Frequent visitors to this space know that I shill a lot of stuff on my blogs, from the old Lois and Clark TV show, to Girl Genius, to the powerful and influential Chupacabra lobby. Yeah, I do it for the cash; internet hosting is not free, after all; but I also do it because I’m a nerd and part of being a nerd is being passionate about things and wanting to share them.
Sure, the forty cents I get whenever someone buys Smallville from one of my links is nice and it does add up after a while, but mostly I’m just an eager dude who wants his buds (We are all buds, right? I’m not just some write-clown dancing for your amusement and about ten minutes worth of distraction three days a week… am I? AM I?) to see the cool stuff he knows about, especially when it’s very, very old and very, very obscure, like M.A.N.T.I.S (You can also watch the pilot, which isn’t as awesome as the show)
Pictured: Awesome until the last half of the series.
But today I’m using the blog not to shill other people’s works (erm… let’s pretend I’m not still linking stuff as I go, okay?), but my own.
See, because as most of you know from the news post, the banner on the side of the page, and the fact that I won’t shut up about it, I’ve created something I think if pretty awesome too and I really want to share it with you.
I speak of course of the Rune Breaker series, of which Book 1: A Girl and Her Monster and Book 2: Lighter Days and Darker Nights are now available at the Amazon Kindle store. And even if you don’t own the Kindle, you can still read Kindle books with the free apps Amazon provides for pretty much everything that can touch the internet.
This blog is dedicated to telling you why you should give this series a try, or as a handy link to give to friends, family and person-blobs connected to you on social media. And if you’ve already bought the books, I will be my usual weird self throughout, so it should still be entertaining (and by the way, it would be super neato keen of you to give the books a good review)
So let’s just step into my parlor, get comfortable, and let me tell you why you should read Rune Breaker.
Reason the First: The World of Ere
Long before Ru or Taylin or any of the character appearing in Rune Breaker were even the basic atoms of an idea, there was the World of Ere.
In the summer of 2002, Wizards of the Coast, the company that inherited the rights of Dungeons and Dragons from a dying TSR announced that they were on search for a new flagship setting for D&D. While many are now familiar with the winner, an innovative and intriguing world called Eberron, created by a very cool gentleman named Keith Baker, most people never really gave much of a thought to the also-rans.
But deep in the heart of a sweltering auto parts plant, toiling at his summer job that seemed to consist solely of being sprayed in the face by clouds of metal dust, one man had a dream: a dream that fell just on the other side of the magic/tech divide from Eberron, funnily enough.
That man was me, and my dream was a setting where a dwarf could wear steam powered armor and shoot dudes in the face with a mystic shotgun,just like the 3e DMG promised, but never delivered.
Sure, there were other dreams. D&D without an alignment system for one, because I did and still do absolutely hate alignment and its pseudo race war mentality. And an end to the scourge of Vancian magic. And an automatic cheeseburger dispenser in my dorm room (not strictly a D&D based dream, but still important, damn it!).
And so I built my setting, a world that came after ours where in the tattered world after an apocalypse, gods from another reality arrived and brought forth magic. My friends, this was the world of Earth: Resurrected Era. (See? I bet even those of you who know about the campaign setting didn’t know that’s where the name came from.)
Needless to say, seeing as the rule expressly required you to have a place in the setting for alignment, I was not chosen as a finalist. But Ere lived on in my college DnD campaign, the legendary ‘Original Ere’ Campaign.
But the history of Ere isn’t the point here. The point is that Ere, the backdrop of the Rune Breaker series, isn’t like the other fantasy settings you know. Imagine if you will, the Standard Medieval Fantasy Setting, only the timeline has progressed, but not to the Victorian Era of propriety and mustaches that most Gaslamp Fantasy takes place in, but the Wild West circa the late 1860’s , where the American Civil War had just ended and everyone was trying to pick up the pieces. Add in Cold War era arms races and magic that is treated like a science being developed alongside real science, and you’ve got the backdrop of Ere.
Plus, even in the middle of that, things aren’t what you’d expect. This is a world where ceratopsian dinosaurs are beasts of burden, Gastornis and giant spiders are used as mounts, halflings roam the land in wagon caravans, protected by wolves and defending themselves with kukri, spiked chains and rifles. A bard on Ere isn’t just a fop playing for coin in an inn: he can be master of the discarnate power, weaving emotions and thought into might. And magic itself is a science as well as an art; studied meticulously with intrepid minds pushing back the boundaries of possibility back day by day.
It is a world where ancient power and modern progress coexist and the politics is rarely as simple as a lord and his vassals. Ere is all about change and possibility with a rich history that not only informs Rune Breaker, but can serve as a setting for stories for years to come.
And you can dive right into it on your own and for zero dollars with the World of Ere Campaign Setting provided online for Dungeons and Dragons 3E and 4E.
All the setting in the world can’t carry a story; that’s the job of the characters and Rune Breaker offers a diverse pageant of them.
The main character is Taylin. Not only is she a tough heroine in the spirit of last week’s article, but she’s not even human. Instead, she’s a hailene; a race of tall, winged humanoids with hinged ribcages and hollow bones. Among her culture, however, she’s an outcast and a slave thanks to being different, a so-called ang’hailene with red wings and hair where black or white or gray wings and black and blonde hair are the norm.
But Taylin is more than just different:when she’s stressed, her eyes change and she grows scales, and she’s plagued by fits of beautific rage in battle that make her feel more like a weapon than a person. The secret of who and what she is may be the key to finding herself
Rune Breaker really the story of how Taylin, starting the story as a runaway slave with only a broken sword, finds a place in the world where she can find real happiness—and the lengths she’ll go to protect it.
