Celebrating The End of a Journey

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Role Playing
Tags: ,

Novaron’s First Epic Saga “The Black Hand” Comes To An End

When we first started up Novaron, originally with just two players, none of us could’ve imagined how the story would unfold. Not even me. As we enter our 4th year of playing the campaign we start 2015 with a celebration of both the journey the players have taken in this epic story and the loses they have suffered throughout (in-game).

3 years, 2 more players players, and 20 levels later the campaign is finally entering its second saga. Some of the highlights of the Black Hand Saga are listed below:

  • Uncovering the truth behind Immeral’s situation and the Order of the Magi
  • Discovering that Varner and Varus had been playing the group the entire time
  • Learning about the tragic past of the previous group of adventurers (the parents of the player characters)
  • Confronting the Black Hand and uncovering their plot to rule the human kingdom of Renatus
  • Discovering the sinister motives of the Black Hands Members such as Dark Child and Shambler
  • Finally…. uncovering the greatest truth of them all. The grand scheme of the Order of Bah’rut and their ties to the Dwarvish and Elvish thrones.
What’s Next?

Moving forwards with the campaign the players will be confronted with tough choices and be forced to make powerful allies to survive. In the aftermath of the Black Hand fight at the Renutian capital city of Niro the human empire lays nearly in ruins. The true king, John Yarland is dead, murdered by the Highfather of the Order of Bah’rut. The group has been blamed for his death and they are being hunted ruthlessly from all sides. Their only allies remain hidden away in the city of Volsinni protected by the deadly waters that surrounds the Rifted Isles.

Who are the new villians?

As the story begins to unfold multiple factions step into the light to reveal themselves and their true motives. The Order of Bah’rut leads the charge when it comes to manpower and resources but hiding in the shadows another faction grows stronger with each passing day. Lylander’s Legion awakened now by their masters call begins their search for Lylander’s crypt eager to set him free. The legendary Lich that ended the lives of countless heroes and killed the legendary mage Morrow awakens in his tomb eager once again to see the world in ruins.

What does Hand of the Magi RP have in store moving forwards?

Having grown so much over the years with many home brewed resources created for this campaign Hand of the Magi RP is looking to start pod-casting its adventures on Youtube! We will be adding story snippets, videos and behind the scenes. One of our biggest upcoming projects is a chapter-by-chapter style book to follow the adventures of the group as the story unfolds. Keep yours eyes open and stay on the lookout! We will be creating these outlets in 2015!


Hello everyone. My apologies for being away so long. As some of you may know I am currently going for my masters degree and I made the mistake of taking three really rough courses all at once. So as I got busier and busier from October on I just didn’t have the time to make many posts. Since that time so many exciting things have happened and I’d like to share a few of them with you!

Digital Maps You Said?

Well since the last few maps I’ve uploaded I have made ALOT more! I am going to be show casing them all here, right now! In the coming weeks I will break each of them apart with a back story and creation log / work method. For now though lets just jump right in!

I also invite you all over to explore my gallery @ http://justin9020.deviantart.com/gallery/

"A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally" "A fantasy map made digitally"

Interested to know what we are up to?
Contact us at: handofthemagi@gmail.com

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Digital Map #002

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Role Playing

Hello everyone, I know it’s been a while but I have been very busy lately. That hasn’t stopped me however from doing some cool digital map designs. I now have a deviant art channel where I feature these maps but I will always post them here with a little more detail behind the image. My deviant art link will be at the end. So without further ado I will go ahead and explain my newest map!



So for starters this map was one of the most “campaign” specific ones I have done so far. Unlike a normal city / port / village kind of setting this had to be a guild hall. The guild in question is the Order of Ashes, a quasi- League of Justice type guild for one of my on-going campaigns. The players were recently invited to join the guild after giving a high-ranking member his memories back. (They had retrieved the memories, which were stored inside a ring by a villain, from a campaign Village they had killed.) The Order of Ashes is home to the many heroes found throughout the campaign, both in myth and those previously deceased.

