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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1822 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  21:57:14  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Intro

This campaign has been several years in the making already, and it isn't in good shape yet. So I'm hoping to motivate myself (and get some feedback) by posting it here, piece by piece.

Also, my computer just crashed and everything I've written down about the campaign is unavailable for now. So this seems like a good time to recap what's been percolating in my head all this time, rewrite everything, see what others think, and figure out what needs figuring out.

I love Realmslore, but this is a campaign and it ignores some bits of published lore that don't fit, without much apology.

One of my aims is make the Old Empires a unique and interesting setting. Part of this is eliminating references to Egypt and Mesopotamia, renaming NPCs (and places if necessary but so far it looks like those are fine), so that eventually the only thing taken from Earth's mythology will be the names of the god-kings... and I'm not against changing those names too.




I'm going to start putting up some writeups of settlements in the Old Empires, as I work them out, in the 2e FR Adventures format.

These are not canon; they're just my ideas based loosely on what I've read. Perhaps very loosely, but if you point out discrepancies with canon I'll either correct my post or lay out why I don't want to correct it.

They're also rough drafts, works in progress, etc, and may change at any time. That said, I hope something is useful for someone.

I'm using the 5e PH and MM where appropriate, but the DMG and DMG II references (buildings and adventuring levels, at the end) are from the 3.5e books since I don't have a 5e DMG yet.

  • Nezras


  • Red Haven



  • Edited by - xaeyruudh on 01 Nov 2014 02:34:32

    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  22:14:50  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Note on RSEs

    For the sake of stability, it's important (to me) to minimize the number of RSEs in each campaign. One key event, maybe one or two smaller ones to create a need for PCs to save the day... that's it.

    This particular campaign introduces a rather hugemongous RSE, so I make a point of eliminating as many other RSEs as possible. So if it isn't relevant to the central themes of this campaign, and if it isn't consistent with my definition of good setting design, it doesn't happen in this campaign.


    • The Time of Troubles doesn't happen. Reason: I'm (basically) happy with Ed's original crew of deities, I hate Cyric, and this campaign doesn't need the ToT to have happened.


    • The God-Kings of Mulhorand do not leave the Realms en masse in the 1370s. They are different than gods, they have no divine essences outside of their manifestations, and they do not have homes on other planes to return to.


    • The Return of Shade doesn't happen. Reason: I think the shades have potential as a force of darkness to offset the points of light. However, it was stupid to bring the city back into the Realms, thus making it a visible foe. It's far more useful and impactful as an invisible and intangible enemy. As a logical extension of this, the events of the Return of the Archwizards trilogy did not occur, and the Realms is still 99.99% unaware of the existence of phaerimm. (Also, I say the plural of phaerimm is phaerimm. )


    • The resurrection of Myth Drannor doesn't happen. Reason: Like the return of Shade, I think this plotline is better if it remains something that is "a work in progress."


    • The Spellplague doesn't happen. Reason: Too many to list. Some foes which were brought to light or emphasized by the Spellplague may still be brought to light or emphasized. For example: the aboleth may play a greater role in this campaign than they did in published 1e/2e/3e, but Xxiphu will not appear over the Sea of Fallen Stars. Earthmotes and spellscars will also probably not happen.


    • There will be no Returned Abeir. It's not necessary for Abeir and Toril to be separate in this campaign, and I probably won't even address it. As a consequence, there's no need for the Sundering.


    • The Silence of Lolth is acceptable, but I haven't read the novels about it yet. The campaign isn't centered on drow culture, but I am creating a drow city under the northern Raurin Desert, and the "vanishing" of Lolth could help explain the turmoil there, setting the stage for a plot arc. Plus, Dambrath and T'lindhet are among Mulhorand's extended neighbors.


    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 29 Oct 2014 05:24:08
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    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  22:16:24  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Notes on Imaskar

    This campaign was born from an effort to develop the history of Imaskar, back before any official products had touched it. I like my history better, and this campaign will explore some of it.


    • Most of the Imaskari history described in Lost Empires of Faerun still happens, but the dates are changed... some of them change a lot, considering that Imaskar was founded around -13,000 DR in this campaign.


    • There will be some time travel. A few times, the PCs will be sent back in time by various God-Kings to witness certain key events of history. They may be required to find and activate time portals during other missions.


    • The Imaskari did not abduct/import thousands/millions of people from ancient Earth.


    • The God-Kings themselves (called manifestations in modern times) were once mortal Imaskari sages, heroes/villains, and philosophers. These mortals played with magic of terrifying power, and brought about a Conjunction (a place where two or more planes overlap). With certain regions of various planes aligned, they assaulted multiple gods simultaneously in a terrific blitz, and successfully claimed sparks of divine power from those they destroyed. As their final acts, the defeated deities worked their terrible vengeance on the region that birthed and supported these mortals, resulting in the area known as the Raurin Desert... still gods-cursed today, 4000 years later.


    • The "god-blocking barrier" raised by the Imaskari is explained as a mythal-like pile of enchantments and contingencies which effectively prevented extraplanar beings (gods and fiends alike) from teleporting/scrying into the Kingdom of Raurin. This allowed the future God-Kings to maintain secrecy while conspiring to defeat the gods. However, the Conjunction also made it possible for those same gods to destroy Raurin, and with the razing of the land the barrier was destroyed as well.


