Cailín, a nun from Navas who might sport fey blood. Played by "RobJN".
Glordir Thomasson, a half-elven squire to the Knights of the Shroud, son to their leader, Thomas Half-Elven. Played by "eatonjar".
James Johanson, a common warrior from Castle Way's End. Played by "Dave L".
Sveinbjorn "Sveinki" of House Agnarr, an officer of the legions of Marriott, and apprentice military tactician, serving the barony of Way's End. Played by "gsvenson".
Serafin Varra, a storyteller from Tizona. Played by "RadioDask".
Navarre of Orision, a knight from Tizona. Played by "doctorx".
Arnbjorn of House Agnarr, baron of Way's End, on the Raven's Road. Sveinbjorn's grandfather.
The Nightingale, a wandering minstrel and spy. One of the last true Elves of Erle, and Glordir's mother.
Thomas Half-Elven, the founder of the Knights of the Shroud; a half-elf, or at least an Elvenkin, as his name suggests. Glordir's father. Wenchell Berwikson, a valiant, if deluded farmer from Basswood Village who dreams about becoming a hero of war.
The Red Man, a powerful sorcerer of unknown origin and race. He serves the cruel fey lords of the Erlenwood.
She-Who-Reigns, a mysterious entity who has enslaved the Two-Moon Fey, and somehow also secured the service of the Horse-Men of the Erlenwood.
The Story So Far
The story of our campaign, The Coward's Blade, takes place on the continent of Erle on the phantastic world of Meleon. Our action is centered around Raven's Road, a half-abandoned trade route between two kingdoms: The rural Marriott, and the radiant Tizona.
In The General Prologue, we witnessed the destruction of the old kingdom of Asterion, and the flight of a group of survivors, "The Band of Agnarr", to the haunted Forest Kingdom, and back from the horrors that welcomed them there.
In The Privilege we learned of the further fate of the "Company of Agnarr", and of the foundation of the kingdom of Marriott, on Asterion's ruins. We followed its rise over the course of a century, and its slow deterioration, until the fatal attack of the Bloodmothers, and their Dwarven warbands.
In The Gates of Day, we finally join the main protagonists of our story, the "Band of the Scions". The descendants of the "Company of Agnarr", they are plagued by strange dreams and visions of the Red Man haunting the borders of the Southern Erlenwood. Following their instincts, and their recurring, rather horrifying reveries, they come together in the village of Basswood. - And they arrive just in time to see the Forest Kingdom awaken again from its century-long slumber, as demon-like creatures rise from the forest border, and venture into the realm of man.
After the appearance of a herd of centaurs almost causes a riot and mass panic in Basswod Village, the Band of the Scions sets out to find the Knights of the Shroud, who are said to maintain a secret base of operations at the nearby ruins of Larkhill castle. On their way, they are again, intercepted by the centaurs, and, in a strange turn of events, fight them and their allies, the Two Moon Fey, until their own exhaustion.
The Scions are taken captive by the feyblood creatures, and thrown into a pit-like prison...
Ruling & House Rules
As of September 2016.
Unless explicitely stated otherwise, the DM does all the rolls for the group.
Out of convenience, our base for all questions on rules and character creation is theDungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, compiled by Aaron Aalston, and published byTSR in 1991.
Until the conclusion of The Gates of Day, first of three adventures that will supposedly make for the sequence that will be The Coward's Blade, only human PCs are allowed in the game.
Notably,Sveinki'scharacter class is a retrograded version of the3.5e Marshal.
The magic used by several members of the party, notablySveinki and Cailín, is constant subject of development to us, and its effects are decided on a case-by-case basis. It is based on the song magic displayed both in theShannara series of novels (see below), and in theElder Scrolls series of video games. In terms of rules and spells, we so far stick to the traits and skills conventionally associated with each character's base classes.
Heralds, in our game, are not just a faction, but also a separate character class, modelled very closely after an existing one. In time, they will be available as a character choice, but for now, I reserve those rights for an NPC.
On the Use of Knowledge Checks in RC D&D
From the Rules cyclopedia, pg. 82, ff.
How Skills Are Used
Each skill is based on one of the character's ability scores (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma). Whenever the DM feels a character's selected skill is appropriate to a game situation, he or she will ask the player to roll 1d20 against the corresponding ability score. This is called a skill roll or skill check. If the roll on the 1d20 is equal to or less than the ability score, the skill use succeeds. A roll of 20 always fails, no matter how high the chance for success.
