other than what he appears to be. Busto’s demonic form is almost the same, but his complexion is dark red, he has horns on his brow, a forked tail, and cloven hooves for feet. Many of his “customers” are also demons, whom he can port to other locations through a small room in the back of his tent. Some of his “customers” are magic users (all kinds; human elf, etc.) – most of them do not know he is a demon.

  5. Kensley said:

    character name: Kashmir Starbright
    Half elven infected with a succubus (but she doesnt know it) Likes to harras demonologists and drink lots of whiskey. Looking for an adventure into the wild unknown, but is a bit of a princess. Not always the brightest, but tries really hard. She’s tough and can take care of herself, but wants someone else to lead the way. The succubus tends to get her into trouble with men and women. If you can get rid of the succubus, Kashmir will be a mild mannered half elf that would pull her weight in an adventure.
    Kashmir has long blonde hair with green eyes, big boobs, about 5 foot tall, and carries a short sword and long bow.

  6. pongowu said:

    Capital City – Whitefall. Situated in the mountains, where it is often snowy. The walled city is at the top of a cliff next to a large (think Niagra Falls) frozen-in-winter waterfall. A glacier looms in the background. This city is larger than the Palarn the Port City.
    The King tends to spend the summer here and the winter in a different city. Whitefall is home to Arsaces’ magical university.

    Province of Kalix. The Kalixian province is made up of a boggy swampy delta. Think Southern United States with mangroves and shaggy trees. The main town is built on stilts. The main form of transportation there is by small boat. Some people live on houseboats, some in the larger trees.

  7. pongowu said:

    Shoaltara. Female wood-elf enchanter, with human blood in her family history. She could almost pass as a human. She has long mahogany colored hair worn in pig-tails. Her eyes look like snowflake agates (dark with white splotches). Her ears are pointed, but she hides them under her hair. Her skin is tan with a gray sheen to it when she’s in the sunlight. Her nose is small and stubby. She is about 4’6″ tall, very compact. [a lot like Mina from the SCA]. She works in the Bazaar selling enchantments, perfume, and beauty products.

    Winky Rockmaul is a mid-lands dwarf who makes money as a stone crafter. A stone crafter is like a scupltur, except he uses his bare hands and inate magic ability to form stone into useful items like tools, dishes, cups, etc. Stone crafters can make a lot of money in the big cities because human nobility all want their tables set with their wonderful wares. He is also a passable warrior and medic. He has a workshop in the Artisan’s market part of the Bizaar.
    Mid-lands Dwarves come from the middle part of the kingdom. There are rolling hills and many fields of grain.

  8. pongowu said:

    Stick – short for ugly stick. The androgenous ugly creature in the cell with Arsaces, is actually a queen under a curse. A queen of either this kingdom or of some other kingdom. There’s a reward for her rescue or return.

  9. pongowu said:

    Ithmar is a city in a different kingdom across the ocean. A desert city – think middle eastern with spires and carved collandes. Sultans and harems. Known for its potent firewine and excellent textiles.

  10. Name: Iriny of Goldford
    Race: Grey Elf, also known as Shadow Elves. Shadow elves have a talent for (gee) sinking into shadows (becoming translucent). Other races often fear them for this trait because they make excellent assassins and thieves.
    Employment: Chancellor of Palarn
    History: Not much is publically known about her. She came to Palarn with the King. The King made Iriny the new Chancellor when the former Chancellor disappeared mysteriously. The rotting food plague started about the same time as the old Chancellor’s disappearance. The old Chancellor was a human male.
    Religion: She worships the Sun God (which is very out of character for a Grey Elf. Most greys worship the Moon Goddess.)

    >>“Really? When did Palarn become so civilized?”
    The priest chuckled, “Since she took over.”
    “Haven’t you heard? Palarn has a new Chancellor; Iriny of Goldford. She took over about two months ago.”
    “Iriny of Goldford. Never heard of her.”
    “You should have. She’s well connected.” A commotion at the end of the hallway made both men look. The Council of the city of Palarn walked out of a room, followed by a tall woman with slanted eyes, skin the color of graphite and pale lilac hair piled atop her head. She wore stately black robes and carried a golden rod. She nodded regally to Arsaces, who shut his mouth and quickly doffed his cap.
    “Impressive eh?” the priest asked.
    “A grey elf as Chancellor? How odd.”<<

  11. Shaka TuMama said:

    Karchuun – A ruined city in the middle of the Al Amir desert outside of Ithmar. The city is rumoured to have been attacked by a horde of demons led by a lich some 100 centuries before – the populace fled, many ending up in Ithmar. The city is reported to contain a vast treasure, with some very important powerful magic items in it – but it also contains the lich, his demons, and a large army of skeletons. There is some link here to Stick and how she became so cursed.

  12. Note on plot lines:
    Looks like we have three or four plot lines started (yea!).
    Over all Plot – Arsaces on a quest to get to Kalix to do research on a demon there and then return to Whitefall to his university in time for the next term.
    In Palarn
    – There’s a plague affecting the crops near palarn
    – There’s a gray elf ruling the city
    – Shape-shifting enchantress?

    In Ithmar (or on the way to ithmar)
    – There’s a enchanted queen-like person called Stick and a ruined city with a lich
    – Who made Arsaces and friends into slaves?

  13. (OK I’ll play – thanks for the invite Pongowu!)

