Emergence

An Introductory Adventure for Earthdawn

Emergence is an adventure for the Earthdawn fantasy roleplaying game. The player characters are adepts from a kaer that weathered the centuries of the Scourge and is nearing the time of opening its gates to greet the outside world once again. The kaer is opening some fifty years late, unaware of current events in the outside world. This adventure is the player characters’ first sight of the outside world, allowing the gamemaster to introduce them to Earthdawn and the realm of Barsaive gradually.

The player characters face the growing dissent within the kaer and are chosen to be the first adepts to journey into the outside world in over fifty years. The last scouting party failed to return, making the kaer’s ruling council wary about sending another. Internal pressures in the kaer have forced the decision. The adepts must make their way through the various traps intended to protect the kaer and into the outside world. There they explore the ruins of the town their ancestors lived in, and discover the fate of the party that went before them. The italicized text introducing each section of the adventure is meant to be read to the players. They should also be provided with the information on Kaer Daralon below, since it is common knowledge among the kaer-dwellers.

The adventure includes references to the main Earthdawn (ED) rulebook as well as a few other Earthdawn products. Gamemasters may also find the Earthdawn novel Lost Kaer useful inspiration for its portrayal of kaer-life.

KAER DARALON

According to the records of the Kaer, Daralon was a prosperous town nestled in a mountain valley in the Theran province of Barsaive (exactly where in Barsaive is left up the gamemaster). It subsisted mostly on farming the valley area and selling some of its famed ironwork and pottery, worked from red clay taken from the riverbanks. The inhabitants of the town paid their tithes to the Theran Overgovernor and their dues for the Rites of Protection and Passage that have allowed them to survive the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon was built over the course of three generations in the mountain caves above the valley. Much of the work was done by the master elf elementalist and builder Dianuus. The natural caverns were expanded and strengthened with elemental magic, all laid out in accordance with the Theran plan. When the early signs of the Scourge came to the Daralon valley, the people entered the kaer and the wards were sealed to wait out the Long Night.

That was five hundred years ago. It is now the fifteen hundred and eighth year since the founding of the Kingdom of Throal (1508 TH). More than fifteen generations of Name-givers have lived and died in the confines of the kaer, waiting and watching the elemental clock designed by Theran magicians to tell when the time of the Scourge would be over. Fifty years ago, the sphere of True Earth stopped its descent towards the bowl of True Water. The clock has been frozen ever since.

This unexpected development has resulted in considerable debate and discussion among the leaders of the kaer, but thus far they have erred on the side of caution. The Therans predicted the Scourge would last as long as another century, but there is a growing belief in the kaer that something terrible has happened and the Scourge will never end. Some of the people have begun to despair and there is an edge of madness to life in Kaer Daralon. The people of the kaer remain hidden deep in the earth, watching, waiting and hoping for some sign that the Long Night has ended.

The History of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon was created by the people of the town of Daralon and the inhabitants of its surrounding farms and villages. The kaer was designed to hold all of the inhabitants of the mountain valley where the town stood. This included a village of T’skrang from the nearby river and several Troll clans from the high mountains. Members of all of the different Name-giver races dwell in the kaer, so there was some friction at first. Minor incidents of violence and conflict arose and were harshly dealt with by the kaer’s ruling council.

In the final days before the closing of the kaer, a party of adventurers arrived in Daralon. They claimed to be fleeing from horrors they had encountered in the foothills of the mountains. The elders of Daralon took this as a sign of the time to seal the kaer. The party of adepts took shelter there as well. Many of them became the founders of the adept traditions known in the kaer today.

Some two hundred years ago, there was an outbreak of plague in the kaer that nearly doomed all of the inhabitants. Dianuus the Master-Builder, himself stricken with the plague, used his magic to cause a rockslide that buried the access tunnel to the most plague-ridden portion of the kaer. This halted spread of the plague and saved the rest of the kaer.

Dianuus and some of the other adepts of the kaer were lost in the tragedy, along with their accumulated wisdom. Some people claim-though not too loudly-that faint noises can sometimes be heard from behind the rockfall that closed off the plague tunnels and that there are ghosts or worse that still haunt those halls. The ravages of the plague and the pressures of life within the kaer began to diminish the population of the community. So the loss of a section of the kaer did not prove overly taxing.

About fifty years ago the Council of Twelve appointed a small group of adepts to exit the kaer and explore outside. The party departed through the Guardian Gate and it was sealed behind them. They never returned. Since then, the Council and their successors has been reluctant to allow any more such expeditions.

Life in the Kaer

Life in Kaer Daralon is very routine and has been for as long as any can recall. Food is carefully rationed out morning, noon and night, usually meals of magically grown vegetables and similar staples with the occasional special occasion calling for meat or baked goods made from the kaer’s carefully protects supply of grains. During the day the kaer’s adults work the lattice farms that provide food, tend to the small herds of sheep and cave lizards in their pens or provide repairs or craft work for the kaer. In the evening troubadours and storytellers read from the Book of Tomorrow and tell tales of the outside world while illusionists entertain and enlighten with their images of the world of the ancestors before the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon is ruled by the Council of Twelve, the wisest and most capable elders among the people. The Council represents the Twelve Passions that are venerated in the kaer. Although the Council members are not always questors, many of them are, and they are chosen to represent their Passion’s purview on the Council. The Council makes laws, metes out justice and administers the kaer.

The other major factions of the kaer include the Swords of Daralon (usually simply known as the Swords) and the Adept’s Lodge. The Swords are a warrior sect that serves as the guardians, police and military. They keep the peace in the kaer and are the only people allowed to carry weapons.

The Adept’s Lodge is made up of the kaer’s surviving adept traditions, who pass on their teachings to suitable students in anticipation of the end of the Long Night. Some Disciplines have died out or were never really represented among those in the kaer. Other disciplines, like the Scout and Beastmaster, have survived in little more than a ceremonial role, since the environments intended for them are limited in the kaer. There is some resentment by kaer residents against practitioners of disciplines that are looked upon as “useless” since they don’t contribute to the survival of the community.

The Structure of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon is laid out like most kaers built under the Theran plan, with a large central chamber surrounded by smaller living areas. The central cavern is lit by a massive light quartz embedded in the roof. This cavern contains the important buildings of the kaer: the Hall of Records, the Adept’s Lodge, council chambers, the temple of the Passions and the garrison of the Swords as well as other administrative buildings. The central chamber also houses Crafter’s Row, a long row of tents and open kiosks were the kaerfolk trade their humble arts and crafts.

The outer edges of the great cavern and several other caves are taken up by lattice farms, high frameworks where the produce that feeds the kaer is grown, aided by elemental magic and the blessings of Jaspree, the Passion of Nature.

In the center of the central chamber is a fantastic statue of the passion Garlen, ten feet tall, sculpted from rose-colored living crystal by Dianuus the Builder. Radiating out from the central plaza are six narrow roads. Five are named for the True Elements and lead to the living quarters for the people. Each living space holds a fantastic sculpture of that element made by the master-builder himself. The Fire Caves were sealed during the plague by Dianuus some two hundred years ago, but the other areas have been more than enough for the kaer’s population.

The sixth road leads to a pair of orichalcum gates between two statues of fierce warriors known as the Guardian Gate. This gate leads into a maze of traps and deadfalls to the surface and the sealed entrance of the kaer.

Beneath the central cavern are deeper tunnels and caves. These were intended for population growth in the kaer, but the population has been shrinking so these areas are abandoned. Few go there save for members of the Swords or the Adept’s Lodge on some strange errand or another. Kaer-lore has it that the tunnels sometimes serve as meeting places for secret cults or other doings best hidden from the rest of the people.

The People of Daralon

Current population of Kaer Daralon is about 3,000 Name-givers. The kaer was constructed for nearly twice that number, but the population has slowly declined over the centuries and some of the lower caverns and tunnels of the kaer have been abandoned, along with the loss of the Fire Caves. Strange subterranean creatures have sometimes been spotted in the lower tunnels and they are normally considered off-limits to the kaer’s inhabitants. There is some concern over the declining population, and some doomsayers claim that the kaer will die out before the Scourge is over.

Most of the population of the kaer is dwarf and human. There are some elves and orks as well. Trolls and t’skrang are rare and have been the worst hit by the kaer’s declining population, the t’skrang especially so. There are only thirty-six t’skrang remaining in the kaer-all that is left of an extended clan-and they fear that they may well die out in another few generations. The kaer has a few obsidimen, most of which spend their time in a state they call the Dreaming.

Important Name-givers

Doria kel’Ar, human female, Councilor and former High Sword of Daralon. Doria was once acknowledged as the most skilled warrior in Daralon with the office of High Sword, leader of the Swords of Daralon. That was many years ago and she has since retired from the ways of combat: at least with a blade. She has taken up the ways of the Passion Garlen and is still known as a tenacious “she-bear” protecting Daralon. She is wise, comforting , strong-willed and loved by the people of the kaer.

Pelgar, dwarf male, Chief Wizard and Councilor. The wizard Pelgar is an elderly dwarf who came to his office nearly twenty years ago. He is a wizard of no small skill and oversees the activities of Daralon’s magicians, mostly the maintenance of the kaer. A crotchety curmudgeon of a dwarf, he is the terror of magical apprentices in the kaer.

