The Five Crowns of Tiamat

Campaign on Hiatus for Now

As of Tuesday, February 21st, I’m afraid I’m calling this campaign off for the present. I really do apologize for this, but I just don’t feel like DMing anymore. I was making silly mistakes (by the way, I sincerely apologize for railroading you all into being captured and practically thrown into Rhest swamp last session), and I need some time to clear my head (among other things, like by far preferring playing to DMing in general). Maybe we’ll resume it at some future point in time. We’ll see.

For now, Dreadnought_2 is starting up a campaign of Legend RPG. Our next session will be character creation for that on Sunday, February 26th.

Again, my apologies for bringing this adventure to such an abrupt stop.

Session Four - Capture and Escape

Wow. This was the first session in 85 days (our last one was November 7th!).

We started with Rolan and Tenzin leaving the town of Talar (which was recently convinced to evacuate). After a brief discussion, the two decide to go to Witchcross and warn them of the oncoming horde (the other option debated is to make a stop at Brindol). When they arrive, they find the town suspiciously silent, and, when they enter, the gate slams shut behind them and they are surrounded by a group of fifteen hobgoblins and three ogres. Hathar, Tuvatu’s animal companion, manages to leap over the fence that surrounds the village and escape, but Rolan (who almost got away, but was pulled off the fence by a hobgoblin just as he was almost over), Tenzin, and Blazing Tempest (Tenzin’s tiger mount) are bludgeoned into submission, knocked unconscious, and loaded onto a wagon which then is drawn swiftly through the Witchwood towards Rhest swamp.

When the captives have almost reached Rhest, the hobgoblin driver and guards are suddenly informed that they are needed urgently by a certain “Wyrmlord Saarvith.” The guards leave immediately and abandon Tenzin and Rolan in the nearest hobgoblin base of operations, which, in this case, happens to be an encampment of Children of Fharla (mentioned in an earlier post) that has been captured and surrounded by a hundred or so hobgoblin soldier and a few ogres. Meanwhile, Tuvatu and Finnix stop harassing the main force of hobgoblins and (informed of their comrades’ position by Hathar) rush to meet up with the rest of the party so that they might allow them to escape.

Meanwhile, Rolan and Tenzin get to know the leaders of the Fharlans. Kimiiar and Salliara are the spiritual leaders of the group of gypsies. They are not normal Fharlans; they once were, but they are dead and reincarnated by their god, Fharla, for their loyalty to him and his ways. Their form shifts from moment to moment, and looks different to each person, making them rather disconcerting to talk to. The clan’s greatest warriors are Fiil and Nott. Together, the clan’s leaders and warriors begin to plot their escape (as well as that of Rolan and Tenzin), coordinating with Tuvatu and Finnix via her animal messenger spell. Salliara makes the PCs swear that, in return for the Fharlans’ aid, the party will attempt to remove the Red Hand’s presence from the swampland and take out Wyrmlord Saarvith, who is responsible for their capture and the death of several clan members. The night after their capture, Tuvatu creates a diversion by blasting the north side of the encampment with columns of flame, summoning monsters and causing chaos with various other spells. In the confusion, Rolan, Tenzin, Salliara, Nott, and Fiil escape via the now-unguarded south side.

The group eventually arrives at Rhest swamp. After a brief encounter with some lizardfolk (resolved via Rolan’s diplomacy – it turns out that the lizardfolk are not particularly fond of the Red Hand), we stopped the session.

Session Three - Four Versus the Horde

Last session, we ended with the party (accompanied by an elderly forest giant named Warklegnaw) gazing at Skull Gorge Bridge, an ancient stone walkway spanning a chasm hundreds of feet deep, occupied by a small group of Red Hand agents, and signs of a huge army (10,000 strong) mustering on the distant Cinder Hill.

After some debate, the party decides to charge and attempt to destroy the bridge, halting the progress of the army (that obviously intends to cross). They charge and take out the dire wolf guards. Rolan pinpoints the bridge’s weak spot, and Tuvatu casts Soften Earth and Stone. The structure beginst to fall away into Skull Gorge. Meanwhile, the green dragon has swooped down and is making strafing attack with its breath weapon and claws. Tenzin, who was holding off hobgoblin troops in the middle of the 100-foot long bridge, is on it when it begins to collapse. Bounding along at top speed, he and his tiger make it to the edge just when the building finally caves in. The two, clinging desperately to the edge, pull themselves (with a little help from Rolan) up while narrowly dodging the dragon’s fangs. The dragon begins to loop back and make another dive, but Tuvatu summons a hippogriff, and the two aerial creatures claw and grab at each other until the dragon flees the scene.

(As an aside, Warklegnaw promises to gather what remains of his tribe to aid the Vale in coming battles. He estimates that he will be ready to go to war in ten days.)

With dire news, the party rushes back to Drellin’s ferry. Norro Wiston calls a town meeting immediately, and he, Captain Sorrana, a halfling tavern-owner named Kellin, a wealthy landowner named Iormel, and Delora, a former adventurer and current manager of the town livery stable, begin to discuss plans.

