Category Archives: The Commonlands

Zatirre’s First Zombie

Zombies are reanimated dead creatures. After death, anything can be turned into a zombie. What follows is the tale of a necromancer’s experiment.
“Zatirre’s First Zombie” by Zatirre, Lord of the Zombies — Taken from the memoirs of a necromancer who travelled through the Commonlands to demonstrate his zombie creation process.

They said it could not be done, this raising of the dead to do the work of the living. They said it was folly to attempt such a thing. Yet I, Zatirre, have done just such a thing and have lived to tell the tale. Be forewarned — this is not the tale with which to put the children to sleep!

Animating the dead requires much concentration, luck and intelligence. Fortunately, I am blessed with an abundance of these virtues for I am Zatirre! After studying remnants of the Arcane, I learned that I could reanimate any corpse and not only bring it to life, but command it to do my bidding! Yes, I am thinking, this is perfect, for a being that I raise from the dead will surely appreciate me more than the ungrateful living.

I waited breathlessly for the perfect night. My thoughts were focused on the corpse of a young ratonga that had been dead barely seven days. Thus, it would be less rotted than other corpses. And being that of a small creature, even more likely to bend to the will of Zatirre! From the morning of the preceeding day, I began preparing my spell.

The perfect night came, clear and calm. Except for the call of the hyenas, it was quiet. Yes, a perfect night, chosen by Zatirre! As I stood over the ratonga’s grave, I could see its earth churning slightly, then crumbling apart as my ratonga zombie’s arms broke through. Within minutes, the zombie stood before me. Yes, the fur was matted from being buried, but it was alive again, thanks to my efforts.

“I am your master,” I said to it. “I am Zatirre, Lord of the Zombies!” It raised its black-furred face toward me. I could see the hollowness of its gaze, the lack of any conscious thought in its mind. Yet, it seemed to consider my words and ponder their meaning. “Speak!” I commanded, causing the zombie to shudder violently. I stepped backward — could I have waited too long to recall this one? Had I, Zatirre, inconceivably made a mistake?

And then — it spoke! Its jaws worked back and forth. I could hear the ligaments in its neck and jaw breaking apart as the creature opened its mouth — a mouth that had been closed shut by the stiffness of death for seven full days! Dust poured fourth from its slightly parted lips as it struggled to form words. “I am…” said the zombie in a thin, reedy voice, “…hungry.”

It spoke! Yes, the zombie brought forth from the dead spoke and I, Zatirre, exulted! I stood beside the opened grave and danced, praising aloud my skill. I turned to the zombie, that seemed fascinated by the cakes of dirt hanging from its dull fur and taking it by its shoulders, rotated it this way and that. My specimen was complete, if filthy.

And then, something I had not anticipated happened. Yes, even I, Zatirre, had not foreseen this circumstance. The zombie held its hand out before it, turning it this way and that, holding it up before its face. Tilting its head quizzically to the side, it spoke yet again. “I am hungry,” it said, and then it took a very hearty bite of its own arm!

As I stared in amazement, I could hear its teeth cracking within its skull. It frowned, causing its fur to stretch across its forehead, before bursting open to expose a glint of bone. The zombie turned to me and a vague recognition filled its dull eyes. “I’m hungry,” it said through its broken teeth and slack-skinned mouth, reaching out a stiff and dirty hand toward me. I felt its fingers close in upon my arm, piercing the flesh with an unguessed strength.

Quickly, I evoked another spell and cast it hastily upon the zombie, which fell to the ground in a heap of lifeless fur and bone. My escape was narrow but my experience broadened. I, Zatirre, set this in writing to enlighten others of the way of the zombie.

The Orcs of Norrath

“The Orcs of Norrath”
Second Edition

This book is a guide that is intended to help the reader identify orcs by analyzing various noticeable features about them.

