Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Blog Site

Hey there,

We're blogging over at rynaga.com/blog now.

This is our previous blog which has some interesting posts as well, but is not currently used for updated posts.

Thanks traveler!

Eric and the World of Rynaga Team

Friday, November 11, 2011

Grava and Dain

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Quena, Veratar

Arcan and I paid a visit to a local Igwaza Trainer yesterday, in hopes of finding him a new riding mount. His current steed is a Quenan Igwaza named Grava. She's been a loyal friend to Arcan, but is in poor health now. A respiratory illness has left her with a wheezing cough, shortness of breath and lack of stamina; symptoms which mean slow, painful travels for beast and master alike.

We did not find a new mount for Arcan, but we did hear of some strange rumors. Dain, the associate of Solan we now seek, has not been seen in or around Quena for months. We spoke to no less than seven shop owners and the city gatekeeper without any record of Dain’s activity here. In addition, several travelers report seeing unmarked transport carriages on the roads east of Quena, which points to Dark Trader movements.

Controversy follows Dark Traders wherever they go, as they’re usually in possession of forbidden or dangerous wares in addition to common supplies. However, for them to be active so close to Quena’s jurisdiction suggests they have buyers in this area. Dain lives to the east of Quena, so perhaps he’s being supplied by these shadowy merchants for some reason.

We’ll keep searching for some clue as to Dain’s whereabouts here in town. If we can’t find information on him here, there’s only one other option: travel east to the edge of Silentwood to find him.

-Eric

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Beginning at Traveler's End

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Quena, Veratar

Each time I arrive in Quena, it’s as if I’ve stepped into zoo. I mean, you’d feel the same surrounded by such a variety of animals – beasts of burden, family pets and domestic herds. Quena is a town filled with animal trainers, mostly igwaza trainers. Farms are abundant, stables are everywhere and everyone seems to have some connection to farm management, animal husbandry and ranching.

This isn’t the first time I’ve paid a visit to this town, so it wasn’t hard to meet up with Arcan since we had agreed to meeting at a particular inn called Traveler’s End. The inn is famous for it’s comfort, cuisine and a poker style game using cards called Showdown, at which I lost several times but with happy company.

Arcan arrived a few days after I did, worn out from his adventures but in good spirits. He had been called out to support a search team looking for a missing family. The family was found in good health but with a badly injured igwaza mount, which they did not want to leave alone in the wild. Arcan says any search that ends as this one did is a rare thing. The wilds are no place for errors or injuries.

Today we’re discussing our plan to find our associate Dain, a former associate of Solan. Dain and his wife Vesena live on the western edge of Silentwood forest and visit Quena regularly. They should be due in anytime as the weather is only getting colder here and they’ll need to resupply before the storms arrive. Our goal is to interview Dain and see if he would support an expedition to the Shrinking Depths.

Convincing him to enter the dark place with a search party will be another matter entirely.

-Eric

Friday, October 28, 2011

Point and Counter Point

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Road to Quena, Veratar

My stay in Treehook was brief, but before I left I had a chance to interview a few people regarding Solan’s disappearance within the Shrinking Depths and the many resulting rumors. The comments of one Sidrani couple (Garyt and Celia) offer differing opinions as to what should be done to find the missing explorer.

Me: "Is an expedition to find Solan in order? After all, he’s one of your most important historical figures."

Garyt: “An expedition is needed. Solan may have perished, yet he deserves our efforts in view of all his deeds on behalf of society. A skilled search team must be hired, many supplies will be needed and a camp should be set up at the cave’s entrance ensuring no outsiders could impede the search. I’d volunteer myself if I was more fit for adventuring!”

Celia: “I disagree with my husband on this. We all know the Shrinking Depths to be a place of mystery at best, and death at worst. It’s better for us to memorialize Solan as a great man and let his disappearance serve as a warning for others who would intrude upon that place.”

This is how many of my inquires of the common folk here go. For every person favorable to such a mission, a practical voice intercedes with valid counter points. I wonder what you think about this? Me, I’m torn on the subject, but lean towards a search.

I rode out of Treehook a day and a half ago and should arrive in Quena today, after which I’ll search for lodging, good food and good ale. Arcan will be meeting me here within the next day or so, if he is not delayed.

-Eric

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tea in Treehook

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Treehook, Veratar

Grimora and I arrived in Treehook without incident. Situated at the hilly base of the Zelia Mountain Range, Treehook’s elevation offers excellent views of the surrounding countryside. The town itself is bustling with small time merchants, traders and hunters. In general, there’s more going on here per square foot than in Featherune this time of year.

The reason for all the activity is related to preparations for the Tempestua, a slow moving weather phenomenon which blows in from the sea bringing cold winds, freezing rain and hail. During this time, airship travel is suspended for about three cycles months. So, pilots and passengers are busy preparing for their final journeys.

I’m sitting outside at a small eatery looking up at Hallon Hill where several large airships sit tied down to the ground. Walking up the hill are men, women and children carrying their belongings. Pilots stand motioning as a few Kirzan men (probably Anchors) walk around inspecting airship mooring lines.

As I sip some Karanae Tea, I wonder where these travelers are off to, what their lives are like and what they would think of our world. It takes them days to reach their destinations, for us it takes hours. They live in a world where no one knows what is happening across the sea, our televisions let us see all. They’ve never held an iDevice or laptop, while many on Earth would be lost without such gadgets.

I’ll stay in Treehook for another couple of days and then ride for Quena. It’s not too far from Treehook (due south). If all goes well, Arcan is supposed to meet me there within a weeks time.

-Eric

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Journey South

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Road to Treehook township, Veratar

After a few weeks in Featherune, Grimora and I are on the road again. Our first stop on the way to Quena is Treehook, due about 80 miles south of Featherune city. From what I hear it’s the biggest small town I’ve never been to. Treehook serves as a service and passenger pickup stop for airships headed north into the Kirzan kingdoms.

One story about Treehook tells of a band of Rogues who were foolish enough to attempt to take over an airship. They boarded at Treehook, attempted their hijacking and failed, only to be lowered off the side of the ship onto a cold mountain peak. Turns out airship captains have no tolerance for endangering passengers and crew. In fact, once an airship takes to the sky here, it has it’s own laws and jurisdiction, subject to whatever the captain decrees.

I’ve done a lot of travel by airship on Rynaga and I can tell you it’s the most relaxing experience one can have in the air on any planet. Unlike 747's, airships here move relatively slow, so there’s a sense of time moving slow as well. The floating transports also travel low enough to the ground for passengers to make out animal herds, farm houses and people dotting the landscape. Every now and then someone below appears to stop and wave up to the skies. Oh and bags fly free here too.

The road to Treehook is well traveled and patrolled. Rain is always possible this time of year, so I’ve come prepared for wet weather. We should pull into Treehook within the next few days or so, ready for a comfortable bed and a hearty meal.

-Eric

A Ruse

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

Well, things change fast on Rynaga. Arcan was called out to support a search party. Turns out a family went missing two days ago along the road from Strata to Featherune. Saycia's guild mates arrived and she rode out this morning on an urgent assignment. From the looks of things I'm on my own again, for now.

Before he left, Arcan told me I could stay at his home as long as I wanted and we talked about meeting in Quena weeks from now in hopes of tracking down Dain, another former friend of Solan.

Dain used to live in Grynevia, but recently he and his wife decided to build a house on the western edge of Silentwood forest. Arcan suspects the two visit Quena every now and then for supplies, so tracking them down shouldn't be hard.

Today I'm making some arrangements for travel. Gathering up dried food. Sharpening blades. Packing tools. I took Grimora out for a ride this morning after having her ankle bracers refit. She seemed happy to get out of the stable for a while. I'm sure she'd be glad to know we'll be back on the road soon.

-Eric

Friday, September 30, 2011

Parting Ways

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

Well, things change fast on Rynaga. Arcan was called out to support a search party. Turns out a family went missing two days ago along the road from Strata to Featherune. Saycia's guild mates arrived and she rode out this morning on an urgent assignment. From the looks of things I'm on my own again, for now.