Kellin, at first, advocates diplomacy, but is convinced that evacuation would be better when he is shown a note on Koth’s map that says “Tyrgarun wants Halflings to eat.” Iormel wants to stand and fight (largely due to all the land he owns in Drellin’s Ferry that he is unwilling to part with), but is outnumbered by Sorrana, Delora, Norro Wiston, and all four PCs, all of which advocate retreat.

At this point, a warrior with a golden lion (the symbol of Brindol, the largest town in the Vale and the only one with a standing army) emblazoned on her armor, a member of the meeting who had up until then been silent, speaks up. She informs the gathering that the old Rhest Trail, a road used by travelers, has been blockaded by Red Hand agents and that all passersby are being imprisoned or killed.

Kellin also mentions that a band of nomads, Children of Fharla (demigod of travel and roads), passed through a few days ago on their way to the marshes of Rhest and haven’t come back since. He suspects that the Red Hand may have something to do with their disappearance.

There is also a note on the map suggesting that, at some point, the Red Hand will pass by the Dwarf Bridge, a location to the south that is near the Hammerfist Holds, home of a dwarven mercenary company known as the Shining Axes. The party fears that the Shining Axes may sell their services to the Red Hand, so they head off to recruit them first (with two hundred gold pieces donated by the Council to pay them). The journey takes two days, and when the PCs arrive, they are informed by the Shining Axes that they have no plans to help for a meager sum of two hundred gold. They do agree, however, to notify Drellin’s Ferry if the Red Hand passes by.

Learning that the horde is only seven days away from Drellin’s ferry, the party hurries back (a trip that consumes two days of time) and discusses with the council again. Many civillians are refusing to believe that the horde exists at all, and are stubbornly resisting all efforts to evacuate them.

Suddenly, a Dwarven messenger of the Shining Axes arrives and informs the PCs that there is a raiding party heading towards the town that will be there by dusk. The PCs recruit the aid of the town’s militia and prepare for the attack.

The first wave of attackers consists of five dire wolves. Militiamen take down two, and the PCs easily wipe out and rout the final three. The second wave (ten hobgoblins led by a Kulkor Zhul War Adept, a vicious hobgoblin spellcaster) is, while crossing the river on a boat, waylaid by a shark summoned by Tuvatu. Tuvatu calls a lightning storm and begins to strike at the War Adept with bolts of electricity. When the group of Red Hand warriors finally reaches the shore, the War Adept casts a spell on Finnix, who immediately collapses on the ground, screaming and writhing, unable to act. The rest of the party charges and begins mowing down hobgoblins, until Tenzin strikes the final blow and sends the War Adept keeling over dead. The two surviving hobgoblins surrender, but the party decides to let them go.

With time rapidly running out, the party decides to split up. Tuvatu leads a group of Drellin’s Ferry militiamen and begins waylaying the horde, slowing it down and casting spells from a distance to halt its progress. After his third raid on the army, Tuvatu is noticed by a huge, muscular, hobgoblin carrying a greatsword, who seems to be in some position of authority. After that, he is careful to avoid him and keeps a lower profile. Rolan, accompanied by Hathar, Tuvatu’s animal companion (a giant tasmanian devil), rides ahead and begins warning towns of the impending danger. He manages to convince Nimon Gap and Talar to evacuate, but Terrelton stubbornly remains behind. Finnix and Tenzin, since your players weren’t there at the time, I’m leaving it up to you whether you went with Tuvatu or Rolan.

Notes and Ideas:

I am now tracking a mechanic called victory points. I won’t tell you how many you have at any given time, but essentially, you get them by damaging the Red Hand horde in as many ways as you possibly can. Victory Points will help you in battles later on in the campaign.

And well, would you look at that: you guys made 7th level! Congrats. I’ll discuss with you individually about feat, spell, and maneuver selections later.

Session Two - Vraath Keep

We got a lot done today. We zipped right through the first of five segments of the Red Hand of Doom adventure.

We resumed play after having slain a band of hobgoblins and dire wolves. Two hobgoblins (a warrior and a priest) survived the battle, and are now being interrogated. Rolan questions them carefully, and they learn that the enemies are servants of a band of hobgoblins (the size of the band is ambiguous) called the Red Hand. They are led by a certain “High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul,” and their particular band was sent by a lesser commander, “Wyrmlord Koth,” who has a base in the nearby Vraath Keep in the Witchwood forest. Koth also apparently has a lieutenant named “Karkilan,” a giant humanoid with the face of a bull, as described by the nervous soldier. The band is planning to destroy the “human river town” which is apparently a short ways down the road the party has been traveling on. The priest is vehemently opposed to divulging information, so when the warrior cracks under Rolan’s (or was it Finnix’s?) questioning, the Cleric loses control and lashes out, but is quickly brought down by the rest of the party. The group agrees to take the remaining hobgoblin prisoner and drop him off at the next town to be taken into custody.

