User:DColby/Sword of Roele
Adventure » DColby/Sword of Roele
- 1 Preamble
- 2 The Sword of Roele
- 3 Table of Contents
- 4 Introduction
- 5 Background
- 6 Starting the Adventure
- 7 Getting There
- 8 The Three Brother Mages
The following is a rework of the Adventure "The Sword of Roele". The original Adventure and the maps within are required to use this rework. The subject of the adventure and the players quest to recover it are not canon and the D.M. Should consider the impact to his/her campaign.
The Sword of Roele
Reworked for D&D 3.5 by Dana Colby
Table of Contents
One of the party members should be a regent that would find the Recovery of the Sword of the Empire a tempting prize. Undead are prevalent in the adventure and at least one character with the ability to affect the undead is highly recommended. The adventure action occurs in the lands between Anuire proper and the lands of the Khinasi near the realms of Coeranys, Elinie, Osoerde, Baruk-Azhik, the Rohrmarch, the Harrowmarsh, Sendoure, and Binsada.
In addition to the Player Characters, the Sword of Roele concerns the activities of three major players, The Chimaera, the Three Brother Mages, and Harfdan Stonehand Wainier. Against the activities of these three forces the players must operate with the threat of a stirring and angered Gorgon hanging ever present in the background.
One of the learned few who knows the truth of the blade is the Dwarf Harfdan Stonehand of the clan Wainier from the dwarven nation of Baruk-Azhik. His clan had a hand in the forging of the replica so many years ago and he stumbled upon a mention of the original weapon in the accounts of that replica's creation. Harfdan is not so very concerned with human history that the fate of the Imperial sword bothered him one way or another; Harfdan is however a Dwarven patriot and the fate of his brethren in the bondage of the Gorgon’s service does drive him. Harfdan recognizes that in order for any uprising or even exodus of refugees to occur from Mur Kilad the Gorgon needs to be distracted, and what better distraction than the weapon of his hated ½ brother whose imitation graces his trophy room.
Would not the Gorgon move agents and armies to achieve such a prize? Even if the fell creature did not, surely the return of such an artifact to the lands of Anuire would greatly increase the favor of the faction of the Regent that possessed it. Perhaps the threat of a united Anuire would stir the beast again and grant Harfdan and his small organization of zealots the opening they needed to free many kinsmen from bondage! The unlikely success of his plan, perhaps capable of achieving little more than angering the Gorgon and costing many lives, both Human and dwarven never troubled his thoughts. Harfdan saw a small chance and was willing to take it.
With the fire of fanaticism Harfdan set out to uncover the location of the Sword of the Roeles. After much research Harfdan believes the sword rests in the Great Tomb of the Order of the Sun whose exact location remains a mystery to him, but he has deduced that it is somewhere within the Chimaeron. His agents and researches were also able to find out that the Three Brother Mages, a trio of Source Holding regents within the Chimaeron are expert in the local history. Once that knowledge was obtained he sought out the perfect regents to attempt a recovery of the blade. (The Players)
The Three Brother Mages are source holding regents within the Chimeras realm. That they yet live is perhaps a function of the Chimeras madness and not their own ability. They of course do not know or believe this and are eager to eventually supplant the Chimera as the rulers of the Chimeras’ lands. One of the Brothers enjoys knowledge the players need, the Location of the Great Tomb of the Order of the Sun. Whether they obtain this knowledge as adversaries or allies will depend on the actions of the players.
The Chimera is the regent/local Awnsheghlien of the area known as the Chimaeron. This being is in the throws of madness. She/it tolerates the Three Brothers out of curiosity and perhaps the boredom that immortality has brought. The players will not be powerful enough to directly challenge this creature, but they will be challenged by her/its agents among the council of lords who seek to find out more about the new scions in their mistresses’ realm.
The Gorgon: If the players act quickly the actions of the Gorgon will have domain campaign impact but little actual impact on the adventure. However if the players are not swift, information leaked to the Gorgons agents (By Harfdans’ network) will reach the Black Princes ears that the Players seek the Sword of the Roeles. Agents of the Gorgon in addition to those of the Chimera will trouble the players. These agents will act as if they know what the players are after and want both it and the lives of the players.
