Discussion

Always back up your work frequently.  This is a lesson I never seem to learn no matter how many times the universe tries to teach it to me.

I do my typing on an old, old laptop.  Its a heavy brick of a thing that I’m fairly certain is at least 20 years old.  I like that it has real weight, in a pinch I could kill a few zombies with it, and it would likely still run afterwards.  Unfortunately the hard drive is not as durable.  I’ve had a few crashes over the years, but all of those other times I’ve managed to get the hard drive up and running with a few tricks (and at least one full reformat and reinstall).  Well, this time I think it may have truly breathed its last breath.  When all my old tricks failed I even opened it up and checked to make sure everything inside was still working correctly, and it appears to be, but there also looked to be 2 or 3 good sized scratches on the disk itself.

I had gotten up to chapter 25 in my editing before this happened.  Checking my files on flash drive however I had last backed up after editing chapter 4.  What does this mean?  Well, that’s close to a month’s delay as I have to edit the 20 chapters between again, and unfortunately I may lose out on the benefit of certain flashes of insight I had in the last round of editing those.  Oh well, live and learn (or in my case don’t learn, never learn).

I’ve gotta get to work now, expect a real update sometime in the first couple of weeks of January.  For now though, enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, and have a happy new year!

I meant to send this update out last week, but I am forgetful.  First off the edit I decided to do on Magus is going to take longer than my original estimate, because it always takes longer than the original estimate(I suspect all my fellow writers will understand that).  As I’m looking over I’m finding not just the matter of a few descriptions which could have been more clear in their wording, but also a few bits of dialogue that with some minor tweaking can be much better displays of the characters’ personalities.  Its still minor changes, but also one’s which will only make the book stronger.  Unfortunately its also the kind of changes which require I go over the entire book word by word.

Now on to the slightly more detailed explanation of my plans for Magus.  First I’ll start with what I had intended for Magus when I started writing it: for it to be released in a serialized fashion, basically a sequential release of short stories which each told their own story and part of a larger story.  This was started years ago and at the time I looked around and decided that while there are obviously still magazines that include short stories, that serialization had faded to a point of near non-existence so my plan wouldn’t work.  As a result I hadn’t looked into it in the years since, but after my first campaign ended I was contacted by a website asking if I wanted to serialize through them.  I decided to wait on that since I knew I wanted to give an Inkshares campaign one more shot, but it did cause me to go on a bout of new research into serialization options and the resulting discovery that a decent number of them had popped up in the time since I abandoned the idea.

So, stage 1 of my Magus plan is to go the serialization route.  Since most of the terms for such sites understandably state that the book cannot currently be available elsewhere in a digital format or free online that means I will be taking down the chapters I have posted here as well as those on Goodreads and Wattpad.  Starting next Tuesday I’ll take down one posted excerpt every other day.  This will begin with the first excerpt (chapters 1-3) and continue sequentially from there so if you want to get a free read of any of the chapters that’s the timetable you’re looking at.  Once that and the current edit is done then I’ll start submitting to some sites I have in mind.  I would most like to get Magus on either Serialteller or Channillo (you can actually read the work of another author who started funding on Inkshares and then moved to serialization, Rebekka S Leber, here on Chanillo), so hopefully that will work out.

I do still want to one day get a print run of Magus out there, so stage 2 of the plan occurs concurrently with stage 1 as I scrape together funds to get the book into the condition I want it to be physically both from an editorial perspective and interior artwork-wise.  My current idea for a serialization outline would have it running about a year, maybe a year and a month, so I hope to have gotten everything to where it needs to be by the end of that time, finances allowing.  If I’m still running short on financing I may consider running a Kickstarter to make up the difference closer to that time, but I would prefer to avoid crowdfunding if possible.

Also part of stage 2 is a continued effort to get my name out there and attention to Magus via a more active posting on my own and others’ blogs.  A general idea of attracting readers through actually writing basically.  I know full well that it will be a difficult task since I’m only one small voice in a very crowded field.  Try and I may fail, but don’t try and I will always fail.  Just gotta forge ahead and hope I can make the smart choices at the right times.

Since I will need to save up as much money as possible, that also means that I’ll soon have to stop almost all non-essential spending.  This unfortunately also means the backing of funding books on Inkshares, a freeze that I’m delaying until 1/1/2017.  I still want to do what I can to help others meet their funding goals though, so I’m going to try to do my best to keep my eyes open and spread the word about those books I really want to see published via recommending/sharing/reviewing and so on.  If you have a book you want to see get funded, whether its your own or someone else’s, still feel free to point it out to me.

Finally, stage 3 is actually getting that print run done and out into the hands of people who want to read it.  I have no doubt this will be even more daunting than stages 1 & 2, but I’m just too stubborn to not try.  Its also pointless to talk in more detail on this until the time draws nearer and I have a more clear idea of the strategies I’ll employ.  For now my main focus is on stages 1 & 2, with only light planning/brainstorming for stage 3.

