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TOREN 2000 - Stories

Recent additions (04/21/01) including the disaster at the portal

Songday, the 13th of Durstar 7402AR
Ersel Keep in the Imperial Herzoc of the Crundoric Empire


Arngrimnir was a strong, wiry dwarf with restless, piercing blue eyes. His hair was jet black and his beard was plated in the fashion common to the dwarves of Dyzudun. His weathered skin made it hard to determine his exact age but he had not past the prime of his strength. In his travels from Dyzudun down to the human lands of the Crundoric Empire he had run into and shared the road with another traveler, this one traveling north from the Trabzea March. The young traveler was only a kid, having just past his 16th birthday. His name was Cadeon. He was of medium height and had an athletic build. His face still had a boyish youthfulness to it and he kept his hair cropped close. He was nave, pleasant, and honorable. Arngrimnir found that the boy could tell him much information about the human lands to the south and he spent much time talking with him as they traveled north.

Daltree was a mountain of a man. He stood 6'6" tall and weighed almost 250 lbs. He kept his hair shoulder length and had a well kept beard and mustache. He traveled in well worn, rugged clothing. He had with him a huge wolf named Graytooth that he had known since childhood. He spent much time traveling back and forth along the edge of the Black Forest. In one of these trips he met a strange elf named Dylon. Dylon was a very well groomed elf who always had a smile on his face. The strange part about him was that he proudly displayed the holy symbol of Cloud Gathering Arksorn, a great deity worshiped almost exclusively by humans. He was happy go lucky and liked to travel and see the world. He never missed the chance to go on an adventure or to tell someone about Arksorn.

Zandor was a young human apprentice wizard living at Ersel Keep. Ersel Keep was too small to learn much more, and Zandor new it. He decided it would be a good idea to head north to Tathan, he just needed to find some good traveling companions.

These four travelers and one would-be traveler all met at Ersel Keep on one fateful day in the month of Dursar in the year 7402. It seemed that they all had a mutual acquaintance, a traveling human bard named Lia Spellsong. Lia had grown up at Ersel Keep and had known Zandor all her life, she was almost like a big sister to him. In her travels to the north, she had met Dylon and gotten into some deep philosophical discussions with the enigmatic elf. And lately she had just returned from a trip to the south. The last portion of it spent with two strange traveling companions, Arngrimnir and Cadeon. Lia introduced Arngrimnir and Cadeon, Dylon and Daltree, and Zandor to each other. These five decided to travel to Tathan together as soon as Zandor could be ready to leave. In the meantime, Lia once again took to the road.

Ersel Keep was not a large settlement, but it did lie at an important crossroads along the great Imperial Highway of the Crundoric Empire.

The Imperial Highway ran north and south along the Hoz River. Tathan, Stajentor, and finally Arthane, the capitol of the Empire, all lied to the North. To the South lied the Dwarven Kingdom of Dyzudun and the Hobgoblin Kingdom of Jravkla (more commonly known as Hobgoblin Hold). Beyond these loomed the mighty Republic of Trabzea March.

The Western road from Ersel crossed a great bridge (the only one spanning the Hoz River for 60 miles in either direction) before turning North and heading for Remsalcourt. The famed castle of Remsalcourt was built by Lord Remsal after the Ice Crusades. In the foothills of the Iron Peaks above Remsalcourt was Lummen, a Temple to Sumeolus and Valankriis. Lummen was erected along with Remsalcourt to celebrate the victory of the Battle of Miramont. Above the altar of this Temple is what may be the most masterfully crafted greatsword in all of the Crundoric Empire.

The road to the East of Ersel made its way to Hamori Keep and beyond that to the ruins of Lanacar Castle. Lanacar Castle was built over 500 years ago in the time before the Ice Crusade. It was the most powerful castle in the region but it fell to the 9th Legion of the Trabzea March when they joined Ikewrath in his invasion of the Crundoric Empire. The castle was the last retaken by Avingdor in his reconquering of the Eastern Crundoric Empire. The battle of Lanacar was fought in 7257 just shortly before Avingdor's death in 7258. The battle was a ferocious fight between Avingdor's army and the devil-worshipping 9th Legion of The Trabzea March. When it was over, the 9th Legion was destroyed and Lanacar Castle was decimated beyond repair.