At her aid (however grudgingly) is the titular Rune Breaker:Ru Brakar, a powerful, shapeshifting wizard from prehistoric times who was cursed for some unknown sin to serve whoever holds the other end of ‘the link’, a staggeringly complex piece of magical engineering that keeps him immortal and in check. If he wasn’t a monster before, he’s suffered through five thousand years and over one hundred previous masters, each one unapologetically evil, who have used him as an attack dog, siege engine and other, far worse things.
At the open of the first book, A Girl and Her Monster, Ru neither trust, nor like Taylin and wants only to unmask her as just as corrupt as his previous masters. But as the lot unfolds, he is forced to accept that she, and by extension his situation are vastly different from what came before.
Also on Taylin’s side if Kaiel, a bard of sorts, in training to become a loreman, one of the aforementioned masters of the discarnate energy. While not without his own agenda (and academic interest in Taylin, who comes from a culture he ha a focus on studying), he is Taylin’s first friend a philosophical and intellectual foil to Ru.
Through him, Taylin also becomes acquainted with the Clan of the Winter Willow, a clan of halflings who live in and operate a trade caravan. Led by the clan’s Grandmother and Grandfather, the halflings of the Winter Willow is not to be trifled with, especially not when one of their own is threatened. This goes double for Raiteria, the leader of a Winter Willows scouts and snipers, who finds herself in the position of being one of those closest to Taylin.
In the second book, Lighter Days, Darker Nights, we are introduced to Brin, an elven woman with a rare and unique form of magic, who quickly becomes friend to Taylin, love interest to Kaiel, and the object of Ru’s displeasure. And that doesn’t even begin to include Layaka, Brin’s temporary ward and full time fangirl.
We also meet Issacor, a swordsman who follows the religion of the Mother of Blades, His religion’s teachings appeal to Taylin while his honor and good humor appeal to something more. Oh, and he wields a giant magic sword called Faith-Be-Forgiven that grants him power based on how far along he’s come with his faith.
Many tales, especially heroic fantasy, are on as good as their villains. What would the Lord of the Rings be without Sauron and Saurmon, after all.
While Taylin has escaped the evils of her time and is only trying to find her place, there are some who aren’t about to let her rest. They are led b Immurai the Masked, a demonic servant of the Threefold Moon who has some history with Ru: history hat makes Ru want him dead.
Immurai is a schemer and master manipulator from behind the scenes, cut from the cloth of David Xanatos. And when Taylin and Ru unwittingly ruin one plan of his, they quickly become to focus of a new one: one he believes will end with him gaining a power overwhelming. And to accomplish this, he’ll stop at nothing: not murder, not kidnapping and certainly not emotional warfare to clam is prize.
With a massive and varied playground to use and such a diverse cast, the story manages to be both personal and epic.
At its heart, it is about the struggles, histories and secrets of Taylin and her group, in particular, Taylin and her quest to hold on to the happy life she’s discovered far away from the death and punishment of slavery. And all the while, she herself is the unwilling master to Ru, a morally reprehensible and yet sympathetic creature who could, if she were willing, become her instrument of great destruction.
But even with that focus, the story covers scenes from Ere’s vast history, from the world before Ere, from whence Ru hails, to the height of the Hailene War of Ascension, and the present day as the world picks up the debris form the Age of Tragedies. It also spans a continent: from the dust choked, lawless lands of Taunaun, to the rolling hills of Novrom, where the political borders move like water.
In this story, you will find not just a quest, but personal journeys of personal understandings, exotic locales the likes of which you won’t find in your modern airport fantasy, and twists that shock as well as satisfy. And if you’re here for fantasy action, you’ve come to the right place! In the first book alone, you’ll see a shapeshifting master doing what he does best in battle, Taylin taking on a horde of men with a broken sword and a wagon wheel, and the reason why you never, ever attack a halfling caravan.
What I’m saying here is that it’s one hell of a ride.
Oh, And There’s Extras
Oh yes. If you buy Rune Breaker instead of reading it here, not only will you be reading a more polished (in terms of both editing and continuity) version of the tale and helping keep the light son on this very site (As of September, Descendants Serial has been paid for entirely using proceeds from ebook sales and Amazon Commissions), but you’ll also get ebook exclusive content!
Each ebook contains extras, ranging from a more in-depth explanation of the magic system (If you buy all four books in the Rune Breaker series when they come out, you will have enough knowledge to fully diagram the spells form the series), to hilarious ads for in-universe businesses such as Allbuk’s or Gove-Harmon Outfitters.
It’s all just a tiny bit more incentive to buy the book and support the site.
So there you have it, my best pitch for buying the two published Rune Breaker books: A Girl and Her Monster, and Lighter Days, Darker Nights. They’re fun, I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like them before, and at $2.99, they’re a pretty damn good buy.
I’m not doing this because I need the money (although I would like the money and encourage you to visit the Cafepress Store as well), but because it’s a really cool thing I think you’ll enjoy, and because, as a writer, it just feels good to actually get paid for your work.
And if you’ve already bought it, or you’re just here of Descendants and Rune Breaker isn’t your thing, first of all, thanks for reading and especially for buying if you did, and might I just impose on your to link this wherever you think there might be people who are interested? Hey, I think there might be some shiny social media buttons to do just that down there… Wouldn’t hurt to tell your Facebook friends and Google Plus er… groupies… about this between spamming them about Mafia wars, now would it?
In any event, thanks for reading to everyone, I do really appreciate you all, even if all you do is drop by to read my stuff. It means something to me that you do that.
Normal bloggery will begin anew the week after next and since next Friday is the first Friday, that means it’s the normal update day for… you guessed it: Rune Breaker.
Yeah yeah, throw your tomatoes at me in the comments section.