[Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

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[Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:09 pm

I think I'm going to use this thread as a general "dumping ground" for all the articles I write that don't quite fit anywhere else. I'll be adding to it as I write more articles and such.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:18 pm

<Sigh>I have no idea what is wrong with me. See, when I started this, I envisioned maybe something that was maybe 1 page with some details of an orc-human town on the northern edge of Volva. See, in my original maps, from WAY back when I was...12(?), this area is where I put the Caves of Chaos. It was sorta weird, because I had the Caves surrounded by various wastelands (desert, dead forest, wasteland, etc). Although not particularly big, these wastelands were visible on the map. They never really survived later revisions to the map.

So in partial homage to that, here's the city of Hallow's Hill. Partially inspired by Keep on the Borderland (Northwatch Keep is effectively the Keep) and Caves of Chaos (notice the reference to the Cult of Chaos and its shrine ;) ), and partially by Halloween (can you see all of the references? :p ). I honestly didn't expect it to take on a life of its own and grow into four freak'n pages. I need help :p

Hallow’s Hill
Small City
Who Rules: Lord Magistrate Throak Gnawlson (LN hom F6)

Who Really Rules: The Lord Magistrate rules in the name of the King of Volva, who is the ultimate authority. However, the King rarely takes notice of this distant and minor part of his kingdom.

Population: 7,500 (current tax rolls), rising to 11,900 during the height of the trade season. The population is a mix of humans, orcs, goblins, half-orcs, half-elves, dwarves, and a smattering of elves. The natives are distrustful, particularly of strangers.

Major Products: Furs, timber, barrels, beer, weapons, armor, and fine wagons. Hallowdraught is a native beer that has a potent kick. A pint will cost 3 cp in town, but sells for 5 to 8 cp per pint elsewhere.

Watch: The city is protected by a contingent of 300 men-at-arms (F1-3), led by 15 knights (F5). All are clad in chain armor and wield crossbows, long swords, and halberds. The knights are mounted and have lances. They are aided by a contingent of 20 Guild Wizards (W2-5). In times of need, the militia can be raised, which numbers up to 1,200 (most are F0, but a few are as high as F2). Additionally, Northwatch Castle is not far away and can dispatch up to 200 men-at-arms (F1) to assist. It typically takes 2 to 5 days for help from Northwatch to arrive.

Notable Mages
• Iduna Darkscroll (NE hf W9), a local witch, once of great beauty but age has robbed her of her charms. She is now bitter and hateful, and will sell spell-casting services to the highest bidder. She has several daughters and grand-daughters, many of whom have followed their mother’s footsteps and become witches.
• Kragg of the Broken Skull (LN om W6(N)), an orcish witch doctor and necromancer. He acts as a medium for séances, allowing his patrons to speak to deceased relatives. Kragg is highly respectful of the dead, believing death to be a release from the labor of life, and undead is slavery and a mockery of the afterlife. He uses his magic to help put undead to rest and give the living comfort to ease the grief.
• Icha Ninestar (N hm W12) is the head of the local Wizard’s Guild and headmaster of the High Hallow Wizards College. A shy, lanky man, Irwing came to the city two decades ago to take over as headmaster of the High Hallow College. He proved deceptively adept at magic, and defeated a plot to murder him by a jealous rival wizard.

Notable Churches
• The Chapel of the Rising Sun is consecrated to Solran. High Priest Caanan Magne (LG hm P13) watches over 20 priests and 190 lay worshippers. Caanan’s sermons are popular, even with orcs and goblins, and the priests services are in high demand. In particular, they are very good at hunting down and destroying undead that slip into the city’s streets.
• The Orphanage of Oedara doubles as both the temple to Oedera and the city’s orphanage. High Priestess Zelda Benlit (N hof P9) leads a small flock of 7 priests and 30 lay worshippers. The Orphanage receives a sizable tribute from the city to remain open, as the many problems plaguing the city has created an endless supply of orphans to care for.
• There are several small shrines to dark gods and demon lords scattered throughout the city. These are illegal, and destroyed when discovered.

