Saturday, February 8, 2020

AD&D 2e NPCs

Ways of Flesh, Power of Mind

I am called Zeren. My ways are my own, and my future is unknown to all save Zerthimon. My, past, however, is open to those who are worthy to know. I see into your heart, and I will consider you worthy.


Long before I was born, a group of 'zerth broke free from the king of the Githzerai, establishing a keep in the city of Sigil. They had come to _know_ of other Arts, used by the illithids, that the arts of a zerth had little defense against. They _knew_ that this power came from within, and so established their monastery so that they might _know_ it further.

Time became their ally, as Zerthimon taught. Each small step provided a foundation for the next, until a large victory could be claimed: The first 'zerth to _know_ the Ways of the Mind was trained. His body, however, was weak, and he could not long endure. The balance of his mind and body was not maintained.

A new generation, however, was trained by him, and by the zerth who _knew_ the ways of war. At first, they were taught with steel, as was the way of 'zerth for many centuries. It was learned, though, that studies of the Way of the Mind left little time to master the Scripture of Steel. So, another generation passed while the 'zerth came to _know_ the Ways of Flesh; though the Way of Flesh was the tool of the illithids, it came easily to those who _knew_ themselves.

Generations have passed since then, and the Ways of Flesh, Mind, and Steel have since merged. I spent my youth learning of them, in our monastery in Sigil. Many studied with me, but only I survived the loss of Sigil... and our home. The ancient enemy of The People, the illithids, have raised their many-tentacled heads, and they stand with those that have destroyed our home, and disrupted the balance that must exist in all things, if anything is to exist.

I am the last of my kind, though the People persist. Where they stand, I know not. I know only that I must stand where the balance demands. My thoughts have gone to a world known as Toril, and my spirit tells me this is where the balance can be decided. Thus, that is where my flesh shall go. May Zerthimon's coming be soon.




Zeren finds something to help him walk with, and he stumbles down the ramp and out into the open air. Using the methods he has been trained to employ before battle brings back fleeting memories of life at the monastary. Zeren is almost instantly overcome with dizziness. The faces of his friends, teachers, and fellow students flash before his eyes, and are one-by-one erased. Zeren still bears the memory of having known these people, but somehow the details of their lives, their smiles, their clothing, their mannerisms, all are vanishing one at a time. This overwhelms Zeren for a few seconds, after which time he has to think hard to convince himself that the people in these memories actually did exist.


Opening his eyes, Zeren can see only the knights in the manor house and the soldiers from the ship. No visible threats, but the panic is only getting worse as more and more faces dissapear from his mind's eye.

I can feel them slipping from my mind. Each moment, some word or thought that had been passed on to me... some bit of lore that the People had come to *know*... slips from my mind along with the person who told me of it. There went another face.... one his name was crystal clear, and his image was one that I am sure I love, but it all softens to generalities... it could be the face of any Githzerai.

Who was this person? I *know* that I knew him once... was he my first instructor in the Way of Flesh? Do I associate him with our kicking drills... or is he the teacher I met just before we left Sigil, who began my class upon the Way of the Mentalist? Why do these faces and names disappear? Is it because they are dead?

No... Father Mordo is dead, but I recall his face and name. It is as if my entire past no longer exists, and I am created again, at this moment. It is as if I am created out of nothing, with no past and no progenitor. I am a being capable of creating myself.... I cannot die, for one cannot destroy something with that power. I know of Zerthimonn, and the history of him, and these others call me a name very similar. Am I Zerthimonn, then, returned to save my people again? Have the illithids, or Gith's rebels, clouded my mind, inserting half-memories of a person named 'Zeren' to confuse me as to my true self?

Their illusions have broken; my mind is too strong for their lies, as it was too quick for the illithids to contain so long ago. I am myself again. I must find my People, and lead them again; if those who oppose them have sought to could my mind, to make it so I do not *know* myself, then they must be about to strike. They will be sorely treated, for Zerthimonn has returned, and I will unite my people against their foes.

Zeren, Githzerai Fighter/Psionicist (Sensei Kit)

Str: 13
Dex: 15
Con: 17
Int: 13
Wis: 17
Chr: 12
Ht: 6'1"
Wt: 185#
Age: 21

Appearance: Zeren is tall, but not painfully thin like many of his kin; rather, he is well-muscled and somewhat slender to human eyes. His head is kept completely shaved, except for a thin moustache and beard. His eyes are very dark, so you can hardly distinguish the pupil, and, though his clothes are very simple, he prominently wears a purple earring in his right ear.

Fighter Level: 4
Fighter XP: 11,875
Psionicist Level: 4
Psionicist XP: 11,875
HP: 41
Fighter HD Rolls: 10, 10, 6, 9
Psionicist HD Rolls: 6, 6, 5, 6

AC: 7 (-1 Dex, -2 Martial Arts D)
ThAC0: 17; 15 Unarmed; 14 with kicks; 16 with a weapon
Magic Resistance: 20%
Saves:
P/P/D: 13
Rod, Staff, Wand: 15
P/P: 10
Breath: 16
Spell: 15 (+2 vs. enchantment/charm, +4 vs. mind affecting spells)

Weapon Proficiencies:
Martial Arts: B (specialist)
Martial Arts: A
Martial Arts: D
Singing Sticks*

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:
Bonus:
Tumbling (15)
Crystal Focus (17)
Normal:
Spring (15)
Flying Kick (13)
Instant Stand (15)
Psionic Lore (14)
Ancient History: Githzerai (12)
Modern Language: Common (13)
Reading/Writing: Common (14)

Natural Abilities:
Magic Resistance (5% per level)
Infravision: 60'
Plane Shift at will

Psionic Abilities:
Primary Discipline: Psychometabolism
Secondary Discipline: Telepathy
Sciences: Energy Containment (15), Complete Healing (17)
Devotions: Photosynthesis (18), Flesh Armor (14), Heightened Senses (17), Contact (18), Id Insinuation (14), Enhanced Strength (15), ESP (14), Cause Decay (15), Send Thoughts (12)
Mental Defenses : Mind Blank (11), Tower of Iron Will (16)
PSPs: 62

Equipment:
Plain brown tunic and pants, rope belt, soft shoes
Boots of the North
Singing Sticks*
Satchel
7 days rations
Waterskin
12 small crystals in a belt pouch
Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon (Holy Item)
Amethyst earring (attuned to Tower of Iron Will)
10 platinum
Uncounted Pouch of Money from Nigel

*Dark Sun Weapon. Singing Sticks consist of two wooden sticks, one inch in diameter and two and a half feet in length. They're wielded one in each hand, and proficient users can use them without the usual penalty for wielding two weapons. Speed factor: 2, d6/d4 damage, and weigh 1 pound. They are considered a martial arts weapon, so can be used with martial arts maneuvers.




Scales, Blood, and Vengeance

Am Slerszek of Hoar. You work against the Cracken, yes? You wish them dead? Then will hold my blade, and not take your life, yes... You wish my story? To know why am as am? Can tell you, yessss... but then we must kill Cracken.



Once, was priest of Sestisss, who you call Tempusss. He was strong, but betrayed my peoplesss... when the Cracken came, he did not aid usss. We were taken, made slavesss. Would not sssurrender, and fought against my chainsss each day, until one of the foul Cracken ssstruck me down, and left me to perissshh on the floor of a cave.

As bled on the floor, felt the Godsss around me, and spoke to them. If one would grant me ssstrengthhh, would take the war to the foul Cracken, and have my vengeanccce against those who had forced my people into slavery. Felt crackle of lightning as struck me once, twice, thriccce.. my woundsss were healed, and Hoar had branded me, yesss? These are hisss mark, and symbol of what isss holy, yesss?

Began my war, then, yesss. At first, had no more than a club with a stone lassshed to itsss end, and sssoon a ssspear of wood made hard with flamesss. Each Cracken killed givesss me meat, weaponsss... enough to fight some more, yesss? Sssixxx passingsss of Ssselune, and one gave my ring, Ring of Warmblood, yes? My war grew more fierce, then, and fought longer, harder, and could hide in cool caves and mountaintops with Warmblood, where other could not follow.

Had fought for ten turningsss when met my clan again; all were under geas, and tried to ssslay me. None walked away, though that fight nearly crippled me, and yielded no meat that Slerszek would eat. Was cold, hungry, hurt... in another turning, one turning ago, wasss captured. A wizzzard, one with the Cracken, broke my body with magic, yesss? Bound me with a magic word, yesss, to follow the ordersss of one of the Cracken... you people ssslew that Cracken, broke my geasss. Now we ssslay Cracken, yesss?