    • Imaskar was founded by a dragon from Athas (meaning a psion/wizard of crazy power who undergoes apotheosis into a dragon). Although he took care to disguise himself from the primitive tribes he took control of, he still became known as the Dragon King. He gradually grew the tribes into a vast empire and taught his servants to use magic and psionics. So in this campaign the archwizards of Imaskar were mostly defilers (their spells are fueled by lifeforce rather than the Weave; described in the Dark Sun setting). Following the demise of the Dragon King there was a period of anarchy during which the archwizards fell into disarray and much of the empire's social fabric came apart, and then a demonic entity (eventually identified by sages as Dasanaru) took the throne and ruled as the Emperor of Imaskar. History shows forty-some Emperors, each ruling for a short period, but in truth there was one demon who was slain 21 times by various adventurers. Each adventurer ruled as Emperor for a period less than 10 years before the demon reappeared and slew them. After a while everyone knew that the demon would be back, and it became a lethal game for the adventurers to see who would survive his return. None did. When the Conjunction occurred and the gods smote Raurin, Dasanaru XXII was buried (or some suggest imprisoned by someone) beneath the sand.


    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 29 Oct 2014 05:25:01
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    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  22:18:40  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Campaign Overview

    The PCs are natives of Mulhorand. The year is 3500 MC (Mulhorand Calendar) which coincides with 1365 DR.

    I don't like the standard "so you all meet in the inn" beginning, so I'm planning to have several short arcs for individuals and pairs. My last group included a couple, and they liked to incorporate each other's characters in their own characters' backgrounds, and I anticipate that this may happen again. Individual intro arcs means that each character will have his/her own view of what dangers are confronting the region and how to address them. I'm looking forward to making the group seek consensus and come up with a prioritized plan of attack.

    At the beginning, the challenges will reflect what we know from published Realmslore circa 1365. The Cult of Set is gaining alarming strength under a charismatic incarnation, the Red Wizards are a constant and unknowable threat in the north, Murghom is falling to the Plains of Purple Dust and incompetent rulership on the east, bandits and monsters allegedly led by Furifax harry caravans to the south, and Unther (still under the rule of Gilgeam) is becoming increasingly hostile and unstable to the west. Various members of the party will be convinced that their attention is most needed in each of these different directions, and the campaign addresses all of them.

    While they're running around poking at things, more conflicts arise. New cults become known, as the demonic last emperor of Imaskar awakens beneath Raurin and the PCs learn of a forgotten God-King under Thay. Gilgeam is slain and Tiamat vanishes, plunging the historic theocracy of Unther into godless anarchy. Assassins murder the royal family of Semphar, setting the nobility aflutter but affecting nobody else because powerful merchants have been running the country all along... but there remains the question of who managed to reduce hundreds of people in the palace to bits of flesh and gore within the span of a few days. The party discovers that Zindalankh is a necropolis ruled by a phaerimm, and makes contact with a drow noble house which seeks amnesty and escape from their war-torn city under terms negotiated with the Dragon King of Imaskar more than 10,000 years ago.

    It's not all pitched battles. The PCs gain a secretive but powerful ally; one of the Zulkirs of Thay aids them, infrequently but significantly. Surely there will be a price, but it's not apparent yet. An incarnation of Isis takes the throne as the Divine Queen of Unther, quelling the fighting there and beginning an age of prosperity and kindness that Unther hasn't experienced for centuries as well as freeing the Imperial Legion to attend other hotspots. Similarly, Geb takes the empty throne of Murghom following the assassination of the King there, and begins rebuilding the impoverished nation. Nephthys, it's said, is preparing to take control in Semphar. There's even talk of Anhur rising to power in Chessenta. The Third Empire of Mulhorand forms quickly. Rather more quickly than watchful neighbors and trade partners like Cormyr and Impiltur would like.

    At some point, depending on how perceptive they are, the PCs will discover that something far more powerful and dangerous is causing or capitalizing on several of the apparently unrelated problems they're trying to solve. That's when they should realize that they've been confronting symptoms, and take a step back to reassess the situation.

    Set himself appears in Skuld for the first time in a thousand years to confide that Mulhorand is under the deep dark shadow of an invasion it is not at all certain to survive. The God-Kings are skeptical, as things seem to be progressing well toward a new era of mulan dominance in southern Faerūn... until the urgency of Set's warning is confirmed by one whom no God-King can doubt.

    The God-Kings withdraw to discuss that new development, leaving the PCs to scramble for allies. The nations of the northern Inner Sea are concerned about Mulhorand's recent expansion, and unwilling to commit resources to aid the new empire without a lot more clarity regarding the threat the God-Kings claim to be facing and more importantly what Mulhorand's intentions are in the Inner Sea and the South. The PCs are unable to provide answers since they have no proof of anything and don't know what the God-Kings will do.

    Their best chance for finding allies lies in the muddy mess of groups they've been trying to defeat or pit against each other for the last few years: the followers of Set and the demonic last emperor of Imaskar, the phaerimm, the drow city, a few dragons, some double-agent Red Wizards, and a kaorti cyst, to name a few. Their real enemies, if they trust the word of Set, are the seemingly limitless hordes of reptilian creatures swarming beneath and all around Mulhorand, and the old bloodhungry gods they will bring with them.

    Finally, everything comes together in the PCs' epic struggle to save their homeland, and they unmask their real enemies for the first time: the sarrukh behind the streams of naga and yuan-ti and lizardmen that march into Mulhorand. The God-Kings hurl ancient spells from the skies over Skuld, the great stone colossi stand guard before the city gates, and legions of elementals rise from the earth and sea at the call of Mulhorand's oft-maligned wizards.

    If all goes well, the PCs will achieve victory "by the skin of their teeth" through the aid of their allies. It will be clear to all that without the aid of outsiders the ancient empire of Mulhorand would have ended. As it is, only Skuld survives intact. Other communities, and the cities of Unther and Murghom, are reduced to rubble and filled with the hissing of snakes. Even before the dust settles, the once-calm fields and orchards of central Mulhorand are turning into steamy overgrown jungles, as naga sorcerers slither across the land.

