View Full Version : New Awnshegh: The Phantom

08-02-2004, 12:26 AM
Here's yet another new Birthright character. Per usual, this thing is a bit long for a single post, so I'll break it up a bit, and I'm going to start it off by posting to the message boards and then complete the process by email. Comments are welcome.

Whenever possible, the location and role of the character at the domain level of play is also included. The Phantom is more of an encounter/random event level character, but I'm giving the character a "headquarters" in a new area called "The Lost Caverns" that will have several implications at the domain level. More on that in a day or two....

Part of the idea with these new awnsheghlien and ersheghlien is that they should have as broad a gaming potential as possible. That is, if one wants to do a lot of role-playing then there's plenty of background and theme to the character for such a session. If one wants to whip out a grid and hack 'n slash away for a couple of hours then the character should represent a pretty good challenge. Occasionally, I like to start these guys off with a quote. In this case, the quote in question is a bit post-medieval for our purposes, but it does capture the vibe of the character nicely and, therefore, helps the role-playing aspect of the character.

In any case, on with the show....


08-02-2004, 01:40 AM
The Phantom - Character Description

Popularly known as the Phantom, the being that haunts the Lost Caverns

makes frequent forays from his underground lair, haunting the surrounding

countryside to wreak havoc upon those unfortunate enough to encounter

him. Though the Phantom fights the power of his transformation he is not

immune to the effects of his own disorienting delusions, and can behave in

an erratic manner when encountered. Often he will conduct a conversation

with creatures that are not present, respond to things that are said in

ways that makes it clear he heard something else said entirely, or

otherwise become unpredictable and violent. Even when not in the throes of

a delusion the Phantom is still wracked by doubt about the reality of his

surroundings, and his behavior is completely colored by his inability to

distinguish fantasy from reality.

An appearance by the Phantom can be used as a Monsters or Magical Event

random event or, as a single encounter adventure, his appearance could also

be used to portray an Assassination or Blood Challenge.

The Phantom

Awnshegh 9, Rogue 3

Medium-sized Major Awnshegh

Hit Dice: 9d10+18, 3d6+6 (88 hp)

Initiative: +7 (+3 dex, Improved Initiative)

Speed: 30 ft.

AC: 18 (+3 dex, +4 chainshirt, +1 dodge) touch 14, flat-footed 14

Base Attack/Grapple: +11/+13

Attack: Longsword +15 melee (1d8+2)

Full Attack: Longsword +15/+10/+5 (1d8+2)

Face/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.

Special Qualities: Aura of Madness, Darkvision, Evasion, Invisible,

Invulnerable, Sneak Attack +2d6, Trapsense +1.

Saves: Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +3

Abilities: Str 14, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 10

Skills: Hide +38, Listen +14, Move Silently +18, Spot +14

Feats: Blood Aesthete, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Major Transformation,

Mobility, Spring Attack

Environment: Any Land (the Lost Caverns)

Organization: Solitary

Challenge Rating: 10

Treasure: None

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Advancement: By character class

Level Adjustment: -

Bloodline: Azrai, minor, 17. Invulnerability (great), Shadow Form (minor)

Bloodline in BP Style: Az(5/17) Invul(7) ShdFrm(2)

Before his transformation the Phantom was a typical Anuirean male. By all

accounts he was light skinned with blonde hair and very pale blue

eyes. The Phantom is now invisible, but those able to see invisible

creatures will perceive a thin figure that is still translucent despite the

magic that allows him to be seen. He is pale with sunken eyes and a

haggard expression. His clothing was once fine but is now dirtied and torn.


The Phantom is not hostile by inclination, but while in the throes of his

delusions he will often commit acts of violence. Though he would not have

considered himself a warrior in his youth, the Phantom has gained

considerable physical prowess by embracing his transformation into an awnshegh.