Name: Slerszek
Race: Varanid
Class: Ranger
AL: LG
Str: 16
Dex: 17
Con: 15
Int: 12
Wis: 14
Chr: 10

Hgt: 6'2
Wgt: 230
Eyes: Gold
Skin: Mottled Green and Gray, with three white lightning bolts on his left breast
Hair: None
Description: 'Zek, as he is usually known amongst those who have difficulty with the sibilant Varanid language, is a lean lizard-man with mottled green and gray scales, and three white lightning bolts on his left breast. Tall by most standards, his skin is cool to the touch, and he often carries a multitude of weapons, not the least of which include his tail, teeth, and talons. Though he is wild and violent, especially towards Cracken and Shusshi, he is still essentially a good being; he does not attack needlessly, and takes special steps to protect those weaker than himself. He does not see this as a weakness, but rather a display of strength; his strength is so great that he can share it, protecting those who cannot fend for themselves. An unabashed cannibal, 'Zek tends to regard fallen foes as perfectly acceptable meals, though he's not so dim as to stop in the middle of a battle to feast, nor so unworldly as to realize that eating the corpses of one's allies is frowned upon.

Lvl: 4
Experience: 9000
H.P.: 37
HD Rolls: 10, 10, 6, 7
THAC0: 17, 15 with missiles
A.C. : 3 (7 natural, -3 from Dex, -1 from Kote)

Saving Throws:
P, P, D: 13
R, S, W: 15
P, P: 14
B.W : 16 (+3 for Dex)
Spell: 16

Proficiencies:
Weapon: Cahulaks, Natural Fighting (17), Puchik, Dejada and Pelota
NonWeapon: Tracking (15), Survival: Jungle (12), Modern Language: Common (12), Hunting (13), Set Snares (16), Blind-Fighting, Swimming (16), Modern Languages: Draconian (12)

Ranger Abilities:
Climbing: 40%
Detect Noise: 49%
Find and Remove Wilderness Traps: 33%
Hide in Shadows: 25%
Move Silently: 33%
Species Enemy: Shussi and Cracken
Sneak Attack: *2 damage
Tracking

Equipment:
Cahulaks 1D6+1/1D6+1 damage, Speed Factor 5
Puchik 1D4+2/1D4+2 damage, Speed Factor 2
Talid 1D6+1/1D6 damage, Speed factor 2
Dejada 1D8+1/1D6+1 damage, Speed Factor 8, Range 1/2/3
5 Pelota (for use with Dejada)
Kote and left-hand gauntlet
Weapons Harness
Ring of Warmth

'Zek's unusual weapons are from the Complete Gladiator, and described below:
Dejada
Weight: 8lbs for Dejada
Size: M
Type: P or B, depending on Pelota
Speed Factor: 8
Damage: S-M/L 1D8/1D6
ROF: 1/1
Range: 1/2/3

The dejada consists of a long, scooped basket (cestum) worn on the arm and used to propel projectiles (pelota) at a very high rate of speed. The cestum, in 'Zek's case, is made from the rib bones of a fallen enemy, with a long, slender curved basket woven between them. 'Zek inserts his hand into a hole at the bottom, where a glove-like handle is placed. 'Zek's cestum is a little over 2 feet long, and 6 inches wide. It is usually attached to his weapon's harness when not in use, opposite a small bag of pelota. 'Zek wears this on his left hand when in use.
'Zek's pelota are balls of clay and stone, about 2 inches in diameter, though he can also use stones or almost anything round and about 2-4 inches. Most of his pelota are made at the nightly fire, a core of stone surrounded by a baked outer layer of clay, giving them enough weight to injure an armored man, but shattering on impact, spreading slivers of ceramics into the flesh of anyone not blessed with scales (and many who are). When hurled with the cestum, a pelota regularly achieves speeds in excess of 200 mph.

Puchik
Weight: 1 lbs
Size: S
Type: P/S
Speed Factor: 2
Damage: 1D4+1/1D4+1
The puchik is a punching and parrying weapon designed for close fighting. It is a dagger, 2 feet long, with hand guards jutting from t he hilt at a 45 degree angle to protect the wielder. The grip of the puchik is perpendicular to the length of the blade and held in place by the two prongs extending down from the hand guards. Holed leather straps (currently made from the joint-hide of a Susshi) wrap around the hilt to keep the grip from slipping in blood-soaked hands.
The puchik can be used to trap a weapon. If 'Zek rolls a successful parry and then a successful Pin attack (with a -4 to hit) against his opponent, he can hold his opponent's weapon until the foe can win a Strength contest with 'Zek. Zek uses this in his left hand, but usually only when other weapons are broken or disarmed.

Talid
Weight: 1 lbs.
Size: S
Type: P/S/B
Speed Factor: 2
Damage: 1D6/1D6-1
The talid, also known as a gladiator's gauntlet, is an improved version of the cestus. The talid is made of stiff leather with bone plating on the hand cover and all along the forearm. Metal spikes protrude from each of the knuckles and along the back of the hand. A sharp blade runs along the thumb for cramped fighting styles, and there is a six inch metal spike on the elbow. 'Zek's talid is fitted for his right hand.

Cahulaks
Weight: 12 lbs
Size: M
Type: P/B
Speed Factor: 5
Damage: 1D6/1D6
Cahulaks are a pair of four-bladed weapons held together with a 12 foot length of braided leather. The blades of 'Zek's weapon are steel, and their hafts are made of ironwood. 'Zek commonly uses one in each hand as melee weapons, though he can throw them to entangle an opponent. At one point, he also made a habit of using the connecting rope as a throttle cord, fastening it tightly around the neck of an opponent before striking repeatedly with the double blades. Since almost losing his weapons in a wild melee, he now only does this when he can gain surprise against his foes, and commonly only against the largest of enemies (such as the Susshi). Should he throw the weapon at someone, the target will suffer two attacks and, if both hit, a man-sized or small creature will be entangled unless he saves vs. petrification. Being entangled prevents normal attacks and movement for one round.



Lost Gods and Old Gnomes

For one of my kin, I have always possessed a certain amount of calm that eludes my people. I'm not quite sure why this is, but the bubbling bucolicness of my people seems to have slipped right by me. I am, I'm afraid, somewhat of an embarrassment to the rest of my Clan, the Tavartarr. Until you find a name you like better for me, you can call me Kappelheim.


I was raised, fortuitously enough, amongst the Gnome Clans of the Golden Hills, on Bytopia. Its an interesting life, growing up surrounded by Petitioners who were your ancestors, and I think it inclines a gnome to think about his history; where his people come from, and what they're doing in the worlds. I spent many a long hour in the halls of knowledge that the Lords of the Golden Hills keep for us, and many more questioning elders and petitioners long-dead for knowledge that might have never been written down.

Though I studied at wizardry, like many of my fellows, I never had the true knack for it; I was better than most, but I would never match our true masters of the craft. My fingers were fine and skillful enough to learn the lesser illusions of stage magic that I still enjoy, but I never really devoted as much time to that as others, either. It kept coming back to history for me. So, while others were working at forges or robbing sheep for their wool, I was sitting quietly, looking through storybooks and histories that would tell me more about who my people were in ages past.

It was during such a story-hunt that I came across a passage that would change my life. It was an old book. the oldest one I had found, and certainly older than most of the petitioners I had spoken to over my fifty years of life. The passage was a difficult one; the language was so old that it was almost half-dwarven, and there were some elvish roots in there, as well. However, it read:

"And the Lords of the Golden Hills, together with their sisters, worked great magics to drive back Urdlen and his brood. Garl's magic tricked them into tunneling downward for nearly a decade before they realized that they were not going up, and Flandal's fires sprung up wherever a tunnel drew too close to the surface. Where a gnome was injured, Shamil's touch would heal him, and no spawn of Urdlen could get past Duvamil to reach the children of the Gnomish Folk."

At first, I read quickly through the passage, thinking it was merely another recounting of the skills of the Lords of the Golden Hills. But, as I prepared to turn the page, the first line jumped out at me again.

"And the Lords of the Golden Hills, together with their sisters,"

Their sisters! The lost sisters of the Lords of the Golden Hills! I had two names, now. Shamil and Duvamil. two names of our lost Ladies of the Golden Hills. I started searching through more books, trying to find the names again, but they would only appear in tiny references in books long-forgotten. In other places, though, I would find torn-out pages, or blotted passages soon after the names appeared, or amidst books of ritual and lore of the Lords. Signs that our past had not just slipped away, but been obscured, been cast into the dark where no gnome would be able to find it.

