Welcome to Blackstaff Gamebooks

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to the blog for the Blackstaff Gamebooks. The purpose of this blog is to give you – the reader – a glimpse into the world behind the Blackstaff Gamebooks – the world of Undorbis.

At right, you will find a list of categories that discuss various aspects of the game world. Feel free to comment on any post, but please keep the comments constructive.


The Royal Isles

•May 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Royal Isles can be defined as your standard fantasy kingdom. Very traditional and very medieval. When coming up with the design here, I was mainly looking for something stable and familiar that I could use to anchor the world. After all, if a fantasy world is ALL unique and special, there’s little familiar ground with which to anchor the reader. Think of the Royal Isles as that familiar ground.

The main city here is Maloreth, home to the royal family and a bustling, sprawling city. I envision most of the buildings here as whitewashed with red tile roofing. Somewhat Spanish in design, but a little more densely settled. The city is mostly built on a radial design, covering about 5/8 of a circle with the sea on one side. The palace sits in the center, surrounded by gardens and public buildings. Most of the citizens here make their living from fishing, hunting, lumber, or metalsmithing.

The city of Aradonis lies on King Isle, and is the home of paladins. Travel to the city can really only be done easily at low tide, when the channel to the mainland shrinks to about 5 miles. The city of Aradonis is actually noted for giving rise to one of the most powerful magic users of all time. This is particularly interesting because those of the Royal Isles are almost constantly at war with the wizards of Pesaphena.

To the south lies the village of Southlet at the edge of the Blackwood. To be honest, I haven’t really fleshed out this town a whole lot yet. I added it at the edge of the wood because it seemed like a smart idea, but I don’t know what to do with it yet. I envision it mostly to be a rough town, more German in tone and feel, on the edge of a wood inhabited by werewolves and other monsters. The town would be a bit more somber but would still be a part of the kingdom to be sure. Thinking about it now, I could easily see this town as a place for paladins to go to prove their mettle.

Back to the north, we find the town Ama’s Cross, used as a stopping point for any pilgrims on their way to visit the Shrine of Light. Like Southlet, this town also doesn’t have much history. Situated on the edge of the lake between two mountain ranges, it does’t take a far stretch to imagine this town in more of an Austrian or Swiss light. The town is peaceful and almost more of a resort or luxury place than a real village. I could easily imagine fine crafts being built there with the folks a lot more technical or artisan.

Beyond these major settlements, there are other towns and cities, but most are so small as to not appear on the major map. The good news is that I’ve left plenty of space for future adventures, even if those that would take place here would be rather cliche. Sometimes you need that. 🙂

The Isles of the Sorcerer

•May 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Isles of the Sorcerer were one of the first islands I created. This area consists of a few islands, all grouped together. The smallest is the city of Pesaphena, the main center of action for the whole area. This is a plateau a few thousand feet high, which sits above the high tide level. The only way in or out of the city is through teleportation.

The main isle is mostly mountainous, with a number of high, jagged peaks. The south end has a little habitation and a number of colonies to the main city. The north end is almost entirely wild, housing orcs, goblins, and rogue sorcerers.

Darlock isle in the north-west is much the same. It is mainly home to outcasts and criminals and has no organized society.

The only other point of note is the Emblem Subisle – an island that only surfaces at low tide. This island is noted as being the only place to get the stone needed to make emblems. As such, there is a small town on the mainland near the subisle, and Initiates to the Order are often sent to the subisle as a test of their growing skills.

This whole region is ruled by the city-state of Pesaphena, and has been under the control of wizards for many thousands of years. In the greater geography of the world, the Isles of the Sorcerer are located at about 40 degrees north, and relatively far east.

This is personally my favorite of the islands, but I’ve always had a love for wizards, so there you go. 🙂

World Name and Tides

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The world in which the Blackstaff Gamebooks are set is called “Undorbis”. I created this from the latin words “undine” and “orbis”, meaning roughly “wave” and “orb’ (or world) respectively. I created this name because the principal feature of Undorbis are the tides that rise and fall a thousand feet.

These tides affect the entire world and are caused by the alignment of the two moons.

As one would expect, these tides have some pretty extreme effects on the world. For one, no cities are built below the high-tide mark. For another, there are some islands that are submerged at high tide but are visible at low tide. These are called “subisles”.

This is the basic setup for the world and was the first guiding principle I had when I started to create it.