Treatise on Eruna - Page 3 - Myth-Weavers

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World of Farland

A world conquered by evil and ruled by the Lords of Sin; A unique campaign setting designed to be used with all editions of D&D.


Treatise on Eruna

   
PART THREE OF AN ONGOING PROJECT (p3 done)


PEOPLE OF THE CEN-CENLA

Outlanders, water-fat, grass-perfumed, see only a thousand square miles of dust and sand, a lifeless realm inhabited by howling ghosts of the starved, and beasts that have no place in a sane world. Yet the Cen-Cenla Desert, largest of its kind, is home to a rich culture that has survived the collapse of Ishia, withstood the ascendancy of the Scale Anchorites, and even learned how to live alongside the unsettling lords of its interior.

Of these, the nomadic tribes of the Turuk are the most well-known, charting routes through the desert to the scattered oases it hides. Most Turuks are human, a very few with a touch of elven blood, though their tribes often include members of other races who have proven themselves worthy. Constant hardship has made these people tougher and more pragmatic than most, that has left them a dubious reputation among the settled peoples on the borders of the Cen-Cenla. They see a Turuk and fear being bled dry to slake the eternal thirst of these dune drifters.

Whilst Turuks genuinely are not averse to drinking blood, they do so far more intelligently than the ignorant could understand, only rarely tapping the veins of their healthiest animals and avoiding killing them. Indeed, the number and health of a tribe's animals is the measure of its wealth. Goats are the usual livestock, being hardy enough to survive conditions that would kill other cattle, but the richest tribes are those who breed camels, or those who dare to trade with an Abussi village.

Cousins of the Turuk, the Abussi abandoned their nomadic ways and established permanent camps, always near to a deep ravine or gully, curiously overflowing with life. The Abussi gather a unique ore from the caves of this habitat, fashioning it into charms and tokens that are worth a fortune to collectors, but will barter for them only with their Turuk kindred - and then, only if they prove their courage by following the Abussi artisans to their source below the earth.

Here, away from the relentless heat, Abussi prostrate themselves before the masters of the region. If the Turuk accompanying them panics, they make no effort to help the stricken fool, who will be stung and taken deeper still. For these are the brood-lairs of the tlincalli, monstrous creatures with a vaguely humanoid upper body and the terrible lower body of a scorpion. The mysterious ore used by the Abussi in their craft is, in truth, the shed chitin of a maturing tlincalli, hatched in the cool chambers far below the surface and fed upon the harvest from their farms above. Or, on occasion, the living bounty of a Turuk lacking in courage.

Quite how the Abussi developed this relationship with the fearsome scorpion-folk is a mystery to the parties themselves, who keep no records and tell few stories of their history. Elsewhere in the Cen-Cenla, tlincalli live in small family groups that tend to kill anything they encounter during their wanderings in order to restock their supplies, or otherwise submit to a greater power such as a giant or dragon. It is also unclear what the settled tlincalli get out of the arrangement, since even the largest Abussi village would be no match for anything that could threaten the lair - and, in all likelihood, are safer for living nearby.

However, the existence of mutual enemies does suggest an explanation. Along the eastern borders of the Cen-Cenla, where it rises up to become the Mountains of the Sun and the Kuluba Range, dozens of warrens have been dug out by kobolds pledged to the service of sand dragons. In Njarakere, Scale Anchorites commanded by the Crimson Python are a growing power, strong enough to operate openly, unlike their fellows elsewhere. In the east, atop Mount Hayre, a monastic order under the tutelage of an ancient qilin has held an unending grudge against the tlincalli. And in the northernmost reaches, and below their feet, the grim shadow of long-lost Ishia lies in wait for them to make a mistake.

One of the smallest groups in the Cen-Cenla, though no less influential because of it, are the Idimbi missionaries from neighboring Badala. These grim figures are the most visible presence of the warrior-god cult that has taken hold in Badala, descended from Ishian refugees who worshiped their version of Kantor, and who seek now to convert the heathens beyond their borders to the true faith - in their fanatical madness, those who refuse to see the light of reason are clearly servants of darkness, and must thus be put to the sword.