Of course once these three stages are completed its far from over, since I’ll need to repeat some version of these stages for each book I try to put out whether its one of the many in the Exile series or one of my other projects.  I do hope that one day I can build a following large enough to reliably fund and release via Inkshares, but I have a lot of platform building to do before that day is here.

Feel free to contact me for any reason, though especially if you have any advice/tips/tricks for me as I prepare to forge ahead.  As always, thanks for your time and support, and keep reading and enjoying!

Yesterday was... well yesterday was yesterday and that’s all I’ll say on that.

Unfortunately Magus failed to fund and its campaign ended yesterday, so this update doesn’t get to be a celebratory one.  I also overslept and have to hit the road soon, so it also doesn’t get to be the detailed update (with pictures) that I had originally planned.

In short, I’m not giving up on Magus and will continue working on a way to get into all of your hands.  I have a rough plan for that, but no time to go into it now, so I’ll just focus on the first step.  While posting up new chapters over the past year I’ve seen places to make relatively minor tweaks, so step one is to comb through the entirety of the book to make a number of small changes which I thought I had already done.  As they are small changes I don’t expect this will take more than a week or 2.

Like I said this one is short due to time constraints, I’ll likely hold off on a more detailed update until next week when I’m further along with revisions and detailed planning.

Thanks to everyone who supported this book.  Despite not funding I made the progress in 3 months that it previously took me 5 months to make, and that was with some new readers coming on board as well, so that shows me that I have managed to grow interest in this book which is quite encouraging to me.  Hopefully you’ll follow me into the future of this book as well.

Keep reading, and enjoying!

This is the last update before the campaign ends in 4 days.  That’s right - 4 days!  Thanks to everyone who has supported me and this book, whether through order, recommending to others, or both.  For anyone who hasn’t ordered, then do so before the weekend is over!  We’re now at the stage where you’ll either be refunded quickly(if we fail to fund) or you’ll be guaranteed to get the book in your hands or e-reader(if only just over half of those who’ve followed but not ordered just go ahead and order).  Enough sales pitch though, I hate pitching, but I love sharing lore so we’ll move on to that.

I had a hard time choosing what to discuss for this last update at first, but then I realized there is one more dragon type seen in Exile, Magus which I hadn’t talked about yet.  This one is the poison dragon, and the one glimpsed in Exile, Magus plays a larger role in Exile, Hunted and later books in the series.  His name is Saillui, and he is the lifelong servant and friend of the Magus Baron Caldus.  His one appearance in Exile, Magus is in Chapter 60, and I’ll post an excerpt from that here to give everyone an idea of what poison dragons look (and sound) like.  He’s still a bit young here, being only around 50-60 years old, still basically a child by dragons’ standards.

...almost as large as a horse. This figure is more clearly visible, with the bright, almost lime-green scales covering it standing out even in the dark of night. It’s hind legs are meatier than its front, and all end in four digits primarily resembling a bird’s talons but having apparent flexibility at least equaling a human’s hand. It keeps its leathery wings folded against its sides as it walks, merrily swishing its long tail which ends in a bulbous protrusion tipped with a hook. Its neck is only a third the length of its tail but just as flexible. It keeps its expressive, large eyed face pointed toward its companion, the carapace like scales atop its head shifting subtly in unison with the bulges located just under the rear corners of its jaws as it converses with its companion.

Pentaz can’t make sense of the peculiar speech of this dragon, sounding like a string of subtle screeches, exaggerated hisses, and guttural purring,...

Poison dragons are the most sociable of all the dragon types, preferring to spend their time living among humanoids.  Most do so in secret, making use of the ability to assume humanoid forms which they have from the moment they hatch.  A few reveal their form to the humanoids they live among, this being more common with those living in the Zaltruscan empire due to that nation’s near worship of dragon’s (which extends to a lesser degree to serpents which the Zaltruscans feel must be distantly related to dragons).  There are some poison dragons who even choose to ally themselves to Zaltruscan noble families, acting as mounts, soldiers, or more general servants.  Those nobles who make the mistake of treating these dragons as servants(or even worse - slaves) soon find themselves without a dragon ally.

Due to their tendency to live amongst humanoids, poison dragons don’t really have a culture of their own and instead adopt whatever culture the humanoids have.  There are a few traits which they seem to have a natural talent for though, chief among those being stealth and subterfuge, deceit and diplomacy - traits which only further explain why they feel so at home amidst the imperial politics of the Zaltruscan highborn.  Indeed those nobles who are both fortunate enough to have one as an ally and smart enough to recognize the dragon’s talents will seek out their advice on all things political.