Notable Rogues’ Guilds
• The Shadow Wolves is the largest thief’s guild. The guildmaster is the mysterious “Dark Wolf” (NE ? T14), an unknown individual who came to the city about fifteen years ago to establish his guild. He now commands a guild of about 30 thieves of various races and levels. Their activities include pick pocketing, burglary, smuggling, and contraband selling. They are good at hiding their identities and eluding capture.
• The Red Knives is a guild of assassins, poisoners, and spies, numbering twelve in all. Although small, the Red Knives exert an unusual amount of power and influence in the city. This is partially due to a bit of immunity they receive from the government, as in the past their assassins have thwarted Barbarian attacks with well-placed knives in the backs of their chiefs.
• The Red Hoods operates illegal brothels, gambling halls, and protection rackets in the city. Guildmaster Anna Redhood (NE hf T13) has the charm and beauty of a nobleowman, but the manner and attitude of a street thug. Her guild has about 25 thieves and employs a further 50 or so thugs (F0-F4) as enforcers, bouncers, and leg-breakers.

Equipment Shops
• The Sword in the Stone sells weapons and armor. It specializes in swords, particularly longswords and bastard swords. There is also a supply of silver weapons (daggers, crossbow bolts) on-hand. (good/expensive)
• Longride Outfitters is a general goods store where adventurers can stock up on necessities like rope, lamp oil, rations, and the like. The store sells wagons, including vardos (aka gypsy wagons), for reasonable prices. (good/moderate)
• The Longshot has the best bows in the city and the only place where bows made for those of exception strength can be purchased (these must be ordered and take up to six months to make). (excellent/expensive)

Inns and Taverns
• The Rattling Bones Inn is a quiet place ran by Huurog (LN om F3) an old, grizzled veteran of the last siege. Now retired, he sunk his fortune into the Rattling Bones. Huurog offers rooms for all races, with subterranean rooms for his orc, goblin, and even dwarf patrons. Huurog is surprisingly jolly and enjoys a good tale of adventure. (good/moderate)
• The Black Bear Den is a small but rowdy place known for brawls and shady dealing. It is favored by travelers and adventurers. (good/cheap)
• The Shambling Mound is noted as a run-down establishment with broken out windows and poor service. The rent is cheap. (poor/cheap)
• The Black Cat (good/moderate)
• The Silvered Wolf (excellent/expensive)
• The Bent Bough (poor/moderate)
• The Ghost and the Ghoul (excellent/moderate)

Important Characters
• Dwin Bronzehammer (LG dm F3) operates the local Iron Horse station. Dwin is a solid businessman and one of the richer men in the city. In addition to the dozen or so staff he keeps on-hand to run the station, he has four body-guards (F4) to keep him safe from harm.
• Cain Jaccobs (LN hom F6/T3) is a local recruiter for caravan guards. He has roughly ten men that can be hired with little notice, and can get up to thirty men given a couple of days’ notice. He has an eye for good warriors and is always looking to expand his list of contacts.
• Rill Thoon (LN hm F4, Sage: undead, lycanthropes) is a retired adventurer and local expert on all things undead. Rill was once much higher level (F8), but an unfortunate encounter with a wraith drained him to his current level. The only survivor of that particular expedition, he was left quite wealthy with all of the loot taken from the dungeon and off the bodies of his fallen fellow adventurers. Not wanting to risk another unfortunate expedition, he settled down and now sells his services as a sage. He has an impressive library on the subject.

Description: Hallow’s Hill is located near Volva’s northern border, close to the plains of Gordale. The city is built on a small rocky hill not far from the forest’s edge. Hallow’s Hill is a walled community of mostly humans, orcs, goblins, and half-orcs. Much of the city is actually underground, with many goblins and orcs digging out extensive cellars and dungeons, giving rise to the city’s name of old, the Hollow Hill. The city is an important trading post in Volva’s north, sitting squarely between Volva, Gordale, and the elven lands, and on the main road to the Five Peaks Kingdom. Thus at any given time there are many merchants and tradesmen passing through.
The Chief Magistrate is Throak Gnawlson, the half-orc son of the legendary orc Magistrate Gnawl. Throak is loyal to the Crown, but his position is weak and his troubles many. Barbarians, undead, werewolves, and cultists all threaten his city. Due to these threats and more, the residents are considered cold, unfriendly, and paranoid. Strangers are met with suspicious eyes, and citizens are quite guarded. Weapons are worn openly, and spells are kept at the ready.

