The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

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The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Belathauzer » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:42 pm

I've been doing a lot of thinking about Thunder Rift lately, mostly due to Fflewddur's topic on the Haunted Tower Adventure and my need to get my campaign back on track. I came to realize that a lot has been done both here at the Piazza and on the Wizards boards (not to mention most of it collected at the VoP) to cover things such as - the location of TR on Mystara (and whether it should be on Mystara in the first place), it's size, it's history, it's denizens - both goodly creatures and the nasties; but almost nothing has been done to cover the NPCs and organizations of the Rift.

I propose that we begin a Who's Who of Thunder Rift to fill this void. It would make a great addition to that gazetteer thingy that has been spoken of on a few occasions (To Havard: nudge-nudge, wink-wink - say no more! :mrgreen: ). I suggest that we begin by using the canon NPCs already established in the official TR products - the main campaign setting as well as the adventures. A standard format should be agreed upon, but it should be something along the lines of:

Name, Title/position (if applicable)
Gender Race Class & Level
Alignment Size & Type
{Stat blocks}
Background/history
Personality (for role-playing flavor)

We may wish to include stats for multiple editions, but the background/history and personality should be consistent regardless of game edition. Once the canon NPCs have been fleshed out (or even before then) I think it would be great to submit NPCs or even PCs from everyone's games to add to the flavor of Thunder Rift.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To kick off the discussions:

An area and personality that I have always wanted to flesh out but have never gotten around to is Mage Island and Geoffrey (detailed somewhat in the TR campaign booklet). I picture Mage Island and Geoffrey as something of a Hogwarts/Dumbledore, though not nearly as large in scope. Wizardspire was definitely the premier Wizard College in the Rift and would have resembled Hogwarts more, but a bit more militant or dark I think. Mage Island is definitely more subtle and secretive. In that respect Geoffrey gives me more of a Merlin/Gandalf (or even Saruman) vibe. What are your opinions?

It is said that Mage Island is the original home of most of TRs wizards. Rumors hold that a great library can be found there. The island is owned by Geoffrey who supposedly has owned the island since before Melinir was even founded. He is a genial, but mysterious fellow. His Basic D&D stats rate him as a level 7 Human Wizard. --- This constitutes pretty much everything that has been "officially established" regarding Geoffrey and Mage Island.


My theory is (and this is using the TR timeline established by Havard along with my additions/modifications) that there is indeed a library on Mage Island and that it contains magical texts and codices, some of which date back as far as the Nithian empire. They were brought here by either a surviving Nithian wizard cult or the Traldar refugees who fled the destruction of the empire.

Geoffrey is the Keeper of Secrets, charged with protecting the library (similar to the library in Mel Odom's - The Rover). He is either the original owner of the island and keeper of the texts dating back to the destruction of Nithia who has extended his lifespan through magic (which is a long shot considering that he is listed as 7th level, but should be much more powerful by now), or he can instead be the current Geoffrey, Keeper of of Secrets, a role that he assumed from his previous master (a position much like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride).

In addition to his role as Keeper, Geoffrey is also the headmaster of an elite wizard school. Students are carefully selected and monitored to ensure that they live up to the ideals of the school (be good, eat your veggies, don't kill people, don't fashion magical rings with the intent to control the world, etc.).

His other role is advisor, benefactor, and patron to the Quadrial. One of the roles of the Quadrial is to help protect Mage Island, the library, and the secrets contained from falling into the wrong hands. Considering that Geoffrey is only 7th level, and most of the Quadrial seem to be 9th (name) level, I would assume that this Geoffrey has assumed the role somewhat recently.


The other area that I'm interested in is Wizardspire and the Mad Mage; and I think I have found a way to link the two, which makes some sense as to why there would be a need for two magical schools in a place as small as Thunder Rift:

Assuming all that I've said previously is accepted as truth, I think it would be a great twist if the Mad Mage of Wizardspire had at one time been a student, teacher, or associate of Mage Island. He may have been a "bad apple" within the ranks, much like a Jedi Knight turned to the dark side. His lust for magic and power became so great that he read tomes that were best left alone. After his betrayal was discovered he was either banished from or left the organization. Whichever the case, he would have stolen magical tomes and artifacts during his exit. Some of the stolen tomes (most likely Nithian) would include methods for extending one's lifespan beyond normal limits, even into undeath. These would become very crucial to the Mad Mage later on.

He would eventually come to found Wizardspire (possibly with other like-minded wizards), which would become the antithesis and enemy of Mage Island (and the Fighters' Academy in time). The school would open it's doors to anyone, whether they have fair magical aptitude or otherwise, just so long as they can afford to pay their tuition. Their ranks will eventually swell to dwarf Mage Island's. His lust for knowledge and power never sated, the Mad Mage would continue to attempt to steal the secrets of Mage Island. The Quadrial and it's agents would be charged with protecting the island (as well as the rest of the Rift) against his machinations.


I see some holes with the second part (Wizardspire & Mad Mage) which don't fit well with the established timeline, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little tweaking.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas... and additions! :D
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:29 pm

Belathauzer wrote:I propose that we begin a Who's Who of Thunder Rift to fill this void. It would make a great addition to that gazetteer thingy that has been spoken of on a few occasions (To Havard: nudge-nudge, wink-wink - say no more! :mrgreen: ). I suggest that we begin by using the canon NPCs already established in the official TR products - the main campaign setting as well as the adventures.


I think this is a great idea! I've been thinking about doing something like this myself for quite a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. A cooperative effort would make it easier to achive though, which might be one reason I never started it on my own.

A standard format should be agreed upon, but it should be something along the lines of:

Name, Title/position (if applicable)
Gender Race Class & Level
Alignment Size & Type
{Stat blocks}
Background/history
Personality (for role-playing flavor)


Here we need to be careful to avoid copyright infringements when discussing canon NPCs. Also, do we want as much information as possible, or is it better to get as condensed descriptions as possible. For a discussion here, the former might be just as interesting, though we might want those discussions to result in something that we can use in a future gazetteer.

While I am not opposed to detailed stat blocks for various editions, some more generic descitptions like what is used in OldDawg's gazetteers might be considered as well. For the gazetteer, I think OldDawg's format (Level, race, class, align) will be used, but we can have web enhancement appenices for conversions to each editon.

An area and personality that I have always wanted to flesh out but have never gotten around to is Mage Island and Geoffrey (detailed somewhat in the TR campaign booklet). I picture Mage Island and Geoffrey as something of a Hogwarts/Dumbledore, though not nearly as large in scope. Wizardspire was definitely the premier Wizard College in the Rift and would have resembled Hogwarts more, but a bit more militant or dark I think. Mage Island is definitely more subtle and secretive. In that respect Geoffrey gives me more of a Merlin/Gandalf (or even Saruman) vibe. What are your opinions?


I think that is pretty spot on. It would be interesting if we could go with those parallells, but add some twist that would make it different from those sources of inspiration.

It is said that Mage Island is the original home of most of TRs wizards. Rumors hold that a great library can be found there. The island is owned by Geoffrey who supposedly has owned the island since before Melinir was even founded. He is a genial, but mysterious fellow. His Basic D&D stats rate him as a level 7 Human Wizard. --- This constitutes pretty much everything that has been "officially established" regarding Geoffrey and Mage Island.


He is probably the most powerful Magic-User in TR except for the Mad Mage.


My theory is (and this is using the TR timeline established by Havard along with my additions/modifications) that there is indeed a library on Mage Island and that it contains magical texts and codices, some of which date back as far as the Nithian empire. They were brought here by either a surviving Nithian wizard cult or the Traldar refugees who fled the destruction of the empire.


Nithian connections is a good idea. They help segment TR with the Known World, which is a good thing IMO. In my timeline, I had the valley originally be a Hutaakan valley, so that could also be a source of such lore.

Geoffrey is the Keeper of Secrets, charged with protecting the library (similar to the library in Mel Odom's - The Rover). He is either the original owner of the island and keeper of the texts dating back to the destruction of Nithia who has extended his lifespan through magic (which is a long shot considering that he is listed as 7th level, but should be much more powerful by now), or he can instead be the current Geoffrey, Keeper of of Secrets, a role that he assumed from his previous master (a position much like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride).


I like the idea that the title Keeper of Secrets is passed down through "generations". Does it say anywhere that they are all named Geoffrey?

In addition to his role as Keeper, Geoffrey is also the headmaster of an elite wizard school. Students are carefully selected and monitored to ensure that they live up to the ideals of the school (be good, eat your veggies, don't kill people, don't fashion magical rings with the intent to control the world, etc.).


Keep in mind that this school is probably very small, with only a handful of students at any time. Magical knowledge has been greatly reduced over the last centuries, and Mage Island is priobably the last bastion of such lore.

His other role is advisor, benefactor, and patron to the Quadrial. One of the roles of the Quadrial is to help protect Mage Island, the library, and the secrets contained from falling into the wrong hands. Considering that Geoffrey is only 7th level, and most of the Quadrial seem to be 9th (name) level, I would assume that this Geoffrey has assumed the role somewhat recently.


The Quadrial would probably always have come to Mage Island for arcane advice. IIRC they were always tied to Mage Island.

The other area that I'm interested in is Wizardspire and the Mad Mage; and I think I have found a way to link the two, which makes some sense as to why there would be a need for two magical schools in a place as small as Thunder Rift:

Assuming all that I've said previously is accepted as truth, I think it would be a great twist if the Mad Mage of Wizardspire had at one time been a student, teacher, or associate of Mage Island. He may have been a "bad apple" within the ranks, much like a Jedi Knight turned to the dark side. His lust for magic and power became so great that he read tomes that were best left alone. After his betrayal was discovered he was either banished from or left the organization. Whichever the case, he would have stolen magical tomes and artifacts during his exit. Some of the stolen tomes (most likely Nithian) would include methods for extending one's lifespan beyond normal limits, even into undeath. These would become very crucial to the Mad Mage later on.

He would eventually come to found Wizardspire (possibly with other like-minded wizards), which would become the antithesis and enemy of Mage Island (and the Fighters' Academy in time). The school would open it's doors to anyone, whether they have fair magical aptitude or otherwise, just so long as they can afford to pay their tuition. Their ranks will eventually swell to dwarf Mage Island's. His lust for knowledge and power never sated, the Mad Mage would continue to attempt to steal the secrets of Mage Island. The Quadrial and it's agents would be charged with protecting the island (as well as the rest of the Rift) against his machinations.


This is definately an interesting topic. I like the idea of a Dark Jedi type scenario. It is interesting that Mage Island managed to stay out of the Figher's Academy/Wizardspire conflict. Possibly this was due to Mage Isle's connection to the Quadrial.

What I think is most problematic with your scenario is that it makes the conflict between Mage Island and Wizardspire overshadow the Sword vs. Wand conflict which is a core element of TR. Im sure that this can be resolved somehow though :)

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby firebee » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:11 pm

Belathauzer wrote:I propose that we begin a Who's Who of Thunder Rift to fill this void. It would make a great addition to that gazetteer thingy that has been spoken of on a few occasions (To Havard: nudge-nudge, wink-wink - say no more! :mrgreen: ). I suggest that we begin by using the canon NPCs already established in the official TR products - the main campaign setting as well as the adventures.

We may wish to include stats for multiple editions, but the background/history and personality should be consistent regardless of game edition. Once the canon NPCs have been fleshed out (or even before then) I think it would be great to submit NPCs or even PCs from everyone's games to add to the flavor of Thunder Rift.