Mabon Rus, human male, Questor of Erendis, Councilor. Councilor Mabon is a follower of Erendis, the Passion of Order and Governance, which makes him well suited for his duties on the council of Twelve. His wisdom in matters of administration is heeded by his peers and he is well known for keeping live in the kaer running smoothly. Mabon is fair but firm, with a strong reputation as a disciplinarian among the children of the kaer. In truth, Mabon is leader of a secret society of kaer-dwellers who worship the Mad Passion Dis (ED, p. 317).

Meer’resh T’Lassor, female t’skrang, Councilor. Councilor Meer’resh is the lahala (leader) of the surviving t’skrang clan in Kaer Daralon. She is fairly young for her role, the old matriarch of the clan having passed on only two years ago. She is considered level-headed compared to some of her brethren, who clamor increasingly for action from the Council.

Netzach Kol, ork male, Master of Memory, Keeper of the Book of Tomorrow and Scholar. Netzach is nearing the age of fifty, ancient for an ork. He credits his long life to this love of knowledge and claims that he won’t die until he knows all there is to know. He lovingly tends to the kaer’s precious stores of books, scrolls and other heirlooms in the Hall of Time. He knows all of the lore and history of Daralon and can often be found telling stories to children in the Plaza in the evenings.

Onara Stonebones, troll female, High Sword of Daralon. Captain Stonebones is the High Sword, commander of the Swords of Daralon. The troll warrior wields her massive stone broadsword like it was a toy. Her booming laugh and good cheer make her a welcome companion and a popular leader. Onara claims she does not involve herself in politics, concerning herself only with keeping the peace.

Troubled Times

You are on your way to the central part of the kaer for an evening of stories and tales of the outside world. Since your initiation as adepts, you have thought of little else but the tales passed down by your ancestors of the fantastic world outside your underground shelter: about the sun, the stars, the verdant forests and the great cities like Travar and the dwarf kingdom of Throal. The tales are your tie with that world, that none have seen in hundreds of years.

As you make your way through the great cavern towards the central square, you hear a commotion coming from Crafter’s Row. An argument of some sort, punctuated by a loud crash. From the path, you can see a group of young people have overturned an old woman’s cart, smashing a load of pottery on the ground.

There are at least as many young hooligans as their are player characters. Like many of the people of Kaer Daralon, they are restless and discontent with their underground life. In the case of these young punks, they’ve chosen to entertain themselves by causing trouble. The old woman said something that Jos, the leader of the small band, didn’t like.

It’s up to the player characters whether or not they choose to interfere. As adepts, they have all sworn to use their abilities to protect the kaer and its people. If any of the characters are members of Swords, then they have a duty to intervene, otherwise, they can do as they choose. If the adepts do intervene, things will become tense. They discover the ruffians have crude weapons, farming tools. The player characters (unless they are members of the Swords) are unarmed, since kaer-dwellers are not allowed to carry weapons. The adepts should be shocked and horrified that their fellow kaer-dwellers should be considering violence.

Some quick and clever roleplaying may be able to convince the hooligans to apologize to the woman and go on their way peacefully. Otherwise, there’s going to be a fight. Use the statistics for the Guard Veteran (ED, p. 297) for the ruffians, but reduce all of their Steps and Defense Ratings by 2. They have no armor and only simple weapons. Members of the Swords show up in short order to break up a fight or to talk to everyone involved if the adepts managed to avoid a fight. The gamemaster can decide when to have the Swords appear; 3-4 rounds into a combat is probably a good time.

If the adepts have killed anyone in the fight, they will be arrested and an investigation begun. Remind players that these are not monsters they’re dealing with, they’re misguided young people; their own neighbors and possibly friends. Using deadly force against them would be overreacting, to say the least. Minor injuries will be overlooked by the Swords, but they will still ask the adepts to accompany them to speak with the members of the Council.

The Council’s Chosen

You arrive at the Council Hall in the central chamber. The Hall is a circular building cut from dark gray stone, pierced with tall, narrow windows and a wide entryway flanked by carved pillars. You enter the main chamber of the Hall, one of the largest rooms in the whole kaer. It is surrounded by a high bench where the twelve members of the Council sit. As you stand in the middle of the room, light by the glow of light crystals placed around the room, and look up at the grim faces of the council members, you feel that something far more important than a conflict in Crafter’s Row.

Mabon Rus, the head of the Council, stands and leans forward, his hands resting flat on the bench.

“Adepts,” he begins in a sonorous voice, “you have been brought before us to consider a serious matter. The regrettable incident in Crafter’s Row is only a symptom of the disease that plagues our people. That disease is the fever of madness from our imprisonment below the Earth. Although the walls of our kaer protect us from the ravages of the Scourge, they have become a prison for our bodies and our spirits. For five centuries we have waited for the Scourge to pass, and now the time has come. if Daralon is to survive, we must send another scouting party beyond the Guardian Gate, to the world outside!”

There are two ways the adepts may be called before the Council. Either they handled the trouble with the ruffians well, and the Council believes this is a sign from the Passions that the adepts are the people they are looking for to take on this dangerous missions. Or they handled the whole situation in Crafter’s Row badly, perhaps even killing one or more of the troublemakers. In this case, the Council considers the adepts skilled enough and dangerous enough to make them expendable, therefore useful.

In either case, the Council has chosen the adepts to be the first Name-givers to leave the kaer in fifty years to discover what has become of the world outside. They are the hope of Daralon. Mabon Rus gravely announces the Council’s decision and asks the adepts if they will take up the challenge.

If the players refuse, they’re probably not getting the point. Gently remind them that the dream of every adept is to explore the world outside the kaer, the chance to leave the confines of the shelter where they have lived all their lives. This is their opportunity to be heroes. If the adepts were brought before the Council for punishment, the offer is backed up by the fact that adepts who refuse face imprisonment, a fact the Council will use as leverage to convince them.

Once the player character accept (willingly or through coercion) Mabon Rus tells them they have a night and a day to prepare. They will leave at once. The kaer is a simmering pressure cooker of repressed fear and resentment that may boil over at any moment. Their departure will be announced at the gathering the next evening.

Beyond The Guardian Gate

The announcement of your impending journey beyond the Guardian Gate electrifies the populace of the kaer. Spirits are higher than they have been in longer than you can remember. You gather the equipment you will need and say farewell to family and friends, promising you will return soon. The night of your departure, the people of Daralon are all gathered in the great central chamber. You walk down the road to the cheers and best wishes of the people. When you stand before the giant statues flanking the orichalcum-laced gates, the aged wizard Pelgar nods gravely to you and speaks the spells passed down to him from Dianuus the Master-Builder himself.

The gates open, and the world awaits.

Before the adepts leave the kaer, they are briefed by the Council of Twelve. They will leave the kaer via the Guardian Gate and make their way through the section of Kaer Daralon known as the Stair, which leads to the massive main gate to the surface. The Stair is layered with various traps and defenses built to keep Horrors from breaking into the kaer. Unfortunately, plans for these traps, kept in the Hall of Time, have been lost. The Council has kept this information secret, so as not to dampen the hopes of the people, but the adepts will have to brave the hazards of the traps alone. The Council gives them a talisman created by Dianuus to open the main gates of the kaer.

To aid them, the Council also supplies the adepts with two healing potions and a last chance salve. This gives the gamemaster so leeway if the adepts get badly hurt or one of them is killed by one of the threats in the adventure. If desired, the Council can provide the adepts with other minor magical items, like blood charms, but the gamemaster shouldn’t be too generous (the kaer’s resources are limited, and they can only risk so much on this venture).

Once the adept party passes through the Guardian Gate, the doors are closed behind them, only to be opened again when they return and use a magical key (also given to them by the Council) to send a signal through the wards of the kaer. The adepts are alone in the Stair.

The entry area of the kaer consists of three long, low halls, lined with carved pillars. A spiral staircase at the end of the hall connects it to the one above it in a staggered arrangement (see map). At the end of the final hall is the Great Entrance Hall and the orichalcum doors to the outside. The floor and surfaces of the halls are covered with fine dust and dirt accumulated through the years. Barely visible in the layers of dust are the fifty year-old tracks of the last scouting party sent out from the kaer.

Each Hall also has a trap built into it, intended to kill or at least injure any Horrors that might be able to break through the wards and the Rites of Protection and Passage. The traps of the first two halls are still active and dangerous, while the third trap in the great hall was trigged long ago (see Those Who Have Gone Before, below). The statistics of the remaining traps are:

Spear Trap: Detection Difficulty: 8, Disarm Difficulty: 8, Trigger Condition: Pressure plate, Trap Initiative: 8, Trap Effect: Damage Step 13

Ward Trap: Detection Difficulty: 10, Spell Defense: 10, Disarm Difficulty: 11, Trigger Condition: The trap makes a Spellcasting Test (Step 15) against the Spell Defense of the characters passing it. If the test is successful, the trap triggers its effect. Trap Initiative: 10, Trap Effect: Fireball spell, Damage Step 18

If the characters successfully detect the traps (with a Perception Test against the Detection Difficulty) they can attempt to disarm them. The spear trap can be disarmed with a successful Dexterity Test against the Disarm Difficulty, while the Ward Trap can be disarmed with a successful Spellcasting Test against the Disarm Difficulty. A successful casting of the Dispel Magic spell that overcomes the ward trap’s Disarm Difficulty will also disarm it.