Important Features in Town
• The Red Tower, the local wizard’s guild. The Red Tower itself is more of a shell keep, built of red clay bricks, with an attached hall. The whole structure is surrounded by a 15’ gated wall that encloses a hedge-maze courtyard.
• The High Hallow Wizard College is the local wizard’s school. Headmaster Icha Ninestar (see above), Alchemist Victor Von (N hm Alc8), Professor Aro Swiftwand (N hm W6), Professor Blake Mason (LE hm W5), Professor Zzara Darkcandel (NE gobf W4), Professor Demin Rokk (LN om W3), Professor Shatterwhisper (CG ef W2), Professor-Assistant Markus Yarn (NG hem W1), Groundskeeper Willian Shrike (CG hom F3). Up to 30 students are in attendance (usually closer to 20).
• The Red Raven Keep serves as the city’s hall, primary barracks, and jailhouse for prisoners. The Lord Magistrate’s private quarters are located in the highest tower. The Keep is well-defended, but shows signs of repair as its defenses have been breached in the past. It has been rebuilt and expanded at least twice in recent memory, each time hardening its defenses. The dungeons under the castle can house up to four thousand for brief stays (no more than a week).
• Market Row is lined with several shops and stores. Narrow alleys separate the two and three story buildings. Market Row is heavily policed to ward off thieves and burglars. Market Row is the commercial heart of the city.
• The Wolves’ Den, the legendary guild house for the Shadow Wolves thieves’ guild. The location of the Den is unknown and changes according to the teller. In some versions, it is some forgotten dungeon under the hill. In others, it is an old warehouse. In yet others, it is a nobleman’s house (which noble is up to debate). The Watch would dearly love to learn the location of the Den, as would many others. It is said to be filled to the brim with stolen treasures, art, and enough coin to purchase a noble’s title (or so the legend goes).
• The Iron Horse Coaching Service has a station in the town where tickets can be purchased. Roughly once a week, one of the legendary Iron Horse coach trains rolls through town, staying for about a day before departing on its next destination (either heading to the Five Peaks Kingdom, or Volva City). Passage aboard ordinary coaches can be purchased as well, but these only go so far as through the forest to Vol’ii Town.

Local Lore: Hallow’s Hill is an old community, its origins long lost and forgotten. It has been besieged and destroyed at least a dozen times, with the new city built atop the ruins of the old. Thus the city has an extensive undercity, where the orc and goblin residents dwell. Undead stalk the deepest portions of these dungeons, slaying any who delve too deeply. Zombies, ghouls, ghasts, and even a wraith have been reported, and rumors persist they are commanded by a vampire. According to legend, the vampire was once a former Lord Magistrate whose reign was marred by bloody wars against the barbarians out of Gordale. When the city fell, he was cursed to an unholy existence, now preying upon the people he was once sworn to protect.

Hallow’s Hill’s troubles do not stop at its walls. Gordale barbarians are a constant threat. In recent memory they have besieged the city twice, leaving much destruction in their latest attempt to seize the city. Werewolves hunt in the surrounding forest, killing travelers who stray too far from the roads. They obey the commands of a coven of hags. Cultists are always lurking, seeking to seduce the city’s citizenry to their own dark gods. Of late, the greatest of these cults is the mysterious Cult of Chaos, whose vile shrine is hidden in a nearby valley. It has won many followers within the city’s orc and goblin population, and is said to have hobgoblins and bugbears in its ranks as well. The Cult seeks to subvert the city to its own ends. Its agents have even attempted to assassinate Throak and other agents of the Crown to undermine the government and bring the city to its knees. There is a standing bounty of 2,000 gp for the head of the High Cultist, Abbon Hatu.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:41 pm

I should mention that the area in question can be seen on this map. The area would be in the upper-center portion of the map, right around the word "Northwatch" (a bit to the east and south of the castle itself, at the forest's edge). Volva is center portion of the map, the elven lands to the east on the plateau, and the Five Peaks area is off map but north of the Griffon Haunt.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby Big Mac » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:48 pm

night_druid wrote:I should mention that the area in question can be seen on this map. The area would be in the upper-center portion of the map, right around the word "Northwatch" (a bit to the east and south of the castle itself, at the forest's edge). Volva is center portion of the map, the elven lands to the east on the plateau, and the Five Peaks area is off map but north of the Griffon Haunt.


Thanks for that contxt it helps.

I have a question for you: Where are they getting the water from? I don't see a river on the map. They will need water for the city and for the beer the brew.

Perhaps you might want to either have a spring in the city that runs down the hill, or an underground lake in the underground part of the city that flows out into a cave system and eventually surfaces to the west on the left side of that range of hills.

Underground water might be more fun, as it would help to explain the tunnels. If the original settlers dug down to find water and then found a system of caves cut out by underground rivers that only flowed during the rainy season in the forest to the south, they could explore the cave system, in the hopes of finding the main river. Eventually they could clear out side caves and gain access to an underground lake of pure water.

That could give you a situation where the original settlers could sell water to people near the original village and then they could build up services (like the brewery that makes Hallowdraft beer).

