Category Archives: EQRPG Lore

Dorn B’Dynn

A tall and well-formed dark elf, Dorn B’Dynn is in self-imposed exile in the Desert of Ro, and hates every moment of it. Raised a member of the Cauldron of Hate, the guild of warriors in Neriak, B’Dynn has never been satisified with his position in Teir’Dal society. He has spent his long life plotting to increase his prestige, seeking the status that comes with personal power. B’Dynn took up the study of necromancy, but discovered that even that did not meet his needs. When teh guildmaster of the Cauldron of Hate decided he neded a trusted warrior to maintain a present in the Desert of Ro, B’Dynn saw great opportunity to gain a reputation, so he volunteered.

B’Dynn’s main duty is to ensure various smuggled goods shipped from Faydwer and Kunark are delivered safely to the Dismal Rage in Freeport. He also spies on other forces within Ro and the Oasis of Marr, mtains diplomatic ties to the Scorchfist Orcs, and arranges safe passage of trolls out of Grobb (a service that requires the trolls to serve a Teir’Dal master for several years – a source of many troll guards for the dark elves).

B’Dynn has gone far beyond his stated duties, however. He has forme da close alliance with the dervishes of the desert, and plans to bring them fully under his control in teh decades to come. He hopes to make them the core of his own army, with which he will claim control of all the lands from Freeport to Innothule Swamp. He then intends to take control of the troll lands as well, bolstering his army further. Once he has this level of mastery he plans to make a conerted effort to raid the remains of Takish’Hiz, and any other old elven ruin, regardless of how many dervishes and trolls he has to kill in the effort. He sees the gypsies as his primary opposition in this effort, and never misses an opportunity to make their lives difficult.

Quest: Seakillers’ Heads
Faction: Cauldron of Hate (-1 rank)
NPC: Dorn B’Dynn
CR: 17
Reward: +1 faction rank with the Cauldron of Hate and the Coalition of Tradefolk Underground (maximum +3 each from this quest). 10d10 platinum pieces
Consequences: -1 faction rank with the Gypsies and the Knights of Truth
Quest Summary:
A trio of 3 seafury cyclops brothers called Malquar, Heferus and Querl Seakiller have discovered one of the routes used by the smugglers who support the Teir’Dal, and have been stealing supplies and destroying ships. Dorn B’Dynn has discovered they have a lair in the southern Desert of Ro, but is unwilling to risk himself to find their exact location or to attack them himself. He is more than happy to allow a band of adventurers trying to gain acceptannce with the dark elves to risk their lives in solving his problem.
B’Dynn doesn’t care about the stolen goods or the destroyed ships and their crews, as such losses are inevitable in a smuggling operation, but if the Seakillers aren’t elminated the losses may become too great for him to hide from his masters in Neriak. What he needs is the heads of the three brothers brought to him as proof they are no longer a threat to his operations.
The quest can be rerun with different foes, such as sand giants, Quag Maelstrom and even Cazel

From Miragul’s Journals

From Miragul’s Journals

I have decided to record the events of my life, for I intend to create for myself a life worthy of note. Of all else prior to this day, the day of Erud’s passing, I shall not waste ink. My sole name, as befits my hereditary station, is Miragul. Until now, I felt determination without direction, ambition without purpose. But yesterday a man perished, one to whom I’ve been favorably compared by several other masters. This nun wore the mantle of leadership of a people, the garland of mastery of arts arcane, and a name that is now synonymous with his people and the city in which they dwell. Thousands hailed him as possessing the greatest mind the mortal world has ever known, a conceit that did not fall far short of the truth. Truly, Erud earned the world’s respect.

But now this remarkable man is but a corpse burning on a a timber raft in the city’s harbor. This great genius capable of bending trmendous forces of magic to his will, lies dead, his body now ash, possibly feeding fish descended from those I saw netted
in my youth. Where now is the mind and soul of this most accomplished of spell crafters? Resting in eternal tranquility or bathing in gold-flecked sea foam, depending on whom you ask. How utterly useless, how pussillanimous.

This ineffectuality is not unlike the tradition of practicing but one of the three branches of magic, a convention I’ve secretly defied for the course of a year now. We of Erudin hold the answers to a thousand puzzles in our vaults and the power to take advantage of them, yet we restrict ourelves to an absurd division of labor. So much waste – like the life of a great man who knew everything but how to continue living.