Before he left, Arcan told me I could stay at his home as long as I wanted and we talked about meeting in Quena weeks from now in hopes of tracking down Dain, another former friend of Solan.

Dain used to live in Grynevia, but recently he and his wife decided to build a house on the western edge of Silentwood forest. Arcan suspects the two visit Quena every now and then for supplies, so tracking them down shouldn't be hard.

Today I'm making some arrangements for travel. Gathering up dried food. Sharpening blades. Packing tools. I took Grimora out for a ride this morning after having her ankle bracers refit. She seemed happy to get out of the stable for a while. I'm sure she'd be glad to know we'll be back on the road soon.

-Eric

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Calling

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

Over the past several weeks I’ve made my way from Phaedra north to Strata and then on to my current stop, Featherune. After meeting up Arcan and learning more about the Athite stone, Solan’s final journey the Shrinking Depths and the inscription on the stone itself, I’m convinced an expedition to discover what happened to Solan is in order.

Yet, anything worth doing is difficult. While Arcan believes there may be others willing to help with such an expedition, he says it will be difficult to arrange. As I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to seek out as many of Solan’s friends and allies as possible. Perhaps one or more of them will be open to the idea of an expedition.

I sit now staring out into the morning light, pondering the next road I will take. In the distance, the Andoras Peak towers over the city of Featherune. My thoughts wander.

Like Solan, the early explorers of Earth’s history risked their lives so that we could understand our world more fully. Some never returned home. Others discovered new lands, only to see kings and queens exploit their findings. For Magellan, Leif Ericson and Shackleton exploration was a calling. It still is.

Despite modern misconceptions, exploration is not about thrill-seeking. It’s rooted in ideals such as understanding our ancestors, solving deep geological mysteries and uncovering truths about our planet which can make our lives better.

Sometimes, in waking sleep I imagine I’m standing on a high altitude trail on some fictional world, looking up at a dizzying height. Colleagues pass me on their way up to a dig site where the remnants of an ancient civilization wait to tell their story. The oxygen is thin. My nose is an icicle. With a determined step, I press on.

Perhaps I missed my calling.

-Eric

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inscriptions, Implications and Intrigue

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

To say I’m not intrigued by the inscription on the athite stone in Arcan’s possession would be an understatement. Arcan, Saycia and I discussed the implications of the inscription at length. Arcan is convinced that Solan knew about the engraving, while Saycia is skeptical.

Me, I tend to agree with Arcan. Before his disappearance, Solan had deciphered another message written in Lokma. It is possible he translated the stones inscription as well, but simply kept this fact to himself.

Did Solan enter the Shrinking Depths simply to explore the strange phenomenon there? Did he have inside knowledge as to some plot involving the place? Was he being blackmailed into going there? I think these questions will be answered in time, only if someone were to risk their own well-being to find Solan.

Most here think Solan is dead. Yet, Arcan is not ready to concede this. In fact, Arcan has suggested I go to Serenity and talk with Rea, Solan’s longtime girlfriend. It’s possible she has information we do not. After almost three years with no news of Solan’s whereabouts, she may be ready to share what she knows.

For now, I’ll remain with Arcan for another week or so before deciding my next road. The mystery of Solan’s disappearance has been a topic of much rumor and myth. It feels like we’re starting to unravel something.

-Eric

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Athite Stone

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

Not long after I arrived at Arcan’s house the following morning, Arcan’s sister Saycia showed up as well. Saycia is a member of Dark Dawn, a guild committed to deciphering ancient texts and studying cryptology. (At least that’s their stated mission.) After visiting for a while Arcan invited me to stay with him, rather than at the inn downtown.

Now for those of you familiar with the events of Prelude, you’ll remember that Arcan won a lockbox containing a white stone from Solan in a Ruse match. This was shortly before Solan’s disappearance in the Shrinking Depths. Solan had instructed Arcan to sell the stone. Arcan didn't listen.

A day after I arrived at Arcan’s house, he called me into an empty room of his house. From beneath the floor boards he revealed a secret compartment. Within this compartment, wrapped in a blanket was a lockbox. From the lockbox he produced a pearlescent white stone, taking care not to touch it with his bare hands and placing it into a stone bowl.

“You know what this is, don't you?” Arcan asked.

“The stone given to you by Solan before his disappearance,” I answered.

“Indeed. Yet, we’ve learned much about this stone in recent months. We now suspect this stone to be an Athite specimen. Athite is a banned form of radia so we keep the existence of this stone hidden,” explained Arcan. “But, there is something inscribed on the stone,” said Arcan, motioning to his sister.

Saycia produced a magnification lens from her pocket. Holding it up to the stone Arcan pointed to a series of tiny cryptic markings. This inscription is something which Solan had either missed entirely or did not speak of while the stone had been in his possession.

I asked Arcan, “So, what does it say?”

Saycia interrupted, speaking with a wry smile, “It’s an ancient Sarion language called Lokma. When translated it reads: Effect (property) of Voltaire, Shrinking Depths.”

Voltaire? Who is this in reference to? Why are they connected with the Shrinking Depths?

To quote the great Sherlock Holmes, “the game is afoot.”

-Eric

Monday, August 29, 2011

Arcan Rand

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

It’s not too often that things go according to plan for me, so when they do I try to savor it. I suspected that by spending some time in the local ruse hall I’d be bound run into Arcan, who is a regular ruse player himself. Well, I was right.

While Arcan and I have mutual friends and had been told of each other through Solan, we had never met. While sitting waiting to catch a game, I heard doors closing and a jolly voice say “Hail Arcan, how are you tonight?” Looking up I saw a weathered young man standing with a wry smile, greeting his friends throughout the warmly lit hall. He walked with a confident stride up to the bartender, his hunting bow, krysknife and arrows all in place.

Taking care not to interrupt his conversation with the barkeep, I walked up and introduced myself. To my surprise Arcan shook my shoulder (a common greeting here) vigorously and said “Ah yes Eric, it’s great to finally meet you! Come, let’s have drink and share our travels of late!”

After an hour of talking about political affairs in eastern Veratar and recent affairs in Featherune, the subject of Solan came up. Arcan spoke of traveling with Solan, his accomplishments and their final words before Solan’s disappearance. Then Arcan asked plainly, “So what are your thoughts? Do you think our friend Solan to be dead?” “I don’t know. Yet, it does seem most likely at this point.” I said.

Arcan paused and looked at me intently. “Come to my house tomorrow. There is something I need to show you with regard to Solan. Something which may offer hope for our missing friend.”

-Eric

Monday, August 22, 2011

Featherune

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Featherune, Veratar

Avys, Grimora and I arrived in Featherune yesterday after a grueling trip, made challenging by flooded roads, stray boulders and more rain.

When the locals caught sight of Avys they showered him with welcoming gestures and requests to see what treasures he had for sale. Eager to open his local shop for business, Avys and I parted ways after a final meal together so he could tend to his customers.

Featherune is a beautiful city with much history. It's one of the original Sidrani settlements to reach Veratar and has grown into a thriving metropolis, exporting hunting equipment, rare textiles and it's own locally produced medicines.

Sentinels guard every entrance, exit and fortification, ever alert for signs of trouble. While the days of Sarion incursions into these lands are long gone, there's always the stray wild beast, drunk warrior or band of thieves to deal with.

As for me, I'm going to start my search for Arcan, a local hunter, adventurer and former friend of Solan. My guess is if I hang around the Ruse Hall long enough, he'll show up.

-Eric


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Vyrgan Merchant

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Road to Featherune City, Veratar

I’m on the road to Featherune after several days held up in Strata due to poor weather. For this next leg of my journey I’m joined by Avys, a Vyrgan pathfinder turned merchant who works in western Veratar this time of year.

I met Avys at the Hearths Hill Inn and after learning we were both on the path to Featherune we decided to join up for the road. Avys works as a bowyer of sorts, dealing mostly in rare carapid shells, barbs and blades from the desert lands for arrow making. With the Bow Maiden academies in Featherune, I’m not surprised he finds lucrative business opportunities there.