Soon, the group comes to a town called Drellin’s Ferry, which is built on the far side of the Elsir River. The village controls the waters (and who crosses them) via a ferry that allows travelers to cross. After a brief examination (and some questions about Tuvatu’s leopard) the band is allowed to cross the river and enter. They buy a few rooms and some food and drink at a tavern called the Green Apple, and have started gambling with the locals when a tall, balding man and a capable-looking swordswoman enter the tavern and sit down. They are two of the town council members, Town Speaker Norro Wiston and Soranna, Captain of the Guard. They offer the PCs 500 gold each if they drive out the group of hobgoblin bandits that has been plaguing the town.

The adventurers head out to the Witchwood (getting directions from a woodsman named Jorr on the way), and, after a brief encounter with some trolls, arrive at Vraath Keep. Rolan recalls a bit of the Keep’s history (more information can be found in the very first post of the adventure log, below), and also remembers some rumors he’s heard that Amery Vraath still inhabits the Keep as a ghost, haunting the ruins with a vengeance. As the party comes closer to the structure, they see a glowing light in the Keep’s one remaining tower, and hear the sounds of an eerie howling.

After a brief scouting session by Rolan (including a scene where the Halfling narrowly avoids collapsing an abandoned shack near the Keep’s gatehouse – the Rogue noticed the structure’s instability at the last moment with a quick Mechanics check), the group decides that the best way to approach is to, instead of walking through the gatehouse door, enter via a collapsed section of one of the side walls. However, while attempting to sneak in, Finnix accidentially makes a loud noise by bumping his armor and shield together to cause a resounding clang. The sounds of guffaws and words uttered in the goblin tongue, coming from the nearest room, suddenly stop as a gruff, deep voice utters, “Stop! I heard something, be quiet. You, go check to see if someone’s there.” A tough-looking hobgoblin rounds the corner and walks straight into the adventuring party. Combat commences, and out of the room rush three more hobgoblins, followed by two humanoid bear-like creatures and a huge, burly minotaur toting an oversized greataxe. Soon, a couple goblins mounted on dire wolves join the fray, and then, out of the tower flies a goblinoid with draconic wings (looks like this). Wyrmlord Koth (for it is indeed Wyrmlord Koth who has just joined the battle) lets loose a streak of fire at Finnix and Rolan. Rolan narrowly dodges the blast, but Finnix is struck and is scorched and entangled by the burning goo, in addition to having a large portion of his Strength score drained away by the fatiguing effects of the substance.

The battle is going very poorly. Koth continually blasts the party with different breath weapons, while Rolan has been knocked prone by wolves and Finnix has been dropped into negative hit points by the furious assault of Karkilan the minotaur. Tuvatu’s leopard has been hacked to pieces, and is now very dead, and Tuvatu herself has been slowly blasting away at hobgoblins and bear-men with her Call Lightning spell while trying to evade Koth’s draconic breath, when, suddenly, Tenzin the Dragonborn Paladin (who had been separated from the party in order to complete some sort of magical ritual given to him by the Great King) – mounted on a flaming tiger swathed in smoke – leaps through the gate and charges, destroying a wolf with his glowing lance and causing the goblin mounted on it to flee in terror, while healing Finnix and bringing him back around to consciousness (although Finnix is in no position to get up yet, as one of the bear-humans is standing directly over him). This event proves to be the turning point. Tenzin and his tiger charge another dire wolf, dropping it in one hit and sending the last goblin scampering, while the other three mop up the remaining hobgoblins and bear-creatures, and Finnix and Rolan finally take down Karkilan (Finnix uses his Charging Minotaur maneuver to smash him into the wall, while Rolan finishes him with a critical hit from his kukri). Koth, seeing that his troops are dead, flees and holes up in the second floor of the Keep’s tower.

With that, the group rests for the night (keeping watch to make sure Koth doesn’t leave the tower). Tuvatu heals the party and restore’s Finnix’s Strength, and by morning the adventurers are ready to push onwards. They burst open the door to Koth’s quarters and take out his crew of bear-men and hobgoblin archers, only to watch the Wyrmlord himself fly out the window and off into the distance. The party searches the room (finding a map marked up by Koth, with several towns in Elsir Vale shown as “marked for burning,” “not worth pillaging,” or “heavy resistance possible,” and other assorted notes – I will tell you more about the map next session) and interrogates the remaining hobgoblin archer, finding out that the entire “Ghost of Amery Vraath” thing is a hoax concocted to keep locals away from the castle. The party finds an enchanted bastard sword in another room in the tower (possibly belonging to Amery Vraath himself!).

The party leaves the castle, only to run into a hungry-looking forest giant, muttering to himself about his tribe being “all gone.” Finnix argues that the group should kill it, but the final decision is to attempt to sneak past it. That doesn’t go so well – the giant immediately notices, and calls out, “Come here, small folk, Warklegnaw is hungry!” Rolan thinks quickly and says he killed the people who killed Warklegnaw’s tribe. Warklegnaw is skeptical at first, but eventually is convinced. “Warklegnaw owe you favor now,” he says.