If side-caves were hollowed out, they could also act as grain stores or could be used as living quarters if/when the village is attacked.

The city could grew up to defend a source of underground water (with the walls containing buildings built on the surface) but if the city was larger underground, that might help sell your "hollow hill" theme.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:15 am

Big Mac wrote:Thanks for that contxt it helps.


No problem. I realized after it was posted that there's been a map of the area on BTM for a long time (made that map probably 20 years ago :P )

I have a question for you: Where are they getting the water from? I don't see a river on the map. They will need water for the city and for the beer the brew.


Wells, springs, cisterns, small rivers that don't appear on the map (the area is a forest, so it has an abundant available water supply).

Perhaps you might want to either have a spring in the city that runs down the hill, or an underground lake in the underground part of the city that flows out into a cave system and eventually surfaces to the west on the left side of that range of hills.


Sure, why not? Probably not a large lake; more like a small pond.

Underground water might be more fun, as it would help to explain the tunnels. If the original settlers dug down to find water and then found a system of caves cut out by underground rivers that only flowed during the rainy season in the forest to the south, they could explore the cave system, in the hopes of finding the main river. Eventually they could clear out side caves and gain access to an underground lake of pure water.


I imagine the hill to be riddled with dungeons, and underground rivers is a staple of dungeons, so why not?

That could give you a situation where the original settlers could sell water to people near the original village and then they could build up services (like the brewery that makes Hallowdraft beer).


Probably, but the origins of the town are lost to time ;) (largely due to it being destroyed so many times; I sorta see it like Troy in that respect).

If side-caves were hollowed out, they could also act as grain stores or could be used as living quarters if/when the village is attacked.


Many caves are used as living quarters, by the orc & goblin residents. Heck, they probably were the original residents. :)

The city could grew up to defend a source of underground water (with the walls containing buildings built on the surface) but if the city was larger underground, that might help sell your "hollow hill" theme.


Certainly, if I ever get to mapping the place out more than a generic idea.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:15 pm

OK, here's a story that's been brewing for many years.

So here's the backstory - from the very beginning, I had four kingdoms in my original map. Volva (humans), the Elven Plateau (elves), the Five Peaks (dwarves), and Lefton (half-elves). I really never thought about where the half-elves came from at the time. Over the years, I added the Empire of Rul'Engar to the south of Volva, and began to ponder how a kingdom of half-elves came about. So I began to craft a story about how they originated in Rul'Engar, and were forced to flee across a wide mountain range due to persecution of half-elves in that realm. This morning I had an idea and started writing, and here's the end result.


Plight of the Half-born
High King Heriddor III was once considered a just, but strong king. During the early years of his reign, he brought low the gnoll tribes the Last Laugh and Manslayers and brought peace to the Empire of Rul’Engar. He even greatly expanded the Duchy Universities, affording more people opportunities to higher education.

Perhaps because of his many crusades, be it against gnoll raiders, cultists, or even ignorance, his wife, High Queen Lyanna was left at home to care for their daughter. Lonely and feeling ignored, she found comfort in the arms of the elven knight Silvlyn. But to her dismay, she became pregnant with his child. Fearful of her husband’s wrath, but unwilling to terminate the pregnancy, she used her magic to transfer the unborn child to the womb of a chambermaid. The chambermaid was spirited away to the far northern fringes of the Empire. With the child safely removed from the Court, Queen Lyanna thought the matter behind her.

Queen Lyanna underestimated her husband. He learned of the matter by word of his spies, and immediately returned to the capital. He confronted his wife and her elf champion with evidence of her infidelity. Caught, they had no choice but to beg his forgiveness and understanding. In that moment, something within Heriddor snapped. In a blind rage, he murdered Silvlyn with his bare hands. Horrified, Queen Lyanna used her magic to escape, fearing her own life. Heriddor tore the castle apart looking for the child, but it was long gone.
For days after, King Heriddor brooded. Finally, he emerged from his chambers and summoned forth an obscure order known as the Purifiers. The Purifiers hailed from the backwaters of the Empire. Comprised entirely of humans, the Purifiers believed in the purity of humanity; half-breed children, such as half-elves and half-orcs, were abominations. Too much interbreeding resulted in mongrelmen, or so they believed. When they arrived at the royal palace, King Heriddor charged them with the task of hunting down both his unfaithful wife and her bastard son, and bring them to justice.

