Wednesday, February 24, 2010

D&D Kitteh

The Story So Far XII

NOTE: You may notice many more details in this synopsis than you remember.  Be assured these are all thing that I want you to know. -EJ

Festival of High Summer
Day One

Our heroes awaited the festivities that would begin as soon as Wyrlos began to rise into the sky that evening.  Galthran's acolytes Faysa and Ulath set a large oaken table outside the lodge and a large fire-pit was prepared.  Galthran hunted early in the day and returned with a deer that would be prepared for the festival dinner that evening.  The druid also brought out some barrels of hard cider that he had made for the occasion.

Soon other friends of the druid began to appear.  A younger red haired druid that went by the name of Khorgal armed with a scimitar and wearing leather armor with robes of a brown hue arrived first.  Later, four elven travelers from the Silverwood strode into the clearing.  They wore simple tunics and trousers of silver and green colors and were armed with long bows.  They introduced themselves as Galadren (obviously the leader), Lamial (who also bore a mandolin amongst his gear), Arost, and Elil (an elf-maiden that brought a flute with her).  They had all come to spend the festival days with the druids.  Galadren also announced that he had brought several bottles of elven feywine to share amongst the revelers.

The elves and druids performed some rites and observances within the stone circle as dusk approached.

The night finally arrived and Wyrlos rose up in all its majesty.

As it rose Svarnos remembered from his studies of arcane knowledge that it is theorized by some wizards that this mysterious moon is the conduit of magic to the world of Eleth. 

The heroes were treated to a feast and the elves along with Norgrim the dwarven bard began to play upon their instruments.  Norgrim and Gjord sung some time-honored dwarven songs and Galifynakus showed off his singing skills by belting out a song of celebration that he used to sing among his clan.

Some of the adventurers wanted to sample the feywine that the elves were drinking.  The elves warned them that the wine effected non-elvish folk in strange ways and it would be wise for them to wait a couple days before sampling it so as not to miss the rest of the festival.  Lamial told them how the wine was made from the Fainbereth flower.  This sacred flower is believed by the elves to be where the elven race came forth from in the deeps of time.  It could put a drinker who is not a pure elf into a deep sleep that could last weeks.  Lamial said that if they do drink it that they should wait until the third night of the festival when Wyrlos is highest in the sky.  He told them that when the feywine is drunk during the Festival of High Summer it could bring strange prophetic dreams.  The heroes took his advice.  So, the adventurers partied, feasted, and drank as the orange ochre hue of Wyrlos shone upon them.

At one point a shape could be seen moving through the trees towards the stone circle upon the hill.  As the figure emerged from the trees the revelers saw what appeared to be a nude woman of unearthly beauty walking up the hill to the stone circle.  She had long honey colored hair that blew about her in the warm summer breeze.  Galthran told them all to be silent and not to approach her, as this was nymph that had come to visit the sacred stones.  All who looked upon her could feel an uncontrollable wild passion building within them.  Their hearts hammered in their chests as if it were trying to break free.  The fey creature walked to the middle of the stones and turned towards the gathering.  She seemed to give a slight almost imperceptible nod to Galthran and then she vanished from sight.  Immediately, everyone felt the enchantment break and they were themselves again.  Galthran related how nymphs were quite rare in the Ivy Forest and that one may have been the only solitary nymph in the forest. He said that nymphs were dangerous unpredictable creatures and if that one had chose to reveal her full beauty upon them their hearts may have burst from sheer passion.  The elves told the adventurers that the standing stones were a fey crossroads that could transport those who stepped between them during the Festival far away to other fey crossroads.  The elves intended to make use of the stones on the final night of the Festival.

After this the first night of the festival was over.

Festival of High Summer
Day Two

On the second day the grig leader Nuur k’k’ and a five other grigs came to join the party as they heard that there was feywine to be had.  That evening they accompanied the other musicians with their small fiddles.  Always a mischievous lot they used their magic to cause the adventurers to dance an irresistible charmed dance.  Only some were affected, but others joined the enchanted dancers and raucous group enjoyed the joke.

At one point in the evening a flight of pixies glowing with faerie fire swirled into view.  The diminutive translucent winged creatures sipped from the cups of the elves and then proceeded to cast a glamer of a group of ghostly riders chasing a stag through the woods.  The elves clapped and called out with appreciation of the spectacle.  The pixies then proceeded to the stone circle and vanished.