    During the PCs' celebrations, reports start filtering in of sudden conflicts in allied lands near and far. The cities of Thesk have been reduced to smoking ruins by an army of lizardmen, Chondath and Dambrath are now ruled by yuan-ti, and Sembia has fallen to hordes of kobolds. Mulhorand stands, in a manner of speaking, but --as becomes clear in the following weeks-- it stands utterly alone.

    Key challenges I see:
  • Set the stage for modern players to role-play natives of an extremely racist (but only slightly sexist) and theocratic culture;

  • Give the PCs realistic opportunities to begin influencing their society toward something more egalitarian and perhaps even democratic;

  • Create adventures where the players play as the "monsters" -- cultists defending a temple against the invading PCs, the phaerimm/giants/dragons brazenly approached by pathetic humans for very lopsided alliances, the naga and lizardfolk invading the strongholds which are being defended by the PCs, and so forth.



  • There is a secret that the players ideally won't realize until late in the last gaming session. This was just Part One of a campaign which covers a long period of time. In the vicinity of a thousand years, maybe as long as 1500-2000 years. We're not actually going to play all of those years, but the end will be quite some time after the beginning. If you're wondering, yes, campaign lore will cover the entire span of the campaign, so in Part Two the players will learn what transpired in the rest of the Realms during and after Part One.

    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 29 Oct 2014 05:29:33
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    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  22:19:31  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Part Two begins in a city elsewhere in the Realms, several centuries later. I think I was planning on Baldur's Gate, but I'm inclined to pick a location which has less prior development in Realmslore. Maybe Berdusk. Anyway, the PCs are born into slavery, in a sarrukh-dominated community.

    Though history is less valuable than survival skills, there are still bards who speak and sing quietly among the slave camps, and the PCs learn that the world was not always as they see it. Once, their kind ruled cities and kingdoms. Once, they were free to learn and use magic without being hunted down and executed by serpentkin. The sarrukh invasion happened only a few centuries ago. In the scope of time that the mortal races have been making and recording history, the last few hundred years are less than the blink of an eye. Someday, the bards insist, humans and elves and orcs will be free to forge their own destinies again. But it seems that day is not today, because the bards have to whisper.

    The PCs' first objective is to escape the slave camp, but hopefully they will consider their families and friends... freeing loved ones, taking care that none perish or be left behind, is a very different fight than simply escaping the city.

    At the figurative city gates, on the brink of freedom, they'll find out that there aren't any better places to go. Every place they've heard of is the same... lush greenery, sweaty heat, and serpent overlords. They'll be given an opportunity, and a choice. Either they leap off the parapet and vanish into the wilderness (effectively fast-forwarding to Part Three) or they drop back down into the pit and topple the serpentine dictator of their community, winning not just freedom but enough resources to flee and create a hidden camp in the deeper forest where they might go undetected long enough to plan their next move...

    Part Three escalates the war another step, once more several centuries later. The PCs are born free, in a small human/demihuman community which is managing to avoid the notice of prowling reptilians. I like Shadowdale, because it's thematic: Monikar defied the archwizards of Netheril, Shadowdale defied the Zhentarim, and now this new community founded long after the fall of Shadowdale defies the sarrukh. It's just... right. However, I also like the irony of a camp of freedom fighters hiding behind the crumbling ancient walls of Zhentil Keep.

    The world is still overwhelmingly dominated by the minions of the sarrukh, but the taste of freedom is in the wind. There are several names which inspire the slaves. The Eminence, a dragon made of light, who can teleport anyone who finds him to a vast palace where humans/dwarves/elves live like kings, guarded against the sarrukh and their minions by the magic of dragons. Athalantar, a fledgling realm made up of a dozen camps (some say more) which move around the forest like the points of a foraging stag's horns. The golden city of Skuld, ruled by god-like humans in the shadow of the great sarrukh strongholds of Okoth, which is said to have stood defiantly against never-ending assaults throughout the entire serpent takeover of the world. The PCs' ultimate objective in this stage of the campaign is to overthrow a major citadel of sarrukh domination at Isstossefifil.

    An epilogue stretches out after the victories of Part Three, as the sarrukh empire is brought down fortress by fortress and the humanoid races enter a new phase of life on Faerūn. The world is green and hot for a while, but the climate gradually returns to normal as the sarrukh become more preoccupied with survival and escape from Faerūn.

    Dragons survive, and some will take an active interest in ruling the lands they fly over. Phaerimm survive, and many will be more motivated than ever to destroy all other magic-using creatures. Giants survive, and some will claim realms. What will humanoids, represented by the PCs, do?

    Key challenges, overall:
  • Weave each PC's most notable achievements into the lore learned by subsequent generations of PCs, to increase the players' investment in their characters, in the campaign, and in the Now of each adventure... they make many decisions every day that might shape the future of the world.

  • Maintain player interest and optimism over long periods of crushing opposition, without making things simple or easy for them, and without reassuring them.

  • Writing a campaign which takes multiple generations of PCs from 0 XP to "level cap" and consistently meets my own high standards regarding plot and immersion.