What followed was two decades of terror. Embolden by their royal decree, the Purifiers grew in numbers and power. At first, their Inquisition merely hunted for half-elven children. Soon, they imprisoned half-elves (and half-orcs) on suspicion of harboring the missing prince. Eventually, they began executing prisoners, both the half-breeds, but also their families and any who would aid them.
Thousands of half-elves went into hiding. Many fled north, to the elven lands and the Duchy of Lyon. At that time, the Duchy was run by the Knights of the Glorious Sunrise, an order of Paladins and stalwart defenders of the innocent. The Knights kept the Purifier Inquisitors at bay for decades, making the Duchy a safe haven for many thousands of half-elves.

During this Inquisition, the son of Queen Lyanna was born and grew up. Although unsure of his true origin, as the chambermaid who bore him died in childbirth, the son was raised to be a Knight of the Glorious Sunrise. For his entire life, Sir Larrwyn was forced to hide his heritage, to watch his fellow half-elves flee the Purifier Inquisition, to see injustice be allowed to thrive. When he came of age, the Knights told him of his true heritage. Stunned, he vowed to destroy the Purifiers and reclaim his birthright. To a man, the Knights pledged themselves to his cause. Together, they raised an army to fight back against the tyranny of the Purifiers. To that end, he sought to lure the Purifiers into a trap.

When the Purifiers learned that the Bastard Prince they sought was in the Duchy of Lyon, they immediately mobilized their entire army to conquer the Duchy and purify it of all half-elves and their supporters. An army of ten thousand Purifiers marched upon the Duchy, intent on its destruction.

Prince Larrwyn met the Purifiers at the Battle of Rarland Hill. Despite his conviction and training, the Knights and their levies were defeated. An unconscious Prince Larrwyn was dragged from the field by fellow half-elves. A great number of half-elves had gathered and knew they had to flee into the mountains to escape the Purifier’s butchery. As they fled, a battalion of Knights arrived, having been delayed destroying a column of Purifiers attempting to flank the Prince. At the cost of their own lives, they managed to delay the Purifiers enough to allow the half-elves to escape through the Summer Pass.

Once the last Knights were slain, the Purifiers, now but two hundred, took up pursuit of the half-elves. However, as they entered the pass, they were set upon by the armies of Chief Holloweye. A crafty old orc, Chief Holloweye lost two sons and his beloved daughter to the Purifier’s purge, and was spoiling for revenge. Without pity or mercy, his small army of orcs, goblins, half-orcs, and even humans set upon the Purifiers and slew them to a man. Though Chief Holloweye could have easily turned his men upon the refugees, he allowed them to escape without harm.

Weeks later, the refugees exited the pass in a river valley. Sheltered on all sides, the valley was virtually unclaimed, a perfect refuge for the beleaguered refugees. The town of Leaftown was founded, and in time the whole became the Duchy of Lefton, ruled in peace by Prince Lrrwyn I.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:28 am

OK, I hadn't planned on writing much more on this, but this story came to me today. :) Enjoy, the history of the Purifiers :)

