Monday, October 5, 2015

Companions of the Rose, Pt. II

Map updated 10/6/2015
Many a djinni found it easier to manipulate newcomers than fighting them openly, often pretending to be faithful followers of Arun-Te to avoid suspicion. Most lived in relative peace this way, enjoying Eastern Ellyrion’s prosperity and quietly removing troublemakers. Nonetheless, locals to this day often blame their misfortunes on the djinn. It isn’t rare when a criminal caught red-handed claims: “The djinn made me do it!” Others, staring dreamingly at the nightly sky, might sing: “If you wish upon the djinn, doesn’t matter who you are. . .” Settlers had a visceral fear of the efreet because they couldn’t see them. They knew the djinn to dwell in their midst, perhaps a new neighbor, Taeen of Jaffoo, or Aran the fish merchant, or the Narum the water-monger. They believed with good reason that the desert spirits were infidels with the powers of demons, and suspicion ran high.

Unavoidably, the Nicarean inquisition launched a djinn-hunt in 1045 CE. Fear among colonial population and false accusations between rivals were all too common, complicating matters. Worse yet, local population disliked the Nicareans almost as much as the djinn, since the inquisition could just as likely turn against them. Between uncooperating locals and magical beings hiding among them, the inquisitors found themselves flat footed. Eastern Ellyrion looked and felt increasingly foreign to them. It wasn’t long before the hidden ones infiltrated Nicarean ranks as well, possessing or killing a number of their leaders. The fight raged on, resulting in compromised inquisitors and those suspected of such being gruesomely executed by their own brethren (1071 CE). As paranoia prevailed, the conflict widened. Djinn permeated all levels of colonial society along with the heads of local thieves’ guilds. Commoners who suspected, or who plainly knew someone of being a djinni, remained quiet because they benefited from the status quo. This led to mounting casualties among colonial population accused of consorting with the “demons.”

The Black Rose was secretly founded during these times of sorrow, a tightly-knit nucleus of native colonials devoted to their countrymen’s protection. Known as the Companions, they became caught in the crossfire, but as devout followers of Arun-Te, they had the tacit support of locals who saw them as avenging heroes. Teosarkha II outlawed the sect in 1101 CE. Tantalizing rewards were offered for information leading to the capture or execution of anyone involved with the Black Rose. Very often, it led those whom the reward had tempted, to be questioned as to how they’d come across their information and why they hadn’t brought it up earlier. Most ended up none the wealthier and at the business end of a noose.

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Companions of the Rose, Pt. I

Centuries before the common era, a community of djinn lived in the Great Caldera’s southeast. A handful had come from the outer planes, attracted by the magic of Calidar’s world soul. Though their elders left or died out, their progeny remained, as they were creatures of this world. They dwelled there peacefully, honored by the fellfolk as spirits of nature whom they called the “hidden ones.” From them, native tribes learned their language, one as harsh as sand-laden winds grinding against the desert’s naked rocks. During the next centuries, fire-loving efreet became the most prevalent of the djinn while the jann scattered with the winds, the marid took to the sea, and the arad wandered into faraway mountains. Slowly, lands that were already warm and dry became even more so under the influence of the efreet, and a desert grew at its heart.

All was fine until Munaani settlers made landfall on the coasts in 796 CE. It is said that divine inspiration led followers of Teos to choose these unkind, sun-drenched parts as their hallowed land. They established Eastern Ellyrion, the oriental half of Munaan’s early colony on Calidar. Resenting the empire’s heavy-handed laws, Tanethian followers of Arun-Te came along and, over time, outnumbered ethnic Nicareans in this region. Meanwhile, the native fellfolk suffered from the massive influx of off-world migrants—something the djinn resented increasingly. Swept aside or facing forced labor, the tribes’ exodus began in 848 CE, leaving behind the djinn and those who could no longer flee. As Munaani settlers pushed inland, they ran afoul of the efreet, and a long struggle began.

