Oct 112013

From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur :

One of the great wonders of Pelarian society is the tinker, a mechanical construct that is capable of simple thought. The secret is in the tinker-core, which only guild tinkerers know how to create.

There are different classes of tinkers. Heavy-labour tinkers, are durable constructs built to perform tasks that are deemed too difficult or dangers for the average fur, like mining or excavation. Companion tinkers are much smaller and often serve as pets for younger furs. Tinkerers are always exploring new avenues for tinker development.

Tinker-cores are responsible for a tinker’s “personality” and have a finite life-span. Once they run down, the tinker “dies”. Guild tinkerers cannot (or choose not to) explain why they cannot simply “recharge” these run down cores. While you could simply replace the tinker-core, the new core’s personality would change. Many is the parent who has tried to fool their child by replacing the tinker-core of their child’s cherished tinker companion, only for the child to reject the tinker for not being the same.

You can find furs in just about every town that can maintain and repair tinkers. Some might even be able to build one from scratch. Even then, they would have to call upon the tinker guild for a tinker-core to give life to their creation. As creating a tinker-core is an involved process, it would be unusual for a guild tinkerer to give or sell a tinker-core to another individual. You could try to salvage a tinker-core from another tinker of course. Assuming you were the owner of the original tinker in the first place, there’s nothing strictly wrong with doing so. Most guild tinkerers however, would be upset to learn that their tinker-cores were being used in an “inferior” tinker model. Seeing as how each tinkerer marks the tinker-cores they make, it’s not like an amateur tinkerer could keep such a thing hidden from those who know where to look.

It should be noted that not every fur is comfortable with tinkers operating in society. Some are radically opposed to the very idea of tinkers, considering them abominations. It is not unknown to find smashed tinkers in neighborhoods known to house these anti-tinker extremists.

Rumors have reached my ears of a recent phenomenon in Bree whereby aging and damaged tinkers wander off on their own never to be seen or heard from again. It sounds to me like a story waiting to be told.

Carja’s Notes:

It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to write about tinkers.

As I was starting this entry, the Tigger song popped into my head. I ALMOST started Ardebast’s entry with, “The wonderful thing about tinkers, is tinkers are wonderful things. Their tops are made out of metal, their insides are made out of springs.” Ultimately, I thought it was a little too over the top, but I thought it was too cute not to share. That’s the great thing about including my notes, right?

The idea for tinkers came about because as I was developing this world where animals became sentient, I thought about what they’d do for pets. Would they domesticate animals from the Wild? I found the idea of a cat keeping another cat as a pet a little twisted and decided against it. Then I thought, “What if they built their own companions?” and thus the idea of tinkers was born. Basically, they were clockwork creations with all kinds of springs and cogs inside to make the tinkers able to move around. From there came the idea of a variety of classes of tinkers built to help Pelarian society.

Originally, the Age of Animus setting was meant to be a low-fantasy setting, with tinkers as the main fantastical element. I’ve since become a little flexible when it comes to the fantastical, having added phantom spirits to the mix.

The tinker-core, which is where the name tinker comes from, was an idea I recycled from an anime RPG campaign I worked on years ago where there was no electricity but gadgets still abounded powered by something called a tinker-core which is an elaborate kind of battery that was created through some fantastical process.

Obviously Ardebast’s journal entry was written before the events in Tales of the Tinkerwood.

Oct 042013

I follow the path diligently.
I cannot see the sky.
But the forest conspires against me.
It wants to see me die.

– Excerpt from “Forlorn Journey”

“To enter the Forlorn Forest is to enter madness itself.”

– Uncredited

From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur:

If you travel from one end of Pelaria to the other, as I have, one common word of warning you’ll hear is, “Do not enter the Forlorn Forest!”  I’ve seen even the largest and shrewdest of furs balk when confronted with the prospect of venturing within the forest’s branches. It is the one place in all the land that even I have not set paw and never would I counsel someone to journey within.

Rumor has it that if you enter the Forlorn Forest, the forest itself conspires to keep you there. A path that you walked down one moment, will be swallowed up by brush the next, leaving you unable to retrace your steps. The canopy of trees is so dense that you cannot see the sky to orient yourself. Even on the brightest of days, it feels like dusk in the forest.

Tales have been told of furs entering the forest only to go mad when they could not find their way out again. They’re said to roam the forest, hunting for those innocent souls who lose their way. Mothers use threats of leaving their kids in the forest to scare them into behaving.

I have heard tell of a fur, a mouse of the Mouse Wing, who has successfully braved the Forlorn Forest. Someday I’ll have to meet her and hear her tale.