As it happens, very few of the Turuks and none of the Abussi have converted, which has resulted in a growing unity between the tribes as their members are attacked without, as they see it, any good cause. Badalan villages on the edges of the Cen-Cenla are especially fearful of retribution from the desert nomads, who know full well that the Idimbi stock up on supplies and fervor there. They do not have a great deal to fear, luckily, for whilst an individual Turuk might seek bloody vengeance by proxy, the tribes as a whole are intelligent and pragmatic enough to know this would not solve their problem.

*****

SHAKA'S CLOISTER

"I thought it was pronounced 'ki-rin'. Oh, it's one of those Kunese...whatchamacallems? Dialectical difference...things?" - many confused pilgrims

The ancient qi-lin Shaka has resided atop Mount Hayre for the last two thousand years, an outcast of his kindred back in Yrrkune for having supported the invasion of the Fereksfold. This mistaken judgement cost him dearly, for the forces of the Wintervale correctly saw him as a threat and set a trap, luring him to the supposed aid of a beleaguered Kunese outpost. Although he escaped with his life, much of his power was spent in the process, and even today the scars he received in the ambush pain him greatly. Humiliated, on the verge of death and madness, Shaka abandoned his original name and purpose, fleeing far to the south to hide and heal.

Although much of his physical and magical strength has been recovered, his mind is still fragile, obsessing over finding a way to redeem himself and be revenged upon the Wintervale. Over the last three hundred years, Shaka has become convinced that the ferekkin and the tlincalli, both creatures that live underground, must have colluded in his downfall, despite the many obvious flaws of this belief. As a result, the pilgrims who visit him at his mountain home have begun training for war against the scorpion-folk of the Cen-Cenla and their supposed allies, harassing Turuk tribes known to trade with the Abussi and trying to develop an antivenom to protect against tlincalli poison.

It has been nearly a decade since Shaka himself last emerged from his inner sanctum within the warrior monastery that has grown up around him. He still speaks to his most trusted adherents from time to time, praising their guerrilla efforts and blessing them as his magic permits, with much of his power expended on enchanting the equipment crafted by his artisans, be it a simple wooden club or intricate steel mail. The weapons and armour produced in Shaka's Cloister are famed throughout Eruna - though by Farlandish standards, they would not even warrant a mention in an apprentice's primer.

*****

KHADDAM ALHAQIQA - SERVANTS OF TRUTH

"I stand against my brother, he and I stand against our cousin, our cousins and we stand against the stranger. Have you a message of condolence our sisters may carry to yours, stranger?" - traditional greeting by a Khadim to another

Enter that land where desert sands become mountain stones, and a traveler's every step will be marked by a thousand red eyes unseen and ever-watchful. If one should linger overlong without invitation, they will quickly be expelled by the watchful kobolds, protecting their home and its ancient caretakers, who remember well the ancient days before the fall of Ishia, or the scrapings that would become mighty Wawmar, or even the songs of Galdin Palantar. These are the Khaddam Alhaqiqa, forgotten creations of Tanarus and Sulis, for all that their distant cousins still inspire terror and respect across the world - but for the sand dragons of Eruna, this obscurity is eagerly sought as they labour towards their ultimate, impossibly ambitious goal.

Whereas a metallic dragon is inclined towards Order and Good, and a chromatic dragon is inclined towards Chaos and Evil, a sand dragon condemns these tendencies as impositions upon free will, which they call the Qalb Alhaqiqa, the Heart of Truth. To a sand dragon, truth is beyond any morality, able to express Order no differently to Chaos, or Good no differently to Evil; a perfect neutrality from which action may be decided, regardless of what consequence that action may have. It is deceit that a sand dragon will abhor over all else, considering it the root cause of all suffering.

Knowing this allows one to understand the rationale behind their desire, the Great Plan to avenge Núrion itself against the Eldest Deception, when the essences of the primordial gods of evil that spawned Vornoth were subsumed by him into the Book of Seven. It is from this act, so the sand dragons reason, that the destiny of the cosmos was mutated and Núrion became as it is. In order to complete this task, so they believe, several things must be accomplished.

The most readily achievable of these, relatively speaking, is the total and permanent destruction of all beings empowered by the Book of Seven, namely the Dweller in the Wintervale and all former and current Lords of Sin, along with the physical structure of the Book of Seven itself. This success would allow them to return to their original and impossible focus, namely the punishing of Vornoth for creating the possibility of the Book of Seven in the first place. Quite how this is to be achieved, and what form the punishment should take, has done more to divide them than any other problem in their long history.