Having grown up in Freeport, I have known about orcs ever since I was a small child. Though my parents would commonly threaten to feed me to the orcs when I was acting in an unruly manner, I wouldn’t actually see one until I was close to fifteen years old. Since then I have devoted much time to studying these beasts and have collected my findings within these pages.

One of the first things that a person will notice about the orc is their body shape. They stand slightly shorter than human-height, yet possess the hulking brutish qualities of an ogre. Having a slightly stooped posture, the orc’s monster-like qualities rarely cause someone to mistake them for a traveling human or half-elf.

The arms of these horrible beasts are one of the most striking features. Rarely will you find an orc who does not possess a frightening amout of muscles bulging throughout their arms. Their musculature extends from their fingertips all the way up to their shoulders. The upper body strength of an orc should never be underestimated.

Easily recognized, an orc’s face belies its monsterous nature. Mottled and pockmarked, their faces are pressed together causing them to look as if they have a perpetual scowl. The nose is not defined, rather appearing to be two small holes with flaps of skin around them.

One cannot look at the face of an orc and not notice the tusk-like fangs jutting from their mouth. These teeth cause the orcs to speak in an incoherent manner, making it difficult to understand whether they are crying for mercy, or crying out for reinforcements. Suprisingly, they do not use their teeth as weapons, which is fortunate indeed.

Coming in a varitey of different colors, the orc’s skin will range from a deep green to a burnt orange and even all the way to a deep black. Not much is known why there is such a broad range in the skin coloration, but it can be said that their aggressive nature isn’t affected by the color of their skin.

Orcs are not exclusively carnivores. They have been seen from time to time eating various plants if meat is not available. Though their food of choice is (usually) cooked meat, some groups of orcs have been reported to cultivate food from grains to livestock. Though they have the reputation for eating living people, I have come to the conclusion that this is just a story that must have started many years ago.

At first it may look as if the weapons used by the orcs are crude and rusted. This may be the case in the Commonlands, but not in Zek. Utilizing the same standard swords and axes used the world over, the metal they use in its construction is what makes them so effective. Being very similar to iron, the metal has a red tint that gets more vibrant for a short time after the weapon has been used to kill something.

The orcs has two modes of dress. Either they will be covered from head to toe in the strongest armor they can get their hands on, or they will be stripped down to nothing more than breeches. The latter is usually worn by those holding lesser positions, such as lumberjacks. There is no such thing as “casual” clothing amongst the orcs.

Of all the information I’ve collected about the orcs over the years, there is one thing that I have always found disturbing. No matter where I have gone, from the Commonlands all the way to Zek, I have never once spied a female orc. This causes me to believe that of all the countless orcs I’ve seen… I’ve only seen one half of their numbers.

The Legend of Puab Closk: The End

The Legend of Puab Closk: The End
by Rao Lin, Tenth Keeper of Knowledge

Near the end of The Age of Turmoil, after the betrayal of the followers of Marr, at the beginning of the malicious tyranny that is the reign of the Overlord Lucan D’Lere, the Ashen Order abandoned Freeport. Freeport became a den of evil and villainy where goodly men were fed to the soldiers of an oppressive dictatorship.

D’Lere strangled out every last drop of decency and good will from those he ruled. Puab Closk would not stay to be exploited and corrupted and neither would the Ashen Order. Puab and the Order left Freeport and traveled to the one place left unscathed by The Age of Turmoil. They traveled to the Desert of Ro, to the very pillar where Puab was given the knowledge of Arcane Combat. There they setup the monastery of T,Narev.

The Order spent many years in peace training and refining Arcane Combat under the tutelage of Puab. They found many ways to expand and adapt the concepts to many different styles of fighting. The Ashen Order monks rarely used metal weapons, preferring the purity of fists and feet, but they set aside this preference and also developed many weapon styles. The Ashen Order spent nearly two hundred years in peace atop their butte. These days of peace were shattered by the unstoppable insurgence of The Age of War. The goblinoid, mindless minions burned and pillaged where they pleased, killing everyone they found.