Festival of High Summer
Day Three

This night was the height of the festival and the night that the party would sample the feywine.  Galadren, the leader of the group of elves, took out some fine crystal cups and began to pour out the wine.  Martijn and Lono refrained as the knight wanted to stay in control and aware of what was happening and the thief was a little wary.  When Galadren handed a cup to Gjord he said that he wished this to symbolize another healing of the rift between their two races.  Gjord agreed heartily.  Galifynakus then Gjord partook of the wine and the others waited to watch how they reacted.  First they became quite inebriated and in time they began to see a faint glowing aura of multicolored light coming from the trees the grass and their fellow revelers.  Elil, the elf maiden, explained that they were seeing the emanations of the life force that all living things emit.  The others except for the knight and the thief then began to drink the feywine as well.  In time they would suffer the full consequences of drinking feywine under the light of the High Summer moon.

Four magnificent unicorns then emerged from the forest and they made their way to the stone circle.  The elves and the druids were in awe for this was a living symbol of the nature deity Duvarion the Grey Unicorn.  The druids got to their knees in supplication at the foot of the hill.  The unicorns seemed to be drawing a strange ectoplasmic mist from the stones that swirled about their horns as if they were drawing some power from them.  Suddenly they neighed and began to charge down the side of the hill right at the kneeling druids.  The acolytes began to arise and back away in fear but Galthran stood his ground.  The unicorns charged right at him but right before they collided with him there was a flash and they vanished. Galthran said that unicorns had blessed their gathering and he took it as a personal sign from the deity Duvarion.  The druid told of how unicorns had not been seen in the forest since before the time of the Shadow Dragon and that their appearance here was a good indication that things were changing for the better.

All who drank the feywine were soon unable to see as the glowing echo intensified and soon drowned out all other vision.  They then fell into a trance where they muttered strange cryptic phrases in archaic elvish.  After this they fell into an enchanted sleep and were subject to the strange prophetic dreams that the wine brought.

NOTE:  If you could all do me favor and enter your dreams in the comments I would appreciate it, as I don’t have all the descriptions with me. –EJ

Festival of High Summer
Day Four & Day Five

The rest of the festival days were anticlimactic after that night although Lono did consume of the feywine on the following night.  His half-elven blood served him well however and he resisted the effects of the potent wine although he still had a strange dream.  Martijn stood firm on his decision and kept in control. Lono and the grigs had some fun at Gjord and Galifynakus’ expense as they kept arranging their sleeping bodies in awkward positions of embrace.  Martijn looked upon this tomfoolery with disdain, which made them all laugh harder.

On the final night the elves said their farewells and used the fey crossroads to return to the Silverwood.  The grigs also left, bounding into the woods, after thanking them all again.  The enchanted sleepers continued to sleep.  So, our heroes had an extended stay with the druids although only Lono, Martijn, Tursan, Norgrim, and the cat Jarvis would remember it.  Though they awoke at different times they did not all awaken until the morning of the 9th of Goldengrass!  The druids took care of the sleepers during this time and fed them a concoction of nuts, berries, and milk to sustain them.

2nd Day, Goldengrass the 9th, 1845

Later that day Galthran led them to the edge of the forest to return to the road back to Sulthe.  Before they departed Galthran said he was glad to have made new friends and he gave them each a carved wooden oak leaf on a woven necklace.  He said that no fey creatures of the Ivy Forest would harass them if they wore these.  The party thanked him for the gift and the hospitality he had shone.  They then proceeded northward to Sulthe to find the elf jeweler Rumil.

Near dusk they knocked on the jewelers door and he let them in.  Rumil was happy to see them as it had been some time (25 days to be exact) and the elf was worried that they did not survive their foray into Gormoon’s ruined tower.  They showed him the recovered sapphire and the elf’s eyes shone with delight.  He said that he would have the gem cut by tomorrow evening.  So the party left him to his work and they left their horses behind, as the elf had taken good care of them (especially after the small fortune they left behind for their care).  They proceeded into the city to find an inn.