Those Who Have Gone Before

As you enter the final hall of the Stair, you see the fate of the scouting party that left Daralon before you. Four corpses lie in the hall. Three were killed by various wounds while the fourth lies buried beneath a tumbled pile of stones, along with the pale, white corpse of some hideous, bloated creature. Their flesh is withered and gray, almost mummified in the dry air, covered in a layer of dust. Their weapons and armor are spotted with corrosion, but otherwise as serviceable as the day they left the shelter of the central kaer.

One of the bodies lies against the orichalcum outer doors of the kaer, still sealed. The doors that lead to the outside world.

The scouting party that left Kaer Daralon years ago ran afoul of a minor Horror. It turned the adepts against each other and killed most of them, then invaded the mind of the survivor and attempted to force him to return to the kaer. The adept was able to overcome the Horror’s control long enough to close the doors of the kaer and trigger the deadfall trap in the upper hall, both the adept and the Horror were crushed and the kaer was safe.

The Horror gained its revenge, however. With a final act of blood magic, it animated the bodies of the adepts as cadaver men (ED, p. 288), charged to destroy anyone else who tried to leave the kaer. When the adepts approach the orichalcum gates, the cadaver men rise up and attack. They have weapons and armor to fight with, so the gamemaster should adjust their statistics accordingly. Remember, any wound inflicted on a cadaver man causes it to go berserk, attacking up to four times each combat turn.

Once the adepts have overcome the cadaver men, they can use the talisman given to them by the council to open the outer doors and exit the kaer.

The Angry Gargoyle

The great doors of the kaer grind open slowly, allowing a breath of cool, fresh air to stir the ages of dust settled in the great hall. You breathe in that taste of the outside world and think you have never smelled anything so sweet. You prepare yourself for an attack as the doors open. For a Horror to come screeching through the opening to kill and ravage, but nothing comes. Finally, the heavy doors open enough for you to see the outside world for the first time.

It is dark outside, and a gentle breeze stirs the grasses of the hillside and makes the leaves of the trees rustle. You stand for a moment outside the faint light of the entrance, taking it all in. It’s more wonderful and incredible than you ever imagined. The valley of Daralon stretches out below you, gray, black and silver in the light of a nearly full moon. You can see the glimmer of the river below and the bright gleam of the stars above you. Near the river, in the distance, are dark stumps and tumbled piles of stone that can only be the remains of the town of Daralon, the home of your ancestors.

As the doors of the kaer swing slowly closed, you set foot on the ancient, overgrown trail for the home of your people.

Stress the wonder of the adepts seeing the outside world for the very first time. Remember, they have never seen the night sky or a forest or a mountainside except in pictures and tales. The players should feel something of their characters’ awe at finally leaving their kaer. They should also be eager to explore the ruins of their ancestral home, although their enthusiasm might be tempered by a justified concern. They still have no idea what awaits them in the outside world, and the presence of the Horror-corpse in the great hall should give them some cause for concern.

From the vantage of the kaer entrance, the adepts can see most of the valley below. A river cuts through the center of the valley, and the hillsides are heavily forested. On a high ridge overlooking the kaer entrance is the ancient stone tower of Dianuus, the elementalist. The tower’s wards and magical protections allowed it to survive the Scourge intact, and it stands silent watch over the valley. The ruins of old Daralon lie near the river at the bottom of the valley. They are mostly dark, although flickering lights can sometimes be seen there.

Fortunately for the adepts, the ruins of Daralon are haunted by enemies much more mortal than the Horrors. A band of river pirates have taken the ruins as a hideout and a place to stash some of their booty. They rely on local rumors and legends that the ruins are haunted, legends they encourage using illusions and strange lights to scare away intruders. The pirates know nothing of the kaer, hidden behind camouflaged doors. They are aware of Dianuus’ tower above the kaer, but avoid it because of the tower’s powerful magical wards and defenses.

Recently, the pirates encountered a gargoyle (ED, p. 296) hunting for new territory in the valley. They drove it off, but the gargoyle only retreated further up the valley, hiding out in a rocky outcropping and nursing its wound. As the adepts make their way down towards the ruins of Daralon, the gargoyle spots them and tries to ambush them, springing out from behind it’s hiding place to attack. The creature has suffered some damage; it has 4 points of Current Damage and an unhealed Wound. The player characters should be able to fight it off. If the gargoyle suffers another two Wounds, it flies away. Otherwise, it fights viciously, making use of Aggressive Attacks (ED, p. 200).

The Pirates of Daralon

You approach the ruins of Daralon cautiously. There may be more creatures like the one you encountered in the highlands, or even worse, lurking there. You see some flickering light among the tumbled walls and structures of Old Daralon and move as quietly as possible to avoid alerting whatever might be there. As you draw closer, you hear voices and see dark shapes moving around a fire burning in the center of ruined structure. Whatever haunts Daralon, it looks very much like other Name-givers.

There are six pirates in the camp, led by a second-circle swordmaster named Caine. Caine is a human woman who wears an astral sensitive eye in place of the one she lost in battle and wields her curved saber with ruthless efficiency. The remainder of the pirates are not adepts. They will investigate any strange noises or the like in pairs. If the adepts attack, the pirates will fight them fiercely. If things appear to be turning against them, they will attempt to escape using a pair of small boats on the river.

Use the t’skrang swordmaster adept archetype (ED, p. 81) for Caine. Remove the t’skrang racial modifications, increase all of the talents by 1 rank and give her Riposte and Throwing Weapons at Rank 1. Use the Guard Veteran (ED, p. 297) for the other pirates. Drop the magical talent and give them dwarf swords and leather armor. If the number of pirates is too much of a challenge for the player characters, reduce their numbers. If the adepts mow right through them, you can have more pirates show up to help out their comrades.

The pirates’ treasure consists of three cloth sacks holding coins worth a total of 500 silver pieces (mostly Throalic and t’skrang mint). They are kept in a heavy locked chest along with a set of maps of the valley and the surrounding area (which the adepts may find more valuable than the silver).

The Return

After overcoming the pirates, you spend some time exploring the valley and the ruins of Daralon. There are no signs of Horrors or other dangers to your people, so you return to the kaer to give Daralon the welcome news of the outside world. You are treated to a hero’s welcome and all of the kaerfolk are eager to hear your tales of the outside world. The Council honors you in a speech to the people and says that Daralon will open its door to the outside, allowing the people to rebuild the home their ancestors left behind so long ago. The Long Night of the Scourge is finally over, and a new world awaits!

Encourage the players to relate their story to the Council and the people of the kaer. Award Legend Points based on the creatures the adepts have overcome in the adventure, along with any treasure they have acquired (ED, p. 242). They get 50 Legend Points for successfully clearing the valley of danger (the pirates and the gargoyle), they also get 50 Legend Points for returning to Kaer Daralon with news of the outside world. The gamemaster can award up to 50 additional Legend Points for creative roleplaying and heroics. For more information, see Assigning Legend Awards (ED, p. 241).

Further Adventures

Once the adepts have completed their mission into the outside world and returned to Kaer Daralon, there are many other opportunities for adventure. The gamemaster can use some of the adventure seeds below (along with other Earthdawn products from FASA) to continue the adepts’ adventures in the Age of Legend, kicking off a full-fledged Earthdawn campaign.

The Tower of Dianuus. The tower of the master elementalist Dianuus still stands on the cliff-face overlooking the kaer and old Daralon. It was magically sealed by Dianuus before the Scourge and has remained (apparently) intact. What secrets might it contain, and what magical traps and creatures protect them? Perhaps the council asks the player characters to explore the tower or they might choose to do so themselves. Magical items like the Talismans of Dianuus (from Arcane Mysteries of Barsaive) might be found in the tower, along with some of Dianuus’ magical lore.

The Fire Caves. The Fire Caves have been sealed for centuries, since a plague nearly wiped out Kaer Daralon. The plague is long since dead, but the kaer-dwellers don’t know that for certain. Treasures lie hidden in the ruins of the caverns, including the body of Dianuus himself and, perhaps, some of his magical items (like the aforementioned talismans). The source of the strange noises from the Fire Caves may be nothing more than settling of loose stone, or perhaps someone (or something) has animated the corpses of the plague victims, creating an army of cadaver men for some sinister purpose. It could be a rogue nethermancer from the kaer, who has found a secret way into the sealed caves, or perhaps the horror killed at the gates of the kaer is not as dead as everyone thinks….

Gargoyle Flight. The gargoyle the adepts encountered outside the kaer was only a scout for a small band of gargoyles looking for a new home in the area near Daralon. If it escaped, it may return with allies. If it was killed, its brethren might come looking for it. The kaer’s new settlement might be troubled by gargoyle attacks until the adepts can track the creatures down and drive them from the valley permanently.

Journey to Throal. Now that the Kaer is open, the people of Daralon are eager to renew their ties with the outside world and discover the state of things. The gamemaster can build a long series of adventures around sending the adepts on an extended scouting mission into the outside world. They can go to the Kingdom of Throal and report the opening of their kaer. Imagine their surprise when they learn that Barsaive is no longer a Theran province, and Throal has rebelled against the Empire! Will the adepts choose to involve themselves in the politics of the province? This can provide a lead-in to the events described in the adventure Prelude to War: An Earthdawn Epic.

The Mad Passions. During the Scourge three of the Passions went mad (as described in Earthdawn). The people of Daralon know nothing of this. The followers of the Mad Passions living in the kaer have carefully concealed the true nature of their patrons over the years, existing as secret cults, while maintaining a facade of respectability. One of their questors, Mabon Rus, is even a member of the Council! Now that the kaer is open, what will the Mad Passion cults in the kaer do? Gamemasters may find Secret Societies of Barsaive useful for information on the Mad Passion cults.