I find the Vyrga people to be the most amazing race on this planet. They’re quick to speak, but never long to get to the point. They’re ultra-alert and seem to have a knack for judging character. Their snappy neck movements and flickering dark eyes hint at their keen metabolisms and agility.

So far, Grimora has been a good sport about the amount of trudging through mud and debris we’ve been faced with. Floods came down into the Strata valley and surrounding landscape with quite a fury, making the main roadway to Featherune a chore to traverse.

We’re well-stocked with food and supplies for our trip, yet if the need arises I’m sure Avys’ skill with bows will come in handy at dinner time.

-Eric

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here Comes the Rain, Again

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Strata, Veratar

Don't think I forgot about my weekly post. I've been holding out in Strata for a few days now without many messenger options. I thought I'd avoid soggy weather by taking this road over the river road, but it was not to be. Rain, more rain and even some flooding which is a rare thing in this valley.

Grimora's been stabled. I'm sitting waiting for some food at an inn called Hearths Hill. I'm noticing how the rain seems to fall a bit more slowly to the ground here. Coming from Phoenix, AZ, the rain dumps fast and that's it. In some regions throughout Veratar, raindrops seem to hang in the air just before hitting the ground, which I'm told is evidence of underground radia deposits.

My food arrives. Roasted torko, cayl beans and grilled spring root. It's pretty hearty eating. I mean, cayl beans are dense and about the size of your palm, so you only two or three. They taste like potatoes. Spring root is tender like a broccoli stalk and packed with protein.

As for torko, it's a turtle-like creature found in abundance on the ocean shores due west of Strata. Don't get me wrong, it takes some getting used to. A couple of hours after eating a torko fillet, your tongue goes a little numb. (Anthony Bourdain would have field day with this stuff.)

Well, gotta eat now. I'm hoping to be on the road again within the next few days. Safe travels to you.

-Eric

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rynaga.com Launches

It's been a long time coming right? Right. Well, the day has come. We have an official website. Now the real work begins: populating the site with valuable content!

Here are some things you'll notice about our new site:

We Have Our Own Shop

We plan to keep our Etsy site running as well, but there's nothing like having your own custom shopping cart solution.

We will no longer be offering Iconica card singles on our shop, as most people prefer to buy Iconica sets. Single card sales where a option we offered early in Iconica's history while we were producing cards a few at a time. We no longer need to do this.

Note: Please know that if you need to purchase individual cards you can contact us and we'll take care of you!

Iconica Rules Have Been Upgraded

Version 5.0 of the Iconica Rules are our best effort yet.
  1. Content has been streamlined, but still remains descriptive.
  2. We've added more strategy with a new standard rule for Action Rolls. This is a big change that's easy to understand and makes a great game even better. (Testing was very well-received!)
  3. Clarifications have been made to answer common questions before they're asked!
Rynagapedia

We're building an encyclopedia for RPG gamers, Iconica players and avid visitors of Rynaga. It's no Websters, but over time it will grow into a very comprehensive collection of lore and interesting facts. Hey, to get where we want to go, we need to capture this kind of information!

Other features of the site include a Resources section which will house general reference material for Iconica and other content for download. You can read about how Rynaga came to be and where we are going in the About section. And our News category will keep you up to date on coming events.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and support over the past months. We hope you're as excited about this milestone in our small history as we are.

-Eric

Monday, August 1, 2011

"The Road Goes Ever On and On"

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Valley Road to Strata, Veratar

There are three main roads leading to Featherune from Phaedra: the valley road (leads to Strata then on to Featherune), the Selwyn River road or the Featherune Netherway (an underground roadway). As it happens, the Netherway was closed due north for seasonal maintenance and the river road makes for a rainy path this time of year. So, I went with the valley road.

"Farewell! Stick to the road traveler," said a dutiful Sentinel as I left the outskirts of Phaedra. "This side of the Selwyn is the safest in Veratar, but don't take chances." So, I stick to the road. If my math is right (most times it isn't) I should be about 20 miles from the township of Strata and 80 miles from Featherune.

Who's with me on this leg of my journey you ask? Just Grimora. Grimora is a Quenan Igwaza mount I aquired from a stable outside of Phaedra. She's a beauty. Sleek, fast and well-tempered. Her calm nature hides a powerful bite and her intelligence rivals that of the smartest animals on Earth.

Traveling this road is no new task for me. When I began surveying the lands of Veratar (6 years ago) this was one of the first regions I visited. The Phaedran gatekeeper is right. This part of Veratar is exceptionally safe. Bandits are unheard of. Wild beasts are harmless. The weather is calm and cool.

With the stars above and a clear path ahead us even the darkest night on this road holds no nightmares for Grimora and I.

-Eric

The Missing Man

WORLD OF RYNAGA TRAVELOGUE

Phaedra, Veratar

Every where I go here I'm hailed as "The Human." "Hail Human! Where are you off to today? What news of your world? Where have you been?" The questions are never-ending. I tell them of our struggles on Earth. The beauty of our planet. The horrors mankind exact upon each other. They listen with concerned faces.

"Yes, dark days seem to be a theme on your world and ours," says a Sidrani man as he washes the caryn fruit I'm purchasing at his small store. "Humanity sound as aggressive and internally divided as these Sarion are," referring of course to the Sarion empire in the east. "They would run us all off these lands if they could. Thankfully they cannot. Yet."

The man is right. For now, the Sarion empire is no match for several thousand towering Kirzan fighters and the focused will of the Protectorate. Ahhh. Enough of that talk.

My journeys involve another concern. His name is Solan - also known around here as the "Missing Man." You might remember him from the events of Prelude. It's been about four years since he went missing in the Shrinking Depths. Vanished. Since then a handful of explorers have tried to find him. Three never came back. Another lost his mind before he could start the journey.

Regardless, the Missing Man story is now the number one subject of rumor and myth. (He'd be a "trending topic" here if the people of Rynaga used Twitter.) I have a list of people who traveled with or knew Solan personally. I've made plans to seek out each of these people and see how the events surrounding Solan's disappearance have affected them.

The first road I take is north to Featherune. I'm looking for a man named Arcan, a former aid to Solan on his travels. He's made quite a name for himself as a hunter and news of his adventures has reached the most popular taverns here in Phaedra. I hear he's a skilled Ruse player as well.

Hmmm. A worthy opponent perhaps?

-Eric

World of Rynaga Travelogue

Life between two worlds (Reality and Rynaga) means lots of travel. As many of you know, I've been traveling back and forth between these two worlds for about five years now, bringing back various artifacts to share with fellow readers, gamers and collectors.
 
In short, this ongoing series of posts will help frame future content set within Rynaga. I'm currently working on book one of an illustrated trilogy of narrated stories. It's a gargantuan project to be sure, but one we think will be very special and well-received because we're really paying attention to doing things right!
 
In addition to the stories found in our books though, I think ongoing concise posts about these travels are a great way to demonstrate how real Rynaga is to us. I'm committed to posting at least once a week on Mondays, if not on Fridays too. Always feel free to ask questions!
 
Over time, I hope you'll share your own experiences on Rynaga too. Just remember: When you set foot outside your door, there's no telling where you can end up! Safe travels.
 
-Eric

Friday, July 15, 2011

Iconica Players Guild Update

We wanted to give you an update on our progress with IPG (Iconica Players Guild). In short, it's gonna be awesome. Since it's start in 2009, Iconica has gained the support of the indie gaming community and received critical acclaim for it's unique art style.

Our approach to table top card gaming has taken many by surprise. Iconica is like nothing many have played. The game is growing methodically, one expansion at a time. Each expansion adds new elements of strategy to the overall experience. We think Iconica has tons of potential due to one main fact: it's different.

If Iconica is different, why create a "fan club" when we can create a guild with purpose. Here are some things we think this guild should accomplish. Feel free to add your voice through comments.

1) IPG should be meaningful - We should have a mission. Guildmates should be part of a movement.

2) IPG should reward members - This means being part of IPG will give guildmates access to exclusive content, opportunities to collaborate on new Iconica characters and chances to increase their rank and priviledges within the guild by completing specific achievements.

