Category Archives: Serpent Spine Mountains

The Serpents Spine

Mayong’s Death Message
The Demi-Plane of Blood is strangely silent. Though Mayong’s body is unmoving, his presence can still be felt. His booming voiceAfter Venril Sathir’s curse was released into the Nest and destroyed the dragon eggs, it was clear that the future of dragonkind was in danger. With the next generation of dragons lost forever, Veeshan’s bloodline was in jeopardy. Six dragons who were children of the Nest proposed a plan to their elders — the creation of a race to protect dragons and the Wyrmqueen’s bloodline, something they had seen done once before.

The six dragons were scoffed at by the elders of the Nest, but they were so adamant with the idea that the elder dragons ordered their exile so their ideas would not gain a foothold. To the elders, it was unthinkable. The six left the Nest and ignored the decree of the elders. They settled in the nearby Serpent Spine Mountains to carry out their plan to create a new race to protect the existence of Veeshan’s bloodline on Norrath. They would create a race of dragon-touched humans and call them Drakkin which means Dragon Child in the language of the elders.

They called themselves the Circle of the Crystalwing, defining themselves as the future of dragonkind. The six dragons in the Circle: Venesh the Greenblood; Draton`ra, Master of the Void; Keikolin, Bringer of Enlightenment; Mysaphar, Seeker of All; Atathus the Red Lord; and Osh`vir the Windspirit.

In human form, the dragons traveled to Freeport and combed through the taverns and inns, looking for the right humans to suit this new race. The honorable dragons found many who sympathized with their plight and plans and agreed to help right the wrongs that mortals inflicted on dragons of the Nest by unleashing Venril’s curse. Many humans considered it a great honor. The darker dragons were not so willing to negotiate and simply took the human subjects they desired. Each human taken was touched by the magic of a single drop of dragon s blood across their cheek.

In only a matter of months, the dragon-touched humans began to experience changes, a coming-of-age that became known as the Awakening. It is then that the latent strengths they inherit from their dragon bloodline surface and they have a burning desire to better understand them. Their hair takes on new texture and color the same color as the dragon who touched them. Parts of their skin show small, toughened scales, and runic patterns representing their new race began to show on their face, torsos and legs all in the color of their dragon progenitor. Delicate horns appear in patterns on their foreheads. They are the essence of beauty to most who see them.

As their new traits develop, the drakkins yearn to meet their parents. They find themselves on a pilgrimage into the Serpent Spine Mountains. Their final destination is the ancient abandoned ogre city of Nokk, now alive with drakkin who call it Crescent Reach.

As they enter the Dragon s Grove of the great stone city where their parents await them, their human past is lost forever. It is from their parents that the drakkin learn their purpose to live and grow stronger to protect the future of Veeshan’s bloodline on Norrath. With their new identity affirmed, their drakkin life truly begins.
The Serpents Spine
When the great dragon Veeshan laid claim to Norrath and set her brood of dragonkind upon it, she entrusted a very powerful gift to them — one of her scales. This single scale was imbued with a powerful magic that ties all dragonkind on Norrath to Veeshan and her bloodline. This artifact of Veeshan was treated with great respect and reverence and was placed in a great shrine called the Reliquary of the Scale in the dragon’s Nest where it stayed protected and guarded by five Scale Guardians. Many dragons visited the shrine knowing that the magic of the scale could grant them greater wellbeing and longer life. Many even laid their eggs there for a time.

For many years, the dragons kept a protective shroud over the Nest while the lands around them became filled by races fashioned by the first gods to arrive in Norrath. The Elddar elves created by Tunare, the goddess of Nature, settled near the Nest and built a city named Takish-Hiz. The Elddar elves prospered in their lush forest city and soon drew the jealous eye of Solusek Ro, the Prince of Flame. He greatly resented Tunare’s elves and chose to ruin them. He raised the spine of the world along the Serpent River that ran through the elf city, creating the Serpent Spine Mountains in that single act. Over a short time, the Elddar forest withered and burned, becoming a vast sea of sand.

Solusek Ro’s act affected more than just the elves. The great shrine where Veeshan’s scale was held was near the banks of the Serpent River and was violently hoisted into the sky beyond the protective veil the dragons used to hide their precious Nest. Lethar, a black dragon and the strongest of the five Scale Guardians, always had great selfish ambitions, as dragons often do, but was held in check by the elder dragons. As soon as Lethar and the scale were beyond the Nest, Lethar claimed Veeshan’s scale for himself.

There was little resistance to his claim as two Scale Guardians, Sothgar and Glenicae, were crushed to death as the shrine was twisted and rent by the vicious upheaval of the land beneath them. The other two guardians were dealt with cruelly and were both banished from the shrine. They did not defy him as he threatened to destroy the scale.

Over time, the scale and Lethar became bound to one another and, now outside of the veil, Lethar learned to use the scale to draw power from any dragon that came near it. No dragons sent to retrieve the scale could defeat Lethar or break his bond with it. Even so, the dragons continued over centuries to attempt to return the scale home.

After a decade of being the sole guardian of the scale and fending off hundreds of attacks from the Nest, Lethar realized he required an agent to do his bidding while he remained on guard. He traveled the lands and found a young, wandering female Elddar elf named Veldyn who mourned the loss of many of her kin as the forest died. She was seduced by Lethar who greeted her with an illusion — appearing as an Elddar elf himself. It was not long before Lethar’s son was born and named in part after his father and his mother — Dyn`leth, the first elf-dragon child.

Dyn`leth grew and his character became darker than his father’s, no matter how hard his mother tried to guide him. He, much like Lethar, became obsessed with Veeshan’s scale and the mystery of the power it possessed. After watching his father for many years, Dyn`leth made a discovery about the scale — that he had been created from it in some way. He realized he was forever bound to it and able to control its power to some degree. He also recognized that anyone who controlled the scale controlled the dragons — creatures Dyn`leth had no great love for.

Since the Rallosian giants and ogres were driven out of the eastern lands by a curse of the gods, Dyn`leth held sway over most of the inhabitants of the regions surrounding Spine Peak. His charm and threats forced almost all creatures to obey him. And so it has remained for centuries.

One year ago, six dragons born in the Nest but living beyond it, returned home to see the devastation the curse brought to their birthplace. While surveying the damage, they were told the tale of the elf-dragon in the nearby mountains who controlled the scale and could bend dragons to his will. It was clear to them that the future of Veeshan’s bloodline on Norrath was threatened and they sought a solution that would protect dragonkind.

In a matter of days, the six dragons proposed a solution to the elders of the Nest which caused a great conflict. While the elders watched them in disgust, they explained their plan to create a new race of humans touched with dragon’s blood.

The six dragons believed that if Lethar created a being of his own blood — an elf-dragon — they could also. The dragons promised the elders that this new race of mortals could strengthen Veeshan’s bloodline on Norrath, represent them to all races, and grow powerful enough to restore Veeshan’s scale with the help of other mortals. This race would be self-sustaining and each would be born much more quickly than the 100 years it takes to hatch a dragon egg.

The greater dragons of the Nest, Rikkukin, Yar`Lir, and Tirranun especially, vehemently opposed the proposal and called the six dragons extremists who defied their laws and cast them out of the Nest.

The six dragons left, undeterred, and settled in the lowlands of the Serpent Spine Mountains in a grove within an old abandoned ogre city called Nokk. They decided to carry out their plan to create a race they would call ‘drakkin’ — a human-dragon race. The six called themselves the Circle of the Crystalwing and felt they were the only hope of a future for dragonkind.

The six dragons of the Circle are Venesh the Greenblood; Draton`ra, Master of the Void; Keikolin, Bringer of Enlightenment; Mysaphar, Seeker of All; Atathus the Red Lord; and Osh`vir the Windspirit. Venesh, Draton`ra, and Atathus share similar philosophy and differed from the other dragons. Their plans for acquiring humans for the new race did not involve cooperation. They would selectively steal away the humans they felt had what they desired in their new offspring. Keikolin, Mysaphar, and Osh`vir chose to cooperate with humans and have their blessing when it came to selecting humans to be touched by dragon blood. It was only days before each dragon began the rituals to infuse the humans with their blood. They delivered the humans home after the ritual and waited for the day when the dragon blood in them awakened. On that day, they would make their pilgrimage to the mountains. It took only two months for the drakkins to slowly fill the old ogre city. The firstborn of each of the dragons formed the Scions of the Six and acted as the council for the city, which they renamed Crescent Reach.

Dyn`leth’s scouts reported the appearance of the first drakkins back to Dyn`leth and for the first time he felt a threat in the mountains he believed he controlled. But, as he often did, he looked for opportunity in every danger. The drakkins quickly became prey. Using the controlling power of Veeshan’s scale, the knowledge he’d gained from his father, and the understanding gained from being born of the scale, Dyn’leth found a way to tap into the dragon blood coursing through the drakkin. It wasn’t as strong a connection as with a dragon, but he found he could influence them in subtle ways — enough to use them in an army.

But Dyn`leth’s tyranny was about to be challenged.

The sheltered mountain path the drakkins used from Highpass Hold to the Serpent Spine Mountains on their pilgrimage became well-worn and visible to all. Norrathians would soon pour into the mountains.

Together, drakkins and other mortal races would band together to bring balance back to the mountains.

Crescent Reach and the Drakkin
Crescent Reach is a fully functioning city with merchants, tradeskill venues, and guildmasters. It is a city of stone built within a cliff face with a large crescent-shaped crevasse in its front, called The Hollow.
Drakkin, a new race of half-dragon, half-humans, make a pilgrimage to Crescent Reach where they experience their awakening and evolve, ultimately forgetting their human history. The drakkin s priorities are self-preservation and to protect the future of dragonkind. There are six dragon progenitors who create drakkin by touching humans with their blood in a ritual. These dragons live in a magical grove within the city s limits on great pillars open to the air so they may leave and return at will. The dragons are six colors — blue, red, green, white, black, gold. Crescent Reach is also an outpost for exploration and an opportunity to drakkin to define who they are to the rest of the world.

Crescent Reach was once an ancient ogre city called Nokk. When the Circle of the Crystalwing — the six dragons who defied the elders of the dragon s Nest to create a new race — sought a place to start a new race, they found the old city. It has now been adopted by the drakkin who have quickly made it their own. The drakkin culture shows in their organic items made with cloth, leather, plants, and colorful natural dyes that reflect their own vibrant colorings.

Hive of Trouble
The great mystery of the location of the home of the Bixies has been revealed in the Serpentspine Mountains — Stone Hive has been found. These are not the Bixies remembered in Misty Thicket and Kithicor Forest, though. It seems the great magic that consumed the forest when the god of Hate intervened in a war called Bloody Kithicor tainted many of the plants in the forest. As most know, Bixies are one of the few creatures that take their food from underground — Jumjum specifically — and they became infected with the magic of Hate.

The change was gradual as they consumed more of the tainted flora, but eventually they found they had changed completely — physically and in almost every other way. They had improved.

Giants Quandary
Within the highest icy peaks of the Serpent Spine Mountains dwell the Krithgor giants, or what remains of them. Unlike other giants in Norrath, they are intelligent, some masters of magic. But their chances of surviving for much longer are slim.

Many years ago when the Curse of the Gods sentenced Norrath s giants, ogres, goblins, and orcs to stupidity and slovenliness for daring to invade the Plane of Earth, Rallos Zek — the God of War and father to those races — reserved his own curse for the Krithgor giants who did not fight in the war. Rallos Zek would exact his own vengeance upon his children who did not serve him in the Plane of War. That curse still haunts the Krithgor to this day.

The Scale of Veeshan
When Veeshan, wyrmqueen, laid her brood of dragons upon the surface of Norrath, she also left them a great magical artifact — one of her crystalline scales. This scale was held in a reliquary in the Nest, where dragons congregated, found mates, and kept their eggs. The Nest was hidden away by a magic veil beyond the Serpent River. The scale was always guarded by some of the Nest s most powerful and wise dragons. Then, the sanctity of the reliquary and the protection of the scale fell apart.