Pirates of the Serpent. The player characters have disrupted the operations of the river pirates, but they haven’t overcome all of the pirate-band. Others will eventually come to find out what became of their fellows, leading the a conflict between the newly opened kaer and the pirates, who may want to loot the kaer of its treasures. This can lead to adventures along the Serpent River or elsewhere in Barsaive.

Legendary Love

Some thoughts about love and sex in Earthdawn

I’ll admit it’s not very “high fantasy” and kind of high school, but I wonder about this stuff. I also have a personal interest in how certain things might exist or be perceived in the lands of Barsaive and elsewhere in the world of Earthdawn. This article looks at some questions of sex and sexuality in Earthdawn. Keep it out of the hands of the young’uns.

Interacial Sex

When folks like film director Spike Lee address the topic of “interracial relationships” all they have to worry about is people of different colors. In Earthdawn we’re talking about people of different species (or at least different sub-species of homo sapiens). What are the problems and dynamics of a romantic relationship between members of two different Name-Giver races?

It would seem at Earthdawn’s point on the mana curve that the various races cannot interbreed with each other. While metahumans in Shadowrun can, the differences between the races seem to become more pronounced with the higher magic level, until they are truly separate races for reproductive purposes.

Now it seems physically possible for most of the “metahuman” races (i.e. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Orks and Trolls) to have sexual relations, but it is doubtful it is considered socially acceptable by any of the cultures in Barsaive (most of which are very xenophobic and race-centered). Sexual relations with the radically different name-givers like the T’Skrang or Windings is pretty much right out.

All of this, however, doesn’t change the fact that the name-givers are all sentient, emotional beings, regardless of their physical equipment. It would not be entirely unbelievable for two members of incompatible races to fall in love with each other. What would become of such a doomed romance? Would the couple be capable of overcoming the vast obstacles to their relationship or would it eventually have to end in tragedy? Would Astendar and her questors take interest in such a tradgic love affair? (almost certainly, I would say). Could some magical means be found for the two to share their passion in some way? Could children be produced?

The possibilities take on the proportions of a true Legendary tale. For example consider the legend of the Windling Flowers of Love.

Horrible Sex

Okay, let’s be honest, the Horrors are going to use love and sex as weapons against Name-Givers. They are two of our most powerful drives and the Horrors know enough about such strong emotions to manipulate them.

There are the obvious manifestations, like legends of succubi and other “sexual demons,” horrors that feed off of kinky and perverted sex with or by the name-givers, but there could also be horrors that require love to feed on (especially interesting if the horror requires genuine love, like a black widow that must draw in a mate and then kill it in the process of mating). What of the unpleasant possibility of horror/name-giver crossbreeds (if such as thing is possible at all) or of infants whose development is affected by a horror?

Fairy Folk

No, I’m not talking about the Elves here. What is the status of homosexual and bisexual relations in Barsaive and the rest of the Earthdawn world? What is the place of “gay” people in Barsaivian culture?

FASA products have declined to say, so we must speculate. The only thing close to an official mention is in the description of the Seduction skill, which is described as useful for the characters “prefered sex” (rather than a term such as “opposite sex”). While it is possible that gay people are totally accepted and not discriminated against, I find that fairly unlikely (and to be honest, lacking in dramatic story potential).

In a culture struggling to recover from an event like the Scourge, it is likely Barsaivian society tends to stress the values of the family and perpetuating the species. On the other hand, confined in enclosed kaers for generations, many cultures likely resorted to some amount of homosexual relations to relieve sexual tension while keeping the population under control (theTalisman anthology reveals that birth control was used as well). In the aftermath of leaving the kaers, there might be a counterreaction against same-sex relations (or greater acceptance, or both, depending on the culture).

Given their highly literate, fairly hedonistic culture, the Therans are probably more accepting and open about homosexuality than the Barsaivians, seen as another strike against the practice by the people of Barsaive, who might see homosexuality as a “Theran perversion.”

What “gay culture” there is in the world most likely began with the Elves (stereotypical, I know, but there’s a reason for most of those stereotypes). Elves are long-lived enough to try everything at least once, and their concept of love and mating seems to suggest same-sex relationships would not be unusual. In one Earthdawn campaign I played in, the common term for gay people was lossel, a derivative of a Sperethiel term that loosely translates as “one who’s lover is like one’s self.”

The Oldest Profession

Prostitution may not be the stuff of legend, but it is fairly likely it exists in the world of Earthdawn. Aside from the normal urban evolution that tends to lead to prostitution there again is the unique pressure of people living in confined kaers for generations while they waited out the Scourge. Sex is likely to end up as a major recreational activity, and some kind of system of “prostitution” or “free love” could evolve. A good example of this is the practices of the followers of Astendar in one of the short stories in the Talisman anthology, akin to the “temple prostitutes” of many ancient religions.

There is also no doubt that sexual wiles are used by the heroes and villains of legend to acheive their goals. Some of the talents and abilities of the Troubador discipline and the questors of Astendar make that matter fairly clear.

Family Values

The role of the family in Barsaivian culture is an interesting question. Generally nuclear families (parents and children, along with possibly grandparents) seem the norm, but the Trolls of the Twlight Peaks have line marriage and a more clannish society. The T’Skrang have a matriarchal culture with the communal raising of young and the Obsidimen… well, their social structure is quite unlike anything the other Name-Givers would really recognize as a “family” at all, but more of an association like a Brotherhood or even a secret society.

True Love

The power of love has been acknowleged in legends for as long as humans have told them. In times of need, love is a force that can move mountains, defeat any evil, even conquer Death itself.

The power of Love (capital “L”) should not be overlooked in Earthdawn, where thought and passion often equal deed in the real world. The magic of Earthdawn responds to the thoughts and feelings of Name-Givers and True Love is a powerful focus for such magical energies.

I don’t suggest any game mechanics for this, but it is a rich theme for an Earthdawn gamemaster to use as a basis for adventures or even entire campaigns. What of an adventure based around the forbidden young couple (ala Romeo and Juliet) who call upon Astendar to allow them to flee their oppressive families to a place of safety where they can be together. Who knows? Perhaps the Passion’s aid will take the form of a group of player characters…

The Thief Who Stole from Death

Hmmm, a tale, you say. We nethermancers are not as prone to tale-telling as other adepts and Name-Givers, we prefer the value of silence. However, I do have a tale that I believe will interest and enlighten you. It was given to me by a spirit I spoke with some time ago. As you might expect, it is a tale about death, but more importantly it is about an adept-a thief-that followed the path of her discipline into the depths of Death’s Domain.

Once, long ago, before the Scourge, there lived a thief adept named Josara, who lived in the human kingdom of Landis with her people. Josara was a hero who performed many daring deeds and who advanced far in the ways of her discipline. She was a thief to her very core, and it was said that she could steal the sun and the moon from out of the sky if she chose to.

Of all of the many treasures that she stole in her long career, the one that Josara always said she was the proudest of was when she stole the heart of her husband, the air sailor Orlan Windrunner, himself a figure of daring and adventure. The couple loved each other deeply and they traveled the land of Barsaive in search of excitement and adventure.

And what adventures they had! Plundering the ice caves of the gray ogres in the Tylon Mountains, unraveling the riddle of the tomb of the troll wizard Golthek’Nor and capturing a ransom in orichalcum in a daring raid on a Theran vessel during the Orichalcum Wars. Tales of the adventurous couple spread across the land and their names became part of legend.

The legends seemed to be at an end when Josara and Orlan undertook their most daring adventure: an exploration of the Spider Dens of the Liaj Jungle, wherein spiders the size of ponies spun their webs in the eternal darkness of the jungle overgrowth, forming a vast cave-like network of silken tunnels where many unwary travelers and would-be adventurers. Stories told of many years of lost and accumulated treasures within the dens of the jungle spiders and Josara and Orlan sought to discover the truth of those tales and come away with a handsome collections of trophies for the effort.

But the dangers of those silken halls proved too great for even skilled adepts such as they. Orlan was bitten and fatally poisoned by a shadow spider, one of the deadliest spiders of the lair. He and Josara managed to escape from the dens, but the master air sailor died from the deadly poison not long after, for there was no cure for the shadow spider’s venom. Josara used the bulk of the treasures that she and Orlan had earned throughout their career to commission for her husband a fantastic tomb that floated high above the mountains and could only be reached by air ship or through the cooperation of a bound wind spirit that protected the tomb from would-be looters.

Gathering what few possessions she had, Josara set off on a quest that led her far and wide across the land of Barsaive. She spoke with many sages and scholar and magicians and always her questions were the same. The thief adept seemed to have become obsessed about Death and she sought to learn all that she could about that mysterious force of the universe. She even sought out some of the most vile and corrupt of individuals, like the legendary Keys of Death, those who proclaim to be Death’s Questors, to learn from them or wrest their secrets from their dying hands.

Rumors grew that Josara was mad with grief at the loss of her beloved, that she had become obsessed with revenge and that her studies followed some dark and unknown purpose that threatened danger to others, but that was not so. Josara did not desire revenge against unthinking creatures following the dictates of their natures, nor did she want knowledge for the sake of power. Josara was a wise woman and like the nethermancers she began to see Death like a clear pane of crystal – not a barrier – but a window into another side, another phase of existence. She saw Death as a force that hoarded lives like a miser hordes gold, and as a master thief Josara knew nothing so well as how to relieve a collector of their valuable baubles. During her studies Josara decided that she would take the ultimate challenge: she would steal Orlan back from Death.