Example: If the character is riding a horse and the horse is suddenly spooked and begins rearing, the DM will decide that the character's Riding skill is appropriate to check in this situation. The player will roll 1d20 against his skill-related ability score (Dexterity). If the character's Dexterity is 15, the player has only to roll a 15 or less to use his Riding skill successfully. Successfully rolling the skill normally allows the character to accomplish the task he is attempting. For instance, if a character is trying to track an animal through the forest and he successfully makes his Tracking skill check, then he is able to follow the tracks of his prey.
Rafe's Additions on the RC Description
Just as a clarification to our newbies, within the game, unless explicitly specified otherwise, when I usually ask for a Knowledge Check, then I mean to determine the general probability that a character knows about a subject of general knowledge. For example, all people of Asterion know about the horrors of the Tempest, but considerably fewer know about Prince Telegon's disastrous siege of Janina; if the value of the knowledge of such a fact is not entirely clear to me as the DM, I let the dice decide. Specific Knowledge Skill Checks, as per the RC, I only demand when a character asks for knowledge that requires some sort of previous study, like details on ancient history, or the geography of really remote places.
Everything else is resolved by the iron rules of common sense: If it's generally plausible that someone might know something, we'll assume he or she knows about it. For example, every citizen of Asterion will know the names of past kings, immediate local history local geography, and all the information necessary for seamless social interaction. To stick with an example from our game, every person in Asterion knows what Bloodmother Warbands generally are supposed to look like, and that they're generally to be feared - even though not everyone has necessarily seen one.
Books and other media that are good to "get in the mood", or to get an idea of the style of fantasy that I have in mind when I, Rafe, write material for Meleon.
The Scions of Shannara, a series of novels by Terry Brooks. The parts that tell the adventures of the characters Walker Boh and Morgan Leah are of particular interest to us.
Ithkar, an anthology series of short stories, edited by Andre Norton and Robert Adams.
The King of Elfland's Daughter, a novel by Lord Dunsany. The World of Meleon notably originated from a (botched) attempt to retell this novel as a roleplaying campaign. Consequently, in-game references abound.
Knights of Dark Renown, and Morningstar, two novels by David Gemmell, to which Yours Truly is known to frequently nerd out.
Record of the Lodoss War, a direct-to-video animated series, from 1990, notable for its beautiful soundtrack.
As of October 2016.
"Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future..." - Yes, yes, oh wise and strangely hairless gremlin, it's pretty hard to give a timetable to a game like ours. As a matter of fact, any of my attempts to set up more than the most basic form of a schedule have failed miserably. However, now that the campaign is slowly changing its baby shoes for more solid walking boots, it might be good to have the global perspective in mind; counting in the long and very complicated prologue, we will probably be half-way through the intended story when we conclude The Gates of Day.[/div]
The Gates of Day is planned as a seven-chapter adventure. After its conclusion (likely in spring, if everything works out well for us, perhaps around April, or May), we will take a break until autumn. The break is not particularly necessary, but I think it might be a good idea, mainly to create a dramatic element: That strange sensation of "homecoming" that one has when one visits a particular imaginary world after a while away. - And on the practical side, it's probably not a bad thing to step back from the game once in a while, and do other things: In my case, it's likely still going to be related to Meleon - I need some extra time to compile my notes on the setting, and to polish them... For something of which I am not yet sure what it will be.
Regardless of how long the break is - meaning, regardless of wether we finish Chapter VII in February, in April, or in July (or, for whatever d**ned reason, never) - the game will resume in October 2017, with the second part of what is going to be an intended trilogy of adventures, Two Ravens. All I can tell you about this sequel is that it will be a direct continuation of The Gates of Day, that it will take about the same time (18 months) to complete, and that it will be mainly set in Tizona, and South of Asterion.
If we successfully complete not only The Gates of Day, but Two Ravens, then I'll offer you a third adventure of the same structure and length; mind you, we're talking about starting a game in the autumn of 2018, now. That adventure, which will likely go be the name White Fang, is meant to serve as a conclusion to all of our adventures set in Erle. But, really, who knows what will happen until then, until we give our farewells to Meleon...? In 2020, supposedly? Or, maybe things will turn out entirey differently.
"A coward's blade will always stay sharp."
The grand scheme of things: Hints, and traces to where the story might be leading, summed up in all brevity. Understandably, this section will be kept very, very short. I don't want you to loose track of our shared story; but I want you to use your own minds.
The Tempest destroys large parts of Asterion, and Eastern Erle. It is hinted that its summoner is Asterion's king Viddar, later known as "King Allwoes", himself, having tried to master magic high above his own capacity.
