Mu: Age of Adventure — The Humans of Tradewind!

Hey everyone! Today, we’ll be taking a look at the 4 most common groups of humans that are seen in and around Tradewind in Mu: Age of Adventure. We’ve gone over the other intelligent species, so now it’s time for a quick run down of the oldest group on the block.

Craglanders — Seen as “western barbarians” in the times of the Pelagian Empire, the fair skinned and dark haired Craglanders held off being subsumed by the Empire until late in its life. Since the fall, the strong willed and charismatic people from the grassy plateaus of the west have enjoyed relative stability unlike their neighbors to the east and south. The laws and customs introduced to the Craglands by the Empire have brought a unity to the previously disparate tribes, who now live as a part of a centralized magistracy that oversees all things great and small. The magistracy views itself as the pinnacle of modern governance, and while willing to work with the various kingdoms and regencies that exist on its borders, finds those methods of rule archaic and stifling. The magistracy uses a system of appeals and rulings to constantly update the law to best serve the people. The heavy emphasis on self-representation in this system has lead to a much higher rate of literacy in the Craglands than the surrounding nations, which is something the magistracy greatly prides itself on. Cragland scholars and lawyers have a very strong presence in Tradewind to make sure the magistracy is well aware of what goes on past their eastern borders.

Pelagians — While the old Empire is gone, broken into many smaller nations, the people of Pelagos, Avellais, and western Lachlan all greatly resemble one another and owe a lot of their current cultures to their rule under the Pelagian Empire. These individuals are of swarthy complexion with dark curly hair and dark eyes. Most of the human population that lives in Tradewind is of Pelagian decent, and are what most mim think of when humans are mentioned. Pelagians have a highly shared religious culture, and many carry symbols and trinkets of the Church of the Divinities with them. The arts and sciences have come in vogue with the well-to-do Pelagians lately caused by the influx of wealth from the modern trade Accords, and has been slowly working its way down to the peasantry. Modern prosperity has lead to a pervasive optimism, which leaders have been quick to capitalize on, and are loathe to let go.

Lachlanders — The stern, powerful features and thick, dark hair of the eastern Lachlanders cause them to stand out amongst the rest of the humans in Tradewind. Long, well kept beards are a common theme among the men, and both men and women traditionally wear their hair long. Theirs is a rough history, from one of the strongest seats of power in the old Empire to a kingdom divided. While the nobility from the east seem aloof and assured of their eventual victory over the populist forces of the west, those caught in the middle bear many tales of strife from the warring kingdom. Not all Lachlanders who make their way to Tradewind are refugees, but certainly a great number have come to the town to seek a more stable life for themselves and their families. This has caused some friction between those of western Lachland origins, but to those unfamiliar with the strife in their nation this animosity is largely ignored.

Tradelanders — Across the Sea of Voyages to the south lie the Trade Principalities, or as they’re known to those that live there: the Pelagian Empire. Despite their claims and strong ties to the old Empire, the Trade Principalities are not quite the military and cultural powerhouse that the Empire was. They are certainly in contention with their economy, however. The tall, dark skinned, kinky-haired men and women of the Trade Principalities are an increasingly common sight in Tradewind, as the wealthy merchant families from the Principalities have been sending envoys and negotiators north with increasing frequency, trying to get as big a piece of the pie as they can. Their strong ties to the Church of the Divinities has engendered them with a great deal of the Pelagian populace, and despite the sometimes haughty attitudes of the nobility, those who have made it to Tradewind seeking work find it easy to integrate into the city. The coleops are well acquainted with Tradelanders, and usually think of them first when humans are mentioned.

These aren’t all the human groups in Mu, merely the most common ones you’ll see in the setting’s main city. Next week I’ll be back to talk about some of the more uncommon groups, who don’t always make it to town. Until then!

Mu: Age of Adventure — A look at the Coleops!

Hey all, it’s Nick again, and this monday I wanted to take a look at the third non-human playable species in Mu: Age of Adventure – the insect like coleops!

Coleops are on average smaller than most humans, with the largest specimens standing as tall as if not a little taller than the average human. Their faces are vaguely humanoid, with wide set eyes that have large dark pupils, two lamellate antennae in middle of their forehead, and small mouths flanked by a set of palps. They do not have noses. Unlike their smaller cousins, the coleops do not use their palps to eat, but rather to cover or expose small holes in their cheeks to create different reverberating tones as part of their language. Coleops possess six limbs, two legs and four arms, but two of their arms are much smaller and serve mostly to assist them with tasks requiring very fine motor skills. They have four wings, two of which function as a thick shell that protect the other delicate, membranous wings. Of all the intelligent species on Mu, the coleops are by far the most sexually dimorphic. The women are upwards of 50% larger than the men, and have much sharper features, larger antennae, and brighter colors to their shells.