The wicked ran blades through the hearts of the pure. The wars seemed endless, like they would rage until every living thing in Norrath was obliterated. The Ashen Order could no longer stay secluded. They left T,Narev and ran to the aide of both Freeport and Qeynos. The stories of Puab’s conversation with Quellious spoke of this time. The Order felt this was what they prepared for. They knew the might of men would be shown in the great battles to come. The Order split into two large raiding parties composed of several small groups.

One headed to Freeport and the other to Qeynos. They fought many battles on the way to besieged cities. During these battles they noticed that in small groups their power was doubled and in some cases tripled. Certain combinations of Arcane Combat Arts produced effects more powerful than anyone had ever imagined possible. They could produce the greatest of weapons.

The Ashen Order dominated all they faced with this new weapon and turned the tide of battle for each of the cities. Many monks were lost in this war, but all fought bravely for the survival of humanity. In the end with the help of the Ashen Order the sieges at both Qeynos and Freeport were ended. The heads of the Order gathered together in the burnt remains of the Surefall Glade several nights after the great battle. The stars were obscured by the smoke of the funeral pyres, Qeynos lay in near ruins.

The Faydark was believed to be lost and all around them was heavy weight of hopelessness. That night the decision was made to give the Royal Antonican Guard, who fought so bravely beside the Ashen Order, the knowledge of Arcanic Combat. It was also decided to not give this knowledge freely to the Overlord’s minions. An emissary of the Overlord Lucan D’Lere offered to give the Ashen Order a monastery in the Commonlands. The Order considered the offer with trepidation, but also believed that not all of the citizens of Freeport were evil and therefore could not reject it.

They established the monastery and used it to help those they could and also spy on the Overlord. They were betrayed by the Overlord and raided by the Freeport Militia. Every monk residing in the Commonlands monastery was taken and tortured horribly until eventually the knowledge of Arcanic Combat was squeezed from the monks.

Arcanic Combat is now the predominant form of battle used in the post-shattered Norrath. It is the weapon that Quellious and Puab Closk gave the world. Some say that Puab Closk and the Ashen Order saved humanity, that they did, but we have also unleashed the knowledge of a great power to an unenlightened world. This is the legend and legacy of Grand Master Puab Closk.

The Case of the Ursa Rhym

I have been assigned by Lady Alethea Jyleel to investigate the tragedy of the fairiefolke living within the Gully of the Ursa Rhym. The rhym seem to be a type of fairy about the size of a firefly, if not smaller. These rhym gather the information of the environment around them like a sponge absorbs water. This information is then processed and emitted in a melody that few outside of the rhym can decipher. In this case, Lady Alethea is capable of reading the melodies of these tiny fairies.
I managed to locate the Gully of the Ursa Rhym within a western crag in the Greater Faydark, on the way to Steamfont Mountains. The gully used to be a magical little village where numerous rhym buzzed about in melody, but the melody is no more. I have discovered the rhym village in disarray and destruction. The little village was ruined through dark magic, this is quite evident from the arcane smoke and unyielding flames that now consume the habitat.

Unable to properly decipher the clues before me, I was forced to enlist the aid of the legendary sleuth, Inspector Berlok Beeglesnoop. The great inspector told me that I could become an investigator myself should I acquire the three volume Investigator Guidelines, penned by the master detective himself. Although, in his old age, he would not offer me these valuable manuscripts, I was able to pry a few hints as to where I might find these books. Through an illogical and often frustrating conversation with the inspector, I was able to deduce that the books could be found in Felwithe.

Amidst the madness that now envelopes the once honorable city of Felwithe, I would find the Investigative Guidelines needed to become great detective. My first trial led me to the grove of a great tree. There could be found the fluttering pages of one of the books, ripped from the binder I found earlier. The second book would be found within a submerged chest, magically locked. Following the clues on the chest, I managed to unlock it. The final book would rest in the hands of a soul that now walks the fields of Ethernere. Luckily, I discovered a ritual that would allow me to call forth the spirit of General Jyleel, a great ancestor to Lady Alethea Jyleel.