Colonists seemed puny at first, but they proved far more resilient than the djinn thought, Nicarean veteran troops helping. With migration waves feeding their ranks, devout newcomers could replace their losses more quickly than the hidden ones. A stalemate was reached when Calderan djinn resorted to living among the settlers, concealing their true nature with their innate magical abilities. Meanwhile, it became fashionable for Calderan-born colonists to speak the language of the desert and adopt local ways, which could be learned from fellfolk servants. Quietly, skillfully, the hidden ones also introduced their script as an alternative to the Nicarean alphabet. Soon, people unwittingly referred to the arid hinterland by its efreeti name: Narwan.

To be continued...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fluttersquee: Terror of the Great Vault

About the size of a melon, this sweet little critter looks like a puffy ball of fur or feathers ranging from neon green to hot pink, with two large eyes, a long prehensile tail ending with three soft feathery protrusions, and butterfly-like wings and antennae. Two short velvety limbs enable the creature to stand, hang from a perch, or hold a small object. It typically feeds on the nectar of very large flowers found high up on certain tropical trees of the Dread Lands, using a retractable proboscis coil about three feet long. Fluttersquees are about as intelligent as house cats, and often behave like them, though they are unable to hunt or fight in any way. When satisfied, they purr. They communicate with squeaks and warbles. Native fellfolk sometimes keep one as a tribal mascot, and say that it can produce a soothing melodious hum.

Fluttersquees can feed on magical objects, which causes them to reproduce. They detect a small enchantment as far as a 100 yards away. Large ones, such as a skyship’s, are sensed from a mile away. To feed on magic, one must be able to touch the source with its proboscis. Without magic, reproduction is comparable to other small critters.

These creatures can drain an item’s minor magic (one hour per +1 magical bonus, or individual magical effects if more than one are present). They can drain a skyship’s enchantments in one hour per point of hull rating. When a flying vessel’s magic has sustained more than 10% loss, it tends to “flicker” at random. Magical detection can easily reveal this symptom. Reduced ship performance and “holes” (drained areas) in a ship’s enchantment start to develop with 20% loss or higher.

Fluttersquees are hermaphroditic. While continually exposed to magic, one lays 1d4 eggs every twelve hours. An egg typically hatches twelve hours later. These creatures hate the scent of a greedlegrim, a small woodland predator. A few drops of their musk, which is odorless to humans and demi-humans, repels Fluttersquees. One application covers about a foot-square and can last 1d4 days when it dries up and loses its potency.

Most military have banned these critters from their fleets, although Calderan smugglers sometimes attempt to trade fluttersquees kept in cages. They can provide wizards with valuable spell components. These creatures do not survive more than a few months in captivity, however, unless cages allow them to fly, such as a large aviary for example. Mongoose-like greedlegrims are hard to keep as they are fast, vicious, venomous, and have a limited teleport ability.


Life Force (%)
Size (feet)
Very small
Movement:       hopping
40’ (20)
120’ (40’)
90’ (30’)
180’ (60’)
Armor Rating (%)
Physical Attacks
Physical Damage
Special Abilities
Purr:  acts as a magical charm within a 30’ hearing radius.
If happy: (mature only) melodious hum heals a small amount of damage (VL+1 once/hour) within 30’ hearing radius.
If threatened:  can turn invisible.
If hungry:  can provoke magical lethargy within 30’ radius once per day (negated with a defense roll).
Magic drain:  one +1 magical bonus or HR point per hour.
Defense Rolls
As warrior with comparable LF
Basic Immunities
Magic Immunity (%)
Min. Int. & Wis. (%)
As a house cat
Morale Rating (%)

Monday, September 7, 2015

An Angle on Osriel Pt. III

1067 CE:  More trouble would strike again, this time in Linnefarn’s grand valley, when waves of Frostholm raiders came. Much of what lay north of the Lake of Tears was plundered and destroyed, pushing elven forces back to Windmere and Tourneuve, though Elëan troops flew eastward over the mountains. Worse, the Alorean garrison in Oosterdam fled as well, abandoning to the approaching raiders its erstwhile human allies, great throngs of fellfolk farmhands, and indentured gnomes. The hapless Rijklanders and their workers fled into nearby forests and up into the mountains while Frostholmers looted the newcomers’ towns. With word of Alorean and Gandarian forces mustering in the north, the raiders withdrew north to the grand valley and settled there for the winter. To help his followers hold on to their recent gains, Odin wisely sent them newcomers of their own, a rough and rugged people not unlike the Frostholmers. From them came the province’s name: Das Wichtelland—otherwise known as a land of imps and magical beings.