The party continues through the woods, but only manages to dive off the path at the last minute before a band of about twenty hobgoblins comes into sight, marching along and mumbling something about meeting with the Red Hand horde at Skull Gorge Bridge. The party stealthily follows, swinging back to ask Warklegnaw to help them if combat should become necessary. When the woods come to an end, the party sees Skull Gorge Bridge (a huge stone structure spanning a chasm hundreds of feet deep) – along with a horde of TENS of THOUSANDS of hobgoblins, giants, dragons, ogres, and other assorted creatures gathering on the other side. While the horde’s largest encampment is about a mile away, there is a cluster of about half a dozen tents right next to the bridge, and the bridge’s watchtowers are manned by hobgoblin sentries. A sleek, menacing green dragon is perched atop one of the watchtowers, coolly and grimly surveying the scene, eyes fixed on the bridge. Since the PCs (and their newly acquired giant friend) are still at the edge of the forest and approximately 60 feet away from the bridge, none of the enemies have noticed them yet.

Notes and Ideas:

You leveled up! You are now all 6th level.

Finnix – Since you’re 6th level now, you gain 7 extra hit points, a +1 bonus on all attack rolls, an additional attack at a -5 penalty when you make a full attack, a +1 bonus to all your saves, and the improved uncanny dodge ability (you cannot be flanked unless one of the flankers is a Rogue four levels higher than you have Warblade levels). Additionally, you may choose one maneuver and switch it out for a different maneuver that you qualify for.

Rolan – I have your character sheet right now. May I just go ahead and give him a level in Invisible Blade? It’s a great prestige class, I think you should definitely go ahead with it.

Tuvatu – Since you hadn’t replied to my message in time, I made a guess and decided you picked a leopard companion. That doesn’t really matter much now, because it’s dead. It seems like it’s kind of a hard thing to strike a balance between a full-on second PC and a flimsy, non-permanent class feature that you continually have to replace. I’m not sure what to do about it, really. I would be willing to give you the fleshraker back (toned down with the changes we agreed upon, of course), but I think it would be slightly better to flavor it as something other than a dinosaur. I did come across an interesting option for a Druid that would exchange your animal companion for some other abilities: the Storm Druid.

You lose your animal companion, can’t make wild empathy checks, can’t spontaneously cast summon nature’s ally, don’t gain the trackless step or woodland stride class features, and theoretically lose wild shape/shapeshift (although I might allow you to keep it, because I think the Storm Druid makes you give up too much as is), but you gain immunity to frightful and magical deafness, animals are shaken if you attack them, you gain a +1 insight bonus to Reflex saves, you gain the ability to resist 5 points of electricity damage per attack, you can make an attack that deals 1d6 extra points of electricity damage and deafens the target twice a day, and you can spontaneously cast obscuring mist, gust of wind, or call lightning. I think this alternate class feature is a little weak as is, so I’ll also give you the ability to spontaneously cast cure spells and the ability to deal 3d6 points of electricity damage, no save, to an opponent who hits you in melee, a number of times per day equal to half your Druid level.

All – I bumped up the challenge level a bit. I might have gone overboard, but in general, I want this adventure to be really dangerous. Did you feel overwhelmed, or do you think that combat went well overall? I personally thought it was dramatic, suspenseful, and overall had a more cinematic feel, but maybe you guys didn’t like it as much. What do you think?

Oh, right – at this point, I feel I should also clarify what action points really do. You have a certain amount of action points that you can use per level. You can augment any die roll you make by 1d6 per action point spent to enhance that die roll. Additionally, you can spend one action point to gain an additional swift or immediate action, two action points to gain an additional move action, three action points to gain an additional standard action, or four action points to gain an additional full-round action. You recharge your action points per level (and maybe even gain a new one) when you level up.

Session One - Ambush

Today was a fairly short session, since we were also wrapping up Dreadnought2’s Spellgard adventure.

The four adventurers, Tenzin, a Dragonborn Paladin, Finnix, a Dwarf Warblade, Rolan, a Halfling Rogue, and Tuvatu, a Gnome Druid, have just slain a band of tomb robbers that are agents of the cult of Tiamat. The ghostly forms of the Great King, Theron, and his most trusted advisor, Velsignet, appear to the PCs. The King thanks the players for their hard work, but informs them that there is a new danger rising in the land of Elsir Vale. He has heard whispers of a “Red Hand”, and of a powerful champion of Tiamat called Azzar Kul. After stealing a couple horses and riding off towards the Vale to investigate (Tenzin is not with them – he needs to complete a magical ritual in preparation for the new adventure), the PCs are riding down a road leading into the Vale when suddenly, a band of hobgoblins (accompanied by a duo of ferocious Dire Wolves) attacks. The PCs make short work of them (although Rolan narrowly avoids death by wolf bite) but take two hobgoblins prisoner – a nervous-looking warrior and a priest of Tiamat.

Notes and Ideas:

Tuvatu – I don’t know if you noticed, but that Fleshraker Companion of yours was quite powerful, and I had even forgot to tell you about a couple of its most overwhelming abilities. I’m thinking that we should:
a) Get rid of its tail attack.
b) Get rid of its jumping pounce, rake, and poison abilities (which I didn’t notice at first, and thus didn’t tell you about, but are actually quite powerful).
That would leave you with something that is still a fairly powerful creature. You were quite an effective combatant (and I’m very glad I decided not to give you Natural Spell) so I think it’s only fair that we tone down your companion.