  • Edited by - xaeyruudh on 29 Oct 2014 05:31:38
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    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  22:59:33  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    The Time of Troubles didn't happen. The Faerunian pantheon, circa 1365, consists of:

    Auril: NE goddess of winter and cold places.
    Azuth: LN god of arcane spellcasters.
    Bane: LE god of strife, hatred, tyranny, and rule-by-fear.
    Beshaba: CE goddess of misfortune, (bad) luck, and accidents.
    Bhaal: NE god of murder, assassination, and fear.
    Chauntea: NG goddess of agriculture, flowering, and summer.
    Deneir: NG god of recorded knowledge.
    Eldath: NG goddess of peaceful places, springs, pools, and waterfalls.
    Garagos: CN god (?) of war, destruction, plunder, and victory through overwhelming force.
    Gargauth: LE god (?) of betrayal, cruelty, and political corruption.
    Gond: N god of craft, construction, and smithwork.
    Gwaeron Windstrom: NG god of tracking.
    Helm: LN god of protection, vigilance, and stewardship.
    Hoar: LN god of revenge, retribution, and poetic justice.
    Ilmater: LG god of suffering and survival.
    Lathander: NG god of dawn, birth, youth, vitality, and spring.
    Leira: CN goddess of deception, illusion, and intrigue.
    Lliira: CG goddess of joy, liberty, dance, and festivals.
    Loviatar: LE goddess of pain, torture, sadism, and masochism.
    Lurue: CG goddess of intelligent/talking animals.
    Malar: CE god of stalking, bloodlust, bloodsport, and (evil) lycanthropy.
    Mask: CN god of shadows, stealth, and theft.
    Mielikki: NG goddess of forests and autumn.
    Milil: NG god of poetry, song, and rhythm.
    Myrkul: NE god of death and undeath.
    Mystra: LN goddess of magic, spells, and the Weave.
    Oghma: N god of inspiration, knowledge, and the sharing of knowledge.
    Selune: CG goddess of the moon, moonlight, and (non-evil) lycanthropy.
    Shar: CE goddess of darkness, loss, forgetfulness, and the destruction/concealment of knowledge.
    Sharess: CG goddess of hedony, sensuality, lust, and gratification.
    Shaundakul: CN god of exploration and travel.
    Siamorphe: LN goddess of nobility, royalty, and just rule.
    Silvanus: N god of nature and wilderness.
    Sune: NG goddess of beauty, love, and passion.
    Talona: CE goddess of disease and poison.
    Talos: CE god of destruction and catastrophes.
    Tempus: CN god of war.
    Torm: LG god of duty, loyalty, and obedience.
    Tymora: CG goddess of (good) luck and fortuitous events.
    Tyr: LG god of justice.
    Umberlee: CE goddess of oceans, currents, and sea winds.
    Valsharoon: NE god of necromancy and liches.
    Waukeen: N goddess of trade, money, and wealth.

    This is mostly consistent with the list in the 3e campaign setting, with the restoration of Bhaal, Myrkul, and Leira and tweaking of a few alignments and portfolios -- Mask is CN instead of NE, for example. I'm thinking Torm should be LN, but it's not a huge issue for me; making him Good just flavors him as a competitor/foil of Bane, equally or moreso than a god of loyalty and I can be fine with that.

    Amaunator, Moander, and Savras are still known, but they're not part of the Faerunian pantheon.

    The Red Knight became known during the Time of Troubles, in published lore. I like her, and I'd like to include her in spite of ignoring the ToT, so I think she'll appear during the battles at the close of Part One of the campaign.

    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 08 Sep 2014 23:05:02
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    xaeyruudh
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1822 Posts

    Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  23:59:01  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    This campaign expands the Mulhorandi and Untheric pantheons to 18 "deities" (not all of them are gods) each, with most of the Mulhorandi pantheon surviving to 1365 and most of the Untheric pantheon dead before that.

    The God-Kings do have "special interests" but they don't function like the portfolios of other pantheons. For example, Osiris is said to have dominion over death and the dead, but the Mulhorandi freely invoke any/all of the God-Kings to shower blessings on the dearly departed, and so forth. It's not considered weird to ask Thoth to watch over a deceased parent, the way it would be strange for a farmer to pray to Shar for the success of his crops.

    The Mulhorandi pantheon can be divided into a few groups.

    There are six "mainstream" churches. These are known throughout the Old Empires and worshiped freely in Mulhorand, Murghom, Semphar, and Chessenta. Gilgeam persecutes followers of these religions in Unther, but he persecutes pretty much everyone.

    Anhur: NG god-king of war, physical prowess, and thunder.
    Horus-Re: LG god-king of the sun, life, kings, rule, and vengeance.
    Isis: NG god-king of weather, rivers, agriculture, love, marriage, and (good) magic.
    Nephthys: CG god-king of wealth, trade, homes, and families.
    Osiris: LG god-king of death, justice, harvests, and the circle of life.
    Thoth: N god-king of knowledge, invention, scribes, secrets, and (neutral) magic.

    There are also six accepted cults. There's no negative connotation to "cult" in the Old Empires; it refers only to the size/spread of the God-King's following. Cults are simply smaller and/or more localized than full-fledged churches.

    Bast: CG god-king of stealth, shadows, theft, swiftness, and agility.
    Geb: N god-king of the earth, minerals, strength, and eternity.
    Hathor: NG god-king of fertility, motherhood, family, music, and dance.
    Nut: god-king of the sky, the moon, the stars, and and navigation.
    Shu: god-king of the wind, storms, and creativity.
    Tefnut: god-king of peace, calm, and water.

    There are three other cults which are known, but widely feared and avoided.

    Apophis: CE god-king of pain, torture, and insects.
    Sebek: NE god-king of river hazards, drowning, and crocodiles.
    Set: NE god-king of ambition, darkness, decay, destruction, drought, loss, (evil) magic, murder, poison, scavengers, and snakes.

    Finally, there are three cults which are extremely small or localized, and unknown to everyone outside their membership.

    Anubis: LN god-king of immortality, perseverence, and adaptation.
    Ptah: LN god-king.
    Re: LN god-king.

