All posts by Mark

GM more then Storytellers…

Alex Mayo brought this up today on Google+, about the GM as Storyteller and how the more of a Narrator/Storyteller the less effective he believes the GM is. I agree with this and have found that a GM has a role to play just like PCs but his role is not just narrator, the role of Narrator or Storyteller belongs to each player, PC and GM, at the table. Some are better at it then others and typically the GM has some idea of plot direction as the story unfolds and this is the were most people make their mistakes.

“Since the GM has the most Plot control , therefore his primary role is that of narrator.”

This is where the real issues come up. The GM has more Plot direction then most PCs but the PCs can do whay they want with the plot from dealing with it or ignoring it.  The basic fact is that everyone works together to tell the story with the GM really directing focus from each plot point being thrown at him by his players or that he is throwing back.

 A brief background on me.

I have been GMing for more then 25 years, started way back with Marvel Super Hero’s and 2nd Edition. I’ve run Storyteller system, BRP, 3rd, 3.5, 4th, Star Wars (d6, d20, saga) Paranoia, SotC, PrimeTime Adventures, Bare Bones Fantasy, the list goes on. I’m not the end all be all of GM knowledge but I’ve seen a thing or two in my career. I’ve put a lot of thought into what makes a good GM, and I learned a lot from my failures as a GM. I’ve learned from both good and great GMs that I’ve had the pleasure to sit at their table. Also I’ve learned much from my life and “real” world experience. I hate calling it that, because GMing is Real World experience for many careers.

Where am I going with this?

There are  6 Primary areas of Individual and dare I say it Corporate career paths, and frankly many more areas, that GMing prepares you for and GMs can learn a lot from. Today I am going to List those 6 areas and touch briefly on them, I will delve deeper later but this is getting long winded as it is.

 The list goes like this

  1.  Acting
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Organization
  4. Managerial
  5. Sales
  6. Stress Management

Some of these you are probably saying, “well duh!” and I am sure a couple are flat out confusing as to why I would include them. I will break these down over the next few posts to explain my thoughts and reasons.

Until then, thoughts and wild speculation may abound. Please feel free and comment.

Erinbour: Hodge Podge of Info Dump

The other day I wrote this

“I should say a little about the High Church of the Holy Light. The church believes in the Creator a single godhead that consists of a Trinity. The Mother is the Creator and protector, The Father the judge and hunter; The Child is seen as a redeeming figure protecting creation from the Judgmental Eyes of the Father. The Family Trinity is seen as one Entity one god but three personas both Male and Female as the Child is seen sometimes as a Son and other times as a Daughter.”

about the high church of the Holy Light. So I wanted to take a few moments to mention a couple other religious orders within Erinbour. Talk about a new Pathfinder Class Idea , a moment about Magic and Spirit.

Ancestral Worship

Some people might feel that Ancestral Worship moves counter to our decision to be a monotheistic base for all religions within Erinbour. It really isn’t and here is how. First the Ancestor Worshippers believed there was one God/Goddess who created the universe but in doing so gave up themselves to become the universe. We came from the universe therefore all before us have returned to the universe should be venerated as their Life was given like the Creator to the universe.

So the “trinity” to this religion follows, Creator/Universe/Us as being one essence yet seperate Individual personalities. It fits very well into our decision and we feel gives the world a different perspective.


There are those that believe there is no god/goddess though some agree that there was a creator and the creator either like the clockmaker set the universe in motion and left and others follow a similar thinking that the universe is a outcome of the “creators” death. I bring this one up to show that Erinbour will be inclusive of ideas and a lot of faiths will be presented within Denominations. I will share more as more “Denominations” are developed.

Aether vs. Ether

I want to spend a moment to talk about the Magical Energies that permeate Erinbour, known as the Aether. This is the Magic that Wizards and Sorcerer’s tap into when they craft their spells. It is a powerful force and can be harnessed through study, and force of will.

The Ether is the Spirit realm and it too can be drawn upon for Magical effect. Typically weaker in that to draw upon it draws first upon your own internal life energy, the Ether is what gives ordinary people the ability to spontaneously cast magic.