Aura of Madness: The Phantom projects and aura of madness that affects all

sentient creatures within a 30` radius. Every minute (10 rounds) those

within the area of effect must make a DC 15 Will save to avoid the effects

of Confusion. Those who fail this save are not confused per se, but are

responding to the delusions and fantasies that the Phantom`s aura plays out

in their minds. The DM is encouraged to role-play these delusions based

upon the results of the Confusion spell. That is, a character who wanders

away for 1 minute finds himself lost and alone, while a character who

attacks the nearest creature for 1 round sees that creature as a charging

monster. Confusion caused by the Phantom`s Aura of Madness remains in

effect for 1d6+1 rounds.

Special Note 1: The Aura of Madness is not an illusion effect, but a

mind-affecting enchantment (compulsion) so it cannot be disbelieved.

Special Note 2: The DM may want to roll the saving throws for the PCs

himself and keep those results secret so that the players do not know if

what they see is real or the product of the Phantom`s aura.

Special Note 3: The Phantom is himself subject to the same delusions that

affect those within the radius of his Aura of Madness. His behavior can be

similarly portrayed by making Will saves against a Confusion effect.

Invisibility: The Phantom is permanently invisible. This ability conforms

to Improved Invisibility except that unlike standard invisibility, objects

that the Phantom picks up and holds begin to fade from view the round after

he comes into contact with them.

Invulnerability: The Phantom is not killed when reduced to 0 (or -10) hit

points. When reduced to 0 or fewer hit points he does not fall unconscious

but can only make partial actions. While at 0 or negative hit points the

Phantom regenerates 1 hp/hour until returned to full consciousness at 1 hit

point. The Phantom is immune to all death effects from poison, massive

damage or magic. He cannot drown, suffocate or starve to death, instead

entering a coma-like state that requires a DC 20 Fortitude save to restore

him to full consciousness once the condition that led to the coma is no

longer in effect.

In order to permanently kill the Phantom he must be slain by an act of

bloodtheft in the round after being the subject of a Break Enchantment

spell. The check to determine the success of the Break Enchantment spell

is DC 25.

08-02-2004, 02:00 AM
The Phantom - Background, part 1

I suppose, accordingly, that all the things which I see are false

(fictitious); I believe that none of those objects which my fallacious

memory represents ever existed; I suppose that I possess no senses; I

believe that body, figure, extension, motion, and place are merely fictions

of my mind. What is there, then, that can be esteemed true? Perhaps this

only, that there is absolutely nothing certain.

- Rene Descartes, Meditations

"Am I here?"

"Yes, you are here. We are both here."

"Are you sure?"

"You can trust me."

"It is not really a matter of trusting you… how can I believe you? I think

you are here, and you may very well be, and if you are here you may think

that I am here too, and that we are both in this place. But if I am not

here then you are not here either, so even if you trust you when you say

you are here, I cannot necessarily believe that it is so. The truth is

that I cannot be sure that I am here myself. That means that you telling

me that you are here could very well be wrong. You may be asking me to

believe the word of a delusion. Many of the things that I see, that I

touch, that I hear are not real. Often the things that appear to me seem

to be real, as real as you are now, yet they tell me things that are not

true. You might be one of those phantasms created by my curse, telling me

that I am here when I am not and leading me to commit terrible crimes

against real people in real places that I do not even know that I am

visiting. No, I cannot believe you, for there is nothing to prove that I

am here and that you are anything more than an apparition."

I began to doubt the efficacy of the spells meant to protect me from the

aura of madness that emanates from the awnshegh known as the Phantom for I

felt myself slipping into confusion and fought it as best I could. I am in

the Lost Caverns, I told myself, I am speaking to the Phantom. It was

difficult to conduct a conversation with a being that is unseen, especially

since he moved about constantly. His voice would come from one direction

then another. I quickly have grew dizzy simply from spinning about to face

in the direction of the voice. His philosophizing only made matters worse.

"But if you really are here," he continued, "why have you come? There are

few who visit me in this lonely place. Here only the demons in my mind

speak to me, and they only seek to mislead me so that I commit terrible acts."

"I am here to collect information upon the awnsheghlien of Cerilia. It is

my profession."