Having read the Investigative Guidelines, I have grasped the thought process and guidelines of a great detective. I returned to the Gully and the Ursa Rhym to see if I could procure any bit of new evidence. What I found amidst the carnage of the tiny fairy village was a flaming pawn, a chess piece. The flames are clearly magical in nature and not the dark magic that existed everywhere else in the village. Before they met their demise,. the rhym left this clue for me… for anyone. What does it mean? It is merely a flaming pawn resting just a bit away from the chessboard it once called home.

I have gathered some evidence in the charred area known as the Broken Fields in Butcherblock Mountains. The bits of evidence appear to be the battered remnants of daggers and shields. These remnants must have taken great damage and not by an ordinary force. I could tell by the scorch marks and the condition of the metal that this was the result of dark magic. There may be someone around these Broken Fields that can shed some light on my findings. Perhaps they may have even been a witness to this carnage.

I spoke to a talking rat named Chypp, last ‘p’ silent. He was a witness to the conflict that created the ruin that is now the Broken Fields. It appears as though a secret meeting occurred here where one group of brutes and evil grins passed along a magical sword to another group of brutes and evil grins. It is my belief that the brutes were orcs and by the evidence collected, they are Ree orcs from the Commonlands. These Ree orcs brought the magic sword to another group that then betrayed, using the gift to destroy the couriers. I believe it is time to travel to the Commonlands and gather information where the Ree orcs keep hidden from the Overlord and Freeport.

I collected a lot of evidence that has led me to the conclusion that the dark elves allied with the Ree orcs are none other than the Ebon Mask. I have heard tales of old about this old house of thieves that hailed from the Teir’Dal city of Neriak. They were said to be some of the craftiest thieves on Norrath and excellent assassins also. Apparently, they did not die with the collapse of their city. The Raiders of Ree are orcs removed from their empire, this I have learned. They now live for the heavy coin of the black marker. What would bring a band of opportunistic orcs and a dark elf thieves house together? More evidence is required.

I have found that the Ebon Mask worked alongside the orcs in an expedition to a hidden valley where the soul of Zarvonn is contained for eternity. This ancient mage was once a member of the Academy of the Arcane Science. I am not sure what the spirit of Zarvonn knew, but a spirit that hailed from one of the greatest mage guilds on Norrath most likely holds many secrets. His secret had something to do with the flaming sword that was rushed to Faydwer and used against the courier force of the Ree and Ebon Mask. Such a secret would reveal much about the sword, its origin and where it now resides. Such revelations could only be held by the leader of this eccentric pack of orcs.

While investigating the throne room of the leader of the orcs, I was forced into battle. Lord Ree and his minions were foolish to challenge me. In the end, they met their demise. After the battle I found what appeared to be a book detailing a heist for a “Sword.” Unfortunately, the pages had been ripped out. I was them ambushed by Teir’Dal agents of the Ebon Mask, supreme rogues of the now defunct Thex Dynasty. I was forced to do battle or end up another notch in their belt. They have their best, but in the end, I emerged victorious. as they fell to the floor, the ripped pages from the heist journal flew into the air. Perhaps the pages will finally explain what this caper was all about.

Soulfrire was stolen from Freeport. The mastermind behind the heist was the Foci of the Academy of Arcane Science. She hired agents of the Ebon Mask to infiltrate the citadel via a forgotten portal left open by one of the original engineers of the fortress when it was known as the Academy of Arcane Science. The Ebon Mask hired the Raiders of Ree, opportunistic orcs. Using Ree smuggling routes, they transported Soulfire to Butcherblock Mountains. There the sword would be traded for a scroll desired bu the Foci, but a betrayal occurred and the Ree and Ebon Mask couriers were slain. All i know now is that an ambassador king was the one that betrayed the heist.