Interesting, then, the prospect of several of my brighter fellows … Might we not adapt the arts of conjuration to the realm of those passed on? Rather than bother with elementals scarcely more intelligent than clumps of dirt or ash, we might learn the wisdom of the dead. Or so I am told. If they are dead, how much wiser can they be? But it occurs to me now – as Erud’s remains sink finally, ignominiously beneath the waves – that my fellows may be investigating a useful line of research after all, assuming their claims of success are not exaggerated. It would be interesting enough to communicate with the dead, but what else could be achieved? Could Erud himself somehow be returned to guide the city? What powers might his spiritual presence retain from his life? Could a conjurer force spirits, like elementals, into service? The ideas riddling my mind may be fur too ambitious. I suspect little will come of it. For now, the challenge before me is simply to acquire every mote of knowledge.

A small task.
To make this acquisition of knowledge possible, I must defy the primary law: the bane of mortality. If I fail, may these words and my fish join Erud’s beneath the waves.

The Cauldron of Shadow Essence

The Cauldron of Shadow Essence

Soundlessly, the dwarven rogue took a deep breath and calmly climbed down from his ledge to the floor of the gorge. He’d already passed an outlying tower and rounded a small lake that was littered with watchful dark elves, and now he snaked his way among the towering cliff walls, forced time and again carefully, slowly to sneak past an alluring or fearsome (or both!) guardian who might stand a mere ten feet distant.

Rounding a final corner, he found the entrance to a graveyard to his right and a narrow, roofed tunnel to his left. Doubtless, many secrets awaited should he turn left, but even Dandaek’s adventurous blood was turning cold in the proximity of so muchdeath. Of course, the graveyard did little to help matters. Little light reached the place, for it lay atthe base of cliff walls thatrosefor hundreds of feet. The gloom seemed tangible, and considering the undead that ruled here, Dandaek feared it might truly be so. Dandaek trembled for a moment, but he steeled himself. Two more dark elven guards stood near the gated fence that enclosed the graveyard, so this was no place for weakness. The gate was closed, but fortunately these guards were not watchful. They stood resolute, but just as rigid as their bodies were their glazed eyes that bore relentlessly before them. For what intruder could possible penetrate so close to the castle without raising an alarm? Nimbly, Dandaek slipped to the end of the wrought iron fence where it was fixed into the rock wall of the gorge. He paused for an instant and then crept over the fence.

The area was dotted with countless gravestones packed into the relatively small space. The gloom of the landscape was darker from within its coils, but Dandaek could make out a handful of mausoleums at the area’s rear. Behind one of these mausoleums, Dandaek had learned, would Ssynthi be found. Yet as Dandaek slid through the murk, he realized that dark elves were within the graveyard as well. He cursed silently, but pressed on. He could make out about a half dozen of them, but thankfully they all stood with their backs to the mausoleums, and like the guards at the fence, they barely moved. He paused a moment to remind himself why he was here. He needed to gather his courage. He had crept through a gauntlet of dark elven necromancers on the periphery of the vampire lord Mayong Mistmoore’s castle so that he might question Ssynthi, a renegade shadowed man, about the nature and mission of the of the so-called deathspeakers who were evidently now among the shadowed men wherever they might be found around the whole of Norrath. And he, Dandaek, wanted to be the first to know why.

Staying close to the wall, the dwarf continued. The hair of his white beard and that on his nape prickled when he realized with a chill that all the tombstones repeated over and over the same two dedications to the dead. No matter. All the dark elves of the place were behind him now. Before him and stretching to the left stood a row of gleaming mausoleums. The brilliant white marble of the structures was disconcerting in the dreary shadows, making them seem all the more otherworldly. Dandaek slipped between the low outer wall of the one nearest the cliff. Padding his way to the back of the structure, Dandaek took little further note of the structure itself.

Instead, he sought to find an invisible being.

The dwarfhugged the shadows and proceeded down the row. One, two, three, four, and ahead, five of them he counted. Behind the fifth he saw a book floating in midair. This must be Ssynthi! He approached a few steps closer. Close enough to see that the book appeared to bear no title, and indeed no script was evident on the opened pages.

Dandaek looked around and listened. Nothing but the moaning of the graveyard and a vague rustle of movement from Ssynthi. The dwarf looked at the shadowed man, or at least at the floating book that he took for Ssynthi’s position. The creature had evidently turned to face him, but the book was still open, and Dandaek was not under attack.