As stated earlier, poison dragons are able to change their shape from the moment they hatch, and this is the only way they are able to communicate effectively with most humanoids.  They seem to be able to learn while in their eggs, typically being able to fully understand their kind’s dialect of the Dragon language as well as any humanoid language spoken frequently around their egg.  Unfortunately their vocal chords are not as flexible in their natural form as those of other dragons are.  As such they can only produce sounds necessary for the Dragon language during their first century or so of life, and must assume humanoid form in order to be able to speak the language(s) of humanoids.  By the time they reach adulthood they are able to mimic enough to speak humanoid languages in their natural form, albeit with a bit of a bestial sound.  It is only in their elder years that they are able to perfectly mimic humanoid speech.

Their lack of an elemental nature and weaker magical nature leads most to assume that their Progenitor fathered them with some beast of the wild, likely a venomous serpent, lizard, or even scorpion on account of their tails.  Others believe due to their tendency to gravitate towards humanoid races that their ancient mother must have been a humanoid herself, perhaps some long extinct or forgotten venomous humanoid race.  Many Zaltruscans have proclaimed that Drakij in fact served as mother to the poison dragons with the father being none other than the first emperor of Zaltruscas himself!  They point to the poison dragons’ friendliness towards the empire as evidence, while completely ignoring the mention of poison dragons in legends which predate the rise of the Empire by tens (possibly hundreds) of millennia.  The poison dragons would likely point out that their inability to feed of the elements and reliance on large amounts of physical food as a more likely reason for their friendliness towards Zaltruscans.  After all, one is far more likely to live a long life being paid in cattle by nobles than if one were to constantly steal cattle from the same nobles.

While their parentage is not certain, it is a widely accepted fact that poison dragons sired one of the most commonly known form of drakes - the wyverns.  This was done during the waning days of the first reign of the Melexi and Thirosians, being part of a breeding program to produce easily controlled yet powerful flying mounts to be used in their constant war with one another by crossing poison dragons with now extinct giant reptiles and serpents.  These beasts survived both the first and second falls of these great empires and formed a thriving wild community of their own.  The Zaltruscans commonly capture wyverns and breed them in captivity to ensure that even the most minor noble can have at least 1 or 2 flying mounts of draconic descent.

While they do not have the innate magic common to so many of their dragon cousins, poison dragons do have a bit of latent primal magic and fascination with it which often drives them to play at becoming magi or servants to a god(often Drakon, but sometimes other gods).  The primal nature of their inherent magic means they can never fully master the arts of a magus, but they are fully capable of understanding the theories behind them and have been known to be quite skilled at teaching those races which are more capable of focused magics, sometimes even opening up their own academies or universities.

I could ramble on about the poison dragons, just love my underdogs of the dragon world(they’re the smallest of all dragonkind by the way), but I’ve already kept you all too long.  There is a stat block included for any D&D players/DMs as usual.  To everyone else:  thank you for your support, and keep reading & enjoying!

Wyrmling Jungle Dragon

Medium Dragon, Neutral or Lawful Neutral

Armor Class 17 (natural)

Hit Points  27 (5d8+5)

Speed  30’ / Fly 60’

Str 13 (+1),  Dex 14 (+2),  Con 12 (+1),  Int 15 (+2),  Wis 12 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)

Saves - Dex +4,  Con +3,  Wis +3,  Cha +4

Language  Draconic, and can understand but not speak 1 other regional or humanoid language such as Common, Elven, Dwarven, etc.

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Change Shape The dragon magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a Challenge Rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form.  It reverts to its true form if it dies.  Any equipment worn or carried by it is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dragon’s choice).  In a new form the dragon retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma scores, as well as this action.  Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except for any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Spellcasting (Cha-based, DC 12, Spell attack bonus +4)  Choose 1 class from Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorceror, or Wizard.  You then choose 2 spells of 1st level from that class list which the dragon can cast 1/day each without need for material component.  Commonly picked spells are below:

  Bard (Charm Person, Sleep)

  Cleric (Bless or Bane, Cure Wounds)

  Druid (Animal Friendship, Goodberry)

  Sorcerer (Expeditious Retreat,  Thunderwave)

  Wizard (Alarm or Identify, Shield).

Bite  melee weapon attack,   +3 to hit, 1d10+1 piercing (6)

Claw  melee weapon attack, +3 to hit, 1d6+1 slashing (4)

Tail  melee weapon attack, 10’ reach,  +3 to hit,  1d4+1 piercing and 2d4 poison (3 and 5)  anyone hit by the tail must make a DC 11 Constitution save or suffer the Poisoned condition for 1 minute.  Succeeding the save negates the Poisoned condition and reduces teh Poison damage to 1/2 normal.  A creature suffering from the Poisoned condition from this attack can repeat the save at the end of each of their turns in order to end that condition.