Finnix – I think your character turned out nicely. However, I am definitely going to need to put a cap on White Raven Tactics. Your idea, if I remember correctly, was that you can use it once per encounter, no recovery, and you gain an additional use per encounter when you kill an enemy, and I think that’s a fair house rule.
Also, remember to decide what abilities you use before you roll!

Tenzin – Sorry you missed the session. We made up that you were off completing the magical ritual to obtain your special Paladin mount.

Everyone – I know we only really ran one encounter, but do you have any suggestions so far? Any changes you’d like to make to your characters? Thinks you liked? Didn’t like? Please post a comment (or shoot me an e-mail, or tell me in person, or something) and let me know!

Barrow of the Great King - the Prologue

So, I suppose I should detail what happened in the first part of the adventure, Barrow of the Great King (originally titled Barrow of the Forgotten King before I made a few changes to the history of the setting halfway through and decided that the king wasn’t really all that forgotten). In summary, here’s what happened (with a few changes made, since some of you have retroactively modified your characters since then):

Four adventurers, Rolan (a Halfling Rogue and master of dual-wielding kukris), Tuvatu (a Gnome Druid, a skilled divine magician and warrior of nature who hails from the desert), Tenzin (a Dragonborn Half-Elf Paladin, a righteous warrior and servant of Bahumat, the demigod of good dragons), and Finnix (a Dwarf Warblade, a talented wielder of the greataxe), witness the murder of one of the king’s advisors while giving a speech at Luhan’s most prestigious playhouse, the Dancing Dragon Theater. After catching an associate of the culprit, they realize that the assassins are warriors sent from Ebondale to kill Luhan’s king and rob the Temple of Aia’s Good of one of the world’s most prized artifacts, the Amulet of Healing, said to be originally owned by the Great King himself. After managing to counter these efforts, the PCs learn that there is about to be an attack on the town of Kingsholm, where the Great King was buried with his personal entourage of knights and the various powerful magic items in his possession.

Naturally, the PCs give chase, entering the mausoleum and following what is apparently a band of grave robbers through the dungeon, fighting the various undead monsters they leave behind to guard their trail. A fast-paced chase ensues, with the PCs traveling through the tomb in hot pursuit of their opponents. The PCs learn from decorations on the walls and the various inhabitants of the structure (such as a fey spirit tied to an underground river and waterfall) that the Great King was assassinated, killed by his most loyal servant, known now only as the Betrayer. Eventually, the PCs encounter the Betrayer himself, who has been sentenced to an eternity trapped in the tomb, doomed to guard the grave of the one he slew. The Betrayer attempts to fool the PCs into believing he is the undead spirit of the Great King, trying to trick them into letting him free, but the PCs see through his deception and he attacks them in a fit of rage. After a desperate and hard-fought battle, with several of the characters coming near death, the PCs slay the Betrayer and finally put him to rest. Shortly afterword, the PCs catch the tomb robbers and slay their leader, a powerful spellcaster who appears to be a humanoid dragon with green scales. The PCs realize that the robbers were unassociated with the emissaries of Ebondale and Aia’s Darkness who attacked Luhanan, but agents of Tiamat the Dragon God, the worst enemy of all Aspects of Aia!

This is where we left off, with the PCs standing over the bodies of their fallen enemies in the tomb, next to the sarcophagus of the Great King himself.

The Setting

Hello! And welcome to the Five Crowns of Tiamat campaign! I’m going to DM this adventure as soon as Dreadnought_2 finishes up his D&D 4th edition Spellgard adventure.

FCoT (the abbreviation for Five Crowns of Tiamat I’ll be using from now on, because typing that whole phrase out again and again is a pain) will be run in the D&D 3.5 system, Waymaker edition (please read both of those links if you want to know the rules we’re using, although you only need to bother with the Core Rules section of the SRD, and you don’t need to memorize every spell and/or monster).

Before we begin the campaign, it would be only natural for you, the players, to know a little bit about the setting you’ve been living in. It’s certainly not mandatory reading, but if you want to be well-versed in the culture of the world in which you’re adventuring, you should give this a read. So, without further ado…

The World of Clara Tenebris

Mythology: The chief deity of Clara Tenebris is Aia. Aia is the creator of the world and all life (with the exception of a few meddling demigods who created their own races). Aia is said to have many aspects, or different embodiments of Aia’s power (such as good, evil, law, chaos, light, darkness, war, peace, life, death, kindness, cruelty, etc.) and each aspect has a group of Cleric worshipers. Aia created several demigods to help in the management and creation of the world. Each one corresponded to an alignment. Tov (who takes the form of an anthropomorphic lion) was the demigod of Good, Rosha (who takes the form of a five-headed dragon) was the demigod of evil, Tzadek (who takes the form of a normal-looking, white-bearded human carrying a pair of scales) was the demigod of law, Vovaehu (who takes the form of a humanoid fox) was the demigod of chaos, and Tovah (who takes the form of an old elf with a body made of tree branches) was the demigod of neutrality and nature. Each was instructed to wander the land, keeping Aia’s creations under control, but Rosha, when left to her own devices, immediately created her own race (the dragons), hid herself from Aia’s sight, took a new name (Tiamat), and devised a ritual to grow in power until she could wrest the title of overdeity from Aia’s hands. However, the ritual failed and Aia imprisoned Tiamat at the core of the earth. Tiamat has tried to free herself another three times since, but has been defeated each time, the last time by a mortal champion chosen by Aia who is known only by the title of “The Great King,” who also founded the Kingdom of Luhan (see History, below).
Other demigods, such as Fharla, King of Travelers and Roads, and Golari, Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, were created by Aia at later points in time (the exact date is not known, since these creations came into being before Recorded History began).