3) IPG should not be free - "Free" carries the perception of "low value." Our supporters want great value. This means guild membership will mean an entry fee which will be used towards yearly tournament prizes and awards, guild patches and wearables, exclusive guild cards and other game expanding content.

These are just some of the things we've decided should be part of building a meaningful, active and desirable guild. Launch of IPG is scheduled for Q1 2012.

What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share them.

-Iconica Development Team

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Weekly Offworlder

An Introduction to Radia

Unlike our Earth which is energized by the Sun, the world of Rynaga is energized primarily by its own planetary core. This energy is called radia. Radia is stored within stones, crystals and other natural elements found on Rynaga.

Radia is used in crafting tools, weaponry, building materials, ship construction, clothing and even food. Radia can grant a person great power, but as you will see over time through the stories set within Rynaga, this power comes with a price. For now, I'll give you a brief introduction to radia.

There are two main types of radia: positive and negative. Positive radia types are harmless and commonly used in everyday life. Negative radia is rare and harmful. Side effects of exposure include illness, permanent injury and untimely death.

Radia Classifications

Level 1 – (Positive) Common. Consumable. Used in every day living. Abundant. Cheap. Requires no crafting time. Found on the surface of the land.

Level 2 – (Positive) Common. Expensive. Requires minimal crafting time. Provide unique benefits which may be temporary or perpetual.

Level 3 – (Positive/Negative) Uncommon. Very expensive. Requires advanced refinement and crafting time. May have dangerous side effects.

Level 4 – (Negative) Uncommon. Exposure causes injury and shortens lifespan. Priced individually. Requires advanced crafting. Hazardous to use.

Level 5 – (Negative) Rare. Priceless. Mysterious. Most powerful. Found deep underground. Exposure greatly shortens lifespan. Forbidden in most lands.

Where to Find Radia

Water – Some lakes and rivers contain traces of radia depending on the sediment on which they exist. Drinking radia infused water is not recommended due to the potential for dangerous side effects and illnesses.

Soil – In many areas the soil itself is radia rich and is used to grow plants rapidly, cultivate special hybrid plants and create superior forms of glass.

Flora – Some types of flora such as fruits, vegetables, spores, flowers and trees are themselves conductors of radia and as such they may be harmful or healthful to grow and eat.

Clay – Clay deposits may contain radia energies which can be processed to create advanced building materials such cements, tiles and bricks with innate benefits. These clays are also used for pottery and other household goods.

Stones – Stones store radia energy very well. Radia stones may be refined to make building materials and metals. Others can be used to start fires, cool buildings and repel carapid.

Crystals – Crystals are second only to nodes in their potential to hold radia. They are powerful conductors and many negative forms of radia are locked within them. Due to their density, crafting crystals is tedious work.

Nodes – The most potent forms of radia are cut from nodes. These are massive deposits of radia infused crystal and stone which require much work to refine and craft. Many have died from prolonged exposure to radia nodes found underground.

Radia Catalysts

In short, there are thousands of different rocks, stones and crystals on Rynaga which do not contain radia, yet act as catalysts. These catalysts unlock the full potential of various forms of radia. By keeping catalysts in close proximity with their radia counterparts, many different effects can be created. Thus, catalyst materials are socketed into tools and weapons or mixed into building materials and topsoil for crops.



The most important thing to understand about radia is that it is a science which is subject to thousands of variables. Radia has the power to enrich life or destroy life.

Still questions abound. If new forms of radia (and radia catalysts) are discovered regularly, how many different combinations of radia based tools and weaponry can be crafted? One could assume millions. Can a catalyst stone render a harmful form of radia harmless? Yes, this has been proven in rare cases. What happens when a highly refined radia crystal is shattered? The results can be catastrophic.

Due to the mysteries and risks associated with radia, the use of radia based technologies is often feared and avoided. However, this is changing. In fact, those with an advanced knowledge of radia and its effects on people and the environment will hold a distinct advantage in the coming years on Rynaga.

-Safe Travels!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Phoenix Comicon 2011

This year's Phoenix Comicon was the best show we've ever had. We worked hard, laughed a lot, played Iconica, met new friends and talked with other indie artists such as Daniel Davis and David Petersen.

Our Booth Setup


Each year, my wife Larissa is such a huge help to me. We've been married for 15 years and I'm so proud to be her husband. I want everyone to know that without her support, guidance and critiques, I'd be lost on the high seas of my own fiction with no direction.

Here's a few quick thoughts, images and highlights of our show. (Next year, I promise to have a dedicated photographer taking more pictures! It's something I always forget about as the days fly by.)

Releasing Iconica Series 2

During the four days of the con we held demos of Iconica right at our booth and showed newcomers how to play. With the help of several Iconica development team members (thanks Adrian, Ryan, Josh, Kevin and Kirk), we organized games in the Phoenix Comicon Game Room at the Hyatt for newcomers and pros as well.

Iconica Box Sets
We had in reserve several Iconica Series 1 box sets for in-person sales and we brought lots of Iconica starter sets for newcomers. Yet we were not prepared for how well Iconica Series 2 would do. Things went so well with the Iconica Series 2 release, we sold out of our initial stock by Sunday mid-afternoon.

We're so encouraged by the diversity of people who have embraced Iconica's story elements, iconic imagery and gameplay style – children and tweens, Dads and Moms, young couples and yes, even hip grandparents.

Iconica supporters include scientists and military personal, as well as stay-at-home Dads and yoga instructors. We had a great time talking to gamers of all kinds from all different parts of the country!

Meeting David Petersen

For years, I've enjoyed David Petersen's work on MouseGuard, so it was such a pleasure to meet him and his wife Julia. Larissa and I went over to his table on Saturday to get his new book Legends of the Guard (and have him sign my existing collection of his books) and David was kind enough to talk with us for a while and even take a picture with me.

Eric Torres (left) and David Petersen (right)


While David is very proud of his work, he's a really cool, down to earth person. I have a lot of respect for artists and authors who remain approachable and wear their success lightly. I'm sure you've met people you feel the same way about too.

So What's Next?

Well, our Iconica vendor has promised to deliver a new shipment of Iconica Series 2 cards by this week. As soon as we receive it, we'll be releasing it online! Thanks for your patience on this. Hey, I guess this is what happens when you're working with small print runs and fresh content right?

After Iconica Series 2 is released online we'll focus our attention on completing rynaga.com and finalizing our custom shopping cart system. Even after we finish our own shopping cart, we'll still use Etsy. But we think having multiple ways to find our merchandise is probably a good thing!

As a heads up, you might be excited to know more about our next big project, which is a narrated book due for release this winter! Look for a more detailed update on this project within the next couple weeks.

Thanks to everyone who made Phoenix Comicon such a huge success for us! We're so grateful to have your support.

-Safe travels!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Iconica Series 2 Online Sales

Due to limited quantities (we make the game in small batches) and demand at Phoenix Comicon we're delaying the release of Iconica S2 online by several days while we order more stock. We just need to be sure we have enough stock on hand for in-person sales and commitments to local vendors as well.

One of the things we've learned by releasing a new Iconica series all at once (23 new characters) as opposed to two or three cards each month is we need to invest a bit more money/time once we go to press to prepare for all channels of distribution. As an indie publisher, these are some of the things you're just bound to learn as you go!

Thanks for your patience everyone. Series 2 is off to a good start and we're expecting record sales at Phoenix Comicon! If you have thoughts/questions please share.

-Eric

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

World of Rynaga - Explorer's Map

It's done! And it's just the beginning.

After 5 years, the first continent on Rynaga has been surveyed and captured in this 24x36 print.

Creating the Map

Writing, planning, drawing, more planning - this map has been a study in calculated refinement. It's great to be done, but knowing how we've set ourselves up for telling a meaningful story over the coming years feels just as good.

During it's creation, the Explorer's Map weathered two failed computer systems, survived its own journey on a misplaced USB drive and pushed my new computer to the limits of its processing power.

I can tell you this though: no single part of this project has been more meaningful to accomplish for me. This finished map is now a powerful symbol of our commitment to the Rynaga project and the stories which are yet to come.