Breath Weapon (recharge 5 or 6)  Poison spray, 30’ line 5’ wide.  8d4 poison damage (20) and Poisoned condition.  DC 11 Constitution save reduces the damage to 1/2 normal and negates the Poisoned condition.  A creature suffering from the Poisoned condition from this attack can repeat the save at the end of each of their turns in order to end that condition.

Tal bio Tal M. Klein · Author · edited 11 months ago · 2 likes
Spend the next 6 days promoting like you’ve never promoted before. I want to see this book come to life!!!

Only 6 days left in the campaign, and only one more update after this one (not counting a post campaign update).  So if you’ve been holding off on preordering don’t delay much longer or you’ll miss your chance.  Thanks goes out to everyone who has supported me this far, and here’s hoping we can manage to get at least 187 more orders in 6 days.

I was going to continue sharing bits of background on my world and its peoples/creatures with this update, but a few days ago one of my fellow contributors to the Too Many Controllers anthology, Brian Guthrie brought up something more important.  There has already been an update sent out from the TMC page, but in the off chance that any of you reading this Exile, Magus update don’t also follow TMC I want to share it here as well.

Just an update for you about an event some of the Inkvengers will participate in this Fall.

BLUF: Support the Inkvengers as we raise money for the hospital that saved the lives of people close to us. Go to Extra Life to find out more.

This weekend, gamers around the world will come together for 24 (25 with the time change) hours of gaming raising money for children. The event is Extra Life and all the money the gamers raise goes to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the US. The event has raised $22 million up to this point, over $8 million last year alone.

This event is particularly close to the Inkvengers’ hearts.  We all know people who have been in a children’s hospital, many in our own family.  Brian Guthrie’s niece was born into Providence of Alaska at 26 weeks. They helped keep her in the womb as long as possible, safely delivered her, and saved her life during her 72 day stay in the NICU. She’s now a happy, bubbling kid full of life thanks to that hospital. All of the funds he raises go to Providence of Alaska.  To give you an idea of the need, the bed his niece lived in for those 72 days costs almost $10,000 to replace.  In 5 years, Brian has only managed to raise $4300.  The need is great.

Many, many more gamers have similar stories about the hospitals they support. In fact, the entire event was inspired by Victoria Enmon, a little girl diagnosed with cancer that wanted to do something for the other kids around her that were more sick. You can learn more about her story in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHSZ_82wiJg . Warning: tissues should be nearby.

So, what can you do? Well, you can join in and support a hospital. Learn more at Extra Life. But, if you’d rather just support a gamer, you can go to that site and find someone also doing this.  Some of the Inkvengers will be participating during the main event this Saturday, others on another day.  You can find Brian and Amanda Orneck by searching for their names on the event page or you can support their team.  They are on a team called the Pixel Sharks, which is spread out across the world, mostly current or former military service-members wanting to help others.  And don’t worry if you can’t donate right away.  You have until the end of the month to help.


Well today’s errand got a tad bit busier(and more expensive) than I’d expected, so this update is now about 3 hours behind schedule.  Hopefully you won’t mind the delay too much.  We now have just barely over a week left in the campaign now, and we’re still very far from making even the Quill goal, so if you want to see Exile, Magus published via Inkshares definitely continuing recommending it to others and trying to get the word out alongside me, and if you haven’t already ordered then do so.  Thanks to everyone for the support you’ve shown these past months, and hopefully will continue to show going forward.  Now, on to dragons.

As mentioned with last Friday’s update, the nature of each dragon is largely taken from their Progenitor with the differences between species typically being due to their other ancestor, whether father or mother.  Last time I covered jungle dragons which resulted from a mating with a (mostly) corporeal entity.  This time I’m going to touch on a draconic species which originated from a mating between their Progenitor and an elemental queen, presumably one of air or water with some theorize that the elemental was actually a crossbreed of air and water itself.  The species in question are the ice dragons.  I’ll paste a description of one that appears in Chapters 12 (Reunion) & 13 (Ascencion) of Exile, Magus.

It is a massive beast, being at least twenty feet tall at the shoulders with its long neck bringing the top of its head to nearly twice this height. Its body is sleek and powerful, the might of its muscles apparent even under its thick scales. These scales are an icy blue at their base blending to a snow white at their rims. As they progress up its neck the scales shrink from the large, shield sized scales of its body to the nearly pebble sized scales of its face. The light piercing the snowstorm glints off of the scales in a manner which only serves to highlight their icy appearance. The beast’s head is smooth and serpentine along the top with large forward facing milky white eyes. The motion of these pupiless eyes is noticeable only by a slight change in the subtle patterns on their surface. Its teeth are short for its size with razor sharp backward curving fronts and inward curving, almost invisibly serrated backs. It slides its short, pointed tongue along the inside bases of these fangs while anticipating the meal it will soon indulge in. Small horns with only a very slight rear curvature protrude from the bottom of its jawbone, and these are covered by multiple thin layers of ice which only adds to the illusion that icicles hang from the beast’s jowls.