In the modernizing world, the coleops are at an unfortunate disadvantage when it comes to competition with the developing powers. Coleops society is largely nomadic, as the great swamps where they live flood regularly throughout the seasons, creating great stretches of mire which are uninhabitable for months at a time. This has lead to very few stable, large cities and governments, and leaves most coleops part of smaller, wandering tribes. The decentralized nature of the majority of coleops society has lead to a great deal of opportunistic, and some would say predatory, treaties and trade agreements with non-coleops explorers and merchants. While the swamps are a hassle to perform tasks such as mining or industry in, they produce a great deal of sought after plants and fungi, for use as food, recreation, or medicine the world over. Over harvesting and plant poaching operations are becoming more common, as news of the various “wonder” plants have reached the far corners of the known world.


The rumors of the wondrous properties of the plants are not exaggerations, however. The swamp with its rapid turnover of life, death, decay, and rebirth, wears thin the veil between the living world and the spirit world. An entity known as Great Grandmother Swamp has watched over the Great Southern Swamps for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years, and has a special fondness for the coleops. She has imbued much of the swamp itself with her latent powers, and the foliage and fungi that grow in it reflect this. This has given rise to the unique Mushroomists, shaman and gardeners who hold positions of importance in coleops society. Although their positions as envoys and ambassadors to the outside world, and to roving bands of adventurers, have become the metropolitan face of the coleops. Great Grandmother Swamp is bound to the geography of the swamp itself, so it is up to her more adventurous children to keep her aware of outside goings on.

To most members of the other species the coleops appear alien and awkward, but despite this the strange beetle-folk from the south integrate exceptionally quickly into most human towns. While it is almost impossible for non-coleops to pronounce their language, they are capable of producing a great number of sounds and have a knack for picking up foreign languages. This has made coleops liaisons and translators very popular among various noble houses who find novelty in their “exotic” nature and well spoken mannerisms. However, almost the entirety of the coleops who leave the swamp are men, and many human and mim nobles mistakenly believe the women must then be smaller and mild mannered, and are often greatly surprised when they encounter the brazen, gruff, and imposing women folk of the Great Southern Swamp.

The coleops round out the roster of the non-human playable species for Mu. They seem strange with their exoskeletons and antennae, but are just as heroic as their mammalian and amphibian counterparts. Until next time!

Mu: Age of Adventure — A look at the scharr!

Hey there! Nick here as usual, and this Monday I wanted to give a brief overview of another of the playable species in Mu – this time the burly, aquatic scharr.

scharr_headshotStanding a full head and shoulders taller than a human on average, the scharr are an immense, muscle bound amphibian species. While roughly humanoid in appearance, their faces are streamlined and simplified with broad chins and foreheads, flat almost non-existent noses, and small, beady, shark like eyes set in shallow sockets. They lack eyebrows and body hair in general, but do have a small patch on their heads that is straight and wiry and often worn long. Their skin is smooth and tough, much like a shark’s, and ranges from light blue to muddy red. Scharr have much sharper teeth than humans, and their diets are almost entirely fish but a variety of seaweed based dishes compliment their largely carnivorous meals. Scharr display very muted sexual dimorphism and the men and women very closely resemble one another, with the men being on average slightly larger. Their most unique physiological difference however is their lateral system. Special sensory nerves line the sides of their bodies allowing them to sense minute water pressure differences and electromagnetic signals over short distances while in the water.

Most scharr live on the large archipelago chain that starts at the mouth of the Pelakos Sea, where its equatorial climate and warm waters can keep their semi-cold blood active. It is on this island chain that the two great scharr empires live. The Southern Imperial kingdom, which resides on the tail end of the archipelago and maintains a vast empire of colonies along the Broken Coast of the southern continent where they control a great deal of iron mines. The other being the Divine Empire, which while it maintains fewer of the islands than the Southern Imperial kingdom, controls the waters in around around the mouth of the Pelakos Sea. This gives them a tremendous amount of control over many trade routes. So much that despite the Divine Empire’s small size, they are one of the wealthiest nations in the known world.

Both empires are feudal in nature, and have a rigid social hierarchy. Marriages are seen as being solely political, and marriage for love is an awkward concept many scharr don’t quite understand. Many of the smaller islands function as vassal states of the larger, chaining back to the capital islands of both empires. While fealty is considered exceptionally important in both empires, this functions as somewhat of a double edged sword in cases of political consolidations or annexation. Often when islands are annexed the populace retains fierce loyalty to their previous lord, with disdain for the new lord goes as far as to create vast numbers of self-imposed exiles. This has lead to a great deal of scharr diaspora making their way into the surrounding nations. Many infamous scharr pirates have their origins as self-imposed exiles during bloody annexations. These exiles often still fly old banners of dispossessed lords and nobles in a sign of undying loyalty to their lord and burning hatred towards those who dispossessed them.

great_wallMany of these exiles who don’t turn to piracy however find great success as adventurers. Their size and strength make them imposing comrades and the world renowned Great Wall bodyguards from the Southern Imperial Kingdom are always able to find work. The scharr languages are deep and resounding, to match the extremely low registers needed to project words underwater, and as such their words and by extension names are exceptionally difficult for the other intelligent species to pronounce. Most scharr use loan names when dealing with others, but will try to get close friends to learn how to pronounce their actual names as a sign of respect.