Dandaek whispered, “I have so very much to ask you, Ssynthi.”

Ssynthi said nothing.

So Dandaek spoke again, still in a hushed tone, though he figured the rumblings of the restless dead would drown out his own words. Dandaek figured he may as well take it from the top. He asked, “A new breed of shadowed man walks Norrath. What can you tell me of the deathspeakers?” A moment of silence followed and Dandaek had the sensation that Ssynthi spoke to someone else before he replied. Yet reply he did, and in a soft and chilling tone. “Ah, so the deathspeakers have decided to reveal themselves again. They are beings who claim they are closer to the realms of the dead than any other known race, and they have been known to rally the shadowed men in times when they deem other races to be dabbling too much in the powers of death and rebirth – just as shadowed men as a whole despise those of us who follow Solusek Ro because they deem all magic to have sprung from themselves.”

Dandaek considered where to go from here. He recalled the other matter that concerned Vagner and Halwain and asked, “Could it concern the Burning Dead’s plan to resurrect Marnek?” Ssynthi did not hesitate this time. The shadowed man replied quickly, “Marnek, you say? I admit that rumors have come to me concerning an alliance between the Temple of Ro and the Burning Dead, and perhaps this is the goal of that union. I must therefore act, for who knows the shadowed men better than I? But I cannot leave this place right now. Will you help me in this task?” It seemed an odd choice to Dandaek. The shadowed men were dangerous and clearly ill-disposed toward the races of dwarves, elves, and man, but if acting against them aided the cause of a dead necromancer? Dandaek smiled. Still, at least he was getting somewhere, and rarely did it hurt to play along. Knowledge, after all, was a good thing. The dwarf nodded and said, “I will help you.”

At that, a long prattle of indecipherable babble bubbled from Ssynthi and a small black cauldron began to take shape fromthe darkness.

Master Tashakhi

Source: EQPRG – Luclin – Page 153

Master Tashakhi

Once, ages ago, a mighty kerran beastlord named Khati Sha served his King Vah Kerrath faithfully. When the city of Shar Vahl was transported to the Moon of Luclin, Khati Sha immediately set out to explore this new world. As always, he served with honor and distinction, expanding his people’s knowledge of the moon and its strange inhabitants. After a time, Khati Sha heard tales of a strange place on the light side of Luclin where the evil shissar snake-folk purportedly held sway.

Fearful of the threat that the shissar represented, and perhaps just slightly too curious for his own good, Khati Sha ventured into the blazing eternal day of the light side and sought out the region known as the Grey. He never returned, and soon the Vah Shir mourned the loss of their greatest beastlord. Today, the Shar Vahl guild of beastlords bears the name of their greatest hero. Most believe that the legendary Khati Sha perished, while others believe that he lives on still, watching over his people from the wilds of Luclin.

The Shar Vahl and their king would be horrified if they knew the truth. In the Grey, Khati Sha was captured by the shissar and taken to their temple, where he was subjected to unbelievable torments. Curious about the world’s newest inhabitants, the snake-folk twisted Khati Sha’s body and mind, transforming him into a cruel and terribly powerful creature of evil. Infected by the shissars’ xenophobia and lust for further power, Khati Sha escaped from the Grey and wandered Luclin’s moon for a time, a twisted parody of the noble creature he had once been.

At length, he found his way back to the Mushroom Forest, where his people managed the thriving Acrylia Mines. In the depths of the mines, Khati Sha encountered a primitive race of bestial humanoids, which he dubbed grimlings. Handling the grimlings as cruelly as he himself had been manipulated by the shissar, Khati Sha transformed them into a cruel, sadistic race bent on spreading death and suffering. By the thousands, the grimlings burst from the Acrylia Mines, slaying countless Vah Shir and driving the kerrans from the forest. Renamed the Grimling
Forest, this realm is today a bloody battleground.

For their part, the grimlings worshipped their new leader as a god, who now called himself “Tashakhi,” a twisted version of his old name. Few if any have realized the similarities, though some newer grimling architecture is said to mirror the Vah Shir style of design — a fading remnant of Khati Sha’s old existence.

Today, Tashakhi is a brooding, skeletal being who dwells in the depths of the Acrylia Caverns, with the terrible powers of a malevolent godling, plotting with his grimling followers the ultimate conquest and destruction of his own people. Once the Vah Shir are utterly destroyed, Tashakhi
intends to turn his insane wrath against the tegi and then the Combine refugees (in Katta Castellum, Sanctus Seru, and Shadow Haven alike). Only then will he crush the shissar, in a final and self-destructive act of vengeance against the race that turned him from hero into monster.