Clara Tenebris has two major continents – Locus and Pelacos. Locus is in the West and Pelacos is in the East. Separating them are two oceans – the Sea of Arbador and the Shrouded Ocean.
The different regions of Clara Tenebris, going from West to East, are as follows:
Oluldaia: This area is said to be the first Aia created. It is a forest of huge trees, some the size of mountains. The entire forest floor is covered in thick roots. It is said that the fountain of youth can be found in the heart of Oluldaia, but nobody ever dares to go there. The forest is guarded by giant Treants and some creatures that are more powerful.
The Icy Mountains: This frigid mountain range is the home of many hill giants, white dragons, and tribes of orcs. Under the mountains dwell drow, duergar, dwarves, and other creatures commonly found underground.
Dal’hani: This huge desert is the home of many wandering nomad tribes of assorted races, from orcs to elves to the exotic thri-kreens. The desert is the origin of psionic power, and powerful Psions and Wilders claim that they have detected some form of consciousness beneath the sand. Some claim that a huge monster dwells under the dunes, and some think that the desert itself is sentient. The only permanent cities in the desert are nine city-states, ruled by seven sorcerer-kings (two of the states recently overthrew their rulers) who are each trying to (and, in some cases, have succeeded at) attaining demigodhood. Dal’hani was once part of Oluldaia forest. In the most recent battle between Tiamat and Aia, the dragon goddess managed to temporarily banish Aia from the mortal realm. When this happened, blight, decay, and destruction began to appear in the once-fertile woodland, and the desert was formed. The Great King vanquished Tiamat and managed to return Aia to reality before the desert could grow any more, however.
Luhan: The kingdom of Luhan is a savanna of rolling hills, largely inhabited by idyllic human farmers. The capitol city, Luhanan, is the most heavily populated city in the entire world. A massive metropolis built around and on top of a huge hill (Luhan Hill), it is a center of trade, government, and general influence. It is also, shockingly, incredibly low on crime. Next to Luhanan and Luhan Hill is Lake Ryna, the mouth of the Ryna River, which runs all the way through the continent and leads into the Sea of Arbador.
The Oligarchy of Ebondale: Luhan is on the border of Ebondale, and has largely the same terrain, but a drastically different political situation. Ruled by the Temples of Aia’s Evil and Darkness, it is a place where civilians are oppressed, borderline enslaved. Ebondale has been at war with the Ghostlord for the entirety of its existence (48 years).
The Thornwaste: The ground of this badland is covered in thorns, brambles, and other sharp, deadly plants. It is the home of the Ghostlord, a legendary Druid turned undead.
Elsir Vale: Once the kingdom of Rhestilor, this large valley is now simply an area of various forests and fields, sparsely populated, with settlements of halflings, dwarves, and humans. There are two prominent city-states in the Vale – Brindol, a military power and “guardian nation” that takes it upon itself to protect the Vale from harm, and Dennovar, a massive merchant city where trade blossoms like nowhere else (with the exceptions of Luhanan, Port Mekaeser, and Fey’ri).
Elrohir Forest: This forest is the home of the elves. It has the largest elf population in all of Clara Tenebris. The elves are a secluded race, and, due to lack of interaction, Elrohir forest has become the stuff of legends, with many of the common, uneducated people of the world not even believing that it (or the elven race) exists.
The Jex’ken: Elrohir Forest grow progressively more jungle-like as you go further East, until finally you come to the Jex’ken. It is the home of an ancient civilization of some race that has since died out, leaving behind massive and magnificent structures and pyramids. It is the home of elves, orcs, and all sorts of other jungle races.
Aerandi Shore: This shore borders the Arbador Sea. It features several shipping and trade towns, the most prominent of which is Port Mekaeser, a largely human (with a few dwarves, halflings, and, surprisingly, goblins) expansionist state that seeks to colonize unexplored parts of the world. Port Mekaeser, despite being only a small nation, is currently one of the three most influential and powerful nations in the world (the other two being Fey’ri and Luhan, with many others having the potential to become major political powers).
Arbador: Arbador is an ocean that spans the area between the East Coast of Locus and the West Coast of Pelacos.
High Arbador: In 236 RH, this giant cloud simply rose out of the water. The cloud is in the same basic shape as the Arbador Sea, and seems to mirror it completely in basic form. It is inhabited by creatures of Elemental origin, called Genasi. Nobody knows how they got there, or where they came from, and they refuse to tell. The four primary races of Genasi (earth, fire, water, and air) all loathe each other and are constantly at war. Nobody except them know why. There is a great, tall ladder that leads into High Arbador from Aerandi Shore (called the Ladder Calentine), and another ladder that leads into it from the Fey’ri on the other shore (called the Ladder Avenine).
Vandenyo: The culture on this island is similar to that of feudal Japan. They are aggressive and largely refuse to interact with the lands of Locus or Pelacos, with the exception of a few intrepid adventurers. Not much is known by the oustide world about the inner happenings of Vandenyo.
Fey’ri: On the other side of the Arbador Sea lies the home of the gnomes, a seafaring race that has given birth to more than a few famous and well-feared pirates. The gnomes of Fey’ri have an extremely powerful navy and are excellent shipbuilders in general. Like Port Mekaeser, they are an expansionist nation and are settling every area they can.
Verthicha Fai: These mountains, infested by small dragon-like creatures called drakes, form the border between the Fey’ri and Mor’ata Marsh.
Mor’ata Marsh: These marshes are inhabited by a race of creatures called Gremlins, which are the minions of an ancient green dragon of legendary power and cruelty, called Akruak.
The Valley of Seasons: This region is said to be where Tiamat fell to the ground in her first confrontation with Aia. It is not where she was imprisoned, however, and the valley is now the home of a colony of humans. The valley is surrounded by mountains and guarded by a band of Swordsages who have sworn never to let danger enter the valley. Inside the valley, time flows more slowly. One hour in the Valley is one day in the outside world. The Valley consists of four hills. It is perpetually a different season on each hill. The hill of Summer is called Erthnetora, the hill of Winter is called Onkmet, the hill of Autumn is called Grikad, and the hill of Spring is called Denag.
The Shrouded Shore: The waves at the shore of this ocean are so huge that they destroy and drown anything short of a heavily fortified castle. The waters are always shrouded in mist. Every expedition across the ocean fails, and explorers that attempt to cross the perilous waves are never seen again.
There are also a number of other small regions that I haven’t listed, but they’re mostly just uninteresting territories of Luhan.
Additionally, there is a third, largely unexplored continent in the south, titled Arentem, the edge of which seems to consist of jungle. It was discovered recently and the central coast has been colonized by Luhan, with Ebondale possessing a small settlement at the far west of the continent, the Fey’ri Gnomes establishing a town in the east, and Port Mekaeser launching several ships full of colonists, planning to land somewhere in between the current settlements. So far, the only sentient creatures they have encountered are a race of griffon-riding humanoids called Mechantatrixes, who seem to have a special bond with the element of lightning. Nobody has ventured beyond the very edge, however, and the whole continent is somewhat shrouded in mystery.