The Order of the Sun
How much of the following the D.M. chooses to reveal to their players as a result of researches and knowledge’s is his or her prerogative. History, Local area, and Religious knowledge’s should be the most useful
Starting the Adventure
The castellan of the chosen regent approaches during one of the accepted times that the regent holds court or receives petitioners.
"My lord/My Lady a Dwarven Merchant from the Royal Guild of Baruk-Azhik has come seeking private audience. I have informed him of the oddity in this request coming without former notice but he is quite persistent and his credentials seem valid."
The player may of course refuse to see the merchant and if so congratulations you have some very paranoid players. Most regents equating Dwarves and the Baruk-Azhik royal guild with gold bars will agree to see the Merchant. The castellan could even remind the regent of how much wealth the Dwarven Guild commands. Once the player agrees to see the merchant proceed.
The Players must now decide how best to pursue the Sword, especially considering that it lies within the lands of a powerful Awnsheghlien who is notoriously difficult to deal with.
Three options immediately present themselves. Your players of course may settle on other means or even combinations of other means, say for example a military incursion covering a more covert operation. The three main ways to get into the Chimaeron and the difficulties presented in each approach follow.
The players do not travel as nobility; they as a small party cross into the borders of the Chimaeron, seek out the Three Brothers and look for the Tomb in secret. The difficulties are of course: 1. Some regents do not operate well away from support. 2. There is little chance of rescue should something go wrong. 3. The players must have the skills to support such an entry attempt, or the support of those who do.
The virtues of raw military force for the regent that can afford to do so are many. Protection, ready supply and support, and an army to back up any demands the regent may make of the locals. The difficulties are, 1. Unless the regent rules a bordering realm they must either fight their way to the Chimaeron or win diplomatic permissions to cross other realms. Realms with strong navies could travel by sea but once ashore any further reinforcement could be far off. 2. The Chimera and the people of the Chimaeron will surely resist. Does the regent have the raw Military force to succeed, and can they find their goal with hostile populations unwilling to aid them? 3. Does the Chimera cease hostilities once the Regents have what they need? Can the regent conquer the Chimera; for surely once they start a conflict the Awnsheghlien is unlikely to cease it.
(Remember players will be unlikely to know the actual military state of the Chimaeron and so points #2 & #3 should weigh heavily unless good espionage or scrying can reveal the true state of sorry military affairs in the Chimaeron.)
Travel by Entourage
The regent may of course opt to travel as a ruler of a realm in full entourage with support staff and a small body guard. It has the Virtue of that if the regent can travel through lawful realms that respect diplomatic envoys they might travel unmolested. 1. Many regents are not surrounded by “lawful” realms. 2. Will the Chimera allow for a diplomatic procession to cross its borders and speak with it? 3. Word will spread throughout Anuire that the regent travels abroad. Such a journey to the realm of an Awnsheghlian cannot be concealed for long. Spymasters across the realms will seek to know why. Regents with many enemies may expect their foes to take the opportunities to strike through espionage while the regent is so exposed.
The Journey to the Chimaeron is not covered within this document. The D.M. is encouraged to meddle with the players travels as much or as little as they see fit and according to background events that may be operating in their campaigns.
Diplomacy with the Chimera
The Players may desire to attempt to contact the ruler of the Chimaeron prior to journeying there.
The main obstacle for dealing with the Chimera is that quite frankly she/it is as mad as a hatter. The second obstacle is that she/it does not maintain a court and embassies to her from Regent courts will not meet with any success. Those returning ambassadors (If any do return) will report however that the Chimera operates through a “Council of Lords”, nine in fact, one for each of the major Villages, Towns, and Cities of the Chimaeron.
If the regent sends ambassadors to these towns in an effort to establish a rapport with the Chimera they will again be disappointed, although the respective masters of these places will be eager to communicate with the august personage the regent is in relation to their station.
Eagerness to communicate does not represent willingness to aid and the D.M. should be encouraged to reflect that all the members of the Council of Lords are a suspicious bunch.