The order consists of a conglomerate of races and religions not singling any one particular one out or placing any one above the other. It’s leaders, of which there are 7, created the guildhall through magic and the hall acts in mysterious ways.


For instance the entrance hall contains 6 statues, one at each point in the hexagon, which reflect the important figures in each guild mates life. Whether good or bad influences these statues can be seen only by each individual. The sacred grove is used as a meeting place with deities and gods. The living quarters is a magical area consisting of a circular set of rooms centered around a dueling pit filled with sand. The living quarters currently has 14 floors, each containing 7 distinct rooms. The rooms are also fueled by magic and can be altered by their owner at will. (Altered as in change of scenery or furniture, the rooms CANNOT create items from nothing, ie weapons, armors).

Back from the Past! – Part 1

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Role Playing

Hello everyone! Sorry I’ve been away so long but it’s been a crazy few weeks. I have so many neat things to discuss and show you all so I’ll start at the beginning and work my way up!

August 23-25th : My Crazy Renaissance Faire Adventure!

Desperate to do something this summer before classes started back up against on the 26th Vanessa (my GF), Jon (my brother) and I decided to go to the PA Renaissance Faire for the first time ever. We had never been there before and had no Idea what to expect. All I can say is I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


Some highlights of the Faire:


For anyone in PA during the Renaissance Faire season I would highly suggest going. More importantly I would highly suggest going to the following shows:


  • The Rakkish Rogues (Adult Only) – 5 rugged men singing their hearts out! About … well Manly Stuff!
  • The Sultry Sirens of Sin (Adult Only) – 5 … wenches…. singing their hearts out about… well whats in between their legs.
  • Pablo the Performer – stunts, comedy, wise-cracks…. all around a lot of fun.
  • The “Woo” Brothers (Adult Only) – two Scottish brothers who “Woo” the ladies. It’s hillarious.
  • The Falconeer (totally awesome falcons and tricks!) – The royal falconer demonstrates how properly trained falcon’s totally rock… /jealous.

For anyone who just wants to walk around… well everything’s totally awesome at this place. VISIT EVERY Shop!

Sentien Kickstarter Goes Live!

Posted: August 19, 2013 in Role Playing

Hello everyone. Quick Update here! I wanted to announce that he Sentien Kickstarter has officially started. I’ve donated my support as an official backer!

If you want to learn more about the Kickstarter please visit this link: Sentien Tactical Card Game.

Here is the logo posted on the site and a little information:

Sentien: Tactical Role Playing Card Game is a card game that implements features such as distance, line of sight, movement, and different attacking styles to provide a fresh gameplay experience.

What is Sentien?

Sentien: Tactical Role-Playing Card Game is a new and exciting game that, while it is primarily a card game at it’s core, implements features traditionally found in several other genres of games. This combination of features typically found elsewhere meshes together seamlessly to provide a fresh experience for gamers of all kind.

Within a game of Sentien, you assume the role of a powerful character within the Sentien universe. The objective of a game is to move your character around the battleground while simultaneously using legendary items, casting fearsome spells and summoning powerful allies to crush an opponent in battle. Which character you choose to play as determines how you can construct your deck and determines what kind of spells you cast, items you use, and allies you summon. Every action that you take is relative to your character. If you summon an ally, it has to be summoned next to your character. If you cast a spell, it is cast from the location of your character and reaches a predetermined distance.

Digital Mapping with Illustrator

Something I have been working on recently is the conversion of all my graph paper maps into a digital format. This may seem like a daunting task, and indeed it certainly is, but it can be made all the easier by using Symbols on Illustrator. I spent roughly 5 days creating Symbols for all kinds of buildings. Slowly I built my database of map symbols up to about 56 of them. Once I had assembled my Symbols I began working on converting one of my cities into a digital map. I’m going to post the description of the city below along with the finish product. Please feel free to share your thoughts!