Soon afterward, the Rijklanders returned to their devastated homes. Neighboring Monfalconesi wisely offered them weapons to keep both elves and Frostholmers from returning. Fellfolk and gnomes, now culturally akin to Rijklanders themselves, earned their freedom in exchange for swearing to defend the land at the sides of resident newcomers. In so doing, they helped establish their faiths as the prevailing ones in this region.

1203 CE:  Peace remained ever so elusive for the next century and a half. Border clashes were frequent in the Dawn Wilds until the whole of the Great Caldera became engulfed in the wars of independence. The Kragdûras felt cheated out of lands they’d claimed. So were the Aloreans, bitter at the dismantling of Greater Linnefarn. Seizing the opportunity, the elves marched forth, seeking to regain lost grounds and gain control of Lorical which had grown into an open city. The dwarves attempted to stop them, and the conflict came to a stalemate in 1220 CE when drafted settlers on both sides refused to prosecute a proxy war on behalf of their lunar masters. By the end of the insurrection, all three off-world empires stood defeated and licking their wounds, while the old colonies of the Great Caldera became sovereign realms. The Dawn Wilds remained but a chaotic backwater until another catastrophe came about, with the second coming of Ghüle.

1237 CE:  Much was destroyed and Lorical was razed during the invasion. The orcs, the goblins, and the trolls left as quickly as they’d appeared. Stranded, some scattered into the mountains or found entry to the underground. Towns and settlements of the Dawn Wilds were rebuilt and wounded lands reclaimed anew. Fortunes of war led followers of some cults to depart and others to arrive. In the wake of the Ghülean horrors, a monk by the name of Fra Rocco, a Monfalconese native of great wisdom and charisma, endeavored to convince the provinces to join, so that their lands could be better defended from outsiders who coveted them. He succeeded. In 1250 CE, diplomats of surrounding realms met in Lorical and agreed to leave the affairs of the Dawn Wilds to its people. Local leaders came together in Lorical from all corners of the Dawn Wilds and founded the Republic of Osriel. Thus did citizens become free to honor their spiritual patrons, to speak whatever language they wished, and to pursue their quests for wealth and happiness, whatever their races and origins. This declaration became a cornerstone of the Calderan Faiths.

Teos/Soltan: In his infinite wisdom, the Calderan pantheon’s honorary chairman adopted an attitude of liberal laissez-faire. He felt a singular distaste for being personally involved with lesser entities whom he considered bargain-basement upstarts and godly wannabes encroaching “his” divine backyard. He neither earned nor wished to earn any arcane benefit from heading the rag-tag plethora of idols, in his hallowed point of view an unscrupulous and puffed-up gaggle of rabble-rousers and also-ran. None of the members would indulge him with dues normally demanded by pantheon rulers anyway, other than a distant and polite celestial nod. The opportunity to expand his own following among mortals, however, led the mighty sun god to hold his eternal nose and stake his own share of Osriel’s business. The cults of Teos/Soltan fared slightly above average compared with individual deities. As a whole, however, competing pantheons gained the upper hand over the sun god, as his cult only prevailed in four towns of Osriel, in part as the result of Narwani immigration in the south of the Costa Brava . Though squabbles abound, many godlings have proven reasonably successful in Osriel.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Calidar's New Web Shop

#‎Calidar‬ Publishing Announces Web Store
Burlington, Wisconsin: Today, Calidar Publishing, an RPG publishing company created by industry veteran Bruce Heard, announces new products available for sale. This includes poster maps of the Great Caldera and the Kingdom of Meryath as well as new offerings in the form of signed copies of both the hardcover and softcover books. This comes shortly after the launch of the new "Stranger Skies" website and brand new forums.
The recent change to add these products is that it allows fans to get unique components for the game in the form of personalized and signed books, as well as the poster maps. Calidar Publishing makes use of several different channels for their products:
  • Unmarked hardcovers, softcovers, and PDFs of Calidar, the Stranger Skies and Airman’s Edition are available at DriveThruRPG.
  • Ebook versions of Calidar, the Stranger Skies Airman’s Edition are available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
  • Signed hardcovers and softcovers are available on the new website.
  • Poster maps are available on the new website and for a limited time on eBay.