The Dubious benefit of a successful diplomacy with the lords is in the purview of the D.M., but could include such things as secure bases of operation, mercenaries, banking services etc... Truly spectacular diplomacy could net outright rebellion, however the reliability of many of these “Bandit Kings” is sketchy at best.
Unsuccessful diplomacy will certainly result in these “lords” working at cross purposes to the players if not actively thwarting them so as to gain the Chimera’s favor.
Luandar: The “Lord” running this place bears only one name “Otslof” and ambassadors or players performing their own diplomacy will find him an openly unscrupulous Rjurik fugitive. The city he manages is little more than a haven for smugglers and Pirates; of course regents interested in such hirelings can find the man a true resource.
Tulear: The “lord” of Tulear titles themselves Mayor Shanol and he is woefully out of place in the Chimaeron. His town is a hardworking shipbuilding community that succeeds due to remoteness from the Chimera. Mayor Shanol could be convinced to work with the players through excellent diplomacy and promises of protection/support. (Regents with poor reputations in matters of keeping their word will not succeed.)
Hamien: Is the near sister city to Kiedel which lies across the mouth of the Khurinbyrn River. Hamien, much to Kiedels misfortune lays just a few miles closer to the mouth of the river and thus can control access to it. This gives the City a bargaining chip over the Brecht merchants in Kiedel. The Mayor “Lord” Mynonos is a man who feels that anything and everything has a price.
Lyssum: Is the capitol of the Chimaeron by virtue of its central location. (It is the unnamed city in the Chimaeron center.) The city is a small collection of buildings over watched by a cruelly impressive but rundown tower. The City makes its living from mining and smith work. An expatriate Vos Druid that has lost his faith Yuri Khavlor now supervises the rape of the earth with the same fervor he once tried to save it.
Barniere: This poor farming village in the shadow of the Chimera’s personal range is the home of many Khinasi expatriates under the leadership of Hakim El-Qadr. They survive by accepting the Chimera’s occasional plundering of their herds and bending to the will of Hakim El-Qadr and his guards. (Outlaws exiled from Khinasi lands.)
Careine: Lord Mayor Cowell rules over the most developed and wealthy city in the Chimaeron. Cowell is an Anuirean exile wanted in Avanil and Medoere and facing death sentences in both those realms. Despite being a known extortionist, kidnapper and brigand his city thrives by sitting astride what little trade passes through the Chimaeron to Baruk-Azhik and Coeranys.
Ruorkhe: Directly under the gaze of the Chimera’s range Ruorkhe is a blasted ruin of destroyed and deserted hovels. Despite outside appearances the town is one of the wealthier in the Chimaeron as most of the vital industries and dwellings have been moved under ground. The town survives by mining and smithing. Fishing and trade on the Khurinlach also supplement the town’s income. Ruorkhe is under the direction of Charrek Ironfist, a dwarven exile who has managed to convince the town’s human population to live alongside the town’s small dwarven community under the earth.
Mhowe: Is hands down the richest port in the Chimaeron, owing mostly to its remoteness from the Chimera’s range. The towns leader is the self proclaimed “Prince” Denerik a Brecht criminal and fugitive. Well known as a bandit and pirate of the lowest order Denerik prowls the waters near Mhowe for any easy targets.
Salviene: Not shown on the map but lying further out in the Gulf of Coeranys is the Island city of Salviene. Ruled over by “Duke” Chandol a native of the Chimaeron, thus the place is usually included in surveys of the Chimaeron. It survives by providing all manner of things illegal in more civilized ports of call.
The Three Brother Mages
Players with good intelligences’ about the Chimaeron, or deals with any of the “lords” or by personal enquiry once in the lands of the Chimera can learn the following about the Three Brother Mages. (Note much of this pure exaggeration on the part of the person telling the tale, rising from unadulterated superstition. Kernels of truth are contained but the players will not know for sure until they visit the mages.)
The oldest brother Meganno the Sorcerer maintains a tower said to be made of “Pure Ivory” in the town of Mhowe. Armed soldiers ensorcelled to do Megannos’ will patrol the grounds and keep out the curious.