    New Character: Mabel Goodlove (obviously not her real name), a new girl at Palarn’s high end brothel, The Satin Garter (located off the alley behind the city’s best hotel). (start this story segment here)

    No one knows where Mabel came from before her arrival in Palarn, and at the Satin Garter, nobody really cares or inquires too closely. In just a few short weeks she has already developed a core group of loyal customers who ask for her by name.
    All good whores need a gimmick, something that sets them apart from the rest, and Mable has a real winner. From all outward appearences she looks human, tan skin, full, expressive lips, sparkling green eyes, tawny colored hair (That’s brownish red streaked naturally with golden strands) but beneath her lovely long gowns Mable hides a secret. A line of short golden-red downey fur runs down her spine, spreads across her hips and culminates in a long, elegantly tipped tail she uses, at just the right moments, to tickle and tease her customers to their full satisfaction. This, combined with her sleek tall beauty, friendly demeanor, and a certain feline flexibility has made her an instant hit.
    There have been rumors circulating that the rotten food plague is no accident. The scientist claim it’s an intentional magical infestation, the magic users claim it’s a biochemical pathogen of purely human origin. No one seems to really know for sure but one thing is certain, people are starting to die and no one seems to know how to stop it .
    One afternoon a message from the palace arrives. . .
    “For me?,” Mable asks.
    “Yes,” says the madame with a big smile on her face ” From the Captain of the Guard. Says he and a few mates have heard of your talents and they would like to meet you tonight, 10PM at the Castle. Also said he’d send a coach for you.” She pauses, smiling again. “This could be worth a pretty penny, especially if you can make it into a regular engagement.”
    “That will be fine then.” Mable replies absently but inside she is seething. Finally! she thinks, I’ve been waiting for weeks! Does she really think I LIKE this line of work? What took her so long?

  14. Lore – moved your bit to the main story. Added some. Thx Pongo

  15. Plot notes for Arsaces and Busto.
    The ship makes it to Ithmar, Busto pays for his slaves and Arsaces says he’ll pay him back once he gets the cash. Busto says he’ll call them even if Arsaces helps him find a magical item in the ruined city of Karchuun…
    Lich of Karchuun name: Gortutha
    Notes about Karchuun and Stick:
    Busto is seeking a dimensional thingy in Karchuun. It is a spike with a gem stone on the end – used for anchoring dimensional dorways or as a power source for raising skeletons/undead.
    The lich was going to turn Stick into a zombie slave but the spell went wrong and she turned form a pretty human Queen to an ugly quasi-human figure. Stick is unable to communicate well due to brain damage. Busto will recognize that she is cursed.
    Winky uses his stone crafting skill to release the spike.
    Stick points out some hidden doors.
    Killing the lich will release Stick. At one point the lich throws a spell at Buston that removes Busto’s enchantment. Busto is pissed and kills the lich.

  16. More about Ithmar. The palace of the sultan of Ithmar is called the blue palace, known for its bright indigo (or majorelle blue) walls and ice white marble accents. Ithmar is also decorated with mosaics and lacy looking carved marble. Pictures to follow…

  17. Character Name: Dram
    Arsaces is a professer at the magical university. His boss is Dram Esterian. Dram might be of elvish decent. He has long-ish dark hair, clean shaven, sleak eyebrows, hawk-nosed but not overly large. Strong jawline, piercing sapphire or purple eyes. Yellow-ish skin tone. He’s arcane. He is the King’s Councelor on magical issues – works for the government. On the University’s board of directors. Has a full staff and a secretary. Lives in a Mansion in the capital city, and has a household staff with a small guard. He’s sophisticated. Not married – hasn’t had the time. Has had assorted affairs/mistresses but currently single. Has an imp maybe. Talented in electrical/lightning spells. He’s like a doctor or lawyer, feels intitled. He’s important. He is Lordship Dram. He’s now more of an administrator than a practitioner. He likes fine things – more concerned with comfort and excellence. Somewhat shallow and cold-hearted, says he’s out for the ‘good of the people’ in politics but personnaly out for himself. Not unfair- just practicle. Belongs on a committee that researches cures for things, so he’s interested in the plague making food bad in Palarn, and he’s the one that assigned Arsaces the task of going to Kalix.
    The committee researching cures is headed by an Arch-Bishop of the sun god. Dram thinks he is a pious fraud out to line his pockets. The priest is titled “holy” as in Holy Bob.
    Dram lives in Whitefall. He is robbed and hires Sted Orsonson to investigate the theft and to get the item back. The item is the gem that goes on top of the rod that Busto is after that the Lich has. Dram used the gem to scry things, as a focus, as a part of his sanctuary’s protection, as something to research. On of his employees picked it up on a research trip to the ruins of Karchuun.
    Now that the gem is gone, perhaps stolen by famed theif/enchantress Shoaltara, his household protective field is down. He could suffer bodily harm or more thefts. He has to rely on human agents and has to find a replacement powerstone (or make one), or get the gem back. It’s cheapest to get the gem back.
    Shoaltara can tell inanimate objects to do things. She steals for fun and money. She is a contract agent with the palarn theives guild, which is a thorn in her side because they are always wanting to renegotiate her contract and pressuring her to join the guild.
    The lich was around for a long time and developed the spike/rod over 300 years ago. Got the gem from some forgotten lizard god’s temple/tomb. The rod part was forged from a royal scepter, which was thought to be originally formed from a fallen star and blessed by the gods.

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