"That seems reasonable…" the Phantom responded, "but so are many of the

explanations told to me by the delusions that haunt my every moment. Not

long ago I was visited by a lost child who needed to be returned to her

family. As I led the girl home we were set upon by wolves. I fought them

to protect her. When she was safe I turned to the child and the girl I had

been defending was in fact a lamb and I was surrounded by the bodies of

shepherds come to retrieve their lost sheep. Their blood is on my hands,

and that of many more that I have killed in the throes of one fantasy or


I had been warned that the Phantom sometimes becomes violent for no

apparent reason, and the reason for this was now confirmed. Would I live

long enough to relate the truth to my brothers at the College?

"And inaction is not a reliable option," the disembodied voice continued,

"for my curse deludes me in many ways. These caves are easy to become lost

in, and I have found many people disoriented and starving in them. Should

I help them? What misfortune might I wreak upon them in doing so? How can

I know the route I take them upon will not lead them into a fissure? I

have watched real people die before my eyes believing them to be fantasies

only to have their rotting corpses rise up as zombies to slay me. What`s

worse, how many of those I have shown an exit were murderous highwaymen who

ran into my caverns only to escape justice? I may have helped many a

murderer believing him to be an adventurer that had become lost in these

twisted caves."

"My curse is filled with truthful stories and believable tales that always

end in death and horror. You may very well want to hear my tale, but I

could be confessing to a stalagmite, and while my attention is diverted

some unknown horror is happening in these caverns to spill out into the

world above. I could try to set it right… but that might only lead to

further horrors. My curse is to never know the truth of things, to be

forever in doubt. It is torment beyond any physical pain…."

I decided not to mention that I was the fifth member of my brethren to be

dispatched to the Lost Caverns to interview this most intangible of

awnsheghlien. In searching the caves I had come across the body of one of

them, Kennick Dain. He had been dead for many weeks. Had the Phantom

killed him while in the grip of some hallucination? I cannot say for sure,

and I doubt if the awnshegh himself knew either. What had become of the

others I still have no idea.

I could see that I was not going to be able to talk my way around the

creature`s logic, so I tried another tack.

"Well, since you cannot know if I am real what harm in telling me your tale?"

The Phantom laughed (a tinny, far-off sound that echoed from the walls

unnaturally) before he replied.

"Very well. I could be speaking to a stone or one of the many giant cave

rats that are my neighbors, but as you say-if you did say anything at

all-what harm could come from speaking of the past? It may soothe me and,

in truth, I have conversed with the fantasies sent me by my curse before,

so why not now? Perhaps you are even real… it would be a pleasant thing to

think that someone somewhere had heard my tale and may felt some pity for me…."

"I think my name is Jules Cotard. I remember growing up and a

family. Perhaps they were real. I cannot know for certain, for I do not

know now if anything in my life was ever real. If my memories are true

there was a time before my curse took hold and the world was the same for

me as it is for all living things. Back then I was just an imaginative

child, always making up stories in which I was the hero. I fought demons

and devils from the Shadows, won the hand of princesses, stole the precious

jewels from the vaults of the Imperial City. There was no limit to my

dreaming. As I grew older my imaginings grew more mature, but no less

frequent. My family called me a dreamer. I remember my father was

especially indignant at my fantasies and inventions. He was a hard man,

disappointed that I did not become more like my elder brothers who were

strong, outgoing young men. They were strong and athletic, skilled at the

joust and in all the occupations of a young noble. I had always felt more

at home alone and in the gloom of my quiet corner. Eventually, he began to

ignore me, and I lost the craving for his attentions."

"They thought I was sick at first. I was always pale compared to my

athletic brothers, but on the eve of my sixteenth birthday I arrived at the

breakfast table a ghostly shade of white. I felt fine and told them so,

but they called for the surgeon nonetheless. He bled me a bit, for though

many healers now disdain that ancient practice there is a bit of truth to

the fact that amongst we scions the blood has some power over our spirits

that commoners cannot understand. The bleeding was done for reasons that

had more to do with my curse than it did with my body. The physician was a

man of great renown amongst the nobles of Cerilia for his knowledge of the

godsblood and its treatment. What was his name? Kennick… Kendle…. I

cannot seem to remember it now…."

