Posted tagged ‘ancestors’

The Barrowdelve Map Pack!

October 14, 2009

Cartography by Rene WalkHeadless Hydra Games is proud to present yet another Mor Aldenn product, this time concerned with the ancient Barrowdelve!

We bring to you, a small map pack containing 4 full colour maps detailing the 4 uppermost levels of the Barrowdelve, and 4 greyscale maps of the very same levels. All maps were done by the newcomer, Rene Walk, whose work is splendid!

Just remember, this is just a map pack, not a complete walkthrough of the Barrowdelve! That will come later!


Wizard’s Path, Chapter II

October 13, 2009

It’s finally here, chapter II of Headless Hydra Games’ online serial! This time around, it won’t be posted here, in the main section, but you will find that it has its own page if you look to your right!

Or you could just follow this link!

Gary Dupuis is working hard on producing yet another full-page illustration which will feature in the coming pdf!

Ehlora, the Scholar

July 27, 2009


Goddess of ancestry, death and knowledge

”The goddess, Ehlora, is a very complex deity, at least the way she is worshiped in our fair city. We call her the Scholar, and often pray to her when mundane questions needs answers.

It is said that Ehlora is there when we are born and there when we die, but in between, we are only watched and guided by her truest followers.

Ask any of her clerics, and they will tell you how Ehlora awaits everyone in the afterworld. The Scholar will ask you about your life, but she does not judge you. In fact, it is believed that she makes you judge yourself, that you may determine your own fate in the afterlife.”

 – Olendir Kortt, Scholar

Ehlora is the Scholar, a gatherer of knowledge, a protector of ancestors and the watcher at the gate of death. She is not feared, at least not by those who can stand by their actions. It is said that when a person dies, recollections of his life is written into the Book of the Dead, a powerful artifact that Ehlora always carry with her. The Scholar has no home, instead she wanders the afterworld, visiting the other gods, gathering new knowledge where she finds it.

Ehlora sees the significance in everything, she is in truth, a watcher. From time to time, the other gods call upon her, good or evil and she will allow them to read from her book, the Book of the Dead. She never takes part in any wars, in fact, Ehlora will never side with another god in any dispute. She is the caretaker of the dead, and as such, the Scholar spends more time in the borderlands between the worlds than anywhere else.

In the realm of the mortals, Ehlora is often depicted as an elderly woman marked by time, yet graceful. She carries a heavy tome in one hand, as if it were light as a feather, and an hourglass in the other.

Those who choose to follow the teachings of Ehlora are always interested in the truth. They ask questions rather than answer questions, never content with the knowledge they already have. Contrary to common belief, followers of Ehlora often travel much like their goddess. They are not afraid of taking action, but will rather watch events unfold.

Followers of Ehlora are not afraid of dying, knowing that another life awaits them in the afterworld. Death is inevitable, but can be postponed. Ehlora accepts that sometimes the dead can be brought back to life and will even allow her followers to take such actions, but never without paying a price of knowledge.

#2 Adventure: Thieves in the Barrowdelve

April 26, 2009

Illus. William McAuslandHere is another synopsis based on another of my original ideas, the heirloom in the Barrowdelve. It has been retitled, to focus more on the actual theft and those behind it, than on the heirloom itself. The secret of the heirloom is only revealed later on in the adventure and may indeed lead to an even greater adventure.


Thieves in the Barrowdelve (a Mor Aldenn adventure)

Thieves are looting the Barrowdelve! A young thief is found dead outside his home, wearing an old magical pendant from the Delve, but who killed the thief? And like that wasn’t bad enough, the pendant seems to hide a secret far worse, a secret hidden deep within the Barrowdelve, a secret that has now been revealed.

Thieves in the Barrowdelve is a Pathfinder RPG adventure designed for four 1st-level characters. The adventure takes place in Mor Aldenn, the City of Mages. This small city could in reality be located in any setting where two rivers converge inside an ancient forest.

Adventure Synopsis

This adventure starts as an heirloom turns up on the body of a dead thief. The heirloom, a seemingly magical pendant, was buried deep within the Barrowdelve and now the people of Mor Aldenn is wondering; is someone looting the ancient necropolis?

The mayor asks the PCs to investigate the matter, both the looting of the Delve and the strange murder. He is willing, of course, to pay them for their services to the city. They are given access to the Barrowdelve, where they discover that other graves have been robbed, but by whom? Was it the young thief wearing the pendant, or was it perhaps someone else?

The PCs also discover that the pendant hides a secret, a cursed ring hidden within the pendant. This ring is what killed the thief, and it may in fact kill others if the PCs don’t find a way to stop it.

The trail also leads the PCs to the Tower of All-Magic, where they find the thief’s brother, a young ambitious mage. He is the true mastermind behind the plan to loot the Barrowdelve and will not give up without a fight, also, it seems that he has hidden the loot, but where?


Designer’s Notes

When I started thinking about writing this synopsis, this adventure truly opened up for me. I didn’t want the thieves to be involved with Yargus Tem and the Thieves Guild, no, those guys are way too likable and shouldn’t become direct antagonists of the PCs, so I wanted thieves a little different. I started thinking…who would have access to the Barrowdelve and how? One of the mages, of course, a really ambitious one, but he wouldn’t be working alone, no…he had a brother, of course! A young and foolish thief.