I think this is a great idea! I've DMed in TR so long that most of my takes on the various NPCs are probably different. But even so, I'd love to see how others have fleshed out the characters and what other interesting characters they have added to their campaigns!

Belathauzer wrote:An area and personality that I have always wanted to flesh out but have never gotten around to is Mage Island and Geoffrey (detailed somewhat in the TR campaign booklet). I picture Mage Island and Geoffrey as something of a Hogwarts/Dumbledore, though not nearly as large in scope. Wizardspire was definitely the premier Wizard College in the Rift and would have resembled Hogwarts more, but a bit more militant or dark I think. Mage Island is definitely more subtle and secretive. In that respect Geoffrey gives me more of a Merlin/Gandalf (or even Saruman) vibe. What are your opinions?


In my campaigns Geoffrey is kind, wise, but very mysterious and secretive, even to those PC Magic-Users that studied at the Isle. He is sort of a combination of Dumbledore , the Arch-Mage of Earthsea, and Ogion of Earthsea. He is very young in appearance (early forties) but he is actually very old, a contemporary of the mages that died in the Sword vs Wand war. His main goals are to "seed" TR with his agents to: 1) collect magical items, books, etc. to keep them from falling in the hands of evil mages; 2) rebuild the confidence of the TR denizens in the goodness and benevolence of magic-users by challenging and defeating evil/chaotic wizards they encounter; 3) recruit youngsters with magical talents by offering their families scholarships to the Isle; and 4) keep an eye on the Black Knight and his schemes to rebuild the Fighters Guild.

Belathauzer wrote:It is said that Mage Island is the original home of most of TRs wizards. Rumors hold that a great library can be found there. The island is owned by Geoffrey who supposedly has owned the island since before Melinir was even founded. He is a genial, but mysterious fellow. His Basic D&D stats rate him as a level 7 Human Wizard. --- This constitutes pretty much everything that has been "officially established" regarding Geoffrey and Mage Island.

My theory is (and this is using the TR timeline established by Havard along with my additions/modifications) that there is indeed a library on Mage Island and that it contains magical texts and codices, some of which date back as far as the Nithian empire. They were brought here by either a surviving Nithian wizard cult or the Traldar refugees who fled the destruction of the empire.

Geoffrey is the Keeper of Secrets, charged with protecting the library (similar to the library in Mel Odom's - The Rover). He is either the original owner of the island and keeper of the texts dating back to the destruction of Nithia who has extended his lifespan through magic (which is a long shot considering that he is listed as 7th level, but should be much more powerful by now), or he can instead be the current Geoffrey, Keeper of of Secrets, a role that he assumed from his previous master (a position much like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride).

In addition to his role as Keeper, Geoffrey is also the headmaster of an elite wizard school. Students are carefully selected and monitored to ensure that they live up to the ideals of the school (be good, eat your veggies, don't kill people, don't fashion magical rings with the intent to control the world, etc.).

His other role is advisor, benefactor, and patron to the Quadrial. One of the roles of the Quadrial is to help protect Mage Island, the library, and the secrets contained from falling into the wrong hands. Considering that Geoffrey is only 7th level, and most of the Quadrial seem to be 9th (name) level, I would assume that this Geoffrey has assumed the role somewhat recently.


Geoffrey plays the same roles in my campaigns: Librarian, Headmaster, and Advisor. I too thought that 7th level didn't make any sense, so I doubled his level to 14.

Belathauzer wrote:The other area that I'm interested in is Wizardspire and the Mad Mage; and I think I have found a way to link the two, which makes some sense as to why there would be a need for two magical schools in a place as small as Thunder Rift:

Assuming all that I've said previously is accepted as truth, I think it would be a great twist if the Mad Mage of Wizardspire had at one time been a student, teacher, or associate of Mage Island. He may have been a "bad apple" within the ranks, much like a Jedi Knight turned to the dark side. His lust for magic and power became so great that he read tomes that were best left alone. After his betrayal was discovered he was either banished from or left the organization. Whichever the case, he would have stolen magical tomes and artifacts during his exit. Some of the stolen tomes (most likely Nithian) would include methods for extending one's lifespan beyond normal limits, even into undeath. These would become very crucial to the Mad Mage later on.

He would eventually come to found Wizardspire (possibly with other like-minded wizards), which would become the antithesis and enemy of Mage Island (and the Fighters' Academy in time). The school would open it's doors to anyone, whether they have fair magical aptitude or otherwise, just so long as they can afford to pay their tuition. Their ranks will eventually swell to dwarf Mage Island's. His lust for knowledge and power never sated, the Mad Mage would continue to attempt to steal the secrets of Mage Island. The Quadrial and it's agents would be charged with protecting the island (as well as the rest of the Rift) against his machinations.


My take was similar but reversed. In my campaigns Wizardspire was the main school of the mages. Geoffrey was a contemporary of the Mad Mage (not his name at the time), and a fellow instructor at the school. Geoffrey opposed the Mad Mage's hatred and aggression towards the fighters academy. When the Mad Mage assumed leadership of the wizards guild, one of his first acts was to unleash the "Gloomsday" spell on the Fighter's academy. Sickened by this terrible misuse of magic, Geoffry resigned from the school and retreated to his family estate on Melinir Island. He thus avoided the murder unleashed by the Black Knight on the mages of Wizardspire. Only a few other mages (e.g. Barrik) escaped the slaughter.

The Mad Mage, however, was not killed in the attack as all assumed. He was secluded in the dungeons at the time, undergoing the process that would turn him into a lich. He currently haunts the ruins of Wizardspire, a lich, but completely mad. He thinks he is still his human self and that the school is still intact. He animated the remains of several of the slain wizards and servants whom he uses to reinforce his delusions. The few would-be looters who escaped from the ruins told of a "Mad Mage" who killed anyone who dared enter Wizardspire.

With the fall of Wizardspire , Geoffrey took it upon himself to rebuild the wizards guild and school, but under his strict control. He wants to avoid the problems of the past by creating a school that promotes law as well as magic. He started recruiting youngsters with magical talents, using his own personal wealth to build a school on his familly estate, which the people of Melenir began referring to as "Mage Island". Opposing him was the wizard Barrik, a close friend to the Mad Mage. Barrick's vision of the future was to have only a very loose wizardly association, with master-apprentice relationships in place of a formal school. Zanzer and Chambrim were both apprentices to Barrick, and actively work against Geoffrey's plans.

Geoffrey is currently more concerned with the rising power of the latest Black Knight who is trying to put together a Chaotic band of fighters and clerics in the southern reaches of TR, undoubtedly to "restore" a monarchy to the rift. As the bulk of his agents are mages, it has proven difficult for Geoffrey to infiltrate the Black Knight's castle, though a few "servants" do report to him. He is currently trying to convince the Quadriel to place spies within the Black Knight's organization, but has not met with much success in convincing them of the threat the Black Knight poses. The Quadriel is currently more concerned with the Gloomfens undead that are terrorizing the western portion of the rift.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Fflewddur » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:53 pm

Hey Fellas,

I love the idea as well, count me in. I am however a little confused about how we're going to go about this. In compiling our Who's Who list, who gets the final say on an NPC's writeup? Do we come to some kind of consensus about it? As it stands with this topic we could go on and on about our theories of who Geoffrey is for pages and pages, but that doesn't really satisfy the original goal...or does it?

And now to throw in my two cents...
For Geoffrey, I love the idea of Geoffrey being a title for whoever is the guardian of Mage Island and the Library (Great Princess Bride reference!). I also love the idea of Mage Island being a bastion of good magic against the corrupting influence of Wizardspire and the Mad Mage (though I'd prefer to think that Wizardspire wasn't always corrupt). I'm not sure if this is canon or something that I introduced to the setting, but I like the idea of Mage Island having an Avalon-type feel to it, where it is impossible to find unless you have some magical aid. Perhaps it is protected by a powerful illusion and to the ordinary person the horizon across Lake Ganiff looks empty. I'm also not sure if this is canon, but I had Pickman (the scribe from Melinir) as Geoffrey's apprentice and his current liason between the town and Mage Island. This way Geoffrey can remain mysterious and only show himself to those he deems necessary, while still maintianing contact with the outside world.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Belathauzer » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:31 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! :)

Havard - thanks for the feedback and suggestions. I'm sure that we can all come up with some material good enough for a fan gazetteer. ;)

Havard wrote:This is definately an interesting topic. I like the idea of a Dark Jedi type scenario. It is interesting that Mage Island managed to stay out of the Figher's Academy/Wizardspire conflict. Possibly this was due to Mage Isle's connection to the Quadrial.

What I think is most problematic with your scenario is that it makes the conflict between Mage Island and Wizardspire overshadow the Sword vs. Wand conflict which is a core element of TR. Im sure that this can be resolved somehow though :)


I felt much the same way even as I wrote it, but this was the best I was able to come up with at the time. After reading your post this morning I was about to post a different take, but firebee went and beat me to it.

firebee wrote:My take was similar but reversed. In my campaigns Wizardspire was the main school of the mages. Geoffrey was a contemporary of the Mad Mage (not his name at the time), and a fellow instructor at the school. Geoffrey opposed the Mad Mage's hatred and aggression towards the fighters academy. When the Mad Mage assumed leadership of the wizards guild, one of his first acts was to unleash the "Gloomsday" spell on the Fighter's academy. Sickened by this terrible misuse of magic, Geoffry resigned from the school and retreated to his family estate on Melinir Island. He thus avoided the murder unleashed by the Black Knight on the mages of Wizardspire. Only a few other mages (e.g. Barrik) escaped the slaughter.

The Mad Mage, however, was not killed in the attack as all assumed. He was secluded in the dungeons at the time, undergoing the process that would turn him into a lich. He currently haunts the ruins of Wizardspire, a lich, but completely mad. He thinks he is still his human self and that the school is still intact. He animated the remains of several of the slain wizards and servants whom he uses to reinforce his delusions. The few would-be looters who escaped from the ruins told of a "Mad Mage" who killed anyone who dared enter Wizardspire.

With the fall of Wizardspire , Geoffrey took it upon himself to rebuild the wizards guild and school, but under his strict control. He wants to avoid the problems of the past by creating a school that promotes law as well as magic. He started recruiting youngsters with magical talents, using his own personal wealth to build a school on his familly estate, which the people of Melenir began referring to as "Mage Island". Opposing him was the wizard Barrik, a close friend to the Mad Mage. Barrick's vision of the future was to have only a very loose wizardly association, with master-apprentice relationships in place of a formal school. Zanzer and Chambrim were both apprentices to Barrick, and actively work against Geoffrey's plans.

Geoffrey is currently more concerned with the rising power of the latest Black Knight who is trying to put together a Chaotic band of fighters and clerics in the southern reaches of TR, undoubtedly to "restore" a monarchy to the rift. As the bulk of his agents are mages, it has proven difficult for Geoffrey to infiltrate the Black Knight's castle, though a few "servants" do report to him. He is currently trying to convince the Quadriel to place spies within the Black Knight's organization, but has not met with much success in convincing them of the threat the Black Knight poses. The Quadriel is currently more concerned with the Gloomfens undead that are terrorizing the western portion of the rift.


I prefer this take so much more Firebee. It establishes connections between all of the major wizards of the Rift in a very nice way.

I too had always envisioned Zanzer being an apprentice to Barrick, but the difference in my game is that Barrick was more benevolent while Zanzer was secretly evil. Zanzer would eventually kill Barrick and become the Mad Mage's apprentice.