After gathering a vast and diverse store of knowledge, Josara made her way to the shores of the Death’s Sea, where she prepared a special ritual magic. Her human versatility served her well as she made use of the many arcane secrets she had unearthed in her travels. For nine days and nights she worked and prepared in the rocky badlands along the shores of the fiery sea.

Finally she was ready and by the darkling light of the new moon, Josara drank a vial of a special poison concocted from some of the most toxic creatures and plants of Barsaive, including some of the venom of the shadow spider that killed Orlan. She lay upon a blanket embroidered with magical runes and symbols as she felt a terrible cold overtake her limbs despite the fierce heat of the Death’s Sea. A lethargy crept over her, but Josara fought to keep control of her wits, for she would need them in her journey if she was to be successful.

Josara passed into the realm of Death. She felt herself pulled below the raging fires of the Death’s Sea into an endless maze of underground passages, tunnels and caves. They were all lit by the flickering reddish light of the burning sea of lava above and, most amazingly, were filled with all manner of treasures and valuables, scattered all about as far as the eye could see. There was gold and silver, gems and fine weapons, even orichalcum coins and valuables enough to ransom a kingdom. Josara’s thief nature quivered at the sight of such wealth, she could feel the fingers of greed brush across her soul.

But her will held fast. She had not come into the realm of Death to seek treasures, only the life of her beloved Orlan. Josara moved through the dim tunnels like a silent shadow, looking for her love, but she saw no one. There was no living thing, not a Name-giver, nor even the smallest mouse or insect in those tunnels and they stretched on and on like they might go forever. Josara began to despair in her heart that she would never find Orlan and that she might be trapped forever in those forlorn tunnels with untold wealth as her only companion.

“Passions!” she cried out in frustration, “I would give all of this wealth, all the wealth in the world, if only to be with Orlan once again.”

Just then a man appeared before Josara in the tunnel. He was a human, broad and fat and dressed in the clothing of a wealthy merchant. He wore all manner of expensive jewelry and the purse at his belt bulged with coin. He was well-groomed and everything about his appearance and manner said that this was a man of great wealth, just the kind of person who cried out to Josara to be given the gift of theft.

“Would you indeed, Josara?” The man said and reached into the folds of his rich cloak. He withdrew a ruby the size of a child’s fist, the deep color of blood, which gleamed seductively in the dim light of the tunnel. Josara felt her heart leap, for she had never seen so fine a gem. “Would you surrender all of this wealth that could be yours?”

Josara’s thief magic called out to her, she knew that she could take all that this merchant had and much of the wealth all around her, she could be the richest thief in all of the world and live in luxury for the rest of her life. She grappled with the way of her discipline in her heart, her eyes fixed on the beauty of the gem before her. But Josara’s love for her husband was greater than her faith in her path. She turned to the strange man and said, “Yes, I would give up any wealth for my love.” The merchant nodded and smiled and in an instant Josara found herself on the shores of the Death’s Sea with Orlan in her arms, reunited once again.

Because she had rejected the way of her discipline, Josara was no longer a Thief. She believed that the stranger she encountered in Death’s domain was Death himself, who bargained her magic for Orlan’s life, which Josara considered a fair trade. In the later years of her life Josara was content with a quiet home life with her beloved and she became a Questor of Garlen, still stealing from Death at every opportunity she had.

Adventure Ideas

The following elements of the legend of Josara and Orlan could be used by gamemasters in their Earthdawn campaigns. As always, gamemasters should feel free to tailor the details of these adventure hooks to suit their own campaigns.

Josara’s Ritual

The magical ritual Josara used to enter the realm of death might be something that player characters could go in quest of in order to follow a fallen comrade there and attempt to rescue them. The ritual would be known only to a few wise sages or nethermancers (and perhaps a Horror or two) and there would of course be no guarantee that the characters would be able to return to the land of the living after using it.

Josara’s Healing Balm

In her later years as a healer, Josara developed a healing ointment of special herbs and other secret ingredients. This balm had the effects of a healing potion (Earthdawn, p.258) with the additional effect of eliminating diseases and poisons in the system, but the formula for it was lost many years ago. Perhaps the player characters might discover the recipe again among some of Josara’s lost papers or journal or perhaps they might set off to find the lost formula in order to use it to cure some malady.

The Spider Dens

The mysterious Spider Dens of the Liaj Jungle still exist and their silk shrouded tunnels hold many treasures and secrets that brave adventurers might go in search of. The tunnels are inhabited by numerous dangerous arachnids, including the mysterious shadow spider. Rumors also say that a spider-like horror may well have taken up residence in the dens since the Scourge and may have transformed many of the spiders living there into dangerous constructs such as Jehuthra (Earthdawn, p.305).

Orlan’s Empty Tomb

Josara and Orlan lived a simple life following their return to the land of the living and Orlan’s floating tomb over the mountains was all but forgotten. The tomb still holds many treasures that Orlan won during his career as a daring air pirate, including a wealth of plundered orichalcum and one or more magical treasures. The location of the floating tomb is lost and characters might discover some clue to it among ancient legends or documents telling the tale of Orlan and Josara. The tomb is guarded by a bound air spirit of great power that attempts to keep all potential tomb robbers away. It is also possible that the tomb might have been breached during the Scourge and become the lair of a Horror or even the base of skyraiders, air pirates or aerial monsters.

Earthdawn Epic

Welcome to Epic! This is a bare-bones system for converting the Earthdawn game from FASA to the SAGA rules system produced by TSR, used for their Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes games. It focuses on maintaining the flavor of Earthdawn while taking advantage of the quick and simple mechanics of the SAGA rules.

Earthdawn is the property of FASA Corporation and the SAGA System is the property of TSR, Inc./Wizards of the Coast. This article is not intended as an infringement on either property.

Name-Giver Races

Eight different races inhabit the land of Barsaive. They are collectively known as “Name-givers,” since they share the ability to name things. A ninth Name-giver race, the dragons, also lives in Barsaive, but there are no dragon heroes.

Dwarves

The majority race of Barsaive is the dwarves, particularly those of the Kingdom of Throal. They are craftsman, merchants, politicians, scholars and warriors found throughout the land. Strong and stout, a hero must have Strength and Endurance of at least 6 to be a dwarf. Conversely, a dwarf’s stout limbs and body make them less limber than other races, limiting their Agility and Dexterity to no more than 8. Dwarves have the ability to see heat sources, allowing them to see in the dark, provided there is a source of heat available. Although they are friendly and helpful, dwarves often have difficulty relating other Name-giver races. No card played by a dwarf on a Presence action counts as trump, except when dealing with fellow dwarves or as a defensive action.

Elves

The race most changed by the Scourge, the elves are divided between the blood elves of the Elven Court, loyal to Queen Alachia, and the unchanged elves elsewhere in Barsaive. An elf hero must have scores of at least 6 in Dexterity, Agility, Spirit and Presence. Elves are limited to scores of 8 in Strength and Endurance. Elves have starlight sight, allowing them to see as clearly on a starlit night as a human would during the day.

Humans

Humans in Barsaive are adaptable and found nearly everywhere. Humans have no ability requirements, but may shift one point from a physical attribute to a mental attribute, or vice versa, during hero creation.

Obsidimen

Obsidimen are beings of flesh and elemental earth, large and bulky. They have a strong connection to the earth and all living things. An obsidiman hero must have at least a score of 8 in Strength and Endurance. An obsidiman hero cannot have a Dexterity or Agility higher than 6. They are limited to no higher than a code of B in Presence. Creatures of living stone, obsidimen are incredibly tough. All cards they spend on resisting damage are considered trump, regardless of their actual suit. In addition, obsidimen have natural armor, providing them with a Defense of -2, in addition to any worn armor. Obsidimen have a fundamental respect for living things. They refuse to wear non-living armor of leather or metal. Obsidimen may only wear living armor, including fernweave and living crystal.

Orks

Orks are well known in Barsaive as short-lived warriors who live hard and play hard. They are strongly in the grip of their passions, particularly their own gahad. A character must have a Strength and Endurance of at least 6 to be an ork. Ork heroes cannot have a Spirit or Presence higher than 8. Orks have the ability to see in very low-light, as well as humans see during the day. Each ork has a personal gahad, something that triggers an irrational rage. An ork can ignore his gahad with an average Spirit action, but suffers a -1 penalty to all actions for the remainder of that scene.

Trolls

Trolls are large, honorable mountain-dwellers, well-known as raiders and warriors in Barsaive. A hero must have a score of at least 7 in Strength and Endurance and a 5 in Spirit to be a troll. Trolls are limited to a maximum of 8 in Reason and Perception. Trolls have the ability to see heat sources, like dwarves do.

T’Skrang

The t’skrang are a race of river-dwelling humanoid reptiles with a swashbuckling attitude. A t’skrang hero must have a minimum score of 6 in Agility, Endurance and Presence. T’skrang can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes at a time, making them excellent swimmers. Their tail is dexterous and strong enough to deliver a stinging attack. A t’skrang makes a tail attack as an easy Strength (Endurance) action. A t’skrang hero can split his Strength score between a normal melee attack and a tail attack, as desired.