This leads us to a Quick Introduction to a New Class we are working on

Spirit Guide

The Spirit Guide will be able to commune with the recently decessed, have some mastery over the Ether, provide some Undead control/Rebuke and will potentially have earlier access to Reincarnate/Resurrect type abilities. We haven’t statted him up at all but I wanted to share the concept to everyone because we really like it.

Thats all for today as always please feel free to comment and let us know your thoughts.


A Few Groups in Erinbour

Today I wanted to give you a simple write up on a couple groups and organizations within Erinbour that have some prominence. I wanted to share a bit on The Seekers Guild, The Builders, and Knights of the Lucent Order. Again this is all first draft info and may change over time. Comments are always welcome.

The Seekers Guild

The Seekers Guild is more like a Club then a real organization. With Chapterhouses around the kingdom, The Seekers Guild provides rest, support and camaraderie for adventurers who return to the WIlds to gain fortune and fame. With Much of the land lost to the Curse and the Wilds there is an ever growing concern as well as desire to try and reclaim the Land for Erinbour.

They have a charter which describes them as searching for a way to return Erinbour to glory it once had but in fact little beyond exploration for the sake of exploration and riches seems to happen from those members who still brave the adventure. Many chapter houses have been come more of a club for telling tales then true places to launch an adventure from. Many old timers will tell stories of lost treasures, near death experiences and wild creatures roaming the wilds.

There is still some respect and allure to The Seekers Guild and its membership is limited to invite only, so to be called by the Guild to adventure has some prominence left, but only because it is done so rarely these days. It seems that like the rest of Erinbour a sense of ease has settled in.


The Builders

The Builders are a secret group that permeates the entirety of Erinbour. This Secret Society is whispered by the Nobles as well as the Commoners as anyone can be a member. Membership is invite only and induction is done through a secret rite. Little is know behind the Builders ultimate reason for being, some believe it is politically motivated, other rumors is they are trying to raise a new Religion, and still others believe this to be a Social organization helping each member to gain higher rank and power.

The truth is no one really knows outside the Builders themselves. There is a rumor that all of these are true and that while the Builders have a unified exterior, the organization is riddle with smaller factions al trying to accomplish similar goals but in very specific ways. If you know a builder they can be friend or foe basically at a whim as they will support as long as you fall within their personal agenda within the Builders agenda.


Knights of the Lucent Order/High Church of the Holy Light

This is a religious order of Knights for the High Church of the Holy Light. This group is organized for public defense as well as a way for the Church to maintain its interests. The Knights are semi autonomous and typically are good folks trying to defend each other from the wilds encroachment. They do follow a very religious strict lifestyle putting the Tenants of the High Church first before even their own life. Believing in the Mother to guard them and welcome them home in death.

I should say a little about the High Church of the Holy Light. The church believes in the Creator a single godhead that consists of a Trinity. The Mother is the Creator and protector, The Father the judge and hunter; The Child is seen as a redeeming figure protecting creation from the Judgmental Eyes of the Father. The Family Trinity is seen as one Entity one god but three personas both Male and Female as the Child is seen sometimes as a Son and other times as a Daughter.

The Knights promote this belief and are charged with defense of the Faith. They are not ever called upon for any kind of Crusade as their autonomous nature allows them to only defend the Church as its Shield never as its sword.



With Great Power…

The following is a peak behind the curtain on Erinbour as we develop the History and background of this setting. What I bring to you today is 3 Mythological artifacts from the Legends of Eringbour. These are still first draft write ups and Mechanics for them as far as how it interacts with Pathfinder.


Mais Lance

This is one of the Lost Weapons of old. According to Myth Mai carried a Spear type Lance into battle against the Great Dragon Lords before being named Queen of Erinbour. History tells us that shortly after her Death the Weapon was lost to the ages. It was believed to be buried with her but no one can confirm this and no one dares open her burial tomb. The Weapon can be thrown and upon throwing the Spear will streak and become a Lightning bolt of significant power. Thus Mai being known as the Lightning Queen.