Chambrin, per the canon material, should not be an apprentice of Barrick as he actually hails from beyond the Rift - Karameikos IIRC.

In my game, the PCs eventually become "agents" of the Quadrial. One of the adventures/missions that they will eventually be sent on is to infiltrate the Black Knight's domain, so your story works perfectly for me.

firebee wrote:In my campaigns Geoffrey is kind, wise, but very mysterious and secretive, even to those PC Magic-Users that studied at the Isle. He is sort of a combination of Dumbledore , the Arch-Mage of Earthsea, and Ogion of Earthsea. He is very young in appearance (early forties) but he is actually very old, a contemporary of the mages that died in the Sword vs Wand war. His main goals are to "seed" TR with his agents to: 1) collect magical items, books, etc. to keep them from falling in the hands of evil mages; 2) rebuild the confidence of the TR denizens in the goodness and benevolence of magic-users by challenging and defeating evil/chaotic wizards they encounter; 3) recruit youngsters with magical talents by offering their families scholarships to the Isle; and 4) keep an eye on the Black Knight and his schemes to rebuild the Fighters Guild.

Geoffrey plays the same roles in my campaigns: Librarian, Headmaster, and Advisor. I too thought that 7th level didn't make any sense, so I doubled his level to 14.


I like the campaign goals that you've set for Geoffrey. This is pretty much what I had in mind too.

How do you feel about the "Keeper of Secrets" role? This may have been a position that he held in the former Wizardspire academy and continues to hold on Mage Island through some sort of personal sense of duty. As Wizardspire was more of a large and formal magical college, as opposed to Geoffrey's much smaller and private school, I could definitely see positions like - Dean. Minister, or Keeper.

There would have also been specialists who taught specific classes/subjects, much like in Harry Potter - divination, conjuration, etc. The Mad Mage could have been the Dean/Minister of Necromancy, which is a perfect lead in to the whole lich/undead aspect of the story. The different schools of magic represented at the academy would have a Minister in charge of it.

The person holding the Headmaster position should be chosen by the Ministers from within their ranks, similar to the appointment of Prime Minister in a parliamentary system. The Mad Mage would have been the last one to hold this position. He could have used clever politics, guile, deception, bribery, magic, you name it, to gain this position. The Headmaster position could also be shared evenly between all schools. Every 5, 10, 20 years or what have you the great wheel would turn and the position would get passed from one schools Minister to another. These are just random thoughts at the moment (most of them stolen in some fashion from the Wheel of Time).

I actually just remembered a product that TSR/WotC produced in the final days of AD&D 2e - "The College of Wizardry". I'm sure this would be a great resource to draw upon for Wizardspire. I've got it in my collection at home somewhere. I'll try to dig it out this week and read it over. I'll be sure to post any new ideas I glean from that book here.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Belathauzer » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:55 pm

Fflewddur wrote:Hey Fellas,

I love the idea as well, count me in. I am however a little confused about how we're going to go about this. In compiling our Who's Who list, who gets the final say on an NPC's writeup? Do we come to some kind of consensus about it? As it stands with this topic we could go on and on about our theories of who Geoffrey is for pages and pages, but that doesn't really satisfy the original goal...or does it?

And now to throw in my two cents...
For Geoffrey, I love the idea of Geoffrey being a title for whoever is the guardian of Mage Island and the Library (Great Princess Bride reference!). I also love the idea of Mage Island being a bastion of good magic against the corrupting influence of Wizardspire and the Mad Mage (though I'd prefer to think that Wizardspire wasn't always corrupt). I'm not sure if this is canon or something that I introduced to the setting, but I like the idea of Mage Island having an Avalon-type feel to it, where it is impossible to find unless you have some magical aid. Perhaps it is protected by a powerful illusion and to the ordinary person the horizon across Lake Ganiff looks empty. I'm also not sure if this is canon, but I had Pickman (the scribe from Melinir) as Geoffrey's apprentice and his current liason between the town and Mage Island. This way Geoffrey can remain mysterious and only show himself to those he deems necessary, while still maintianing contact with the outside world.


Good points, and good takes here Fflewddur.

As far as final say for a fan gazetteer/netbook is concerned, I would assume it would work like the real world - the contributors have the say as to content and the editor has the final say (especially where copyright and trademark infringement is concerned - thanks for bringing this little devil up Havard :evil: ). As Havard is the moderator for this sub-forum and has written the most "official" fan material for TR so far, I would be inclined to nominate him for editor. I also agree with using the current Piazza community fan gazetteer format.

I like your take on Mage Island's inherent "magical qualities". Would there happen to be any watery tarts flinging swords living in the lake too? :P A resident nixie perhaps? The illusion magic used to mask the island could draw it's power from the Hutaakan artifact - the Ashai Monolith (this is Havard's twist on the monolith from the Thunder Rift Project). The monolith has inherent invisibility magic within it which helps to keep the Rift hidden from the outside world. Geoffrey could have unlocked the secrets of the monolith and now uses them for his own purposes?

I also like the connection between Pickman and Geoffrey. I have made a similar connection myself. Since Pickman works for the town council, and the mayor is a member of the Quadrial this make plenty sense to me; especially if you use my idea of Geoffrey being a patron of the Quadrial.


Great ideas all around. I'm so glad I decided to post this topic. I can't wait to see what else you come up with! :mrgreen:
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:56 pm

Belathauzer wrote:As far as final say for a fan gazetteer/netbook is concerned, I would assume it would work like the real world - the contributors have the say as to content and the editor has the final say (especially where copyright and trademark infringement is concerned - thanks for bringing this little devil up Havard :evil: ). As Havard is the moderator for this sub-forum and has written the most "official" fan material for TR so far, I would be inclined to nominate him for editor. I also agree with using the current Piazza community fan gazetteer format.


Thanks for the nomination! If noone else minds, I will take on the role of Project Leader. I have no intention of being any kind of dictator though. There are only a few of us here participating in discussions so it would be nice if we could work up a consensus on most things. OldDawg has also offered to help edit a future gazetteer for us, and I think that would be excellent.

For now, I think we should focus on getting as many good ideas and as much good stuff posted here as possible and we can sort out what goes into a gazetteer later on. This can be a sort of carrot to keep us going, but I dont think it should limit what kind of ideas we present for eachother at this stage.

I like your take on Mage Island's inherent "magical qualities". Would there happen to be any watery tarts flinging swords living in the lake too? :P A resident nixie perhaps? The illusion magic used to mask the island could draw it's power from the Hutaakan artifact - the Ashai Monolith (this is Havard's twist on the monolith from the Thunder Rift Project). The monolith has inherent invisibility magic within it which helps to keep the Rift hidden from the outside world. Geoffrey could have unlocked the secrets of the monolith and now uses them for his own purposes?


Plenty of good ideas here. It might not be a good idea for Geoffrey to know every secret of the valley though. He migh suspect things and be interested in locations like the Monolith, but launching an expedition there would be too good an adventure hook to pass on. :)

I also like the connection between Pickman and Geoffrey. I have made a similar connection myself. Since Pickman works for the town council, and the mayor is a member of the Quadrial this make plenty sense to me; especially if you use my idea of Geoffrey being a patron of the Quadrial.


Interesting! I was just thinking about Pickman in this myself. By the way, is there some reference about Pickman that I am missing? His name is a bit odd, I thought it might be some insider joke..

I like how Firebee brought in Barrick. I always assumed he was one of the good guys though. Well, perhaps we are making things a bit too much black and white? The conflict between Wizards and Warriors probably didnt start out as a fight between good and evil, but obviously some individuals on each side took things way too far as the situation escalated...

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Belathauzer » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:55 pm

With respect to the Wizard & Warrior conflict, I too don't care for the black & white, good vs. evil scenario. There is waaay too much grey area there. I tried to resolve this issue by extending the Thyatian/Alphatian rivalry into the Rift, which in turn gives the Rift a greater Mystara/Known World connection.

I like the idea of Wizardspire either being founded by, or later dominated by wizards of Alphatian ancestry, and the Fighters Academy in turn would be founded by or, or later dominated by warriors bearing Thyatian ancestry (possibly via the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady to add some Vanya flavor to the mix). This would allow for cultural, rather than professional animosity and prejudice as Thyatians & Alphatians don't get along and are naturally predisposed to be mistrustful of each other. This makes more sense to me in the overall context of Mystara.


On the gazetteer note: While compiling this gazetteer, lets not forget about the DragonStrike material too. We're still in the dark where that's concerned, though we should be able to fit it in nicely somewhere in the Rifts distant past. If you've gleaned anymore useful information from the Dragonstrike: Dungeon of Fear material in the last month Havard, then please do post it over on the [DragonStrike] King Halvor's reign in Thunder Rift? topic.

Back to the gazetteer - would it be worth starting a new community project forum to collect all of the discussions pertaining to this gazeteer in one place? Or would a new topic here in the TR sub-forum suffice?
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:28 pm

Belathauzer wrote:With respect to the Wizard & Warrior conflict, I too don't care for the black & white, good vs. evil scenario. There is waaay too much grey area there. I tried to resolve this issue by extending the Thyatian/Alphatian rivalry into the Rift, which in turn gives the Rift a greater Mystara/Known World connection.

I like the idea of Wizardspire either being founded by, or later dominated by wizards of Alphatian ancestry, and the Fighters Academy in turn would be founded by or, or later dominated by warriors bearing Thyatian ancestry (possibly via the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady to add some Vanya flavor to the mix). This would allow for cultural, rather than professional animosity and prejudice as Thyatians & Alphatians don't get along and are naturally predisposed to be mistrustful of each other. This makes more sense to me in the overall context of Mystara.


That is a great idea! :)


On the gazetteer note: While compiling this gazetteer, lets not forget about the DragonStrike material too. We're still in the dark where that's concerned, though we should be able to fit it in nicely somewhere in the Rifts distant past. If you've gleaned anymore useful information from the Dragonstrike: Dungeon of Fear material in the last month Havard, then please do post it over on the [DragonStrike] King Halvor's reign in Thunder Rift? topic.


I'm still looking into that ;)

Back to the gazetteer - would it be worth starting a new community project forum to collect all of the discussions pertaining to this gazeteer in one place? Or would a new topic here in the TR sub-forum suffice?


Given that acitivty is still limited in this place, I would personally prefer that we keep it all within this subforum for now. A separate thread is a good idea.

We have already wandered quite far from the OT havent we? Still, alot of good ideas have come out of this thread so far! :)

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby firebee » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:56 pm

I'm seriously loving this thread guys!!

It's great to see everyone's take on the different characters, relationships, and themes of TR! I've already decided to "borrow" several of the ideas that people have put forth. Just to comment on a few of the new ideas people have bandied about:

1) Pickman - I too had him working for Geoffrey as one of his agents in Melinir. He typically hires parties to investigate magical places for Geoffrey, but sometimes acts as a middle-man for Mage Island when characters want magic items identified, etc. Currently he's hired one of the parties I'm running in TR (Cleric 4, Fighter 4, Fighter 3, Thief 4) to investigate the ruins of Kraal.