The Purifiers
History: The Purifiers began with a holy man, six centuries past. He arrived at the court of a minor Baroness, one Alruna the Fair, offering his prayers and services as a healer. Impressed with his skills, Alruna took Dragul on as a retainer. Over the years, he earned her trust and became her most valued advisor. From this position, he began to whisper poison into her ear.
For years, Alruna pursued the gallant Sir Lothin the Fifth, a loyal knight of Rul’Engar. Despite her attempts to win his affection, she was horrified that Lothin had chosen another for his bride. A half-orc, no less! “How could he find comfort in the arms of that…filthy animal!” she thought. When Dragul informed her that Sir Lothin’s lineage was doomed to degrade into mongrelmen, she was horrified. She soon came to the conclusion that the purity of noble bloodlines must be preserved. To muddle their pureblood lineages with that of lesser races would doom the kingdom and humanity as a whole.
Dragul soon introduced Alruna to other like-minded individuals. Some were wealthy merchants, others were minor nobles like Alruna, and others successful tradesmen. Pledging loyalty to Alruna, they began to harass humans who married non-humans. Soon, these families found their homes and businesses targeted by arsonists, half-orcs and half-elves were attacked by bands of hooded thugs, and, eventually, murdered. In time, they became known as the Purifiers.
For several decades, the Purifiers terrorized the backwaters of Rul’Engar. Cautious and well-connected, they managed to elude capture by local authorities. In some cases, they bribed magistrates and sheriffs to protect their members. In other cases, they installed their own members, allowing them to operate with impunity in some areas. As they kept to the backwaters of Rul’Engar and avoided the larger towns and cities, their activities pass unnoticed by the kingdom’s nobility and king.
When King Heriddor summoned the Purifiers to his court, they feared they had finally gone too far and earned his wrath. Much to their shock, he praised them and pledged to them whatever resources necessary to find his wife and bring her, and her illegitimate child, to him so he can dispense proper ‘justice’ for her betrayal. He would even sanction a great Inquisition to find, and remove, all half-elves and half-orcs, along with their families, from the kingdom.
The two decades that followed saw the Purifiers expand and grow from an order of a few hundred wealthy individuals to several thousand, with power stretching across the entire kingdom. Their Inquisition saw the imprisonment of many thousands, and countless executions. Half-elves, half-orcs, and any whose bloodline might include a non-human of any sort fled for their lives. The town of Chestin was razed the entirety of its citizenry put to the sword. The Knights of the Purifiers became a source of great fear and hatred.
Finally, after two decades of searching, the Purifiers caught wind of their quarry. High Inquisitor Kurst the Unyielding learned the young prince was raising an army in the Duchy of Lyon. Knowing they could not fail, the Purifiers mustered the sum total of their forces, and marched upon the rebellious duchy. At Rarland Hill, they met the forces of Prince Larrwyn, and defeated the assembled army in a two-day pitched battle. Of the prince, he could not be found, but a large contingent of half-elves was fleeing into the mountains.
Kurst ordered his Purifier levies to peruse, but was cut off by the last battalion of the Knights of the Glorious Sunrise. The Purifiers slaughtered the Knights to a man, but theirs was a pyric victory: fewer than two hundred Purifiers remained. Undaunted, Kurst ordered his men forward, into Summer Pass.
Very quickly, Kurst discovered that he had led his men into a trap. The orc chief Holloweye, seeking revenge for the execution of his beloved half-orc children, descended upon the Purifiers with an army five times their size. Kurst perished upon Holloweye’s sword, the last thing he saw was the hatred of a grieving father.
With the majority of the Purifiers slain at the Battles of Rarland Hill and Summer Pass, the long-suffering citizens of Rul’Engar turned their wrath upon the few remaining Purifiers. Every known Purifier, their families, and associates were set upon by mobs of angry peasants. With the king enfeebled by age and no longer ruling with a strong hand and the Purifiers decimated, the entire kingdom revolted. For too long the kingdom had slid into decay and ruin, and the people put the blame squarely on the Purifiers. Without an army to protect them and enforce their will, the Purifiers became subject to the very terror they had visited upon the people of the kingdom. Within a year, every known Purifier had been executed. Only a handful escaped the revolution with their skins intact.
Although the Purge of the Purifiers was largely successful, a few did escape the mobs and executioners’ axes. A few younger members managed to escape, as did those with the magical means to flee or escape notice. Now fully exposed for what they were, and hated throughout the land, they have remained hidden since, quietly rebuilding their strength and numbers for the day when they intend to extract revenge upon those foolish people who would not see, and embrace, their grand vision.
There is one last bit to the story of the Purifiers that very few sages know. In fact, this secret is known by fewer than a dozen people. The holy man at the beginning of the tale, Dragul, is believed to have been three centuries old by the time of his death. He claimed to have taken many potions of Longevity and other means to slow his age. But unknown to almost all, Dragul was no holy man. He was an agent of Nemesis, the Bane of the Maelstrom, the Great Destroyer. Long had Nemesis caused great destruction and suffering across the whole of the Maelstrom. Dragul had watched the kingdom of Rul’Engar rise, unifying many people together and became a beacon of hope and learning. It had great potential to be a peaceful and prosperous nation. The very notion was apathetic to Nemesis, who sought the destruction of the Maelstrom. So Dragul set into motion a series of events that ultimately would be the kingdom’s undoing. What’s more, Dragul survives to this day as a terrible lich, plotting and scheming to bring the final end to the shattered remnants of the kingdom.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:58 pm

Ever have one of those dreams where you're getting yelled at, telling you that you have to write at least one thing every day? No, just me? :p

Queen Green’s Cobbling is a goblin-run shop in Hallow’s Hill that produces cheap shoes, sandals, and boots for small humanoids. Most of their customers are goblins, but more than a few gnomes and even dwarves patron the shop. The owner is Queen Green the Twice Widowed; her real name is Grendra Fallowtooth. She acquired her name due to her better-than-thou attitude and her propensity for green clothing. Grendra employs twenty laborers of various races. The shop is always busy and noisy, particularly at night as most of its employees and patrons are nocturnal. Queen Green’s has acquired a well-earned reputation for fair quality shoes for prices the poorer residents can afford.