Inside the Erlenwood, the Band of Agnarr discovers a magical barrier that blocks the realm of the Children from the lands of Man. However, as it seems, the Children of the Many are not living entirely sheltered from humanity: The Red Man meets the party as he's looking for a mortal "bride for Lord Daos", whatever that may mean.
In the fight against the fey, a large Dwarven military force, "The Phantom Army", might have gotten killed to the last individual when they ventured too close to the White Mountain.
The Red Man is known to wander the realms of Man, on occasion, and the Red Man is seen in the city of Marriott. If the Red Man teaches the kings of Marriott magic, then they are more careful with its use than King Allwoes was it.
It is hinted that at some point, the Red Man leaves the Erlenwood, and that he meets the Knights of the Shroud on at least one occasion.
The Gates of Day
It is revealed that it was She-Who-Reigns who sent her fey minions after the Band of the Scions.
We know that there was a Knight of Two Ravens once, a paladin of Tizona.
We know that there'll be a traitor.
Principal player characters that are deceased, or were otherwise written out of the campaign.
The General Prologue
Ortega, an immigrant from Tizona, during The Year of the Tempest. Played by "Zebediah".
Pithis, a cleric, during The Year of the Tempest. Played by "Wyzman".
Gutboy, Waleran's apprentice, during The First Century of the Dwarven Supremacy in Erle. Played by "Tarlyn".
Waleran Pendergil, a merchant, during The First Century of the Dwarven Supremacy in Erle. Played by "Jamethon".
Money in the lands of Asterion, 116 ALM.
First off, on the matter of translating your standard D&D money into the currency used on Erle:
For that, it's important to know that Old Anac, the father state to Asterion and later Tizona, extended over most of Erle's Eastern half - divided from the Western half by the Forest Kingdom; so, the currency in Asterion and the Golden League was pretty much the same. The Dwarves have now introduced other, foreign coinage, from Norran - but go pay your bills in Marriott with one of these, I dare you!
Also, there are currentcy entities that are purely mathematic. A Hrunting Talent, for example, is a specific seal on paper, but usually, at least, ever found as a physical coin.
1 Copper Piece (1 cp)
1 Silver Piece (1 sp)
1 Gold Piece (1 gp)
1 Platinum Piece (1 pc)
1 Royal (Tizona)
1 Shield (Tizona)
1 Acer (Dwarven Dominion)
1 Lion (Tizona)
1 Hrunting Talent (Dwarven Dominion)
1 Anacen Talent of Moongold (Historical)
Moongold, by the way, the mythical most valuable noble metal in the world. All known sources were supposedly exhausted centuries ago.
A Basic Price List for the Great Bay of Asterion, 116 ALM.
A meal at an inn. Drinks, and simple food for the entire entourage.
One week of lodging, one month of drinking at a village tavern, like "The Blue Whiskers".
The daily rent for an untrained horse.
A healthy pig.
The daily rent for an untrained horse if you somehow manage to piss off its owner.
A healthy cow.
One week of lodging, one month of drinking at a city tavern, like "The Whaler's Lodge" in Marriott.
A bad horse. Second-hand weapons, and armor.
Any sort of new mundane, iron-forged tool. A newly-forged blade weapon. A good bow.
A good horse.
A poor's farmer's annual income.
A trained warhorse.
A foot soldier's annual income.
The average costs of the materials to build a small village house.
A knight's, or cavalryman's regular annual income.
Custom-made weapons and armor.
A wealthy nobleman's annual income.
A small merchant ship.
A stone house.
A stone house, in the upper-class quarters of a major city.
A fully-stored warship. The annuak tax revenue of the city of Marriott before the attack of the Blood Mothers.
1 Hrunting Talent
The annual tax revenue of the kingdom of Marriott. A fleet of small trading ships.
1 Anacen Talent of Moongold
A fleet of warships. A small kingdom in the Golden League.
Names everybody has to able to place to follow the story, as a lurker, or as a new entry.
King Allwoes, the last king of Asterion. A madman.
ALM, the computation of time according to the Dwarven chronicles of Almace, used as a calendar in all of Erle. Our current year is 116 ALM.
The Book of Order, a powerful spellbook, discovered in Caladan in 116 ALM.
The Bloodmothers, a cult of Dwarven shieldwomen who also act as clan leaders. They recently attacked Marriott, and are considered Mankind's arch enemies.
Beatrice of House Kainan, the crown princess and current princess regent of Marriott, and daughter of Cylas. Queen in everything but name.