Many ages ago, a god named Solusek Ro raised the lands along the Serpent River in a jealous rage, creating the Serpentspine Mountains. That god s act wrenched the reliquary and the scale up into the highest peaks of the new mountains. One Guardian of the Scale, named Lethar, survived the violent shift of the land and was determined to hoard the scale for himself. By treachery and deceit, he did. Lethar then had a son named Dyn`leth, a strange creation of elf-dragon blood, who was created to do Lethar s bidding. And for many years Dyn`leth did as his father wished, but it wasn t long before a lust for power gleamed in his eyes.

A Chaotic History: The Story of the Chaos Orchestra

A Chaotic History: The Story of the chaos Orchestra – By Vhalen Nostrolo

The Crimson Conductor Within the Age of Enlightenment the seeds of chaotic compositions were sown. The first human clans began to settle within the Plains of Karana, far south from the bloody tundras of the Northlands, former homeland to all humans. It was at this time that the Chaos Orchestra came into existence. Early humans held a violent nature in their hearts, a gift from their barbarian cousins in the Northlands. One band of bards, former war drummers of the barbarians, had hoped to tap into the violent nature. Through this exploration of chaos they hoped to compose music like never heard before. The Chaos Orchestra was formed. Long did the Chaos Orchestra delve into chaotic compositions. Many songs were created that employed rhythms and beats that were never explored by other composers. Unfortunately, they were never able to create any meaningful composition that even they approved of. According to history, this all changed on a trip to the village of Katta Grove.

Ancient songs that tell the tale of the Chaos Orchestra being attacked by a rabid pack of gnolls while en route to Katta Gove, the village of the chieftain of the Plains of Karana. Surviving this violent onslaught, the bards did find a magic lute that was being carried by the gnolls. Reclaiming this grand bard instrument from the savage gnolls, the Chaos Orchestra dubbed it the Ayonic Lute. This magic lute would help them break their musical plateaus and play a final infamous concert that would place them in the annals of bard history.

The Ayonic Lute was of unknown origin, but to the Chaos Orchestra, it was a gift from Ayonae Ro. In their minds, it was goddess’ way of choosing them as the evolution of music and the harbingers of a bold age of compositions. Before they could explore the arcane forces behind the lute, they decided to use it in their next concert at Katta Grove.

Little is known about the secret concert in Katta Grove. The only person alive was the owner of the small stage they performed on. This owner returned towards the end of the concert only to find a blood bath had occured. He screamed for the milita and the Chaos Orchestra fled the village. Every spectator was found dead, seemingly slain by one another. It was dubbed the Rabid Dance after the only clue left in the massacre, a blood stained composition of the same name.

Maestro Konic Nostrolo of the League of Antonican Bards was charged with the task of tracking down the Chaos Orchestra and seizing them before their next violent concert could begin. Konic was able to find the trail of the fugitive Chaos Orchestra, a trail spotted with blood. It led to the Serpent’s Spine and the last person to meet the bards, a fortune teller named Hagralazoo. Through her fortunes, she told Konic that she read theirs and found no future beyond a day. They vanished never to be seen again.

Maestro Konic continued his investigation of the Chaos Orchestra long after they vanished. He would later come to realize that the orchestra was not in full blame for the Rabid Dance in Katta Grove. The powers behind this Ayonic Lute held much of the blame. On his death bed, Maestro Konic was noted saying, the Ayonic Lute holds great power, but along with that comes a great curse… a curse tht can be removed. Look to the belly of a giggling fish…

To this day, there are those that delve into chaotic compositions. To me, this isn’t a problem. The exploration of music is as grand as the exploration of Norrath. the chaos Orchestra was correct that beauty can be found within discord. It is unfortunate that their expedition into the compositions of chaos had to end with the cursed Ayonic Lute.

Places of Norrath: Qeynos

Overview of Qeynos

The free city of Qeynos controls most of the plains to the west of the Serpent’s Spine Mountains. The city is ruled by the firm yet just hand of Antonius Bayle IV. Qeynos represents the pinnacle of human achievement and is a haven from the fierce wilderness of Norrath. Bayle is a well-liked and respected leader, but the seeds of corruption are being sown by the Circle of the Unseen Hand and their allies in the city guard.

Qeynos is set atop small cliffs that run along the coastline to the west. Due to their composition of eroding sandstone and rock, climbing them is virtually impossible. The cliffs act as a natural barrier, making Qeynos impenetrable to attacks from the west or from the ocean. At a low point in the cliffs, the people of Qeynos have built a treat pier, protected in a harbor naturally formed form the stone and a bend of in the coastline.

The ocean is a deep, dark blue. The waters are usually fairly calm, although waves crash roughly against the cliff base. Many ships safely come and go daily from Qeynos’ harbor. These include naval, fishing, trading, and transport vessels from Erudin. Adventurers and tradesmen will often been see at the docks, awaiting one of the two vessels that travel between the two coastal cities through the oceanic pass known as Erud’s Crossing.

Northern Qeynos
Northern Qeynos is, in fact, the original City of Qeynos. During an invasion of the city a surprise night attack that started a war many years ago, the southern and eastern walls took heavy damage. Some of the buildings in these areas were destroyed but the militia and able-bodied citizen fought the invasion and saved much of the city including the palace. Later, instead of fixing the old castle wall, it was decided to expand the city of Qeynos by building a new one further out.

Most of the buildings in Northern Qeynos are very old looking, but a few have been remodeled or rebuilt. Made mostly of gray stone blocks and brown bricks, the houses and shops in this area are now showing their age. The paint is worn away and dark vertical trails have formed from rain water erosion. These buildings are sturdy and have been around for ages, but were obviously built for function over style during Qeynos’ early years when the kingdom was small and poor. From the towers and some of the outer walls of the city hang cloth flags and banners, displaying the colors and insignia of the kingdom of Qeynos.

A local tribe of gnolls, the Darkpaw has become a stubborn and enduring threat to Northern Qeynos, striking terror in the civilian population due to their constant raiding. While the city guardsmen have valiantly fended off the assaults, the have failed to stop them outright. At their wits end, the frustrated citizens have taken to offering adventurers a bounty in return for the delivery of gnoll teeth an fangs

Southern Qeynos
Southern Qeynos holds in it the main docks for passage between Antonica and Odus. This is a bustling area full of people transporting their wares between the two continents. Also on the ships logs are adventurers seeking new wealth and new fame that can be found in the different lands.

The Southern District of Qeynos also houses the bank that is heavily guarded by barbarian warriors. Near the bank lies the Ground of Fate. This is an area where combatants can prove their skill in combat with one another. The ringing sounds of sword melee can often be heard throughout the entire city.

Many guildhalls lie in South Qeynos where they can train young students interested in their art. Though Qeynos is a grand city, beggars and rats can often be found in dark corners.

Qeynos Catacombs, the Qeynos Aqueduct System
Located in the sewers below the human city of Qeynos, the Qeynos Catacombs is a large system of aqueducts. At first glance the sewers seem to be a normal rat infested dungeon with a variety of colorful graffiti written on the walls. But there is a dark secret hidden in the catacombs. Minions of the dark god Bertoxxulous, the Plague Bringer, have set up a secret shrine and base of operations within the catacombs. Entrance into the catacombs can found in the northern and southern sections of Qeynos; some hidden and some not so hidden.

Minions of Bertoxxulous roam the hidden passages; all not allied with his minions should avoid the secret tunnels. The rest of the catacombs are fairly safe for most adventurers.

The Lineage of Antonius Bayle
After the fall of the Combine Empire, the majority of humankind spread out and occupied the center of what was then called Tunaria. These humans lived in small villages upon the fertile plains of Karana. Over time the villages prospered and grew into small towns. Two of these towns were so successful as to grow into full-fledged cities. On the eastern coast, Freeport grew as a dangerous and bustling port of call frequented by those braving the journey across the Ocean of Tears. To the west, the city of Qeynos grew under the noble rule of law under a man named Antonius Bayle.

Humanity continued to prosper and grew strong. Much to the disdain of the elder races, the humans chose to rename the continent after one of their own, rather than a god. From that point forth, the continent was known as Antonica, in honor of all Antonius had done for the people of the races who lived there.

Antonius I was successful in incorporating the lawful city of Qeynos. He was given the role of ruler around the age of 25. For his success in bringing together the humans of the Plains of Karana and for founding the city of Qeynos, he was named “The Great Unifier.”

Antonius Bayle II became ruler of Qeynos when he was around 36 years of age. He led the movement to rename the continent of Tunaria to Antonica, ostensibly after his father. Of course, there were those who noted that he also shared the name of his father. During the period of his reign, the heretic Erudite necromancers revolted and left Erudin. Shortly thereafter, the disaster which formed The Hole occurred. Thus began what is known as the “Age of Turmoil.” Antonius II became known as “The Great Defender.”

Antonius Bayle III grew up during the beginning of this Age of Turmoil. During his childhood, he witnessed the construction of the heretic city of Paineel and saw Sir Lucan take control of the city of Freeport. When he came to power at the age of 26, he did his best to remain neutral and, as such, was named “The Great Diplomat.” Antonius Bayle III, for reasons unknown, chose to break tradition and name his first son Kyle rather than Antonius. In an attempt to establish a new seat of power in Antonica and extend his lands southward, Antonius III charged his eldest son Kyle with the expansion. Kyle left with a cadre of men to find a suitable location and to begin building.

A great deal of time passed without hearing any word or report of progress on this project. Antonius Bayle III sent a series of scouts to investigate but none ever returned. Kyle, his men and those sent to investigate were never heard from again. Roughly 25 years after the mysterious disappearance of Kyle, Antonius Bayle III had another son. This one he chose to name Antonius and he became Antonius Bayle IV. At the age of 24, Antonius Bayle IV was installed as the ruler of Qeynos, which he remains to this day.

It is believe that it will one day become tradition for the ruling leader of the Bayle line changes his/her name to a variation of Antonius upon taking the throne in honor of the first Antonius Bayle.

Antonius Bayle IV
Antonius Bayle IV is a highly devout Paladin of Karana. Though still relatively young, he is about as righteous, lawful and goodly as they come. He rules the city of Qeynos and its territories with a firm, but just hand.

He is simply referred to as “ruler”. Though some citizens may call mistakenly call him Your Honor, Grace and even Your Majesty, he does not expect to be referred to as such. He prefers to be called “Lord” if any title must be used. In his humility, he finds himself mildly embarrassed when referred to by any of the more lavish titles bandied about by those citizens who view him in awe – even as king – but know no better.

He considers himself a citizen in service to the city and views his role as the benevolent protector of Qeynos and the surrounding area. The government of Qeynos consists of the Circle of Ten, which is comprised of the heads of each of the guilds, including the Merchants of Qeynos, the Captain of the Guard (Kane Bayle) and a few of the more influential lords of the city.

Antonius Bayle holds veto power over the council and only Antonius may declare war or enter into treaties on behalf of Qeynos. The council may remove Antonius by unanimous vote, in which case a new ruler would be selected by popular election.

The Bayle line is by no means a hereditary monarchy. It is possible that some day a non-Bayle could rule Qeynos. In the simplest terms, the Bayles are very wealthy landowners who have a long history intimately attached to the city of Qeynos. Antonius IV is an incredibly popular, well-loved and respected ruler. This is due in part to his selfless personality, humility and devotion to his duties to the city and its people. It is also due to the trust the people have put in the Bayle lineage for producing skilled, trustworthy and reliable leaders.

The city of Qeynos oversees and protects most of the land west of the Serpent’s Spine, which includes the Plains of Karana. Qeynos represents the pinnacle of human achievement in the eyes of many. Though Antonius thinks of the Plains of Karana as his own, these feelings are best described as protective rather than possessive. He would also never state these feelings out loud for fear of angering one of his constituents.

The Bayle family tends to have children later in life. In fact, Antonius IV was born a full 35 years after the disappearance of Antonius III’s first son, Kyle Bayle. Kane Bayle was born two years after Antonius IV.

Antonius IV never knew Kyle. All he knows of his older brother is what was learned through stories told by his elders. Though he does occasionally wonder about what happened to him, he is too focused and dedicated to his duties as ruler to consider spending the time and resources that would be needed to search for the answers. This is a purely personal concern and he would not feel right about using city resources for such a selfish, wistful and sentimental reason. And thus, he seldom, if ever, discusses the matter.