Tashakhi normally fights with his two great, curved blades. Once he himself decides to attack, he first uses his crown’s power and his various protective and buff spells upon himself, and then attacks spellcasters (especially healers) before all others. However, he prefers not to fight
directly until he must, leaving combat to his defiled minions and grimling followers. He uses his oddly small yet fully functional metallic wings to stay out of opponents’ reach, while using his items to monitor the thoughts of foes and the condition of allies. His defiled minions (see below) can be affected by any of his spells that would normally affect his beastlord’s warder. As long as four or more of his minions and servants are still fighting, he hovers in the background casts spells to assist them and frustrate his foes.

The Tragedy of Khati Sha

The Tragedy of Khati Sha

The beastlord Khati Sha was the most accomplished of his kind. He traveled the world of Norrath, seeking out mysteries and investigating threats to his kingdom. The animals of Norrath were his friends and allies; he spoke to the birds and sang with the wolves. He knew the secret language of the forest and the ways of the plains. He climbed the mountains beside the great goats and sheep that dwell there, and he fought alongside the mighty cave bears. He learned the wisdom of dragons and the hidden knowledge of the fey. In all these things, Khati Sha was the wisest of his kind. Many were the times that his devotion and learning saved our people from disaster.

When the Shifting brought us to this realm, Khati Sha was among the first to venture into the darkness beyond the city, to find safe routes across the Moon of Luclin. He first mapped Hollowshade Moor and learned the languages of the owlbears and the sonic wolves. He sought the great cats of Shadeweaver’s Thicket and even ventured to the gates of dread Vex Thal.

Khati Sha returned to tell King Vah Kerrath of his discoveries, and the knowledge of our people grew. But the beastlord also learned of the mysterious races of the light side of Luclin, and ventured there seeking to expand the wisdom of his people further. To the shores of the Twilight Sea and beyond he ventured, into the sun-baked wilderness of the Scarlet Desert, the crags of Mons Letalis, and beyond, to the airless waste that is called the Grey.

And that was the last that was ever heard of the great Khati Sha. He lives on only in legend now, and many tales of his fate have been told, yet no one is certain what truly happened to him. Perhaps he was caught and slain by the evil snake-folk of the Grey. Perhaps he was killed by a fierce unknown beast or a natural disaster. Or perhaps he was not slain at all, but lives on, impossibly old, exploring the Moon of Luclin in the name of his people, and granting us his protection. Whatever his fate, we may be sure that the this lost hero still watches over the Vah Shir — whether a mighty hunter or a mighty spirit — and his memory lives on in the hearts of those belonging to the guild that bears his name.

The great beast-friend who feared no horizon. It was an honor to recite this story for you.

Source: EQRPG – Luclin – Page 77

The Vah Shir

The Vah Shir

The Vah Shir are an offshoot of the kerran race that originated on the Norrathian continent of Odus. Legend holds that the kerrans were once bitterly divided and in the throes of a bloody civil war when a great leader, Kejaan Kerrath, emerged to unite the tribes into a single nation. A golden age followed, during which the kerrans became the dominant species on Odus.

Kejaan proved a wise and resourceful ruler, drawing his elite nobles from among the other kerran clans. From clan Shir came nobles, generals, and warriors. From Kajek came shamans and counselors. From the clan of Shahar, Kejaan drew his hunters and farmers, and from clan Karani, he selected his civil servants and bureaucrats. The so-called Komiyat Kerrath grew in strength and influence.

The coming of the Erudites proved catastrophic for the kerrans, even though relations between the two races were good. When a small number of Erudites first took up the practice of necromancy, however, the kerrans began to fall ill, and soon plague raged through their cities and villages. Convinced that the heretic Erudites and their dark magic were responsible, Kejaan himself went to treat with their leaders, but even he returned weak and sickly. He died soon thereafter, and his son Vah took the throne.

Vah gathered his elite forces in the Shir city of Shar Vahl, intending to join the Erudites in their war against the heretics. Before he could act, however, a great battle broke out between the heretics and Erudites, resulting in huge pieces of Norrath being flung into space — and among them the city of Shar Vahl.