I exchanged information with Lady Alethea Jyleel of the Order of Marr. I handed over my notes, but kept this case journal for my records. According to Lady Alethea, the Overlord of Freeport was not fooled by a false sword that replaced Soulfire in the vaults of Dethknell Citadel. He has ordered his finest agents to recover the great sword. Together we discovered that it was a band of Lucanic Knights that razed the Gully of the Ursa Ryhm. If that is so, then the Overlord is one step ahead of the Order of Marr.

Lady Alethea bid me farewell, knowing that such a great crusade as this cannot be left to anyone other than her ancient order of knights. I have taken her reward for my deed, but I cannot shake the mystery behind Soulfire. Where is it and why is it so important to anyone other than the Overlord of Freeport? Perhaps is I can discover who this ambassador king is someday, I can reveal the secret of Soulfire. As for this investigation, the Case of the Ursa Rhym is closed… but the Case of the Soulfire Sword is soon approaching.

Rise of the Orcs – The Fall

“Rise of the Orcs – The Fall”
Second Edition

This book details how the orcs would nearly succeed at toppling the two most powerful cities on Norrath.

The following historical account details the orc’s involvement during the short, yet devastating, War of Defiance. Simultaneously laying siege to the two largest cities on Norrath, the orcs would come close to achieving greatness, only to be crushed in the final moments. Several accounts of this time period still exist in varying forms, which have been condensed together within this volume.

Snow Orcs: Numbering only in the hundreds, the Snow Orcs would have their numbers reinforced by the Avatar of Flame’s hidden army. Coming from the Plains of Karana, hundreds of goblins and giants would join their ranks to do battle with combined forces of the humans. The resulting clash between forces would echo halfway across the world.

For eight days, the battle would rage. Giants would smash the Qeynosian Guard, druids would kill orcs, but neither side was winning. Ultimately, the Qeynosians would make a valiant charge that would end the war. The Knights of Thunder would land a killing blow against the Orcish horde by severing the head from the Avatar of Flame’s shoulders.

Losing the guidance from their divine leader, the giants, goblins, and orcs would finally to fall to the Qeynosians. Not having enough troops to hunt down the stragglers, the fallen army would scatter to the four winds. The few remaining Snow Orcs would be routed back through Blackburrow, and that is where history would last see these people. It is not known how many Snow Orcs survived the journey through their former slaves’ den, but it is known that orc bones would be seen in the gnoll’s rubbish pits for months to come.

Deathfist Orcs: The siege of Freeport would not bode well for the Militia. Not expecting the combined might of the orcs and the ogres, the Militia did all they could just to keep the walls standing. Soon enough, the humans would realize that the orcish and orgrish armies were doing nothing more than taunting them. When it was noticeable in the faces of every one of the guards that all hope was lost, something unexpected happened. A greenish mist began covering the land for as far as the eye could see. Filling the lungs of everyone, it seemed nothing more than an odd weather phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The orcs would look in horror as they watched as all of the ogres began to cough up clouds of green colored mist from their lungs. These spasms would become more and more violent until the ogres would collapse dead from asphyxiation. Looking all around them, the Deathfist army would see every last one of their Rallosian brethren lying dead on the battlefield, with nary a scratch on them. To make matters worse for the orcs, the battle would be joined by two other armies, intent on finishing what the green mist had started.

Though their numbers were unimaginable, the Deathfists were not able to withstand an army on three fronts – The Freeport Militia on one side, the Ashen Order on another, and the Knights of Truth on the last. The orcs would not go down without a fight, however. It would take the death of the Avatar of War before the Deathfist would be routed. With their numbers reduced to the mere hundreds, the Deathfist orcs fled past the Ashen Order monks towards the Desert of Ro, where they were never seen again.