Antonius is also an unparalleled swordsman. His closest rival in armed combat is his younger brother Kane Bayle, who himself has only been bested in combat by Antonius and Ebon Strongbear.

As a youth, Antonius IV spent much time escaping into the Jaggedpine Forest where he befriended another youth called Frenway Marthank. He still maintains a strong bond with his childhood friend. It was during their days as youths that Antonius came to appreciate the wonders of the forest and eventually do more than any other ruler to protect the forest ecosystem.

Ebon Strongbear, with whom he has a strong relationship, trained Antonius IV as a youngster in the Hall of Steel. Bayle then went on to the Temple of Thunder as most local aspiring paladins would in Qeynos.

While in the Hall of Steel, Antonius and Kane made great friends with Milea Clothspinner of the prestigious Clothspinners of Qeynos, one of the wealthiest families in the realm of Qeynos. Milea is currently an adventurer, a fact of which her family disapproves.

Later, Antonius IV went on an epic quest with the Qeynos Claymore at his side. This was before he became ruler and after he was a full fledged paladin. His father knew of the quest and its importance and allowed Antonius to wield the Qeynos Claymore for the purpose.

The Qeynos Claymore is what the city is named after and dates back to a time when the humans were living in small communities. Qeynos is an old sort of slang Combine word roughly translating to “manifest destiny for humanity”. The sword is magical and sentient.

The warrior Milea Clothspinner, who often uses a different last name when adventuring, accompanied Antonius IV on this quest. The ranger Frenway Marthank and the bard Vhalen Nostrolo also began the quest with Antonius, but Vhalen left before its completion. Along the way, the high elf Lady Shae of Felwithe joined them. There was also a halfling that assisted Antonius in this quest as well and there are rumors that say that this halfling was none other than Mayor Gubbin of Rivervale. The purpose of the quest was mostly unknown save that it was very important. Though he may speak wistfully of his old friends and adventure, the quest itself and its outcome are something personal and private to Antonius. Thus he does not discuss it other then to say that it was something he had to do in the past.

Antonius IV became romantically involved with Lady Shae after the completion of his quest. However, the Circle of Ten and the Felwithe ruling houses eventually caused the relationship to be broken off. As of right now, Antonius is not married or romantically involved in a public manner with anyone, and as yet has no heir. Milea, ever the adventurer, has been seen in the Plains of Karana lately. She is closer to Kane than Antonius and has put her total trust in the younger Bayle, asking him to watch over her little sister for her. She does not know of Kane’s corrupt soul.

Vhalen is still about in the Karanas and is currently despondent over the disappearance of his love, Metalla. And of course, Mayor Gubbin is the richest halfling around and the current mayor of Rivervale. For reasons known only to him, the mayor does not want the “exploits” of his youth known publicly. Antonius respects his friend’s wish, though he may drop a vague hint now and then. Frenway still lives in Surefall Glade. The recent death of his son in Mammoth Cave has left him in a state of severe grief.

Another of Antonius’ close and trusted friends is Vegalys Keldrane. Vegalys is a paladin of Rodcet Nife and is a few years younger than Antonius. Vegalys acts as advisor and confidant to Antonius Bayle and is also a public servant acting as Lord Magistrate for the city of Qeynos. Vegalys generally concerns himself with investigations into such things as organized crime though he is not directly involved with law enforcement, which is a duty that falls to the Qeynos City Guard.

Kane Bayle
Kane Bayle is Antonius’ younger brother, by two years. Kane acts as Captain of the Guard in times of peace; however, in times of war, Antonius himself assumes direct control of the Guard and the armies of Qeynos. Kane secretly wants to overthrow his older brother and take control of Qeynos, a fact of which Antonius is blissfully unaware. If Antonius ever heard talk of such a thing, he would be certain to set the record straight that he and his brother have a close relationship and such things are the ranting of drunkards and madmen.

Kane has been lulled into an alliance with the Bloodsabers and has begun to turn toward the ways of Bertoxxulous, the Plaguebringer.

The guildmasters in Qeynos are based on deity worship. There is a guildmaster for each class that is available to humans and half elves with the exception of Druids and Rangers guilds which are in Surefall Glade instead. Spell and tome merchants are also available for each class. Here is a list of the main guildmasters:

Good and Neutral
Belious Naliedin – (Bard, Agnostic, Karana, Rallos Zek, Rodcet Nife)
Renic Losaren – (Cleric, Karana)
Runethar Hamest – (Paladin, Karana)
Priestess Jahnda – (Cleric, Rodcet Nife)
Camlend Serbold – (Paladin, Rodcet Nife)
Mespha Tevalian – (Enchanter, Agnostic, Karana, Rodcet Nife)
Kinloc Flamepaw – (Magician, Agnostic, Karana, Rodcet Nife)
LuSun – (Monk, Agnostic, Quellious)
Ebon Strongbear – (Warrior, Agnostic, Karana, Rallos Zek, Rodcet Nife)
Gahlith Wrannstad – (Wizard, Agnostic, Karana, Rodcet Nife)
Hanns Krieghor – (Rogue, Agnostic, Bristlebane, Karana, Rodcet Nife)

Lyris Moonbane – (Necromancer, Bertoxxulous)
Sragg Bloodheart – (Shadow Knight, Bertoxxulous)
Xeture Demiagar – (Clerics, Bertoxxulous)
Perkon Malok – (Magician, Bertoxxulous)
Reania Jukle – (Enchanter, Bertoxxulous)
Tranon Callust – (Wizard, Bertoxxulous)
Rocthar Bekesena – (Warrior, Bertoxxulous)
Hanns Krieghor – (Rogue, Bertoxxulous)

City Resources
Qeynos provides the basic necessities of adventuring: Bankers, a Soulbinder, a Tribute Master, Task Masters, augmentation needs, and merchants that sell backpacks, ale, bandages, food, drink, armor, weapons, shields, and fishing gear.

You’ll also find a Priest of Discord, Tradeskill Quest Masters, tradeskill crafting objects, and supply merchants for alchemy, baking, jewelcrafting, pottery, tailoring, and blacksmithing.

Just outside the city gates, adventurers can make use of a Plane of Knowledge portal.

Places of Interest
Northern Qeynos
The Temple of Life
The Temple of Life is where the resident priests and paladins of Rodcet Nife train and worship. The grounds of the temple include buildings, lush grass, shrubs, tress, and a large pool called the Pool of Jahnda. The temple itself is a circular gem-encrusted marble structure that hovers above the pool. A fountain of sparkling holy water flows from within the temple down to pool below. Throughout the temple and its grounds, the structures are made of white granite with marble floors and thick, light colored, velvet curtains.

Priestess Jahnda is the High Priestess of the Temple of Life. She is wise beyond her years, although no one seems to know how old she really is. The pool, over which the Temple of Life hangs, is named in her honor. The Pool of Jahnda is not meant for public use. It is a sacred pool created for the Koalindl. The Koalindl are fish that were a gift to Priestess Jahnda from the Prime Healer. They are said to be magical in nature. It is rumored that, every so often, the Prime Healer visits our plane in the guise of a Koalindl and swims in the pool.

The Silent Fist Clan
The Silent Fist Clan is the order of monks native to Qeynos. The guild hall is located in the northwest corner of the city against the outer wall. It is a medium-sized, light brown colored wooden building that is clean, unworn, and well-kept. Used as a training hall, the main room is a large open space with smooth, hardwood floor and thatch roof. There is a small room attached to the main building that serves as LuSun’s study and the living quarters. LuSun is the powerful teacher of the Silent Fist Clan. He teaches his pupils that their greatest weapon is the power of their spirit.

Crow’s Pub and Casino and the Circle of Unseen Hands
Crow’s is a run down, old, brown brick building that entertains the local hooligans. The establishment offers a fine selection of brews and ales including Crow’s Special Brew. This brew is one of the finest drinks that can be found. It use to be sold only at Crow’s bar, but apparently Crow is allowing it into other bars for a very hefty price.

One of the pub’s bartenders, Hanns Krieghor, frequently holds secret meetings a back room where a secret passageway leads to the rogue guild, the Circle of Unseen Hands. Hanns always has henchmen guarding all entrances to the guild, so unwanted people can’t get in. Hanns looks like a rough and tumble cutthroat when tending bar, but when he dons his black cloak of the Circle of Unseen Hands, he blends into the shadows and darkness and is rarely seen. He can pick almost any lock and is a master pick pocket. However, the Circle frowns upon stealing from Qeynos locals because they don’t want to run the risk of having the guild being discovered.

Ironforge Estate
The Ironforge Estate includes a weapon shop, a jewelry shop and the home of the Ironforge family. Headed by Brohan and his wife Hurrieta, the Ironforge family is one of wealthiest family’s in Qeynos, if not the wealthiest, and produces the finest craftsmanship. Also crafters, the Ironforge children run the shops. The entire estate is well protected, as the Ironforge family has well known close ties with the local officials and the militia.

Ironforge’s Weapon Shop
This weapon shop is run by the Ironforge family. The main room is a large workshop, with a smaller storage room in the back. There are various weapons for sale displayed along the walls and in the counter display case.

Jewel Box
The Jewel Box is a shop that is run by Svena Ironforge. It is made from wood and is attached to the front of a large wooden house, both of which are clean and well kept. The shop has a large wooden display counter, which shows off the gems and jewelry for sale, and there is also a locked set of cabinets, which holds the more valuable items and class specific items. Svena’s father was the town’s previous jeweler; she was fascinated with gems as a young girl, and is now the most reliable source for appraising gems and jewelry, for a small fee.

Sneed Galliway’s Trading Post
Qeynos largest general store, this shop is run by Sneed Galliway. Sneed is friendly, middle-aged man, who runs his shop with his wife and children. They have a wide variety of new and used items for sale, from small knives to torches to bags to clothes to ropes and even food. The lower floor is Sneed’s shop, and it is filled with brass racks and wooden crates and cases, which display the various goods for sale. The second floor is divided into rooms, including the living family’s living quarters.

The Cobbler
This shop is run by craftsman Gerault Takenmaul. Gerault makes and sells shoes, boots, belts, and bags in this small shop, and lives upstairs in a tight, but cozy nook. The shop is a wood and red brick building, with an old, wood shingled roof. The floor is made of wood, but is mostly covered by colorful rugs. Spools of thread, yards of leather, and various tools clutter the floor and workbench of this small shop.

Southern Qeynos
Hall of Steel
The Hall of Steel is the guild hall for the Steel Warriors of Qeynos. It is the training ground for some of the greatest warriors of Antonica. The Steel Warriors’ Guildmaster Ebon Strongbear, Earron Huntlan, and a few others, led the city’s militia to victory against the Sabertooths of Blackburrow, a small gnoll tribe that lives in the nearby forest, and they are now known as local heroes.

The hall is a large, light gray stone building that decorated with banners of the guild’s symbols and colors and is located adjacent to the Grounds of Fate area. The training room has various weapons displayed on the wall, as well as other training equipment. The upstairs has a large open window overlooking the arena, to watch the various events and other warriors competing.

Grounds of Fate
This is an area where combatants can prove their skill in combat with one another. The ringing sounds of sword melee can often be heard throughout the entire city.

The Wind Spirit’s Song
The Wind Spirit’s Song is the bard’s guild of Qeynos. Guildmaster Belious Naliedin use to work as one of the King’s private entertainers, but now he confers his time-earned wisdom and skills on to others, confining his performances to shows at the local tavern. His financial resources are meager, but he is quite content with his lot.

Hall of Sorcery
Within the Hall of Sorcery, Qeynos citizens study the three circles of magic and lend their services to citizens of Qeynos. Master Enchantress Mespha Tevalian oversees the Hall of Sorcery and the Order of Three.

The hall has a few rooms including a large, round room made of tall dark gray slabs of granite. Long colorful banners line the outside walls of the building and represent the three classes of magic studied within – red represents wizard, gold represents enchanter, and blue represents magician. Inside, the back part of the building is partitioned off by a thick black, velvet curtain, behind which is a private study. Along the walls off the main room, there are a few small tables for studying, and in center of the room there is a large stone altar, with a round firepit in the middle of it and various writings around the edges.