Mechanics: On a critical Hit the spear becomes a Lightning Bolt equal to a Lvl 20 caster.

Healing Light

this is a Crystal of unknown origins believed to be a Holy Relic. Kept at the Grand High Church of The Light this Crystalline Gem always glows with a light blue hue. Those bathed in the light are cured from any diseas , it is brought out for public view once a year for the Service of the Light

Mechanics: Anyone bathed in the light is treated to a Cure Disease spell . Good once a year. May even cure Vampirism and Lycanthropy once.

 Teryn’s Salvation

This spiked shield is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of protection lost to Myth. The shield according to Legend fuses with its wearers Armor and provides levels of protection from all elemental attacks. According to Myth the Shield finds a new owner in times of great peril and defends the realm until it is no longer needed. Named for the First Hero to wear it Teryn fought along side Mai against the 5 Dragon Lords

Mechanics: Anyone Wearing the Shield gains Damage Reduction 10 to any and all elements.


Comments and ideas are all welcomed, again somethings may change before these hit the final book but as I said a brief look into whats going on.

Erinbour: Tribal Wars and the coming of the Others

Welcome to Erinbour Prehistory. Well prehostroy before the current nation existed in any form. At this time the land was split into Tribal Kingdoms. The 15 Noble houses to be were the origional 15 tribes of Erinbour.

During this time it was very common for tribes to be at war with a tribe who was their friend only the year before. It was a time where the wilds were overgrown, the world was young and the people of Erinbour had yet to prove themselves worthy of stewardship of the land.

There was some farming and the beginings of a more complex integration but until the Other came the lands were vastly divided.

The Other

The Other is a description the myths and relics that define a group of large monstrous beasts. We would call them Dragons of ancients old. The histories tell of 5 great Dragon Lords that came to this land and from them followers and other creatures invaded Erinbour. The Tribes realized they were helpless individually and it was through this great tragedy the Nation of Erinbour was born.

The 15 Nations became Noble Houses as they rallied their tribes to eventual victory.  Victory was heralded in by one Mai Syr, a Warrior Mage and eventual First Queen of Erinbour. She discovering the Dragon Lords weaknesses lead a small mixed group of tribal warriors  and defeated the Dragon Lords. This allowed the combined Tribes to overcome the monstrous army of the Dragon Lords.

Mai warned that she wasn’t able to destroy the Lords but instead imprison them within their own slumber.

Erinbour: Council of Powers

The Council of powers is the current ruling body within Erinbour. Built largely as the hereditary posts that made up of the Nobles and the Court of the Lost King. These offices through the last millennium since the days of the Lost King have lost the Hereditary features but are still assigned to the Family and regions of Erinbour.

The council is mostly kept honest by magic. Each member is gifted a mask of purest white ivory. The masks magic accomplish 3 things.

First, they disguise the wearer from identification. No member of the council is known to anyone else, even other members, save one person. The steward of the King, is the only person who knows who wears a mask.

Second the mask will always vote the wearers true feelings. When a vote is called for the masks will radiate a faint color indicating a Yea, a Ney or an undecided. The Council has rules on handling a vote and one is not easily called but when called a matter is decided. This is based solely on the voters personal feelings so a Member will always vote his personal belief.

Third will protect the sanctity of the council. If a person reveals his identity on the council the Mask will change from White to Clear upon donning. However the wearer will not know of this change. Identification of Council status is punishable by death and or banishment. This becomes very difficult for someone to demand bribery for a vote when everyone knows they told people.

The Councils original job was to bring matters to the king, with the King lost they have taken over a true leadership role, setting policy and laws for the Erinbour nation. It is through the Council who regulate the Magic License and set the Agendas for the Major Colleges. They also enforce Erinbours protection via military and other organizations to guard from the encroaching curse.


Erinbour: History Lessons

The queen stood over her son, dead on the throne, shaking as the anger left her. Grief like her sons blood washed over her as the realization of what had happened. She could feel her body shaking and it wasn’t until the first stones clattered like thunder did she realize the floor was shifting beneath her.