Before I knew it, I was almost one hundred. I had spent fifty years following these two names through gnomish history, and found little more than snippets of information. I could not call the skills I had acquired a trade; too little magic to be a magician, no skill with crafts or weapons to speak of; only history and forgotten lore. Unlike other gnomes of my age, though, I knew what I wished to do; I needed to travel, to find other places where word of the Ladies of the Golden Hills might be hiding. I told my family that I was off to search for the lost sister gods. they smiled, thinking wanderlust had finally bitten me after so many years surrounded by books. But, unlike so many other gnomes who had spoken those words, I meant it. I was to find the lost sister gods, even if I must scour the Astral Plane to do so. I contacted my cousin, Niplipirious, and began to work for him, searching through the planes for objects people hired us to find, and at the same time for any lore that might relate to the Lost Ladies.

I hope to find them soon, and bring them home to their people. The Lords of the Golden Hills will always be our Lords, but I and others feel the loss of our Ladies. I hope they will remember us. I hope.

Uncle Vergadain, God of Wealth and Luck, the Merchant King, Kappelheim Tavartarr sends you greetings.
I know that this is a momentous time across the whole of creation, and that my request here is not one of great importance in this time of crisis. However, it is one I feel I must make in anticipation of a future in which the Multiverse is restored to its rightful balance. As you no doubt know, I have devoted much of my life to the search for the Sisters of the Golden Hills; the lost Goddesses who once watched over my people. My own Grandfathers, the Lords of the Golden Hills, will not speak of them, but all my race feel the sadness within them. As a God who has long been a friend to my people and their Grandfathers, I ask that, should this quest survive, you share with me what knowledge you have of my lost Grandmothers. I know that you have great resources, far-flung contacts, and close friendships, and I beg you to call upon them on my behalf, should this venture succeed.
I do not wish to cause my Grandfathers pain with the resurrection of this knowledge, but I feel that my people must know what has happened to our Grandmothers, to fill a void that is keenly felt in our souls.
In the name of Shamil and Duvamil,
Kappelheim Tavartarr, Gnome and Bard

Kappelheim Tavartarr
Gnome Loremaster, 15th level
Str: 11
Dex: 12
Con: 16
Int: 19
Wis: 16 (18 due to the Circle of Ages)
Chr: 15
Ht: 3'4"
Wt: 44#
Age: 127 (aging modifiers for middle age are included in stats above)

Description:
(If you have a copy of the game, Stone Prophet, and perhaps Menzoberranzan or Strahd's Possession, too, you'll be able to find the image I have of this character amongst the available male portraits).
Kappel is an average-sized gnome of middle years. His eyes are a startling blue when seen against his dark skin, and his hair is white (though he still has a full head of it, thank you very much.) His nose is moderately sized (for a gnome); its not handsomely huge, but neither is it meekly miniscule. Kappel's eyes are starting to go a little bit, so he usually wears glasses, but he can get along fine without them, if he has to (he also thinks they look good on him).
Most commonly, Kappel wears a dark green overcoat with a high collar and gold trim. In addition to being a damn fine piece of clothing, it is also a magic item (see below for details). He has been working for his cousin for nearly 30 years and, though he could settle down now that he's older, he's still driven to find more information

Level: 15
XP: 1,178,324
HP: 78 (38 rolled, +20 Constitution, +10 for levels 11-15, +10 for the Circle of Ages)
AC: 3
ThAC0: 13
Saves:
P/P/D: 10
Rod, Staff, Wand: 4
P/P: 9
Breath: 13
Spells: 5 (+4 vs. mind affecting spells)

Weapon Proficiencies:
Dagger
Sling
Hand Crossbow
Two-Weapon Fighting Style
Quarterstaff

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:
Bonus:
Ancient History (Gnome) 20
Ancient Languages (Old Gnome) 19
Navigation 17
Reading/Writing (Modern Gnome) 20
Beginning:
Arcanology 16
Sage Knowledge: History (Gnome Specialization) 17
Research 19
Religion 18
Spellcraft 17
Engineering 16
Modern Language: Common 19
Reading/Writing: Common 20
Level Advancement:
Modern Language: Dwarf 20
Appraising 19
Local History: Sigil 15

Natural Abilities:
+4 save vs. Spells and Rod/Staff/Wands (already figured in)
20% failure with non-weapon, armor, shield, illusionist, thief, or bard items
+1 to hit Kobolds and Goblins
+4 AC vs. gnolls, bugbears, ogres, trolls, ogre magi, giants, titans
60' Infravision
Detect Grade/Slope 5/6
Detect Unsafe walls/ceiling/floors 7/10
Determine Depth 4/6
Determine Direction 3/6
Immune to 1st level Illusions
Class Abilities:
Pick Pockets: 56%
Detect Noise: 79%
Climb Walls: 80%
Read Languages: 95%
Legend Lore: 75%
Arcane Lore: Casts spells as if 1 level higher, Wisdom check to use magical item
Persuasion: Others suffer -5 on paralysis save when attempting to resist reaction modification
Etymology: Can make Read Language check twice if language is Ancient; Can decipher any ancient visual communication with check; with successful Ancient Languages check, can get elementary use (spoken and written) of an ancient language not known.
Bard Spell Points: 275 (183 *1.5 for Circle of Ages) (Can only cast spells available to Illusionists)

Equipment:
The Greatcoat:
Kappelheim's Greatcoat comes from a backwater Prime World that he visited many years ago. The client, a human, had commissioned Niplipirious to find the item, and was dismayed when he found out its actual size. Kappelheim was able to buy it from the disappointed customer at a very low price because of this. He has since found it to be a great boon in his travels, and considers himself to look damn sharp in it.
Magically, the greatcoat is quite potent. It confers an AC 5 to Kappelheim, and gives him a +2 to all saving throws. In addition, the many interior pockets make it the equivalent of a Pouch of Accessibility, and acts as a Ring of Warmth when worn. Non-magically, it is also fairly waterproof.

The Glasses:
Kappelheim's glasses are not as impressive, though he is rather fond of them. These small, gold-rimmed glasses attach neatly to a chain attached to his lapel, and close tightly across his nose when he's using them. They magically correct his vision to average gnomish vision, and also provide the effect of a Lens of Speed Reading. He found them on one of his first missions for Niplipirious, which involved a delve into a supposedly abandoned wizard's tower (the team received a substantial bonus for killing the lich that lived there, though Kappel has never told his cousin that it was actually the lich's fault; his fireball happened to collapse the tower, and the falling rock destroyed the phylactery. Kappel and his crew did nothing but grab the stuff and run.)

The Swagger-stick
Most of the time, Kappelheim can be seen to carry walking stick, perfectly sized for him. Made out of fine walnut, the wood is polished to a deep luster, and topped with a large crystal. This is a half-burnt out Gem of Brightness; it has no charges remaining, and only the first function (normal light) still works. He had this item specially made for him by a gnomish illusionist within Sigil, and when not in use (or he thinks its likely to get stolen), Kappel places the stick inside his coat.

The Circle of Ages -- Relic
The circle is made of diamond. It is a circle about 4 inches in diameter and about an inch and a half thick. It has a hole in the center. For lack of a better word its the same size and shape as a big donut.
Nip believed that the item itself dates to the creation of Sigil, whenever the hell that was. He never told you why he wanted it retrieved, or who paid him for its retrieval. You know that its not Nip's style to send you guys out hunting for items just for his own personal collection. He prefers to find what _other_ people want and then make them pay out the nose for it.
This item is one of the most powerful items Nip has ever tried to acquire, at least that's what he's told you.

