Posted tagged ‘Ossindrillon’

A Trail of Poison – Part II

April 27, 2009

Continuing the write-up of the adventures of Mor Aldenn, I’ve come to writing the background story. I consider this training and much will definitely change before the final adventure is “published”.

 

A Trail of Poison (a Mor Aldenn adventure)

Adventure Background

For 300 years, the city of Mor Aldenn have been at war with the night hag of the Spindlewood Marsh. She is a strong archenemy and with each defeat, the vicious night mistress has grown ever more hateful of the mages and their city. How the night hag has survived these countless wars, remains a mystery even to this day, but she seem to finally understand that to destroy the mages of Mor Aldenn, she must first weaken them.

After months of peace, the night hag finally shows her face. A hag in her coven has discovered a long lost tower deep within the treacherous Spindlewood. At the heart of the forgotten tower, she has also found a powerful artifact that has the power to attract the animals of the forest. With this artifact, the night hag hopes to strike at the mages.

That the mages use the magic of the surrounding lands, is a well-known fact. They find magic, not only in the trees, plants, lakes, rivers and the earth, but also in the animals that make Ossindrillon their home. To strike at these animals would indeed pose a severe threat to the mages.

The forgotten tower lies by a shadowy lake; a lake of poisoned water. This poison eats away at the very soul of those who drink it. Now the night hag uses the artifact to call out to the magical beasts. She forces them to come to the shadow lake and drink its poison, and while most of the beasts die by the lake, some are strong enough to escape into the Spindlewood. But their fate is sealed, no one survives the poison, not even the fabled unicorn.

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#1 Adventure: A Trail of Poison

April 25, 2009

Illus. William McAuslandWhat follows is the introduction and synopsis for one of the adventure ideas, the “Strange Death” which has been retitled. Its not necessarily the adventure I’ll be writing first, merely my first synopsis. I hope you enjoy and have some constructive critisism for me afterwards.

 

A Trail of Poison (a Mor Aldenn adventure)

The animals of Ossindrillon are slowly being poisoned. A local druid has found some of the poisoned creatures, but cannot find the source of the poison. Who would want to destroy this beautiful place and its magical inhabitants? Is the poison merely a natural occurrence or is this some foul ploy of the night hag?

A Trail of Poison is a Pathfinder RPG adventure designed for four 1st-level characters. The adventure takes place in the forest surrounding 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 begins when a local druid contacts the PCs. He has found several dead animals in the forest north of Mor Aldenn and is absolutely certain that they died from a strong and unknown poison. The druid fears that more animals will die a horrible death and therefore asks the PCs to find the source of this poison. He is, of course, willing to pay them for their efforts.

Eventually, the PCs will leave Mor Aldenn and enter the northern forest. They may have marked some of the places where the druid found the poisoned animals. Each of these places would be a good place to start their search.

Once in the Spindlewood, several events will occur, leading the PCs on the trail of a dying unicorn. It has reached the gateway to one of the fabled forest sanctuaries, but is too weak to enter. The unicorn tells the PCs of the tower and the shadowy lake, but before it can tell them anything else, the party is ambushed by the minions of the night hag. One of the minions manage to escape the wrath of the PCs, and heads back to the tower where his dark mistress awaits.

At the tower, the night hag’s scheme will be revealed. A green hag has found a long forgotten tower, a poisoned shadow lake and a dark relic that calls out for animals to serve its mistress. More dead animals are found near the lake, but why…

 

Designer’s Notes

What I’m really looking forward to here is deciding on the type of minions that will ambush the PCs. My first thought was a mad kobold tribe, perhaps with a kobold sorcerer as their leader, but I dont want the minions to have a comic feel. I want them terrifying as hell, at least for a 1st level party.

Also, I’m looking forward to introducing the forest sanctuary. I guess the PCs could ask the unicorn about the entrance, in which case it would tell them a riddle, but not the answer… but the plan is not that they are going to enter the sanctuary at this point, merely that they have discovered it for future use.