Temple of Thunder
The Temple of Thunder is where the Knights of Thunder worship Karana, the Rainkeeper, the Deity of Storms. The paladins and clerics of the Knights of Thunder are well respected in the city. They often assist the Qeynos Tower Guards in the Plains of Karana.

The temple is located to the side of the arena and beyond a few homes. It is surrounded by a stone wall and has a large grassy area attached. This area is where the cleric and paladin of Karana train and practice.

Lord Runethar Hammerfist is the master of the Temple of Thunder. All paladins report to him and all clerics report to High Priest Renic Losaren.

Tin Soldier
Run by Blacksmith Rane Sedder, the Tin Soldier buys, sells, and trades new and used armor. Merchants within offer chain armor, molds for chain and plate armor, and other various blacksmithing supplies.

The first floor of the shop displays various, new and used metal and leather armor pieces that are for sale. The second floor has a store room and the living quarters for Rane’s family.

Fhara’s Leather and Thread<
Shop owner Fhara Semhart makes and sells a variety of clothing and sewn goods made from leather. She also offers various patterns and other tailoring supplies. Fhara’s shop is connected to her home where she lives alone. This small wooden building is filled with bolts of fabrics and spools of thread on the walls, and a counter where Fhara does her work.

Bag & Barrel
Raheim Varshen and his wife Fellesha run this shop together. They sell various types of containers and satchels. The shop also serves as their home. Raheim is a carpenter who makes small water barrels, tinder and jewelry boxes, crates, etc., and Fellesha is a seamstress who crafts various sizes of bags, skins, pouches and backpacks. Inside, the walls are full of merchandise and equipment and in the backyard, they have a pottery wheel and kiln.

Nesiff’s Wooden Weapons
Nesiff Tallaherd is an excellent craftsman and woodworker. He makes walking sticks, bows and arrows, poles, staffs, javelins, halberds, pikes, pole-arms, and boar-spears, all handcrafted from wood from the local forests. Nesiff has been known to import wood from far away lands, to make specially ordered bows, staffs, and ax handles. A merchant stationed outside the shop sells various fletching supplies.

Lion’s Mane Tavern and Inn
The Lion’s Mane Tavern and the Lion’s Mane Inn are located in the Common’s Square section of Qeynos and are run by Earron and Tasya Huntlan. Both buildings are made of sturdy lumber and are kept fairly clean. The Tavern is connected to the Inn, but is only about half the size.

Lion’s Mane Tavern
Earron Huntlan runs the Tavern with an old war buddy, and both are like local heroes who like to trade old war stories with the customers. The outside of the tavern is made from wood and the inside walls are lined with bricks. The entryway has a colorful painting of lions playing poker. Behind the bar counter, rows of shelves are filled with various types of drinks.

The Tavern is usually quiet during the day, but can sometimes get pretty rowdy at night after the locals have had a few too many, but Earron is usually able to force the troublemakers out of his bar with no problems.

Earron seems to think there is something going on in Qeynos. He thinks there is something more than just a few shady characters moving into town. I think it’s just normal progress and growth. Have you ever been to Freeport? Qeynos isn’t nearly as bad as that place yet! The town’s just getting older, that’s all.

Lion’s Mane Inn
Tasya Huntlan runs the Lion’s Mane Inn. It is a large, two story, wooden building, that is attached to the Lion’s Mane Tavern. At the entrance, there is wooden receptionist desk, where Tasya Huntlan greets people with a friendly smile. The Huntlan family lives in the inn. Tasya and her daughter Sissy sell various ales, wine, and other drinks to quench the thirst of weary travelers staying at the inn.

Office of the People
This is a small, wooden building where a list of city events, ordinances, advertisements, and other documents are held. Rucio Divella knows a lot about the city and also is the one to see about buildings for rent. Hansl Bigroon is the office manager and a great engineer. He has designed most of the structures in Qeynos. He has been working with other great engineers from various cities to design some bridge that will span Erud’s Crossing and into Odus itself.

Qeynos Hold
The Qeynos Hold is the main bank of Qeynos and is run by the Copperhold family. Kendall Copperhold is well trusted and has close ties to the city government. The bank is a medium sized, sturdy brick building. The main room is divided in half by a long counter. Behind the counter, there is an inaccessible stairwell that leads down to an underground vault that is behind a locked iron door. The bank is heavily guarded by strong barbarian warriors.

The Herb Jar
A small shop that has changed ownership many times over the years, The Herb Jar is currently run by Caleah Herblender. Caleah is a mysterious gypsy woman, sort of vagabond look to her. She is a former student of Kinloc Flamepaw, and still has close ties with the Hall of Sorcery. This is why she’s allowed to operate her fairly successful business here. Caleah makes a good living, but it doesn’t flaunt it.

The shop has a scent of burning incense and has various books and potions on the shelves. A large, deep blue and purple rug covers most of the badly worn wooden floor.

Mermaid’s Lure
The Mermaid’s Lure is located on the south-side of the docks. The wooden walls are badly worn and the iron bolts and hinges are rusted from the harsh, salty seawater and air. It is adjacent to a dock that extends out into the ocean, where various seagoing craft are tied up.

Captain Rohand runs the Mermaid’s Lure and trades goods with the sea merchants from Odus. He is a rough looking man with tangled dirty beard and hair, and his skin is dark brown and tougher than leather. The Ol’ Captain is more than ready to tell his tales of adventures and legends to anyone willing to listen.

Fishing nets and gear hang on the walls of the shop in addition to the shells of sea creatures. The shop sells all sorts of nautical supplies.

Port Authority
The Port Authority can be found near the southern docks. Ships leave for other cities on a regular basis.

Fish’s Ale
Fish’s Ale is a pub owned by Fish Ranamer. It is located just off the Qeynos Harbor docks. This pub is a rough and tumble mix of drunken warriors and sailors. A night without a fight here is the exception, not the rule. The City Guards pass by as if the pub doesn’t exist, and pay no attention to the drunks or brawls heard from within. Fish himself is an ex-sailor, and runs the pub with some old sea dog partners. Fish serves up brews, in the quiet, private bar in the back of the building, to shady smugglers and people who want to keep a low profile. An open brew barrel can be found inside. There are also a few places for drunken travelers to rest after a long night of drinking fighting.

Voleen’s Fine Baked Goods
Owned by Voleen Tassen, Volee’s Bakery can be found in the southern part of town, just east of the docks and north of Fish’s Ale. The bakery sells bread, pastries, muffins, cookies and baked goods and baking supplies. Brewing supplies are also available. An oven inside is available for use when Voleen and her staff aren’t busy making goods with it.

Firepride’s is a metalworks shop run by armor smiths Ton and Lanhern Firepride. The shop is an average size wooden building. The main room is separated by a long display counter. The front half of the room displays the pieces of armor that is for sale, and the back half is Lanhern’s workshop, which is cluttered with various tools and there is a small forge in the center of it. Lanhern is hardworking and is known for producing quality goods at a fair price. Ton believes that he is the finest of all blacksmiths.


Into the Depths of: Frostcrypt

Part 1 – Overview of Frostcrypt

Overview of Frostcrypt, Throne of the Shade King

When Solusek Ro raised the Serpent Spine Mountains, one clan of hill giants was trapped in the valleys and marshes that were created between the sheer mountains. The vast mausoleum of Frostcrypt was carved into the ice and stone of the mountain on Icefall Glacier, built to house the honored dead.

The giants of Valdeholm have always revered their dead. Kings, queens, soldiers, priests and even common folk were buried in the great crypt, carved out under a frozen lake. Giants live long lives, and in the days of their dominance they had little need for open battle, so deaths were few. Each time one of their kind passed on, they were given rites by the priests, fitted with attire appropriate to their station, and placed upon a litter. They were then carried down to the tomb by a procession of mourners and priests. The procession arrived would stop at the statue of Rallos, then move on to the appropriate wing of the crypt. The body was laid upon a stone table along with any appropriate tools needed in the afterlife (weapons, trade tools, etc.) Then the family would walk past the body and place with it any other items that they wanted to travel with their loved one.

After resting in state for three days, the body would be placed into a slot along the wall of the crypt and a metal nameplate would be affixed to remind every one who was resting there.

Then came the curse of Rallos Zek cast upon his own giants because they refused to participate in his war on the Plane of Earth. When King Beltron Wulfnor—the king who turned his back on the war—was being taken into the tomb, the voice of Rallos Zek was heard. The dead king’s body rose up and attacked the procession. As each person slain, they rose again as Shades of Zek and turned on those that still lived. Few survived that day, but the current king—Odeen Wulfnor—was one of them, and he will never forget that evil day.

The upper portions of the tomb are damaged from the battle and other battles since. The royal areas remain untouched by battle because even the undead giants hold their royalty in high esteem.

The undead have added on to the tombs in an attempt to make it feel more like a home. These sections are made purely from ice, though in all other respects look just like the architecture of the rest of the tomb.

The front portion of Frostcrypt is hewn of ice and seems worn and basic. Deeper within Frostcrypt is the home of the Shades. The Shades are frustrated and tormented by the curse put upon them, built onto Frostcrypt, attempting to create a new city for themselves—to do what they can to feel normal. They feel their curse will end, once they kill the remaining traitors to Rallos Zek—all of their kin in Valdeholm.

Stone tiles cover the ice in most places. The only exceptions are where they have been damaged by battle or where the giants built beautiful skylights in the roof. These skylights use magically clear ice to transport sunlight into the crypts, lighting the tables where the dead are laid out to rest in state before entering their final resting place.

Currently the Shade King rules the crypt. His followers are the Shades of Zek and the zombie minions made from the corpses of their ancestors. The Shades sent war parties to assault the city every evening, and hide within the crypt during the day. No living giant has set foot inside the tombs since the day the curse turned their king into the Shade King.

Harfange the Black

As the first and most respected leader of the Krithgor giants, Harfange was a force to be reckoned with. His stature was greater than most giants and his gruff, booming voice made him easy to rally around in battle. Woijuh, his trusted, loyal wolf, was always by his master’s side and followed him faithfully into every fight.

Harfange was a righteous giant with an unwavering belief in justice. He was the loudest proponent of battle prowess and skill, all the while supporting the magic and politics required to build and run a city of somewhat unruly warriors. Easy to trust, the giants took to following his lead easily. Under his reign, Krithgor was built—a great city and monument to giants which was later overrun by all the races of the Rallosian Army — something House Harfange took great offense to.

A New Ruling House – Fridleif

When King Haruld the Young of House Harfange died in his first battle, there were weeks of ceremonies in his honor. He was praised for his bravery and skill, for he had defeated overwhelming numbers during the battle against the gnolls encroaching on Krithgor. However, one giant was not sorry to see his cousin go: Fridleif Vernund, head of House Fridleif, had spent more time celebrating than mourning, knowing he would soon be called to compete for the throne.

Fridleif was known to be cold-hearted and calculating. His ability to completely ignore the emotions that could drive others to distraction was what made him powerful. He easily took control of the rituals of ascension, fighting only three battles to earn control of the kingdom and gain his seat on the throne. There was never any doubt that he would be the one to start the second lineage, though it is widely accepted that this common belief was created as part of his own subtle plan to rule.

Ascension of Wulfnor

As time passed, kings changed. Each heir-apparent fought others for the right to ascend. When King Cadwall the Victorious of House Fridleif died when his brother led an uprising against him—which got them both killed—the lineage of the throne came into question once again. Many Krithgorian giants were relieved that new blood would be brought to the throne because the wars of the bickering brothers had taken its toll on them all.

Among the giants, there was an almost unilateral hope that the great gladiator, Wulfnor Olaffun, would fill the great throne in Valdeholm. For many years, Wulfnor proved himself to be an outstanding negotiator and motivator of the people, even when their true rulers were not. He managed to forge a calm in a city that had begun to divide itself between the brothers.

Wulfnor was the thread that held the giants living in Krithgor and Valdeholm together. An elder loreseeker by the name of Pruglar nominated Wulfnor, something which had never been done. Not a single challenger to the throne stepped forward to challenge him for the crown, and thus, Wulfnor and his house became the next rulers of the Krithgor giants.