The rogue Rejik tells the story of the Vah Shir and their arrival on Luclin. He was a scout and a spy of middle rank on the day of the great explosion. His account is a rare record from the early days of Shar Vahl, since written works have since been prohibited there.

Luclin is a jealous and somewhat petty deity, but she chose in this case not to punish the interlopers, for she knew that their coming was not by choice. Once more, she allowed Norrathian aliens to remain on her moon. Soon after arriving upon Luclin, the kerrans also discovered that their connection to the spirits of Norrath had been cut off. Only the great beast-spirit Sahteb Mahlni remained in contact with the Vah Shir, leading many of the
cat-folk to turn to agnosticism or to worship the mighty Sahteb exclusively.

The Vah Shir — now newly named for their ruler and clan — struggled to survive on the new world. Most of their great city had been devastated, and the survivors were plagued by predators such as the shik’nar. Scouts reported that there was game nearby, however, as well as edible fungus in the caves below the city. The fungus was distasteful to the carnivorous kerrans, but they made do with what they could find while rebuilding the city.

Scouts discovered several deposits of a phosphorescent mineral that they dubbed acrylia. Strong and durable, acrylia was used to make weapons and armor, and marble bearing veins of acrylia was found to glow softly in the darkness. Large quantities of acrylia-veined marble were used in the reconstruction of Shar Vahl, and to this day the city shines with a faint glow, illuminating the gloom on Luclin’s dark side. The greatest deposit of acrylia they discovered was in the Tenebrous Mountains, a journey of several perilous weeks from the growing city.

Acrylia caravans were forced to travel through the dangerous reaches of Hollowshade Moor, where the indigenous owlbears, sonic wolves, and shik’nar were a constant hazard. Beyond lay the Mushroom Forest, less dangerous in those days but still a challenge. Once the caravan routes were established, however, acrylia began to flow regularly into the city.

Elsewhere, kerran civilization spread into Shadeweaver’s Thicket, the forest adjacent to the new city. There, the native xakra silkworms were harvested, and sturdy cloth was crafted from their tough cocoons. After Vah Shir hunters became acclimated to their new environment, they began to bring back game more regularly, and slowly the city’s food shortage was eased.

All seemed well on the moon, for the Vah Shir were far from Luclin’s other new inhabitants. Occasionally, Loda’Kai poachers (an alliance of outlaws, exiles, and refugees from the human cities) plagued the kerrans, attacking hunters or robbing travelers, but Vah Kerrath periodically dispatched warriors to drive out the brigands, keeping the region relatively secure.

But greater disaster was yet to come. Within a decade of their arrival, the Vah Shir had rebuilt their city into a thriving and beautiful metropolis, well supplied and defended both by its isolation and the brave, honor-bound warriors who served Vah Kerrath and his family.

One fateful day, however, an entire shift of Vah Shir miners disappeared mysteriously, followed by the squad of warriors sent to find them. As the kerrans debated what to do, the mines suddenly erupted with diminutive humanoids, ferocious, merciless beasts possessed of a wicked cunning and an apparent hatred for all other life forms. The Vah Shir were driven from the mines, retreating back into the Mushroom Forest before the enemy’s onslaught.

The humanoids — dubbed grimlings for their dark, hostile expression and character — completely overran the mines, and retook the Mushroom Forest save for a small Vah Shir outpost. The Mushroom Forest was renamed the Grimling Forest, and became a place of danger and violent death for the kerrans.

The struggle against the grimlings and their mysterious ruler began in earnest. Their master was an individual known only as Master Tashakhi, rumored to be a powerful undead creature of some kind (possibly even an undead Vah Shir). The grimlings continued to raid into Vah Shir territory, while the cat-folk resisted ferociously.

In the midst of these terrible events, further tragedy struck Shar Vahl. Dar Khura, King Vah Kerrath’s chief shaman, told him that he had discovered a strange race dwelling on Luclin, a race known as the Akheva. Immortal, the Akheva were resurrected when slain, but in the process they destroyed vital members of the spirit world. Dar Khura and a band of warriors ventured into the darkness in the south, seeking out these Akheva. When Dar Khura did not return, King Vah Kerrath himself followed, though his advisors begged him not to. The king did not return from his quest, and to this day none knows what became of him. Similarly, the great beastlord and
explorer Khati Sha had also disappeared while exploring the region known as the Grey.