I imagined how they had done it, how research had led to all these secrets hidden inside the necropolis, but what about the pendant and the cursed ring? You see, the mage knew about its nature (or guessed, at least) and so asked his brother NOT to take it… but that was indeed a mistake, after a few planned raids into the Barrowdelve, the young thief decided to make a little raid of his own, stealing the pendant for himself, but that was a mistake! A mistake he would pay dearly for and that would start this adventure…

Barrowdelve map

April 5, 2009
The first level of the Barrowdelve

The first level of the Barrowdelve

I’ve been playing around with the Barrowdelve map for days, trying to find a cool and interesting design.

I’m one of those people who likes that a dungeon “makes sense”, that it has a story behind it, and that it makes sense that there is a nest of bats inside a locked 10×10 room.

As a DM I want to know who created the corridors, who built the mighty halls, traps and who decided that it would be a good idea with iron-fortified doors instead of its simpler wooden cousin.

The Barrowdelve is going to make sense, but that certainly doesn’t mean that its going to be a boring place… no, its going to be a place of magic, history, undead and with a connection to something far older than Mor Aldenn, something hidden deep within the earth. Something related to the Trelmyrean Archwizards…

It’s been hinted before, that there was something on the island before the city of mages…

Anyways, I’ll get back to that at a later time.

Another history lesson…

March 23, 2009

Taraathalorm Wyrmmother

Long before the founding of Mor Aldenn, nearly 350 years ago, a green dragon named Taraathalorm settled on the big island. It had managed to escape its mortal enemies of the east, the elves of faraway Ossindil. Under different circumstances, the dragon may have stayed to fight, but this particular dragon had a belly full of eggs and needed somewhere safe to make a nest. This is exactly what it found here at the heart of Ossindrillon, or so Taraathalorm thought.

The eggs hatched and for a time the island was swarming with green wyrmlings. They may well have destroyed the last remnants of the tower that stood on the hill, scattering the memories of a lost era.

Taraathalorm would leave the nest and bring back food for her young, often staying away for weeks. Some believe that the Horse Downs is actually named after the horse bones that the first settlers found beneath the hill, but this may not be the entire truth.

Five years after Taraathalorm hatched her young wyrmlings, a group of human travellers discover the nest. The largest and most powerful of the wyrmlings is brutally slain, but the humans manage to bring the rest of the wyrmlings with them to Ossindil where they sell them to the elven wizards.

When Taraathalorm finally returns, she is enraged to find one of her wyrmlings murdered and the rest stolen. She smells humans, but suspect that the elves are behind the theft, especially since the trail leads directly towards Ossindil. She sends her minions against the elven city, who successfully destroys a few villages and towns on their way to the elven capital. However, in the end, the army is scattered by the elves who wields some of the strongest magic in the world. A few minions return to Taraathalorm bearing the bad news. She is enraged and filled with an even stronger hate than before. But with her army scattered she cannot strike at the elves.

A group of humans and elves from Ossindrillon travels to the island where Taraathalorm resides. They attack during the night and successfully slay the green dragon. The heroes bring back a dragonstone, taken from the chest of Taraathalorm, as proof of their deed. This famous dragonstone is later named the Emerald Heart and is, to this day, still in the elves possession.

The small group search the island and finds remnants of a lost age, but more importantly, they also find a place of strong magic. There is something hidden, deep below the island, which makes this place the perfect home of wizards, sorcerers and bards.

Designer’s Notes

There is, indeed, something hidden deep below Mor Aldenn, but so far, the mages have not managed to find the source of this magic. They do, however, suspect that it is not by accident that the magic is strong here and have delved deep. This dungeon that the mages have carved from the earth can be accessed through the Barrow delve, but also through the Tower of All-Magic. In fact, most of the mage towers have a portal that takes the mages into the deep reaches.

This place may be Dragon’s Delve… or perhaps, some other ancient dungeon.

A small history lesson…

March 13, 2009

The Marsh War began long ago, before there was even fragments of a settlement on the banks of the converging rivers. A group of elven wizards from distant Ossindil (the great elven city of Ossindrillond) travelled west towards the great human empires and on their way back, lost their way in the Spindlewood Marshes. It was here, that they found an ancient enemy. A creature of the night, a creature with a hate unlike anything the elves had previously seen. It was a night hag, one of the vilest creatures imaginable.

The group managed to escape the clutches of the night hag, but not before losing a few of their friends. They left behind them a trail of blood, and henceforth the Spindlewood Marshes was also known as the Crimson Lands. They did, however, manage to wound their adversary and according to legends, blinded the night hag on her left eye. A wound that marks her to this day!

Since that first fatal meeting, the night hag have hated the elves of Ossindrillon. An elven message was sent to Calathia, the human realm of the south, a message begging the humans for help. The respons was quick to arrive in the form of a large band of human wizards. The war continued, forcing the alliance to make a stand on the island where now Mor Aldenn lies. They succeeded at dealing the night hag yet another lethal blow, killing six green hags from her coven. This time the night hag retreated far into the Spindlewood Marshes where she hid for many decades. She now knew the strength of her adversary and would never again underestimate him.

Current events
The night hag has brought down a curse on Mor Aldenn, bringing the city of the dead, also called Barrowdelve, to life, or rather, to unlife. Barrowdelve is hidden deep within the hill (also called Tower Hill) that rises on the main island, a city (or rather a dungeon) where Mor Aldenn have buried their dead for hundreds of years. Now, as the curse spreads, the dead is awoken to life. The wizards have managed to lock the gates with their magic, but not before skeletons, ghouls and zombies created havoc in the streets, killing lots of innocents. However, there are some undead that a magically locked gate will not keep out, like shadows and ghosts. Fortunately for the citizens of Mor Aldenn, the undead only appear at night and the wizards have hired adventurers to patrol the nocturnal streets.