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


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.

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!