Today, the kerrans’ struggle with the grimlings continues. The Vah Shir outpost in the Grimling Forest comes under attack regularly, but the cat-folk launch attacks of their own, raiding into the Acrylia Caverns and returning with enough of the precious stone to keep their city and their craftsfolk in good supply. King Raja Kerrath, direct descendant of the great King Vah, actively plans a campaign to attack the caverns and take them back, possibly defeating Tashakhi once and for all.

For their part, the grimlings have spread throughout the regions surrounding Shar Val. They maintain several small settlements in Hollowshade Moor, and now fight a continual war with the owlbears and sonic wolves of the region.

The Vah Shir have emerged as the most vital and culturally active race on the moon. Since the written word had such a great role in the creation of Erudite magic and because the cat-folk blame the Erudites for their exile, written records are banned among the Vah Shir, and knowledge is passed from generation to generation purely through verbal means.”Scribes” of a sort still exist among them, but they are now specially kerrans who store valuable information in their memory using an array of mnemonic devices and sheer strength of will, and pass information to their successors. The great history of the Vah Shir is maintained by a group of elite kerran bards called hymnists.

The kerrans patrol surrounding lands such as Hollowshade Moor and Shadeweaver’s Thicket, fighting a continual battle with poachers, bandits, tegi and galorian tribesmen, insectoids, and fungus fiends. Vah Shir beastlords wander the moon of Luclin seeking knowledge regarding the other races and factions of the world. So far, these agents have remained aloof in the various conflicts of Luclin, though it is known that King Raja is known to favor the Combine Loyalists in their conflict with the Inquisitors, and that he hates the cruelty of the shissar.

As with the other lunar races, the Vah Shir were changed irrevocably by the arrival of outsiders from Norrath. Realizing that their old homeland was once more accessible from Norrath, some cat-folk began to discuss returning.

This debate continues to rage, and a number of Vah Shir have traveled to Norrath and returned to report that the place is a virtual paradise compared to the dark, barren landscape of the moon. Some of these Vah Shir have even chosen to stay on Norrath, dwelling among their kerran cousins and winning great fame. So far, however, there is no great movement from the city that the cat-folk have labored so hard to rebuild.

Source: EQRPG – Luclin page 11

The Second Colonization

Unwilling to turn a blind eye once more to the risks the hills posed, the rulers of Kelethin, Felwithe, and Ak’Anon agreed to share the cost of a small stronghold to secure the region. An old mining site was chosen for the location of the new city, and gnomish clockwork guards were built and sent to crew the place in order to reduce the cost of shipping in foodstuffs. Called Therege, the small fort soon spawned a small town within its walls. Peopled largely by misfits, adventurers, and scholars (aside from the clockworks), Therege was soon filled with relics that had been recovered from the tombs that various undead and the many earthquakes of the region had brought to the surface. Such finds provided just enough economic stimulus to encourage more civilians to brave the harsh land, and Therege, very slowly, grew. Other elves and gnomes had noticed a new resource within the hills as well. The destruction of so many undead and the opening of so many tombs had left the land rich with bits of skeleton bones, scraps of mummy wrappings, and flakes of zombie skin. Gnome necromancers were likely the first to notice the ease with which such corpse-based material components could be acquired in the hills, but their discovery soon spread to the Teir’Dal of Neriak. Spurred by the desire to gain greater power, Queen Thex of Neriak sent agents to take control of the Hills of Shade. Her agents failed miserably, but they did manage to send back caravans full of necromantic magics and materials. The Queen was angered by her servants’ failures, but was unwilling to remove them from such a useful post. She decreed that the agents could never return to Antonica until they ruled the hills. The agents accepted their exile with what little grace they could muster and established a roving camp for the exploitation of ruins and the mining of corpses. Called Exile, this camp soon became a common stop for necromancers of all races.

Hills of Shade: The Crusade of Tears

The undead were eventually noticed by two of the gods – Mithaniel and Erollisi Marr. Concerned about this development and other goings on throughout the continent, the twin gods ordered their worshipers to undertake a crusade. Not only were the undead of the Hills of Shade to be destroyed, but numerous other objectives on Faydwer were commanded as well. To this day, no one knows the full extent of the gods’ commands but their chief followers.
The Priests of Marr and Knights of Truth, both based out of Freeport, took up the call and bent their full, considerable power to the Crusade. Through careful and complex diplomacy, the followers of the Marr twins managed to gain acceptance from local governments on Faydwer for their fight, and were free to march through the wilds of the continent as they wished. The Crusade took many years and eventually cost the orders the control of their
home city, but in time the will of their gods was carried out. Whatever else the Crusade’s warriors may have done, they cleansed the Hills of Shade of undead and made it once more nothing but an empty wasteland.