08-02-2004, 02:20 AM
The Phantom - Background, part 2

The Phantom paused as if lost in thought. He seemed lucid so I did not

want him to fall into a reverie from which he might not return, or that

might take an ugly turn, so I prompted him to speak further.

"Were you ill?"

"Well, no, not in the way that you mean. It was the curse of my blood that

was taking effect. I became thinner and more wan by the hour. Or so it

seemed to those who watched me. I felt fine. They insisted I be put to

bed and the lights put out. `Bed rest,` the doctor ordered, and more

bleedings. Perhaps it did a little good, for it seemed I changed but

little in those first few days. Soon, however, I grew restless and

resentful of the unwanted attention being paid me. Could they not leave me

alone with my daydreams? It was a week before those thoughts began to

become real in every way, and I am less sure that what happened next truly

happened, or if it was the beginning of my delusions."

"It was night and I heard the doctor approaching. I wished that he would

come no closer but, of course, the steps grew inevitably louder. Then I

wished that I might not be there, that I could disappear never to be seen

again by doctors, my father, brothers, or by anyone. As the creaking door

fell open I closed my eyes and wished I were not there as hard as I could,

and like some mad tale of childhood, my wish came true."

"There was, of course, a mad rush to find me. They searched the keep from

dungeon to crenel. I remained in bed the entire time, unsure exactly what

it was that was going on. They called my name over and over, but some

perverse instinct in me kept me from calling back. It seemed I was no

longer there, so I left that place and I have never returned… I don`t think."

"At first the manifestation of my bloodline was a delight. My daydreams

became my reality. I let myself become lost in them, playing out any

flight of fantasy that tripped into my mind, and I was rewarded with dreamy

images so vivid and exciting that I soon had no desire to return to my

former life. I became one of the world`s greatest adventurers in my mind,

had the most fascinating adventures, met the most beautiful women…. It was

as if all my dreams came true, and I reveled in it."

"I do not know for sure how I survived those first few months. I had no

lack of nourishment, though I shudder to think of what it was I might have

been really eating. What I thought was at a great fete surrounded by

admirers I might, in fact, have been sitting in a pigpen dining from the

common trough. The gentle spring from which I sipped might well have been

the runoff of some cesspit. Whatever they were in reality it seemed to me

that I ate only the finest meals and sipped honeyed drinks that flowed like

fountains from the very earth. Because I went unseen there was no one to

object to the thievery that I know I must have engaged in, or none who

could catch me if they tried. Perhaps they did try? I know I fought upon

occasion and that I killed several people that I my fantasies led me to

believe were bandits or villains."

"It was not until later that my curse began to grow dark, and by then it

was too late. I had embraced the fantasies given me by my blood so that I

was no longer in control. I was in the midst of rescuing a maid from her

cruel master, when I perceived for a moment the reality of what it was that

I was doing. The maid was no child, but a grandmother and what I thought

was her capture was but a lad. He lay dead at my feet while his family

cringed in terror at the disembodied voice that shouted irrational

challenges and stabbed at them from out of nowhere. In truth, I do not

know for certain that even that is what was truly happened, for it may be

that my curse had sent me some elaborate vision to trick me into fleeing

that place, for that is what I did. I ran and ran until I was exhausted,

but there was no escape. I could not outpace that corruption of my soul."

"Was I dead? Am I dead? I cannot answer that question even now. Perhaps

I am a Lost Soul wandering through the Shadow World in search of an exit to

the life beyond. I do not know. I cannot know. That is my curse. I

cannot say if I am here or not or even if I am alive or dead. Can you

imagine the torment of not knowing if you even exist? I cannot trust that

you are here, that I am here, or that there is anything here at all, but

you can trust me that it is the worst torture that can be endured. Day in

and day out, my mind tells me things that are not true, and I cannot

believe the things that anyone else would know as reality. I think,

therefore, I am not."

There was a long pause while the Phantom pondered his fate and I wondered

how it could possibly be assuaged. When I hit upon the solution I was

hesitant to even ask the question, but worked up the courage for the sake

of my mission and the pathetic creature with whom I was speaking.

"Please forgive me for asking, but if you are so desperate to end this

torture, why not kill yourself?"