Features of the Map

The first thing you will notice is detail, tons of detail. The map references 393 different locales and incorporates hundreds of individually placed icons which represent landmarks such as forests, deserts and ruined cities.

There's more. Beyond exploring the locations and iconography, traveler’s will learn more about Rynaga’s powerful sources of energy, amazing forms of wildlife and legendary modes of travel.

Throughout the map are hidden details, such as references to Iconica characters and cards, poetry, cryptic messages and even an all encompassing riddle. The bottom line: this map is a journey in of itself!

Start Exploring

In order for Rynaga to be real to our supporters, it must be real to us. This starts by creating a landscape worthy of great quests, like those of Lewis and Clark, Leif Ericson and Ernest Shackleton.

We hope this map will inspire hours of travel-by-imagination! Thanks for your support.

-Safe travels!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Month of May

It's our favorite month of the year. May means Phoenix Comicon!

Please make plans to visit our booth, which is #613. We plan to have brand new Iconica Series II boxed sets on hand, Iconica Series II Starters, the World of Rynaga Explorer's Map (limited quantities), Prelude books and other goodies.

We've been away from much blogging as we're working away on the new version of rynaga.com, due to launch this month. More details to come.

-Safe travels!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Iconica Series Two - Updated Character List

On February 11th we released the initial take on the Iconica Series Two lineup. It's changed a bit. Here's the updated list:

#023 - Sanctum Haladron - (Variant 1)
#024 - Marconian Bard
#025 - Karmethian Nervapath
#026 - Sanctum Curic
#027 - Acasian Arc Warden
#028 - Tanglefern Dead Eye
#029 - Sanctum Haladron - (Variant 2)
#030 - Pykonian Dark Trader
#031 - Farpoint Mercenary
#032 - Dragathan Aeronaut
#033 - Sanctum Ranger
#034 - Tanglefern Venomist
#035 - Karkalan Nightstalker
#036 - Sunhold Mercenary
#037 - Acasian Arc Adept
#038 - Varthan Radia Hunter
#039 - Sanctum Lancer
#040 - Algadoni Mercenary
#041 - Sanctum Savant
#042 - Thorvald Anchor
#043 - Galaeon Spicer
#044 - Inkwater Mimic

Numbering System
This Iconica series will continue where it left off with card numbers 23 through 44. The mysterious Iconica X-Cards will be numbered in sequence as well, but will not be part of series two. They will be part of an ongoing "X-Series." (Hey, that makes sense.)

Character Names
Remember, the first name in a character name is where they hail from within the world. It may be little wordy but hey, these characters just want you to know where they're from. Our giant traveling map will help visualize their homelands even further. Be sure to get one when they're released in May.

Phoenix Comicon 2011
Iconica Series Two will be launched at this years Phoenix Comicon. Our booth is # 613. Come say hi. We can't wait to see all of you!

-Safe travels!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mapping the Land of Veratar

Rynaga is a planet ten times the size of Earth. Yeah, pretty big right? So, you can imagine how mapping an entire continent of this world is a big challenge. Well, after a five year expedition sailing the skies above Veratar, we've almost completed a map of the entire continent!

Prints of the complete map of Veratar are planned for release this May. Each map is made up of hundreds of icons and symbols which represent the landmarks, city states, towns and popular destinations - some fun, some mysterious.

This map is a very important part of upcoming storyline and game content. Throughout it's creation, we've really tried to understand the landscape and it's peoples, their struggles, their cultures and their everyday lives.

We know it's taken a while to complete, but it will be worth it!

-Safe travels!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Iconica X-Series

To celebrate the launch of the new World of Rynaga Facebook Page, the first 25 people to "Like" us won a unique Iconica X-Series Character Card today.

What's the Iconica X-Series you ask?

Iconica X-Series Characters (or X-Cards for short) are unique characters which cannot be purchased. They are only made available as part of specific promotions and are not part of boxed sets.

Want the best chance to win an X-Card in the coming weeks? Follow @rynaga and @erictorres on Twitter to be kept up to date on future promotions.

-Game on!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Iconica Series Two - Sanctum

While subject to minor name/spelling changes as we get closer to going to press, here's the lineup for Iconica Series Two!

#023 - Sanctum Haladron - (Variant 1)
#024 - Marconian Bard
#025 - Karmethian Nervapath
#026 - Sanctum Curic
#027 - Galaeon Spicer
#028 - Tanglefern Dead Eye
#029 - Sanctum Haladron - (Variant 2)
#030 - Pykonian Dark Trader
#031 - Farpoint Mercenary
#032 - Acasian Acrobat
#033 - Sanctum Ranger
#034 - Tanglefern Venomist
#035 - Stillwater Dryfin
#036 - Sunhold Mercenary
#037 - Inkwater Mimic
#038 - Varthan Radia Hunter
#039 - Sanctum Lancer
#040 - Algadon Mercenary
#041 - Sanctum Savant
#042 - Thorvald Anchor
#043 - Lylean Arc Warden
#044 - Lylean Arc Adept

As you can see, this series will be characterized by several archetypes which hail from the Sanctum region of Veratar, which is the country on Rynaga where Iconica is set. I'll have more information and more updates in the coming weeks as we get closer to Phoenix Comicon.

Within this collection I'm planning to have two more Special characters as well as 2-3 Rare characters. There are also some "other" types of character cards we're planning to release towards Fall and Winter of 2011. We're really excited about this new series and the impact these characters will have on the game!

-Safe travels!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Iconica Series Two - UPDATE

Over the past several months we've changed some of the direction we're taking for Iconica Series Two, so this post is an update to previous information I've posted here back in May of 2010.

Iconica Series Two - Sanctum

The first Iconica set was named Prelude, after my first book. As announced in May of 2010, the next Iconica series will indeed be named Sanctum.

Those of you familiar with the stories set within Rynaga may be wondering: "Why is this series named Sanctum?" Well, here's some general backstory for you.

After realizing the dangerous course of action taken by the Sarion government against the native peoples of Rynaga, a large group of Sarion citizens separate themselves from their ruling parties and the Legion agenda. In doing so these rebels are banished and put under penalty of death should they be found roaming Sarion lands.

While resolute in their decision to abandon their governments ideals, the exiles face much hardship. Families are separated, Sarion townships are thrown into chaos and city states suffer economically. As a show of solidarity and rebirth, these former Sarion citizens - made up of farmers, merchants, freelancers, soldiers and even ruling officials - rename themselves Saraja, which loosely translates to "a people remade" in the ancient Dahrian language.

After some time existing as a nomadic people, the Saraja settle within a region of Veratar they come to refer to as Sanctum. Here they cultivate good relationships with the native peoples and gain the trust of their neighbors. Eventually, the lands of Sanctum commit themselves to an alliance with the Protectorate states, putting them on a collision course with the ideals of their former kinsmen.

Development Updates for Series Two

Previously, it was thought that the archetypical Saraja protector might be called a Knight. Yet, after further consideration this approach seemed too plain and too predictable. Where possible, we want to infuse unique sounding characters into our stories. So based on the world lore and back story content, we've decided to create a new archetype called the Haladron.

Haladron are armored fighters which patrol the lands of Sanctum. There are several different types of Haladron and they're comprised of both men and women. While it is possible for anyone to become part of a Haladron fellowship, admittance is granted only after candidates complete three quests. (More about this another time.)

Back in May 2010, I had announced that Sanctum would be a new Faction. This direction has also changed. Sanctum affiliated characters will be part of the Protectorate Faction. This is more in line with the world lore and helps maintain a good balance between factions as the game grows.

Release Information

Iconica Series Two is more than halfway done in terms of content creation and I plan to have all of the cards done by the end of Winter. 

I plan to release the complete Iconica Series Two at this years Phoenix Comicon in May. Here are the different ways you'll be able to aquire the new characters:

New Iconica Starter Set - A new Iconica Starter Set with six new cards from the Sanctum series will be released. This will give newcomers to the game an opportunity to experience the game on a smaller scale, just like the Prelude Starter did. (The six character cards in the previous Prelude Starter Set will be available for individual purchase once series two is released.)