The orcs would neither be heard nor seen for the next several decades. Aside from isolated clans that remained out of the War of Defiance, Norrath believed the threat was forever gone. With the coming of the Rending and later the Shattering, the endless hordes of the orcs would begin to become nothing more than stories again. This would prove to be folly once again.

The re-emergence of the orcs would first be seen in the Commonlands. A clan calling themselves the Bloodskulls would begin to become a new threat to Freeport. Using siege engines, Freeport has managed to keep these orcs at bay, but they must remain ever vigilant. Coupled with this clan that emerged overnight, those foolish enough to ply their trade on the sea lanes claim to have seen great armadas of ships roaming the water. Those that have survived these encounters claim that the people crewing these ships are not just people, but rather, orcs.

Some unfounded reports claim that that the Deathfist Empire had managed to survive their defeat during the War of Defiance. These stories claim that the phantom armadas exist and it’s nothing more than the naval branch of the Deathfist Empire. Even wilder stories claim there is a land filled with these orcs, and not only have they rebuilt their Empire, they’re preparing for another attack on Norrath. Fortunately, these stories have no proof to validate these foolish claims.

Outlying Freeport Creature Catalog

Freeport was once known as “The City of Free Men” in the days before the Rending. Ruled by Sir Lucan D’Lere, also known as the Overlord, the city of Freeport is still primarily inhabited by men, though it is also now home to many of the displaced folk of Norrath. Craftsmen and adventurers still flock to this jewel by the sea.
The continent of D’Lere is named for the Overlord. Freeport is set in the Commonlands on an excellent deep water harbor. It is believed to be the largest city to survive the Age of Cataclysms, although the inhabitants of Qeynos would beg to differ. Beneath the city proper lies a sewer system that facilitates travel for those who wish to remain unseen.

Freeport’s weather is warm without becoming uncomfortable. Due to its proximity to the sea, cooling breezes keep the warm air from the Commonlands from stagnating over the city. The buildings in Freeport are tall, creating narrow lanes that occasionally prevent sun from reaching the street level. In these man-made caverns, the air is much cooler than in the plazas.

In some sections of the city, you will find rooftop gardens with herbs, lemon trees or flowers for cutting. These areas are not visible from the street, however, and most travellers tend to view the patches of grass within the walls as the only greenery. Freeport has never been a place of gardens and parks.

The areas surrounding Freeport are home to a variety of unwholesome creatures. One will find spiders and snakes aplenty, as well as dozens of rats. Travellers need also be aware that orcs are sometimes found close in, and of course the usual thugs and ruffians are a universal threat to one’s safety.

Nektulos Creature Catalog

Before the Rending, Nektulos often lay covered in pumice-laden clouds that obscured visibility. High winds, while rare, stir up exposed layers of ancient ash to redistribute them across the land. This area was formerly known as Nektulos Forest and is considered part of the former Teir’Dal empire.
Nektulos forms the northern half of D’Lere, separated from The Commonlands by the Razorrock Mountains. It is relatively easy to reach from Freeport, although the overland route is perilous. Off the shore of its western-facing shores lies the Neriuss Flow which is surrounded by the Tranquil Sea.

The skies of Nektulos are often hazy due to the fine ash that still drifts through its air. This blocks out much direct sunlight, keeping the region’s weather relatively stable. The air can feel stifling, however, so the few residents in the area tend to congregate near lakes or the seashore where slight breezes make living conditions more tolerable.

Much of the lowlands is covered by thick woodlands which thrive on the nutrient-rich soil. The hazy light means the plantlife is less dependant upon the sun for rejuvenation. Indeed, most of the flowers in Nektulos are night blooming specimens. The trees have developed a thick bark to withstand the weight of accumulated ash on their branches.

In the woodlands, one will find owlbears, treants and various insects. There are places in Nektulos where remnants of a distant past still find their way to the surface. It is not uncommon to encounter skeletons and other less savory (yet more elusive) forms.