"I have tried. I cannot die. I have thrown myself from heights and tried

to let the cursed blood from my veins, but I do not die. Instead I am left

weaker than before and less able to fight off the impulses to obey the

delusions, and more people die. It seems I cannot put an end to myself any

more than I could put an end to the fantasies that deceive me. That is why

I not only cannot kill myself, but I cannot allow myself to be `killed` by

any of these noble fools who come seeking me to make a name for

themselves. They will simply leave me alone and wounded to return in a few

hours more vulnerable than I was before to the delusions of my curse. In

fact, I am a slave to them for many days after such injuries and in that

time they can wreak havoc upon those I meet for I am not strong enough to

resist the compulsions they place upon me. When I regain my senses I see

that I have committed vile acts. The curse of my blood allows me to see

them clearly, I believe, to torture my conscious."

I was finding it difficult to think. I was told that the spells that

protected me would be effective against his aura for a time, but it might

have been pity that overcame my reason as much as the awnshegh`s power.

"So now you know the truth of my history, what do you think, my friend?"

"It is indeed a sad tale, and I do pity you. But be comforted that I will

take your story back to the Imperial City where it may be that the scholars

of my order can find some way to help you."

There was a sharp cry and a gasp.

"What`s this? A blade? Betrayer! You lull me into trusting you by asking

me to tell you my story and when my back is turned you prepare to stab me

in the back!"

"What? I have no weapon. What are you talking about?"

"You admit it! Out to make a name for yourself, are you? Well, you should

have listened more carefully to my tale, backstabber, for that blade cannot

kill one such as I! To think, I trusted you, fool that I am. Enough of

that. Take this for your reward, assassin!"

A sharp pain filled my chest as his blade sunk into me. I had no way of

knowing from where the blow came, but as my blood spilled from the wound I

saw it splatter upon the invisible dagger and hand that grasped it, forming

a gory outline of my unseen attacker. In seconds the blood upon that

ghostly hand faded away, and the Phantom was again invisible.

"It shall be you not I that will die in this lonely place!" the creature

raved while I retreated. I protested my innocence but who knows what it

was he heard me say in his mind? The deadly sound of steel flashed through

air and I instinctively ducked. The Phantom missed me, but the force of my

avoiding his blow sent me reeling. I fell to the earth and struck my head

upon the stony floor and knew nothing more.

When I awoke I was not alone. I could not be sure if it was the Phantom

that was in the room or if my fear was so strong as to become a palpable

thing, but there was a presence in that cave. I did not speak to that

presence. What good would it have done? He might have heard my

protestations as anything; an insult, a challenge or the roar of a cave

animal. Even if he truly heard what I said he could not believe it was the

truth. The cut across my chest was painful. I am no healer but I knew it

was grave enough that I must seek one soon. I moved about to see how badly

wounded I was and realized I could stand and walk if need be.

Disheartened and filled with pity I made my way towards the surface.

08-02-2004, 02:20 AM
The Phantom - Notes and References

1. Cotard`s syndrome "takes its name from the French psychiatrist Jules

Cotard who, in 1882, published a series of case studies of people suffering

what he referred to as _le délire de negation_. The clinical presentation

differed somewhat from patient to patient, but delusions of self-negation

were common. These ranged from the belief that parts of the body were

missing or had putrefied, to the complete denial of bodily existence. The

expressed belief that one is dead is not a defining feature of the

syndrome. In fact, of the eight `pure` cases reported by Cotard (excluding

a further three with concomitant persecutory delusions or other

debilitating illness) only one embraced death as an explanation of her

condition. Others slipped into non-existence, or skirted the abyss,

somehow defying the conventional understanding that ceasing to exist must

be tantamount to death. There were even some patients locked in the

paradoxical state of denying their bodily existence yet at the same times

believing themselves to be immortal."