Known Constant Powers:
Detect Magic
Continual Light at will
Read Magic
User +10 max hitpoints
User +2 wisdom
User 150% maximum spell points

Known Minor Powers:
Phantom Steed once per week
Fireshield once per week
Wall of Ice once per week
Know Alignment twice per day

Known Major Powers:
Legend Lore once per month
Heal once per week

Deep Red Sphere -- +1 strength
Pale Lavender -- No food or water required
Blue-Green Spindle -- airy-water in 10' radius at will
Clear Prism -- Stores 8 spell levels -- current contents unknown
Pale Green Ellipsoid -- absorbs spells 5th-8th level -- current remaining strength unknown
Pink & Green Ellipsoid -- absorbs spells 1st-4th level -- current remaining strength unknown
Silver Rod -- +1 to electrical saves
Pulsing Red Star -- +1 to fire saves
Rod of Security
Wand of Conjuration
Saw of Mighty Cutting
Spade of Collosal Excavation
4 potions of heroism
Staff of the Conjurer
Dagger -- the intelligent one that doesn't like giants
Girdle of Many Pouches
Bruknard's Everfull Purse
Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals
Mist Tent

Weapons:
Dagger +2, Longtooth
Hand Crossbow of Speed
Intelligent Dagger (Speak Common, Dwarven, and Giant; detects gems, precious metals, and traps; can cause paralysis to giants if they are hit by it)
Ring of Mind Shielding
Ring of Resistance (Illusion)
Bracers of Defense (AC 3)
Ring of Protection (+3, 5' radius)
20 Hand Crossbow quarrels
Winter Blanket
Flint and steel
Ink, ten sheets parchment (in scroll case), 3 wood pens
5 candles, 10 pieces chalk (never know when you might need an impromptu pentagram, after all)
Bell
Magnifying glass
Small metal mirror

Kapp's Spellbook (actually a collection of scrolls, stashed in the pockets of his coat)
Armor, Audible Glamer, Cantrip, Charm Person, Color Spray, Comprehend Languages, Conjure Spell Components, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Enlarge, Feather Fall, Friends, Identify, Mending, Phantasmal Force, Read Magic, Shocking Grasp, Sleep Spook, Unseen Servant, Wizard Mark
Blindness, Continual Light, ESP, Forget, Invisibility, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Melf's Acid Arrow, Mirror Image, Rary's Aptitude Appropriator, Wizard Lock
Alamir's Fundamental Breakdown, Dispel Magic, Explosive Runes, Flame Arrow, Fly, Gust of Wind, Haste, Hold Person, Leomund's Tiny Hut, Melf's Minute Meteors, Slow, Spectral Force, Tongues
Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Improved Invisibility, Leomund's Secure Shelter, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph Other, Shadow Monsters, Stoneskin, Summon Lycanthrope
Advanced Illusion, Conjure Elementals, Demi-Shadow Monsters, Monster Summoning III, Shadow Magic, Teleport
Control Weather, Enchant an Item, Invisible Stalker, Legend Lore, Geas

Nashur's Spellbook
Armor, Grease, Mount, Find Familiar, Spider Climb, Color Spray, Identify, Protection from Evil, Wizard Mark, Unseen Servant, -Conjure Spell Components, Burning Hands, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Enlarge, Phantasmal Force
Glitterdust, Melf's Acid Arrow, Summon Swarm, Continual Light, Strength, Invisibility, Alter Self, Detect Invisibility, Fool's Gold, -Irritation, Knock, Locate Object, Mirror Image, Protection from Cantrips, Pyrotecnics, Spectral Hand, Wizard Lock
Flame Arrow, Monster Summoning I, Phantom Steed, Sepia Snake Sigil, Watery Double, Dispel Magic, Explosive Runes, Fly, -Gust of Wind, Haste, Water Breathing, Infravision, Item, Leomund's Tiny Hut, Melf's Minute Meteors, Protection from Normal Missiles, Slow, Spectral Force, Vampiric Touch
Evard's Black Tentacles, Monster Summoning II, Summon Lycanthrope, Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Emotion, Enchanted Weapon, Fear, Hallucinatory Terrain, Improved Invis, Minor Creation, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, Plant Growth, Polymorph Self, -Remove Curse, Stone Skin, Wizard Eye
Conjure Elemental, Khazid's Procurement, Leomund's Secret Chest, Monster Summoning III, Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound, Summon Shadow
Airy Water, Animal Growth, Chaos, Fabricate, Monster Summoning IV, Stone Shape, Transmute Rock to Mud Enchanted Weapon, Fear, Hallucinatory Terrain, Improved Invis, Minor Creation, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, Plant Growth, Polymorph Self, -Remove Curse, Stone Skin, Wizard Eye
Conjure Elemental, Khazid's Procurement, Leomund's Secret Chest, Monster Summoning III, Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound, Summon Shadow
Airy Water, Animal Growth, Chaos, Fabricate, Monster Summoning IV, Stone Shape, Transmute Rock to Mud
Conjure Animals, Ensnarement, Forest's Fiery Constrictor, Invisible Stalker, Anti-Magic Shell, Death Fog, Enchant an Item, Eyebite, Guards & Wards, Move Earth, Tenser's Transformation
Drawmij's Instant Summons, Intensify Summoning, Limited Wish, Monster SUmmoning V, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion, Power Word, Stun, Prismatic Spray, Control Undead, Teleport Without Error
Conjure Animals, Ensnarement, Forest's Fiery Constrictor, Invisible Stalker, Anti-Magic Shell, Death Fog, Enchant an Item, Eyebite, Guards & Wards, Move Earth, Tenser's Transformation
Drawmij's Instant Summons, Intensify Summoning, Limited Wish, Monster SUmmoning V, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion, Power Word, Stun, Prismatic Spray, Control Undead, Teleport Without Error




Tempered, Yet Not Broken

I was always the restive sort. Can't be helped, I suppose, that I was born with a bit more wanderlust than desire to settle down and wait for a crop to come in, rather than be out in the open spaces of the world, seeing and smelling and feeling the world around me. I suppose I was a bit of a natural for the druids to come to, to teach the ways of the Goddess.
Those were a wonderful four years. My "lessons" were wandering through the woods of my home on Moray, south of Dynnegall, often accompanied by Fearghus, my master in the Druidic arts, and always by Ru, my father's old moorhound. Learning the baby-talk in the language of the oaks was my first step, progressing on to the teachings of the Goddess, and then to Her secret words and prayers that would cause the land to aid me, or allow me to give her aid to the land. I guess I got a deeper respect for my father from this. His hard work achieved the same things I'd seen the greatest druids do: bring life to a place once barren. It was a beautiful thing to see his fields spring up green where there had only been brown earth the night before, and he appreciated having a druid in the family to aid with the labors. We grew close, then, and I guess Da no longer blamed the Goddess for taking my mother when she gave him me.
Five years ago, though, the trolls came. Da and I fought them as best we could, he with torch and long-forgotten sword, I with spells and a blade of the Goddess's flame. The yard was a mass of screaming and squeals of pain, panicked animals stampeding through, roars of injured trolls and enraged bulls� blood and pain and noise. When my leaden arm stopped hacking, and the blade of flame disappeared from my fingers, four scorched troll carcasses lay at my feet� along with the half-eaten body of my father, his blade still buried in the troll who killed him, his torch smoldering on the rotten hair that covered it's body.
I don't remember much of the next few days. Fearghus came, along with some druids who I had met at the Festivals of the Goddess, and they helped me bury my father and butcher the stock that had been killed, and light a pyre for what couldn't be butchered, including old Ru. When the work was done, Fearghus and I walked off into the night. This is the first clear memory I have of that ten-day, and it still rings with clarity.
"I'm tired, Fearghus." I remember saying this as I sat on an old rock, still holding the warmth of the sunken sun.
"We're all tired, Cormac. It's been a rough few days, and then the battle before. But I sense that you mean something more� something that doesn't have to do with sore arms and," at this point he yawned, "weary eyes."
"I need to get away for a while, to stop being a druid. I'm too weary for it, now. Do you think I could still be one, still come back, if I'm ready later?"
Fearghus dropped his head, his shoulders sagging. I'd never realized how old he was, until then. The Goddess had always kept him so strong. "Aye, you could come back, so long as you keep her ways in the meantime. You did have that in mind, didn't ya?"
"Aye, that I did."
"Then take yerself to a friend o' mine in Dynnegall, Kirwan. He's a bard, and they keep the ways of the Goddess well enough, and you should have a fair hand at that kind of work. Learn that trade fer a few years, and see if your heart still years to be with the Goddess after that."
"I will. Thank ye, Fearghus."
I set out the next day, walking with the shillelagh that Fearghus had given me and a pack upon my back. It felt odd not to have Ru with me, and I kept turning to talk to him. However, the day was beautiful, the Shannyth blue, and the Goddess and her Sun were there to soak up my worries and sorrow.
I found Kirwan soaking in ale at Dynnegall's Red Stag Inn. I quickly sobered him (much to his displeasure) through use of my magic, and passed on Fearghus's recommendation. He eyed me carefully before speaking.
"Sing for me, boy. Tell me the tale of� of the Maiden of Highpeak"
I sat still for a bit, trying to remember that one. Kirwan sat impatiently, slamming his glass on the table, stomping, shuffling his feet� distracting me, as an audience would. I forced my thoughts into the story, weaving a subtle charm spell around him as I spoke. He listened to my words as I sang the sad song of the lonely Maiden in her castle of glass, and I soon had the entire inn standing around, eyes full of tears for her loneliness. A mug of ale was brought to me, and a handful of coins dropped on the table next to me.
"I've got myself an apprentice, then."
It took me a year to learn enough lore that he no longer called me "apprentice". We traveled a lot in that time, ranging across the Moonshaes, dealing with Northmen and the Synnorian elves, the dwarves and halflings, and, of course, the Ffolk. Each time we stopped, he'd tell a new tale, and expect me to know it by the next morning. Slowly, he taught me my letters and daily had me bloody my fingers on this damn harp. He coached my voice� he taught me everything a bard needs to know, and a few things he thought might be useful, then drilled me until I got it right.
After that year, we went to up the Sword Coast, sharing tales and more than a few fires. Though it still ached my heart to think of Da, I was slowly gaining in confidence, and didn't think about him as often. I suppose I was growing slowly as a bard, though I didn't really notice. I spent a lot of time keeping all of my skills honed, and honored the Goddess on each of her festivals. I always remembered who I was.
About a year ago, Kirwan and I parted ways. He wanted to head back to Moray, but I was still anxious to see the world. I traveled the river between Baldur's Gate and Berdusk, carrying messages for the mainland druids and other folks as I went, entertaining with words, songs, and magic. I was thinking of returning home to Moray when the local Grove reached out to me, asking me for aid. Always happy to help fellow druids, I'm setting off after this tale to speak with them. And, since I've brought you up to this morning, well, I suppose I'm done. Thank you for listening to me and� thank you ma'am, those coins will come in handy. And yes, miss, I'd like a refill on my ale, and take this for yourself.