They got into the city right before the city guards were about to close the gate for the evening.  They went to the Laughing Ogre a small cozy inn located near the south gate owned by two sisters that are known to have some magical talent.  Their names are Beruna and Leanna and they both are middle-aged women with dark brown hair and green eyes (in fact they look very similar).  They always keep a wand or two in their belts as they are tending the bar.  Svarnos, remembering that they were wizards, asked if they knew anything about fixing their torn Bag of Holding.  The sisters looked skeptical that it would be possible to fix.  It was at this point that Leanna remembered that someone was looking for a party matching their description.  She said a ranger named Eldan was looking for them and if they wished they could seek him out at the Jaded Unicorn in Berengel as he would be there for the rest of the month.  This excited the heroes, as the last they heard of Eldan was that he was gathering information about the ruins of Riveon.  They intended to meet up with him as soon as possible.  Gjord, Martijn, and Galifynakus then decided to have a drinking contest.  They purchased a whole bottle of Hadramoorian Firewater (this is what drew the Hadramoorian knight into the challenge) and began taking shots.  Beruna called out that a drinking contest was going on and some of the patrons of the inn gathered round and started placing bets.  Many shots later Martijn passed out, followed by the dwarf, and the barbarian won the contest.  In fact he proceeded to finish off the whole bottle!  The crowd applauded as Galifynakus broke into a drunken song.  The sisters said that his feat of drinking would be remembered for some time at the Laughing Ogre.

3rd Day, Goldengrass the 10th, 1845

The next day the party (with some hung-over members) explored the city and purchased some new provisions, clothes, and even masterwork weapons with their newfound wealth.  Later in the evening they went back to Rumil who showed them the fantastic results of his work.  The sapphire was now a true treasure expertly cut and as they held it in their hands it reflected the light into bluish rays like a thousand distant stars.  Rumil thanked them again concerning his daughter and he said that he would be returning to Avaneth shortly so they probably would not see each other again although he hoped that one day they would.  They party returned to the city and spent another night at the Laughing Ogre (stabling their horses this time).

4th Day, Goldengrass the 10th, 1845
6th Day, Goldengrass the 12th, 1845

It took two days to travel to Berengel by way of Grisoan.  Grisoan proved to be a small wood and earthwork-fortified town.  The place had a feeling of a large barracks as it was populated with many soldiers.  This town was staging area for the constant watch upon the lands to the north that are under the dominion of the Shadow Dragon.  They stayed at the Golden Barrel Inn.

On the way just outside Berengel they passed the tower of Aness the elven sorceress.  They were a bit wary encountering her just yet however due to what Lono saw in his feywine induced dream. (See comments for the dream.)

They finally arrived in Berengel by noontime.  They finally met up with Eldan at the Jaded Unicorn and this is what the weather worn ranger told them.  


He had been scouting the area around Riveon and he had even entered the citadel itself.  The outer city wall of the ruin was mostly still intact except for two places upon its northern side facing the River Arcas.  Orcs patrol the walls, which are battlemented stone and stand 20’ tall with 30’ guard towers at various intervals.  Inside most of the buildings are burnt out, collapsed due to neglect, or just rotting husks.  Some are being used as barracks, warg stables, storage, and smithies.  Creatures that Eldan saw other than orcs included, wargs, goblins (that seemed to be subjugated by the orcs), ogres and a vicious larger breed of what looked like some sort of monstrous orc.  For lack of a better name Eldan called them “Black Orcs”.  Some of these orcs bore shields bearing the dragonhead device – a symbol of the Shadow Dragon.

Eldan said that there was a fortress in the center of the city with a high tower rising above it.  The top of the tower appeared to be made of glass and iron like a large domed greenhouse.

Eldan was discovered and barely escaped with his life.  He used an old ranger trick and used black pepper to hinder the scent trail of the wargs.

Some days later he captured a lone orc and got some information out of him before he sent him to the Nine Hells.  There is a ruler of the ruined citadel that the orc called Gorthukon (which means master in orcish) and from what the ranger could gather he does not think it is an orc.  The main fortress is only manned by the “Black Orcs” no other orcs are allowed within.  The orc was also afraid that if he told too much the master would feed him to his pet, which he seemed terrified of.  The descriptions that the foul creature gave Eldan were vague but Eldan thinks it may be a dragon of some kind.

After his scouting mission Eldan traveled to the city of Senion to visit the great library there.  He hoped to find maps or other pertinent information about Riveon.  He found nothing but a list of names of designers and architects of the city and the great fortress.  He saw that all were human and most assuredly long dead except for one who was a dwarf and possibly still alive.  The dwarfs name was Brognor and he was actually a somewhat famous architect having designed a great many structures in his time.  The ranger went to the local stonemasons guild and discovered that the dwarf was alive and living in Senion!

