Session 7, Part 6

By Heather Posted Sunday Nov 27, 2005

Filed under: D&D Campaign 7 comments

17th of Last Summer (Evening)

Enoch retires to his room for the evening and sets to work translating the book. With the aid of the reference books on loan from the Archives, he is able to make amazing progress. Over the next few hours he manages to translate three new chapters of the book:

Part IX: The Grave Walkers

Much of the following information is guesswork on my part. A great deal of knowledge was lost during this period, and some facts are now beyond the reach of any historian. The reader should be aware that I stand by all of the following as being as accurate as possible, yet incomplete.

– Chronicler Norvus

The reign of Archmage Mordan reached its hundredth year. At length people began to wonder if he had died, and his assistants only pretended he yet lived. Mordan had not been seen in over twenty years, and had long since passed the natural lifespan of his kind. For the first time since his rule began, a small group of slaves dared to challenge their masters and seek freedom. They broke from their prison in Della Minera and sought the open country to the north.

It was then that Mordan at last revealed himself. No longer a man, he was now the unliving master of Khelberg: Mordan the dread Lich King. He appeared amidst the fleeing slaves and slew them with a single word. They gave up their spirits and fell at his feet. Within the hour their bodies had risen again to become the first of his most fearsome servants. They were the Grave Walkers, the terrible footsoldiers of his lifeless army. He slew many in this way, both foe and servant alike, and their ranks grew.

At length he discovered that the more bitter his victim’s death, the stronger and more viscous they were in unlife. He took many Elves and Humans and tormented them for years before allowing them to die. He invented many new spells and potions to aid him in extending the lives of his victims and intensifying their agony. So it was that each generation of Grave Walkers was more fearsome than the one before.

He took all of the people of the north and brought them south as slaves. The men were sent to work in the mines, while the women were made to live in Della Minera and used like cattle for the breeding of more slaves. The children were taken within the Citadel and taught to worship the Lich King as a god.

A decade passed and the first of Mordan’s children emerged from the Citadel. They were twisted and cruel, and wielded many strange magics in his name.

The work in the mines increased, and great smelting furnaces were built on the mountainside to purify his gold and silver. Day and night they burned, until the sky above the mountain was the color of ash.

Despite his boundless supply of gold, the peoples of other nations refused to trade with him, for he would take what he wanted from any ship that came close to his shores. The ships he would plunder and sink, while their crews were sent to his mines to work until they died. He grew bold, doing all he could to provoke war and make enemies. Even the evilest of creatures feared to serve him, for he held all life in contempt.

The gold and riches of the mountain were hoarded deep within the Citadel, where none could reach them or put them to use. He proclaimed loudly that the riches of the world were hidden within his Citadel for any that had the courage to face him. Heroes emerged at the rumor of treasure, and many adventurers traveled to Mar Tesoro to attempt to unseat him. All were slain and added to his army of Grave Walkers. He feared no foe in all the Earth.

As the power of the Lich King continued to grow beyond measure, the other nations of the world began to wonder if he did not plan to conquer all. The Elven kings of southern Dunlock joined together, and called on their sometime enemies of the north to join with them against this common threat, before Mordan became too strong for any to oppose.

Part X: Tomb of The Lich King

The armies of Dunlock, from the greatest to the least of its kingdoms, gathered together to give one final challenge to Mordan the Dread Lich. Elf and Dwarf, Human and Halfling, all met the armies of Mordan at the foot of the cursed mountain. The Grave Walkers marched into battle along with many slaves and fell beasts under the control of of Mordan. The battle lasted many weeks, and unspeakable magic was unleashed on both sides.

The Dunlock forces, led by the Elven Songmage Lucan Forwinol, at last had the mastery. Mordan’s forces were pushed back and then annihilated. Forwinol advanced and captured – at the expense of many lives – the once-great Citadel.

Forwinol knew Mordan was undefeatable as a lich. If slain, his form would re-appear at the next sundown. The only hope was to find and destroy Mordan’s Phylactery, the container of his life-force.

Most Lich would hide such an item, but Mordan was proud and cunning, and his Phylactery was on display at the Citadel. And then Forwinol at last saw why Mordan was so fearless: The Phylactery was trapped with many spells so that none would dare destroy it.

Forwinol was wise and learned in magic, and saw a way to defeat the Dread Lich without breaking the Phylactery. Instead he added to the spells of the Phylactery, making a new binding spell that would hold Mordan when he re-appeared after a defeat.