2) Barrik - Like many of you, I actually didn't actually think of Barrik as evil per se, just Chaotic. Barrik is actually "alive" in my campaign. While running through the Silver Sword, the elf in the party lit the candle in Barrik's skull (still wondering who did that!) Barrik appeared before him and the elf's Int score went up 1. However, Barrik's spirrt now inhabits the elf's body. While he cannot control the body, he can communicate with him. Sometimes he provides useful information, but he mostly just annoying, often deriding the elf for his inferior intelligence and magical abilities. While he likes the extra intelligence, the elf is seriously considering a Remove Curse spell (not that it would work :twisted: )

3) Keeper of Secrets - I definitely like this idea! This could certainly justify why/how Geoffrey knows about so much secret magic (e.g. the orb that sunk Kraal) that he sends his agents/proxies to recover. I too envisioned Wizardspire as a great school of specialists. I've already developed Barrik as an elementalist (a la the Glantri School of Magecraft), so maybe that is the area of magic he taught at Wizardspire.

4) Wizardspire - I too borrowed something from the Forgotten Realms for Wizardspire, but I can't recall what it was called. I want to say it's called "Beyond the Forgotten Realms", but I can't seem to find that on the web. I'll have to look at my campaign notes at home. Currently a different TR party (Elf 2, Elf 2, Magic-User 3, Thief 4) have been hired by Geoffrey to retrieve a certain book from the ruins of Wizardspire. I am using the Dungeon Crawl Classic "Mysterious Tower" combined with the Forgotten Realms adventure to flesh out Wizardspire. The later module features a lich who is quite mad and thinks he is still alive. He is guarding a vast library which was the heart of the Wizardspire school.

5) Mage Island - I too like the idea of this island being magical. Perhaps it is protected by some artifact from Wizardspire that the Keeper of Secrets took with him when he left. Perhaps this same artifact keeps him young which is why he uses agents and doesn't leave the island. Wouldn't it be ironic if by taking this item, Geoffrey unwittingly made Wizardspire vulnerable to the Black Knight's secret attack! Better yet, what if that was Geoffrey's plan all along - to remove the "corrupting" chaotic influence of the Mad Mage and his allies! Maybe Geoffrey isn't so nice after all!!!

6) Project Leader - I second the nomination of Havard. (You don't know how hard it is for a Massachusetts guy like me, not to misspell your name as "Harvard"!)

7) Wizard-Warrior Conflict - I totally agree that this was not a good-evil issue (anymore than the elf-dwarf conflict was.) I like the idea of this being a Alphatian-Thyatian conflict, but perhaps it could be broadened to a law-chaos conflict as well. Perhaps the Alphatian wizards were searching for a place to get away from the order represented by the Empire. The fighter's academy (perhaps like the kings of old!) were a force of law and order, and were thus naturally in opposition to the mages. Geoffrey, one of the few lawful mages, may have welcomed the influence of the fighters, and thus opposed the "Mad Mage", Barrik, and other like-minded wizards, who may have been more chaotic in nature despite running Wizardspire. The new Black Knight, being more chaotic than his predecessor, is a new threat to the order Geoffrey (and the Quadriel, "influenced by Geoffrey) have established, which is why Geoffrey is so pre-occupied by him.

8) Gazetteer - I'm fine with either using this thread or setting up a community project. On a related note, would we like to design a few short adventures to go along with the Gazetteer? I've personally preferred fleshed out adventures (even encounters) to "plot hooks". It's been a while since I've written an adventure from scratch (I typically modify one of the many commercial adventures I own), but I'd be more than happy to give it a go. Is there a particular area or plot line that folks would be interested in seeing fleshed out into an adventure?
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Fflewddur » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:07 pm

Wow Gentlemen,

There's a lot going on here and I'm as excited as everyone else about this project. Great work so far.

1) I will third the motion of Havard as the director of this project (I also find my fingers unconsciously writing Harvard in posts)

2)
Wizard-Warrior Conflict - I totally agree that this was not a good-evil issue (anymore than the elf-dwarf conflict was.) I like the idea of this being a Alphatian-Thyatian conflict, but perhaps it could be broadened to a law-chaos conflict as well. Perhaps the Alphatian wizards were searching for a place to get away from the order represented by the Empire. The fighter's academy (perhaps like the kings of old!) were a force of law and order, and were thus naturally in opposition to the mages. Geoffrey, one of the few lawful mages, may have welcomed the influence of the fighters, and thus opposed the "Mad Mage", Barrik, and other like-minded wizards, who may have been more chaotic in nature despite running Wizardspire. The new Black Knight, being more chaotic than his predecessor, is a new threat to the order Geoffrey (and the Quadriel, "influenced by Geoffrey) have established, which is why Geoffrey is so pre-occupied by him.

I too agree that this isn't a good-evil conflict as the bigger world of Mystara in which the Rift is located is smattered with all kinds of shades of grey. That's what makes it so great.

3) I like the idea of Geoffrey as the Keeper of Secrets, but he doesn't know everything. He simply puts forth such an air of authority and mystery that everyone assumes he knows everything. Kinda like the druids Allanon or Walker Boh from the Shannara series. Given that the ordinary citizens' experience with magic is not good (see: Wizardspire, the Mad Mage, Gloomfens, etc.), they naturally distrust those who use it. I could see the general populace viewing the 'legendary' Geoffrey as a bit of a manipulator and meddler - even though this might not be the case.

4) The Black Knight marshalling forces to re-introduce a monarchy to the Rift is an excellent idea. Geoffrey using 'adventurer' agents to undermine this goal could introduce quite a bit of tension to the mix.

5) How do the various other 'good' races react to this tension between Geoffrey and the Black Knight? The Dwarves I assume, being isolated up north are isolationists and wouldn't care too much. The Elves of the Silvercrest clan react? What about the Rakasta or the Newts, who are presumably caught in the middle between Melinir and the Black Knight's keep?

6) As for Barrick, after the events of the Quest for the Silver Sword, I had his ancestors return to rebuild his keep. The new head of the Barrick clan is a decidedly militant fighter who abhors the use of magic as he sees it as being responsible for the downfall of his once-powerful family. Little does he know however that his young daughter has found some of her grand sire's journals and has begun to dabble in magic herself.

7) I too would like to see some adventure material (and would be glad to contribute some) for TR. As for locales, I believe there was a work in progress entitled "The Blight of Birtchwood". Havard, have you heard any recent updates concerning this? For my own part I like the Unchard Tonsha idea put forth be Belathauzer. I'd also like to flesh out the Gauntlin area a little more and perhaps some of the abandoned mines around Melinir.

Can't think of anything else off the top of my head right now. I've got to dig my TR material out of storage and re-familiarize myself with it.

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Belathauzer » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:08 pm

Great stuff gentlemen! :D

With regards to what has been said so far, I would just like to compile your comments and show where we all seem to agree. These areas should now be considered LAW as far as a gazetteer is concerned; and with regards to said gazetteer, I think it should be set at 1000AC like all other gazetteers with any other events (namely PC adventuring and such) being recorded in an almanac style book. Perhaps we can even get TR included in an "official" fan almanac one day??

So, on to the compiling:

Item 1 – Project Director & material contributors:

firebee wrote:6) Project Leader - I second the nomination of Havard. (You don't know how hard it is for a Massachusetts guy like me, not to misspell your name as "Harvard"!)


Fflewddur wrote:1) I will third the motion of Havard as the director of this project (I also find my fingers unconsciously writing Harvard in posts)


The votes are in, and it looks like you’re IT Havard. :P

Project Director:
    Havard
Project Contributors:
    Belathauzer
    Fflewddur
    Firebee

Havard - To ease the burden, may I suggest that you delegate work based on areas of interest and individual strengths; or alternately, since there are four of us at the moment, you may also want to “draw & quarter” the Rift and dole out a piece to each of us. That piece will then be our chief quadrant of responsibility for fleshing out minute detail (as long as no one minds, I’m raising my hand for the SE quadrant as I’ve done lots of work in that area already). Obviously any such details should be shared with other contributors to keep things consistent. Major items such as existing NPCs, organizations, history and such should be group contributed & agreed upon.


Item 2 – Gazetteer format and content

Havard wrote:Given that acitivty is still limited in this place, I would personally prefer that we keep it all within this subforum for now. A separate thread is a good idea.


firebee wrote:8) Gazetteer - I'm fine with either using this thread or setting up a community project. On a related note, would we like to design a few short adventures to go along with the Gazetteer? I've personally preferred fleshed out adventures (even encounters) to "plot hooks". It's been a while since I've written an adventure from scratch (I typically modify one of the many commercial adventures I own), but I'd be more than happy to give it a go. Is there a particular area or plot line that folks would be interested in seeing fleshed out into an adventure?


Fflewddur wrote:7) I too would like to see some adventure material (and would be glad to contribute some) for TR. As for locales, I believe there was a work in progress entitled "The Blight of Birtchwood". Havard, have you heard any recent updates concerning this? For my own part I like the Unchard Tonsha idea put forth be Belathauzer. I'd also like to flesh out the Gauntlin area a little more and perhaps some of the abandoned mines around Melinir.


A new topic shall be created under the Thunder Rift sub-forum. It should be called “[Project] The Thunder Rift Gazetteer” or some variation thereof. All official contributions, as well as discussions directly regarding to the Gazetteer should be posted here. If possible, the topic should be read-only to everyone except the contributors, moderator, and administrators.

The format of the gazetteer should follow the official fan gazetteer format. It should be divided into both a Referee’s and a Player’s Handbook. Sections within the Referee’s book shall include History (as it really is), Geography, Society, Personalities & Organizations, Creatures, Artifacts & Treasures, Places of Interest, and Adventures. Sections within the Player’s book shall include History (as the PCs think it is), Creating characters, Special rules (if any).

Several of us are interested in contributing adventures. Fflewddur has expressed interest in the Gauntlin area & Melinir mines/caves, while I (Belathauzer) am already working on something for Uchard Tonsha and the Marshwood (FYI Fflewddur – I’ve got a few ideas for the Melinir area that I’d like to run past you and the rest of the group).

Item 3 – Areas of Interest (I just can’t find the desire to quote anymore, so I’m just reading everyone’s ideas and compiling them together with my own. Sorry.) :(

1) Wizard-Warrior Conflict: Everyone seems to like the idea of it being an Alphatian/Thyatian or Chaos/Law type conflict, rather than a black & white good vs. evil Wizards vs. Warriors conflict. We should definitely develop this more along these lines.

2) Geoffrey: I seem to have coined a new title here with “Keeper of Secrets”. We should continue to develop Geoffrey as a benevolent wizard who quests to know and possess all things magical. He should be used as a patron of the PCs as well as connected to the Quadrial and it’s network, perhaps even as a patron or benefactor. Most of us seem to like the idea of him being connected to Wizardspire at some point in time as well. This should be developed more.

3) Wizardspire: This still needs to be nailed down better. We have lots of fantastic ideas circling about. Regardless of exact history it seems to be the consensus that it had at one time been a formal magical college and it may have had Alphatian influence. We all seem to be in agreement about the Mad Mage being a lich and evil. I for one like the idea of him using resurrected wizards as undead servants. I found the book I was looking for, “College of Wizardry’, and am reading it over. It would be a great basis for Wizardspire. It even has suggestions for incorporating into Mystara and Red Steel.

4) Mage Island: Lots of great ideas here too. Regardless of our individual takes, we all agree that the island needs to be steeped in mystery (this makes sense if it is owned by the Keeper of Secrets). I for one like the idea of the island being magical, or at least mystical (if there is indeed a difference). Rather than being invisible, it could be constantly shrouded in mist or fog, even on clear days (much like Avalon was described). This simple fog could be enough to dissuade most from trying to reach the island. Those bold enough to try could find themselves lost in the fog, only to emerge once again in a different point on the lake. Those persistent enough may be swallowed by the fog altogether, never to be seen again. The lake may even have a resident “monster” that could be the source of the missing persons.