Part 2 Additional Background Lore

Muddy Royal Scroll – Letter to Odeen Wulfnor, King of the Krithgor

As translated by Librarian Hemfar:

Letter to Odeen Wulfnor

My son. My heir. The hour of my passage into the void grows ever nearer. I have high hopes for the afterlife. Never fret or weep for me, but do learn something from my years as King Beltron Wulfnor of Krithgor. As my last breath leaves me, the crown will become yours to bear. Wear it well, my son. There is no greater example of Rallosian courage and strength than in you

There is much to tell you in so little time, so pay heed. I must explain why I commanded our Krithgorian giants to stay behind when Rallos Zek mounted the second assault upon the Plane of Earth. You have asked me many times to explain how I could dare defy the Warlord. Now I shall.

Before our first passage into the Plane of Earth, the noble House Dromrek sent a guide to me, the gifted Loreseeker Hadengard. He beheld the Prophecy of The Tears, which simply stated:

“And from great sorrow one tear from nine. A tear of ruin.”

There was much interpretation and debate around those simple words. Many days. Some felt the word “tear” would mean the ground would be ripped open to swallow the Rathe Council as the Rallosians overcame them. Others felt it meant a wet tear from the eyes of the Rathe Council would fall across the realms to Norrath and our giants to see our ruin. There was no settling of the debate, so I made a decision.

In the event the Rathe Council and its minions defeated the Rallosian Army and sought to ruin us, our House Wulfnor and you, my son, would need protection to carry on the lineage of the throne and attempt to rebuild. I will admit I sought to preserve my family, but it was also the most logical and wise choice. And so it was decreed: the majority of our Wulfnor House would remain in Krithgor while the rest of our good giants fought onward in the war alongside our Warlord maker.

It was with a great, heavy heart that I watched the throngs of faithful, courageous Krithgorian giants leave that day. My sword arm ached to join them. How the power of the Rallosians had grown in our time on Norrath. The giants showed no fear, only the pride and fellowship we had always known. There is but one prouder moment in this life—the one where you were shown to me as my son.

Heed well this lesson, my son. You can only act on the information you are given, because not all is known. Sometimes, you must choose with your heart and those acts can have consequences you did not expect, but it is your reaction and resolve with the outcome that will make you a great leader. Against all odds and those that hunt us always, we remain.

One day, we may be free and I believe it will be your reign that will see it.

Your father,
King Beltron Wulfnor

Wulfnor Crown Gem — Suspicion of a Krithgor Noble

Librarian Hemfar’s Notations of the Wulfnor Gem:

As I read the crown gem, it became evident that an enchantment exists upon it that might obscure my vision of its past. That said the core of it does not appear to be betraying me. The visions are clear. It is worth remarking this artifact for cultural significance.

The gem reveals a matter of great importance that still plagues the integrity and respect of the royal Wulfnor House to this day. It is a question of blasphemy among the lineage of the kings of the giants. My visions show a recent recurrence in murmurs of blame and discontent about one of their own giants who might have brought them what would seem to be an eternal misery, refusing to lay blame on one of their heroic kings, Beltron Wulfnor.

The crown gem tells a tale that is simply that, however, a tale. The one who wore the crown with this gem was filled with the knowledge of the accusations, but the enchantment seems to be obscuring the actual truth of them.
Huldan, a politically motivated giant within the House Thorsson had long held a rivalry with Kresgord, a same-aged giant favored among the noble houses, who belonged to House Wulfnor—the house of the ruling king. The two giants grew and trained together. While Kresgord went the way of a loreseeker—the elite magic users of the giants—Huldan chose the life of a warrior. Huldan always held some manner of imagined superiority over his rival, believing the way of magic was a weaker path.

As years went on, Huldan’s competitive rivalry became tainted by a bitterness as he watched Kresgord rapidly rise through the ranks of House Wulfnor and saw himself not advance in his own. Suspecting Kresgord was using nefarious means to get ahead, he took to spying on his old friend. One night, he believed he’d found what he was looking for. He claimed to see something…. and whatever it might have been or wasn’t, it was enough of a tale for him to begin a rumor that would bring thousands of years of suspicion into House Wulfnor.

Huldan claimed he had seen Kresgord in his chambers with his arms around a great scrying bowl. He said that he could see, plain as day, the unmistakable whirl and water of a storm within the pool—the storms of Karana! Huldan flatly accused Kresgord as a worshipper of the God of Storms. He demanded that Kresgord be exiled from Krithgor.
Kresgord denied the accusations wholeheartedly and in the name of his father, the king, charged Huldan with treason. Huldan was neatly executed only hours later.

Even though Huldan’s voice had been silenced, his words lingered on. Many believe that Kresgord did indeed worship Karana and some say there are whispers of winds where Kresgor’s body is held in the Frostcrypt.

Cursed Lorekeepers Quill — The First Shades of Zek

As the war on the Plane of Earth ended, King Beltron Wulfnor began to lose his grip on life. Forgoing the comforts of his palatial fineries in Valdeholm, he spent his last hours in Krithgor. He wanted to spend his last moments near his giants and all the Rallosians who served in the war. He had lived a full life and seen much and was ready to give his flesh and spirit to Rallos Zek and pass the throne down to his son, Odeen.

After spending many hours behind closed doors with his son, the loreseekers were brought to prepare Beltron for his final breath and to secure safe passage into the afterlife. The giants believed that upon death, they would live once again as warriors at their maker’s side. They never feared death because of the honor it would bring them — to stand next to their warlord, Rallos Zek, was something many giants looked forward to.

Finally, Beltron’s last breath escaped. Odeen removed the crown and placed it on his head as the loreseekers blessed him with all the strength and courage of his father. Then the body was prepared for the procession into the House Wulfnor chamber of the Frostcrypt.

Thousands of giants made the march from Krithgor to Valdeholm, the great giant city to the north. Their heads held high, proud that their king would be standing with his god, they marched for hours chanting a war prayer created by the first king of the giants, King Harfange the Black, who was said to have been given it by Rallos Zek himself.

“Svard dor istadd
Alska kerdu vargadrum
Ayx! Ayx!”

And so the giants marched, shaking the hillsides with their booming voices, until they reached the frozen Flateye Lake. From here, only the loreseekers and nobles were allowed to continue into the barrow chiseled beneath the icy lake. From the walls of Valdeholm above, the giants all watched as the loreseekers flawlessly rearranged themselves in a formation to march single file into the crypt. In only moments, the body of the great king disappeared into the crypt along with the procession.

The burial rites were progressing as they normally did when a king died, with many words and blessings, incantations and prayers. Then it happened.

Only one survivor, Loreseeker Yrgar (it was his quill that was found in the Serpent Spine Mountains that this reading was taken from) was able to tell the tale of what he saw in that chamber. His memory remained bewildered and confused by what exactly happened, even though his eyes did not betray him.

As the loreseekers wafted purity smoke over the body of the king, his skin began to darken. The loreseekers continued, but began to look to one another with trepidation. When runes began to burn and curl across the king’s skin, the loreseekers stopped. Something was not right. All around them, the ice began to shed a blue-green vapor. The room seemed to be heating up with no explanation.

Then the voice of a god shook the mountains from the sky to the crypt’s icy core.

“BETRAYERS OF YOUR MAKER! RETICENT FOOLS! A time of war falls upon you and you cower like rats? A lesson will be learned this day and for all your days. You will know and love the endless struggle of war. Unto you shall fall a darkness eternal. You have forsaken your lineage, and so it shall destroy you.”

And with the words of the Warlord, Rallos Zek, still echoing off the icy halls, the body of King Beltron rose from the sarcophagus. Though the war on Earth was so long ago, the god had not forgotten or forgiven Beltron Wulfnor and his family who remained in Valdeholm while the Rallosian Army shed blood. And for that cowardice, Rallos Zek would have his vengeance in Beltron himself.

Beltron’s body was awash in a sickly aqua light. The runes on his body began to glow and as he opened his eyes an eerie blue shone from them. He picked up the axes he was to be buried with and brandished them, holding still for one small moment, surveying the room.

Then it started and didn’t stop. In the wildest blood frenzy ever known, the king cut down every living creature near to him. And as each one died, they too rose to be like Beltron, with aqua skin branded by runes. They became beholden to their god. They became Shades of Zek. It would be their duty to hunt down and kill all of the Krithgor giants, to bring them into their fold. They believe that if they win the war—to kill all the living Krithgor—the curse will at last be lifted.

Still, that day has not come. And still, they continue the hunt.

Shattered Keystone – Krithgorian Burial Rites

An account of the burial ritual of all giants:

Vundenclag Blessing

The Krithgor giants, as a sturdy and somewhat spiritual people, conduct the Vundenclag Blessing as the last breath escapes the body, should time and preparations allow. The name of the fallen giant is contemplated and whispered three times—one to secure the spirit, one to expedite its passage to the next realm, and one to set it on its journey.

Past-Breath Yukadig

The Past-Breath Yukadig is performed on giants who died without the presence of a loreseeker to issue the Vundenclag Blessing. The Past-Breath Yukadig is done by breathing into the hand and passing it over the fallen giant’s mouth to simulate the giving of the last breath. The name is then contemplated and whispered once, simply to send protection to the already departed spirit.

Gidgund Winds of Lasting

Gidgund incense is drawn over the body to strengthen the constitution of the spirit. It is sometimes called Purity Smoke. This must be done by a loreseeker learned in the shaman arts. The smoke must be allowed to settle over the body in order to strengthen its aura. Only a shaman may determine if the aura is completed and encircles the body of the dead. This incense will strengthen the flesh for burial and preserve it.

Eternal Battleshrouds

Each body will be wrapped by war-blessed linens. These woven or crafted pieces must each contain at least one stitch or more of thread used in worn battle armor. This will protect the body and the spirit from damage and danger in the afterlife. All weapons considered essential to the giant’s survival and battle in the next life must be buried with him. At the time the essentials are placed into the crypt, the loreseeker must remove any dynasties required to be passed on from father to son.

Iddugind Seal

Finally, when the process is completed, the body is sealed by a loreseeker through the Krithgorian Evenprayer. This prayer shall never be written and only uttered. It is only known to the eldest of loreseekers whose sole purpose is to perform this prayer. This prayer acknowledges and recognizes the wisdom of the gods and asks for their protection. It is not a prayer to be spoken out of proper turn.

The Wings of War

The houses of Wulfnor, Fridleif, and Harfange are separated into three royal chambers in the Frostcrypt. Warriors and commoners also have chambers in the Wings of War. It is paramount that each giant be laid to rest in the appropriate area. Commoners may be buried in royal chambers if the honor was earned by servitude or loyalty.

Illegible Diary of Lorekeeper Baeldon — War for Earth: The Passing of an Empire

Diary of High Lorekeeper Baeldon

As time passes, memory fades, and some things should never be lost to the ravages of time. So I have endeavored to record my personal impressions of the war that has ended the greatest empire in the history of Norrath.

Unfortunately there are no first-hand accounts to be had of some of these events, for those that participated are unavailable. Many are dead. Those that still live have been struck witless by the gods that they opposed. Only the victors can tell the tale and they are now beyond our reach even if they wished to speak of it. Of course there is one other, but he has sworn a curse upon those of us who stayed behind. So this must be a personal accounting with opinion and thoughts accounted as truth.

Our World

Prior to the call, our valley was our own small empire. Every creature in it belonged to us. We lived in a city we named after ourselves, spread casually about the southern steppes. We had orcs mining ore, kobolds and gnolls hunting for our food and goblins to serve our every need. But our defenses were our own. Even in times of peace when there were no worthy foes we were ready for war. We dreamt battle and awoke to practice war, even if we only found use for it in dreams.

Decades passed that way. We went from young eager conquerors to resolute guardsman over a limited and passive empire. Many prayed to Rallos Zek for a war to fight. While some of us were praying for war, the ogres who lived to the south, nominally free though paying us homage, disappeared overnight.