The second brother Avicerra the Wise dwells in a tower of ebony stone on the outskirts of Hamien. The grounds are patrolled by a pack of screaming demons that will tear limb from limb any who climb the walls.
The third and youngest brother is Rassan the Hasty and he is said to dwell somewhere within the Cypress Valley of the Qatil River. In a tower that is thought to have been grown overnight from one of the mighty trees.
Proceeding to the towers of Meggano and Avicerra are a matter of traveling to and or within the Chimaeron which can be as hard as the D.M. may wish to make it. Options include.
1. Spies and saboteurs from the “Lords” not contacted or allied.
2. If the players have troops with them, attacks from Chimaeron constabulary and or peasant levies aimed at stopping them. These attacks will likely not halt the players but could erode their forces if they dally in the Chimaeron.
3. In a reverse of #2, if the players are being kind and helpful/respectful the desperate commons may appeal to them for aid (Sanctuary, positions, transport out, alms) all of which may slow them or lead to side adventures at the D.M. discretion.
4. Lastly a small but obviously wealthy group could fall victim to the nature of many of the inhabitants of the Chimaeron and find themselves beset by bandits.
The NPC section contains sample Bandits, Spies, and War cards for the above encounters. None of the above is likely to seriously threaten players of the stated adventure level, but it is meant to use up resources which they may find themselves short of.
In order to seek the tower of Rassan the Hasty the players must either have a magical means of its discovery, or have gleaned the information from Meggano and/or Avicerra by diplomatic means or force.
Meggano the Sorcerer
The “Ivory” Tower dominates the city of Mhowe set high on a cliff overlooking the sea it is 5 stories tall and surrounded by a ten foot tall wall that encloses the grounds. A little used trail ascends from Mhowe to the tower.
When the players draw near it is apparent that the tower is not ivory, but “white washed” stone and the “ensorcelled” troops are a small bodyguard of Anuirean mercenaries that man the gate and patrol the tower gardens.
The Gate Guards will politely wave to any persons that approach the Keep. One will depart his post and approach the party and ask after the names of those who come to see the great Meggano.
Petitioners will be shown into the garden where servants bring forth a light meal and refreshments to be served in a silken pavilion, outfitted with rugs and pillows for the parties comfort. The servants will tell any who ask that
"The master is at work within, but both he and his apprentices will shortly be with you."
Players who cannot or will not wait or those that overpower the gate guards and attempt to break in by force or stealth can be dealt with as the DM pleases. (A fairly strait forward and generic tower and grounds will work well for belligerent players; a D.M. would do well to devise a plan for Meggano after checking his stats in the NPC section. Despite Megganos’ obvious approachability the players may well try to break in.)
Meggano is motivated by curiosity and the desire to supplant the Chimera as the power in the Chimaeron. The players pique both interests so he will put up with a great deal from them, although the polite approach is the better method.
Despite being a Khinasi he harbors no distrust of Anuireans, he in fact deals with them quite frequently in the border kingdoms. He will however become sensitive and difficult to deal with if the Players link a desire to find the Tomb of the Great order of the Sun with any hint of intending to enter it for the purpose of pillaging it.
Offering tangible and convincing support against the Chimera will earn the players bonuses to negotiation despite their intentions.
A clever tack might be to lament the magic’s and lore lost forever within the Great Tomb. A claim or actual desire to preserve the learning’s within, coupled with an offer to split with Meggano and his brothers a share of the recovered magic’s and lore from any Order of the Sun Libraries or storehouses that can be gained without the violation of crypts or tombs would greatly tempt him.
In the end whether by force or diplomacy the Players will discover that Meggano does not know the location of the Great Tomb, lore about the ancient worship of Avani is the specialty of his youngest brother Rassan. He will tell the party
"You must seek Rassan in the Cypress valley, a path to his home can be found on the east bank of the river across from the Tower of the Eye."
Avicerra the Wise
Avicerra the wise is not as “friendly” as his older brother and is a true mage not a sorcerer. He laments his older brothers’ closeness with his “Apprentices” and worries after his younger brother and his recent odd behaviors.