New Iconica Series Two Boxed Set - A new boxed set for Iconica Series Two will be released. There will be a price break over buying each card individually.

Individual Iconica Cards - Each card in series one and series two will be available for individual purchase. In addition, there will be other cards released which are not part of boxed sets. In fact, they are not numbered as part of a series and are released randomly.

Let me know if you have any questions. Check back again this week for the lineup of series two characters! If you have not yet, consider following Rynaga on Twitter. I send out alerts via Twitter letting followers know when new information is released.

As always, thanks so much for your support!

-Safe travels!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Earth to Eric, Are You Out There?"

I am and I'm back to this business of blogging.

After a few months of organizing myself and starting some very big projects I'm turning my attention back to sending transmissions about the project. Admittedly, I should keep this going all the time, so I'll be giving this renewed attention from here out. Facebook and Twitter will be very important channels for me in the coming months.

Announcements

World of Rynaga Website - This is in the final stages of development and I'm really excited about what's to come! The web developer I'm working with is both thoughtful and skilled and is assisting me with building a framework for the website that not only works great now, but has room to grow into.

The site will launch with a new shop, a personal journal of my travels and a great resource for those of you who are creating RPG's set within Rynaga! Can't wait to share this.

Iconica - Series Two - I'll be announcing the new card lineup this week! Series Two is coming along great and we've spent the last few months improving upon actions, exploring new possibilities for characters and getting feedback from players. It's been valuable time spent. Watch for an update this week on Iconica!

My New Book - I'm going to be announcing more about this as well (title art, premise, more) and taking pre-orders! Stay tuned.

What You Can Do

Many have asked what they can do to help me and I'm very grateful for the support. Here's how to help for now: Tell one person about this project! This helps tremendously. Your friends value your opinion.

If you have not yet, please consider following my Rynaga Twitter profile, which is: @rynaga.

Thanks.

-Safe travels!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's Going On?

I've been quiet on my blog lately. I know. Well, there's tons going on.

I'm working with a developer on the new rynaga.com website. (Coming in January 2011) We're finishing concepts for the next series of Iconica game cards. I'm also putting the finishing touches on some pre-order packages we're getting ready for 2011.

We want Phoenix Comicon to be our big event for releasing new content each year. In fact, we've secured a larger booth for 2011 to ensure we have enough space for what's to come!

Also, I'm still working on Iconica Scenario cards, which will be free to download. The balancing on these cards is pretty tough to get down, but it's coming together. I hope to have more news on this very soon.

So, I'm still around. I'm just spending a ton of time on big picture projects and with the holidays coming, travel will be involved too. Ok, back to work.

-Safe travels!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Notes on the Harren People

Harren (har-en) are a race of seafaring people native to Rynaga. Ages ago, Harren were among the first to traverse the oceans and master the art of seaship construction. Their skills as negotiators, diplomats and barterers has helped them carve out an esteemed reputation as honest merchants and reliable transporters of valuable goods.

Harren society is lead by a form of government based on monarchy. However, every 100 years rule shifts from one family to another chosen by the people. On Rynaga, each race has a capital city or home city as it is called. These cities represent the complete culture of the given society. The island of Syleen is the home city of the Harren and is well-known as a place of beauty and relaxation.

As a people, Harren are free-spirited and spontaneous. They have a love of music and possess a rich heritage of crafting stringed instruments. Traditionally, each Harren seaship sets sail with its own group of musicians, commissioned to sing, play their instruments and tell epic stories to passengers. It's no wonder most people intent on traveling by seaship secure passage on Harren ships.

In terms of appearance, Harren stand four to five feet tall and have beige, green or blue velveteen skin. They're well-suited to life at sea, able to stay submerged in underwater for up to three hours at a time. Harren are also very fast swimmers and are known to fish underwater for sport.

I must say that I have not spent much time with the Harren people so far. They rarely tolerate being inland for more than a few days and I have not made it out to any islands yet. Either way, they are well spoken of as a people and while they may be small in physical appearance, their love of life and appreciation for all that is beautiful on Rynaga inspires others to great deeds.

-Safe travels!

Monday, October 11, 2010

RinCon 2010


I want to thank everyone who came out to support our demos, tournaments and products at this years RinCon gaming event in Tucson. We had a wonderful time demoing games, talking about the world of Rynaga and most importantly, getting to know all of you a bit better.

Congrats to Melissa who was the winner of our first ever Iconica tournament. She was undefeated during demo play and went on to win three straight matches to be our tourney champion on Saturday!

Sunday was equally exciting when a challenger named Mark, new to Iconica, entered Sunday's tournament and won a close victory against runner up Scott. Their battle was one to remember.

A couple of comments we received really reinforced our belief that Iconica is something special in the gaming world:
"I've been gaming for 15 years and I can say Iconica is game that is not only different, but fun." -Chris
"You guys have created a game with so much potential. Keep doing what you're doing." -Ed
"The art style drew me in, the gameplay kept me playing." -Chrissy
Thanks again everyone! We're excited about what's coming and look for information on Iconica Scenario cards very soon.

-Safe travels!

What We're Working On

I want to give some updates for different projects we're (Specimen) working on around here. A big THANK YOU to everyone who is supporting this project with resources, time and as patrons. I don't take it for granted.

Iconica

Rather than releasing individual cards for Iconica Series Two, I plan to release this as a complete set, all at once during Q1 of 2011. We decided to go this route partly based on feedback from gamers and collectors as well as some research we gathered on buying patterns and merchandising. Shipping costs add up for individual sale items, especially for our overseas friends.

The main driver for this however is that will give us the chance to craft additional content and even reduce paper usage and waste. It's important to me to make sure we're doing what we can to be sustainable.

Does this mean there will be no new Iconica coming up? No! I'll be releasing a set of Iconica Scenario cards as free PDF downloads. Scenario's will be a great way to experience Iconica in an RPG-like setting. More info soon.

The Lost Lamp - Book One


As some of you may know and as mentioned in this Weekly Offworlder post, the main character (Solan) in our first book Prelude, has been missing for some time now. I'm working away on a series of books that will not only solve the mystery of Solan's disappearance, but ultimately set the stage for something grand.

I'll have more information on this project in the coming weeks.

It's important to me for people to know what we're working on, but more importantly how we do it. This project is completely self-funded, so development times will be stretched occasionally. However, having said that, it's full steam ahead.

-Safe travels!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

RinCon AZ

This weekend we'll be in Tucson for RinCon!

The plan is to be running Iconica demos every hour on the hour and to also hold two small tournaments - one on Saturday and one Sunday morning. We'll also be testing some new elements of Iconica as well!

You can learn more about RinCon here. Hope to see you there.

-Safe travels!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Iconica Series One Box Set Goes to the Vault

Heads up!

I have a total of 6 Iconica Series One Box Sets left at my Etsy Shop. That's it. Once these six are sold (or November 3, 2010 rolls around), this item will not be available for sale.

If any sets are left on November 3, they'll be transferred to a stone vault hidden in the Superstition Mountains, along with other treasured relics of my past: the Lost Dutchman's gold, a radio-flyer wagon, beat-up crime-fighting suit and a giant ball of foil I made one summer.

Oh, and a ray gun I found in Sedona. Trust me, that thing should never fall into the wrong hands.

UPDATE

Iconica Series One Box Sets are sold out online. I will, on occasion, release small quantities of these sets in person and online, so check back.

-Safe Travels!

What's Going On?

Yup, that's the question I've been getting from you guys and I'm here to say: lots!

The thing is, I have several projects in the works currently for Rynaga. Here they are in no particular order:

A New Book - While I have no release date yet, progress on a series of books is going nicely. I'll have a preview soon.

Iconica Series Two - Anyone who knows me, knows I use the Arizona summers for development time, mostly cause it's hot outside and that's about the only reason I need to stay indoors and work on stuff! Anyhoo, the next series of Iconica cards is simmering away. Look for a late fall release.

Other Surprises - I'm not ready to announce three other projects I have in the works quite yet, but let's just say I'm in talks with a software developer, web content strategist and a musician. Hmmmmmm.