The Call – War for Earth: The Passing of an Empire Vol. II

The loreseekers heard it first. They told us of the battle that the ogres brought to the Rathe Council. Their complacency had ended in a great war, in wonderful glory. Our loreseekers told us what our god told them, that these smaller, younger, fiercer cousins were shining in the light and power of war while we remained in our valley, rulers over a peace that war had earned us. As our loreseekers spoke about the battles on their pulpit with vast fire in their voices we became hot to join them. For days our forges blazed and our smiths worked tirelessly to produce new arms and repair the old. Our warriors drilled and fought to the death for the glory of Rallos Zek and leadership of our war parties.

When we learned of their failure, we were torn. Most wanted to rush forth and follow their path, to crush the powers of Earth that defeated our tiny cousins. Others thought that to do so would make us seem weak, followers not leaders. What our king thought I can not say for certain. He had been privy to counsel that the rest of us did not know. Some say wise counsel, while others call the high loreseeker council of those days the greatest traitors our people have ever known. Far more often spoken, though always under breath, was that our king had turned coward. Regardless, when the call came, we answered. As one of the oldest Rallosian clans and because of the seclusion of our home, he chose to gather his army at Krithgor for his assault on the other gods.

The remnants of the ogre invaders were the first to arrive. We recognized some of them, though few enough of them returned. For their initiative and ferocity, these were named commanders of the Rallosian army. This was not something we accepted. It was well known that any individual Krithgor could defeat half a dozen ogres, heroes of the previous battle or not. There were fights, many fights. Ogres were killed in single combat by giants many times, yet none challenged those ogres given charge of us by our god, for that was not allowed. Undoubtedly this was the reason our king ordered us to head north in the night prior to the opening of the portal.

The Battle

When the portal opened and the Rallosian Army marched through, we were not there to see it. It must have been terrible to behold: rows and columns of giants, ogres, orcs and even goblins, armor gleaming and blades raised. At their head was the god of war himself, Rallos Zek. His power and their roars would have caused the ground to shake. Their banners, blood red axes on a field of gold, never needing to dip to enter the massive structure that transported them to the Plane or Earth.

Bone and stone collided in the Planes of Power. Axes cleaved wooden limbs and hearts were pierced by branches and shards of stone. Bodies of all sort littered the field and the Rallosian army pressed on. They knew no fear and their tactics were perfect as they followed the orders of their god. The defenders knew the lands better and had the power of their gods and the plane itself behind them, and yet they fell back.

We do not know what turned the tide, but we are certain it turned. Days later, our scouts saw the Rallosian corpses flung from the portal. Before they had thudded to the ground, the living remnants of the army came through the portal, Rallos himself the last of them. Great stone hands reached through into our realm, resting on the edges of the portal as if to hold it open for the hordes of earthen elementals and other beasts that flooded through in pursuit.
These pursuers were weaklings and relatively easily defeated, though they did some damage to our ancient home, Krithgor. It was as if the powers of earth did not wish to pursue, for shortly the elementals ceased to pass through the gate. Then those massive fingers began to clench, cracking the portal and causing its magical light to crackle. Before it pulled the portal down, shattering it forever, we heard the words of power; we saw the force of those words enter the valley.

The Aftermath

After the war was lost, the curse of the gods was revealed. We watched as those of our kin that had heeded the call of our god turned into simple beasts. They retain their penchant for war, it is what they were created for, but they have lost their ability to understand it. Still, these were beasts we could understand and once again tame. We began to reclaim our small empire, rebuilding upon the ruins of the last. We were bitter then, angry for failing our god and arrogantly believing that if we had joined the battle the war would have been won and the terrible curse prevented.
But our anger was not enough to satisfy the god that we had willfully scorned. He came to us just ten years to the day after the portal was crushed and his loyal followers cursed by the other gods. He proclaimed upon us a doom that we could not avoid, one that he promised would be more painful and enduring than what the joined gods had done to his followers. His proclamation, heard by every one of our people regardless of their location at the time, was thus:

“Unto you shall fall a darkness eternal.

You have forsaken your lineage,

and so it shall destroy you.”

We were all filled with dread. For decades we worried, bringing terror to us all. After time, some speculated that this was the fullness of the curse, that we should suffer fear of his wrath until the end of time. When another decade passed and we remained untouched by any unusual happenings, we began to relax. We had regained control of our world and almost forgotten the recent past when king Beltron died and everything changed.

Runed Sash of the Wraithguard — The Founding of the Wraithguard

The Krithgor giants hold the greatest regard for their ancestors and heroes, a fact which made Rallos Zek’s curse upon them so painful. In the blink of an eye, the majority of the Krithgor heroes were slain and turned to Shades of Zek when King Beltron Wulfnor rose from death and became the first Shade.

Then, when the Krithgorian ancestors and honored dead began to rise and attack the living, they were faced with a moral dilemma. To disturb the dead and kill their own heroes was unthinkable, yet they did not want to give themselves over to the shades either.

Many believed that it would be best to allow the Shades of Zek to take them. They had dishonored themselves by abandoning Rallos Zek when he called to them and it was a heresy of the worst kind to disturb the dead. Most did not know what to do. Each night the Shades would come and destroy many of their kin. They knew soon they would all die and join the cursed.

But some decided to act. Malgar, a lorekeeper of great foresight, worked to find ways to defeat the Shades, or at least find protection from them. Malgar managed to touch the mind of one shade and learned a configuration of runes that seemed to repulse them.

With some practice and reconfiguration of symbols, some found on the shades’ skin, he created plans to build a runed-carved stone wall to protect Valdeholm from the shades.

While Valdeholm still had some protection, it became clear that these passive defenses alone were not enough. A small group of Krithgor asked Malgar for help to forge weapons and armor that might aid them to kill the shades, and he did so, all with the same runes of repulsion.

Every night, this band of warriors set out to battle the shades and prevent them from passing through the city gates. They called themselves the Wraithguard.

It wasn’t long before word of this group of vigilantes reached King Odeen Wulfnor’s ears. He and many of the leaders of Valdeholm were shocked. Killing the shades, they said, was heresy because they were still considered heroes. Many called for the death of those that went out to fight, but Odeen understood the problem more deeply than most and, after speaking privately with Malgar, ordered the heretics cast out of the city. The king promised to arrange supplies to be granted the Wraithguard, acknowledging that they were all that lay between the shades and the extinction of the Krithgor. But Odeen could not politically support the shade hunters.

The Wraithguard, shunned by their kin, were forced to take up residence in the homes outside the city’s runed wall. The king then decreed that the Wraithguard were no longer to be thought of, they were to be ignored as if they never existed.

The Wraithguard were chagrined, but knew well enough to read between the lines. They knew the king was putting great trust in them, and it was an honored task, though he could and would never say it aloud. They shouldered the shame, though to most of them, there was no shame in protecting their people.

Because of the ongoing threat and the constant loss of Wraithguard warriors, those accused of crimes in Valdeholm that are to be executed are given the option to join the Wraithguard instead. Thus, the Wraithguard gains Houses in the Royal Crypt

House of Harfange the Black – 6 generations

Harfange Gorod
Wife – Yubawa
One daughter – Phrosyne
Two sons – Edmuund, Olof
Pet – Woijuh – a wolf pet, Harfange’s companion during battle
Wife – Gytha
Three daughters – Muria, Luua, Lydyyth
One son – Aelfgir
Aelfgir, the Cruel
Wife – Thyra
Two sons – Thurkill, Egbert
Thurkill – died at a young age, Egbert the Lighthand, took the throne
Wife – Merica
Two daughters – Mualda, Haldis
Two sons – Holfdan, Alof
Wife – Sigris
One son – Haruld
Haruld the Young – died in his early years, before having children. Was betrayed by a royal advisor
Wife – Nuura

House of Fridleif, Master Warcraft – 3 generations

Fridleif Vernund
Wife – Avana
Two daughters – Sirigi, Shimini
Two sons – Havar, Bertun
Havar and Bertun (co-kings) – chose to only conceive one son each, and killed any daughters after birth.
Wives – Londa (Havar) and Beltsea
One son for Havar (Finn) and one son for Bertun (Caldwall)
Cadwall, the Victorious – when both Finn and Cadwall came of age, they were tasked to both lead an army to combat a large orc incursion to the south. Cadwall’s army was victorious while Finn’s army was mostly decimated. Later, Finn later would lead an uprising against Cadwall, which resulted in both of their deaths.
Wife – Avuya (slain during the uprising)
No sons

House of Wulfnor the Gladiator – 5 generations (4 within Frostcrypt)

Wulfnor Olaffun, the Gladiator
Wife – Thice
One daughter – Hulda
Two sons – Eadric, Fratho
Wife – Urga
No daughters
One son – Hroar
Hroar, the Unliving
Wife – Audir
One daughter – Haldis
Two sons – Beltron, Ugne
Beltron, the Shade King – current king of the crypt. Note: Ugne, his brother, is the High Priest.
Wife – Gefia – she is dead and already buried inside of the crypt
Son – Odeen
Odeen Wulfnor– current king of the giant city. He successfully escaped the day the curse was unleashed by silently praying

Part 3 Points of Interest

Within the many rooms and corridors of Frostcrypt, several tombs and resting chambers can be found. Throughout the crypt, artifacts and murals of the Zek family hang on the frosty walls.

The majority of the walls within the Frostcrypt are blank, leaving room for new resting chambers to be carved out. The icy ceilings of rooms within the crypt have skylights that allow viewing the lake frozen lake above it.

Main Hall

The steps leading down into the main entry hall from Valdeholm are covered in ice. A lifelike statue of Rallos Zek stands in the center of a large room that splits the main hall to the north and east. Great warriors are buried in the west wing. The north wing is where the common giants are buried. The east wing is where the clergy and councilors are buried.

Royal Resting Chamber

The giants carry their dead through the walkway leading to the central dais, where the king is laid out until the next king dies. The ceiling and walls are tiled with stone.

In the central dais room rests the previous king to die. The sarcophagus of the king is set upright. Behind it is the entryway to the first dynasty’s burial chamber. There are also doorways to the second and third dynasty’s burial chambers, to the left and the right of the first dynasty’s chambers.

The central dais also has a set of stairs that wrap around the circular dais. The stairway leads up to the top of the dais and then back down.

The sarcophagi of the kings in all three chambers are similar except for one notable difference: each king of a specific house holds a different item from the kings of the other houses.

All of the sarcophagi of the family members (wife, daughters, and sons besides the first son) are similar in design to each other – relatively normal looking tombs made of stone.

The small room before each dynasty’s resting chamber is a chamber for their most honored servants. These servants are placed in niches in the walls in the order of their deaths.

Wing of the First Kings

The Wing of the First Kings is the first dynasty’s chamber, the resting place of Harfange the Black. In the middle of the room lies a stone statue of Harfange. He is depicted in blackened plate armor, with the family crest engraved into the chest piece.

The groups of sarcophagi are grouped by families. The first generation of the dynasty is grouped together, and then the second generation, and so on. Artwork within the chamber represents that Harfange was the first to unite all of the giant tribes into one kingdom, by defeating the chiefs of all of the other giant sects.

Wing of the Iron Kings

The Wing of the Iron Kings is the second dynasty’s chamber, place of repose for Fridleif, the Master Warcraft. In the middle of the room stands the statue of Fridleif, his sword held above his head pointing up at the heavens, with shield in his left hand. The kings in this chamber bear metallic dark green shields and metallic silver shortswords over their bodies, signifying their valor in combat.

Wing of the Frozen Kings

The Wing of the Frozen Kings is the third dynasty’s chamber, domain of Wulfnor, the Gladiator. In the middle of the room stands the statue of Wulfnor, with axe in mid-swing. In this chamber, all kings wield a metallic gold double headed axe, held upside down across the body.

Ice Halls

Ice Meeting Hall

The meeting hall is found off of the commoners section of the crypt. As with all the rooms built by the shades, this room is constructed entirely of ice, but shows great care and a skill in its construction. This room is built in an almost stadium seating style. In the center of the room is a raised dais where those speaking to the assembled mass would stand.

Ice Armory

The armory is room is constructed wholly of ice and with great precision. Lining the walls of this room are many weapons racks and armor stands. Most of these still have weapons and armor on them. The weapons within the armory were wielded by the most powerful of the shades when they were alive and have been placed there in honor of their power.