The quoted text above is from _Into the Silent Land_ by Paul Broks, a very

good (if mostly anecdotal, and somewhat meandering) text on

neuropsychology, and was one of the original inspirations for the

Phantom. The Phantom`s psychology, strictly speaking, isn`t pathological

in the sense that his delusions and fantasies are imposed upon him by his

bloodline rather than an organic disfunction. The results of his

manifestation are also more along the lines of what some folks would term

"schizophrenic" than Cotard`s but thematically a kind of total solipsism

and ultimate doubt of all physical reality is what I was going for, and the

end result--the behavior of the character--has similar characteristics from

the role-playing standpoint. It`s not quite as appropriate as the Rene

Descartes quote for the actual character description text, but it`s worth

checking out, so I`m including it here.

2. The Phantom`s phlebotomist, Galen Ketill, will be the subject of a

future awnshegh write up... the Leech. I`ll post him when I`ve finished

his first draft.

3. Lost Souls are BR-specific monsters from another piece of work entitled

"Death: The Final Adventure" that should be in the archives. I don`t think

there are stats for those creatures in that thread, but one could find the

basic ideas there. Like the Phantom and the upcoming awnshegh the Leech,

they will appear in full in LBMM.

4. I`ve got a little more work to do on things like a "Rumours and

Adventure Hooks" section, and a little description of The Lost Caverns

which will better place the Phantom on the continent. Those should be

coming in the next couple days.


08-03-2004, 05:09 AM
This one seems a particularly enjoyable if DM-challenging encounter... ;)

08-03-2004, 08:10 AM
At 07:09 AM 8/3/2004 +0200, RaspK_FOG wrote:

> This one seems a particularly enjoyable if DM-challenging encounter... ;)

I love the idea of players trying to convince this guy that their PCs

really aren`t illusions. Eventually, I imagine they`ll resort to violence

out of frustration and, ironically, that method would probably be the only

one that would work....


08-11-2004, 05:30 PM
Here`s a little additional information on the area the Phantom haunts called


The Lost Caverns are located in the Seamist Mountains. The Caverns are an

extensive system of tunnels that wind throughout that mountain range,

having known entrances in several of the mountainous provinces of

Brosengae, Taeghas, Boeruine, Tuornen and Avanil. Though they remain

largely unexplored there is evidence to suggest that conduits of the Lost

Caverns may extend through the Stonecrown Mountains and beyond creating

what is, perhaps, the most extensive network of subterranean passages in


Though the Lost Caverns cover a large underground region they do not

support entire underground populations the way mountainous regions in other

areas of Cerilia do. For the most part this is because the caverns are

thin, tube-like passages that twist and turn dramatically and

chaotically. The Lost Caverns are often cramped and filled with many

dangers like pitfalls, sandtraps and basins filled with jagged shale. They

do not have large, open areas of the type favored by underground

races. The stone of the Seamists is difficult to mine or excavate. Those

who have tried to dig in the Lost Caverns soon become discouraged by stone

that dulls the hardest mining tools and shatters into jagged shards of

unworkable detritus.

But there is something more that has kept the Lost Caverns free from

habitation by even goblins and orogs. Dwarven surveyors and adventurers

who have visited the Caverns often emerge with disturbed and dismayed

expressions upon their normally impassive faces. Aside from the perils of

the Caverns, the tunnels themselves seem to have a vague, but perceptible

unwholesomeness about them. In addition to forming a seemingly endless

natural labyrinth, the Caverns are an inhospitable environment for most of

those who have sought to make a home for themselves there. Attempts to

grow the various species of mushrooms and subterranean crops cultivated by

several races that live primarily underground have met with failure. The

Lost Caverns themselves seems resist such efforts.

Despite the dangers and inhospitable nature of the Lost Caverns they are

not uninhabited. The have become the refuge of many creatures such as

giant spiders, centipedes, and various creatures that avoid the light of

day. Some humans and other creatures have lived in the Lost Caverns for an

extended period of time. Usually, only outlaws or those expelled from

society find refuge there, and many of these beings emerge from the Lost

Caverns in a scarred or otherwise devolved form if they reside there too

long and delve too deep.