The King, bloody, stood silently as he witnessed the murder of his son by his wifes hand as she cursed him as he sat on teh throne. He heard her accusations ring through the great hall and knew them to be true. His own son betrayer and murder in his own right. He stood silently as the throne room collapsed beneth his wife. He stood in silence as the ceiling slamed him to teh ground. The grief in his heart was a heavier weight and drove his spirit to remain.

This is how the world came to be. The king thought dead and lost had his throne usurped by his own son. His Wife discovering the truth cursing him as he sat there on a throne that was unrelenquishing in its own power.  Alone in the throne room this family watched itself destroy each other.

Now an interesting thing happens when a king is cursed in this manner. The land, his lands, those same lands he is tied to as Monarch, they get cursed too. Fortunatly for the inhabidants of Erinbour the curse was not on the True king, but it was on his bloodline. The curse, while potent, is more of a slow leak upon the land then the tidal wave of decay that would have happened. This is the cause of the past 800 years of war, carnage, monstrous beings, and all the other things working to destroy Erinbour.

This is the time when brave heroes and heroines must step up to save their kingdom as well as the people it protects. This is why the Seekers Guild exists to find the ancient Places of Power to restore greatness to Erinbour to discover lost magics and lost knowledge to discover what happened and how to fix the ancient curse that haunts the land.


Erinbour: Of Gods and Monsters

Wanted to bring a bit of Religion to Erinbour. We have made several decisisions about the way Religion is handled and what we are planning to do especially with how it relate to characters and classes.

The biggest thing is we are going with a monotheistic view of creation/evolution within Erinbour. The idea of a single Godhead is universily agreed upon. Now we are leaving a lot of room for creatively incorporating that central belief in various Denominations.


Yes we are going to utilize the concept of Denominations for Erinbour. Instead of multiple god and a pantheon we are going to allow for variou Tenents of Faith which will allow for various “belief structures” Everything from a Father to a Mother creator all the way to ancestor worship since “the Trinity” is a part of us all.

There will be room for people to not follow a Denominations but as far as Mechanically speaking Denomination define Belief which will be what determine a clerics Sphere and possibly special abilities.

We havent begun defining specific denominations but we feel this will allow us more flexibility then a traditional pantheon and give players and characters unique choices in defining their characters as well as defining the world around them.

Monsterous beginings

The Erinbour we know now is a place of Magic and the current incarnation was created by a curse. In the next post I will give some history behind this but for now just know that the Kingdom was cursed and it is this curse which is slowly turning the world dark and scary. The people of Erinbour have their safety in their cities, for now, but the creep of the curse has changed the land. Many things roam and rule the Wilds. There are still towns out in the wilds but people and things that live under the curse are fundamentaly changed.

Explorers and adventurers talk and tell tales of the monstrous things in the wilds and it is something to be feared. In Erinbour: Places of Power. One of the PCs roles will eb to explore these WIld places and try and bring healing to the world, or not as you see fit. Just know that there are places for monstrous things in Erinbour. We will talk more about what is out there later.

As always comments questions are welcome. Got a favorite monster and curious how they may fit feel free to ask.

Erinbour: Of Magics and Greatness

Wanted to take some time and share with you the loyal readers a high level look at Wizards, Sorcerers and a bit of how Magic works in Erinbour. Today we will be focusing on Pathfinder conversions primarily as the descisions made will primarily affect that rule set.

To begin with we wanted to add our own stamp to Erinbour and wanted Magic and those that weild it to be one of the first things we worked on. Since we wanted Erinbour to be a High Magic setting we felt, if we get this right the rest will fit nicely. Now as I said previously Erinbour will also be about choices, and I wanted to make sure that if at any point we limited choice we returned something for that.

First lets talk about how Magic is viewed in Erinbour.