History: Clara Tenebris, the World of Light and Darkness, is a young world. The first known written language (that of Luhan), and thus history itself, only goes back 500 years (the elves had written language long before this, but they kept theirs a secret, and the gnomes, who also had a form of written language, only contacted Locus in 35 RH). The first historical event recorded is the coming of the Great King, who forged the Kingdom of Luhan and drove back hordes of Tiamat’s evil forces. Other notable events in the history of Clara Tenebris include:
The Separation of Lord Rhest (3 RH): The the kingdom of Rhestilor secedes from Luhan.
Akruak’s Birth (15 RH): The green dragon Akruak is born in the Verthicha Fai.
The Death of the Great King (18 RH): The first ruler of Luhan dies while away in the Icy Mountains with his personal entourage of knights (who also died).
The Meeting of Locus and Pelacos (35 RH): Gnomish sailors from Fey’ri discover the continent of Locus, across the Arbador sea, and set up diplomatic relations with Luhan.
The Founding of the Sublime Way and Martial Theory (79 RH): The two most influential martial arts styles in all of Luhan are created.
The Oath of Protection (92 RH): A guild of Swordsages, called the Denag Allegiance, swears never to let danger come to the Valley of Seasons.
The Rise of Zarl (123 RH): Urikel Zarl, a powerful Druid of demigodlike power, blessed with unusually long life, rises to power in the border region of Rhestilor and Luhan. He leads a tribe of lion-worshiping nomads.
The First Trial (157 RH): A swarm of gremlins comes out of Mor’ata marsh and attempts to conquer the Valley of Seasons. Their leader is an ogre-sized gremlin named Garron, the greatest champion the gremlins have ever known. They are repelled by the Denag Allegiance, however. Garron leaves Mor’ata in disgrace and wanders into the Verthicha Fai mountains to live the life of an exile.
The First Era of Piracy (163 RH – 332 RH): Caltoniar Briacer, a Gnomish admiral, is expelled from the Fey’ri millitary for misconduct. Furious at his rejection, he gathers a band of cutthroats and builds a ship, with sails died red, called the Shydia Baelaeli (Old Gnomish for Bloody Vengeance). For the next ninety years, he loots and pillages the coast of Pelacos, makes occasional raids on Arbador, and intercepts every ship he can that crosses Arbador waters.
The Discovery of Academic Magic (227 RH): Five of the finest minds in the whole of Luhan discover that magic can be learned, as opposed to inherited like a Sorcerer.
Port Mekaeser is Founded (228 RH): Outcasts from the nation of Luhan found the city-state of Port Mekaeser.
The Fall of Zarl (230 RH): The kingdom of Rhestilor attempts to conquer Zarl’s nomad tribes, massacring them in a surprise attack.
The Coming of the Ghostlord and the Fall of Rhestilor (235 RH): Urikel Zarl, bereft of his tribe, undergoes a horrible ritual that turns him into a lich, an undead abomination. In a show of spellcasting prowess only equaled by some of the most powerful of Aia’s demigods, Zarl turns the region of plains that his tribe inhabited into the Thornwaste. Taking on a new name, the Ghostlord, he creates an army of spectral lions, forged from the souls of his dead subjects, and leads them in an attack on the kingdom of Rhestilor, resulting in its total destruction. He comes into possession of all of Elsir Vale.
The Rising of High Arbador (236 RH): Aia, appearing on the earth for the first time in Recorded History, creates the cloud that covers all of Arbador Sea.
The Wars of High Arbador (237 RH – Present): This event denotes the beginning of the various battles that took place/are occurring among the Genasi in High Arbador.
The Dal’hani Revelation (239 RH): Moastera, history’s most powerful Psion, discovers that there is some form of conscious thought dwelling under the desert dunes.
Vraath Rebellion (240 RH – 252 RH): Lord Amery Vraath leads Elsir Vale in a rebellion against the Ghostlord, and reclaims it. Over the course of the coming years, Lord Vraath attempts to unify the Vale as one country under his rule, but is unsuccessful and eventually dies in a Forest Giant raid on his castle, Vraath Keep.