To the Northwest of Ersel the Hoz River flowed down into the Miramont River Valley and the heart of the Crundoric Empire. The great cities of Tathan, Stajentor, and Arthane were filled with the riches of this great empire. Mighty castles such as Vitangar, Evicar, and the Imperial Castle of Aix guarded the heart of the Empire.

To the East of Ersel spread the Black Forest. This dark woodland extended over 100 miles north and south of Ersel. It was home to goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, and worse. The forest blanketed the highlands above the Hoz river valley and spread east into the Vardostus river valley.

To the Southwest of Ersel rose the Iron Peaks and the Zulkar Mountains. The great halls of the Dwarves of Dyzudun extended deep under the Zulkar Mountains.

The party learned much in the way of local history and rumors from Lia and from the people of Ersel Keep.

Local History:
162 Years Ago
Crundoric Empire was invaded by the forces of the Lich Auxthon and the Demon-Lord Ikewrath. Their armies were lead by the powerful Hori, a race of were-sabretooths.

161 Years Ago
Trabzea March formed an uneasy alliance with Auxthon and Ikewrath and invaded the Crundoric Empire through the Hoz River Valley. Trabzea Legions captured Lanacar Castle and pushed as far as Stajentor.

160 Years Ago
The armies of Ikewrath captured Arthane. The High Sumeolic Council in Rorturn declared the Ice Crusade. Valiant knights from Gorost and Ranica came to the aid of the Crundoric Empire. Avingdor, the Imperial Herzog, assumed command of the armies of the Crundoric Empire after the death of Emperor Dalstir at the Sack of Arthane.

157 Years Ago
The Battle of Miramont was fought in the fields north of Tathan. Avingdor, Lord of Chivalry and future Emperor of the Reunified Empire, defeated the combined hosts of the lycanthropic, demon-worshipping Hori and their strange allies, the fell legions of the Trabzea March. The Hori fled the field when they received word that the legendary Heroes of the Ice Crusade had slain Ikewrath, their Demon-lord, in his glacial fortress. The heroes Hanover, the High Priest of Venborg and wielder of Magnamerak, and Lord Devon, a High Knight of Sumeolus and wielder of Furo Ferrus, along with their companions were never heard from again. Whether they were killed in the terrible battle that must have raged with Ikewrath or whether they simply retired into anonymity is still the source of many rumors and legends to this day.

142 Years Ago
Avingdor died after reclaiming all the lands lost by the Crundoric Empire in the Invasion of Ikewrath.

20 Years Ago
The forests and highlands to the northeast of Ersel were home to the Brigands of the Flame, under the leadership of a mysterious warrior known only as the Fire Lord. The depredations of these Brigands were brought to an end by a small band of adventurers.

12 Years Ago
The Treaty of Justmar was signed by Emperor Reislor of the Crundoric Empire and Consul Giltreus of the Trabzea March ending what had been over 130 years of continued hostilities between these great Nations. King Nardul III of Dyzudun also signed the treaty.

10 Years Ago
Hobgoblin Hold launched a massive attack against Gorost. The Hobgoblins seem to have the aid of some fell and powerful magic. Trabzea March denies that they are aiding the Hobgoblins as that would be a violation of the Justmar treaty which would bring the Crundoric Empire and Dyzudun to war against Trabzea March.

9 Years Ago
Emperor Reislor sent troops to Gorost to aid in their war with Hobgoblin Hold. This aid consists mainly of sending troops south from the Arriac Herzoc.

6 years ago
Gorost retook Borthan Castle after a three year siege.

5 years ago
Gorost retook Mitterian Keep.