Those privileged (or lucky) enough to reach the island should find it to be just as mystical and mysterious up close as at a distance, if not more so. I’m picturing something very much like Avalon or Lothlorien. Old ruins, buildings, statues, and structures should dot the landscape, most covered with natural growth – moss, ivy, trees and such. Geoffrey’s library should contain staggering amounts of books, scrolls, and codices, plus items of a magical nature.

5) Pickman: seems to be a natural fit for a servant of Geoffrey and the Quadrial. I believe that the Thunder Rift campaign setting listed him as a ‘sage’ or ‘scribe’. He supposedly works for the mayor in the capacity of a scribe and does personal research on the side. He will also do research for the PCs at a fair price if hired to do so, and he is also a good source of adventure, either through direct hiring or rumors/stories. I like the idea of him being the middle-man between the Geoffrey and the Quadrial. He could also serve Geoffrey in a similar capacity as the Mayor in that he does research for him as well as scribing. In return Pickman may receive magical instruction. He may even be a current or former apprentice of Geoffrey??

6) Barrick: should be connected to the former Wizardspire in some way, much like Geoffrey. Perhaps he could have been a neutral wizard during the time of the conflict, while Geoffrey was more good aligned? I like the idea of Barrick preferring a more personal master/apprentice style of teaching, as opposed to Wizardspire’s more “institutional” approach. Most of us have connected Barrick & Zanzer Tem, especially in a master/apprentice relationship. Perhaps this needs to be fleshed out more? I really like firebee’s use of Barrick’s spirit to possess one of his PCs. Something I never thought of doing. It has a very Raistlin/Fistandantilus quality to it that I really, really like. It makes for an interesting way of bringing back the dead without creating another lich or some such.

7) The Black Knight: definitely needs to be a major plot aspect of the Rift. He, along with the Assassins Academy, will be marshalling forces composed of humans, demi-humans, and humanoids, in an attempt to re-introduce a monarchy and feudal system in the Rift and declare himself King. Geoffrey and the Quadrial are working against his machinations, but cannot yet afford to be open about it. This is where the PCs come in.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’ve got several other ideas for other areas of the Rift and other races, groups and such. I’ll post them in a separate post under the new Project topic.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:57 pm

firebee wrote:I'm seriously loving this thread guys!!


Ditto :)

2) Barrik - Like many of you, I actually didn't actually think of Barrik as evil per se, just Chaotic. Barrik is actually "alive" in my campaign. While running through the Silver Sword, the elf in the party lit the candle in Barrik's skull (still wondering who did that!) Barrik appeared before him and the elf's Int score went up 1. However, Barrik's spirrt now inhabits the elf's body. While he cannot control the body, he can communicate with him. Sometimes he provides useful information, but he mostly just annoying, often deriding the elf for his inferior intelligence and magical abilities. While he likes the extra intelligence, the elf is seriously considering a Remove Curse spell (not that it would work :twisted: )


Having Barrik around in some form or other is just brilliant! Also, keep in mind that there's also another Barrik around, Duke Barrik from WOTES is still alive in the Hollow World. In my timeline, I have Duke Barrik as an ancestor of the Wizard Barrik from Curse of Silver Sword.

6) Project Leader - I second the nomination of Havard. (You don't know how hard it is for a Massachusetts guy like me, not to misspell your name as "Harvard"!)


LOL! I get that alot actually :lol:
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am glad it looks like this is going to be a team effort though.

7) Wizard-Warrior Conflict - I totally agree that this was not a good-evil issue (anymore than the elf-dwarf conflict was.) I like the idea of this being a Alphatian-Thyatian conflict, but perhaps it could be broadened to a law-chaos conflict as well. Perhaps the Alphatian wizards were searching for a place to get away from the order represented by the Empire. The fighter's academy (perhaps like the kings of old!) were a force of law and order, and were thus naturally in opposition to the mages. Geoffrey, one of the few lawful mages, may have welcomed the influence of the fighters, and thus opposed the "Mad Mage", Barrik, and other like-minded wizards, who may have been more chaotic in nature despite running Wizardspire. The new Black Knight, being more chaotic than his predecessor, is a new threat to the order Geoffrey (and the Quadriel, "influenced by Geoffrey) have established, which is why Geoffrey is so pre-occupied by him.


This discussion has made me rethink some aspects of Thunder Rift. Perhaps Thunder Rift in many ways is a Known World in miniature with many of the conflicts of the greater Known World conflicts thrown into a small valley. Makes me wonder when the Shadowelves are going to show up too.. :twisted:

8) Gazetteer - I'm fine with either using this thread or setting up a community project. On a related note, would we like to design a few short adventures to go along with the Gazetteer? I've personally preferred fleshed out adventures (even encounters) to "plot hooks". It's been a while since I've written an adventure from scratch (I typically modify one of the many commercial adventures I own), but I'd be more than happy to give it a go. Is there a particular area or plot line that folks would be interested in seeing fleshed out into an adventure?


The Gazetteer will have an adventure section. I would also be open to seeing fully fledged adventures for Thunder Rift. Go ahead and write them! :)

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:04 pm

Fflewddur wrote:1) I will third the motion of Havard as the director of this project (I also find my fingers unconsciously writing Harvard in posts)


Thanks! :)

4) The Black Knight marshalling forces to re-introduce a monarchy to the Rift is an excellent idea. Geoffrey using 'adventurer' agents to undermine this goal could introduce quite a bit of tension to the mix.


I always assumed that The Black Knight is an Avenger. Would a chaotic character support monarchy? Well, some evil dictatorship does seem like up his alley. I haven't read Sword and Shield thoroughly yet though, so I may be missing things on this guy.

5) How do the various other 'good' races react to this tension between Geoffrey and the Black Knight? The Dwarves I assume, being isolated up north are isolationists and wouldn't care too much. The Elves of the Silvercrest clan react? What about the Rakasta or the Newts, who are presumably caught in the middle between Melinir and the Black Knight's keep?


Interesting questios. I suppose the adventures Knight of Newts, Rage of Rakasta and Curse of the Silver Sword could lead to elves, newts and Rakasta becoming closer allies to the Melinir/Torlynn area.

6) As for Barrick, after the events of the Quest for the Silver Sword, I had his ancestors return to rebuild his keep. The new head of the Barrick clan is a decidedly militant fighter who abhors the use of magic as he sees it as being responsible for the downfall of his once-powerful family. Little does he know however that his young daughter has found some of her grand sire's journals and has begun to dabble in magic herself.


Good ideas.

7) I too would like to see some adventure material (and would be glad to contribute some) for TR. As for locales, I believe there was a work in progress entitled "The Blight of Birtchwood". Havard, have you heard any recent updates concerning this? For my own part I like the Unchard Tonsha idea put forth be Belathauzer. I'd also like to flesh out the Gauntlin area a little more and perhaps some of the abandoned mines around Melinir.


I talked to Phoenixmcl not too long ago. He had taken a break from the project, but IIRC he is returning to it now. He hangs out at Dragonsfoot, but I hope he will join us here some day :)

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:45 pm

Lets see if we can get some discussion about some more of Thunder Rift's NPCS.

Below are all of the NPCs listed under the Melinir entry in the Thunder Rift booklet:

Melinir NPCs

Connor the Scribe (3rd leve Elf Cleric Neutral).
Connor is the scribe working for the Mayor at town hall. IMO Connor probably isn't his real name. I would guess it is probably something like Connorolas, which humans turned into Connor when he decided to move in and live with them. Demihumans are common in Melinir. Still, could there be a reason why he left the woods? His listed as a Cleric (??). I'm guessing his patron would be Ilsundal.

Mayor Valum (9th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
The Mayor is a member of the Quadrial (retired?) Why is he no longer an adventurer? He appears to be 10 years older than he is. The TR guide suggests this is due to his tough job, but could he have had encounters with Ghosts?

Stefan des Herbst (1st level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Stefan is the town weaver. Stefan Herbst sounds like a German name. Not sure about "des". Could he be Hattian? I don't see much else interesting with this guy though. But what is it with his quilts? some of them are on the beds in the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Do they reveal secrets like the tapestry from B10 perhaps? Or is there some other magic woven into them? Or am I giving too much credit to a 1st level magic user?

Shar (2nd level Dwarf Fighter, Lawful)
A female dwarf blacksmith, far from Hearthhome in the Farolas hills. What has driven this young dwarven lady from her homelands? Is she connected to Bediah Buhlon somehow? Only her first name is given. Is she an outcast of her clan since she gives no clan name? Or could Shar actually be her clan name. Dwarven females usually have softer sounding names according to Gaz 6. Shar might come from Sar which means South in Dwarven according to Gaz6.

Bediah Buhlon (3rd level Dwarf Fighter, Neutral)
Bediah is the the owner of the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Bediah is probably a human corrupted dwarves name. Might be something like Bedin. Looking at the language list in Gaz 6, Buhlon might be derived from Buhr=Fire and Lin=Moon. Could thhe Buhlon Clan be an important clan, perhaps of inn keepers and the like in Hearth-Home? I love it if we can use these NPC descriptions to derive some greater information about Thunder Rift. Because of the name Sarcastic Goat, I imagine the Goat being the symbol of the Buhlon clan and Bediah probably has a Goat's Head symbol on his shield or armor.

Hodie (0-level Human, Lawful)
He is the stable boy at the Sarcastic Goat Inn stables and is a source of information. What is Hodie's story? How did he end up working for Bediah? Does he have some legacy out there waiting for him?

Enora (9th level human Cleric, Lawful)
Enora is the High Cleric of Melinir. She wields a mace and her valuables include 7 gems. Something tells me these 7 gems have some significance or other. I am reminded by thos stones from Temple of Doom. Perhaps these can also be placed within some sort of holy statue to produce some magical effect? Which patron does Enora serve? It is likely some Lawful Immortal, Petra perhaps? I think I will start a discussion of Immortals of Thunder Rift afterwards.

Martin (5th level Human Cleric, Lawful)
Another Cleric here. He is Lawful as well. Maybe he serves Halav? All lawful Clerics are welcome on Temple grounds though. Interestingly, Neutral Clerics are not met with the same hospitality.

Karyn (9th level Halfling Thief, Neutral)
Karyn is the Melinir Banker and she is another member of the Quadrial.

Pickman the Sage (2nd level Human Wizard, Lawful)
This character has been disussed above. I still don't like his name for some reason.

Black Thomas (6th level Human Thief, Chaotic)
He is the leader of the Thief's Guild. He has an understanding with Nicholas Maybrush. He is not a nice guy.

Ainrie (1st level Human Thief, Neutral)
Ainrie poses as a serving wench over at the Dancing Dragon tavern. Is she connected to Black Thomas' guild? She does have alot of connections within Thunder Rift's underground so it does seem likely. Ainrie sounds french. Is she from LaTerre?

Richard the Baker (1st level Human Fighter, Lawful)
Not sure what to do with this character. OTOH, the fact that he is a baker has become more interesting to me since I learned of Frank Mentzer's Bakery career. Richard does seem to be a curious guy who could get himself into trouble from time to time..

Nicholas Maybrush (7th level Human Fighter, Chaotic)
This Merchant is one of the biggest villains of Melinir, posing as a well respected citizen. He sort of reminds me of Al Swerengen from Deadwood, although probably way more classy on the surface.