The one described above has reached adulthood, although not so advanced in years to have reached its full growth (as such, for my D&D players/DMs the stat block I intended to be posting up at the bottom of this update was for an adult ice dragon, as opposed to the young jungle dragon from last time, but I forgot that I had only stat’ed up an ancient, so you’re getting the biggest).  The elemental nature they inherited from their mothers ties them more closely to the elements themselves than would be the case if the Progenitor had been the race’s mother.  As such they draw most of their sustenance from the elements themselves.  In the ice dragon’s case this means that the cold, snowy nature of the frozen north provides them with most of the energy they need to live, though they do still love to kill eat living creatures such as mountain goats(or even the occasional dwarven trio who dares trespass in their domain).  The amount of such physical food necessary to sustain them is much less than one would imagine from their size, an ice dragon of the size described above could conceivably survive on 2-3 goats a week.  Ice dragons tend to have a gluttonous streak though, so they’ll typically try to eat the equivalent to 1 goat a day however.

Ice dragons also tend to be on the lazy side, preferring to lay around on their treasure hoard (after carefully arranging and kneading said horde of course, much as a cat does to a pile of blankets).  In their younger years they’ll spend much of this time reading or listening to the lessons of loremasters/skalds they’ve forced into their service.  As they age they grow lazier, however, until eventually they tire of lessons, casting out books/loremasters/skalds(though they are just as likely to just eat the former two when properly aged) and moving to less intellectual entertainment such as jesters, comedians, circus performers and the like.  Eventually they reach an age at which they can’t be bothered to wake up except to hunt and eat, at which point they typically eat whatever performers they have forced into service first.

Due to their lazy nature, ice dragon lairs are among the most simple in their layout.  Typically its only a large central chamber to serve as the dragon’s bed chamber/treasure horde vault with either a short tunnel leading to the entrance/exit or simply a hole in one wall that leads outside, and a tunnel sloping down from this into which the dragon can expel its physical waste.  When a dragon does have a chamber beyond this, it is typically just a small chamber with straw covering the floor in which it makes any captured servants live when they are not entertaining/educating her.

They are also short of temper when they find someone to be annoying, and often this temper is the only thing (aside from hunger of course) powerful enough to overcome their laziness.  With their abilities gained from their strong ties to their elemental ancestry, they are even more formidable opponents than they look.  In addition to being able to breathe out a forceful blast of supercooled vapor which can freeze most creatures solid (a bit like being dipped in liquid nitrogen really), they are also able to use more primal elemental magics to command the air and water(furthering the theory that their elemental ancestry was herself a hybrid).  These abilities are of course in addition to their deadly teeth and claws, which they actually prefer not to use to kill their quarry.  Their favorite tactic is to merely freeze their opponent solid with their breath, then use their claws to break off chunks and pop them into their mouths leisurely.  They very much enjoy both the sound and texture experienced while eating frozen chunks of meat, bone, and related viscera.


Well, that’s a fun last sentence to end on, so I’m gonna call this update done with that.   By the time my next update comes out the contest will be over and I’ll only have 2 more updates before the end of my campaign which only just noticed is also election day (11/8).  My 3rd update from now will then either be to celebrate hitting goal, or to discuss what my plans for the future after failing to do so are.  We’ll see which it is when the time comes.  For now though, I’m going to try to have another map done by this coming Wednesday.  I ran out of monsters/races I intended to cover a bit earlier than expected, so if you have any you would like to know more about then feel free to let me know, either through commenting on the project page or direct messaging me.  For now though, I hope everyone enjoys their Halloween/Samhain.  Thank you for you continued support, keep reading and enjoying!


Ancient Ice Dragon

Gargantuan Dragon,  Neutral or Neutral Evil

Armor Class 21 (natural)

Hit Points 350 (20d20+140)

Speed 30’ / Burrow 15’ / Fly 60’

Str 26 (+8),  Dex 8 (-1),  Con 24 (+7),  Int 16 (+3),  Wis 14 (+2),  Cha 12 (+1)

Skills - Perception +16,  Stealth +6,  Survival +9

Senses - passive Perception 26,  Darkvision 120’,  Blindsight 60’

Saves - Dex +6,  Con +14,  Wis +9,  Cha +8

Languages - Draconic, Common, Primordial

Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)

Immune Cold damage.

Vulnerable Fire damage

Change Shape The dragon magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a Challenge Rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form.  It reverts to its true form if it dies.  Any equipment worn or carried by it is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dragon’s choice).  In a new form the dragon retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma scores, as well as this action.  Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except for any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Icewalk  ignores movement restrictions caused by ice and similar slick surfaces.

Innate Spellcasting (Charisma Based, DC 16, can cast the following innately without the need for material components)

  At Will - Sleet Storm,  Gust of Wind,  Fog Cloud,  Resistance

  3/day each - Control Water

  1/day each - Commune with Nature

Legendary Resistance (3/day)  When the dragon fails a saving throw it can choose to succeed that saving throw instead.