Their disagreements on these details mean that they are only technically working in unison, but are more likely to spend their time and energy trying to change their minds of their philosophical rivals rather than actually enacting the schemes they may have spent centuries putting together. Even assuming they succeed in convincing another of the correctness of their interpretation of the Great Plan, it will usually have taken so long that they need to rethink their strategy as the opportune time for their former plots has passed them by.

Unlike most races with an understanding of morality, sand dragons do not acknowledge it in themselves, arguing that it is far too easily twisted to suit an argument to be a valid descriptor of so complex a thing as a sentient being. There is only one path to follow, say the sand dragons, and that is the path of truth. You may be a truthful creature, or a dishonest one, and it is that alone which determines your value to the Great Plan. Whether your actions are representative of any particular moral outlook is, to their philosophy, an irrelevance and only their possible contribution to the Great Plan may be considered.

Thus, even between the most hostile of rivals, there is almost no violence beyond the verbal. It would not be uncommon for a Good and an Evil sand dragon to cooperate in a debate with others if they believe their actions would further the Great Plan better, only to argue with each other at the same time over exactly what their actions would constitute - and, of course, any sand dragon listening in, even if broadly opposed to their intentions, will happily reinforce or denigrate their more specific points with equal gusto.

Strictly speaking, the term 'Khaddam Alhaqiqa' is an inclusive and plural one, referring not only to the sand dragons themselves, but also to any who work with them closely, such as most of Eruna's population of kobolds, half-breed children who stay with their draconic parent, and the most valued of their allies of any race - be it elf, dwarf, human or even one of the dark folk. As they readily explain, the sand dragons do not care who or what is on their side, or even whether they are concerned saintly or heinous by the rest of the world, so long as they are honest and reliable.

Regardless, to all of these who prove their worth is offered the choice to undergo an unfortunately excruciating ritual that will make them into a true Khadim, warded against all forms of trickery and deception, and able to call upon the guidance of the Almahmia - no less than the very same sand dragons who founded the order, and whose wisdom and power is preserved in the mighty statues their bodies were magically transformed into.

For most, the temporary agonies of the ritual are no price at all to pay. For the dark folk, this choice is between two equally horrific slaveries, as whilst they are born helpless to the power of the Dark Will, to undergo the ritual ensures servitude to the collective consciousness of the Almahmia. The more noble among them may try to justify this as the lesser of two evils, for at least they will agree with the orders of the Almahmia and can, if they choose to, ignore them. However, if they do this, the power of the ritual is broken and its protection against the influence of the Dark Will vanishes - never again will they be able to know peace from its corruption.

*****

ANXAMUT ISHI - LIFE SHALL ALWAYS TRIUMPH OVER DEATH

The more astute may look at a map of Eruna and wonder to themselves at the similar names of its major settlements, despite the vastly different cultures that dwell in them. The answer to this riddle lies far back in the mists of time, before the rasilhi'in, when the ancient empire of Ishia - The Ever Victorious, in its long-lost tongue - yet ruled across the Cen-Cenla, from shore to shore of Lonely and Fornaer Seas, to the feet of the Kuluba Range and with trade outposts even unto the Dansira Gulf and Cape Dembele.

In those times, the word 'kere' meant a place of powerful earth magic, and was suffixed to the name of every architect who built a temple-city at that site. Today, only the five most resilient remain inhabited, with Njarakere the largest and most magnificent, its five thousand residents slaving and dying in the desert heat with little hope of escaping to a better life in Takere or Maronakere. Of the other temple-cities, dedicated to the more ephemeral primordial elements, nothing remains on the surface and even most modern Ishians have forgotten they ever existed.

Beneath the sands however, in the buried streets and halls of the past, a half-life stirs. New passages are dug by untiring hands, and new chants sung from dust-dry throats. The slow rebirth of Old Ishia is well underway, tlincalli seeking new nest sites triggering the traps of resurrection set long ago by Pharoah Akhenut the Lord of Decay, a necromancer of unfathomable talent and prized servant of Grlaarsh. The Turuk and Abussi, descendants of the slaves that once built Ishia, have only the faintest inkling of the enemy rising beneath their feet.