Eldan found the dwarf and the poor old coot was quite senile.  His son was taking care of him and helped Eldan in his conversation with the dwarf.  Brognor gave Eldan some old maps of the fortress of Riveon once the home of Duke Curthor Malavon and his family.  He told of how Duke Curthor had them design and construct an underground tunnel leading from the castle chapel to the family vault in the cemetery as he wished upon occasion to visit and pray among the bones of his ancestors without having to stroll amongst the commoners of the city to do it.  Eldan knew he had found a possibly way into the heart of the fortress and his dream of rooting out the evil of Riveon looked as if it could come true.

The Maps of Castle Riveon

He asked the adventurers if they still wished to join him.  Most were in agreement and Martijn saw this as an honorable quest.  Lono and Svarnos needed a little coaxing however but were convinced when Eldan spoke of the treasures that assuredly laid in wait for those bold enough to seek them.

The party wanted to visit with Aness and her apprentice Vanen however.  They were curious about Lono’s dream and they thought maybe the sorceress knew something more about Riveon.

Svarnos, Martijn, and Lono took off for the sorceresses’ tower and they left the black cylinder behind with the party.  At the entrance to the tower the magical stone golem that guards it allowed them to pass and the door opened.  Vanen and Aness both greeted them warmly and took them to a sitting room to have some tea.  Svarnos tried to ask about fixing the Bag of Holding again but the sorceress dashed his hopes completely this time as she told him it would be easier to create a new one (which is really no easy task).  The wizard then began to ask her about other items that they had and Aness asked where they acquired them.  The wizard vaguely stated that they were fighting bugbears in the Ivy Forest and that is where they acquired the magical items.  This led to a play of words that led to a discussion of a black cylinder.

NOTE: I am leaving this part unclear, as I can’t exactly remember how the discussion of the cylinder came about. Svarnos was being vague as he wanted more clues but was loath to give away that they had a cylinder. I know that Aness detected deception from Svarnos and soon the party was revealing more information with Lono even relating his dream to her.  If you guys could help me out in the comments it would be greatly appreciated. -EJ

Aness said she would not speak more on the subject unless she cast the Geas (a spell that places a magical command upon a person to carry out some service or to refrain from some action, as desired by the wizard) that upon the heroes.  For she did not want what she was to say to ever be told to anyone else.  Svarnos and Lono were very reluctant to have this happen but Martijn (in his usual fashion) knelt before the sorceress and stated that he would accept whatever charge she would lay upon him.  There was an argument but eventually the heroes could see they would get no further with Aness without the Geas.  They said they must have the sanction and the presence of the rest of their party before making such a decision.  They returned to the inn and explained the situation to the rest of the group.  There was some trepidation from Eldan and Norgrim but Tursan was ready to follow Martijn’s lead as usual.  So, they returned to the tower after dusk fell and Aness was ready with her spell to begin the casting of the Geas upon them.  Svarnos and Fionnula could tell that the spell was enhanced somehow as the Geas is usually cast upon one individual creature at a time but this spell seemed to effect the whole party.  Even Vanen her apprentice had it cast upon him.  Now that they were under the spell, Aness seemed to relax and she began to tell them of what she called the Shadow Cylinders.

“There are three cylinders containing the sundered fragments of the scroll of Myrthas.  Myrthas was the archmage that founded the Wizard’s Isle over 900 years ago.  Myrthas was a gifted seer and shortly before his death he used powerful magic to see far into the future to find out what would be the outcome of his teaching others his arcane secrets.  He feared that in time the power that he shared for the sake of his fellow men would be corrupted and used for evil purposes.  Using complex supernatural rites he hurled his sight far into future time and saw the events of many centuries in a single moment.”

“Thus, he witnessed the coming of the Shadow Dragon Zorvoath.  He realized that this entity was to be the greatest threat to the lands he had known and loved all his life.  So, he planned a way to thwart this coming evil.  Calling upon the forces of the elemental planes he created a magical artifact.  A scroll upon which was written a secret plan to halt the dark future that he had witnessed in his prophecy.  The scroll was not written in ink upon parchment. It was sorcerously created out of alien substances from other planes.  The scroll was indecipherable and Myrthas told that it would reveal its secret when its need was greatest.  This secrecy was needed because Myrthas also saw that if those who would ally themselves with the Shadow Dragon ever read the scroll they could undo his plan.”