The Setting

April 19, 2009

What follows is a short essay on the lands that surround Mor Aldenn, and that are important to the City of Mages. Some of these locations can be found on the map, but not all of them.

Ossindrillon

To merely call Ossindrillon a huge forest doesn’t do it justice at all. Granted, most of Ossindrillon is indeed covered by forest, but any traveler worth his boots, will tell you of the rushing rivers, the thundering waterfalls, the deep azure lakes, the troll-infested marshes and, of course, about its titans – the three mountains!

None of the intelligent races have ever been able to tame and dominate this great wilderness completely, though the elves have indeed come close! Once the elven cities were spread all over Ossindrillon, but after the great Elven Wars, only a few cities remained. The elven noble houses had almost managed to destroy their entire race, but today they stand more united than ever before, having learned the lessons of their dark past.

Ossindrillon is home to both humans, elves, halflings, kobolds, centaurs, orcs and goblins, in fact, you’ll probably find small towns dominated by each of these races, if only you search long enough. You’ll also find undead here, along with harpies, trolls, hags, giants, ettercaps, blink dogs and many other creatures. For some of these creatures, Ossindrillon is the only place in the world that allows them to survive. Yes, you’ll even find dragons in the great wilderness.

Ossindil

The elven capital is one of those ancient elven cities that survived the great Elven Wars. It has changed a lot over the years, but some of the old structures can still be found at the heart of Ossindil. Today, not only elves make this city their home, no, you’ll find both humans, centaurs and halflings living side by side with the elves. Ossindil is famous for its magical bridges that allow its citizens to walk freely amongst the islands.

Spindlewood

This huge forest is located west of Mor Aldenn, a dangerous place infamous for its inhabitants, the spiders. They are not all to be feared, but most are. You’ll also find other creatures hiding here, like the ettercaps. In the southern part of the Spindlewood, you’ll find marshlands also called the Spindlewood Marsh.

Spindlewood Marsh

This is actually not a marsh in the best sense of the word, especially since you’ll find lots of different tree types here. These trees are often short and with long twisted branches that entangle making traveling difficult. The Spindlewood Marsh is best known as the home of the venomous night hag, the archenemy of Mor Aldenn. She has lived here for more than 300 years, and call the entire marsh her dominion.

River Tassalin

This small river springs from the hills east of Mor Aldenn. A waterfall makes it one of the rushing rivers, a truly beautiful river. A few small hamlets have sprung up along this river over the years.

Moon’s Folly

This is a small town located south of Mor Aldenn, the home of 700 inhabitants, mostly humans. It is surrounded by wooden palisades, a necessity since its still very much located at the heart of Ossindrillon. Its inhabitants are known to be very religious, revering the Moon Goddess. The name is still very much a riddle, even to those who live here.

[Fiction] Road to Mor Aldenn

March 25, 2009

The road looked no different now than it had an hour ago. There was dust in the air, and lots of it, but Esrimal had gotten used to that and now it was just another thing that bothered him. A little dust was nothing, what the traveller really wondered about was all the wild creatures who made Ossindrillon their home. Back in the village, he had heard so many stories, one worse than the other.

Even now, Esrimal could hear the voice of his uncle as it echoed in the back of his head.

Lad, the road to Mor Aldenn is no place for a young man, there’ll be orcs on the road, if you are lucky, and stone giants if ye are not! They care nothing for the likes of us, no they dont! All those nasty creatures care about is food. And thats what we are to them…food!

Esrimal knew those words to be true, even though he had never left the village before, but did he really have a choice? There was nothing back in Moon’s Folly, at least nothing to keep him there. His uncle had wanted him to work at the farm, but that was no work for an adventurer!

Esrimal had always thought of himself as an adventurer. It wasn’t really true, though, all the adventure he had ever had was climbing up to Halca’s Stone to spend the night under the dark sky. There were stories of ghosts, of course, but thats all they were, stories and everybody in the village knew it. He hadn’t fooled anyone with his display of courage.