In Budum-Ishi, Akhenut has awoken again, still bound by elf-wards in his sarcophagus below the city. His vizier Amhefor, better known as the Elder of the Serpent Council, works to break these wards and release his master, intending to steal away his power and rule over a new eternal empire in his stead. As it happens, Akhenut's continued imprisonment and the sheer length of time since his first death have both weakened the magic he left behind - and whether pharoah or vizier, a dreadful war will need to be fought to control the reborn Ishia.

Its lost cities have indeed been resurrected, but no mindless undead wander them. Instead, as with Akhenut himself, the dead were clothed in flesh and given back their thoughts - they had become Anxamut, the Dead Who Live. Once the shock and horror at their condition wore off, the Anxamut rallied around their old pharoahs, breaking into the pyramids that had once served as their tombs and freeing them. The consequences of this were inescapable and predictable.

*****

REIGN, INTERRUPTED

One of the more peculiar customs of the Ishian civilisation was mummification. The preserving of a body would protect its departed spirit, so they thought, allowing it to continue in its duties properly in the afterlife. Although the most powerful ritual protections of mummification were reserved for the nobility, a cruder variant was available even to the poorest member of society - else how would things get done in the afterlife, if there were no workers, no slaves to perform their tasks? This idea of perpetuity, that one's role in life and in death remained the same, was one of the core philosophies of Ishia.

Now all of a sudden, dozens of pharoahs and their most loyal servants found themselves alive again, at the same time as those who had preceded and followed them. Each of them had been an absolute authority, praised as a god-incarnate, in their mortal lives. Each of them could not but see every other as a usurper, a challenger to their resumed reign, interrupted briefly by death. Of course, putting down these insurrections was extremely difficult, for the Anxamut Pharoahs were neither living nor dead, and the usual rules for destroying either barely applied.

Eventually, Khitawel Eyes-of-the-Moon, in life the fiercest and wiliest ruler of her age, stumbled upon the secret. One by one, she lured her enemies to her with false promises of surrender and obeisance, only to capture them and painstakingly undo the process of mummification that granted them their curious immortality. Then, ensuring the totality of their defeat, she devoured their life-essence, fortifying herself tremendously in the process. In a matter of decades, Khitawel had exterminated her rivals in three of the lost cities.

By this time, her advantage was gone. Others had begun the same campaign, rarely as subtly, but no less effectively. In time, the invisible war ground to a halt, with none of the Anxamut Pharoahs able to move against another without making themselves vulnerable to a third. For many centuries, this delicate balance was maintained undisturbed, and the Anxamut continued to dig out their buried cities, killing or driving away any who intruded, until their homes became infamous for their inexplicable lethality, and are widely believed to be cursed.

The Anxamut suffer many of the usual limitations of undeath, not least the difficulty in replenishing their numbers due to accident or violence. However, through an adapted mummification process, they have been able to revive the corpses of the recently deceased, usually adventurers, tomb robbers and the like; and infused them with fragments of Anxamut souls. These unfortunates are far more typical examples of the undead and have essentially become the new slave caste, being utterly subservient to true Anxamut.

*****

THE EXTANT ANXAMUT ROYAL HOUSES

If one includes imprisoned Akhenut, raging impotently beneath Budum-Ishi, there are eight royal houses, and one rogue force, of Old Ishia that have survived their spirit-cannibalistic civil war and are biding their time - either until they find a way to overcome their rivals, or a sufficiently great threat arises that an alliance of convenience must be brokered. These days they are unofficially bound by a truce, delaying any return of open hostilities between them, but this is understood to be a temporary measure.

Of these, Khitawel Eyes-of-the-Moon is one of the most powerful and influential, though she commands but a small domain just within the borders of
Note to Farland: Start with drawing a line down from the "T" in Takere and another line left from the bottom of the "B" in Badala. Kallubak is where they meet, Ptanurath is ten miles south, and Ahreni is fifteen miles east.
Badala. Having established formidable magical wards around her three cities of Kallubak, Ptanurath, and the capitol Ahreni, the lands Pharoah Khitawel control are practically unassailable by conventional means, and she herself has consumed the life-essence of more rivals than any of the other Anxamut. For this reason alone she commands the respect of the others, even if that respect is tempered by fear and envy.