-Safe Travels!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

The Search for Solan

Early in 2008, I compiled a series of messages from a good friend I once knew here on Rynaga named Solan. I released these messages in a book entitled Prelude. It's been some time now since Solan's disappearance and I must say that hope of seeing him again is beginning to fade.

Solan entered the Shrinking Depths over a year and a half ago. Since then, not a word has been heard from him or his team. I've heard rumors that an expedition to find Solan is in the works. Solan was an accomplished guide and outdoorsman, so it is possible that he is alive. However, Rynaga is a big place and finding out what happened to him will not be for the faint of heart.

The Shrinking Depths have always been a rich source of myth and legend. This series of caves seems to have a strange effect on visitors, described most often as a loss of time or feeling of disconnection from reality. Many explorers have visited this landmark. A few have returned with their strange tales. Most have never been seen again.

It would be a mistake to underestimate Solan and his survival skills. Yet, he entered a place no one on Rynaga understands or knows how to navigate. This fact presents many challenges to even the most intrepid soul. After all, how does one prepare for the unknown?

I know how Solan would have answered this question. "When preparing to face the unknown, first take control of your fears."

-Safe travels!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Owls of Veratar

Of all the flying creatures of Rynaga, owls have proved to be the most endearing and useful to its peoples. In fact almost every family keeps owls for messaging, scouting, fishing, hunting, playing or even protection. They've become extensions of the family structure to a great degree. Here are some of the most common breeds found throughout the land of Veratar:

Glade Owl – Glade owls are known for their distinctive screeching, which takes place for an hour every day around dusk. They're white with grey spots and have a tuft on their heads that makes it look as if they have a single horn. These owls live on fish and tiny carapid.

Silentwood Owl – This abundant species comes in many colors and sizes. However, all have small manes and ear tufts resembling small horns. Silentwood owls mate for life and hunt in pairs. Because they hunt in teams of two, they are emboldened to attack larger prey at times, bringing down smaller deer with ease.

Ocean Owl – Ocean owls stand about three feet tall and have a wing span that reaches 10 - 12 feet, making them one of the largest owl species known. They're usually white with blue pinions and green eyes. While ocean owls are rarely tamed, they're quite friendly. They've been known to land on traveling ships to rest their weary wings.

Trinket Owl – The most commonly kept owl, trinket owls are trained messengers. While these playful little owls measure out at 1 foot tall when fully grown and have a wingspan of under 4 feet, they are one of the most durable creatures in Veratar. With the help of air currents high up in the atmosphere they have been known to travel great distances in a small amount of time. trinket owls are also adept at swimming and traversing storms.


Lylean Owl – Thus, hunters and wood keepers of the land use lylean owls for tracking down prey and scouting. This is mostly due to their solid build and almost non-existent need for sleep. Lylean owls have a keen sense of their surroundings and are able to sense danger from afar, another trait that comes in handy for their handlers.

I grew up seeing images of owls in National Geographic magazine and on TV during Nature documentaries on PBS. The great impression these creatures left on me as an Earth child has not waned in recent years.

-Safe travels!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Notes on the Sidrani People

Among the five most common races populating Rynaga, the most widely dispersed are the Sidrani (sid-raw-nee). Hailing from the peaceful continent of Hyvalis, the Sidrani are a force for unity and goodwill. Sidrani city states are ruled by monarchy, with rule being passed down from parents to children. The capital government is supported by a cast of advisers, ambassadors, magistrates and guardians overseeing each Sidrani city state.

Sidrani values are rooted in the family structure. Loyalty, honor and respect of ones heritage are ideals held in the highest regard. In order to promote self-sustaining attributes in their young, most Sidrani children are trained in the art of concealment and basic self-defense. As they grow older, they are taught to hunt with the bow. They are also instructed in basic to advanced wilderness survival skills, which includes learning how to track prey, avoiding danger and identifying many forms of wild life, such as Carapid. On average, the Sidrani lifespan is about one hundred twenty years.

Sidrani are strong physically and fair skinned with dark hair and dark eyes. They are taller than Sarion, ranging in height from seven to eight feet tall. Sidrani have an affinity for the sea and its colors, which is reflected in their culture in many different ways. In fact, Sidrani cities such as Phaedra are known for being decorated in blues, golds and greens, colors often associated with the sea. Many Sidrani fables and stories tell of great civilizations and mythical creatures living beneath the ocean waves.

In recent decades, the Sidrani took the lead in unifying many of Veratar's people to work together. The Pact of One was the first step in reaching a common goal between races and creating a measure of peace across Veratar. While peace throughout Veratar is still a fragile thing, the Pact of One has made it more difficult for Sarion city states to impose their will on others. These expansionists do not recognize the Pact, its decrees or regulations. In view of this, the Sidrani keep a close eye on Sarion activities.

Most of the time I spend on Rynaga is with the Sidrani people. The stories I could tell of them are countless. Yet, the most important thing to know about these people is how strong they are inside. They are the very essence of balance, keeping emotion and logic in their proper places. My sense is this will serve them well in the coming years, just as it has throughout their history.

-Safe travels!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Origins of the word "Rynaga"

The name Rynaga (pronounced rin-ah-gah) means two different things. In the tongue of the ancient Dahrian language, "ryn" means center and "na-ga" refers to fire. (The Dahrian are believed to be the eldest of races on Rynaga. I'll tell you more about them some other time.)

Age old Dahrian texts teach that Rynaga was formed around a "heart of fire." While our Earth is powered by the Sun, Rynaga's engine is its planetary core which gives off many different forms of energy, influencing everything from intense weather cycles to the growth of Rynaga's diverse lifeforms.

The Dahrian applied the meaning of the word Rynaga to themselves as a people, believing that each person must be centered and balanced, living with a heart that burns with compassion and a deep love of life. There is a Dahrian proverb that asks one to consider his own source of energy:

"A fire can burn the soul or warm the soul. A fire can take life or foster life. Which source of energy do you possess?"

So, while Earthlings might refer to a "Mother Earth", Rynagans refer to the "Heart of Fire." Rynaga is a self-sustaining world with a life-giving core.

-Safe travels!

Iconica Series Two Update

Work on Iconica series two continues and is coming along well. Initially, there were questions around whether or not to offer a new starter set and how this would impact the current card releases. We've answered these questions and I think we're on track now.

We're also working on increasing the RPG factor with this next series by introducing Scenario Cards. These cards will provide specific rules for an engagement and will activate new elements of the game.

Are you interested in an Iconica tournament? Well, we're continuing plans to start an annual tournament. However, we're trying to gauge interest and get feedback from players. Email me with any input or feel free to comment here.

I'll have more updates on this as we near our late summer / early fall release date. Thanks for your support!

-Safe travels!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Carapid

Some of the most fascinating creatures I've encountered on Rynaga are Carapid. On Earth, these creatures would resemble gigantic insects. (Many of these creatures stand more than 12 feet high and some possess wing spans of over 40 feet.) On Rynaga, Carapid represent a vital force for balance in the natural world.

Carapid can be identified by several traits:
  1. They possess tough exoskeletons
  2. They build hives, often called nests
  3. They swarm together en masse every year
  4. They communicate using antennae
  5. They have a life span of 5-7 months
While their life spans are brief, they represent one of Rynaga's most abundant life forms. Carapid can be very dangerous while they're swarming, however each year these creatures are hunted and used for many things including food, medicine, armor, jewelry, weapons, glues, oils, dyes, thread making, utensils, shielding and more.

Carapid are found at sea, in the air, on the surface of the land as well as in the subterranean depths. Most of these creatures feed on lesser forms of Carapid, plant foliage, fruit and nectar. Feeding on humanoids is rare, but does occur, especially if their territories are trespassed upon at certain times during their swarming.

Carapid hunting has become a lucrative sport among many mercenaries looking to harvest valuable husks and shells from the creatures. Yet, each year, some of these hunters are lost to the Carapid hordes who defend their larvae at all costs. Apparently, a threatened nest queen or king is a terrible sight to behold.

Here's to hoping I never have to know firsthand.