The Recluse
Noone knows who this is, but there is a manor whose owner is a mystery even to the likes of Black Thomas. Any idea who this could be? Sounds like a wizard to me.

Geoffrey of Mage Island (7th level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Geoffrey has been discussed above. He runs Mage Island and has apparently been doing so for centuries.

Daffyd the Wise (5th level Human Clerc, Lawful)
Another Lawful Cleric! He is a kind of oracle walking around in the streets muttering strange words. What is his relations to Enora and Martin?

Ap Hen of the Valley (5th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
A fighter who pretends to be wild to make people fear him. Seems a little dishonest for a Lawful character? Is Ap Hen a Celtic name? Can his origins be traced to the Isle of Dawn?

Dara the Barbarian (3rd level Human Fighter, Neutral)
Dara is described as a barbaric person wearing leather and furs. Is she originally from the Athruagin clans?

Lars Jasse (4HD Doppleganger, Chaotic)
Lars is a doppleganger. Does he have some bigger scheme than just joining aventurer parties and killing them? Do dopplegangers eat their victims? He would be a very useful asset for Black Thomas if he joined the Thief's Guild...

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:45 pm

Historical Characters from the TR Guide

Thragat Orc’s Blood (Dwarf)
Historical character. He was one of the original members of the Quadrial. He became the lover of Thessandria. Killed by an unknown assassin.

Thessandria Starshine (Elven Wizard)
Historical Character. She was one of the original members of the Quadrial and Thragat’s lover. Killed by an unknown assassin before giving birth to Thragat’s child. Speculation: What if this "Dwelf" (Dwarf-elf crossbreed) was actually born before the parents were murdered? Possibly the truth was hidden to prevent another attempt on his life. Maybe the Dwelf now lives in secret in the dungeons of Mage Island?


Father Patrius Timoris (Human Cleric)

Historical Character. Follower of Halav? The best healer in the valley. One of the original members of the Quadrial. I would imagine there's a statue of him in front of the Melinir Temple.

Gray Raven (Human Thief)
Historical Character. One of the original members of the Quadrial. Killed by Ash the Red. What is his connection to Raven of the Burning Hills?

Korian and Dorian (Halflings)
Historical characters. These two Halflings were two of the original Quadrial members. Korian was killed by Ash the Red.

Ash the Red (Large Red Dragon)
A Large red dragon killed by the original Quadrial after burning down Torlynn. Scortch, a Huge Red Dragon has taken over the lair of Ash. Is Ash still around somewhere, continuing his terrors as an Undead Dragon? This would continue the theme of Thunder Rift being haunted by its past...

Sir Jamesson the Defender (Human Fighter/Paladin?)

Historical Character. He founded the Fighter’s Academy in what is now the Gloomfens. He still haunts the ruins of the Academy. More details on the Spectre Sir Jamesson will follow soon!

Farolas (Dwarf)
Historical character. Founder of the Farolas clan and legendary ruler of the Hearth-Home dwarves. The Hills are named after this legendary Dwarven Hero. He died battling Aristicles by the magical gateway buried below Hearth-Home. (Some of this information was revealed in Escape from Thunder Rift).

The Black Knight (Human Avenger)
The original Black Knight was one of the protégés of Sir Jamesson of the Figher’s Academy. When the Academy was destroyed by the mages of Wizardspire, the Black Knight penetrated that stronghold and killed every mage he could find. Since then he became known as the Black Knight and constructed his stronghold Avenal in the southern swamps. Sir Argyl is the descendant of the original Black Knight and carries on his tradition.


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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby firebee » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:59 pm

Here is my feedback/take on some of these NPCs:

Havard wrote:Lets see if we can get some discussion about some more of Thunder Rift's NPCS.

Below are all of the NPCs listed under the Melinir entry in the Thunder Rift booklet:

Melinir NPCs

Connor the Scribe (3rd leve Elf Cleric Neutral).
Connor is the scribe working for the Mayor at town hall. IMO Connor probably isn't his real name. I would guess it is probably something like Connorolas, which humans turned into Connor when he decided to move in and live with them. Demihumans are common in Melinir. Still, could there be a reason why he left the woods? His listed as a Cleric (??). I'm guessing his patron would be Ilsundal.


Since I run only classic (basically I used slightly customized RC rules) campaigns, I made Connor a Elf rather than an Elf Cleric. Even though I use much of GAZ5, I don't see an Elf Cleric, as described in that supplement, moving to a human city. However given that a number of spells on the GAZ5 spell list are druid/clerical in nature, I could see how other citizens of Melinir might mistake Connor for an Cleric.

Mayor Valum (9th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
The Mayor is a member of the Quadrial (retired?) Why is he no longer an adventurer? He appears to be 10 years older than he is. The TR guide suggests this is due to his tough job, but could he have had encounters with Ghosts?


I love your "Ghost Encounter" idea! It fits great! It might also explain why Enora has to recruit adventurers to put Sir Jameson's spirit to rest (in The Haunted Tower) rather than Valum riding out with some men. Perhaps he was so affected by his encounter with a Ghost, he cannot face undead anymore. Therefore he is searching for someone to replace him on the Quadrial. (I may use Raven as his replacement in my campaign.)

Stefan des Herbst (1st level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Stefan is the town weaver. Stefan Herbst sounds like a German name. Not sure about "des". Could he be Hattian? I don't see much else interesting with this guy though. But what is it with his quilts? some of them are on the beds in the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Do they reveal secrets like the tapestry from B10 perhaps? Or is there some other magic woven into them? Or am I giving too much credit to a 1st level magic user?


I haven't really used Stefan yet, as there hasn't been a lot of call for a Weaver :P Given his lawful nature, I could see him as one of Geoffrey's network, perhaps working under Pickman. Regularly supplying quilts to the Inn could be a great cover for spying on new people in town.

Shar (2nd level Dwarf Fighter, Lawful)
A female dwarf blacksmith, far from Hearthhome in the Farolas hills. What has driven this young dwarven lady from her homelands? Is she connected to Bediah Buhlon somehow? Only her first name is given. Is she an outcast of her clan since she gives no clan name? Or could Shar actually be her clan name. Dwarven females usually have softer sounding names according to Gaz 6. Shar might come from Sar which means South in Dwarven according to Gaz6.


I like the outcast idea. Maybe she was being forced into an arranged marriage and so ran away from Hearthhome. Perhaps she and Connor were romantically linked, so she fled Hearthhome for fear of what happened to the Elf-Dwarf lovers of legend.

Bediah Buhlon (3rd level Dwarf Fighter, Neutral)
Bediah is the the owner of the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Bediah is probably a human corrupted dwarves name. Might be something like Bedin. Looking at the language list in Gaz 6, Buhlon might be derived from Buhr=Fire and Lin=Moon. Could thhe Buhlon Clan be an important clan, perhaps of inn keepers and the like in Hearth-Home? I love it if we can use these NPC descriptions to derive some greater information about Thunder Rift. Because of the name Sarcastic Goat, I imagine the Goat being the symbol of the Buhlon clan and Bediah probably has a Goat's Head symbol on his shield or armor.


I always assumed that Bediah was short for Obediah. Simiarly, I thought the "Sarcastic Goat" was Bediah himelf. I see him as a rather sour puss with a warm heart and a very dry sense of humor. Given Dwarves love of their beards, they could be compared to billy goats very easily. Maybe Bediah's dead wife called him "a sarcastic old goat" as a pet name.

Hodie (0-level Human, Lawful)
He is the stable boy at the Sarcastic Goat Inn stables and is a source of information. What is Hodie's story? How did he end up working for Bediah? Does he have some legacy out there waiting for him?


Hodie has a lot of potential. I haven't found the right circumstances to use him yet though.

Enora (9th level human Cleric, Lawful)
Enora is the High Cleric of Melinir. She wields a mace and her valuables include 7 gems. Something tells me these 7 gems have some significance or other. I am reminded by thos stones from Temple of Doom. Perhaps these can also be placed within some sort of holy statue to produce some magical effect? Which patron does Enora serve? It is likely some Lawful Immortal, Petra perhaps? I think I will start a discussion of Immortals of Thunder Rift afterwards.


Enora is one of the major NPCs in my campaigns; she sponsored one of the parties' forays into the Gloomfens. The leader of that party is also a cleric of Petra.

Martin (5th level Human Cleric, Lawful)
Another Cleric here. He is Lawful as well. Maybe he serves Halav? All lawful Clerics are welcome on Temple grounds though. Interestingly, Neutral Clerics are not met with the same hospitality.


I made Petra the primary immortal of the Melinir area, so I also made Martin a cleric of Petra. But Halav works as well, though in my campaign Halav is worshiped more in the Northern part of the rift, especially near where the Gnolls are located. Perhaps there is some rivalry between the clerics and druids of Thunder Rift that has led the lawful clerics to be wary of neutral ones.

Karyn (9th level Halfling Thief, Neutral)
Karyn is the Melinir Banker and she is another member of the Quadrial.


As was the case with Connor, I changed Karyn from Halfling Thief to just a Halfling. I also bumped her down to 8th level. I figured that she was called a thief because she was a banker :lol: (No offense to all you bankers out there!)

Pickman the Sage (2nd level Human Wizard, Lawful)
This character has been disussed above. I still don't like his name for some reason.


I have to say that Pickman is one of my favorite NPCs! Pickman is a weird name. I was thinking that perhaps it was an alias, and a play on the term "picked man" (like the "chosen men" of Sharpe's Rifles). As he is one of Geoffrey's most trusted agents, he was picked to serve in the main city of Melinir. Giving him this expanded role, I bumped him up to 7th level.

Black Thomas (6th level Human Thief, Chaotic)
He is the leader of the Thief's Guild. He has an understanding with Nicholas Maybrush. He is not a nice guy.


He is definitely not a nice guy in my campaign. In my campaign he is Raven's younger brother. He arranged for Raven's mysterious disappearance so that he could steal Raven's wife. When she rejected him, he killed her, but raised his "orphaned" niece (named Selena) in the guild, never telling her her true origins. She recently discovered the truth however, when her party raided Raven's Ruin and set Raven free. Ironically, Raven is now physically younger than Tom due to the magical suspended animation he was affected by. Because I drastically increased both the size and population of TR, I bumped Tom up to a 9th level thief.

Ainrie (1st level Human Thief, Neutral)
Ainrie poses as a serving wench over at the Dancing Dragon tavern. Is she connected to Black Thomas' guild? She does have alot of connections within Thunder Rift's underground so it does seem likely. Ainrie sounds french. Is she from LaTerre?


Ainrie is one of Selena's contacts in Melinir. The two ladies like each other, but don't trust each other. Ainrie is very capable of playing both sides in any encounter where there is coin to be made.

Richard the Baker (1st level Human Fighter, Lawful)
Not sure what to do with this character. OTOH, the fact that he is a baker has become more interesting to me since I learned of Frank Mentzer's Bakery career. Richard does seem to be a curious guy who could get himself into trouble from time to time..


I have never used Richard. Perhaps he is an amateur detective, like the "pie man" from Pushing Daisies? That would give him plenty of opportunity to get into trouble as he stumbles into adventures that are way over his head!

Nicholas Maybrush (7th level Human Fighter, Chaotic)
This Merchant is one of the biggest villains of Melinir, posing as a well respected citizen. He sort of reminds me of Al Swerengen from Deadwood, although probably way more classy on the surface.