City of Mez’Barin – Description



Map Symbol:


Type of Loc:



The City of Mez’Barin is seen as the capital city of the Gnomish race. Established centuries ago deep in the Darkening Depths it has long been protected by its natural surroundings. Nestled deep within an enormous cavern it sits guarded and bustling. The Gnomish King Wezrin Theradon has ruled the city here for decades unchallenged.

After an enormous attack by a legion of Bloodtide Orcs under the command of Burtog the Bloodbringer the city fell and it was overtaken. A short while after Burtog and a majority of his troops left the human empire arrived and re-took the city. Now in control of the city King John and his royal court have established it as a refugee camp for the old citizens and are using its military facilities to stage their defensive and offensive plans.

Important Places:

Soaked Grog Inn – The once famous Inn known for its extensive selection of Dwarvish Brews barely stands. Recent repair work is evident on the outside of the large stone and wood structure. The previous owner Enos Tinspittle was killed in the raid and the Inn has sense been taken over by his wife Lintil Tinspittle.


Royal Barracks – A large military structure just inside the south entrance of the city provides a hub for all the soldiers to coordinate defensive plans. Once led by the infamous Sugyn Jade-Far, a ruthless Gnome Fighter who was rumored to be able to hold his own against any opponent, the Royal Barracks, although heavily damage, now is run by Commander Leos Thinewell a notorious human soldier who paved his way to the top on piles of bodies.

Royal Palace – A large palace that is centuries old. Once home to King Wezrin Theradon and his family it now stands damaged and ransacked. Its current owner Commander Leos Thinewell has established this palace as his base of operations.

Jaded Smithery – A successful and large smithy named after Sugyn Jade-Far this building has been around for decades showcasing some of the finest dwarvish steel on the market. Its owner and grandmaster blacksmith, Hagor Hammerhand, survived the onslaught and he currently is in charge of supplying the human army with equipment.

Grand Temple to Nova – One of the largest temples in the Darkening Depths. Ransacked and left in ruins the area has become a haven for refugees and the homeless. High Priest Pelius Deral a stout dwarf with a large heart currently runs the building.

Important NPCs:

Enos Tinspittle – The humble ex-owner of the Soaked Grog Inn. (Killed in the Orc Raid on Oct 10th 1068)

Lintil Tinspittle – The current owner of the Soaked Grog Inn, Lintil Tinspittle, is the wife of Enos Tinspittle who was killed in the Orcish raid on October 10th 1068. She is a female dwarf who stands roughly 5’1” tall and is very stocky. She has a large scar just under her right eye and down to her jawline as if something cut her. She is missing her left hand but otherwise has no deformities. She is very cautious and untrusting of the humans and blames them for the death of her husband.

Sugyn Jade-Far – Once the captain of the royal army for King Wezrin Theradon, Sugyn now sits disgraced in his own barrack’s dungeon. Imprisoned by the human occupants for failing to uphold his duty to protect the Gnomish king Sugyn has not been seen since the reclamation of the city.

King Wezren Theradon – The King of Gnomes was known to be a gentle and fair man who loved his family dearly. In the Orcish Raid on Oct 10th 1068 it is assumed that him and all members of his family perished except for his eldest son Wylin.

Wylin Theradon – The eldest son to Wezren Theradon and heir to the throne of Mez’Barin. He vanished just after the humans reclaimed the city and has not been seen since.

Commander Leos Thinewell – Leos Thinewell is a notorious general serving under King John. He gained his fame in the early years of his life slaughtering anyone the royal palace deemed necessary to be eliminated. He calls his men “The Purgers” and carries out without question the requests of King John and the royal council.

Hagor Hammerhand – Hagor is a world renowned blacksmith who operates a shop in Mez’Barin. He stands roughly 5’4” and prizes himself on his height. He has a cheery attitude and a positive outlook on life. During the orcish raid of Oct 10th 1068 he hid under his shop in a secret crawlspace where he managed to keep himself and his family safe until the humans retook the city.

High Priest Pelius Deral – Pelius Deral has gained infamy amongst the citizens of Mez’Barin for his stand at the grand temple. A noble paladin and fierce defender of the people held the Temple gate for 3 days before collapsing under the strain. He blames himself for the slaughter of the innocent people inside his temple and remains depressed and incredibly down about life. He has a soft spot for anyone that survived and does all he can to help them.