Ice Homes

The homes within the crypt are identical to the cave homes found in the giant city, with the notable exception of being constructed of frozen water. These houses are an effort by the shades to replicate their previous lifestyle while they work towards freeing themselves from their curse.

Ice Temple to Rallos

Found just off the shaman and priest section of the crypt, this large, ornate, octagonal chamber is dominated by an enormous statue of Rallos Zek in the center of the room. The statue overlooks a moderately sized shallow pit that is used for single combat between the giants, which serves as a form of worship of Rallos Zek. Surrounding the pit are several benches used by those watching the fights or attending the temple for prayer. Carvings detail great battles in the history of the giants, but several also show fights between the shades and living giants in the city above.

Ice Council Chamber

The Council Chamber is used to plan attacks on the giant city in an effort to get past the runic wall. Various trophies, such as shields, helms, breastplates and weapons can be found leaning against the walls or hanging on them. The chair at the head of the table is particularly ornate and is obviously used by a leader of the shades during meetings.

Statue of the Shade King

There is a statue of the Shade King on a tiered dais at the back of the room, which serves as a shrine. The room also hosts a secret entrance to a hidden maze.

Ice Maze

The Ice Maze leads to the deeper sections of Frostcrypt. The walls and floors are white ice and very murky, making them impossible to see through. Hidden traps are found throughout the maze.

Shade King’s Ice Chambers

Beltron, the Shade King, is the last of the giants to be buried in the tombs of Frostcrypt. His chamber is reminiscent of his former chamber within the castle except that everything is made of ice, including the royal bed, desk and chair, and other remnants.

Ice Treasury

The Treasury contains ornate chests and relics made of milky ice, as well as replicas of precious treasures from the city including vases, statues and other relics.

Ice “Guest” Rooms

It is extremely rare that the Shades of Zek will have guests; however, on rare occasion they might keep one of their kin alive in order to question them. Even more rarely they might receive a visitor from the dragon shrine. In either case, these often reluctant guests are kept in these rooms behind the maze so that they don’t wander around.

Sources (3 parts):


Planes of Power

The Plane of Justice

A council of six masked beings known as The Tribunal, or the Six Hammers for their massive golden gavels, rule over the bleak landscape of endless gray plains and massive prison structures that is the Plane of Justice. All manner of sentient creatures that have committed unspeakable crimes are condemned to serve sentences within the impenetrable walls of the planar prisons, watched over by hooded servants of the Six Hammers.

The mortals of Norrath who worship The Tribunal claim that the Six Hammers sit eternally in the Court of Justice, perpetually passing judgment on the creatures brought before them by a being known only as The Seventh Hammer. It is this Seventh Hammer that acts as the messenger and bailiff to The Tribunal, and it is said that he is the only sentient creature that can stand before the immortal judges and he himself not be judged.

The Plane of Flame

Solusek Ro, The Burning Prince with his crown of flame and spear of fire rules the Plane of Flame from his mighty Burning Tower. Fire Elementals, Efreeti, and an assortment of other fire loving planar creatures inhabit Solusek’s endless kingdom of blazing landscapes under a burning red sky filled with clouds of smoke, smoldering embers, and fiery rain.

The mortals attribute Solusek with such acts as the raising of the Serpent’s Spine Mountains and the destruction of Eldarr Forest, creating the Deserts of Ro and changing the face and history of Norrath. Does this deity, revered by powerful wizards throughout Norrath, serve the will of his father, the mysterious greater god Fennin Ro, Tyrant of Fire and Lord of the Plane of Fire? Or does Solusek Ro serve his own destructive and power hungry cause?

Plane of Disease – The putrid stench of rotting flesh hangs heavy in the air as adventurers discover a vast plane of pestilence, decay, and corruption.

Plane of Nightmares – The home of Terris Thule. A forested region, a wilderness of terror, the Plane of Nightmares will steal the sleep of many adventurers.

Plane of Knowledge – New Tanaan is a city-state that exists outside normal physical and political boundaries, a haven of knowledge for those who seek it.

Plane of Tranquility – Tranquility, the gateway to deeper planar realms. Peace reigns supreme here and adventures will not be able to engage in combat or use offensive magics

Rujarkian Hills – LDON

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Greetings, ______. I always have a story to tell, but I’ve been consumed with learning about the Rujarkian Hills. If you do enough work for us in those hills, I can share some of my knowledge with you!’

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Bah, you made me miss a note! No matter. I’ve been interrupted a lot lately with all the inquiries I get! I’ve been collecting stories and information from all over these days. I fancy myself a bit of a historian now when it comes to the goblins and orcs. It’s important to understand the history of both of those creatures to understand what is happening in the Rujarkian Hills. That’s my opinion, anyway. Those are no ordinary orcs in the hills. See me soon and I will have a tale or two for you.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Wonderful to see you, ______! I always enjoy telling a story to a fellow explorer. Let’s start with the goblins and the orcs and where they came from, shall we? To start with, you should know that the hero that was considered the mother of all of the goblins was named Rujark. Her name is about the only thing the goblins of Norrath can agree upon. Obviously, the hills over yonder once belonged to Rujark’s goblins, but they do not anymore. That’s all I will divulge for now!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Perfect timing. I just put down my lute. Did you know the orcs were created by Rallos-Zek? Oh yes! They were bred for battle. Mighty creatures indeed and very determined. They rely on slaves, whether they be orcs or other creatures. Each orc seemingly belongs to another! Return soon for more ______. I’m sure we will spend a lot of time together!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Just finishing up some bread. Let’s make this quick. As I said before, each orc belongs to another. We know it’s true. This makes the social order of the orcs very simple to follow. Each orc is property, all the way to the highest ranks. The highest ranks relate to one another a bit differently though. Unfortunately, I don’t have much more detail than that! I wonder if this will help you defeat them? I don’t know that, but I do think knowledge can be a weapon.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Welcome once again ______. As I said, while orcs are almost always the property of another, it’s somewhat different at the top ranks. The highest levels of the orcs maintain their positions through trading and sharing property, and fighting to prove their supremacy. It’s a complicated system that is constantly in motion. In order to keep their positions, the top ranks constantly build their stable of slaves and defend against those yearning for power. Can you imagine that life? How depressing! They must forever be on their guard. To be owned would be a foul fate!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

Your Adventure Stone glows with more power as you gain stature with the Wayfarers Brotherhood.

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver hums a mesmerizing melody and then stops. ‘Ah, yes, ______. Hello. I am sure you have seen the vast number of goblins being used as slaves in the Rujarkian Hills, have you not? Well, I have a friend that can tell you more about their origins. Various clans and species of goblins are indeed spread across Norrath, but the Rujarkian goblins are different. You’ll find Ginehl Wiquar in the sewers of Freeport. She’s been gathering information from all sorts of messengers around the world about the Rujarkian goblins and orcs.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Ginehl Wiquar’

Ginehl Wiquar says ‘Ah, you’re here to receive information. I’ve have a steady stream of messengers bringing me more history around the goblins and orcs in the Rujarkian Hills. It’s a very interesting story. The gods themselves were involved, don’t you know. You see, Solusek Ro, the lord of Flame, created the Serpent Mountains by arching the crust of Norrath and brought burning heat down upon the inhabitants of Norrath. A tribe of goblins and orcs were trapped somewhere beneath the surface. The ages of evolving, warring, and fighting produced the result we see in the hills. The goblins lost their control of the hills some time ago, but I don’t know when. There is much more behind that story though. I can tell you more later. There are too many ears about.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Ginehl Wiquar’

Ginehl Wiquar says ‘More about the Rujarkian orcs and goblins, hm? Well, over the years, the orcs trapped underneath the Rujarkian Hills advanced in ways we’ve never seen. There are no other orcs in our lands that have attained the same organization and strength these vessels of battle have. There was no way the goblins could prevent the rise of the orcs and the fall of their superiority in the hills. Run along now please, I’m expecting someone. I’ll see you soon, I have no doubt.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Ginehl Wiquar’

Ginehl Wiquar says ‘I certainly understand your continuing interest in the evolution in the Rujarkian Hills. Those poor worshippers of Brell Serilis, the goblins, really didn’t stand a chance against the orcs. I can see why the dwarves aren’t too fond of the idea that their own father has anything to do with the goblins. It seems reasonable to me though as both races are experts with life underground, wouldn’t you say? Okay, I must ask you to leave again. Some of my more unsavory contacts will not approach while I have visitors.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information! 

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Rujark, yes. You are in luck. Because I’m writing a song about the Rujarkian Hills, I have been traveling and looking for more particulars and I always get told more of the tales. So, I can tell you now that after years of practice, Rujark became a master of all the weapons she had found. She had extraordinary agility and dexterity. After some time, she chose to take her skills to the surface of Norrath to test herself. She was anxious as she waited for the right moment. Getting caught would mean the end of her! She was not afraid of death either. She had seen plenty of that as the goblins fought the orcs over the years. That’s almost all of what I know. I need to gather more of the story for my song, so I will probably have more information for you soon.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information! 

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Hey-ho ______! I had to rewrite some of the notes of my song. It’s quite complicated making a musical masterpiece! So, from where we left off, the story goes that Rujark didn’t know that her brother, Givlikk, was wise to her habits over the years and had followed her out of the caverns to the surface. He saw Rujark’s skill and grace with her two short blades. He was impressed and envious at the same time. He ran home ahead of her and waited in silence for her return. I have a friend in the Karanas I must speak with. I heard he has more information I can use to tell you and put in my new song.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

Your Adventurer Stone glows with more power as you gain stature with the Wayfarers Brotherhood.

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Where were we again, ______? Hm . . . ah yes. Rujark returned to her hovel in the caves and her brother Givlikk stopped her as she attempted to pass through the door. He asked her about the blood on the rags she wore. She was unsure of her brother’s intentions and said nothing. He told her he had seen her fight the orcs. He quietly resented his sister’s skills, but could not ignore their magnitude. Together, they would come up with a plan that would suit them both. I think I made the verse about this a little faster paced than the others so I can build some suspense!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Each day, I get closer to completing my song. The notes blend so well now and the lyrics are moving along! I had to pay for some information, but it was useful. As you know, goblins are not known for their empathy. Therefore, while Givlikk and Rujark discussed how to proceed with her skills and secrets, he had his own agenda. Givlikk entertained thoughts of trading Rujark as a guard to slave owners in order to make a great deal of money. The only problem was she was female. No one would buy a female warrior. And that is when they hatched their plan. I must stop here for now. I just thought of a great lyric for part of my song!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘I’ve been working on this song of mine. It continues to grow the more I learn about the Rujarkian Hills. As you may have guessed, Givlikk and Rujark both decided that if Rujark was presented as a male, she could live as she had always dreamed and would be of great use to the goblins overall. They changed her clothing. In order to disguise her female features and her former identity, Rujark willingly let her brother Givlikk scar her face with a burning dagger. Of course, it was a task he enjoyed greatly. His envy of his sister grew every hour, every day. That is all I have uncovered for now, friend. Return soon and if my song is done, I will play it for you!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘I’ve come to a part in my song that will have to move the audience to great anticipation! I think I shall use minor chords for that part, hm. So, yes ______, as Rujark face was bandaged until her scars healed, she easily fit among the male goblins. She refrained from speaking and loyally took orders from her battle master. They would often raid the orcs. In every fight, Rujark killed twice as many orcs as the rest. Rumors and fanciful stories began to get passed around the caves under the spine of the world. Must go, ______. I really want to finish this portion of my song.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver strums his lute and stops to write some words down on a sheet filled with musical notes and lyrics. ‘Wonderful to see you back, ______! You must hear this! When Rujark was told she would have to go back to the bottom of the ranks and take orders from males, her response was deadly. She raised her short swords and made quick work of the nobles who died with stunned expressions. They did not have a hope against her skills. The news of her triumph over the nobles spread fast and so did word that she was a female. Speaking of spreading news, it’s time for me to start practicing this song and committing it to my memory. I have a few things to add still, however.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Ah, we have come to the big finale of our story! Over all the years Rujark warred against the orcs, she gained a faithful following. It turned out that her prowess in battle far exceeded the perception of her gender. The goblins then began to set rumors on the breeze that Rujark was blessed by both Brell Serilis, the Duke of Below, and Rallos Zek, the god of War. The rumors took hold and she became the leader of the goblins, who referred to her, then and now, as their mother. They believe she brought the goblins to a better place and her knowledge and skill kept the goblins from falling to the orcs for many years. And so, the region where Rujark and the gnomes lived came to be referred to as the Rujarkian Hills. I was going to end my song there, but yet again, someone told me more about Rujark and her fate. Soon, you will hear about that.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Hail ______. Well, the story about Rujark has a bit of a bitter ending which makes it perfect for my song. Over the years that Rujark trained and improved the goblins as the leader in the Rujarkian Hills, her brother Givlikk grew so envious that he became obsessed with ending his sister’s life. Givlikk was shamed and punished for trying to sell his sister too. After all, to the goblins, Rujark was very much their divine mother that had been touched by the gods. Rujark kept her brother near to her because she trusted him. Hm, I need to add more notes to this part of the song.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver plays a sad melody on his flute. ‘Where was I, ______? Ah yes. Well, one night Givlikk completely lost all of his bonds with reason. As he often did, Givlikk brought Rujark a stein of frothy ale as they ate an evening meal. He had set up the routine some time before, when he started having great fantasies about killing his sister. He watched eagerly as Rujark lifted the stein to her lips and drank. He cackled as she swallowed the poisonous ale he had made. Now, this is where the tale gets a little strange . . . and as sad as it is, this kind of drama makes for a wonderful song.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Songs that end in powerful tragedy are often remembered, ______. The story of Rujark certainly includes that. Right, the poison. When Rujark swallowed the poison, she was not affected as she should have been. There were no violent spasms. She did not bleed from her eyes, ears, or mouth. She just plainly went to sleep. There was one journal that I read that described Rujark’s spirit lifting from her body and soaring to another existence. Of course, we can’t confirm this, but it sounds wonderful for a song! Anyway, that is how the area got its name, from the mighty Rujark. You’d be best off going to Shumpi Wimahnn. He is a sprightly halfling but he knows a lot about orcs! He’s been doing orcish research in Highpass Hold.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