The air is cool as Cormac, called the Wanderer, steps into the shade of the grove to the north of Elturel. He feels the quiet touch of Eldath's presence, the fatherly eyes of Silvanus, and the warm, earthy embrace of Chauntea as he walks to the well at the center, a brief prayer to the trio who rule this grove leaving his mouth, along with another to his own Goddess. The white robed druids step out from amidst the trees, and the forest is silent for this council.
"Cormac, we have need of you." The voice of the head druid is gentle and feminine, and her blue eyes glitter as she lowers her hood and approaches. Age doesn't line the elfin face, and no gray touches the golden glory of her hair, but the depth of her eyes speaks of more decades than Cormac has years.
"Of course, I will aid in any way I can, Lady. What is it that you require?" His voice has the forced clarity of one who has lost his heart in that instant. In his mind echo the words "I have never before, nor never again, seen a woman of such beauty."
"The balance is threatened by the actions of a few. As such, the Great Druid has decided to ask for the repayment of a favor, rendered long ago to a great dragon. We, the Council, require a man of courage to carry this message for us."
"Who is this dragon, and where does he lair?"
"It is the Red Wyrm, known to men as Firebrand, who lairs in the Storm Peaks. A map and supplies will be provided, of course."
"And the message?"
"That will also be provided."
"It shall be as you ask, lady. Before I leave to prepare, may I beg a favor of you?"
"Of course you may ask." The ghost of a smile touches her face, her teeth gleaming like ivory against her golden skin. "Whether or not it will be granted, however, is another matter."
"I ask, lady, what is your name?"
"Selanine of Eldath."
"Thank you, Selanine." Cormac takes her small hand in his, kissing the fingertips lightly, then pressing them to his chest. "I shall do as you, and the gods, ask."
The warmth of the sun washes over him as he steps from the grove, caressing his flesh and evaporating the coolness that had clung to him beneath the trees. As he walks back to Elturel, his heart is filled with the word "Selanine", and his mind with the painful knowledge that he has just fallen in love with an Archdruid.

Three days into the future that is now part of his past, Cormac will find himself picking through the through the Storm Peaks, the heat of a merciless sun will pound upon his skull. He will look at that map for the hundredth time that day, trying to follow the path he was told of. Naught will be growing in the barren land save rocks and dust, and they shall fill his boots and his mouth. Towards sunset, just as the harsh light disappears on the far side of the mountains, he will stumble into a cave, and the heat of the day will be replaced with the cold grip of fear; fear known to mice before owls, of sheep before a wold. Fear of that which preys upon creatures far below it. He will feel his breath catch in his breath, and be aware of every clack of two pebbles, and the sound of his own breath.
He will stumble in the darkness, his flesh feverish even as his soul freezes, until he will finally stand in the room that the dragon calls sanctum. To his mortal eyes, the dragon will stretch for leagues, a creature of such might that he will be sure that his mortal mind will break rather of comprehend it. In a wavering voice, he will address the beast, mindful of his own insignificance.
"Great and Powerful Firebrand, I bring you greetings from the Druids, who aided you so long ago!"
One awful eye will open, and Cormac will see in the depths of this beast's soul, where there is naught but flame and hatred. "BEGONE, MORTAL, LEST YOU VEX ME INTO DESTROYING YOU!"
Deep within, Cormac will find his voice... the voice that has called out to the Goddess, that has cut through the chatter of a thousand barrooms, the voice that belongs only to a man who knows his own strength, and is not ignorant of his weakness. That voice will speak out, saying "Great Firebrand, the Red Wyrm, I am sent to invoke your aid in the name of the oath that you swore to in your youth! I invoke the name of Eldath, whose waters soothed the burns of lightening upon your hide! I invoke the name of Silvanus, whose broad branches sheltered you from those that would have destroyed you! I invoke Chauntea, whose bounty sustained you in your recovery! In their names, I bind you, and demand that you perform a service, as you swore upon your life and hoard!"
Firebrand will feel the oath, so long ago sworn, clamp down upon him, and he will feel it work its way beneath his magic-soaked scales. compelling his obedience. He will rise up, screaming his rage, his wings brushing against the walls as he tries to deny that which cannot be denied. "WHAT DO YOU DEMAND, MORTAL? THOUGH I MUST SERVE, YOUR SAFETY IS NOT LONG GUARANTEED!"
Cormac will stare into the eyes of the dragon, his fear placed far from the face and voice he projects, and delivers his demand. "The blue who so long ago wounded you, known as Raven's Death, has been raised to the status of dracolich. We demand his destruction, so that his existence, which is an affront to life and thus the Gods of the circle which sent me, will trouble us no longer. The messenger is to accompany you, both to insure your compliance, and to release the oath which binds you."
The profanity of the dragon will be a terrible thing, and will shake the chamber until the entire mountain will seem to move. Cormac will struggle to breathe as he is clutched tight within the claw of the great dragon, and the rock walls will rush by him as the dragon forces his way to the surface. Above the Mere of Dead Men, Cormac and the dragon will meet with their foe, and Cormac will be hurled to the swamps below, his fall and ribs broken by the branches of a great cypress. He will be insensible to the battle raging above him, between the awesome evil so full of life, and that which is a mockery of life. When that mockery ceases, and the flaming corpse cloaked in tattered blue scales extinguishes itself in the Mere, Cormac will speak the words of release. He will feel the fire of an enraged dragon envelope him, and then he will feel no more.
He will be found, then, floating scarred and almost lifeless. The Druids of the Mere will coax life back into him, calling upon their Gods to soothe his burns and repair his scars. Health will return to him, but there are limits to what even the Gods can do. His face will remain scarred on the left side; healthy, pink flesh that looks as though it has been boiled to bursting, thick cords of leathery skin disappearing into his shoulder. His mind and spirit will repair, though he will long recoil from the sight of himself in a still pond or a sword blade.
All this will happen in a future that Cormac knows not as he steps from the Grove. All this has happened, in the past that he cannot forget, for only a handful of tendays have passed since he left the care of the Druids of the Mere. A bard without a face, a Druid without a grove... tempered by a fire hotter than even Kossuth can dream of.