One accidental explorer, Maetlin "Madman" Tosh, insists that the Lost

Caverns extend throughout Cerilia. After becoming lost in the Caverns for

a period of time he insists that he emerged from a cave in

Rovninodensk. It took him several months to make his way back home and

when he did he had many fantastic tales to tell of adventures. Though many

of his stories are assumed to be exaggerations the beginning of Tosh`s tale

is often given credence; that he was transported halfway across Cerilia

into a cavern complex in Vosgaard by some secret gateway located deep in

the complex of the Lost Caverns. Other adventurers have told similar tales

of having emerged from the Caverns in locations far more distant than the

time they spent underground would account for.

Some have speculated that the Lost Caverns contain one or more links into

or through the Shadow World through which spelunkers have unwittingly been

transported. Others have noted that the labyrinthine Caverns have defied

being surveyed by even the most skilled dwarven surveyors, leading them to

the suspicion that the caverns themselves change over time. Still more

suspect some power beneath the earth is responsible for the mysteries of

the Lost Caverns.

01-08-2005, 07:10 AM
Here are the rumors and adventure hooks for this character that (for some

reason) I didn`t finish writing up until now....

Rumors, Hints and Adventure Hooks

Lost and Found

The Lost Caverns must be explored and their nature understood. An

expedition is being organized to do just that and the regents of the region

are offering a reward to anyone who can produce maps or information on the

nature of the Caverns as well as artifacts related to its ecology. After

the appearance of several monstrous creatures that would appear to have

taken their degenerate form after prolonged exposure to the energies of the

Lost Caverns Aeric Boeruine has instructed his court mage, to investigate

the phenomenon by organizing expeditions and researching the items brought

back by them. Among those Anuirean nations that have entrances to the

Caverns this effort has led to something of a race to learn the Lost

Cavern`s secrets. Other nearby regents have begun sponsoring their own


The Phantom Menace

For a long time the Phantom appears to have been content to remain

within the Lost Caverns, only occasionally emerging to forage or when in

the grip of his delusions. In recent months, the Phantom has made

appearances in the western lands of Cerilia, apparently at random. What is

clear to those who understand the nature of the Lost Caverns is that the

Phantom`s attacks have been increasingly wide ranging and he must be

employing the transportation effect of the Caverns. Furthermore, it

appears that in the grip of his delusions the Phantom has begun collected

specific items and returning with them to his underground lair. Could

there be some intelligence controlling the Phantom or are his activities

controlled by some expression of his madness? What is it that the Phantom

is constructing in the Lost Caverns?

Phantom of the Operation

If he could be controlled, the Phantom would make the ultimate saboteur,

assassin or burglar. In addition to his inherit invisibility he could sow

confusion in his targets, potentially turning their strength against each

other, making him an excellent agent provocateur. From the perspective of

a nefarious spymaster, the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, all attempts to even communicate with the Phantom have

ended badly. Several envoys have disappeared into the Lost Caverns and on

at least one occasion an arranged parley resulted in a bloodbath as the

enraged awnshegh tore into those sent to speak with him because of some

imagined slight.

But spymasters and regents remain hopeful that they can turn the Phantom

into an agent or at least bend him to their own ends. To that end many

attempts to contact the Phantom with various methods have been

employed. Some wild schemes have included trapping him with elaborate

devices or mind controlling magics, and several attempts to control his

delusions. All such attempts have ended in failure, but new and

imaginative efforts are still underway.

Cogito, Cogitatis, Cogitamus

A magician named Pol Brok believes he has found a way to communicate

with the Phantom. He cannot dispel the awnshegh`s web of delusions, but he

believes he can penetrate more deeply than the illusions themselves to

communicate directly to the Phantom`s psyche. He has created a spell that

will allow someone to enter the awnshegh`s dreams. Using this technique

the magician hopes to speak to the Phantom and convince him that at least

one voice is not the product of his delusions.

Unfortunately, Brok has recently had a mishap when applying this spell

to himself. A recent experiment proved to him than an experienced guide

must remain awake in order to bring the subject of the spell out of the

dream-state and back to consciousness, for the injuries sustained in this

projected dream state manifest upon the body of the dreamer, making the

process quite dangerous. Brok is looking for a volunteer to travel with

him to somewhere within close enough proximity to the Phantom who will then

become the subject of his Dream Projection spell.