    There are a few other things to consider.

    Nut, Shu, and Tefnut perished in the Orcgate Wars. Their cults have survived, as their clerics continued to receive spells and boons in response to their prayers. The living god-kings are aware of the "deception" but most mortal citizens are not. The cult of Nut serves Selune, the cult of Shu serves Aerdrie Faenya, and the cult of Tefnut serves Eldath.

    Apophis is not a god-king; several centuries ago, a Mulhorandi cleric returned to the South after years of many years of exploring the Realms. He spoke strange languages, cast mighty spells, and proclaimed himself to be a forgotten god-king. It had been many centuries since anyone had seen a god-king, and the lower classes were eager to believe his claims. The cult of Apophis was born. Eventually the cleric died, but followers took his place and kept the deception going. In truth, the cult of Apophis serves Shar. The god-kings were aware of the cult as it formed, but chose not to intervene in the hope that it would die with the cleric. Now, they trust in their ability to reveal the truth if/when it becomes necessary, and they're content to ignore it until then.

    Sebek is also not a god-king; it is a powerful unique creature of unknown (to mortal sages anyway) origin. In the time of Imaskar, the conspirators accepted Sebek as one of their own and benefitted somewhat from his spells and ferocious skill at arms. His true nature was revealed during the Conjunction, but they were content to remain allied with him since he had chosen to ally with them. When the Conjunction ended, however, they shunned him and left behind in the desert. He and his followers followed them to Mulhorand and his cult took shape in much the same way as those of the god-kings. It is believed that Sebek, like the god-kings, still survives.

    Anubis *is* a real god-king. He was executed for treason following his apparent role in causing the Orcgate Wars. His followers, who mostly inhabited the northern province that is now Thay, utterly vanished from Mulhorand. Anubis himself has persisted through death, and lives on, mostly forgotten. The other god-kings believe him dead.

    Ptah was one of the conspirators who became the god-kings. He parted company with his fellows during or immediately after the Conjunction, and has not been heard from since. He had a small group of dedicated followers, however, who accompanied the other god-kings to found Mulhorand, and their cult has persisted to the present day. The god-kings are not sure of Ptah's current location or even whether he survives.

    Re was foremost among the god-kings until he was apparently slain in the Orcgate Wars. His death, along with those of Nut, Shu, and Tefnut, is a large part of the reason behind the execution of Anubis and the banishment of Set. The god-kings believe him dead, but there are times when they all remember him at the same moment and each almost believes that they perceive him... but then the moment passes. In truth, Re did not die under the blade of Gruumsh. He invested some of his power in Horus, and dissolved the rest into the physical landscape of Mulhorand. He can't speak in his current state, but he can and does manifest in certain ways in times of great need. His friend and rival Enlil later did the same thing in Unther.

    The involvement of Aerdrie in Mulhorand is known, and disliked, by both the god-kings and the Seldarine. Like the wind, though, Aerdrie follows her will. She knows that the antipathy between elves and mulan humans can be overcome, and she aims to use her clerics to help end it.

    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 10 Sep 2014 04:48:17
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    Seethyr
    Senior Scribe

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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  00:22:09  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    There is certainly a lot of information in there. I'll just stab at random parts that caught my eye.

    -What rule set are you using, because Tyranny of Dragons might fit in nicely to lessen preparation a bit. After Tiamat disappeared, there is a great tie in to have her "brought back from her imprisonment." You might actually have a far more logical explanation than the actual adventure for that. Also, as you seem to want to tie in some allies, well the Cult could be temporary allies?

    -It looks like your players are going to come into some direct conflict with sarrukh often. They are pretty tough adversaries. How do you plan to even the odds a bit?

    -You want to make Torm LN, personally, I would've done the same thing to Tyr instead.

    -How are you planning on making allies out of the kaorti?

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    Edited by - Seethyr on 09 Sep 2014 00:23:48
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  01:40:06  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Seethyr

    -What rule set are you using, because Tyranny of Dragons might fit in nicely to lessen preparation a bit. After Tiamat disappeared, there is a great tie in to have her "brought back from her imprisonment." You might actually have a far more logical explanation than the actual adventure for that. Also, as you seem to want to tie in some allies, well the Cult could be temporary allies?


    FR is my world of choice, so when I realized that I wasn't going to game in the 4e Realms I didn't bother learning that ruleset. I was planning to stick with 3.5, but 5e looks cool from the playtest and the PH so either one is fine with me based on player preference... assuming I can get the campaign to a somewhat polished state.

    Now that Hoard of the Dragon Queen is actually on shelves, I'll try to take a look through it. The leading announcements sounded ridiculous for several reasons, but we'll see if it worked out better on paper than it sounded in the hype. The Cult of the Dragon is mostly irrelevant to my plotline, though I may use Alasklerbanbastos at some point so the Cult might make a cameo. The cult of Tiamat will be involved in the adventures in Unther, but I don't have a big role planned for them in the overall plot. Not against it at all; it just hasn't "fallen into place" yet as an important link. Perhaps I should look at Tiamat as wanting to play a more significant part in this story, but so far I'm not seeing a believable motive for her.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Seethyr

    -It looks like your players are going to come into some direct conflict with sarrukh often. They are pretty tough adversaries. How do you plan to even the odds a bit?


    The sarrukh are definitely the tough guys in the campaign. PCs won't be tangling with them at low levels; they'll have to work their way up the food chain in each of the three parts. Confrontations with the sarrukh themselves won't happen til level 20 or so. I'm not planning (so far) on evening the odds in those fights... I want to play the sarrukh as heavy hitters that no sane person (or even small group) attacks without significant planning. The PCs will need to do their research, choose the time and place carefully, have contingencies ready, lure individuals into traps, and execute their attacks quickly and precisely... and even then the fights will be tough. Something like Schwarzenegger vs the Predator, but more careful than Arnie was. Not a cake-walk.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Seethyr

    -You want to make Torm LN, personally, I would've done the same thing to Tyr instead.