2 years ago
Gorost retook Trisana Keep. The son of Herzog Stornbol, leader of the Imperial Herzoc, died at the Battle of Trisana.

1 year ago
There was a large influx of elves to this region. They were fleeing from a terrible invasion of fire giants into the Selyeer Forest. The giant army was over a hundred strong and had a half-dozen red dragon allies, along with a thousand ogres and trolls. Thousands of elves died in the invasion and many more fled. Most sailed east to Falsar but many came this direction and settled in the Lower Black Forest or continued on to Arvingwood.

Last Winter
The fire giant invasion was brought to an end when their High King was killed by a small band of adventurers. The giant armies disbanded and have not returned to the field since.

Last Summer
A large number of troops have south to the border with Hobgoblin Hold last Summer. Emperor Reislor visited Herzog Stornbol at Vitangar Castle in the month of Sumsar. Many of the local peasants traveled there to see him.

Local Rumors:
Lord Remsal was actually Lord Devon, one of the Heroes of the Ice Crusade, in disguise.
Avingdor died from wounds that he received from a devil at the battle of Lanacar and not from old age as is recorded in history.
The treasure of the 9th Legion lies entombed along with several powerful devils in the ruins of Lanacar.
The greatsword at Lummen was donated by Remsal (Devon), and is actually Furo Ferrus.
Drow live beneath the ruins of Hegtor Keep and are aiding the Hobgoblins in their war with Gorost.
A silver dragon lives in the Iron Peaks.
Auxthon secretly planned the Fire Giant invasion of the Selyeeron.
The band of adventurers who killed the High King of the fire giants was lead by an elf who was almost 7 feet tall and a human who was even taller.
If the Hobgoblin armies make another push into Gorost, Emperor Reislor will break the Treaty of Justmar and invade Hobgoblin Hold.
The cave hideout of the Brigands of the Flame is sealed by an unbreachable blue door and has never been explored.
The Lady of Lummen, a beautiful woman who often comes to the Temple of Lummen to pray and to offer donations, is actually the silver dragon of the Iron Peaks.
Herzog Stornbol is too old to have any more children. When he dies, the position of Herzog of the Imperial Herzoc will not be held by a member of the Stornbol family for the first time since before Avingdor.
Herzog Stornbol wants vengeance against Hobgoblin Hold and may invade without the Emperor's permission.

14th Durstar, 7402AR - Ersel Keep
Lia had been gone from Ersel Keep for about a week. The party was just getting ready to take to the road and travel to Tathan when they received an urgent note from Lia. In it, Lia asked them to come to a small village called Brookstone. The party set off for Brookstone to find Lia. They spent the night at an inn at Hamori Keep.

15th Durstar - Hamori Keep
The party arrived at Brookstone at about 2 pm. They explored the village, then headed for the Ruins of Lanacar Castle. There they met Arrias at the Temple of Valor, a temple dedicated to Valankriis. Arrias claimed that he had never seen Lia or Torry, Lia's husband, which made the party very suspicious. Next the party explored the ruins of Lanacar Castle while watching for Arrias to leave his temple. They found a strange marble seal that was almost 30' in diameter on top of the bedrock in the center of Lanacar Castle.

From their vantage point atop the ruins of Lanacar the party could see Arrias leave the temple just as the sun was descending into the haze of the Hoz river valley. The party decided to go and investigate the temple to verify Arrias was truly a cleric of Valankriis. They could find no incriminating evidence in the temple, but some still had their doubts about him. Cadeon especially did not trust him whether or not he was a cleric of Valankriis. Halfway between the temple and the ruins of the castle there was an impressive mausoleum. The party decided to go there next and make sure everything was in place. What they found was nothing of the sort.

Inside the mausoleum were 5 sarcophagi. As soon as the party got close, they started to open. Out from each stepped a walking skeleton. The party was forced to send these dead back to the grave once again. After the battle they explored the chamber and they found a shaft below one of the sarcophagi. Under the mausoleum was a series of tunnels that were currently being enlarged by prisoners. The prisoners were digging a tunnel that lead from the mausoleum toward the ruins of the castle. They were guarded by various undead as well as kobolds.