Windlings

Windlings are small humanoids, about a foot tall, with gossamer wings. They live in tree-villages, as well as with other Name-givers. A hero must have a minimum score of 6 in Dexterity, Agility, Perception, Spirit and Presence to be a windling. Windlings are limited to a maximum Strength and Endurance of 4 because of their small size. They automatically have a Dexterity and Strength code of X. Windlings have the ability to fly using their wings. They also have natural astral sight, allowing them to see auras and astral patterns with an easy Perception action. Because of their small size, windlings are harder to hit in combat. The difficulty of all physical attacks against them is increased by one level. However, windlings are not nearly as tough as other Name-givers; cards played by a winding hero on damage never count as trump.

Magic

Magic in Earthdawn is based on the magic system from Dragonlance: Fifth Age, with a few minor differences.

Spell Points

Earthdawn heroes have spell points like other SAGA heroes. Adept magic is based on Spirit, while spell magic is based on Reason. So a beastmaster with Spirit 7 has (7 x 7) or 49 spell points. A magician with Reason 8 has 64 spell points. Add a hero’s number of Quests to his or her spell point total. So a Champion (7 Quests) with Spirit 7 has (49 + 7) or 56 spell points. Heroes use and regain spell points normally, except as described below.

Spell Matricies

A spell matrix is an astral construct posessed by a magician. A magician has one spell matrix for each level of Reputation, from one at Novice to eight at Archetype. Magicians can prepare spells in advance by placing the spell’s pattern within a spell matrix. These spells do not cost spell points, but have their normal difficulty. Spells cast without the use of a spell matrix are “raw magic” and cause damage equal to the spell’s difficulty. A magician hero can change the spell in a spell matrix with a Reason action with a difficulty equal to half the difficulty of the new spell.

Using Magic

Using magic requires an action with the appropriate ability, usually Spirit for adept magic and Reason for spell magic. The Narrator may call for a different ability in certain circumstances. The base difficulty of the action is average, plus any resistance (if the magic targets someone other than the user). Successful or not, spell points are still spent. Note that, unlike Dragonlance, heroes are not required to spend spell points to overcome a target’s resistance, nor is the difficulty of the spell equal to its cost.

Example: Aklear wishes to cast a flame bolt at an oncoming ghoul. The cost of the spell is 12 points. Aklear makes an average Reason action, opposed by the ghoul’s Coordination, which is 5, making the final difficulty 13. He succeeds, and the ghoul takes 9 points of damage from the spell, minus its Defense of 2, which does enough damage to slay it. Aklear had better ready another spell, because where there is one ghoul, there is likely more…

Adept Magic

Each discipline grants a particular type of magic to those who follow it: beastmasters can use magic to influence animals and take on their qualities, warriors use magic to enhance their battle prowess, and so forth. Each discipline describes the type of magic it can perform. Players create the effects they wish to perform using the normal SAGA spellcasting rules, limited by their capacity, as described above. Some examples of adept magic include:

  • Dominate Beast (Beastmaster, 15 points): Allows the adept to completely control the actions of an animal within near missile range for 15 minutes with an average Presence (Essence) action.
  • Flame Arrow (Archer, 10 points): Ignites the head of an ordinary arrow, causing it to inflict +5 damage.
  • Rapier Wit (Swordmaster, 13 points): Demoralizes an enemy within melee range with clever jibes and taunts, requiring an average Presence (Essence) action. If successful the target suffers a -2 on all actions for the next 15 minutes.
  • Shadow-Cloak (Thief, 13 points): Shrouds the adept in shadows for 15 minutes, adding +4 to the adept’s attempt to sneak or remain hidden, requires 1 minute to activate.
  • Wind-Catcher (Sky Raider, 12 points): Weaves the wind to allow the adept to fall any distance without harm.
  • Woodskin (Warrior, 11 points): Turns the adept’s skin to tough wood, providing +5 defense for 15 minutes. Requires 1 minute to activate.

Spell Magic

Magicians in Earthdawn weave the energies of astral space to cast spells. They have a wider range of potential effects to choose from, based on the spheres of magic known. A hero must have an A code in Reason to be a magician. Magicians start out with knowledge of one sphere of magic and may learn one additional sphere for each gain in Reputation above Novice. So an adventurer may know two spheres, up to an archetype, who knows all eight spheres. Other adepts can also learn spellcasting spheres, by expending a skill in order to do so.

Threadweaving

A component of spells in Earthdawn is weaving “threads” of magical energy to power the spell. Weaving threads is part of the spell’s invocation time. Spells with an invocation time of Instant require no threads.

Spheres of Magic

Spell magic is divided into eight different spheres of influence. Magician heroes may choose a single sphere to specialize in, gaining a trump bonus with all spells from that sphere.

  • Divination: Divination is used to reveal information. Divination spells allow a magician to detect different things, view distant places, enhance the senses and sense things beyond the normal five senses.
  • Elementalism: This sphere allows a magician to command the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and wood. The magician can create and shape the elements at will, and can summon elemental spirits from them.
  • Enchantment: This is the sphere of the mind, able to reshape emotions, read thoughts, alter memories and control the wills of others. Some beings are immune to the effects of enchantment (like many undead and horrors).
  • Healing: This sphere uses magic to heal injuries, cure disease and poisons, and ensure general health and well-being.
  • Illusion: The illusion sphere deceives the senses, creating images of things that are not real. Even thought illusions may be detected and overcome by disbelief, they can be quite powerful against those they fool.
  • Nethermancy: Nethermancy deals with pure life-force: spirits and the stuff of the astral plane. It can summon and control spirits, shape astral energy, summon pure light or darkness, animate the dead or even return them to life.
  • Transformation: This sphere deals with transforming objects or beings into something else. Spells of transmutation, shapeshifting, petrifaction and similar effects are transformations, as are spells which temporarily imbue magic into objects or beings to enhance their abilities or grant them various powers.
  • Wizardry: The sphere of wizardry is concerned with shaping pure magical energy to create different effects. Spells that dispel or block magic, as well as constructs of magical force, fall under the category of wizardry.

Spells

  • Ethereal Darkness (Nethermancy, 16 points): Blankets the area of a large room in darkness for 15 minutes, imposing a -4 penalty on all actions requiring sight. Requires 1 minute to cast. Does not affect nethermancers.
  • Fireball (Elementalism, 14 points): An explosive ball of fire that shoots out to near missile range and does 9 damage points to a small group of targets. Resisted by Agility. Requires 1 minute to cast.
  • Mind Dagger (Wizardry, 12 points): A shard of magical force hurled at a target within near missile range, doing 5 damage points and ignoring physical Defense. Resisted by Perception.

Roles (Disciplines)

Heroes in Earthdawn follow disciplines, ways of thinking and acting that channel the hero’s natural magical abilities. Disciplines are similar to Roles in Dragonlance: Fifth Age. Each discipline has its own particular requirements, advantages and disadvantages. Each discipline also has its own form of magic, allowing adepts of that discipline to cast spells. Heroes normally follow only one discipline. However it is possible for a hero to choose a second discipline. In this case, the hero gains access to that discipline’s magic, and is subject to its requirements, but does not gain its trump bonus.

Air Sailor

Air sailors pilot and crew airships that cross the skies of Barsaive. They are skilled sailors and skilled fighters to deal with the dangers that threaten their ships. Air sailors love the freedom of the open sky.

  • Requirements: A hero must have the following minimum abilities to be an air sailor: Strength 5, Dexterity and Agility 7. The hero must have a minimum code of B in Strength and Dexterity. Air sailors can belong to any race except obsidimen (who prefer to remain on the ground). Air sailors do not wear heavy armor, limiting their maximum Endurance code to C.
  • Trump Bonus: Air sailors have a trump bonus for any action performed while on an airship.
  • Adept Magic: Air sailor magic is related to airships and aerial things like the wind.

Archer

Archers specialize in missile weapons, particularly the bow and crossbow. They have unerring aim and walk through a world of targets.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Dexterity and Perception of 6 and a Dexterity code of A to be an archer.
  • Trump Bonus: Archers have a trump bonus for any action using a bow.
  • Adept Magic: Archer magic is related to their chosen weapon, the bow.

Beastmaster

Beastmasters seek to emulate the animal kingdom and understand its denizens. Some beastmasters a true friends of all animals, while others are their cruel masters.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Endurance and Presence of 6 to be a beastmaster. Beastmasters have limited weapon-skills, limiting their Strength and Dexterity codes to a maximum of C.
  • Trump Bonus: Beastmasters have a trump bonus for any non-attack action related to animals
  • Adept Magic: Beastmaster magic is related to animals and their abilities. It has no affect on intelligent life, nor on non-living things like undead, spirits or horrors.

Cavalryman

Cavalrymen are fierce, mounted warriors. They train with their mounts to develop an empathic bond with them.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Strength, Endurance and Presence of 6 to be a cavalryman. The hero must also have a minimum Strength code of B. Obsidimen cannot be cavalrymen, since no mount can carry them.
  • Trump Bonus: Cavalrymen have a trump bonus for all actions while mounted.
  • Adept Magic: Cavalryman magic relates to the bond between the cavalryman and his mount and fighting while mounted.