The scharr are loyal and strong companions, ready to jump to the aid of their smaller companions. That’s it for for this Monday, but come back next week for Mu: Age of Adventure beta rules 1.1! We’ll have some updated formatting, some new background, and hopefully some new art for the rules! See you then!

Mu: Age of Adventure — A look at the mim!

Hey everyone, Nick here again! Back to Mondays as usual, this time with a look at one of the four playable species in Mu — the Mim.

mim_guy_websiteSmall in stature and almost resembling woolen haired dolls with large eyes, broad noses, and big fuzzy round ears, the mim are native to the temperate foothills and forested plains of the central northern continent. Their hair ranges from dark black to bright white, with a light greyish being the most common coloration. Most mim are somewhat pale in skin tone with darker noses, but very dark almost coal colored mim, while rare, do exist. Unlike humans, mim exhibit very little sexual dimorphism, with both the men and women being equal in size and stature. The women tend to have slightly rounder facial features and less curly hair, while the men have exceptionally thick and woollen curls.

Politically the mim are a small but motivated group who have seized some of the biggest opportunities in trade that have occurred in the last century on Mu. While many small independent “nations” exist on the fringes of mim territory, these are more often than not protectorates of the Central Mim Kingdom which holds court in the capital city of Frimble. It was the previous king, the illustrious Angbar VI, who used the influx of money and goods from the founding of Tradewind to transform the relatively small city into a cultural juggernaut.

For the past 50 years the city of Frimble has seen great leaps and bounds in the realms of the arts and philosophy. Angbar VI imported artisans, scholars, and all manner of cultural ambassadors in great droves to his city using the wealth he gained from his father’s trade options power play. Most notably was the elevation of the arts to a lofty status in the culture, which sired a complex and stratified social order in mim society that has taken strong root. Men are expected to study art, philosophy and science, and further the understanding of the culture. It then falls to women to perform the tasks seen as effete and unmanly – such as cooking, cleaning, fighting, and adventuring. The most manly of the arts is high fashion, with the current trend being one of of ostentation and elegance. The most famous designers, wig makers, and tailors all come from Frimble and their works fetch exorbitant prices the world over.

mim_gal_websiteIn the larger adventuring world however, they have become very popular recently among the other intelligent species for their unique brands of cultural magic that allow them to preserve food, purify drink, and repair cloth. A walking, talking, ship’s repair kit and refrigerator will always find employ on trade voyages and many have taken to vying for positions on the extremely well funded expedition voyages many of the current nations have been putting together. Not to mention the welcoming arms of those on the other side of the kings’ notes in this time of burgeoning piracy.

The most unusual thing however, combined with their strange appearance, is their proclivity for the magical arts. Mim mages and hedge wizards seem unnaturally gifted, and although theirs is a magic derived from culture and society, they show alarming attunement with any magical task put before them. Some anthropologists and archeologists have hypothesised the mim might be an engineered species, as they have yet to find any artifacts dating back before the age of wizardry, but that debate is currently ongoing in the halls of Mu academia.

And that’s a bit of an intro for the mim! Their size and appearance leads them to often be treated with kid gloves, much to their chagrin, but they are an important part of the Mu adventuring landscape!

Monday Update: Countdown to Beta

Hey everyone, I know the last Gearcast had a plethora of stuff planned our for you this week, but the site’ll be taking a short break to make sure the full beta rules of Mu: Age of Adventure are gonna be waiting for you right here next Monday. Things are pretty nuts, so it’s time to hunker down. Take a breather y’all, we’ll be back next week with an absolute ton of stuff for ya. All that content that was gonna be up this week will be there, as well as a very special Beta Launch episode of the Gearcast! See you all then!

It Begins

Hey there! Welcome to Gearheart Games! Today marks the start of a long journey, and hopefully one you decide to join me on. I’m Nick, and I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember, and making my own for myself and my friends for just about as long. From video games to table top, I’ve enjoyed the hobby in its myriad of forms for years and it was high time I gave something back to everyone else out there. I want Geartheart Games to create products that entertain and give people stories to tell. Games that recreate that feeling of excitement from the climactic moments of your favorite stories.

While that is my hope for my games, I will try and keep on track with the help of this site. To that end, the site will update Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with content to help keep everything on track.

Mondays will be project and site updates. Get a first look at new art, writing, or announcements concerning current or future games being worked on. Site upgrades and overhauls may happen on Mondays, so while things are still somewhat in the garage band state, stay tuned for bigger and better things!

Wednesdays are blog days, with a focus on game design and mechanical musings. I’ll share my musings and thoughts on the mechanical side of design. How I use mechanics, what I like and dislike about certain mechanics, thoughts on the various ways to balance games, and any other “under the hood” talk.

And last but not least, Fridays will be podcast days, with a focus on the less crunchy and more social side of games. Everything from other games I’ve been playing, other people making cool things, and hopefully even some special guests.

I hope you’ll join me on this long and crazy journey, and hopefully at the end of it we’ll have some fun new games to play. Until next time!