“After the passing of Myrthas the scroll was secured in Myrthas’ Tower that which we now know as the Howling Tower.  Over the centuries it was forgotten and the tower stood alone in the wilderness, yet still defended by magical servants and spells.”

“Only after the coming of Zorvoath was the existence of the scroll rediscovered by the wizard Moandor, the current archmage of Vegraine.  Yet, the discovery was too late.  After Pelegrim, Myrthas’ Tower was the next stronghold to be assaulted and taken.  It is believed that somehow Zorvoath knew about the prophecy and his attack upon the tower was solely aimed at obtaining it.  Thus depriving his victims of their only true hope against him.  Moandor used his powers to discover the fate of the scroll and he found that the Dragon had his fanatic warlocks try to destroy the scroll for they could not decipher the runes upon it.  The scroll proved impossible to destroy and they were only capable of rending it into three pieces.  In frustration they encased each piece into magic prisons – cylinders made of bizarre metal from the demi-plane of Shadow.  These warlocks then tried to send the pieces into that dire plane.  In this they were incapable for the spells that Myrthas cast upon the scroll went into action.  The fragments of the scroll (though unable to shed their cylindrical prisons) teleported away from the clutches of Zorvoath.”

Aness related how she now suspected that the fragments went to each of the good-hearted archmages in Malavon.  Each found the cylinder within their treasuries but they never spoke of it to each other for there was a great rivalry based upon foolish pride between them.  The archmages were Moandor (Aness knew about his possession of a cylinder for he was her mentor in the magical arts), Gormoon (who’s cylinder was found by our heroes), and Cyndara court magician of Riveon.  Cyndara was an illusionist of great power and not really an archmage, her title among wizards was Mistress of Phantasms.

Then Aness told them the greatest secret and this was the main reason she had put them under the Geas.  Moander the archmage of Vegraine was dead and now there was no living arch mage in all the lands.  When Zorvoath attacked one hundred years ago Moandor proved the only one who could take the Shadow Dragon head on.  He polymorphed into a great silver dragon and forced Zorvoath to retreat while the knights and warriors of Malavon and Elnarra drove his forces back from Miragar.  If the Shadow Dragon knew that the arch mage was dead he would not hesitate to attack again and this time nothing could stop him!

Moandor was very old and was sustaining himself by supernatural means for some time.  He claimed that since the cylinder came to him over time he felt as if he was being watched, even on Vegraine.  He would see shadows at the corner of his vision and hear whispers in the dark at night.  He no longer felt safe anywhere even within his chambers.  Aness said she believes that this strange paranoia contributed to his demise.  Aness has told the other wizards of Vegraine that their master has gone on a long voyage to Xoranara in search of some rare components.  She does not know how long she can keep up this ruse.

Aness said that she also has the feeling of being watched and that she feels it would be unwise for her to leave the safety of her tower.  This began two weeks after she received the cylinder that she charged Vanen with retrieving from its hiding place on the Wizard’s Isle.  She feels that there is some curse connected to the Shadow Cylinders.

Moandor, before his death, gave his most faithful apprentice Aness a powerful spell that would break the enchantment upon the cylinders and free them of their prisons. This spell can be used but once so all three cylinders must be present to utilize it.

Aness believes that the last cylinder may still be in Riveon.  She said she would keep Gormoons cylinder safe if the party would leave it with her for it may prove dangerous to possess it for them in time.  She offered to help the party identify the magic items they had found and perhaps help them in other ways if they would tell her of what they discovered in Riveon.

She also related this last piece of information.  When Zorvoath and his forces attacked Riveon long ago it was always known that that there was some inside help for the attackers for Mistress Cyndara was found murdered in her chambers.  Therefore she could not come to the aid of the city against the assault.  Aness always suspected one of Cyndara’s many apprentices especially an ambitious spellbinder named Ilnath.

So, it was now late in the evening and the candles in the room burned low.  A grand adventure had come upon the heroes.  Though it came with solemn news that was perhaps either a new hope or a dire fate for Malavon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Give your characters some personality.

This is a great article that I found that could really help you develop your characters backgrounds. Remember in our game that role-playing your character well is a major factor in how much experience points you receive each gaming session.  Give it a try, I started using the article for some of the non-player characters in the game and it was fun to do and has really helped in fleshing them out.

I'll be posting stuff like this occasionally in case your in the mood to do something D&Dish between gaming sessions.