Karath Smoothmane – Winter Comes

This book is titled “Karath Smoothmane – Winter Comes”. It is a complete volume chronicling the events of a centaur chieftain and the decline of his tribe.
The following is the account of my travels with Karath Smoothmane, chief of the Baelazern tribe of centaurs in the Commonlands. Throughout the time I spent with him, I came to know him as a good friend. Not only did I learn his customs, I learned much about his life, as well. This tale is my last memory of this proud centaur.

At this point, it had already been close to ten winters that I had been traveling with Karath’s tribe, the Baelazern. Karath was already beginning to show some silver in his mane by now, and the two sons the High mare had given him were growing to look just like him. This is when Karath asked of me what would be his last request.

Karath asked me to follow him to the great crater, site of the doomed alliance ceremony between the giants and the centaurs. We left at dawn and spent the next several days trekking across the Steppes. Being that it was during the mid-season, the heat was beginning to take a toll on me. When I could take it no more, I looked over and saw that he was worse for wear than even I.

The sweat glistening off his fur had an unhealthy sheen to it, but it did not compare to the look of consternation on his face. I asked him if he was alright, and he insisted that we continue, for we didn’t have much further to go. Not an hour later, we arrived at our destination and spied that is was overrun by gnolls. Karath then told me that we needed to speak, for he was dying.

Karath told me that he had a sickness in his lungs that the tribal medicine man could not cure. Much had been done to heal him of this wasting illness, but to no avail. I yelled at him and demanded to know why he did not tell me. He said that no one knew – just him and the medicine man. I asked him why there was so much secrecy and he told me that when he dies, the Baelazern clan will die with him.

Karath then told me the secret to the centaurs surviving upon the Steppes where everyone else either emigrated or was extinguished. Many, many years ago, a man approached Karath’s sire and offered a deal. He offered to keep the tribe safe from the gnolls and surrounding humans, all in exchange for one small favor.

The man, who called himself Varsoon, only asked for Karath’s sire’s firstborn son in return for his assistance. Karath’s sire refused and demanded the man leave at once. Karath was safe, and the tribe struggled to survive. When Karath was made chief, the man came again. And Karath made a choice he now regrets.

Karath agree to the deal, and handed over his firstborn son. Though everyone thinks he died in a hunting accident, the truth is far worse. The prosperity of the Baelazern tribe was all due to his son’s unwilling sacrifice. Karath believed the fate of one outweighed the fate of dozens. That was until Varsoon came to him again and demanded another son. Karath drove him away this time, but not without a terrible price.

Varsoon issued a curse upon the tribe from afar. Karath now realizes what he has done. With his bloodline in the hands of Varsoon, the tribe would never be free of Varsoon. However, if Karath died without blessing his son, then the tribe would be free to join up with other herds. The Baelazern would be done, but it’s people would live on. With that, he thanked me for being his friend, and proceeded to gallop down into the crater, full of ravenous gnolls.

That was the last time I ever saw Karath. Since then, his clan broke apart and merged with other surrounding clans. The giants and the centaurs would eventually go to war again with each other, nearly decimating each other. Though he does not know I am there, I still spy his grandson, Zair, from time to time. In my heart, I hope that his grandson will have the strength to reunite the Baelazern once again. If not, I do not expect the two peoples, giants and centaurs, to last another century on Norrath.

Karath Smoothmane – The Breaking of the Pact

This book is titled “Karath Smoothmane – Breaking of the Pact “. It is a complete volume chronicling the events of a centaur chieftain and how the tribe managed to co-exist with the giants of the Thundering Steppes.
The following is the account of my travels with Karath Smoothmane, chief of the Baelazern tribe of centaurs in the Commonlands. Throughout the time I spent with him, I came to know him as a good friend. Not only did I learn his customs, I learned much about his life, as well. One of the most important tales I learned from him is transcribed in the following pages – The Breaking of the Pact.