About Calidar Publishing: Calidar Publishing is an RPG publishing company created by industry veteran Bruce Heard. Specifically, it is the proud owner of the Calidar setting, a systemless RPG world, that takes its inspiration from the Voyages of the Princess Ark from Dragon Magazine and the original D&D game's fantasy setting of Mystara. Calidar has been nominated for many awards including being rated #3 out of 39 products with 10 or more reviews, placing it in the 92% percentile on ENWorld.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Calidar's New Forum

Greetings all!

I'm pleased to announce that the World of Calidar now has a brand new forum for Q&A, new ideas, debates, and so on.  A previous one existed earlier, but for various reason, the admins (including myself) decided to move to a better platform.  The new one is light years faster, visually more appealing, and probably familiar in its usage to many established Calidar (and Mystara) fans.  Old posts has been "transported" out of the graveyard to the new site, with their authors' names embedded within, thanks to the faithful and ever reliable hard work of the Post Necromancer.  To continue, previous members will have to re-register (sorry), which ought to take just a short while.  Many thanks to Leland Schaidle for all his work setting up the new forum, and to Thorfinn Tait for adding in all the other niceties.

On another level, two pages have been added to the new web site:  the Calidar Ephemeris, and the Soltan Ephemeris.  These provide neat planet positions calculators and a yearly calendar.  If they're not publicly accessible yet, they will be shortly.  Look under MEDIA ==> RESOURCES.

On the previous image, you may notice a "SHOP" link.  Work is underway to open a web shop.  Primarily (for now) this will provide a way to purchase poster maps and personalized autographed books. Unmarked books will remain for sale via DTRPG until I find a better way to get them printed in a more economical manner, in which case, they will also be sold through the web shop.  At last, you'll be able to get everything from the same source, and combine purchases to minimize shipping cost.  Edit: sales outside US borders have been worked out.  All mail now will have appropriate shipping fees.

More news:  last but not least, I should mention that Calidar's Airmen Edition story is available for:
Nook    and...

Thank you for visiting us and for participating.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

An Angle on Osriel Pt. II

Alorea's Greater Linnefarn & Dwarven Disputed Areas (874 CE)
885 CE:  Gandarians chose this time to settle north of Linnefarn, inflicting further despair upon native tribes living there and those fleeing from the south. They established the new colony of Nav-Gandar stretching eastward from the sea shores, past the Lake of Whispers, to the Arm of the Magus, before expanding northward through the central valley.

As a fragile truce eventually prevailed, the peers of other pantheons observed with growing consternation the arrival of newcomers from the vortex. The first to react was Istra. Circa 950 CE, she inspired Talikai adventurers who secretly honored her, to establish privately-owned settlements along the Dawn Wild’s far-eastern coast. For a time they escaped Nicarean scrutiny and oppression. To consolidate their holdings, Istra negotiated with the Gate Keeper for her share of newcomers, like other gods already had on the opposite side of the Dawn Wilds. Thus did a new people settle alongside the Talikai, seafarers to be sure and explorers of fortune who soon called their strange new realm the Costa Verde, all in the name of Istra.

1030  CE:  Phrydian auguries deemed auspicious a foray into Nicarean territory. Peacefully, Bongorian traders and their families travelled to the Dawn Wilds, eventually outnumbering Nicareans and their newcomer allies all along the shores south of Traders’ Cove. They brought with them the cult of Os-Othiel and, like his nearby peers, he schemed for newcomers to bolster his followers’ ranks. He attracted a proud and ebullient people who enjoyed bullfights. Though puzzled at first, the Bongorians accepted them as they too honored Os-Othiel. It wouldn’t be until the 1200s for Phrydian half-elves to become prevalent in these parts. By then, the Bongorian colony would also be better known as the Costa Brava.

1060 CE:  A mere thirty years later trouble spilled over from Nav-Gandar. Fleeing the Nicarean inquisition, wizardly household moved into Alorean lands. With the elven hold on this region somewhat tenuous, Gandarians easily spread along the coast down to the foothills of the Alvern Heights, bringing with them their strange cults. Annoyed, Delathien paid dearly for another share of newcomers to help his followers hold on to this region. These were industrious ones who introduced the elves to ale and kidney pie. They called their new capital Sterlingham and named other fine places, such as Bloodstone Castle and Bickersford.