As the party was exploring the earthen tunnels they were attacked from behind by a halfling rogue along with 4 human thugs. After fighting off their attackers, the party was attacked by Arrias who had sneaked in behind the thugs. The party was almost killed but Lia and a small halfling prisoner named Mick had escaped and came to their aid at the last minute and turned the tide of the battle.

Mick stood only 3'1" tall, but he was a bundle of energy. He had short cropped hair, big ears and a flat nose. On his left arm he had a small gang tatoo. Mick helped the party for the rest of their exploration of the tunnels and soon became a permanent member of the adventuring group.

The party recuperated from their wounds and then went back to the tunnels and rescued the rest of the hostages. They found evidence that Arrias was in reality a cleric of Inviktron.

They spent the next 7 days in Brookstone recuperating from their adventure and scribing scrolls for their future adventures.

Click Here for Lia's story of the Adventure

25th Dursar - Brookstone
The party set off for Ersel Keep on the 25th of Durstar. At about noon they came across a ransacked wagon and a band of 4 hobgoblin brigands lead by a human sorcerer. In a short battle, they killed the brigands. They then found some tracks made by the brigands that lead back into the trees. The tracks were not easy to follow but the party kept with them back to a low cave. Inside the cave was an old dwarven complex. Inside, the party killed about a dozen hobgoblins, an undead dwarf, a small humanoid creature with long tentacles for arms, and a human cleric of Gudrud. It seemed that the humans were clearing out the complex to use as a base for some evil deeds.

27th of Dursar - Ersel Keep
Once back at Ersel, the party discovered that a key they found in Arrias' possession could be a key to open a fabled blue door, which guards an old bandit lair said to be full of treasure. They traveled to an Inn that was located near the cave that was guarded by the blue door. Once there, they used the blue key to gain access to the Lair of the Fire Lord. Inside they found the still living servants of the Fire Lord and, after slaying these, the Fire Lord Himself. The Fire Lord was in a comatose slumber and they brought him back to Ersel Keep in hopes of getting a reward. Instead, Sheriff Ahlir took him into custody and made plans for a public hanging.

Click Here for Cadeon's story of the Adventure

22nd of Trasar - Ersel Keep
The party left for the city of Tathan to find out some information on a magic sword that they found in the Fire Lord's treasure vault.

14th of Vecsar - Edge of the Black Forest
On their way to Tathan the party ran across two warriors just as they decapitated a messenger. The party took them as prisoners and tried to determine why they killed this messenger but the warriors would not tell them so they took them back to Ersel Keep and left them with the Sheriff. The warriors were wearing the surcoats of a merchant house who's chief agent had just gone missing with her caravan. The party explored the area around where they had found the warriors and found a trail leading into the Black Forest. At the end of the trail was a large man-made swamp with the ruins of a castle at its center. In the swamp they found the rest of the missing caravan. The people in the caravan had been charmed by a foul little hunch-backed man. He used some sort of religious artifact to charm them so that they could act as guards for him. The party was able to take him prisoner and free some of the caravan that he had charmed.

Click Here for Caedon's story of the Adventure

After freeing the people of the caravan and taking the hunch-backed man back to a local manor and leaving him with the temple of Sumeolus there the party drained the swamp so that they could explore the ruined castle at its center. They found out that the castle had belonged to a wizard named Radeem. Not much was left in the place, most of it was collapsed or filled with mud. There were a strange mixture of monsters lurking in the place, however. There were some undead, an imprisoned demoness, and two baby black dragons. The party found maps showing two interesting locals. One was an ancient druid grove now overrun with Ogres and the other was a large goblin cave complex.