Multiattack  Frightful Presence, 2 Claws, and 1 Bite

Bite  melee weapon attack,  10’ reach,  +6 to hit,  2d10+3 piercing (14)

Claw  melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, 2d6+3 slashing (10)

Tail  melee weapon attack, +7 to hit,  2d8+4 slashing (13)

Frightful Presence This targets all creatures of the dragon’s choice within 120’ that can be seen by the dragon and see the dragon.  Each targeted creature must succeed at a Wisdom Save at DC 16 or be Frightened for 1 minute.  Creatures can reroll this save at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect for themselves on a successful save.  Once a creature has successfully saved it is immune to this dragon’s Frightful Presence for 24 hours afterwards.

Breath Weapon  90’ cone of freezing Cold.  12d8 cold damage (54) to all creatures in the area and be Chilled for 1d6 rounds (disadvantage on attack rolls and on Dexterity saves, advantage against fire-based spells).  All creatures are allowed a Constitution Save DC 23 to reduce the damage as well as the Chilled duration to half.  Any creature reduced to 0 hit points by this breath weapon is Frozen - treat as Petrified but will thaw out within 2d6 hours (or 2d6 minutes if actively warmed).

Legendary Actions (3/turn)  The dragon can choose to use 1 of the following actions after another creature/character’s turn.  It regains all 3 uses of legendary action at the start of each of its turns.

Detect (1 action)  The dragon attempts to detect using perception.

Tail (1 action)  The dragon makes 1 tail attack.

Wing Attack (2 actions)  The dragon beats its wings and lifts into the air.  All creatures within 15’ of the dragon must succeed at a Dexterity Save DC 24 or suffer 2d6+8 bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone.  The dragon can then move up to 1/2 of its Fly speed.

No map today, because I’ve gotten a bit lazy in my efforts to convert the rest of my continent map over.  When I do get around to finishing there will be 5 more pieces, bringing it up to an 8 part map.

I do have new content to share though.  We hit 50 unique readers over the weekend, so that means I get to upload another chapter to add to the already way too long list.  I fear I may be addicted to sharing chapters.  Remember that for every 20 new unique readers who order I’ll share a new chapter, so for everyone following who hasn’t ordered get to enabling me already!  Seriously though, thanks to everyone.

I’ve decided to abandon the sequential release of the chapters this time, because I’ve been wanting to share what is one of my favorite fight scenes of the book for months now.  Because of the leap ahead that’ll happen I’m going to summarize what leads to this scene. 

At this point in the story it has been revealed that Palkaz has come to the mainland to hunt down his brother(and the titular Magus) Pentaz and drag him back to Thierdenvolgenlund to face real justice for his use of magic.  There’s a couple of reasons for this, but you can be certain that one of those is Palkaz’ wounded pride after Pentaz so thoroughly humiliated him during his escape.  His pursuit has led Palkaz to a small village in the Frozen North, where he soon discovers that Pentaz’ actions as he was passing through has led to the village being plagued by a shall we say "sizable" threat.  The resulting confrontation does a good job of showing off Palkaz’ snarky confidence as well as his unshakeable determination(not to mention his combat abilities).

The upload always messes up my formatting, so I’ll have to take time to fix that.  You should be seeing the new chapter before too long today though. That’s all I’ve got for today.  We’ll continue our dragon talk this Friday.  Until then, thank you all for your time and support.  Keep reading and enjoying!

I’d intended to get this one out around 4-5 hours, but due to some internet difficulties that was delayed.  Time to talk dragons.

Like most of the races in the world of Exile, Magus, dragons trace their lineage back to a single powerful individual, one who has long since ascended to godhood and is the primary (and for some only) god which the various subspecies of dragons worship.  This Progenitor is one fluid in form, able to take any shape desired and without any permanent gender, being the mother to some dragon subspecies and father to others.  Dragon’s inherited a small portion of this shapeshifting ability, albeit in a more limited fashion as they can only assume the form of those humanoids and animals they have personally seen.  As for name, that’s still a bit fluid as I continually waffle on which one it is.  In the 3 main forms of their progenitors name it also shows as an ancestor to dragon - Drakon, Drakij, or Drakkitsi (seriously though, if we hit the funding goal I’m completely willing to allow a wild card prize winner to choose one of these or make up their own new version so that I can finally settle on an actual name for the father/mother of all dragons).

Unlike most of the other Progenitors that of dragons was one who quickly became enamored with the physical world and pleasures of the mortals whether decadent food, carnal passions, or any number of other past times.  As such he was loudest in opposition when the Council of Progenitors voted on whether or not to leave the mortal realm behind.  When the majority voted to do so, he joined with the other dissenting voters and their mortal followers in the civil war which came to be known as the Progenitors’ War.  Ultimately those who had tried to enforce the decision to leave the mortal realm realized that the war was becoming too destructive and choose to flee, allowing the dissenters to remaining behind and hopefully repair the damage done to the universe and planar fabric by the War.