In due time, Naghilas did the same, sending newcomers to help his Gandarian followers prevail farther south. Boisterous, stylish, and determined to enjoy the good things in life, these people were prompt to call their new capital Hauteville and its waterfront the Baie des Princes. Despite bewildering and sudden changes to their neighborhood, local elves remained in the area, determined to preserve their faiths in what became known as the province of Tourneuve.

To be continued.

Monday, August 24, 2015

An Angle on Osriel, Pt. I

800 CE: In the early days, colonial powers called Dawn Wilds the vast region tucked between what would become Nav-Gandar and Eastern Ellyrion. Tribal fellfolk owned these lands, and they knew trouble was coming. By 848 CE, southern tribes had crossed through the Osirim Range, seeking refuge from Munaani settlers stealing their lands. During the next thirteen years, native stone clans migrated from the Great Mountain Island, along the Alvern Heights, while water tribes sailed up the coast to the shores of Crimson Deep. Disputes flared for control of ancestral lands until the shamans came to an agreement, and the new tribes settled. But peace was short lived.

A few fleeting years later, rulers of Munaan, Alorea, and Kragdûr watched as unclaimed lands of the Great Caldera were quickly being snatched. In a bid to grab more territories before all would be settled, Nicareans landed at the site of Lorical, and pushed across a large lake, claiming its southeastern banks. A great battle against the fellfolk gave it its present name, the Lake of Tears. Another Nicarean force disembarked close to the Osirim, marching in a pincer move to seize much of the south. Their forces stretched thin and barely able to hold their ground, the Nicareans prayed to Teos for help. The sun god heard their prayers and turned to the Gate Keeper (see CAL1 “In Stranger Skies,” page 63). Through the celestial vortex came humans from another reality, joyous and sun-loving people taken from a world ravaged by the plague. They spoke an elegant-sounding language that sang to Nicarean ears. None of them remembered whence they’d come, but they honored Teos and that was good enough as far as the Nicareans were concerned. Monfalconia became the name they gave their new homeland.

861 CE:  Araldûr dwarves followed the same route as the native stone clans once did, driving them out of the Alvern Heights. Meanwhile, newly-invented Kragdûras steamers flew to the tall mountains in the east, prospecting for favorable construction and mining sites. They soon found themselves in the same predicament as the Nicareans and prayed to Khrâlia for help. The Gate Keeper dutifully fetched more people. These were good-hearted folk, northerners to be sure. They sounded awfully strange to the dwarves, but they fiercely praised the All Mother. Some still remembered the secrets of delicacies such as pierogi, kielbasa, and smoked cheese, and all was fine with the ravenous warriors of Kragdûr. The newcomers called their new homeland Czarziemia.

874 CE:  To prevent forces of Kragdûr and Nicarea from heading north, the Aloreans seized a vast area, arching from Devansy Island through to the great central valley and down to the outskirts of Monfalconia. This huge elven territory became known as Linnefarn. To help his faithful contain their rivals, Delathien resorted to the same stratagem as his divine counterparts had used. Soon, humans joined the elves east of the Lake of Tears. Shod in wooden clogs and with a penchant for growing tulips and erecting windmills, they honored Delathien just the same, and that was tolerable enough to the Aloreans. These newcomers soon gave this fertile region of Linnefarn a name that they liked better—the Rijkland.

Unable to summon the Dread Lands, fellfolk tribes were forced to flee wherever they could. In the wake of hopeless battles ending with disasters and epidemics, many natives resumed their northbound flight or scrambled to the shores of the Eastern Calderan Sea. Those who stayed became the servants of the fast-spreading newcomers who settled the tribe lands while warriors of Alorea, Kragdûr, and Nicarea remained entirely too busy squabbling over borders.

To be continued.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vipermen of Draconia

One creature that did not make it into CAL1 “In Stranger Skies” was the vipermen. This led to many questions being asked afterward about them. Now that I’m done with building “translatable” game stats and filling your heads full of gods and mythologies, it's a good time to develop these nasties from the hollow world of Soltan’s ephemeris. Mind you, I already “tested” these generic game stats when I posted the description of the Spirit Lords in the new web site’ forum. More testing by people other than me would be a plus.