Click Here for Caedon's story of the Adventure

When the party got back to Tathan they found out that Herzog Stornbol was seeking adventurers who were interested in exploring the ruins of Lanacar castle! The adventurers were to be at Vintagar Castle on the 1st of Zadsar, a month and a half away. Mick and Cadeon spent the month learning new professions, Mick a ranger and Cadeon a wizard. Arngrimnir, Dylon, Daltree, and Zandor traveled to Arngrimnir's home high in the Zulkar Mountains so that Arngrimnir could give a report on the state of the land to his superiors.

1st of Zadsar - Vintagar Castle
On the 1st of Zadsar the party met with Lord Usilar at Vintagar Castle. Lord Usilar was the Steward of Vintagar. He told the party that Herzog Stornbol would be returning to the castle at the end of the month. In the mean time he was looking for a group of adventurers to recover a lost key. This key was supposed to open the seal on Lanacar Castle. The description of the key sounded just like the blue key that the party found on Arrias and left with the Innkeeper at the Osterhaus, a small roadside inn near the Cave of the Fire Lord. It was taken from the Osterhaus by a band of wild goblins, and Lord Usilar asked the party to go into the goblin caves and get it back. Just as the party was getting ready to leave the council chamber a second band of adventurers was shown in. This band did not come for the quest, however. They immediately attacked the party and Lord Usilar. The fight was short and bloody and soon all of the attackers lie on the ground dying. One of the band was a cleric of Inviktron and with his dying words he whispered "Tivor". That was Cadeon's family name.

After recovering from the battle in the castle council chamber the party set off for the goblin caves. They found the blue crystal key deep in the caves of the wild goblins. In the process, they were almost buried alive by several small earthquakes. They returned the key to Lord Usilar who thanked them with a large reward (5,000gp). Then they waited in Vintagar for the return of Herzog Stornbol. They spent the last day of the year 7402 AR sitting in a nice warm inn. Snow was falling outside and everywhere the streets were decorated for the Creation Festival that would begin on the next day. They hoped that Stornbol would ask them to find the treasures locked away in the ruins of Lanacar Castle.

Click Here for Caedon's story of the Adventure

1st of Firsar, 7403 AR - Tathan
"Herzog Stornbol is dead!" cried the lady that ran into the Inn were the party was staying. Shocked, the party rushed to the castle to confirm the news. The castle guards told them that one of Stornbol's knights rode into the castle on the previous night. They also said that the bishop of Tathan was called to the castle and he and the knight left with a small retinue before dawn that morning. They were heading for Siegen Castle where Stornbol's body lied.

The party's long expected expedition to Lanacar Castle might not happen after all, or at least not with the blessing of the Herzog.

2nd of Firsar - Tathan
The party decided to travel to Vikon. Cadeon wanted to find out what had happened there since he left just six months before. He also wanted to find out why that cleric of Inviktron had whispered his family name with his dying breath. The others agreed but they wanted to stop in Siegen to see if they could find out anything more about Herzog Stornbol. Also, before they left Vintagar, Dylon used a locate object spell to try and determine if the Blue Crystal Key was still in Vintagar. His magic could detect nothing. Either the Key had already been taken somewhere else or it was magically concealed.

8th of Firsar - Siegen Castle
When they arrived in Siegen the party immediately called at the castle. No one was being let in and the guard told them that the clerics were not able to raise Stornbol. Dejected, the party continued on to Vikon.

21st of Firsar - Vikon
The party arrived in Vikon on the 21st of Firsar. The journey was long but mostly uneventful. For most of them, it was their first chance to see the lands of the Trabzea March. The first place the party went when they arrived in Vikon was Cadeon's father's house. The place was boarded up and inside they fought and slew the monstrous vagrants that were occupying it. Desperate to find out what had happened to his mother and father, Cadeon went to the only people he thought he might be able to trust, the priestesses of Sarala. The high priestess told Cadeon a grim story. His father had been killed in the arena by Ithikon, the high priest of Inviktron, and his skull was mounted on a spear in the center of the arena for everyone to see. His mother had also been killed later that day. To make matters worse, Cadeon's mother and father had been killed on the very day that Cadeon left Vikon. Cadeon burned for revenge and together with the rest of the party developed a dire plan to enter the arena, retrieve his father's skull, and topple the statue of Spear-Famed Inviktron in the arena temple. The party used much magic and the plan succeeded without a hitch. After that they got out of Vikon and rode for the Crundoric Empire as fast as they could. Cadeon vowed that he would return one day and kill Ithikon with his own hand.