Erinbour is a world full of Magic. It was Magic that brought the Kingdom to its pinnacle and it was Magic that tore it down, and it was destroyed by a sorceress when the Queen Cursed her own son. From that day forward Magic is seen as a power that must be regulated, licensed and controlled. The people did not run from Magic they saw the potential still and grew a great university to teach and guide those who could afford such teachings. Magic is Heavily regulated and a Wizard must have the proper licenses when casting within the civilized world.

Sorcerers and those who cast by more natural means are somewhat austricised and feared. The cities fine Magic users hefty for unlicensed casting of spells and this has created a bit of a Magic underground for those who do not attend university proper.

So what does this mean for Magic Characters?

Great question. First we are limiting choice in that all Wizards are now “Specialist” wizards in that they have attended university and thus have a Major.

[Rules Brief Mechanically we are looking here at the Wizards Spells per day. We are altering the meaning here slightly. As a Wizard you choose 3 schools. 1 Major and 2 Minor, you will know and have all the 0 level spells from those schools. You will also gain a spell book with all 1st level spells from your school. As you gain levels you will add a 4th school and gain access to schools as your numbers increase.

What we are giving back to wizards for this limit in choice. You no longer have to worry about opposition schools in Erinbour. Learning one school does not mean schools naturally oppose each other. Secondly you gain 1 additional spell per day per level per the chart.}

What about Sorcerers?

Sorcerers are not formally trained and mechanically not much is changing but we are adding the ability to access “Wild” Magic (Name changes pending) this will allow the sorcerer/sorceress the ability to push beyond their means. Each time they use this power in a given day (Between 8 hours of rest) the DC goes up. So what they can do is 1 of 3 options.

1. They can attach a Meta Magic Feat to any spell even if they do not currently have the Feat. Base difficulty is to be determined basically DC 15ish (Plus 5 for each additional use of this ability)

2. Cast a spell not in your Spell List. Need to cast Web but you never picked it, that’s ok form the magic from the Aether and cast ti one time.

3. Run out of spell slots, pull magic from the air and over exert yourself DC would be 5 per spell level plus any additional DCs from the spell or use of the power.

What happens if I fail the DC on using WIld Magic?

Here is where it can get bad. You can burn yourself out and loose access to your spells until you rest or take damage or any number of backlash type things.

So that’s some of the decisions we made as far as Magic goes and how it affects the main classes. Feel free to comment and share your opinion. We are still in early development so some of this may change and it will assuredly get more shored up mechanically.

Hope you enjoyed.

PS A brief take on Inherent Magic

So Erinbour is going to have a unique thing. Inherent Magic, or Inner Magic, its everyones inate ability to pull on the Aether and potentially cast spells. If you are not a trained Magic User you can try to cast a spell by rolling a DC if successful you can wield the spell if you fail you suffer backlash. We will talk more Later.

Welcome to Erinbour


Erinbour is a fantasy setting that will for us at Heroic Journey Publishing be the answer to several nagging questions.The first brings us back a few years.

Back in 2009 Chris and I had an idea for a series of Fantasy adventures that we were calling Places of Power. These mini settings could be dropped into any campaign and be used as an interesting place to let players and GMs explore. Theye were filled with interesting plot hooks and while they detailed a special place of powerful magics were as nonlinear as we could make them.

We never completed nor published that series. We did get over half of the 12 origionally planned developed and quite a few actually commissioned written and most importantly paid for. SO question the first. What do we do with these awesome bits of non specific setting?

The second question came about while we started working recently on Bare Bones Fantasy: Dynasty. Where would we drop it? Would we just do the ruleor actually put it some where? Chris and I talked about this and asked… “Could we answer both questions the same?” Short answer Yes and thus Erinbour was born.

Initially we are going to produce a core setting book and “Places 0f Power” an Epic Campaign within Erinbour. As well as Dynasty, rise to power in the political sphere within Erinbour.

Places of Power will be duel stated to  both Pathfinder and BareBones Fantasy and Dynasty will include rules to build a kingdom and rise to power with in Erinbour. Our plans are to prehack the setting for several popular systems out of the box so you can play in Erinbour regardless of your favorite system. We will release more about each item and our plans more directly over the next few weeks as we prepare to kickstart this August 4th.