    Yea, Tyr being LN makes good sense too. I can see wanting one of them to be LG so there's a logical patron for paladins, but the other should be LN.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Seethyr

    -How are you planning on making allies out of the kaorti?


    The kaorti will definitely not be easy allies. I don't have the cyst planned out yet; I just know that I want one. Making allies out of them will probably be a very tricky matter of having something the kaorti really want, and finding a way to negotiate with them from a position of strength, and then watching out for backstabs.

    At first glance, it doesn't matter to the kaorti who wins the PCs' war. The kaorti care only about spreading the influence of the Far Realm... or alternatively, feeding the Prime Material to the Far Realm. They'll pursue that agenda regardless of who controls the surrounding land. And the cyst is going to be in a very remote area... a ruined Imaskari city within the Raurin Desert. (My current thinking is Raudor, which is described in The Horde boxed set, but I may opt for a hitherto-unknown ruin.) So... it's a stretch, but one possible path to an "understanding" with the kaorti will follow the logic that the sarrukh will be seeking to terraform the Raurin... to restore it first to its pre-Conjunction state and then turn it into a jungle which is more comfortable for serpentkind. If they're able to accomplish that (and neither the PCs nor the kaorti know the answer to that question) then they'll want to get rid of the kaorti because the expansion of the cyst will represent a threat to their minions. The kaorti aren't experts on everything, but they know enough to avoid conflict with the sarrukh. If the sarrukh are defeated, things continue very much as they are today... the Raurin persists, and protects the cyst. That future can be relied upon, because if the God-Kings had the ability to turn the Raurin back into farmland, they would already have done so.

    The opposite side of this question --why would the PCs want to negotiate with the kaorti-- is answered by the cyst's location. The kaorti have hundreds, potentially thousands of Imaskari relics... potentially including artifact-level items. The city they took over was a significant site of Imaskari research. The sarrukh know all the magic that modern human/demihuman cultures are capable of... they're not as familiar, however, with Imaskari magic, and there's a chance that the kaorti have possession of something that could prove very useful.
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  02:39:39  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    The origin of the phaerimm, and the kaorti cyst

    Back in the golden age of Imaskar, a wizard-noble of some note (Tkinnolihr) had a city built. He retired from public life there, and conducted research that modern society would consider horrific but which was merely "before its time" by Imaskari standards. He shunned visitors because they were annoying interruptions, not because he feared being sanctioned or punished. The phaerimm race is one surviving result of his experiments. At some point, however, maintenance was no longer performed and his palace --and then the city-- were quickly abandoned amid rumors of madness and suspiciously high suicide rates. The city was marked taboo, and fell into ruin. Fast-forward to the last few centuries of the Imaskari Empire. Tkinnolihr's city is no longer marked on maps. Another notorious wizard builds another city on the same site (it offered wonderful scenic overlooks of northern Raurin), unaware of what lay buried within and under the mountain. That wizard named his city Raudor, and it was splendid... until he and the 5,000 slaves who lived there to serve his every whim went berserk and slaughtered themselves and each other. Investigators and scavengers who entered the city were never heard from again either. Fast-forward to the current date. The lower/older city is a kaorti cyst of significant size and age, filled with small but persistent "wormholes" in the fabric of reality. Through these wormholes come creatures and madness from the Far Realm. The upper city (which is not on the surface; it's buried beneath rockfalls and accessible only by spelunking) doesn't have any direct connections to the lower city, but it's physically close enough that "echoes" of what's below will soon drive most visitors bat-dung-crazy.

    The first birthed generation of phaerimm was born in captivity, but they broke free of their cages. Before escaping they sought to slay the wizard who created them. The wizard's apprentices, charged with educating and controlling the master's creations, blocked the passage leading out of the prison and slew Iorhoulaamh... the first/created phaerimm. The younger phaerimm had proudly believed themselves immortal and invincible (supported by the ease with which they killed and devoured the humanoids who stumbled into their lair every few days) and the death of their progenitor shocked them into mute surrender. The eldest son of Iorhoulaamh, however, used spells of his own devising to collapse part of the mountain and teleport his siblings to a vast network of unclaimed caverns far to the west and north, which they had seen in spellpictures shown to them by the human apprentices. Teaching and protecting now fell on the Firstborn. They soon discovered that the surface world above their new home had been claimed by humans who were learning to wield magic. He sought knowledge and magic voraciously now, to strengthen his siblings as well as to quell his own hunger. He took every known humanoid shape, to infiltrate tribes and read the minds of everyone he met for knowledge of magic, and also for threats to the caverns below. As the Netherese grew more powerful, enslaving other humanoids and flinging spells without care for the consequences, they began to remind the phaerimm of the Imaskari...

    Arqnanghathseir, the phaerimm who controls Zindalankh in 1365 DR, knows all of that. He went to Raudor as soon as he figured out where it was, and recognized the whispering voices as open windows into the Far Realm. The cavern where Iorhoulaamh and his sons were born is long gone, and the mountaintop towers where Tkinnolihr once pondered things humans ought-not-know have likewise crumbled to rubble at the foot of the slopes. The city beneath the mountain, however... parts of that remain somewhat intact. He can't easily get to it, but he can feel the thrum of magic from within. His time is valuable, and he has wards to maintain around Zindalankh. He needs someone to find a way into the forgotten city and shut its maddening Far Realm portals.