Grendra’s oldest, and named heir, is Holra Dewdale, oddly married to the gnome Braan Dewdale. Down on his luck, Braan gained employment at Grendra’s, and often suffered Holra’s cruel pranks and jests. Feeling guilty after one particular prank went too far, Holra apologized to Braan by buying him dinner. The two developed a bond and married two years later. Grendra briefly disowned Holra until her twin grandchildren were born. (fair/cheap)
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Wed May 10, 2017 2:54 pm

The Fall of Tor Talis
In a time now lost, the land of Tor Talis sat at the foot of the World Mountains between the Kingdom of the Peaks to the north and the Elven Plateau to the south. Tor Talis was home to gnomes and halflings, a land of rolling foothills, deeply forested dales, and fantastical cities of clockwork wonders. It sat not in the shadow of their elven and dwarven neighbors, but as equals. The Waterfall Gardens, the Long Road, and even the majestic sky-ash trees were but some of the wonders Tor Talis offered. The land was prosperous and powerful, nearly unassailable in its citadels. It was renowned for not only its marvels, but the peace it fostered between many races. The land was a hub of trade, a destination for men and elves and dwarves and even orcs and goblins.

Dark days came to Tor Talis. Goblins and kobolds, which had previously held long and peaceful relations with the gnomes and halflings, began to raid the borders. Meanwhile, gnome and halfling politicians, seeking easy fame and power, fanned the flames of hatred against the goblins and kobolds. Riots broke out across the land, gnomes clashing with goblins, halflings against gnomes, kobolds battling halfings. Sages were at a loss as to the cause of the strife; there had been many centuries of peace. The land seemed on the precipice of a bloody civil war. It was but one of many, as the Nemesis Wars erupted across all of Ethwold.

The months that followed are poorly remembered, as few records remain from those tumultuous times. Elves who remember those days claim that, for a time, the people of Tor Talis came to their senses. Strife was lessening even as the world descended into madness. Yet the end came none-the-less, in a manner none could have anticipated. For the very ground heaved and shook! This was no mere earthquake or even volcanic eruption, for the very ground collapsed under the feet of the people of Tor Talis. The very hills of Tor Talis came alive, becoming enormous worms, some a mile long! Even more terrifying, the largest worms bore humanoid faces, some goblins, some gnome, some halfling, and even a few kobolds.

The great, writhing mass of humanoid-headed worms slithered and crawled, ever so slowly, to the southwest. In their wake were the bloody, crushed bodies of Tor Talis’s inhabitants. Every man, woman, child, and beast had been crushed to a pulp, their corpses left lying in the newly created dale where the kingdom once stood. Of her people, only a handful survived, aboard flying ships or escaped by magical means. The survivors gazed down in horror upon the broken land and called it a dale of gore.

The writhing mass of worms headed southwest for many miles, nearing the seaport city of Sar Chroth, the Shining City. It was a long caravan of rolling doom, inching its way to the city ever so slowly. The air filled with the sound of doom; the cittering, slithering, and breathing could be heard far and wide. It drove those who heard it mad, reducing sane men and women into gibbering idiots. Some became violently homicidal, killing loved ones with their bare hands. Others became broken completely, assuming a catatonic state from which they could not be roused, death claiming them when they finally starved.

Yet there was hope still. Great men and women of sword and spell and prayer rose up to meet the writhing horde. From across the lands, great heroes answered Sar Chroth’s plea for help, and met the monstrous worms head on. Swords and spells proved ineffective, but delayed the worms’ advance. To those that prayed, the gods answered, granting the heroes the knowledge necessary to break the curse that had created the worms in the first place. The greatest of the heroes dove headlong into the mass, seeking the cultists responsible for the disaster. There, at the heart of the worms, they found, and slew the cult leaders in a great battle, protected by wards placed upon them by the priests and shamans. Many heroes fell, but when the head cultist, a great goblin-headed worm, was slain, the curse was broken. The worms returned to their natural state, that of stone and earth. Those that survived returned with strange tales. Amidst the cacophony they could make out a single word, a word spawned by the all of the cittering, slithering, and noisome noise: Nemesis.

The years that followed was a time of great disaster, horror, and death, remembered as the Nemesis Wars. Gnomes and halflings blamed the goblins and kobolds for the fall of Tor Talis; the races would never work together again nor would they ever rise to such heights of achievement. The Nemesis Wars would claim Sar Chroth in time, drowning the once-prosperous city in a stinking, muddy bog.