The brooding black tower of Avicerra stands high on a bluff keeping watch on the city and river below it so that the Wizard can keep a friendly eye on all his neighbors.
The layout of Avicerras’ tower is much like his elder brothers save that he has painted the stones black to signal his desire for solitude to the locals. In addition there is no gate (Avicerra doe not need it) and from the grounds beyond the wall eerie hoots and calls can be heard. (The locals have never heard Baboons so the screams and screeches of the beasts that prowl his grounds are thought to be demons.)
Much like the encounter with his brother the D.M. should be prepared for Players that will attempt to break in and or threaten the wizard. Stats for Avicerra and his baboons can be found in the NPC section.
Any players that approach openly or call out for Avicerra will be answered/challenged from the highest window in the tower by the mage himself demanding
"Who are you and what do you want?!?"
Straight and short answers are best with Avicerra and he warns the players away from the Tomb of the Great Order. The Mage is unlikely to come to the ground level and some comedy can be played from the shouting diplomacy exchange with the slightly paranoid wizard. Success in diplomacy with Avicerra will gain the following about the Great Tomb.
"Something I fear is not right there, my younger brother Rassan would know better but he communicates less and less about the Ruins near his home which he claims are the ruins of the Great Tomb."
In the end whether by diplomacy or force he will also guide the players to Rassan with one additional request/demand.
" Take care when you see my brother, none of us took the oaths as we were reared beyond the borders of the Khinasi lands. Both Meggano and I however respect those oaths as wisdom, if not law. I am afraid for my brother, I love him dearly but I fear he cares for nothing but knowledge, even that which is forbidden. If he is tainted do what you must to protect yourself, but do not slay him. If you do and I or my brother yet lives, then we must become your sworn foes!"
Into the Cypress Valley
Whether in a blind search for Rassan or with directions from one or both of his brothers the players will eventually start up the Qatil river valley by foot or flatboat. The Qatil River valley or the Cypress Valley as it is known by some locals separates the nations of Coeranys and the Chimaeron.
The Eastern bank of the river valley lies within the Chimaeron and the Western within Coeranys. Players on good terms with Coeranys may decide to travel the river and either hike along the west bank or camp on the west bank at night.
The Climate of the Cypress valley can be described as warm temperate, rather like the southeastern U.S. near the coast, rising to temperate conditions as the river passes the Iron Peaks and nears the Borders of Baruk-Azhik which contains it headwaters.
The valley itself is comprised of the floodplain for the Qatil River, a slow moving, shallow and silt heavy river with many groves of Cypress Trees, some growing to 40 meters in height along it boggy banks.
The terrain, summer heat, and insects can make for an extremely difficult foot journey up either bank; most travel is therefore accomplished by small boat, or large keel/flatboat. Shallow drafted Rjurik or Vos craft could navigate the gentle river but such vessels are well off their normal range here.
If the nature of the Chimaeron were otherwise than it is the Qatil River would serve as an excellent vehicle for commerce and trade to reach the sea. As it stands today only the occasional trapper, hunter, or lumberman harvesting Cypress for its rot resistant heartwood ventures up or down the valley with any regularity.
Random Encounters in the Cypress Valley
The Following chart is applicable for the lower reaches of the Qatil River (Below the Iron Peaks) a D.M. will need to moderate or adjust the chart to suit upper river conditions. Roll a day encounter and a night encounter for each 24 hour period spent in the valley. They represent only the potentially helpful, dangerous, delaying, or road hazard encounters not the myriad wildlife forms to be seen in the valley.
|21-30||Travel Hazard (Land only) loose 1 hour march time. No encounter if not moving, or if traveling by boat.|
|31-38||Lizard Folk Hunters (Curious, willing to barter)||1-12|
|39-47||* The River Pirates (See below)|
|48-53||* Stirge Flock (See below)|
|75-80||Black Bear solitary. (Mother with cubs at D.M. discretion)||1 or 3|
|81-88||River Trapper in a small boat (3rd level ranger can give directions if lost)||1|
|89-96||Hunter in a small boat (as above)||1|
|97-00||Lumberman with flatboat of timber (as above)||1|