Carja’s Notes:

The Forlorn Forest. The name just sounds cool! When I was creating the map of Pelaria I added this dark forest, imagining that if you walked into it, you might not walk out of it again. It would be incredibly easy to get lost there. So much so that rumor had it that the forest itself changed to keep furs from finding their way home.

I explored the forest a little more in Zoë of the Mouse Wing. That story makes the forest seem much less sinister than I originally imagined it, but I never did finish the story. Who’s to say terrible things didn’t happen to Zoë and the younglings before they escaped from the forest?

Sep 272013

From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur :

At the foot of the Everhigh Mountains lies Lake Dolimere. The water of the lake  flows down from the mountains and is said to hold special restorative powers. Many a scholar has tried to ascertain the source of the healing properties without much success. The theory currently making the rounds is that an accumulation of minerals carried from the mountain as the waters run down is the cause. The less-scientifically minded are inclined to call it magic. Even if the cause , all agree that Dolimere is COLD.  Even at the height of summer, the water is near freezing. Only the bravest furs wade in its waters.

The aptly if not imaginatively named Lakeside is a small community that has cropped up on the northeastern-most shore of Dolimere. The populace is almost exclusively made up of scalies with a pawful of furs also calling Lakeside home. These furs and scalies have gained a reputation as skilled healers with no small help from the wondrous waters of the lake itself. It is not unusual for sick or injured furs to seek out Lakeside for a cure to their ailments. More often than not, the healers of Dolimere succeed in providing one.

Carja’s Notes:

When I was mapping out Pelaria, I didn’t spend a lot of time writing notes about the various places. I trusted that I would develop the world’s lore as required by the stories I was writing. All I knew about Lake Dolimere was that the water from the lake would have some kind of healing power.

When we started playing the roleplaying game, Lyne asked if the towns shown on the map were the only ones in Pelaria. I told her that these were the major centres, but that there were smaller outposts and communities spread throughout the continent. When I told her about Lake Dolimere’s healing properties, she decided her character would be an aspiring healer who was expelled from a small community near the lake for being a terrible grouch. That’s where the idea of a community of healers came from.

Mar 302013

From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur:

If you’re given to traveling through Pelaria, sooner or later you’ll come across the Rota.

The Rota are nomads. They travel Pelaria in caravans with the wind as their guide. Each caravan is a family led by a father. The father is wind-seeker, reading the wind currents to determine where the family should go next.

Like the wind, the Rota are viewed as bringers of fortune, both good and bad. Which you will get will only be clear once they’ve already moved on.  Less scrupulous Rota will prey on the superstitious, promising good fortune in exchange for favorable treatment. Honest Rota consider these ne’er-do-wells a blight on the name and are quick to distance themselves from those who bring shame to their way of life.

If you do a good turn for a Rota, you are his friend for life and there is nothing he will not do to repay the favor.  Woe be the Rota who turns his back on a debt. The family will cast him out and he will not be welcome in any other family.

Once a year, the various families will convene in one location, as determined by the winds. This Reunion takes place in late fall. The families take the opportunity to catch up with old friends and to trade for supplies that they’re short on with winter approaching. If you ever are invited to attend one I heartily recommend attending. They’re great fun and there are many stories to be heard. Showing up without an invitation is not recommended however.

One can travel freely with Rota, and I have. But know that traveling with a family does not make one a member of the family. Even marriage with a Rota cannot guarantee that. Good friends of the family are considered kindred however and will always be welcomed with open paws.

Carja’s Notes:

Okay, I wanted gypsies but I didn’t want to just call them gypsies. I fiddled around on google translate, trying to find the right combination of word and language. The winning combination was “wheel” and Latin. I have a precedent for using Latin so that’s where that came from.

Mar 232013

From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur:

The Everhigh Mountains were named by a mountain goat climber who remarked that no matter how high he climbed, the mountains seemed to stretch ever higher. Many furs have lost their lives in this mountain range. Although many have tried to reach the summit, none have succeeded. Not even the Avian have managed the feat.

In my younger days I made an excursion to the Everhigh Mountains. I had no aspiration of reaching the peak, mind. My goal was simply to experience the mountain to better colour my tales. I broke no records I assure you.

If the stories I’ve heard are to be believed, the rough mountain face is not the only danger awaiting furs seeking to conquer the Everhigh Mountains. A mysterious cult is said to have founded a temple somewhere within the range.

Carja’s Notes:

This entry was surprisingly difficult to write. I stumbled over every choice of word.

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