    So when the PCs arrive in Zindalankh with a sob story about a drow clan that wants to come to the surface in Zindalankh and escape without being mauled by undead... he has just the suicide mission for them to perform in exchange for his favor. If they're successful, his gratitude will probably take the form of wiping their minds and then teleporting them into a magic-dead maze full of very hungry vampires.

    Fun trivia: The Karanoks of Luthcheq are descended from Tkinnolihr, and various planar consorts (by no means limited to one plane) are scattered throughout the family tree both before and after his time.
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    dazzlerdal
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  19:59:25  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Out of interest have you considered writing this up in a formal layout. Its exactly the kind of thing I have been looking for for my fan magazine, a completely alternate take on the Forgotten Realms.

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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  20:30:50  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Considered it several times... just haven't had the combination of time and attention span so far. Still working on that, and building and expanding, so pieces of it will inevitably come together.
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    dazzlerdal
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  20:39:31  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Well if you do and you want to I would gladly include it in one of my issues.

    I found that once I started formally writing up ideas that I was spurred to develop them even more and came up with several new ideas as I was doing so. By writing it up for other people to read it often inspires you to greater efforts.

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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  20:46:16  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Races

    I don't play often, but when I do, I like having a lot of options. So in the best interests of those like myself, I want to allow as many races and classes as possible. Some might be more challenging than others, but if it's in a TSR or WotC book I'll try to find a place for it in my campaigns. Notes on specific races follow.

    Centaurs will be greatly diversified but so far they don't have any special relevance or role in this campaign so I'll put down some notes on them elsewhere.

    "Dragonborn" is a term used for two different types of creature. One is born from a voluntary transformation undertaken by a follower of Bahamut. The other type of dragonborn was introduced in the 4e core rules, and brought into the Realms amid the destruction wrought by mashing Abeir and Toril back together. I was thinking of making them descendants of the khaasta, but upon reflection that doesn't seem desirable.

    Star elves were added to the Realms in 3e, and they will have a presence in the Old Empires (as well as the Yuirwood) for this campaign.

    One of my players mentioned wanting to play a goliath, so I made it work. I don't remember everything we came up with, and it's stuck on an inaccessible hard drive now, but goliath clans will be found in small numbers in several mountain ranges of Faerun.

    Orcs are one of the few races which are completely unavailable for PCs in Part One of the campaign. This is due to the lingering hatred of orcs following the Orcgate Wars... they're killed on sight throughout Mulhorand and Unther. Obviously that presents problems for orcish PCs.

    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 10 Sep 2014 01:04:15
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    ericlboyd
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  21:21:27  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    The seeds for the dragonborn are also hinted at in Dragons of Faerun.

    --Eric

    quote:
    Originally posted by xaeyruudh

    Races

    I don't play often, but when I do, I like having a lot of options. So in the best interests of those like myself, I want to allow as many races and classes as possible. Some might be more challenging than others, but if it's in a TSR or WotC book I'll try to find a place for it in my campaigns. Notes on specific races follow.

    Centaurs will be greatly diversified but so far they don't have any special relevance or role in this campaign so I'll put down some notes on them elsewhere.

    Dragonborn were introduced in the 4e core rules, and brought into the Realms amid the destruction wrought by mashing Abeir and Toril back together. That was misguided, but there is room for dragonborn. In this campaign they're actually pretty easy to explain; dragonborn are the descendants of the khaasta who have confronted the sarrukh throughout history. So they didn't arrive suddenly; they've "always" been here, and there are now families and small enclaves of dragonborn scattered across Faerun.

    Star elves were added to the Realms in 3e, and they will have a presence in the Old Empires (as well as the Yuirwood) for this campaign.

    One of my players mentioned wanting to play a goliath, so I made it work. I don't remember everything we came up with, and it's stuck on an inaccessible hard drive now, but goliath clans will be found in small numbers in several mountain ranges of Faerun.

    Orcs are one of the few races which are completely unavailable for PCs in Part One of the campaign. This is due to the lingering hatred of orcs following the Orcgate Wars... they're killed on sight throughout Mulhorand and Unther. Obviously that presents problems for orcish PCs.



    --
    http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/
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    Wooly Rupert
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  22:54:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    There were dragonborn in 3E, but they are entirely different from the dragonborn of 4E. They are also a great example of how much trouble can be caused by re-using a name...

    I've fiddled with -- but never fully worked out -- an alternate origin for the 4E dragonborn, using a wandering Netherese enclave and one of the undescribed continents on Toril.

    An easier solution, though, could be a small number of half-dragons isolating themselves and interbreeding, resulting -- in a few generations -- in an entirely new race.

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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  00:50:39  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by ericlboyd

    The seeds for the dragonborn are also hinted at in Dragons of Faerun.

    --Eric


    Thanks, Eric! Page 9 does mention dragonborn, and also refers to Races of the Dragon; I'd forgotten about that.

    Both of these sources describe a dragonborn race which seems different from the 4e dragonborn. More cool for offering a PC an unusual opportunity to change their race partway through their career, but less cool for being limited to followers of Bahamut. Although presumably these dragonborn would also breed true and their descendants could be followers of other deities. On the other hand, these dragonborn didn't exist in the Realms prior to the planting of the Tree of Gems around 1359 DR?

    I like both at least enough to make them possible in a campaign. I'll just have to give one of them a different name.
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    The Arcanamach
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  02:55:27  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I stopped reading during the second post because...I WANT TO PLAY IN THIS CAMPAIGN! The part that I read is excellent though.

    I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  03:39:49  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Hah, thank you Arcanamach. I appreciate the vote of confidence, even if the big draw is just getting rid of RSEs.
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    Jeremy Grenemyer
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  04:45:38  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I hope you're able to bring your computer back to life!

    Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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    Dalor Darden
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  06:41:23  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I absolutely love your ideas. I'm subscribing to keep up on your work! :)

    AD&D for me!
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  06:57:08  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Thanks!

    I think I have it narrowed down to the motherboard and/or cpu, but they're so old that replacing one means replacing everything. I also tried hooking my hard drives up to two other computers... one of those is old and dead too, and the other uses different plugs on the back of the hard drives so that didn't work either.

    My computer is probably toast, but it had a good 15-16 year life. I'm just hoping I'll be able to get stuff off the hard drive.

    Either way, though, I'm going to keep puttering with this campaign. Thanks for the support! [:}]
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    Wooly Rupert
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  12:43:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by xaeyruudh

    Thanks!

    I think I have it narrowed down to the motherboard and/or cpu, but they're so old that replacing one means replacing everything. I also tried hooking my hard drives up to two other computers... one of those is old and dead too, and the other uses different plugs on the back of the hard drives so that didn't work either.

    My computer is probably toast, but it had a good 15-16 year life. I'm just hoping I'll be able to get stuff off the hard drive.

    Either way, though, I'm going to keep puttering with this campaign. Thanks for the support! [:}]



    There are adapter kits that have both IDE and SATA connections, allowing you to temporarily connect an old hard drive to a new computer as an external hard drive. And there are drive enclosures, as well, both IDE and SATA, that allow you to take a former internal hard drive and keep using it as an external one.

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    Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 10 Sep 2014 12:46:02
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  14:19:09  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Thanks Wooly, I'll have to look into that!

    Edit: I got an enclosure so that I could plug the hard drive in as an external... the disks don't spin, so apparently the hard drive is toast unless I can find someone who can resurrect it.

    Which leaves me wondering how opening the case and blowing the dust out fried my hard drive.

    Edited by - xaeyruudh on 29 Oct 2014 05:34:37
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    xaeyruudh
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    Posted - 12 Sep 2014 :  06:25:38  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Weird. Just found this thread from back in 2005, asking about stuff I wrote (Ioroulhaamh and Tkinnolihr, and my version of the phaerimm creation). This is the first I've seen of the thread.

    I wanted the phaerimm to be created by the Imaskari, so I decided they were... for my campaign. Fast-forward to 2003: Underdark says that the Imaskari created the phaerimm. Awesome. Then in 2004 Serpent Kingdoms says (p 98) that the sarrukh fought against the phaerimm in -33800 DR. Whoa.

    So "obviously" (to me at the time anyway) the phaerimm had to have engaged in time travel. I like George's idea of them being ancient evils that the Imaskari duplicated, and I like-even-more Eric's endgame magical metamorphosis. Or (to go off on a tangent) they could be an endgame threat that materializes when highly magical societies start dabbling with things they ought not. If I had seen this thread back then, I might have gone a different direction with the phaerimm, but time travel was the thing that popped into my head and I ran with that.

    It took shape in the form of Ioroulhaamh, my name for the first phaerimm that the Imaskari created. I named the responsible Imaskari wizard Tkinnolihr. I decided that the phaerimm would be the first of his creations that showed enough intelligence and creative spark to go beyond simply learning and recasting spells it was taught but performing original magical research on its own.

    Ioroulhaamh's big magical achievement was an unrefined bit of genius his offspring called temporal wormhole. It hurled the caster a random number of years into the future or past, for a random number of seconds/minutes/hours, and then yanked him back. It was undoubtedly wild magic. In terms of time travel research, it was the equivalent of grabbing all the food on the table at Thanksgiving dinner and trying to cram it all in your face at once. But it worked, and it was the highest level of magic use any of the Imaskari wizards' creations had managed up to that point; the fact that the phaerimm researched it himself was icing on the cake, and made Tkinnolihr quite prominent in his day. Probably had an audience with the Dragon King, which may have explained Tkinnolihr's subsequent disappearance from the public eye...

    Anyway, some time shortly after that, everything went to heck and Ioroulhaamh was killed by the wizard's apprentices and his descendants teleported out of the collapsing cavern.

    Time marched on, and the year that Ioroulhaamh had visited with his wormhole rolled around. His firstborn was waiting, where their cradle/prison had once stood, when his "father" suddenly appeared. He immediately summoned several of his brothers, and they had a few moments to "reconnect" before Ioroulhaamh vanished.

    The phaerimm had learned something of the Nether Scrolls by then, having mindwalked various human and elven wizards who had perused the scrolls. They knew about the liches in Oreme, but had been unable to penetrate the sarrukh's wards or capture any of them "alive."

    Returning to their new home, the brothers set about focusing their resources on time travel for a while. They had dabbled before, but seeing "dear old dad" again was inspirational. It seemed like a timely hint for "dealing with" the sarrukh -- meaning: absorbing all of their magical knowledge and learning the most effective ways to slaughter them if the need should ever arise. They crafted some more time travel spells, and had some successful experiments, and created something approximating the time portals that have been mentioned in the Ruins of Myth Drannor box and other sources. One of the brothers took his descendants through the portal, and they were never heard from again.

    They were successful in some ways (bringing about the end of Isstossefifil, which might otherwise have persisted) but it availed the phaerimm race little (the family that went back in time died out before the present time, and thus were unable to share what they had learned).

    All just my take on the phaerimm, for this campaign.
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    LordofBones
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    Posted - 15 Sep 2014 :  12:09:12  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Why not have two Sebeks: one's the "real" deity, who's a pretty decent chap, and the other is the FR Sebek, who's trying to smear the original's name?
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