Perhaps if Esrimal came back from Mor Aldenn with something truly magical, maybe then the others would call him by his full name and perhaps even, be proud of him. This thought was what had driven him out upon the dusty road, a thought that would haunt him until he laid eyes upon the City of Mages!

His mind had wandered for a bit, but suddenly a loud sound ahead of Esrimal tore him away from the past into the present!

What could possibly had made such a horrendous sound, certainly not another traveller like himself, or even something humanoid? It had to be one of the creatures that his uncle had warned him about.

Esrimal grabbed the only thing that he knew could defend him, the rusty dagger belted at his side. It didn’t look like much, but without it, Esrimal would have felt completely defenseless. He was defenseless, though, because no one had ever bothered to teach him its use in a fight.

For a good long moment, Esrimal the Traveller stood on the northward road, dagger in hand and with a heart that beat faster than any horse could ever hope to run. The road turned, making it impossible to see what lay ahead of him. Had it been winter, perhaps he could have spotted the beast between the naked trees, but now the summer leaves made it near impossible.

Another sound broke the silence, and then a third. They were shrill beastly sounds and Esrimal got the sense that two unimaginable creatures were fighting eachother in the dirt road ahead of him.

Esrimal started forward, his courage regained. The beasts were not out to hunt him, they were hunting eachother: a comforting thought.

More to come.

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.

Introducing Mor Aldenn

March 9, 2009

A city of magic? Well, Mor Aldenn may not be as wondrous as all that, however, you will find strange things, see powerful wizards, charismatic sorcerers and even experience wondrous events that other cities certainly lack. To call Mor Aldenn a large city, or even an old city,  would be to exaggerate, but with each passing day, Mor Aldenn grows bigger and more wondrous. If you’ve come to study the arcane arts, you’ve definitely come to the right place!

A City of Magic and Mages

Located inside the amazing forest realm of Ossindrillon, Mor Aldenn is home to humans, elves and half-elves, as well as centaurs, halflings, gnomes and even a small clan of kobolds. The largest part of the city is located on the island that was once inhabited by a powerful green dragon, but you’ll find other, minor, islands inhabited as well, connected by beautiful elven bridges. Two rivers converge around Mor Aldenn, and the main island is only connected to the main land on the eastern bank, a wide bridge overseen by an old watch tower. You’ll find lots of fields and small hamlets surrounding the city, but also a few fishing villages. The rivers are an important part of Mor Aldenn and even the mages know this fact.

Mage towers are spread all across the city, like the Tower of Divination; a small tower located on a small island south of the main city, not far from where the mayor lives in his mansion, and the Tower of Abjuration on the Tower Hill, a powerful and wondrous tower. In fact, in Mor Aldenn you’ll find a mage tower devoted to each of the arcane schools. You’ll find the Tower of Illusion on an invisible island north of Mor Aldenn and anyone will tell you that the Tower of Conjuration was abandoned long ago, after the upper part was destroyed by a powerful demon that escaped its summoning circle, yet is still trapped within the walls of the tower.

MOR ALDENN
Small City
; conventional (mayor); AL Neutral Good
GP Limit 15,000gp; Assets 6,591,750gp

[DEMOGRAPHICS]

Population 7,789
Type integrated (35% humans, 33% elves and half-elves, 15% halflings, 7% centaurs, 10% other races)

[AUTHORITY FIGURES]

Mayor Oswin Theodorick (male human, commoner6); Master Ardamiron (male half-elf, wizard11); Lord Balsadarus (male human, wizard3); Lady Selyssa Fadhyra (female elf, sorcerer4); Orregil Silvermane (male centaur, fighter5/ranger5).

[IMPORTANT PERSONS]

Prince Valthor of Calathia (male human aristocrat3/fighter7); Yargus Tem (male human, rogue9); Jordrick Runsen (male human, exp3/wiz4).