I've kept Nicholas a mystery to my players. They (and he!) don't know it, but he is directly involved in a plot a group of Wererats is hatching to take over the Melinir area. Nicholas thinks he is supporting a smuggling operation. He has also been contacted by the Black Knight about joining his cause, but as direct combat is not Nicholas's style, he will likely decline the offer.

The Recluse
Noone knows who this is, but there is a manor whose owner is a mystery even to the likes of Black Thomas. Any idea who this could be? Sounds like a wizard to me.


Could be a wizard. I haven't used this sub-plot yet, but perhaps the recluse is not human at all ! Maybe he someone who came to Thunder Rift through the Pit or some other means, and is hiding from the human population while he bides his time. It would be cool if he was something like the Dead Man, the Loghyr from Glen Cook's Garrett Series

Geoffrey of Mage Island (7th level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Geoffrey has been discussed above. He runs Mage Island and has apparently been doing so for centuries.


As with Black Tom, I bumped Geoffey up. I think I made him 12th-14th level.

Daffyd the Wise (5th level Human Clerc, Lawful)
Another Lawful Cleric! He is a kind of oracle walking around in the streets muttering strange words. What is his relations to Enora and Martin?


Maybe he is a member of the Cult of Halav, or maybe he was a cleric who unfortunately investigated the Recluse's manor, and had his brain fried?

Ap Hen of the Valley (5th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
A fighter who pretends to be wild to make people fear him. Seems a little dishonest for a Lawful character? Is Ap Hen a Celtic name? Can his origins be traced to the Isle of Dawn?


Maybe he is an escaped Thyatian slave. He found out that by scaring people he could avoid a lot of combat, and thus spare peoples' lives!

Dara the Barbarian (3rd level Human Fighter, Neutral)
Dara is described as a barbaric person wearing leather and furs. Is she originally from the Athruagin clans?


Sounds reasonable. I guess how these "outer world" people got to TR would depend on where we located it.

Lars Jasse (4HD Doppleganger, Chaotic)
Lars is a doppleganger. Does he have some bigger scheme than just joining aventurer parties and killing them? Do dopplegangers eat their victims? He would be a very useful asset for Black Thomas if he joined the Thief's Guild...
[/quote]

I always imagined doppelgangers do eat their victims (given time), but a ruthless, cruel, vegetarian Doppleganger would be most amusing! "Sure I killed him and stuffed him up the chimney, but I didn't eat him! Dammit Jim, I'm a doppelganger, not Andrew Zimmern!" I could definitely see Tom recruiting Lars, but only so long as he thought he could control him. I definitely view Tom as "paranoid-evil". I guess you have to be to survive to guild master status!

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:53 pm

firebee wrote:Here is my feedback/take on some of these NPCs:


Thanks Tom! Sorry it took me a while to respond to your feedback. I really appreciate your comments! :)

CONNOR:
Since I run only classic (basically I used slightly customized RC rules) campaigns, I made Connor a Elf rather than an Elf Cleric. Even though I use much of GAZ5, I don't see an Elf Cleric, as described in that supplement, moving to a human city. However given that a number of spells on the GAZ5 spell list are druid/clerical in nature, I could see how other citizens of Melinir might mistake Connor for an Cleric.


That seems right. For some reason the TR guide provides classes to demihumans even though it is written for classic. Perhaps the TR gazetteer should provide rules for classed demihumans? Your treatment also works quite well however. His description as a Cleric might even in a Classic Campaign indicate that this is a fairly devout Elf however, dedicated to the ways of Ilsundal. If that is the case, then what is he doing in the City when he should be in the forest like any good follower of Ilsundal. Or perhaps he is not a follower of an elven Immortal, but has instead been converted to the ways of Halav? That would explain why he lives in Melinir and works for the Mayor...

MAYOR VALUM:
I love your "Ghost Encounter" idea! It fits great! It might also explain why Enora has to recruit adventurers to put Sir Jameson's spirit to rest (in The Haunted Tower) rather than Valum riding out with some men. Perhaps he was so affected by his encounter with a Ghost, he cannot face undead anymore. Therefore he is searching for someone to replace him on the Quadrial. (I may use Raven as his replacement in my campaign.)


Thanks! Your ideas about Valum and the Haunted Tower make sense. We should make note of Valen being unable to face undead... I definately like the idea of using Raven as a Quadrial member. How long was Raven under the sleep curse in Raven's Ruin?


STEFAN DES HERBST
I haven't really used Stefan yet, as there hasn't been a lot of call for a Weaver :P Given his lawful nature, I could see him as one of Geoffrey's network, perhaps working under Pickman. Regularly supplying quilts to the Inn could be a great cover for spying on new people in town.


Interesting... but a lawful spy? The connection with Geoffrey/Pickman definately makes sense though. I like the idea of a magician weaver. I could see him using tapestries rather than spellbooks...

SHAR
I like the outcast idea. Maybe she was being forced into an arranged marriage and so ran away from Hearthhome. Perhaps she and Connor were romantically linked, so she fled Hearthhome for fear of what happened to the Elf-Dwarf lovers of legend.


I do like the idea of a contemporary couple reliving that tragedy of the past. How would they react if they found out that the child of that original union had in fact survived? :twisted:

BEDIAH

I always assumed that Bediah was short for Obediah. Simiarly, I thought the "Sarcastic Goat" was Bediah himelf. I see him as a rather sour puss with a warm heart and a very dry sense of humor. Given Dwarves love of their beards, they could be compared to billy goats very easily. Maybe Bediah's dead wife called him "a sarcastic old goat" as a pet name.


Me too, but Obediah is still a human name. Bediah is the Sarastic Goat, but I'd like to draw that imagery further. I think the guide says one of his friends came up with the name.

HODIE
Hodie has a lot of potential. I haven't found the right circumstances to use him yet though.


Maybe he will grow up to be a jedi knight like his father? Hmmmm....

ENORA
Enora is one of the major NPCs in my campaigns; she sponsored one of the parties' forays into the Gloomfens. The leader of that party is also a cleric of Petra.


That works well with my theory then! What about those 7 gems of hers?

MARTIN:
I made Petra the primary immortal of the Melinir area, so I also made Martin a cleric of Petra. But Halav works as well, though in my campaign Halav is worshiped more in the Northern part of the rift, especially near where the Gnolls are located. Perhaps there is some rivalry between the clerics and druids of Thunder Rift that has led the lawful clerics to be wary of neutral ones.


Good point about the Halav/Gnoll connection. I also like tying Halav into the importance of kings in Thunder Rift's history and how there is no king anymore. I could definately see Kleine being a center of Halav worship, given the king who drowned in that lake up there...

KARYN
As was the case with Connor, I changed Karyn from Halfling Thief to just a Halfling. I also bumped her down to 8th level. I figured that she was called a thief because she was a banker :lol: (No offense to all you bankers out there!)


*Lol* This actually gave me an idea. Given that Jews were prominent money-lenders/bankers in the middle ages, perhaps the halflings of Thunder Rift somehow resemble medieval jews?

PICKMAN:
I have to say that Pickman is one of my favorite NPCs! Pickman is a weird name. I was thinking that perhaps it was an alias, and a play on the term "picked man" (like the "chosen men" of Sharpe's Rifles). As he is one of Geoffrey's most trusted agents, he was picked to serve in the main city of Melinir. Giving him this expanded role, I bumped him up to 7th level.


Makes sense. This reminds me of Blackmoor's "The Fetch" who plays a similar role. I like the level bump.

BLACK THOMAS

He is definitely not a nice guy in my campaign. In my campaign he is Raven's younger brother. He arranged for Raven's mysterious disappearance so that he could steal Raven's wife. When she rejected him, he killed her, but raised his "orphaned" niece (named Selena) in the guild, never telling her her true origins. She recently discovered the truth however, when her party raided Raven's Ruin and set Raven free. Ironically, Raven is now physically younger than Tom due to the magical suspended animation he was affected by. Because I drastically increased both the size and population of TR, I bumped Tom up to a 9th level thief.


This is great! I love these connections you are making between the NPCs, especially with Tom an Raven.
I am also wondering if we could base some ideas for him on Black Tom Cassidy. His relationship with Raven does resemble that of BTC and Sean Cassidy.


AINRIE
Ainrie is one of Selena's contacts in Melinir. The two ladies like each other, but don't trust each other. Ainrie is very capable of playing both sides in any encounter where there is coin to be made.


Does that mean she knows Tom?

RICHARD
I have never used Richard. Perhaps he is an amateur detective, like the "pie man" from Pushing Daisies? That would give him plenty of opportunity to get into trouble as he stumbles into adventures that are way over his head!


That's a cool idea. I wonder what secrets he already has discovered, but has kept to himself for now. Perhaps he already knows who the Recluse is? :)

NICHOLAS MAYBRUSH
I've kept Nicholas a mystery to my players. They (and he!) don't know it, but he is directly involved in a plot a group of Wererats is hatching to take over the Melinir area. Nicholas thinks he is supporting a smuggling operation. He has also been contacted by the Black Knight about joining his cause, but as direct combat is not Nicholas's style, he will likely decline the offer.


Someone (you?) connected Nicholas to the minotaurs guarding the path out of Thunder Rift? Is Nicholas the man preventing people from leaving the valley? Perhaps he also is the one who arranged for Keshute and his Ratlings to enter the valley and set up shop near Torlynn? That would work well with your Wererat plot. I do like the idea of the Wererat threat not ending with Silver Sword.

RECLUSE

Could be a wizard. I haven't used this sub-plot yet, but perhaps the recluse is not human at all ! Maybe he someone who came to Thunder Rift through the Pit or some other means, and is hiding from the human population while he bides his time. It would be cool if he was something like the Dead Man, the Loghyr from Glen Cook's Garrett Series

That is pretty interesting. A non-human also occurred to me as an idea. I was thinking something more like a Beholder or Brain Collector, but your idea is interesting too.

GEOFFREY
As with Black Tom, I bumped Geoffey up. I think I made him 12th-14th level.


I'm thinking we need to explore the source of Geoffrey's power. What if there is an artifact below Mage Island that extends Geoffrey's life, but drains his levels? This drain might not even be permanent, but should he access abilities beyond that of his effective level he will age centuries instantly?

DAFFYD
Maybe he is a member of the Cult of Halav, or maybe he was a cleric who unfortunately investigated the Recluse's manor, and had his brain fried?


Both possible. Not sure Id want to include the Cult of Halav as such as I don't really think that organization works very well even in Karameikos campaigns...

AP HEN


Maybe he is an escaped Thyatian slave. He found out that by scaring people he could avoid a lot of combat, and thus spare peoples' lives!

The best explanation I have seen so far :)

DARA
Sounds reasonable. I guess how these "outer world" people got to TR would depend on where we located it.


If we are going by the assumption that TR is somewhere in the Known World, it would make sense of Dara made it into TR through the entrance guarded by Scotch the Red Dragon. Being from Athruagin, she has amazing stealth skills. Perhaps she was lead to the valley by a spirit guide?

LARS JASSE
I always imagined doppelgangers do eat their victims (given time), but a ruthless, cruel, vegetarian Doppleganger would be most amusing! "Sure I killed him and stuffed him up the chimney, but I didn't eat him! Dammit Jim, I'm a doppelganger, not Andrew Zimmern!" I could definitely see Tom recruiting Lars, but only so long as he thought he could control him. I definitely view Tom as "paranoid-evil". I guess you have to be to survive to guild master status!


Hehe, prett funny :) I see Lars as the more nasty variant though. Well, he might just be another danger of the city. I bet Tom is aware of his whereabouts though.