Dragon’s take their primary form from that favored by their Progenitor and also the same shapechanging ability, albeit to a lesser extent and typically only gaining the latter ability after or upon approaching maturity.  Their other traits tend to come from their other parents, with these often being Elemental Kings, Queens, Princes, or Princesses, but occasionally being more worldly spirits.  There are even some claims that there were matings with purely physical creatures such as humanoids and animals, which could explain some more powerful members of these races arising from time to time(especially the Wyrdlim amongst the Humans), but there is no clear evidence that this is the case.

Those creatures which were mothered by Drakij tend to be more powerful than those who were fathered by the Progenitor, but there are exceptions, especially those born to Elemental Queens.  Next week we’ll touch a bit more on the Elemental aspect of dragons, but for this week I’m sticking to a subspecies which calls Drakij father and was presumably born of a mating with a nature spirit or wild beast - the Jungle Dragons.  There is a description of one at the beginning of Part 6 - The Academy, but I’ll paraphrase that here:

They have a long, serpentine body covered with scales in vibrant and often blended greens, reds, browns.  Their bodies are sleek with their scales pressed firmly against them and tightly overlapping so as to completely cover the flesh beneath.  Four leathery wings rise from the middles of their backs, almost as if they were massive demonic dragonflies.  A rigid spearhead-like growth tips their whip-like tails which only serves to add to the suggestion of a diabolic origin.  Their heads are conical and incredibly smooth, ending in a bright red beak with thin streaks of the same red standing out clearly as they meander back along the dark green scales of their faces before finally ending in elliptical rings around its dark eyes.  These eyes are rather large, occupying both the front and sides of their heads, giving them a remarkable range of vision.

The Jungle Dragons are more animalistic than most other dragons, preferring nothing more than to live in harmony with nature while enjoying their status as the apex jungle predator, and almost never collecting a treasure hoard.  They seem to be devoid of an elemental nature, lacking the ability to breathe fire, cold, or similar.  Instead they can spew an adhesive substance to prevent their prey from getting away when needed.  They don’t need to use this often, however, for they are excellent ambush predators, often waiting high up in large trees to lash out with their weaponized tail at suitable prey that passes beneath.

Even if they fail to ambush or immobilize prey, there is little hope of escaping from a jungle dragon.  They fly much like an insect, using vortices of air to propel them at great speeds with astounding agility.  This is perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the jungle dragon.  Most sentient species are safe from them, however, for they prefer to prey only on animals.  With that said, if they do encounter humanoids who are despoiling or otherwise endangering the jungle they call him, they will not hesitate to bring an abrupt end to the lives of the humanoids in question.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today, hope you enjoyed this peek at one corner of dragonkind(5th edition stat block at bottom).  Next week we’ll be going more elemental with the Ice Dragons.  As always, thanks for your time and support.  Keep reading and enjoying!


Young Jungle Dragon

Large Dragon,  Neutral or Chaotic Neutral

Armor Class 20 (natural)

Hit Points  128 (5d10 + 45)

Speed  40’ / Fly 80’ (hover) / Climb 40’

Str 17 (+3),  Dex 18 (+4),  Con 17 (+3),  Int 10,  Wis 16 (+3), Cha 12 (+1)

Saves - Dex +7,  Con +6,  Wis +6,  Cha +4

Language  Draconic

Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Change Shape The dragon magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a Challenge Rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form.  It reverts to its true form if it dies.  Any equipment worn or carried by it is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dragon’s choice).  In a new form the dragon retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma scores, as well as this action.  Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except for any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Webwalker  ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing/adhesive.

Multiattack  2 Claws and 1 Bite or 2 Claws and 1 Tail

Bite  melee weapon attack,  10’ reach,  +6 to hit,  2d10+3 piercing (14)

Claw  melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, 2d6+3 slashing (10)

Tail  melee weapon attack, +7 to hit,  2d8+4 slashing (13)

Breath Weapon  30’ cone of adhesive slime,  each creature in the area must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity save or be Restrained for until the slime hardens into a flaky substance 1 minute later,  Escape DC 14 to free yourself before the end of this duration.

For any of you wondering, I did actually stat up each age category for the Jungle Dragons, I just assumed at Challenge 7 the Young version had the most play versatility for anyone who wants to use them.  I’m saving the rest to eventually put on on the DM’s Guild, so keep an eye out for that.

Another Wednesday, another map.

This one continues east from the previous map of the Blade and Badlands.