Beneath the modern buildings of Maronakere, the Twinned Brilliance of Heaven and their servants are expanding especially slowly and secretively, curiously respectful of their living descendants. Even for their time in life, the twin brothers Ankhuneref and Sukhuneref were a peaceful and merciful pair, ruling jointly as the Incarnate Sun and Moon, rather than fighting over the throne or splitting the kingdom. In undeath, their goal seems to be a true revival of their old ways, and a slow and peaceful one at that.

Hedjenni the Sylvan, last and greatest queen of a line of elf-blooded pharoahs, rules over
Note to Farland: Draw a line up from the "H" of Mt. Hayre and another line left from the "F" of the Konowula Forest. Tamaruq is where they meet.
Tamaruq still, the House of the Wise. Tamaruq is located very close to an Abussi village, so Hedjenni keeps a close eye on them and their tlincalli allies, keeping the diggings of either party from meeting. However, a far greater threat that she watches is located only twenty miles to the north of Tamaruq, in its sister-city Afenaruq, the Loremaster's Citadel.

When used in a name, the Old Ishian word 'aruq' represented the virtue of wisdom, and both Tamaruq and Afenaruq are overflowing with invaluable plaques and relics of the lost empire. However, whilst in the former they are being used to rebuild the lost glory of Ishia, in the latter they are being hoarded by Nefepertu Ever-Damned. He is no pharoah, but a high priest of limitless ambition, who in undeath finally overthrew his former master. Among the Anxamut, it is generally believed that Neferpertu will be the one to break the peace and it is Hedjenni who is the first line of defense should this happen.

One of the more surprising surviving royal houses is that of Akhenetsi, a minor queen who had been on the throne for less than a year before plague ravaged Ishia and killed most of the population. Perhaps it was because she was of so little import in life that her rivals overlooked her in undeath. As a result, she commands one of the largest and most defensible Anxamut territories, stretching from
Note to Farland: This city is located just above the "Mts" in the Mts of the Sun
Paddumakka, the Ruinous Altar of the Valiant, to
Note to Farland: This city is located just below the "Sun" in the Mts of the Sun
Paddubiya, the Ruinous Altar of Bronze. Both are warshrines to Padmek-ka, the Old Ishian aspect of Kantor, and were military hubs of their day, housing over twenty thousand elite footsoldiers and close to eighteen hundred chariots. All now serve Akhenetsi again.

In terms of size, Akhenetsi's domain is exceeded only by that of Abmenefer, who rules most of the Cen-Cenla's southern reaches from
Note to Farland: This city is just to the left of the "k" in the Kuluba Range.
Khenraxut, his influence stretching from the Kuluba Range to the foothills of Mt Hayre. The city's chief architect, Khenri, was one of the more adept pyromancers of Old Ishia, and the word 'axut' meant a place of powerful elemental flame - the great plaza at the heart of the city was designed specifically as a ritual circle facilitating the summoning of salamander lords, efreeti sultans and similarly powerful fire elementals; and the city itself was built into the side of a dormant volcano.

Approximately two hundred miles south of Njarakere is the realm of Tarsesaf Thrice-Avenged-Of-Widowing who rules from
Note to Farland: Close to the "a" in the Cen-Cenla Desert notation.
Dijamsawhu, the City of Poison Winds, the word 'sahwu' representing the elemental power of air. As her title implies, Tarsesaf married and was widowed three times, managing to exact vengeance on the murderers, before finally being assassinated herself. In undeath however, she has had the last laugh, raising a legion of undead wyverns from the boneyard over which Dijamsawhu was built and was named for.

Tarsesaf is not alone in ruling her kingdom, however, and is aided by her daughter Nebet, a vicious and spoiled brat by any account, not even ten when she joined her mother in death. Now a horror delighting in sadistic games, but unable to inflict any real harm on her subjects, Nebet is always pushing her mother to resume the war between Anxamut so as to expand their territory and seize living toys for her. Fortunately for all mortals in the Cen-Cenla, Tarsesaf is somewhat more merciful and far more patient than the shrieking nightmare of her undead child.