Nim Theradon – Nim Theradon is the youngest daughter to the late King Wezrin Theradon. She was sent out to the surface months prior to the Orcish attacks of Oct 10th 1068 to seek help. While on the surface she encountered Isaac Clarke, Elou Silverleaf and Odrik Jordun. They accepted her request but were not able to make it to the city before the siege. She currently leads a small rebel force called the Pheonix Guard which are fiercely trying to get the Theradon family back into power.



Races Present:

Due to its use as a trading hub all races can be found here however the most common inhabitants are Gnomes and Dwarves.


Overwhelming Human Presence with over 2000+ Soldiers.

Religious Belief:

Belief in the Dragons and Nova is strongly represented here.


Currently owned by Human Faction – Commander Leos Thinewell

Owned by Faction:

Human Faction

First Visited:

Visited on:

Last Visited:

Important Info:

Quests in Tile:

PQ1: Trouble in the Depths

Changes in Loc:

Now here is the finished digital map.


Getting to know your NPC’s

Posted: August 10, 2013 in Role Playing

Dynamic versus One-Sided

One of the things I think a lot of new DM’s struggle to do is create dynamic NPC’s. Most created NPC’s are very one sided, one faced characters with an anime-esque personality. Now I’ve fallen victim to the typical, I’m evil because I’m evil, flaw myself a few times. However over the years I’ve learned to create more dynamic NPC’s but more importantly to organize my NPC list by territory and alignment. This step really helps when your trying to dig through a mountain of papers to find Jeroh Stonebeard the Dwarf Smith who requested help re-crafting an old legendary weapon about 9 months ago real time.

So let’s get started with a few tips on how to create more dynamic NPCs. I’ll present these tips in a bulleted format and then go on to further explain them later on and finally show you a finished product. Keep in mind NOT every NPC has to be dynamic, hell if you tried to do that you would go crazy. The ideal is to keep a good mix so that at least once a session the players meet a Dynamic character.

  • Determine what drives this NPC.
  • What reason does he have to hate / like the party?
  • How was his/her childhood?
  • Are they typically successful or do they tend to fail?
  • Are they a leader in some way, shape or form?
Determining What Drives the NPC!

When you think about the NPC you will create how do you in-vision him? What scars does he carry around with him or what are his strongest beliefs? Answering these questions are key to determining what drives your NPC.

What is their reason to hate/like the party?

When you think about this question don’t think about just the parties’ recent actions. Think about the parties past actions, their behavior, and their fame. Could this NPC have heard rumors of the party and developed a false image of them?

How was his/her childhood?

I find this question really helps develop a dynamic character. Think about them as an adult or the age you are creating them and then try to think about a few key things that happened in their past that led them to become who they are. One of my favorite activities for evil characters is to create a diary and hand it out to my players. The diary usually starts off early in the characters life and reveals deep secrets or painful memories he/she experienced. This really helps the players connect to the villain and still feel bad for him rather than just wanting to run in there and kill him without raising a single question.

Are they typically successful or do they tend to fail?

Of all the questions this one is most likely to be voted “optional.” I like to explore this option because it really helps me determine if an NPC should be confident or scared to take on new adventures.

Are they a leader in some way, shape or form?

This question really dictates the personality of your NPC. Try to get a feel for how this character would react in a quick life or death situation. Would they throw responsibility aside and run for it or would they gather the morale of the troops/players and storm into battle taking charge of the situation.

Example Dynamic NPC created asking the above questions.

Name: “Nim” Theradore

Race: Gnome

Sex: Female

Personality: Eager to explore and easily excitable

Alignment: Good

Bio: Second born child and daughter to the Gnomish king. She was raised in the palace at the city of Mezbinnar and spent most of her time there growing up.

That NPC may seem decently fleshed out but make it truly dynamic. Given just the above information let’s expand on it using each key question.