The Second Trial (248 RH): Garron descends from the mountains with the dragon Akruak, now fully grown and large enough to bear the giant Garron on his back. Suddenly revered by the Gremlins once again, he leads a second attack on the Valley of Seasons. The Denag Allegiance repels the attack once again, but just barely. Garron is reinstated as ruler of the Gremlins.
Caltoniar Briacer’s Death (255 RH): Briacer is slain in a raid on Port Mekaeser. His destruction is celebrated in port towns all across Locus and Pelacos. However, the Shydia Baelaeli continues to sail, now under the command of Caltoniar’s daughter, Londi Briacer, who is just as ruthless and a powerful Warlock to boot.
The Founding of Omaria Castle (280 RH): Adventurers from Luhan attempt to set up a castle on the border of the Shrouded Shore. They hire the most skilled stonemasons in the world (mostly Fey’ri Gnomes and Dwarves from the Icy Mountains of Locus) to build the fortress.
Akruak Comes to Power (321 RH): Akruak, now the world’s largest known dragon, overthrows Garron and forces him into exile in the Verthicha Fai again, crowning himself overlord of the Gremlins, who he now treats as slaves. He does not have the same interest in the Valley of Seasons as the gremlins do, so he forms a treaty with the Denag Allegiance agreeing not to attack the Valley if they don’t attack Mor’ata. No trouble has come from Mor’ata Marsh since, but everybody suspects that Akruak is simply mustering his forces in preparation for an attack that could conquer all of Pelacos.
The Destruction of the Shydia Baelaeli (332 RH): Londi Briacer is finally killed by Fey’ri millitary, and the Shydia Baelaeli is burned, marking the end of the First Era of Piracy. A map is discovered among Briacer’s personal belongings that denotes the location of a mysterious body of land supposedly the size of Locus and Pelacos put together. Preparations are made for an expeditionary voyage to this area.
The Lost Expedition (336 RH): Ten ships sail for the mysterious continent discovered by the Shydia Baelaeli and never come back or are heard from again. All attempts to scry on them fail.
The Fall of Omari Castle (390 RH): After having survived the conditions of the Shrouded Shore for more than one hundred years, Omari Castle finally collapses in a huge tsunami.
The Discovery of Arentem (440 RH): A second expedition into the southern waters of Arbador is launched in an attempt to find the lost continent, and this time, it is successful. The continent of Arentem is discovered.
The Founding of the Modern Temples of Aia (483 RH): The current system of Aspect worship is devised (due to the fact that Clerics of different alignments and philosophical views couldn’t cooperate).
The Second Era of Piracy (496 RH – Present): Wenson Morce, a well-respected Fey’ri nobleman, learns that his family is descended from the Briacers. He disappears one night and steals the preserved ashes of the Shydia Baelaeli. He gathers another crew of outlaws, builds a new ship (with the Baelaeli’s ashes symbolically included), takes on the new name of Donic Briacer, and begins terrorizing port towns again.
The War of Chapels (499 RH): The Temples of Aia’s Darkness and Aia’s Evil declare war on the others and secede from Luhan, forming the Oligarchy of Ebondale.
You Embark on your Quest (547 RH): FCoT begins!
RH = Recorded History

Anyway, that’s the basic outline for my setting. It’s not much, and it’s certainly not very detailed, but I think it will serve well enough for the adventure I’m planning. Let me know if you have any recommendations or questions. Also, please let me know if you would like to see anything in particular in the adventure (whether it be a certain type of monster, or a character from your backstory, or just a general request, or something else) so I can plan for it before we start.

Your (Future) DM,

—Timeless Error


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