It was late in the summer when Karath told me why the centaurs would attack only the groups of giants that had six or more in them. Instead of singling out the easier targets, such as the old or the occasional wandering giant, the herd would attack those that could easily defend themselves. He said that this was due to the Breaking of the Pact.

Karath’s sire’s sire was the chieftain of the Baelazern tribe at the time when the Pact was broken. It seems that both the giants and the centaurs had a generations-long truce to share the land, staying out of each other’s way. Both races lived in harmony, even throughout the time of the Rending. Not only would the Shattering destroy the moon of Luclin, it would also break apart the Pact the two peoples held.

As the very moon began to barrage the land, both of the two peoples decided that they must work together in order to survive. Both leaders of the races agreed to meet so that they could work out an alliance, not just a truce. Much ceremony was prepared for when the two would meet.

As both parties met and exchanged their welcoming customs, tragedy struck. In a blazing ball of fire, an enormous boulder from the moon struck the ground where both leaders were, killing them instantly. Only a few people survived the impact, and they went back to describe the treachery of the other side, blaming each other for what happened.

For the next several years, open warfare broke out among both the giants and the centaurs. Finally, when Kararth’s sire came of breeding age, he rose up and united the clan once again. With his eloquent words, he stopped the centaurs from raiding the giants by emphasizing honor. He told them he had a plan.

The plan that Karath had in mind would involve showing the giants that they were nothing more than beasts. They could not defeat their enemies by lowering themselves down to their level. If the centaurs were to survive the Shattering, they must not come out of it as barbaric as a human. Or so, these were the words that Karath had said to his people.

And so the Baelazern clan proceeded to agree to rules of engagement, asking for council from their new chief. As the years went on they, refined their tactics to the point that they would only attack those that could defend themselves. Karath said that since that day, the centaurs have succeeded at his sire’s vision. I asked Karath how many foes they have defeated since then, and he responded with one word, “None”.

I was wondering how not killing a single giant, the centaur’s sworn enemy for close to a hundred years, could be considered successful. Seeing my confusion, Karath chuckled and told me the why. As his sire grew up, waiting for the day when he would rule his people, he would run and play with his only friend… the giant chieftain’s son.

While they played, they both came up with a plan on how to get their people to work together, yet to also keep their pride. When both chieftains were old enough to lead their people, the plan went into effect. Both people would only attack those that could defend themselves. In the end, even though they war with each other, both peoples have not lost one warrior, woman, or child to the other side for the past two generations.

Halls of the Dead Creature Catalog

While stories have said that “dead ones tell no tales,” these stories are not about Stormhold or Fallen Gate. The dead of these regions are still anxious to tell their tales, as they walked the world during some of its most turbulent and violent periods. Stormhold was the base for the ancient order called Knights of Thunder, while the First Gate was an entrance to Neriak, home of the Teir’Dal.
Stormhold’s location was unknown for many seasons but is now known to be located in the foothills of eastern Antonica on Karan. On D’Lere, Fallen Gate can be reached somehow through the Commonlands. As is usual with ancient bastions, the exact locations are generally known yet never committed to writing lest the writer find himself victim of an unfortunate accident.

Both Fallen Gate and Stormhold are primarily below ground. Carved from the stones surrounding them, the weight of the world above provides great insulation against any temperature fluctuations above. They are generally cool, but not uncomfortably so. It is wise however to bring a cloak or other wrap to keep out the chill.

As sunshine and warmth do not penetrate into these caverns, the primary flora of Stormhold and First Gate are varieties of fungi and lichens. One exception in First Gate is the extremely rare cavern feeder. It is pale and faintly luminescent, growing beside underground pools. It is a carnivorous plant that dips into the water to strain discarded entrails and small fry.

It is said scenes of sudden assault are haunted by those who took part in the battles. First Gate and Stormhold prove this to be true. Ghosts and apparitions of ancient warriors and mages continue to haunt their former assignments, looking at all who enter as enemies. Being underground regions, they are each infested with various bugs, snakes and leeches as well.