Magician

Magicians study the art of spellcasting and the spheres of spell magic. They are scholarly individuals who study the mysteries of the universe.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Reason and Spirit of 6 to be a magician. Additionally, the hero must have a minimum Reason code of A, Perception of C and Spirit of C. Magicians spend most of their training on intellectual pursuits, so magician heroes cannot have Strength, Dexterity or Endurance codes of greater than C.
  • Trump Bonus: Magicians may choose one sphere of magic in which to specialize (usually their first). The magician gains a trump bonus in all actions involving that sphere. Magicians are generally named after their specialty sphere: Elementalists master elementalism, Healers master healing, Nethermancers master nethermancy, and so forth.
  • Adept Magic: Magicians start out knowing one sphere of magic and may learn another at each increase in reputation.

Scout

Scouts are explorers and trail-blazers who seek out new places, people and adventures. They are renowned for their sharp senses and wits.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Endurance and Perception of 6 to be a scout. Additionally, the hero must have a minimum Perception code of B. Scouts prefer to travel light, they have a maximum Endurance code of C.
  • Trump Bonus: Scouts gain a trump bonus on all actions involving the use of their senses.
  • Adept Magic: Scout magic involves the use of the senses and survival in the wilderness.

Sky Raider

Sky raiders are fierce fighters who fly aboard airships to raid targets all over Barsaive.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Agility, Strength and Endurance of 6 to be a sky raider. Sky raiders require a minimum code of B in all three abilities. Elves, obsidimen and windlings cannot be sky raiders.
  • Trump Bonus: Sky raiders gain a trump bonus for all actions on an airship.
  • Adept Magic: Sky raider magic involves airships and using the power of their fierce reputation.

Swordmaster

Swordmasters are elegant fighters who seek to master the art of the blade. They tend to be swashbucklers, with little regard for personal danger.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Agility and Presence to be a swordmaster. The hero must also have a Strength code of at least B.
  • Trump Bonus: Swordmasters gain a trump bonus for any action using a sword.
  • Adept Magic: Swordmaster magic is entirely based around sword-fighting, overcoming and intimidating their opponents.

Thief

Thieves are silent and stealthy, self-reliant and skilled in the art of stealing.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Agility, Dexterity and Perception of 6 to be a thief. The hero must also have a minimum code of B in Perception. Thieves prefer to avoid armor that limits their movements, giving them a maximum Endurance and Agility code of D. They also tend to be anti-social, limiting their Presence code to C.
  • Trump Bonus: Thieves gain a trump bonus for any action intended to be sneaky, including surprise attacks.
  • Thief Magic: Thief magic is based around deception, stealth, and avoiding danger.

Troubadour

Troubadours are storytellers, loremasters and entertainers.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Dexterity, Perception and Presence of 6 to be a troubadour. Additionally, the hero must have a Dexterity and Perception code of at least C, and a Presence code of at least B.
  • Trump Bonus: Troubadours gain a trump bonus with all social actions.
  • Troubadour Magic: Troubadour magic is intended to enlighten, entertain and affect the mind and emotions.

Warrior

Warriors are masters of all forms of combat, using magic to enhance their prowess.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Endurance and Spirit to be a warrior. Warriors are highly trained in the use of weapons and armor, having a minimum code of C in Dexterity and Agility, and B in Strength and Endurance.
  • Trump Bonus: Warriors gain a trump bonus for surprise and unarmed combat actions, as well as any action related to tactical knowledge.
  • Warrior Magic: Warrior magic is the magic of battle, increasing their ability to fight and remain alive.

Weaponsmith

Weaponsmiths craft and study weapons and armor. They know how to use them, as well.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Endurance and Perception to be a weaponsmith. The hero must also have a minimum Perception code of B.
  • Trump Bonus: Weaponsmiths gain a trump bonus when making or studying any type of weapon or armor.
  • Weaponsmith Magic: Weaponsmith magic relates to the making of weapons and armor, controlling and protecting against them and the elements used in the forging process.

Special Roles

These Roles are special and may be taken in combination with other Roles without affecting their abilities. These Roles have no trump bonuses.

Questor

Questors follow one of the twelve Passions of Barsaive. They seek to emulate their Passion in word and deed, if they fail to do so, they lose the special blessings their Passion brings them. Questors who continually ignore their Passion may lose this Role entirely.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Spirit of 5 and a Spirit code of B to become a questor.
  • Questor Magic: Questor magic is based on the nature of the questor’s Passion. For example, questors of Lochost, the Passion of Freedom, have powers relating to freeing the oppressed and imprisoned. Questors of Dis, the Passion of Domination and Slavery, use magic to enslave others, and so forth.

Lightbearer

Lightbearers are members of a secret society devoted to riding the world of the Horrors and their corruption. Becoming a lightbearer requires a special ceremony and is by invitation only. A hero who takes on this Role gains special powers and responsibilities.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Spirit of 6 to be a lightbearer. In addition, the hero must have performed great feats against the Horrors and their minions to draw the attention of the Lightbearers.
  • Lightbearer Magic: Lightbearers have the power to create and project light in many forms, using it to protect, heal, illuminate and fight against the Horrors.

Kaer Daralon

According to the records of the Kaer kept in the Hall of Time, Daralon was a prosperous town nestled in a mountain valley in the Theran province of Barsaive. It subsisted mostly on farming the valley area and selling some of the famed Daralon ironwork and pottery worked from clay taken from the riverbanks. The inhabitants of the town paid their tithes to the Theran Overgovenor and their dues for the Rites of Protection and Passage that have allowed them to survive the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon was built over the course of three generations in the mountain caves above the valley. Much of the work was done by the master Elf elementalist and builder Dianuus. The natural caverns were expanded and strengthened by elemental magic, all laid out in accordance with the Theran plan. When the early signs of the Scourge came to the Daralon valley, the people entered the kaer and the wards were sealed to wait out the Long Night.

That was 498 years ago. It is now the fifteen hundred and sixth year since the founding of the Kingdom of Throal. More than fifteen generations have lived and died in the confines of the kaer, waiting and watching the elemental clock designed by Eternal Thera to tell when the time of the Scourge would be over. Fifty years ago, the sphere of True Earth stopped its descent towards the bowl of True Water.

This unexpected development has resulted in considerable debate and discussion among the leaders of the kaer, but thus far they have erred on the side of caution. The Therans predicted that the Scourge would last as long as another century, but there is a growing belief in the kaer that something terrible has happened and that the Scourge will never end. Some of the people have begun to despair that the end will never come and there is an edge of madness to life in Kaer Daralon.

The people of the kaer remain hidden deep in the earth, watching, waiting and hoping for some sign that the Long Night has ended.

The History of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon was created by the people of the town of Daralon and the inhabitants of its surrounding farms and villages. The kaer was designed to hold all of the inhabitants of the mountain valley where the town stood. This included a village of T’skrang from the nearby river as well as several Troll clans from the high mountains. Members of six different races dwell in the kaer, so there was some friction at first. Minor incidents of violence and conflict arose and were harshly delt with by the kaer’s ruling council.

In the final days before the closing of the kaer, a party of adventurers arrived in Daralon. They claimed to be fleeing from horrors they had encountered in the foothills of the Caucavic Mountains. The elders of Daralon took this as a sign of the time to seal the kaer. The party of adepts took shelter there as well.

One of the adepts who settled in the kaer was the Ork swordmaster Kilas Tarn. Ill at ease with a life of confinement, Tarn began a school to pass on his discipline to others. He married a woman of Daralon and his line carried on the tradition for generations.

Some two hundred years ago, there was an outbreak of plague in the kaer that nearly doomed all of the inhabitants. Dianuus the Master-Builder, himself stricken with the plague, use his magic to cause a rockslide that buried the access tunnel to the most plague-ridden portion of the kaer. This halted spread of the plague and saved the rest of the kaer.

Dianuus and some of the other adepts of the kaer were lost in the tragedy, along with their accumulated wisdom. Some people claim-though not too loudly-that faint noises can sometimes be heard from behind the rockfall that closed off the plague tunnels and that there are ghosts or worse that still haunt those halls.

The ravages of the plague and the pressures of life within the kaer began to diminish the population of the community. So the loss of a section of the kaer did not prove overly taxing.

About fifty years ago the Council of Tweleve appointed a small group of adepts to exit the kaer and explore outside. Among them was Grella Tarn, swordswoman and descendant of Kilas Tarn, wielder of his legendary sword Truefang. The party departed throught the Guardian Gate and it was sealed behind them. They never returned. Since then, the Council and their successors has been reluctant to allow any more such expeditions.

Life in the Kaer

Life in Kaer Daralon is very routine and has been for as long as any can recall. Food is carefully rationed out morning, noon and night, usually meals of magically grown vegetables and similar staples with the occasional special celebration calling for meat or baked goods made from the kaer’s carefully protects supply of animals and grains. During the day the kaer’s adults work the lattice farms that provide food, tend to the small herds of sheep or cave lizards in their pens or provide repairs or craft work for the kaer. In the evening troubadours and storytellers read from the Book of Tomorrow and tell tales of the outside world while illusionists entertain and enlighten with their images of the world of the ancestors before the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon is ruled by the Council of Twelve, the wisest and most capable chosen from among the people. The Council represents the Twelve Passions that are venerated in the kaer. Although the Council members are not always Questors, many of them are, and they are chosen to represent their Passion’s purview on the Council. The Council makes laws, metes out justice and administers the kaer. Slavery is the typical punishment for any crime that does not merit death. Death sentences have become increasingly rare.