"Once, ye see, about half a year ago, I was carryin' a message between two groves� one just outside Beregost, the other over around Corm Orp. Now, even when you've spent as much time as I have in the Western Heartlands, and the Goddess takes all the brambles out of your path, you can't make a trip like that in one day. So, I was spending the night, bedded down in a little copse of woods ta keep the wind off o' me back. Now, the wind was blowing something fierce� one of those freak storms that flies down out o' the Anarouch on occasion, full o' wind and lightning and not much else� so I was hunkered down, knowin' that not even a druid was gonna light a safe fire that night, eatin' cold meat and a bit o' bread, and wishin' ta tha Goddess I could snap me fingers and make this storm disappear."
"Now, through this storm I've been hearing a keenin'. At first, I figure it's just the wind whipping through the trees, makin' a sound like this, but soon enough I notice that it's stopping an' starting, and the wind ain't doing nothing but blowin' an' blowin. Knowin' that I'd hate ta be lost on a night like this, I go out, hopin' I kin see somewhat of the person makin' the keenin'."
"Stickin' my head out o' the copse, I get blasted with near enough wind ta knock me off my feet. Off in the distance, though, 'bout a mile off, I see this glowin', like one of those wizard lights, so I figure must be someone needin' a bit of help. So, I hunkered down real low, hopin' the wind wouldnae carry me off, and damn near crawled that entire mile. Soon as I get within ten paces o' that light, though, the wind stops dead as can be. I stick me head up, an' see that the light I been followin' all this time ain't no wizard light 't'all, but rather an elven woman, her skin lit up like a she were that lighthouse south o' Candlekeep."
"Now, my years o' walkin' with the Goddess hae given me a bit of a sense for when something ain't right, and this here woman sent that sense reelin' like I just drank from the bottom o' a barrel o' dwarven spirits. I see her kneelin' over a cairn, screamin' an' cryin', and I knew I was right lucky to be alive this close ta' a banshee. 'Course, being the fool I am, I coul'nae allow her ta go roamin' free, for the unlivin' ain't nothing but a threat ta the balance o' life, so I grabbed a blade o' the Goddess's flame an' prepared ta put an end ta her. It was then, in a moment tha chilled me blood worse than jumpin' naked inta a snowbank, that she looked up at me, tears rollin' down her face. She open'd her mouth, and instead o' screaming like I thought she would, she just said ta me 'Please help me� I cannae stand ta be like this'."
"Now, the Goddess knows I ain't the most upright o' men in the world, an' one o' me many failings is I cannae stand ta see a woman cry, e'en if she's a creature o' pure, unlivin' evil. So, when she see's me blade and starts ta beggin' me ta help her, what kin I do but try? So, I says ta her, 'What kin I be doing ta help ye, lass?'"
"Now, she bust out sobbin' again, an' all I want ta do is scoop her up in me arms and hold her to me chest, but I know ta do that woul' be the death o' me, so I have ta calm her from afar, holdin' me sword up ta remind her ta keep a distance, as well. She tells me, between sobs, tha' she's been cursed, an' is in need o' a piece o' jewelry ta be laid ta rest. Now, 'course this cannae be just any piece o' jewelry, or I wouldn't be wearing this ring right here, but she needs a specific one, her weddin' ring, stolen by her husband's lover who killed an' cursed her."
"Now, I know the smart thing was ta just drive that length o' flame inta the banshee an' be done with it, but smart don't always enter inta the mind o' a heroic man like myself. So, I get the woman, for that's how I'm thinkin' o' her now, if for no other reason than ta ignore the fact that I'm helpin' one o' the undead, ta calm down an' tell me 'bout the ring an' what it looks like, an' where it might be. Turns out that the Goddess were watchin' o'er me that day, for the spirit had the most accurate picture o' that ring, an' she knew that the woman had lived in Corm Orp when the spirit's husband had been dallying with her. I promise the spirit I'll be back in less than a tenday, and she'll be free just as soon as I can manage it. She thanks me with a lot o' wailin' an' moanin', which I put a stop to right quick, lest she make a mistake in what kind o' wail she made, an' I go back ta my copse to sleep out the night."
"Now, I wish I could tell you I went on some grand quest for that ring, an had ta fight off scores o' monsters just ta pluck the ring from some clever trap that woulda squashed me like a bug had I made a mistake� if ye like that kind o' story, I kin make one up if ye give me a moment� but I'm an honest enough man, so I'll tell ye the whole, borin' truth. As I'm walkin' back inta Corm Orp after deliverin' my message, I see an old woman arguing with a man who hae more than a drop o' elf blood in his veins. She's screamin' worse than the banshee ever did, 'bout how he's leaving her now that she's ol' and grey, despite all she's done for him. As 'e walks off, slick as ye please, she pulls somethin' off her 'and and throws it at him, beanin' him in the head. He turns around, an' raises 'is arm as if he's gonna hit her, but I whispered a word an' wiggled me fingers, an' he laid out on the street, fast asleep. I scooped up the ring from out o' the street an' slipped it up my sleeve, then took the knife from the ol' woman before she could run it 'cross his throat. Since I dinnae want to explain all this to the constable that was comin' by, for I dinnae believe it myself, so I took this opportunity ta slip behind the house an' head across the plains ta where the banshee was rooted."
"Now, I get ta the banshee's cairn right about nightfall, an' so I only hae ta wait a few minutes before she shows up, singin' softly ta myself in case she comes up screaming. She slides up from the groun' still glowin' like she swallowed a firefly or twenty, an' looks me right in the eye. She's been sobbing the whole time I've been gone, I kin tell, so I kneels before her, the best o' me grins on me face. 'Milady,' I said, thinking she might like it back proper-like, 'I bring ye a ring that looks like the one ye wanted. Could this be it?'"
"As I show her the ring, the tracks o' tears disappear from her face, an' she looks as beautiful as any elven maid ever did. She holds out her hand, like a shy little girl, an' I slip the ring upon her finger, brushing me lips across the back of her hand as I do so. Just like that, she disappears, gone to whatever place awaits elves that hae lived a good life, leavin' me holdin' the ring. Now, I look good an' hard at that ring, tryin' ta remember what I'm supposed to do with it now. When I look inside it, though, it says 'For Cormac, who would care for one beyond caring.'"
"An' that, ladies an' gentlemen, is why I wear an elven woman's weddin' ring on my little finger. Thank ye for yer time. Any other stories ye want ta hear�"

"I once spent nearly a year, living with a dryad. This was way back before me 'accident', which left me with these scars, before I left Moray, e'en. Couldnae hae been more than fifteen or sixteen. For some damned fool reason, they had a young man carryin' a message to a dryad, one known for not letting the messengers come back if they caught her eye. 'Course, I was young and more than a bit stupid, so when the Druid Oenghus asked me ta take a message, I agreed ta go. I was thinkin', if you can call it that, that this would help me in Druid circles ta be known as one who's not afraid o' things he has every right to be afraid of."
"Now, I wandered like a bloody idjit across the moors, hoping that the Dryad would be as beautiful as I'd always heard they were. Fortunately, it was after harvest, so Da could spare me for the tenday, and was likely damn glad ta have me away, an' not botherin' Bridget, our neighbor's daughter. Now there was a fine lass� but back to my story. I kin reminisce about Bridget later. Anyway, I spent a couple nights out on the moors, eatin' cold food and sleepin' on a colder ground an' thinkin' it high adventure, then swam the Shannyth so I could reach the marshes where her oak was."
"Now, walkin' through the marshes is miserable at any time o' year, but I will hold ta my dying day that autumn is the most miserable of all. It gets warm enough during the day for a man to be covered with insects o' all sorts, and cold enough at night that not e'en the thickest blanket will keep out the chill, an' never, ever, does it get to a truly comfortable temperature. Winter, at least, it will freeze over in places, so yer not sloggin' through cold mud all the time, and spring can be right nice, as yer likely to meet a fen man huntin' eels or eggs, but you'll find none o' that in autumn, after the harvest is in. I spent three days lookin' for that copse of oaks, an' when I found it, I was surely a sorry sight."
"But, find it I did. As I spoke up, callin' fer Deionarra� that was her name� like there wasn't anything around that would eat a young man, a woman stepped out of the tree, just like she was walkin' through a door. I wish I could do justice to her with just words, but her hair was the color o' flame, with touches o' gold throughout it, an her skin was smooth as Calimshite silk, an' flushed like she was a maid hearin' a story I tell when I cannae find work in a fine establishment like this one. I hae only seen one woman more beautiful in all my life, an there are few enough among us mortals who ever will."
"When she spoke, I had trouble understandin' her at first, for it sounded like the birds singing an' the wind rustlin' branches high in a tree. Soon enough, though, she spoke in elven, her words so soothin' I can remember none o' them. I know for a fact I stood there like an idjit, a look of stupid wonder on me face. I yammered out the message I was supposed ta give her, an she asked me if I would like ta stay the night, before I left ta go home. Well, I didn't need no second invitation, an' she walked with me inta her tree." "Inside, ladies and gents, it was like nothin' I had ever seen. The wood around me was alive, an' warm to the touch, but polished smoother than any lord's table could ever hope ta be. While there was no meat at her table, there was fresh fruit and nuts a-plenty, an' mead that would bring an elf to tears. After the meal, she led me out to a hot spring, one blessed by the Goddess of the Ffolk herself, where a man can simply feel the aches of a day wash away along with the dirt an' stink o' the swamps. That night, we lay on beds o' hay an' leaves that felt like satin and feathers."
"As I think yer already guessin', I kept coming up with excuses not ta leave, an she provided ample reasons ta help me stay. For near onto nine months, I was doing whatever she wanted me to, and learnin' the lessons she taught as well as I could. In addition ta what ye usually hear about what happens ta men who stay with the dryads, though, I was learnin' the ways o' the Goddess from a different point of view, one not so tied up in the life o' normal people. It's a curious thing, sometimes. You go through your days, from season ta season, thinkin' about what ye have ta do ta stay alive an' keep the land ye work healthy, without knowing what's really goin' on beyond your own little world. Now, I dinnae suggest goin' ta search out a dryad ta teach ya these things� but thinkin' about it don't hurt, an ye may learn something."
"Enough with the sermonizing, aye. I can see it in yer eyes that ye want ta know how I managed ta get away from such a pleasant prison, so I could be with you fine folks tonight. It happened that Deionarra's copse came inta trouble. Seems some firbolgs� nasty brutes� came outta the mountains, lookin' for wood ta build a hall with, an havin' a preference for old oaks. Now, I knew that she was gonna need help, an' so did she, so she sent me ta find the local Druids an' warriors, so they could drive 'em off. Ran like the wind I did, until I found one, an' she passed along the word to the others an' the King's Militia to drive 'em out. I fought along with 'em, though I'm sad ta say I had little more to show for it than a bump on the noggin from when a firbolg flung a man at me 'an I dived out of the way an' inta a tree. Fearghus, the Druid who was trainin' me, had me brought back ta me Da's house while I was still unconscious, an' apparently he broke the spell that had kept me there."
"Now, when I woke up, free o' Deionarra's spell, I was a might annoyed at Oenghus for sendin' me on that trip, so when I saw him at Midsummer, I walked up to him an' started a fight, punchin' him so quickly he couldn't get a spell off. He thrashed me good, of course� age and skill will usually beat youth and enthusiasm� but you can be damn sure he wasn't anxious to send another young Druid off ta live with a dryad."