Appropriately, the last of the royal houses of Old Ishia is that of Sebseket the Uniter and Teshtrite Beloved-of-Athwar-ke, for they were the oldest and most gloried of the true pharaohs, and indeed the pair who birthed the nation. Sebseket earned his title by absorbing the lesser kingdoms and conquering the petty warlords who resisted peaceful overtures, whilst Teshtrite was seen as an avatar of Athwar-ke, as they called Bestra, and acted as a moderating influence on her husband. They dwell in
Note to Farland: Follow the river (named in the Binjala portion as the Ulu'ware) on the left of the Nyagawulu Forest notation to its source. Ashkhabbut is there.
Ashkhabbut, at the source of the Ulu'ware River. The Old Ishian word 'habbut' meant a place of powerful elemental water, and Ashkhabbut was built to venerate and channel this power - few know that the source of the Ulu'ware River is actually the Elemental Plane of Water, dripping into the mortal realm through minute permanent portals in the temples and altars of Ashkhabbut.

That works really well. And I’m loving the Scorpion-folk and sand dragons.

A decent-sized update there. Tiny smidge on Binjala and Forola added, though I'm not 100% happy with how I've worded it, leaves something of an unpleasant taste at the moment. Will need to work on that a lot I think. Once the Cen-Cenla and the Sutherlands are complete, I'll get to work on Badala and Jila - then a separate, considerable update containing laws, names, historical points of interest and suchlike for each part of Eruna and the Selfhaven Archipelago.

After that, it'll be the dividing line of the Greatwall Mountains and Cadocia. Still on track for a New Year's completion, I've got a fair bit of stuff saved as very rough drafts that I'm polishing before uploading here.

Thanks, man. No rush on that if you need to push it back. Also, make a note in the text where you want me to insert a monster or NPC stat write-up, etc. I can do the crunchy stuff and then we can work it out together. I will work through these updates over the next few days.

PART FOUR OF AN ONGOING PROJECT (unfinished)


THE SCALE ANCHORITES

Victory plumed and revenge choked. Tenacity girded and strength warded. Wisdom enfolded and fury worn. Death mastered. - Creed of the Rainbow Serpent

The Scale Anchorites were first recorded in Forola, seemingly just one of many spirit-animal cults, until they began to kill or drive off all the others. Their goals were remarkably straightforward - seize every relic and sacrament of every cult and religion they could. What truly set them apart from others of their kind was that they invariably discarded these trophies once they had claimed them, even if, on rare occasions, there was potent magic in them.

It was not until recently that a mercenary group out of Kojikere learned the truth, that the Scale Anchorites were after a very specific set of items which they called The Divided Prison and which house portions of their terrible master, the Rainbow Serpent. Once reunited, the pieces of The Divided Prison would transform the wearer into an avatar of the Rainbow Serpent, allowing the mysterious entity to return to existence and resume its grim path towards godhood.

Whether or not that particular aspect of their ambition is correct, the Scale Anchorites are certainly under no illusions as to the difficulty of their task. They neither know where each piece of The Divided Prison is, nor what it looks like, nor how many of them there are - though they do have suspicions. Should they recover a potential piece, the only way to confirm it is by sacrificing one of their highest leaders to awaken and feed the spirit within. Even then, appeasing the ravenous hunger of the abomination requires almost more blood and souls than they can provide, further delaying the unification of the pieces.

The hierarchy of the Scale Anchorites is fairly standard for a cult of their sort, from lowly initiate to pain-tested acolyte to high priest, but whereas most cults serve under a single leader, they obey the commands of a group of seven. It is one of these seven who must be sacrificed to a supposed piece of The Divided Prison in a long and bloody ritual that, horribly, they look forward to. Its torment is one of the few things, so they believe, that they will be able to feel again, for in order to ascend to their position, they must inflict such horrors upon themselves and others that they became jaded and inured to emotion and sensation.

Other than this, practically nothing is known about these seven. The most infamous is perhaps the Azure Viper of Hangeria, a dark elf who ostensibly just runs the local pit fights, but the most open is the Crimson Python who operates out of Njarakere, an ettin whose two heads are uniquely amicable to each other. The Golden Mamba is believed to be a yuan-ti pureblood hiding somewhere in Forola, doubtless where the cult originated. There are reports of a Kunese smuggler operating out of Inharbor who sometimes goes by the name Jade Cobra, and worrying tales of a vampiric dwarf in Wawmar called the Mauve Adder. Supposedly there is even a halfling called the Lavender Boa in the Wild Lands beyond Belendale and Kale, though this tends to elicit amusement rather than horror in those who hear this particular rumour.