Your Adventurer Stone glows with more power as you gain stature with the Wayfarers Brotherhood.

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘Ah yeah, them orcs. Bit on the burly side, aren’t they? I’m sure I could take one out. I bet they can barely see me if I run through their legs. What do ya think? Hee hee. Oh, right. Task at hand. You want to know more about those awful Rujarkian orcs, hm? I’ve done me a bit of sneaking in the Rujarkian Hills. I’ve learned how they operate and how they set up their ranks. If you come back soon, I’ll tell you a wee bit about it. I’ve gots to run though. Time to eat!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘What cheer! You’ve gone and come back again ______! Blimey, I’m a touch peckish. Anyway, the orcs. Yeah, well, at the very bottom rung of their ladder, you’ll see the lowest of the low, aye. Most would think the Rujarkian orcs merciless to the point of madness, but there is a wee bit of practicality in their minds that detests waste. So, criminals are not just tossed into the stewpots like the weak or old, they become cast-off, menial slaves in a group of orcs known as The Broken. Those orcs are composed exclusively of the damned. Frightful, hm? The Broken orcs are mad and spend their useless blood freely, preferring death over a life without a real master. Cripes, I have to find some food to put into me belly.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘Back to it, ______. I’m ready! Ya know, even though slavery is the tie that binds orcs of all stations together, there are slaves that provide food and labor to all the orcs. They are controlled by the Steelcrown. And while those nasty Steelcrown can ask the stronger orcs to help find and kill new flesh, the management, control, and use of slaves is their sole domain. They are the most numerous of the Rujarkian orcs and the most commonly encountered by outsiders . . . and they don’t usually live very long. Hee hee. I’ll be . . . I’m hungry again.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘I’m going to have to start carrying food with me, ______. It’s dreadful to stand here all day and hear my tummy growl as it does. As I just wrote in a note to Barstre Songweaver, I was able to get a few more tidbits on the Spiritbound orcs in the Rujarkian Hills. They are the healers and teachers amongst the orcs, though an outsider would be hard-pressed to compare the ruthless and brutish rituals of the Spiritbound to the rituals of the outside world. Gifted with mysterious insight, they police the thoughts and actions of their race, turning quickly to righteous judge and deft executioner when the situation calls for it. Hee hee. They are also bloody masters with surgical tools. Whether or not they use them to heal and repair is questionable. I saw tools and blood, but no mended orcs. Naturally, I didn’t hang around too long! Alas, I must run, I can barely hear myself think over my grumbling belly!’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘Thankfully I just ate, fair ______! Not sure you know this yet, but even though the Rujarkian orcs would rather take than trade, one line of thier breed, the captive Coin, has managed to survive through treacherous, but careful, use of wealth. They build quiet trade alliances with outsides,but still use brute strength and coercion more often than crafty wit to obtain their monies. Still, as far as orcs go, you understand, they are considered clever…and fearsome. Speaking of fearsome, I’ve got myself a raging appetite I must appease. I’ll be ready to talk to you later.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

Your Adventurer Stone glows with more power as you gain stature with the Wayfarers Brotherhood.

You say, ‘Hail, Shumpi Wimahnn’

Shumpi Wimahnn says ‘The last and final group of orcs I’ve learned about are the Steelslaves. Ferocious, they are! Born to bleed, these are the greatest warriors of the Rujarkian orcs. Although the other classes have fighters in them, none compares to the innate skill and practiced battle rage that these orcs possess. They are the front line and last defense of the Rujarkian orcs and they are mighty menacing in great numbers, I tell you. I get shivers about it, I do! Well, that’s all I have to tell you about the orcs. I’m sure Barstre Songweaver can give you any additional information you may need.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

You say, ‘Hail, Barstre Songweaver’

Barstre Songweaver says ‘Have you had your fill of story yet ______? You have spent a lot of time learning about the Rujarkian Hills. And, I can tell by the look in your eye that you know just as much as anyone about the orcs and goblins in those hills. I consider you a master of the story here as much as anyone. I have nothing to tell you, but you can stand by as I sing if you like. Be well, ______. I consider you a great adventurer and good friend. I’d fight with you by my side any day.’

You have received an invaluable piece of information!

Your Adventurer Stone glows with more power as you gain stature with the Wayfarers Brotherhood.

You have completed your progression through the Rujarkian Hills.

Tomb of the Crown

Holciel Rowen`dal
as documented by Lyriam Kaelean,
Guildmaster of the College of High Magic, Fayspire

When a village, town, or city is built, the builders must take into consideration not only the living occupants, but also the dead. Takish`Hiz was no exception. Off to the west, within the Serpent’s Spine, the tomb and catacombs of Takish`Hiz were built. It was named Holciel Rowen`dal, roughly translating to Tomb of the Crown.

For hundreds of years the honored dead of Takish`hiz were brought to Holciel Rowen`dal and laid to rest. Commoners, lesser nobles, nobles of houses close to the throne, and royalty were all brought to the tomb, carried there by family members and servants along the Road of the Dead in great processions. The tomb was divided among the social castes and each elf had his place.

After the forest of Elldar fell to the advance of the burning sands, most of the elves of Takish`Hiz left Tunaria for new lands, desperate to escape the wrath of the spiteful god who envied Tunare and her creations. Not all left however. Many remained, believing that the forest could be restored to its former glory. Though hundreds died and their bodies were swallowed by the sands, hundreds more were taken to Holciel Rowen`dal. In these dark times the Tomb was visited now more than ever, and even though the sands buried the Road of the Dead, the elves still remembered its path.

Takish`Hiz remained, under the oppression of the desert’s intense heat and biting sands. The elves were forlorn as experiments to restore Elldar were unsuccessful. Their numbers dwindled year after year, the elves now desperate. It was then that the Teir`dal appeared and made war on Takish`Hiz, the home of their ancient enemies. With Al`Karad’s defeat, Takish`Hiz was doomed. Great battles were fought, but in the end the tide of darkness that were the Teir`dal overcame the elves, slaughtering all who could not escape.

The dark elves began the looting and defiling of the ancient elf city. Treasure was, and still is, being shipped to Neriak. Through their exploration of the city, they also learned of Holciel Rowen`dal, and began the looting of the catacombs, as did the greedy and opportunistic human nomads from the north. Treasure was to be found in great quantities there, though that was not all that was found. The dead were not always restful, and the spirits of the Kings and Queens still haunted the halls. And now, to this day, treasure hunters come from afar to take their chances in the catacombs in search of precious elven artifacts and glory.

Rumors, lies and half-truths abound in many circles on Tunaria regarding the whereabouts and details of the Tomb of the Crown. What is clear is that any journey to the tomb is perilous in and of itself. Fearsome creatures of all sizes lurk in the Desert of Ro; one can only hope that they are few when crossing it in search of the gorge that leads to the tomb. Scorchstone Gorge was once not so scorched. The forest still stood near by when a site for the tomb was being sought. The gorge was hidden from casual travelers and no creature lairs were found in its walls, making it a prime site for the construction.

Solusek Ro’s curse of the forest also affected the gorge. Plant life withered and was swept away by the winds while the small creatures that lived there moved on or died. Now the gorge is inhabited by deadly beasts as well as other competing treasure hunters, not to mention the dead that wander from the tomb to seek out and destroy the living.

Without Takish`Hiz and the elven people to link the spirits to their former selves, they have become lost and bitter. The spirits are now spectral beings that haunt the catacombs and consume any life they can find. The bodies of unfortunate adventurers are risen and guard the tombs from intrusion. Not only death lurks around every corner, but also the curse of unlife if one is unlucky enough to fall victim to the wrath of a spirit king. However, elven treasure is still to be found, and few can refuse the compelling promise of glory.

The Waystone

The Waystone is an ancient stone menhir 40 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter. On its north face is a single rune, similar to those runes often found on druidic circles and old ruins. Its location atop a prominent hill makes the Waystone easy to spot from miles away, and there are no other structures like it in the Commonlands.

The origins of the Waystone are lost to the mists of history. It certainly existed before the disappearance of Aataltaal, but there is no mention of it in any known writings from Wielle or Takish-Hiz. It may have been constructed by the shissar or perhaps by an even older civilization.

Regardless of its original use, the Waystone has become a landmark for travelers avoiding the Trade Road. It is situated almost exactly halfway between Freeport and the Kithicor Woods, and also between the Serpent Spine Mountains and the Rolling Hills. This also happens to place it just two days’ travel due east from Farfield. As a result, anyone who finds the Waystone and is aware of these facts knows precisely where they are, which way is north, and which way to travel to reach the nearest town.

The Waystone has also become a rallying point for those rangers who travel the Commonlands. Often called the Commons Trackers, this loose band of 30 or so allies make it their business to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the denizens of the Commonlands, to lend aid where possible to the lost or injured, and to keep the wilds free of the polluting influence of cities and kingdoms. The Commons Trackers are well loved among the residents of the Commonlands, treated as local heroes, though they are far less well liked by the Freeport Militia. Merchants are also mistrusting of these rangers, as they risk themselves only to save lives – they will not help to recover stolen goods or pursue bandits who haven’t harmed their victims physically.

There are always one or two rangers at or near the Waystone, as this is the only place where others can be sure to contact the group at need. This communication system was devised by Vuli Greenwhisper during the chaotic years of the Crusade of Tears. As often as not, it is Greenwhisper himself taking post at the Waystone, although it’s not unusual to find his protege Math Wintersong instead. Both men have a good idea where most Commons Trackers are at any given time, and can arrange for help in most of the Commonlands if they feel it is appropriate. However, the Commons Trackers see themselves as defenders of the weak, not a rescue party for fools and adventurers.

The Commons Trackers have strong ties to the Jaggedpine Treefolk, the Protectors of Pine, and the residents of both the Commonlands and Kithicor. In fact, it is not unusual for rangers from these different groups to pair up. Membership in the Commons Trackers is informal, and most of the older members are happy to train younger and less experienced rangers, regardless of their official affiliation.