"One last story, and I'll have ta call it an evening, for me throat is dry an' the road here was long. Now then, what do we want ta hear?" A groan comes up from the audience, who long for more stories and songs, ones different from those the elders sing, from places farther than any have been. After the initial complaint, though, a flood of requests comes up; for love songs, for Northman epics, for tales of far away lands. The clamor raises, waking children who have started to drift off in the smoky, crowded common room of the tiny village's only inn.
"Woah, now, folks, I kin only tell one of the stories that yer all wantin' ta hear." A little girl, towheaded and tired, walks up to Cormac and climbs on his lap, bold as can be.
"Please, Mr. Bard Sir," she says in a tiny voice, "tell me a bedtime story."
Cormac smiles down at her, then out at the crowd. "How can I resist a request like that? Very well, then, I'll tell you a bedtime story."
Cormac settles back into his chair, lightly stroking the little girl's head. His voice is quiet, but carries clearly in the stilling air. "Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Cormac. He lived on a farm with his daddy, who had once been a mighty warrior, a dog named Ru, and all sorts of goats and cows and sheep."
"Didn't he have a Mommy?"
"No, Cormac's Mommy went to live with the Goddess when he was just a baby. He still talked to her, though. Every time he was scared of the dark, or found a new fishing pond, he told his Mommy about it, because her spirit was always with him."
"Now, it so happened that Cormac was a special little boy, and the Little People who live in the hills knew this, and, since they wanted special little children, they took him away from his daddy and the dog named Ru, to live beneath the hills with them."
"At first, Cormac liked it under the hills. No one told him what to do, or when to go to bed, and he was given candy to eat whenever he wanted it. He got to play all sorts of neat games; not just hide and go seek and tag, but also games that used toys of pure gold where he always won no matter how hard the other people tried to beat him. The only problem was, though, that he missed his Daddy and Ru, because the Little People wouldn't let him visit them. He would play all day, and then cry at night because he missed them so much."
"Now, it so happened that Cormac's Mommy heard him crying one night, and came to him in a dream. 'Why are you crying, my sweet little boy?' 'I miss Daddy and Ru, Mommy, and the Little People won't let me see them.' Cormac told her. 'Well then,' she said, 'you'll just have to make them, because no one should keep a child away from his Daddy and his dog.' She told him how the Little People were all afraid of iron, and that if he could find that, he wouldn't have to do what they said anymore, but that they also wouldn't let him come back."
"Now, Cormac was even sadder than before, because while he loved his Daddy and Ru, he liked the games he was playing, too. Cormac thought about it and thought about it, but he finally decided he wanted to be with his Daddy, no matter what. He searched the Kingdom of the Little People from top to bottom, every day for three whole tendays, finally finding a piece of iron, bent just like this a little horseshoe. He remembered his Daddy giving it to him, to protect him from the Little People, then taking it off when he went swimming in the creek, even though his Daddy had told him not to. Cormac, however, wanted to be back with his Daddy again, so he put the piece of iron back on, and walked right out of the Kingdom of the Little People, and none of them could stop him. He went home to his Daddy, and though it seemed like he had been gone for almost a year, his Daddy thought he had seen him only that morning. Cormac lived with his Daddy and Ru happily for many years, until he was all grown up, then he went travelling, to tell little boys and girls all about living in the Kingdom of the Little People, and make sure they were never stuck there."
Cormac looks down now, seeing that his main audience has fallen asleep in his arms. He stands up carefully, reaching into a pouch to draw forth a bent iron nail, hooking it to the little girl's tunic, then handing her over to her mother. He stays for a bit as people file out, passing out the iron charms to those with young children, thanking those who give him coppers or a bit of food for their generosity, and assuring people that he would be there for at least one more night. When the last patron leaves, he collects his fee from the innkeeper� a warm meal and beer drawn from the keg� then spreads his blanket on the floor before the fire. The life of a bard is not rich, but it is rewarding.
"Goodnight, Mother. Goodnight, Father." And then he is asleep.

Cormac the Wanderer
Strength 11
-40# carrying capacity
-115# maximum press
-6 open doors
-2% bend bars/lift gates
Dexterity 18
-+2 surprise reaction bonus
-+2 missile attack bonus
--4 defensive adjustment
Constitution 11
--75% System Shock
-80% Ressurection Survival
Intelligence 13
-3 languages and bonus proficiencies
-Maximum of 6th level spells
-55% Chance to Learn Spells
-9 spells per spell level
Wisdom 15
-+1 vs. mind affecting magic
-2 First level bonus spells
-1 Second level bonus spell
Charisma 17
-10 henchmen
-+6 loyalty
-+6 NPC Reaction

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 130#
24 years old
Right Handed Male
True Neutral Alignment
Description: The most striking feature about Cormac is what he refers to as his "scar", which appeared after being severely burned by the Red Wyrm, Firebrand. It appears to be a port wine stain across the left side of his face, and resembles a stylized dragon, with the jaws reaching for Cormac's eye. If Cormac removes his shirt, the "neck" of the stylized dragon runs down his own, finally culminating in the full body of a dragon, it's wings spreading across his shoulder blades, and tail running disappearing between his cheeks. If one watches the "scar" long enough, it will sometimes seem to move (something that Cormac can feel beneath his skin, even though he never admits it), and what appears to be the "eye" of the dragon will sometimes emit a soft glow. Though apparently made of normal flesh, and appears smooth, the "scar" has a slightly scaly texture to the touch, and is slightly warmer than the surrounding flesh. All of these combine to make people slightly uneasy about him (or, at least, the "scar"), though his natural charisma more than makes up for it. Despite all this, Cormac insists it is "just a scar", and refuses to listen to anything to the contrary.
Aside from the "scar", Cormac looks to be a handsome young man of the Ffolk, with red hair that falls almost to his shoulders, and green eyes that usually dance with mirth. He projects an aura of friendliness and good nature, but beneath that there is an iron will, strong religious beliefs, and a highly ethical man.
Bard Level: 6
Bard XP: 20,000
Druid Level: 5 (frozen)
Druid XP: 12,500
Hit Points: 35
Hit Die Rolls: 8, 3, 6, 7, 7, 3
ThAC0: 18
Armor Class: 6 (Dexterity)
Saving Throws
Poison/Paralyzation/Death: 9
Rod/Staff/Wand: 12
Polymorph/Petrification: 11
Breath Weapon: 15
Spell: 13

Weapon Proficiencies
Club
Scimitar
Staff
Sling
Dagger
Non-Weapon Proficiency
Agriculture 13
Animal Handling 14
Survival: Moors 13
Hunting 14
Religion (Moonshaes) 15
Swimming 11
Animal Lore 13
Sing 15
Play Harp 17
Local History (Moonshaes) 15
Read and Write Common 14
Etiquette 15
Dancing 18
Languages
Common (Moonshaes Dialect)
Druid
Dwarf (Moonshaes Dialect)
Elf (Synnorian Dialect)
Troll
Firbolg
Dryad
Auld Wyrmish