Determining What Drives the NPC!

When you think about the NPC you will create how do you in-vision him/her? I vision Nim as a strong women capable of fighting for her beliefs. She has a tender heart and cares deeply for her friends yet understands that she cannot possibly save everyone.

What scars does he carry around with him or what are his strongest beliefs? Nim’s father was killed before her eyes and she narrowly escaped the bloodshed with her eldest brother. While in hiding her brother sent her to the surface world to ask for help. Above all else Nim believes in humanities capability to help one another.

What is their reason to hate/like the party?

Could this NPC have heard rumors of the party and developed a false image of them? Nim has spent most of her life underground in the gnomish and dwarvish cities. At the time she first encountered the Party they were relatively unknown to the rest of the world void the organization that sent them on their quest. She started to like the party as a whole after they stepped forward and offered to help her and her brother retake the fallen city of Mezbinnar. That act in her eyes was the reinforcement of her belief in the natural good within people.

How was his/her childhood?

Think about them as an adult or the age you are creating them and then try to think about a few key things that happened in their past that led them to become who they are. Nim has always struggled her entire life being a daughter born into a royal family. She naturally sought out adventure and challenge and was restrained from doing so by her father. This lead to a lot of tension between herself and her brothers who were encouraged to do these activities to build their skills as fighters and leaders. As a young teenager Nim was finally recognized for her skill when she defeated one of her father’s palace guards in a duel. The duel was brought on when the guard sought to down talk Nim and encourage her to take up sewing.

Are they typically successful or do they tend to fail?

Of all the questions this one is most likely to be voted “optional.” I like to explore this option because it really helps me determine if an NPC should be confident or scared to take on new adventures. While Nim certainly does not succeed at every task she puts her mind too she more often than not learns a valuable lesson in failure and does not look at failure as the end merely the beginning.

Are they a leader in some way, shape or form?

This question really dictates the personality of your NPC. Try to get a feel for how this character would react in a quick life or death situation. Would they throw responsibility aside and run for it or would they gather the morale of the troops/players and storm into battle taking charge of the situation. Nim was born into royalty. Spending her entire life giving orders and playing in the political scene has given her an uncanny ability to rise to the challenge and take charge of situations.

With that we come to the end of this discussion. Tell me what you think. Did you like my approach or did you think it wasn’t useful?

Vote in the Poll and tell me what you think!

As many of us DM’s know the hardest part about creating a world can be remembering every single detail and micro-managing it. Something I like to provide my players when I first start a new campaign is a printout, usually 12-18 pages long.

Its called the: <World Title Here> Compendium. It usually contains everything from:

  • previous wars
  • religions
  • holidays
  • major historical characters
  • major events
  • gods
  • rare items
  • etc.

I’ve worked on a few compendiums over the years and I’d like to share a glimpse of one of my compendiums here with you guys. This compendium is from my latest campaign. Below I will feature the World Map I map as well as several customized gods, called the Five Divines. Enjoy 🙂

World Map


Religious Abstract from Compendium

Origin Stories & Religious Beliefs

Most inhabitants of the Shadowlands believe in the Five Divines. Powerful beings who shaped the land and rule over the heavens and hells ensuring that order and chaos are always in balance. The Five Divines are:

Mal’Driel – The Divine of Shadows, Trickery and Deceit. Mal’Driel’s emblem is always cast in a tarnished metal, it is that of a Raven pictured from the side with a dagger being held in its beak. Mal’Driel’s phrase is “The night breeds shadows.” Mal’Driel’s perceived personality is that of a young malicious trickster often disguised as a raven. Mal’Driel is the youngest male god.

Raz’Drun – The Divine of Luck, Prosperity and Greed. Raz’Drun’s emblem is always cast in gold, it is that of a satchel overburden with gems and coin. Raz’Drun’s phrase is “Blood is Gold, and Gold is Blood.” Raz’Drun’s perceived personality is that of a middle age man, of any race, glad in the finest silks and jewels he is also depicted as having two faces.