Of the last, a disowned bastard of the Badalan royal house named Saffron Krait, their location is even more uncertain than most of their fellows. Eight years ago, they assembled a ship and crew, set sail east on the Fornaer Sea and were never heard of again. It is a strange thing, however, that they did not seem to do so haphazardly, but with a clear destination in mind. Supplies were stocked, charts were consulted, and weather mages hired, all based on what was openly claimed to be a half-year voyage at most.

*****

THE DIVIDED PRISON OF THE RAINBOW SERPENT

Amber Shield of Perseverance
Hold now this: the heirloom of our house, my son. Your inheritance, our honour, is passed from me, as it was once passed from my father, and from his father before him. Know truly, as you are become a man from a boy, that for so long as this guards you, an open door can offer your back no harm. - The Passing of the Shield, as recited by the Silverbows of the Hofvarar tribe



>>>

Amethyst Bulwark of Defiance
If you can read this cipher, then you will know what has been lost. The magnitude of the Order's failure. Alas, despite our seven hundred years of service, we did not understand. Pray to whatever god you hold most dear, be it the Merciful One, or the Walker in Darkness, that this was but the first piece to be reclaimed. - A curious note found among the possessions of the Lord of Pride following the Liberation of Kale



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Citrine Blade of Ending
Remember what I told you. When you are let within, you must try to take in all that you see of it. You will forget something. We all do. But that memory, that most precious and vivid thought that stays with you ever after? Ah, that will be in every weapon you forge thereafter. - The Apprentice's Final Instruction, as given by Master Dakran of the derro forgecity Tumodan



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Emerald Ring of Serenity
Worthless incompetent! Cretinous wretch! For failures a tenth less important than yours I have had flayed alive servants worth ten of you! Yet you dare to crawl before me and plead failure twice! Whatever spirit of mercy possessed me then has departed this plane! As now, vile dretch-feed, shall you! - the Rainbow Serpent passes judgement on the previous Azure Viper

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Iolite Cloak of Revelation
Yes-yes, it whispers. Soft-soft things in day, secret-dark things in night, to me yes it does-does! Nasty and skulky plots bubbling in-in your mind, yes, it tells me-me. But you have-have fallen into my-my trap-scheme, frozen-still by spell it-it gave me. Now I kill-slay you-you, liar-sneaky traitor-liar! Squeeeyaaragh! - last words of Waychooser Skitkrich the Discoverer of Plots to his unamused umber hulk bodyguard



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Ruby Necklace of Retribution
No doubt a charm put together by some barbarian war-chanter who found a pretty stone on his last sacrifice. Just touching this damned thing is making me...tense. Hateful. Could pawn it off to one of those beasts in Haigrog, I suppose. No doubt they could find a bazok or somesuch that could use it. For a few minutes each time, anyway. - Kunese smuggler in Inharbor, considering his next port of call



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Sapphire Helm of Triumph
He picked it up, then a strange look came into his eyes, like he was listening to something far away. My Mordularian is somewhat rusty, but I believe he spoke one of the Greater Commands as he put it on. Regardless, the item took umbrage at something about him. I will join the exorcists shortly. Excavation shall resume tomorrow. - last diary entry of priest-engineer Azvarroth, found at the abandoned Nurbinak dig site






[Dividing this entry from the previous Binjala-Forolan mix, as it is a more widespread phenomenon than just in the Sutherlands. Incidentally, massive update to Binjala and Forola, with a few more bites to follow once I finish editing them. Feel a whole bunch happier with how they read now too.]

It reads great. Cool, magic items for me to stat up, right?

Yep, a lovely little septet of cursed sentient items housing the disparate soul portions of the mysterious entity calling itself the Rainbow Serpent. Individually, they are perfectly adequate mid-level equipment, even controllable if the spirit fragment within is dormant. But as each piece is roused and united with its fellows, the power they provide soon proves itself too great for mortals to wield and remain...unchanged.

I'm setting them up in the world now, but sometime next year, the outline of a full 'Age of Worms'-style campaign will begin to materialise. Mainly to justify having more than one of them to show up in the same game and, as an added bonus, provide players with a great opportunity to go off the rails in every direction imaginable. Provided their DM is suitably inventive, of course.

Sounds like they form Voltron. Love it! haha But seriously, cool idea. I will stat them out at a later date and run them by you for approval.

Little sand dragon present for you in the Cen-Cenla.

Early Christmas! Haha







 

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