Climb Walls 65% (+10% for no armor not added)
Detect Noise 35%
Pick Pockets 40% (+5% for no armor not added)
Read Languages 60%
Alter Reactions
Inspire Allies
Counter Song
Legend Lore 30%
+2 to save vs. fire and electricity
Identify Plants, Animals, and Pure water with perfect accuracy
5 First level, 4 Second level, and 1 Third Level Druid spell per day
3 First level and 2 Second level Bard spells per day

White Shirt, grey pants, leather boots, twice-wrapped leather belt, white, hooded cloak
White Druids robe
Silver bladed Scimitar with runed blade
-Magic, unknown plusses
-d8/d8 damage -Speed factor 5
Druid's Cudgel
-d6/d3 Damage
-Speed Factor: 4
Dagger, carried in boot
-d4/d3 damage
Speed Factor: 2
Sling and 6 stones
-d4/d4 damage
-8/16/24 Ranges
-Speed Factor: 6
Preserved Sprig of Mistletoe (Holy Symbol)
Clarsach Harp, in leather case
Backpack
Flint and Steel
Winter Blanket
5 candles
5 pieces of chalk
1 tenday of rations, 1 wineskin
5 belt pouches
7 pieces foxfire, 4 holly berries, 10 holly leaves, 6 pine sprigs, 16 shamrock leaves, 10 handfuls oak bark, 16 sumac leaves, 4 buds of garlic, 7 small pieces of lodestone, 6 snake skins, 6 horse sinews, 22 sharpened twigs, 9 flower petals, 8 corks, 13 pinches of soot, 9 pieces of chalk, 7 bits of vermilion, 18 burrs, clear crystal prism, 6 bits bat fur, 12 bits of fleece, 3 small bells with no clappers Elven wedding ring (platinum, worn on the little finger of his left hand)
20 bent iron nails
11 tri-crowns (platinum), 20 lions (gold), 5 falcons (silver), and 2 thumbs (copper)
Travelling spell book, in leather case (book is Fire Trapped)
42/50 pages used
1st level
Armor (3 pages)
Cantrip (4 pages)
Charm Person (2 pages)
Comprehend Languages (1 page)
Friends (4 pages)
Magic Missile (4 pages)
Mending (3 pages)
Read Magic (3 pages)
Spook (4 pages)
2nd level
Darkness, 15' Radius (2 pages)
Improved Phantasmal force (2 pages)
Knock (4 pages)
Ray of Enfeeblement (4 pages)
Vocalize (2 pages)


Bern Steelhammer, Engineer

"If the will is strong, a dwarf can accomplish anything." I wonder how many of our people really realize the deeper meaning of this statement. It is intended to be a truism; something that is ingrained into a dwarf from birth, so that he will always know that any failure is the result of his own faltering, and no one else's. However, I have learned that it means much more.
I was already in my apprenticeship as an engineer when the Human Gods angered the Overpower, and he banished the Gods from the Heavens. Our people went crazy in that time, running about like humans. So many priests found themselves lost without the voice of our Gods whispering in their ear, each of them trying more and more elaborate ways to reach out to their Patron. I found myself wrestling more and more with an idea that had come to me.
Perhaps the priests were going about it the wrong way. We are taught, since we first pick up a hammer, that everything we create carries a portion of our essence. We are also taught that, in the beginning, The Maker created us from stone and iron. Could it not be that we each have a spark of the Maker within ourselves, needing only to feel the breath of a dwarf to grow into a flame, a flame that we can use to shape the world, just as The Maker did.
I spent what spare time I could find exploring this idea, seeking deep inside myself for a spark that would do more than connect me to The Maker; I would be as The Maker, with a spark of his power in my mortal form. After many weeks of searching, I found such a spark, glowing inside my soul. I felt myself standing beside that spark, felt the heat of Creation rise from it. Gently, so as to not extinguish it, I began to breathe upon it, fanning the flame. It grew in size as I breathed, catching hold of my spirit and using it for fuel, growing and growing until I was engulfed... burning without being consumed. I awoke in the darkness of my clanhold, to find the stone ceiling above me glowing cheerfully, as the spark had. Heat poured off it and, as I kept my will focussed upon it, drops of molten stone fell from the ceiling to scar the floor. I had found the Maker within me.
Unfortunately, knowing of the Maker within and being able to make use of His power are two different things. I practiced as much as a I could, expanding my capabilities slowly, studying both the crafts I was to learn and the arts of war. By the time the Wars began, I was nearly sixty, as humans reckon time, and I felt capable to take my place in the war against the Darkness. With a strong will, a dwarf can accomplish anything. I intend to prove that.

Bern Steelhammer
Shield Dwarf Fighter/Psionicist
Strength: 13 45/140# carrying capacity; 7 open doors; 4% bend bars\lift gates
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 15 +1 HP per level (tied to fighter level); 90% system shock; 94% ressurection survival
Intelligence: 13 3 additional slots/languages
Wisdom: 17 +3 vs magical mind control
Charisma: 11 (12 to dwarves) 5 henchmen (one must be a dwarf)
Ht: 3'9"
Wt: 152#
Right handed Male
60 years old, Lawful Good Alignment
Bern is short dwarf proportioned roughly like a boulder. When unarmored, grey braids of his hair and beard blend effortlessly into his tunic, his blue eyes sparkle like sapphires from his roughly tanned face. When armored, the studs glitter like flecks of ore on the granite-colored background of their leather backing. He carries a warhammer so effortlessly that it is almost an extension of his thick arms, and looks well at ease with the crossbow that rests in across the top of his backpack.
Level: 2nd level Fighter, 2nd level Psionicist
Experience (Fighter): 3718
Experience (Psionicist): 3918
Hit Points: 18
Hit Die Rolls (Figher): 10, 10
Hit Die Rolls (Psionicist): 6, 6
Psionic Strength Points: 36
Armor Class: 10 (6 with armor and shield)
ThAC0: 19
Saves:
Poison: 9
Paralyzation/Death: 13
Rod/Staff/Wand: 11
Petrification/Polymorph: 10
Breath Weapon: 16
Spell: 11 (6 against spells designed to control)
Natural/Class abilities
60' infravision
+4 vs. Spells, Rod/Staff/Wand, and Posion (already figured into saves)
+1 to hit orcs, half-orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins
+4 AC vs. ogres, trolls, ogre-magi, giants, and titans
20% magic item malfunction
Detect Grade/Slope: 5/6
Approximate Depth or Detect Stonework Traps: 3/6
Detect Sliding/Shifting Walls and Rooms: 4/6
+2 vs Enchantment/Charm spell (already figured into saves)
At 9th level in each class, Bern will begin to attract followers
Weapon Proficiencies:
Warhammer (specialized)
Dagger
Light Crossbow
Non-Weapon Proficiencies
Rejuvenation (16)
Meditative Focus (18)
Mining (17)
Modern Language: Common (13)
Modern Language: Orc (13)
Read/Write Common (14)
Engineering (13)
Read/Write Dethek (14)
Endurance (15)
Raven's Bluff geography
Giant Lore
Orc Lore
Goblin Lore
Small Unit Infantry Tactics
Heraldry (Army of Tilverton only)
Languages:
Dwarf, Hill (Native)
Human Common
Orc
Psionic Powers:
Primary Discipline: Psychokinesis
Secondary Disciplines: Metapsionics
Sciences: Telekinesis (14)
Devotions: Molecular Agitation (17), Molecular Manipulation (10), Ballistic Attack (13), Cognitive Trance (13), Fighting Trance (16)
Defense Modes: Mind Blank (10)
Equipment
Brown breeches, dark gray tunic, leather belt w/buckle, soft boots, hood
Warhammer: d4+4/d4+3. Speed: 3 +2 to hit (specialization and magic)
Light crossbow: ROF: 1 Speed: 7
20 crossbow quarrels (in case): d6+1/d8 12/24/36 range
3 Daggers (one in sheath in boot, others in belt): d4/d3 Speed: 2
Backpack
Winter blanket, 2 weeks dry rations, 2 scroll cases, 2 wineskins, 5 pitons, 50' silk rope
2 belt pouches
Flint and steel, 22 gold, 2 silver, 5 copper, bloodnote worth 35 platinum with the Army of Tilverton
2 sets Studded Leather Armor, 3 set gauntlets
Small Shield
Entrenching tool
Bushman's knife
2 torches
1 small beltpouch
1 sewing kits, 2 tinder boxes, healing potion, 2 bandages
1 pairs of gamashes
Manual "Assembling the Sembian Light Field Ballista"
Ring of Fire Resistance

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