For eons of time, Carapid have been plowing the soil, pollinating flowers and building great works of engineering across many lands of this world. Earthlings would look upon these creatures with fear, like something from a sci-fi nightmare. To the peoples of Rynaga, they only instill admiration and respect.

-Safe travels!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

The Likable Lizard

Last week, I told you a bit about the small city of Quena and its famous igwaza (ig-waz-ah) trainers. I thought I'd tell you a bit more about these lizard-like creatures in this post.

During my travels, I've learned that there are twenty-two known species of igwaza found throughout Rynaga. They possess strong, squared jawlines, tough scaled hides and talons resembling those of a raptor. Most igawza are bi-peds, traveling on two legs. Their life-spans vary, but most live between 10 to 50 years of age.

Igwaza vary in color from white, gray, orange and brown to green, blue and black. White versions are uncommon and expensive to attain. Some igwaza employ camouflage in order to conceal themselves and their young. Diets among igwaza are very diverse. Some favor meat and will hunt down large insects in packs, while others are strict herbivores and omnivores.

While their appearance may seem threatening, igwaza are friendly creatures. Of course, they are very protective of their masters when trained and will become aggressive if they or their young are threatened in the wild. Igwaza range in height from four to 25 feet tall and are capable of running at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. The Lylean breed are able to fly, reaching speeds of more than 70 miles per hour.

I've documented some of the popular species of igwaza:

1. Lylean Igwaza - Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful of Veratar's creatures, Lylean Igwaza are sleek, agile, extremely fast and capable of flying at high altitudes. This species was almost wiped out by a plague decades ago. However, thanks to the efforts of Quenan, Hirojan and Phaedran trainers, their numbers are growing steadily. While it's possible to acquire a Lylean Igwaza, the expense is enormous and it is a long process. The city state of Lylea (due north and east of Quena) monitors the growth of this breed and it decides if and when a Lylean variant may be sold or purchased.

2. Grand Igwaza - Grand Igwaza are the largest of the Igwaza breeds. They are valued for their ability to carry, pull and push heavy burdens and are often used for support during building projects. They're also trained and used by Phaedran Ryngaurd as mounts and warrior beasts. However, one cannot force an Igwaza to absorb battle conditioning. If a creature feels tormented by its training it will become susceptible to injury, sickness and even death. Therefore, specific beasts are observed for signs of candidacy into this class.

3. Silentwood Igwaza - Also known as Evaders, this species is used for reconnaissance and hunting. Their ability to change color gives them the advantage of stealth. This breed can also go extended periods of time without food or water, which is good for long journeys. Their durability combined with speed and strength, make the Silentwood Igwaza one of the most popular modes of transportation.

4. Quenan Igwaza - The Quenan variant is the most common on Veratar. Many families keep them as mounts, hunting partners and scouts. Children are customarily given an igwaza egg at the age of 13. Children learn valuable lessons from caring for their igwaza pets. Once hatched, the little lizards grow to maturity within five years, at which time they are trained for riding.

5. Igwaza Runner - Runners are used for delivering messages to drop posts in cities straight from wilderness encampments. It is not uncommon for explorers and trackers to have a team of Runners at their disposal. Runners will routinely leave their masters on an errand and travel long distances back to their owners. Their sense of smell is extremely sophisticated. The Runner possesses an "olfactory memory," which allows it to associate specific scents with different places, objects and people. They can track these scents over hundreds of miles.

Earlier in Earth's history, the horse was used for it's towing capacity, as a beast of burden and as a means of transportation. The igwaza fills this role on Rynaga. Their power, agility and durability make them the perfect utility tool on the farm as well as the frontier. Their intelligence and loyalty make them one of the best friends a traveler can find.

-Safe travels!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

Quena - Land of the Igwaza Riders

During this time of year, the land of Veratar is racked by cold gales that come in from the Sea of Sirena. There's always shelter to be found in towns and cities, but you don't want to be caught in the open during the these icy storms.

Recently, I've been spending more time in Quena, a Sidrani township that sits between the city state of Phaedra to the west and Silentwood forest to the east. (See the southwest region of this map.) The town is large enough to matter, yet small enough to acknowledge my presence. Markets filled with baked goods, cooked meats and rare spices overload ones sense of smell. Blue willow trees whirl in the wind and fill the air with the sound of their rustling leaves.

Many of the men here make their living as animal trainers. They work with several different types of beasts such as flying lizards and great stags, which they tame for various adventurers seeking to travel east and north. If you're fortunate enough to catch a beast of your own in the field, the Quenans are most likely your only hope of taming it.

Citizens of Quena are gearing up for the annual Igwaza Run. Hundreds of these creatures are rounded up by trainers in an area known as the Igwaza Preserve and herded to Quena. While Igwaza are hearty creatures, they are known to die in captivity if they're not suited for domestication, so only a handful of the best candidates are kept. The rest are "run" back down into the valley preserve by young boys riding on Igwaza mounts of their own.

Quenan culture centers around harmonious existence with the beasts of the wild. For every feral creature in this region, there is another that is loyal to its caring Sidrani master.

-Safe travels!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

I've been planning for a series of posts due to start tomorrow (each Friday) called "The Weekly Offworlder." In this series, I'll profile the people, places and creatures of Rynaga as I learn more about them.

For a long time, I've seen myself as a visitor to Rynaga. Someone who travels there and returns to Earth with new stories and adventures to relate. My intention with this series is to use the content as back-story material, not only for Iconica but for the books and prints I produce as well. Who knows? Maybe it will even bring people closer to Rynaga as a place as well. Sound good?

Ok. I gotta go. It's time to pack.

-Safe travels!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Here are some brief updates on things we're working on:

World of Rynaga - Book 2

The next book set within this fictional world is currently in development. I don't have a release date quite yet, but it's slated for Q4 2010. More information to come!

Iconica - Series 2

Our small development team is currently working on plans for Iconica Series 2, which includes analyzing the current state of the game, reviewing what we've learned and considering player feedback. Things are coming along nicely.

I've been concepting new characters and giving attention to the different peoples and cultures of Rynaga. The RPG element is growing for this project and I want to make sure that continues.

We're planning on a late summer release for Iconica Series 2. I'll post a preview of the next installment of the game here on my blog soon.

rynaga.com

I've been redesigning this website for several months now and plans are in place for a relaunch. Incorporating space for news updates from Rynaga, RPG content, a store, explorable maps and other elements make this a pretty hefty project. This is something I am planning to be done with by Fall 2010.

-Safe travels!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Iconica - Series One Box Set

Well after about a year and a couple months, series one of Iconica is all wrapped up. The new Iconica Box Set represents a milestone for the game and I'm very thankful for all the support you guys have provided. It's been great touring the town playing games and getting your feedback.

So what's next? Well we're playing Iconica, testing new card types, planning for series two and creating new characters.



We'll also be planning more Iconica Game Nights, coming to the east valley soon.

I'll also be releasing more new prints such as this new Wildcard print, based on art from the Iconica Wildcard character.



-Safe travels!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks Everyone!

I want to sincerely thank everyone who came out and visited our booth at Phoenix Comicon. My wife and I had a great time meeting everyone. (Thanks Matt and Teresa!)

I absolutely could not have pulled off everything without the help of Adrian, Kirk, Jenny and Larissa. Thanks so much you guys, can't wait till next year!

We received a bunch of questions at the con this year and I thought I would address a few general ones here.

When will the Iconica Boxed Set be released?


The plan is to release the boxed set at Red Hot Robot on June 19th. So far, everything is going according to plan! The boxed set will feature the complete Prelude Series. Each card in the series will still be available individually.

When will I be able to purchase the Cipher and Paragon on your Etsy Shop?

I'll offer these on my Etsy Shop sometime during the week of June 1st. (I thought I would have those posted today, but I need a little down time from the Con with my family.)

Will you be selling prints on your Etsy Shop?

Yes. I'll be adding prints to my Etsy site shortly, as in the next several days.

As for the next few days, I have unpacking from the Con to do, Etsy orders to ship and organizing to do for our upcoming show on Saturday the 19th.

-Safe travels!