A tomb was built in an empty valley north of the mountain. The Phylactery was then used to seal his prison. When all was ready, the armies met and defeated Mordan himself, at the cost of many lives. When he rose again, his form took shape within the tomb sealed with his own Phylactery. He was trapped, and could not escape without destroying his own Phylactery, and thus himself. He had been outsmarted.

But Lucan Forwinol knew this was not enough. Someday one of the many Children of the Citadel may seek to free him, or the tomb forgotten and hapless adventurers discover it. So Forwinol had added one final touch: Whoever freed Mordan would be the subject of one final binding spell. This spell would place Mordan’s power on the head or heads of whoever freed him. He would not be able to recover his former might until he killed them.

Thus, any that freed him would be doomed. Not even his most loyal followers would accept unlife as a Grave Walker to free their master. Warnings were engraved in many languages and placed about the entrance to his tomb, and a great stone slab was placed over it.

Mordan was forever trapped, and none would dare to free him. At last the mighty Lich was defeated.

Part XI: The Triumvirate of Fol Thron

While Lucan Forwinol brought Mordan to his final defeat in the north, his allies in war had secured the great city of Fol Thron. Forwinol had taken no plunder, save for the Phylactery of the Lich King. No other treasure touched his hands.

Yet so great was the rumor of treasure in the Citadel that many heroes came fourth and challenged the depths of the fortress. The treasure was recovered and taken away, the moat drained, and the many evil spells and traps of the place were removed.

Then began a great debate over who should be the new master of the mines. Forwinol proclaimed to his allies that the place was wholly evil and cursed, that they should set aside the plunder, return to their homes, and leave the mountain empty.

But those that had fought so hard for the prize were slow to release it. Seeing that the debate would lead to war, he proposed that the strongest of the forces should each appoint a leader, and that they should rule together as a triumvirate. Forwinol then decided that his work was done, and returned to his homeland in Mar Talos.

The triumvirate was made from three great leaders: For the Dwarves, King Konal Stonefist, the Elves had Mistress Myran Allidia, and the Humans had King Pallas Lorman.

Lorman was descended through many generations from the King Lorman of old, the first human King of Khelberg. Like his grandsire, Pallas Lorman was a strong leader as well as a fearsome commander of arcane magic.

The Dwarven King Konal Stonefist was the first to betray the triumvirate. During the twentieth year of their reign, he gathered in secret many Dwarves and tried to make Fol Thron his own. The other two leaders joined and defeated him.

The remaining two leaders distrusted one another, and accused each other many times of various plots and schemes. Lorman at last rallied many humans to his side, and tried to wrest control of the Citadel from Allidia. He caught her unawares, and used many strange magics against her. She survived his ambush, but was blinded in the attack. Her own forces rallied. Yet another war was fought. Lorman was defeated and fled north with his followers, where his family still rules to this day.

Having completed this work, Enoch goes to sleep for the night…

Continued in Part 7…

From The Archives:

7 thoughts on “Session 7, Part 6

  1. ParcaKnight says:

    Not to pick on your typos, but “stronger and more viscous” just strikes me as inordinately funny. I can just picture Mordan standing over a victim who didn’t die all that horribly: “Oh, damn, this one’s all runny.”

  2. Nawyria says:

    I must say I am utterly amazed at your ability to combine both storytelling and background aspects within the framework of certain side-events of the campaign (such as Enoch visiting the Archives) as well as within the framework of the campaign’s main events. The folklore/history described in the book Enoch translates makes a lot of sense within the story and is an interesting way of making the players stop and say “Hey, that’s interesting.”

  3. WT says:

    So when Noreeno sent men into the entrance of the tomb with chisels, it was to destroy the warnings?!? I get more impressed with your DM’ing skills with every entry.

  4. Shamus says:

    Yes. Misdirection is a deadly weapon in the hands of a DM. :)

  5. pate of the spear says:

    I know I’m five years late in reading this but bravo shamus bravo

  6. dunereader says:

    I swear, if you ever try this document trick again the PCs will never leave down until they’ve translated the whole DAMN THING right down to how many cats the author has on the back flap.

  7. Geoff says:

    I just came across this since you started writing articles for the Escapist.

    All in all I appreciate the effort put into putting this up in a public venue! I am very impressed with how the whole book translation and orb translating side quests worked into the overall campaign. The pacing of the reveals have worked out well so far with what the players have been experiencing and is very cinematic in that quality.

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