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:58 pm

Other NPCs in the TR Guide

Here are some more characters. I will present characters from the various modules later.


HISTORICAL CHARACTERS

Thragat Orc’s Blood (Dwarf)
Historical character. He was one of the original members of the Quadrial. He became the lover of Thessandria. Killed by an unknown assassin.

Thessandria Starshine (Elven Wizard)

Historical Character. She was one of the original members of the Quadrial and Thragat’s lover. Killed by an unknown assassin before giving birth to Thragat’s child. Speculation: What if this "Dwelf" (Dwarf-elf crossbreed) was actually born before the parents were murdered? Possibly the truth was hidden to prevent another attempt on his life. Maybe the Dwelf now lives in secret in the dungeons of Mage Island?


Father Patrius Timoris (Human Cleric)
Historical Character. Follower of Halav? The best healer in the valley. One of the original members of the Quadrial. I would imagine there's a statue of him in front of the Melinir Temple.

Gray Raven (Human Thief)
Historical Character. One of the original members of the Quadrial. Killed by Ash the Red. What is his connection to Raven of the Burning Hills?

Korian and Dorian (Halflings)
Historical characters. These two Halflings were two of the original Quadrial members. Korian was killed by Ash the Red.

Ash the Red (Large Red Dragon)
A Large red dragon killed by the original Quadrial after burning down Torlynn. Scortch, a Huge Red Dragon has taken over the lair of Ash. Is Ash still around somewhere, continuing his terrors as an Undead Dragon? This would continue the theme of Thunder Rift being haunted by its past...

Sir Jamesson the Defender (Human Fighter/Paladin?)
Historical Character. He founded the Fighter’s Academy in what is now the Gloomfens. He still haunts the ruins of the Academy. More details on the Spectre Sir Jamesson will follow soon!

Farolas (Dwarf)
Historical character. Founder of the Farolas clan and legendary ruler of the Hearth-Home dwarves. The Hills are named after this legendary Dwarven Hero. He died battling Aristicles by the magical gateway buried below Hearth-Home. (Some of this information was revealed in Escape from Thunder Rift).

The Black Knight (Human Avenger)
The original Black Knight was one of the protégés of Sir Jamesson of the Figher’s Academy. When the Academy was destroyed by the mages of Wizardspire, the Black Knight penetrated that stronghold and killed every mage he could find. Since then he became known as the Black Knight and constructed his stronghold Avenal in the southern swamps. Sir Argyl is the descendant of the original Black Knight and carries on his tradition.


OTHER CHARACTERS
Bran ap Seamus (Unicorn)
Bran ap Seamus is the Unicorn protector of the Brichtwood.

Uchard Tonsha (4HD Wight)
Uscard Tonsha is a Wight leading a horde of ghouls terrorizing the Marshwood Swamps. Under Tonsha’s rule, the ghouls threaten the position of the lizardmen in the swamp. How long has Tonsha been a Wight? Is his origins linked to the fate of Kraal Castle? Uchard was a 5th level human fighter in life and has some expertise in combat tactics.

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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Maliki » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:47 am

Connor the Scribe (3rd leve Elf Cleric Neutral).
Connor is the scribe working for the Mayor at town hall. IMO Connor probably isn't his real name. I would guess it is probably something like Connorolas, which humans turned into Connor when he decided to move in and live with them. Demihumans are common in Melinir. Still, could there be a reason why he left the woods? His listed as a Cleric (??). I'm guessing his patron would be Ilsundal.


The name Connor struck me as odd for an elf, so I simply made Connor a human.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Maliki » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:05 am

Mayor Valum (9th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
The Mayor is a member of the Quadrial (retired?) Why is he no longer an adventurer? He appears to be 10 years older than he is. The TR guide suggests this is due to his tough job, but could he have had encounters with Ghosts?


I like the Ghost idea.

Stefan des Herbst (1st level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Stefan is the town weaver. Stefan Herbst sounds like a German name. Not sure about "des". Could he be Hattian? I don't see much else interesting with this guy though. But what is it with his quilts? some of them are on the beds in the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Do they reveal secrets like the tapestry from B10 perhaps? Or is there some other magic woven into them? Or am I giving too much credit to a 1st level magic user?



I dropped the last name, simply known as Stefan the Weaver. IMC his magical ability in a secret he keeps. He acts as an agent of mage island keeping an eye on the day to day activities in Melinir.

Shar (2nd level Dwarf Fighter, Lawful)
A female dwarf blacksmith, far from Hearthhome in the Farolas hills. What has driven this young dwarven lady from her homelands? Is she connected to Bediah Buhlon somehow? Only her first name is given. Is she an outcast of her clan since she gives no clan name? Or could Shar actually be her clan name. Dwarven females usually have softer sounding names according to Gaz 6. Shar might come from Sar which means South in Dwarven according to Gaz6.


Good call on the lack of clan name, I don't see her having a connection to Bediah, other being dwarves in a human town. Maybe her smithing skill are sub-par for a dwarf, which is why she set up shop in Melinir, where her skills are much better than her human counterparts.

Bediah Buhlon (3rd level Dwarf Fighter, Neutral)
Bediah is the the owner of the Sarcastic Goat Inn. Bediah is probably a human corrupted dwarves name. Might be something like Bedin. Looking at the language list in Gaz 6, Buhlon might be derived from Buhr=Fire and Lin=Moon. Could thhe Buhlon Clan be an important clan, perhaps of inn keepers and the like in Hearth-Home? I love it if we can use these NPC descriptions to derive some greater information about Thunder Rift. Because of the name Sarcastic Goat, I imagine the Goat being the symbol of the Buhlon clan and Bediah probably has a Goat's Head symbol on his shield or armor.


I plan to use Bediah as the eyes and ears of Hearth-Home in Melinir, keeping an eye on the happenings of the humans, and acting as a point of contact for those beyond TR seeking dwarven goods.

Hodie (0-level Human, Lawful)
He is the stable boy at the Sarcastic Goat Inn stables and is a source of information. What is Hodie's story? How did he end up working for Bediah? Does he have some legacy out there waiting for him?


I'd not given him much thought as far as plot hooks go. So far he is just a NPC that the PCs have contact with each time they come to Melinir, sort of keeps things familar when they return, maybe with a case of hero-worhip on an PC.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Maliki » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:11 am

Enora (9th level human Cleric, Lawful)
Enora is the High Cleric of Melinir. She wields a mace and her valuables include 7 gems. Something tells me these 7 gems have some significance or other. I am reminded by thos stones from Temple of Doom. Perhaps these can also be placed within some sort of holy statue to produce some magical effect? Which patron does Enora serve? It is likely some Lawful Immortal, Petra perhaps? I think I will start a discussion of Immortals of Thunder Rift afterwards.

Martin (5th level Human Cleric, Lawful)
Another Cleric here. He is Lawful as well. Maybe he serves Halav? All lawful Clerics are welcome on Temple grounds though. Interestingly, Neutral Clerics are not met with the same hospitality.



I kept the religion in TR very generic, without immortals/gods. Stealing from the fast start rules, I went with the Church of the Holy Defender, Enor is the head of the church in TR, Martin is next in line. The church is an obvious choice as patrons for good aligned PCs.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Maliki » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:37 am

Karyn (9th level Halfling Thief, Neutral)
Karyn is the Melinir Banker and she is another member of the Quadrial.


She is eyes of the Quadrial, an excellent master for a non-evil thief PC.

Pickman the Sage (2nd level Human Wizard, Lawful)
This character has been disussed above. I still don't like his name for some reason.


He is the known contact point for mage island, anyone wishing to contact mage island goes to Pickman, and he hires adventures in the name of mage island.

Black Thomas (6th level Human Thief, Chaotic)
He is the leader of the Thief's Guild. He has an understanding with Nicholas Maybrush. He is not a nice guy.


I see him and Nicholas as having an uneven partnership, with Nicholas calling the shots.

Ainrie (1st level Human Thief, Neutral)
Ainrie poses as a serving wench over at the Dancing Dragon tavern. Is she connected to Black Thomas' guild? She does have alot of connections within Thunder Rift's underground so it does seem likely. Ainrie sounds french. Is she from LaTerre?


The ultimate free agent she sells info to anyone and everyone, being a source of info for Black Tom, Karyn, Pickman, Bediah, the PCs, or anyone else who has the gold to pay.

Richard the Baker (1st level Human Fighter, Lawful)
Not sure what to do with this character. OTOH, the fact that he is a baker has become more interesting to me since I learned of Frank Mentzer's Bakery career. Richard does seem to be a curious guy who could get himself into trouble from time to time..
Not much to add here, I'll probably treat him as a 0 level NPC

Nicholas Maybrush (7th level Human Fighter, Chaotic)
This Merchant is one of the biggest villains of Melinir, posing as a well respected citizen. He sort of reminds me of Al Swerengen from Deadwood, although probably way more classy on the surface.

Uses many agents to keep himself looking the part of simple merchant, but perhaps the biggest string puller in the rift. His goal, rulership of the TR, perhaps a desendant from the kings of old?


Geoffrey of Mage Island (7th level Human Wizard, Lawful)
Geoffrey has been discussed above. He runs Mage Island and has apparently been doing so for centuries.



I've seen several post where Geoffrey was bumped up in levels, IMC he is what he is, a 7th level mage but unknown to anyone other than Geoffrey himself, he is not the master of Mage Island, just an apprentice to the real master who for whatever reason chooses to be completly unknown.
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Maliki » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:47 am

Daffyd the Wise (5th level Human Clerc, Lawful)
Another Lawful Cleric! He is a kind of oracle walking around in the streets muttering strange words. What is his relations to Enora and Martin?



Dafffyd is a true adventuring cleric, while Enora and Martin run the temple in Melinir, Daffyd travels the width and length of the Valley, bring the teachings of the church to the small towns and homestead. He acts as the eyes and ears of the church, and can be used to "bail out" low level PCs who get in over their heads.

Ap Hen of the Valley (5th level Human Fighter, Lawful)
A fighter who pretends to be wild to make people fear him. Seems a little dishonest for a Lawful character? Is Ap Hen a Celtic name? Can his origins be traced to the Isle of Dawn?

Dara the Barbarian (3rd level Human Fighter, Neutral)
Dara is described as a barbaric person wearing leather and furs. Is she originally from the Athruagin clans?



I connect these two either as lovers or brother/sister. Rivals or allies the PCs.

Lars Jasse (4HD Doppleganger, Chaotic)
Lars is a doppleganger. Does he have some bigger scheme than just joining aventurer parties and killing them? Do dopplegangers eat their victims? He would be a very useful asset for Black Thomas if he joined the Thief's Guild...

Another agent for Nicholas
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Re: The Who's Who of Thunder Rift

Postby Havard » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:25 pm

Maliki wrote:
Connor the Scribe (3rd leve Elf Cleric Neutral).
Connor is the scribe working for the Mayor at town hall. IMO Connor probably isn't his real name. I would guess it is probably something like Connorolas, which humans turned into Connor when he decided to move in and live with them. Demihumans are common in Melinir. Still, could there be a reason why he left the woods? His listed as a Cleric (??). I'm guessing his patron would be Ilsundal.


The name Connor struck me as odd for an elf, so I simply made Connor a human.


Yeah, that is a good sollution as well, especially if you are playing BECMI and want to keep the Cleric aspect.

OTOH, it is specified that there are many demihumans living in Melinir so its nice to have a few examples from each race...

Havard

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