The original vipermen come into existence when Sayble crossbreeds with favored Draconic knights—commanders and high-ranking priors. This species called elders, is able to reproduce in its own incestuous ways. Though elders are born of a living deity, they aren’t divine in nature but they do live very long existences. They mate for life and reproduce as long as their couples live. When an elder passes away, its spirit is reincarnated among Sayble’s next clutch. Each couple and their progeny embody distinct broods assigned specific territories or duties. The first and oldest brood is responsible for protecting Sayble. Others, those of later-born elders typically work faraway territories, such as other worlds and their moons. Sayble’s broods all work independently from each other, as separate organizations. They do cooperate with Draconic knights, should they be in contact with them. Tattoos are often used to distinguish different broods.

Elders sport black scales and, although bipedal, they still look more monstrous than human. They possess a long and powerful tail and claws, and can inflict a nasty bite. If wielding weapons, elders prefer oversized polearms, usually magical. Magic attracts them. They often keep the best of magical treasures their progeny brings back to them, handing much of the rest to their divine liege, the Black Queen. Elders occasionally gift magical weapons to hetmans and priors who have distinguished themselves. Dragon rulers of Draconia may also breed elders and vipermen (or some other similar creatures). Their appearances match the rulers’ colors, affinities to certain environments, and their general nature.

Vipermen are the progeny of elders. These creatures are sterile and genderless. They possess basic abilities and can improve their skills through experience. Their life expectancy is slightly less than that of a human being, maturing at about 15. Within the context of Sayble’s rule, they are her spies and assassins. An off-world brood typically includes 100-160 individuals able to live as much as 60 years. On average, they die out in their early-thirties as casualties of their dangerous lives (an elder couple lays one clutch of d3+2 eggs annually). Only Sayble knows how many broods exist, their missions, and their locations.

Vipermen are capable of passing themselves off as humans, especially when wearing a hood and gloves. Many resort to using masks and cosmetics to cover up their somewhat reptilian faces. Their scales are smooth and flexible, brown to black. They often wear armor, preferably leather, to improve their survival chances in combat. Vipermen mostly behave as rogues rather than warriors.

Game stats are given below. Use earlier blog posts (Game Mechanics & the conversion table) to translate them into your chosen game system. This is a first draft. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions based on your experience reading about or playing in the Calidar setting. Thanks!

EDIT: the stats conversion PDF is now available as a free download.  Click Here!

Minions of Sayble

Life Force (%)
Size (feet)
Movement:       walking
90’ (30’)
150’ (50’)
180’ (60’)
150’ (50’)
210’ (70’)
180’ (60’)
240’ (80’)
Armor Rating (%)
# of Physical Attacks
1 bite + 2 claws, OR 1 spit, OR
1 weapon (blowgun, bolas, or sword)
OR 1 spell
As vipermen
+1 tail
Physical Damage
VL each
Lo+1 ea.
2Lo+2 acid damage
as a dragon
by weapon
by wp. +2
by weapon
by weapon +4
Venomous Bite
Special Abilities
All vipermen:  As rogues with comparable Life Force, high agility, night vision, background mimicry (90% chance to remain unseen when motionless or moving slowly), acid spitting (one target up to 10’ away, once per encounter). Their bites may be venomous (negated with a successful defense roll); effect (d6): 1-3. Double damage, 4-5. Paralysis for several minutes, 6. Death.
Priors:  Faithful to Sayble; as a prior with half as much Life Force.
Elders:  Add 1 tail attack to unarmed combat routine; acid spit three times per day, 90’ range, damage inflicted as an acid-spitting dragon).  Males cast spells as wizards with half as much Life Force; females act as priors of Sayble with half as much Life Force. Both detect magic at will.
Defense Rolls
as monsters with the same Life Force rating
Basic Immunities
Elders only:  Acid-based attacks, non-magical weapons, and mind-affecting magic (such as fear, sleep, charms, and demonic possessions).
Magic Immunity (%)
Minimum Int. (%)
predominantly rational/malevolent
Morale Rating (%)