Land of the Dead

The Hills of Shade were almost completely ignored by the residents of Faydwer for many years after the destruction of Durathin. Bandits and criminals are likely to have taken refuge there, but such outcasts were far enough from civilization that no real effort was made to discourage this kind of self-imposed exile. Common wisdom across Faydwer held that nothing of importance would ever come of the Hills of Shade.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum, and such a vast, unregulated wilderness could not go forever unexploited. Though unsuited to supporting living communities, the hills proved far more accommodating for groups of undead. Such creatures didn’t mind getting lost, since they had no destinations anyway and had all the time in the world; they had no love for the sun, so the shade was a boon; and they had no need for farms and ranches to produce food. Over years, the number of undead in the hills grew to stunning proportions.

The more powerful undead forced their lesser brethren to built grand tombs, turned the peaceful corpses already interred within the hills into new kinds of undead, and seeped the powers of necromancy into the ground itself. A kind of hierarchy developed, and a black necropolis was built to serve as home to the throngs of undead. Unlike earlier societies of such creatures, the undead of the hills kept to themselves. It is unknown if this time of quiet was the calm before the storm, or if the walking corpses truly had no desire other than to be left alone by the living. In any case, they did not raid outside their borders or build any defenses that might be noticed by casual travelers.

Even so, it is surprising that this dangerous development went unnoticed by the guardian races of Faydwer. No report of vast armies of undead reached the lords of Felwithe, Kaladim, Kelethin, or far off Ak’Anon. Many have since suggested that some powerful being (probably a spellcaster) may have concealed the activities of the undead in the Hills of Shade — creatures ranging from Mayong Mistmoore to the dragon Trakanon and even the gods themselves have been suggested for this role. No real evidence of such a plot has ever been produced, but the suspicion remains that some force must have protected the black dead of the Hills of Shade.

Lesser Faydark: History

When the Elder Age was in full bloom, long before the Faydark was divided, the fey (brownies, pixies, faeries, and fae drakes) and the other sylvan creatures (unicorns, griffons, and others) dwelt together in the great forest. They assisted the Woodkine in the defense of their homeland, but, unlike the Woodkine, the fey eventually forsook the Greater Faydark for its smaller and more isolated sister forest. After the Faydark was divided by orcish assaults, the fey tried to maintain their ancestral homes in both forests; however, as the world beyond the forest continued to change, too many creatures began to venture into the realms of the fey. The Fier’Dal left their home on the continent of Antonica and began to settle in the Greater Faydark. Though they disliked the thought of sharing their woods with outsiders, the fey tolerated the wood elves, but grew increasingly uneasy as the years went by and other less welcome visitors began to arrive — dwarves, humans, and orcs; foresters, hunters, raiders, and bandits.

The fey fought these intruders, but even though the wee folk were brave and determined, in the end they proved too few to stem the tide. Faerie warriors perished at the hands of orc centurions, brownies were rounded up and killed or captured as curiosities, and nearly all of the proud unicorns of the Greater Faydark were slaughtered. At length, the pressure upon the fey grew too much, and they began to depart en masse, relocating to the nearby Lesser Faydark. Few remained in the Greater Faydark, stubbornly defending their old homesteads, sharing an uneasy truce with the wood elves and battling the intrusions of the Crushbone orcs and others.

The rest, however, retreated into the ancient and forbidding depths of the Lesser Faydark, where they created the last purely fey settlements. Intensely territorial and fearful of the outside world, the brownies, faeries, and fae drakes all jealously guarded their realm against intrusion, harassing if not ferociously attacking outsiders. For a time the fey held the outside world at bay, and lived at peace amongst themselves. The fae drakes flitted about the forest, serving their royal court and aiding the other inhabitants of the forest. The brownies founded a small but thriving settlement, and mushroom-houses were dotted throughout the area.

Few outsiders came to the forest, and fewer still survived. The best known of the survivors was the human monk called Master Wu, who established a small encampment and spent several years contemplating the wonders and peace of the surrounding forest. Perhaps sensing a kindred soul, the fey generally left Wu in peace, and after a time he moved on, continuing his studies elsewhere. For decades, the folk of the Lesser Faydark continued to live in peace.