Kalistro – The Divine of Justice, Law and Vengeance. Kalistro’s emblem is always cast in silver, to represent the purity of law, it is that of a scale balanced on the tip of a sword. Kalistro’s phrase is “Blood is my payment, blood is your sin.” Kalistro’s perceived personality is that of a mother whom has just lost a child.

Pox’Mortis – The Divine of Death, Equality and Mercy. Pox’Mortis’ emblem is always cast in copper, to represent the earth, it is that of two skulls one on each side one wearing an elaborate crown the other a jester’s hat. Pox’Mortis’ phrase is “All that are dead are claimed by the ground.” Pox’Mortis’s perceived personality is that of an old man with ragged skin and boney hands he is seen as the wisest of the divines.

Urik’Tor – The Divine of Creation, Chaos and Balance. Urik’Tor’s emblem is always cast in mithril, to represent the brilliance of light, it is that of an egg above it a large twister which spins chaotically. Urik’Tor’s phrase is “The stars burn brightly even when they cannot be seen.” Urik’Tor’s personality is that of a young woman part serpent, part human and part bird, she is seen as a wild untamed by any force. Urik’Tor is the youngest female god.

Legends speak of a sixth Divine who was the known as the Lord of the Divines. However in ancient times worship of this Divine was forbidden and his followers killed ruthlessly throughout the lands. Scholars seek out existence of this Divine and relish the discovery of any history surrounding him/her.

While the Five Divines are unique to the Shadowlands travelers from distant corners of the world bring with them tokens of their own gods. Mostly rejected by citizens of the Shadowlands these gods have found a small foothold in some areas of the continent. However, High-King Xerter Ja’har has strictly forbidden worship of any “outside” gods.



Interested in a Compendium?If you like what you see here head over to my website using the link at the top of the page. HoM Site. You can find tons of info on my site there, make an account, use the forums etc. Or just leave me a comment here 🙂

Recently I got to test out a friend of mine, Eric’s new game he has been developing for quite some time. The name of the game is Sentien. While I had heard about it from time to time in previous conversations I was always a bit skeptical on how it would really work out. Today however I am happy to announce that it worked out well and he is currently on his way to funding it on Kickstarter. I had a chance to test play the game recently so I thought I would discuss it and then share some artwork from the game and also give you guys a link to the website (It’s currently under development but still rocks!)

Game: Sentien

Game Play: Sentien plays out much like a modern day MOBA such as DOTA2 or League of Legends. It starts off with you picking a champion, each one has their own lore, own unique spells etc. Once you pick your champion you are given that champions specific deck. Sounds cool yeah? Once you have you champion and your deck ready you draw some cards and start to set up. The battle field is a grid type field where the grids are large enough to place your card down on it.

Starting on opposite sides of the field diagonally across from each other the battle starts. It’s relatively fast paced and pretty crazy at times. As you struggle to pin your opponent down a vast variety of spells and creatures stand in your way.

Artwork: Here is just a glimpse of some artwork found on the site.

The Necromancer (I Think!)

So what do you think? If it looks interesting go check it out on www.playsentien.com.

Stay tuned for a more in depth review once I get my hands on the game more.

Welcome to Darkness an interactive forum based game. (At the moment. I’m working on converting it to a table top)

I’d like to invite you all over to my website: handofthemagi.com – once there head to the Town Bulletin Board and check out the Darkness forums. I welcome comments and opinions. For those who want the straight shot to it please click here: Welcome to Darkness forums!

For those wondering what exactly Darkness is I’ll try to explain:

  • A survival horror role playing game that can be played on the forums or via table top.
  • An intense experience as you struggle to survive and pit your wits against the nightmares that are taking over the city.
  • The average game lasts for 30 days, and takes place over 7 in-game days.
  • The rules are pretty simple and revolve around a D10 and percentages.
  • Movement is done through the use of a grid and movement speed.
  • Extensive item and inventory system.
  • Primary and Secondary skills
  • Leveling up!

A map of Owl Creek City

Topic: The Darkness Map.