"The Crownless", a political faction in Marriott. Princess Beatrice's inept brothers, Aneurin and Morstan, who nominally dispute their sister's claim to the crown.
King Cylas I, or, Cylas of House Kainan, the current, blind king of Marriott. Allegedly held captive in Almace.
The Dwarven Supremacy, both the term used for the present era, and for the actual geographical territory of the Dwarven dominion on Norran, and on Erle.
The Firedancers, a human sect that claim to have been visited by an aspect of the Lonely God, the mythical creator deity of Mankind.
King Floro XIV, the latest in a long line of rulers of Tizona, and High King of the Golden League. Universally respected and beloved by his people.
The Heralds, an order of messengers who chain themselves to the cargo they deliver, to make sure it can only get lost at the cost of their own lives.
The Knights of the Shroud, a knightly order or Marriott and Navas, founded by Thomas Half-Elven. The protectors of the Raven's Road, they cloak their faces with black veils.
The Knights of Vermilion, a knightly order of Marriott. Cled all in red, their leaders practice the arcane arts. They nominally serve Princess Beatrice, but have independent chapters all over Erle.
House Hrunting, the Dwarven Lords that rule the lands to the North, and beyond the sea. They seek to conquer all of Erle.
House Kainan, the current kings of Marriott, and former kings of Asterion. They want to regain to control of their old kingdom.
The Hidebound, the band of mercenaries under the command of The Senator. Currently in service to Prince Morstan. Sveinki served with them for a short time, but was never a full member.
Morstan of House Kainan, one of the "Crownless" Princes, a younger brother to Beatrice and Aneurin.
King Rain, the legendary founder of Asterion, and first king of Man.
King Raven, King Rain's son and successor. Builder of the Raven's Road, and of the city of Dace. Like his father, a figure of legend.
The Kudur, an umbrella term for all races of Beastmen that hail from the Eastern parts of the world.
Thomas Half-Elven, the founder of the Knights of the Shroud; a half-elf, or at least an Elvenkin, as his name suggests. In the General Prologue and in The Privilege, played by "eatonjar".
The Red Man, a powerful sorcerer of unknown origin and race. He serves the cruel fey lords of the Erlenwood.
"The Senator", Hernando Lamporta, a mercenary leader, currently serving under Prince Morstan. A bastard son of King Floro. Sveinki briefly fought under his command.
The Whitehorn Brigade, the town guard of Marriott, named after the legendary warrior that founded them during the times of King Allwoes.
The Wishmaster, an evil wizard, and the legendary enemy of King Rain.
Gods of Meleon
Gods and immortal entities introduced in the game. NOT intended to be complete, or to serve as a coherent overview over Meleon's dimensions of the supernatural.
The Deathless, the living deity of the people of Barr. Devotion to him is usually expressed by imply wearing the color black. Supposedly wandering the Northern wastes, in the form of an old man.
The Lonely God, seldom referred to under his arcane name "Hávi". The god of Man, and usually worshipped as an all-encompassing entity, comparable to henotheistic and pantheistic religions practiced in Europe and the Middle East during antiquity. His symbol is usually a sacred stone, or a mountain.
The Mother Goddess of the Dwarves, sometimes also referred to as "Main", or "Moena", and personified as a large white snake. To hold any position within the Dwarven Empire, humans and members of other races have to make public sacrifices to her, and pay a special tax.
Gorod, the Dwarven god of commerce. Symbolized by a plain iron coin.
Gymir , the Dwarven god of the sea. Symbolized, like Gorod, by a plain iron coin. The difference is the origin of the coin, which is another story.
The Shadow, an entity the Lonely God supposedly banned from this world before he brought fire and speech to Man. The god of dreams, and specifically nightmares. Generally not worshipped, and only referenced in curses.
Tamaris, a minor, yet very primal and bloodthirsty warrior deity from Old Shahar, worshipped since the time of Old Anac, and notably one of the deities mythical King Rain sacrificed to. Worshipped through blood sacrifice, by killing animals, or by self-mutilation. Notably, his cult had almost vanished until the fall of Asterion. Tamaris has no specific symbols, though most of his priests have huge scars.
A record of all the killings, maimings, and other notable acts of violence committed by the Band of the Scions, and their allies.
This little game of scorekeeping won't affect neither the distribution of experience, or other sorts of rewards: I just think it's funny, since in our last longer game, Jared was regarded as the undisputed "most efficient killer of men and things". So, I thought, why not, like Gimli and Legolas (or, Prince Valiant, Tristan, and Gawaine, for that matter) make a little distraction out of it?