Click Here for Caedon's story of the Adventure

27th of Arksar - Ruined Druid Grove
After spending the entire month of Thursar in Vintagar and Tathan training the party decided to investigate the ruined druid home in the Black Forest south of Lopic Castle. They hoped to find some sign of the ogres who had been allied with Radeem and, if they were lucky, to find one of the four keys there. At the site they did find a large band of ogres. Unfortunatly their leader got away and they could find no sign of any keys. They did find signs that a green dragon had be in the area recently, though.

8th of Khotsar - Ruined Druid Grove
The party went back to the ruined druid home in hope of finding the ogre leader that got away. They found no sign of him there but they did find a young green dragon. After killing the dragon they set off in search of the ogre leader. They could not find any of his tracks but they were able to scry on him. They could tell he was heading south into the Black Forest. They spent the next month looking for him and generally heading south.

27th of Napaksar - Black Forest
While traveling in the Black Forest in search of the ogre leader the party ran into an elf in shining metal armor riding on a mighty horse. The elf's name was Silverleaf. He was a paladin of Sumeolus. He told the party that a nearby village had recently been raided by a large ogre that met the description of the ogre the party was after. Silverleaf offered to join the party to help them find the ogre.

3rd of Aldsar - Ersel Keep
The party had traveled so far south into the Black Forest that they decided to stop in at Ersel Keep and visit Lia. They had not seen any sign of the ogre in the Black Forest and had just about given up hope. They decided to try scrying on him one last time. This time they saw him standing in a graveyard in front of some strange, green-stoned mausoleum. Lia told them that that could be the fabled dungeon of Rappan Athuk. She told them that it was somewhere in the Berhen Hills on the edge of the Black Forest. The party decided they would travel there to find out; but, first they had some training to do and they wanted to travel to some of the larger towns like Tathan and Stajentor to see if they could find any magic items that they could afford.

5th of Maalsar - Rappan Athuk
After spending all Summer and most of the Fall training and traveling, the party made their first foray to Rappan Athuk. They were worried as they had not been able to scry on the ogre leader for some time. After some searching the found the fabled sunken graveyard that lies above Rappan Athuk. There they met the "green guardians", eight massive green gargoyles. Silverleaf was killed and the rest of the party barely escaped. They returned to Sarthia to have Silverleaf raised from the dead.

10th of Zadsar - Rappan Athuk
The party traveled pack to Rappan Athuk and began their descent into the dungeon.

NEW!
19th of Thursar - Sarthia
After a highly successful and highly deadly raid into Rappan Athuk the party returned to Sarthia where they lived like kings for a couple of months. Mick met a lovely young halfling maid and decided to settle down. He recommended a new rogue for the party, Hagen Blackwell. He could vouch that Hagen was good at heart if not easy to get along with. The only semi-respectable member of the Sarthia Thief's Guild.

8th of Arksar - Location Unkown
The party along with their new thief returned to Rappan Athuk. The new thief was interested in visiting the undefiled tomb that the party had found on the 3rd level of the Dungeon of Graves. Upon investigating the room he found a secret door that no one else had located. This was no ordinary secret door, however. As the party stepped through it, they seemed to fall into a gut renching void of utter darkness. The sensation past quickly, but when it was over they found themselves in a strange room with several members of their party missing and several people they had never seen before in the room beside them. Cadeon and Daltree had both disappeard. Standing in the room just as dazed as the party was a human monk and a human archer. Their names were Zensun and Damet.

Here the story ends, although the campaign continued for many more adventures.

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