As one goes further north and east the horrors of the Badlands, only rarely crossing the borders formed by river at the east and mountains to the north.  The mountains also mark the southernmost border of the Zaltruscan empire, though this fact is sometimes forgotten thanks to the presence of small outposts of Zaltruscan soldiers in those towns and cities of the Badlands most vital to the trade routes.

The eastern border of the Zaltruscan empire is formed by two branches of the World’s Cleft river springing out from the continent’s largest (and most unusual) lake - Lake Moiyrnthan.  Pentaz’ travels take him no where near this during Magus, but it is seen in book 2 (Exile, Hunted) as well as book 3 (tentatively titled Exile, Seventh).  If you want to read about the dwarven trios visit to the Lake I’ve posted it up on the Exile, Hunted page and you can read it here.  It covers the unusual nature of both the Lake and World Cleft rivers as well as the myths surrounding them.

Across from the Lake is a small corner of Hanaen and its various counties.  Crossing the river south from this you have plateaus upon which two more counties of Hanaen sit, only the westernmost of which is visible in this map.  These plateaus descend southward into the great Kalthean desert which expands further east than is visible here, and also encroaches west back into the Badlands.

The massive bridge visible is a towering marvel of engineering built during the last days of the Melexi and Thirosian empires, and judging by the nature of the markings and decorations it was presumably a Melexi construction.  The bridge’s immense size means that an army could easily fit on it, making it the most vulnerable point of defense against Zaltruscan invasion for modern day Hanaen.  As a result there is a small military outpost of Hanaen to guard and man the bridge.  A handful of Magi skilled in hydromancy are stationed with the soldiers here, their control over water allowing them to more rapidly use the bridge’s hydraulic mechanisms to raise the bridge to prevent an invasion should the Zaltruscan empire try to march an army across it.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  We picked up in orders for a short bit, but have levelled off again, so I’m hoping I can get more orders coming in soon.  We’re only 2 new readers away from me being able to release a new chapter, and if we reach that before the end of today(10/19) I’ll go ahead and release 2 new chapters.  Also from this point until the end of the campaign I’ll be lowering the threshold for new chapters from 50 readers each to 20 readers each, hopefully I’ll get to share more of the story and at least hit Quill by the time this campaign ends.

Thanks to everyone for your support and time.  Friday I’ll be talking a bit about dragons.  Keep reading and enjoying!  (Also, for my D&D people, I meant to post a stat block for a peculiar animal with last week’s map, but forgot to so you’ll be getting that below.)


This is an animal which Quelzhumi turns into during a pivotal moment of Part 7 - Graduation, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve not gotten around to coming up with a name for it.  So for the time being we’ll just refer to it as Sloth-Bear-Anteater-thing.  Quick description from Part 7 before I move on to the stats.

It hunches over him, but even in this stance it is a towering beast who’s head is a full yard above the lieutenant’s. This massive head is dominated by five almost comically oversized and lidless eyes which form a semicircle around the front. The eyes are flanked by large bat-like ears, and the entire face draws suddenly in and forward from these, reaching a length of nearly a yard and coming to a tapered point just barely larger than a man’s thumb. This snout is nearly all nose on the outside with multi-layered teeth and absurdly long tongue inside. The creature has no recognizable neck, only a widening of its frame drastically down from the ears, so that its shoulders are just a foot below the snout’s beginning but are over six feet wide.

The trunk and legs beneath have the shape and proportions commonly seen in a bear, but the arms are another matter entirely. They are monstrous protrusions crowding against the beast’s trunk where they sprout from the shoulders and are easily two feet thick. Their length is ill proportioned to the body, being nearly ten feet long before the claws protrude. These claws are the most terrifying features on the beast. Three spring from each otherwise featureless paw, with each an equally sized mixture of sabre and shovel head measuring a foot wide at their bases and tapering down along the two feet of their length.

The claws mentioned in the description are normally used to dig into ant-hills or other insect mounds(or termite infested trees), but there still pretty deadly weapons.  The actual animals are rarely seen because they’re actually a bit cowardly, preferring to run from humans or other potential predators, but they will fight if forced to(though only a fool would force one to really).  Now for stats.

Large Beast,  Neutral

Armor Class:  10 (natural)

Hit Points:  92 (8d10+48)

Speed:  15’ / Burrow 5’

Str 20 (+5),  Dex 5 (-3),  Con 22 (+6),  Int 2 (-4),  Wis 12 (+1),  Cha 6 (-2)

Senses:  passive Perception 11,  Tremorsense 10’

Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Relentless (recharges after a Short or Long Rest):  if it takes 13 damage or less that would reduce it to 0 hit points, then it is reduced to 1 hit point instead.

Wounded Fury:  while it has only 10 or fewer hit points, it has Advantage on Attack rolls.  In addition, it deals an extra 2d6 ; damage to any target it hits with a melee attack while this is active.

Claw: melee weapon attack,  +7 to hit (3d8 +5 piercing) ;

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