Tor Talis would forever be destroyed, leaving a vast plain of prairie and rolling hills that would be known as Gordale. For centuries it would be a place of exile, a land where outlaws would be banished to. The Gors, as they would be known as, are horse-riding barbarians, raiding surrounding lands. The Gors are not one people, but many disparate people, including humans, orcs, half-orcs, elves, dwarves, half-elves, and even a few half-goblins.

The mass of worms became known as the Wormrot Mountains, defining the western borders of the future Kingdom of Volva. In time some would know it as the Sunset Mountains, as the features that resembled worms eroded quickly. The only evidence that remains is the stony skulls of the cultists. The largest rest upon mountain peaks, a few hundreds of feet across.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Wed May 10, 2017 2:54 pm

Background on this article: I was going through some of my papers, and I ran across an old map I made when I was 12(?). Basically I was trying to create a Keep on the Borderlands-esque adventure. I remember the concept was that armies of orcs created mobile mountain fortresses, aimed at Volva, a thousand years ago. So I took the idea and ran with it, creating Tor Talis, giving Gordale its origin story, and so on.
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Re: [Maelstrom] The Maeltrom's Eye

Postby night_druid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:56 am

Another idea I had just as I was leaving work today. It plays on a few ideas I've had lately about elves, and their reasons for retreat. And it gives a bit of a "darker side" to Avalon, the elven homeworld in the Maelstrom. The Elven ships aren't there to protect the elves from you...its to protect you from the elves! ;)

Within the constellation of spheres known as the Maelstrom, or Mal’E’Struum to some, the world of Avalon is the legendary refuge for the elven race. Guarding this beautiful world is the Avalonian Guard, which often is associated with the Elven Fleet. The two are separate entities, although they often work together and will lend one another aide when the need arises. The Avalonian Guard is more well-known than the world they defend, for they often patrol a vast region of space to warn away would-be visitors and to guide vessels carrying elves ready for Retreat to the Sacred Refuge. These activities are well-known to the inhabitants of the Maelstrom. What few truly understand is that the mission of the Avalonian Guard is not to defend Avalon from threats from other races; quite the opposite. The mission of the Avalonian Guard is to defend other races from the elves of Avalon!

It is commonly known that elves choose to leave the world of the shorter-lived races after perhaps three or four centuries, withdrawing to Avalon and other refuges. What few understand is that this is not an act of elitism or snobbery. Elves are quite friendly and curious about the many races they share the Maelstrom with. Unfortunately for the elves, their long lives is both a gift and a curse, for they often out-live not only their human, dwarf, and halfling friends, but may possibly outlive their friends’ entire family lines. For the elves, who make fast friends with shorter-lived races, constantly watching friends grow old and perish while they remain unchanged becomes a burden. By an elf’s fourth or fifth century, they become quite world-weary. Only the company of other elves, friends they know will endure as long as they do, will suffice. Thus the elves depart the mortal realms, their hearts heavy with the sorrow of countless funerals of their long-past friends.

Time has little meaning on Avalon, and this may have a peculiar effect on elven minds. Their grasp of the real world can slip away; they are prone for mistaking other races for long-lost friends, unable to realize that the people are not their friends. While some might think this a situation easily exploited by con-artists and shysters, such people should be warned: the elves of Avalon have the experiences of a dozen human lifetimes or more. A great many are accomplished wizards, or count many such wizards as friends. A stolen treasure will be found, the thief forced to endure a fate far worse than prison or death: their minds are often warped by the chaotic magic of Avalon, forced to live out the lives of long-dead elf friends. Madness claims many a visitor.

Amongst the Avalonian Guard there is often told the story of the Blackcod. The Blackcod was a tradesman run by accomplished and dangerous smugglers and pirates who thought themselves clever enough to locate Avalon and to elude the Avalonian Guard. They landed in a small village, seeking plunder. One by one, they disappeared, never to be heard from again. Seven were slain by Greyfox, a veteran of the Nemesis Wars who mistook the half-orcs and hobgoblins for followers of Nemesis. An orc was mistaken by Mystlyn the Whispering Witch to be Grumblar, a fellow adventurer six-hundred years dead, and forced to accompany her on a quest to explore a lich’s tomb. His death was particularly gruesome. Twin goblins were mistaken for Drami and Dromi, a famous circus act from four centuries prior. A half-elf was mistaken for Kaldaras’ long dead son and was never allowed to leave her cottage again. The fate of the other crewmen could not be obtained, but it is believed they too suffered similar fates.
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