The other major factions of the kaer include the Swords of Daralon (usually simply known as the Swords) and the Adept’s Lodge. The Swords are a warrior sect that serves as the guardians, police and military. They generally keep the peace in the kaer and are the only people allowed to carry weapons with them routinely.

The Adept’s Lodge is made up of the kaer’s surviving adept traditions, who pass on their teachings to suitable students in anticipations of the end of the Long Night. Some Disciplines have died out or were never really represented among those in the kaer. Other disciplines, like the Scout and Beastmaster, have survived in little more than a ceremonial role, since the environments intended for them are limited in the kaer. There is some resentment by kaer residents against practioners of disciplines that are looked upon as “useless” since they don’t contribute to the survival of the community.

The Structure of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon is laid out like most kaers built under the Theran plan. There is a large central cavern, lit by a massive light quartz embedded in the roof. This cavern contains the central buildings of the kaer: the Hall of Time, the Adept’s Lodge, Council Chambers, the Temple of the Passions and the Garrison of the Swords as well as other administrative buildings. The central chambers also houses Crafter’s Row, a long row of tents and open kiosks were the people trade their humble arts and crafts. (As much to prove they are free of taint as for any love of art.)

The outer edges of the great cavern and several other caves are taken up by the lattice farms, high frameworks where the produce that feeds the kaer is grown, aided by elemental magic and the blessings of the Passions.

In the center of the cavern is a fantastic statue of the passion Garlen, sculpted from rosy living crystal by Dianuus the Builder. Radiating out from the central plaza are six narrow roads. Five are named for the True Elements and lead to the living quarters for the people. Each road leaves the plaza under a sculpted arch made from the appropriate true element and the “central square” of each living space holds a fantastic sculpture of that element made by the master-builder himself. The Fire Caves were sealed during the plague by Dianuus are have been lost for some two hundred years, but the other areas have been more than enough for the kaer’s population. The Fire Arch went out the same day is now little more than a monument of blackened coal.

The sixth road leads to a pair of orichalcum gates between two statues of fierce warriors known as the Guardian Gate. This gate leads into a maze of traps and deadfalls to the surface and the sealed entrance of the kaer.

Beneath the central cavern are deeper tunnels and caves. These were intended for population growth in the kaer, but the population has been shrinking so these areas are abandoned and left alone. Few go there save for members of the Swords or the Adept’s Lodge on some strange errand or another. Kaer-lore has it that these dark tunnels sometimes serve as meeting places for strange gatherings or other doings best hidden from the rest of the people.

The People of Daralon

Most of the population of kaer Daralon is Dwarf and Human. There are some Elves and Orks as well. Trolls and T’Skrang are the most rare and have been the worst hit by the kaer’s declining population, the T’Skrang especially so. There are only thirty-six T’Skrang remaining in the kaer-all that is left of an extended clan-and they fear that they may well die out in another few generations.

There were some Windlings in Kaer Daralon, but they died two centuries ago during the plague, only the oldest Elves still remember them.

Obsidimen are nothing more than a legend to the inhabitants of the kaer. They are mentioned in the Book of Tomorrow, but none have dwelled in Daralon, so no one in the kaer has ever seen one.

Current population of Kaer Daralon is about 3,000 Name-givers. The kaer was constructed for nearly twice that number, but the population has slowly declined over the centuries and some of the lower caverns and tunnels of the kaer have been abandoned, along with the loss of the Fire Caves. Strange subterranian creatures have sometimes been spotted in the lower tunnels and they are normally considered off-limits to the kaer’s inhabitants. There is some concern over the declining population, and some doomsayers claim that the kaer will die out before the Scourge is over.

Individuals of Note

Doria kel’Ar, human female, Questor of Garlen, Counciler and former High Sword of Daralon. Counciler Doria was once acknowledged as the most skilled warrior in Daralon with the office of High Sword, leader of the Swords of Daralon. That was many years ago and she has since retired from the ways of combat: at least with a blade. She has taken up the ways of Garlen and is still known as a tenacious “she-bear” by her opponents on the Council of Twelve. She is wise, comforting , strong-willed and well loved by the people of the kaer.

Pelgar, dwarf male, Archmage and Counciler. The archmage Pelgar is an elderly dwarf who came to his office nearly twenty years ago. He is a wizard of no small skill and oversees the activities of Daralon’s magicians, mostly to the maintenance of the kaer and the investigation of the conditions outside though so far with little success. A crotchety curmudgeon of a dwarf, he is the terror of magical apprentices-and no few adults-in the kaer.

Mabon Rus, human male, Questor of Erendis, Counciler. Counciler Mabon is a follower of Erendis, the Passion of Order and Governance, which makes him well suited for his duties on the council of Twelve. His wisdom in matters of administration is heeded by his peers and he is well known for keeping live in the kaer running smoothly. Mabon is fair but firm, with a strong reputation as a disciplinarian among the children of the kaer.

Meer’resh t’Lassor, female t’skrang, Counciler. Counciler Meer’resh is the female head of the surviving T’skrang clan in Kaer Daralon. She is fairly young for her role, the old matriarch of the clan having passed only two years ago. She is considered level-headed compared to some of her bretheren, who clammor increasingly for action from the Council. Her brother, Sethek, has also done little to aid her cause.

Netzach Kol, ork male, Master of Memory, Keeper of the Book of Tomorrow and Scholar. Netzach is nearing the age of fifty, ancient for an Ork. He credits his long life to this love of knowledge and claims that he won’t die until he knows all there is to know. He lovingly tends to the kaer’s precious stores of books, scrolls and other heirlooms in the Hall of Time. He knows all of the lore and history of Daralon and can often be found telling stories to children in the Plaza in the evenings.

Onara Stonebones, troll female, Warrior, High Sword. Captain Stonebones is the High Sword, commander of the Swords of Daralon warrior order and at skilled fighter herself. The troll warrior stands a head-and-a-helf taller than even the tallest human males of the kaer and wields her massive stone broadsword like it was a toy. Her booming laugh and good cheer make her a welcome companion and a popular leader. Onara claims that she does not involve herself in politics, concerning herself only with keeping the peace.

Sethek t’Lassor, male t’skrang, Nethermancer. The mysterious Sethek is an albino T’skrang with white scaly skin and reddish eyes. Considered an omen by his clan mother at his birth of the dying of the T’skrang within the kaer, Sethek has always had a morbid fascination with death. This, naturally, led him to become a nethermancer, which has caused the people to shun him all the more. This seems to be to the t’skrang’s liking and he contents himself with his solitary magical research, working with the kaer’s other magicians when needed but keeping mostly to himself.

Vonna Firehair, female elf, Questor of Astendar, Counciler. Counciler Vonna is in many ways the soul of social life in Kaer Daralon. As the most devoted follower of Astendar in the kaer, she is involved in all matters of art and beauty in an effort to bring cheer into the lives of the people. Some say that she is something of a busybody but most are enchanted by her wit and charm. Firehair is well known for the namesake hair of reddish-gold locks. She has been pursued by many suitors in the kaer and has taken many lovers, but has not chosen a mate. She claims to not want to be tied down at this early stage in her life, since she is not yet a century old, making her fairly young for an elf.

The Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria

Aye, of course I’ve a tale for you, traveler, that is what we troubadours do, is it not? And since you are so interested in my music, I will tell you a story about a most strange musical instrument indeed.

Near the beginning of the Scourge, many name-givers throughout the land of Barsaive were retreating into their kaers and sealing them behind them to wait out the long centuries of the Scourge. Save for some of the Elves and the long-lived Obsidimen, those who entered the kaers knew that they would never see the outside world again. They could only hope that their great-grandchildren would be able to emerge safely from shelter into a world free of the horrors. This brought many people to despair and the sealing of the kaers was a time of great loss for all of the name-givers.

One such kaer was Named Kaer Talloria, after the magician who helped to build it. Talloria worked unceasingly to excavate the shelter for her people and create the orichalcum runes and wards that would hold the horrors at bay for the centuries of the Scourge. She was tireless in her efforts, working long into the night only to be up the next morning before anyone else to begin work again. She was driven to protect her people.

As the first horrors infested the land, Talloria studied them carefully, gathering all of the information that she could about these creatures. She began to grow increasingly concerned as all of the reports of the horrors indicated that they were terrible in strength and power and that the worst was yet to come, for the first horrors to appear were weak for their kind according to the Therans. Talloria began to fear that the defenses provided by the Therans would not be enough to protect the people.

She began researching the horrors, and carefully examining the remains of the horrors that could be recovered, to formulate another means of defense against them. She also delved deeply into the arts of nethermancy, studying the ways of the netherworlds in hopes of learning more about the nature of the horrors and how they could be defeated and kept at bay from the feast of name-giver flesh and souls they desired. Talloria worked even harder than ever, locked away in her laboratory, consumed with a fierce passion to discover a way. Many people of the village grew concerned for her welfare but they respected their magician and feared the horrors, so they said nothing and waited.

In time, Talloria began work on something in the central meeting area of the newly constructed kaer. Her work was concealed behind a misty curtain of elemental air, so none of the people knew what it was that she was building. But they all trusted Talloria and so they waited and watched until the time came for them to seal the kaer.

The horrors had grown too numerous on the surface for the people to remain there any longer. Word had come that even mighty Thera had sealed themselves behind their dome of True Air and Fire to wait out the long night of the Scourge. Attacks from ravening horrors were coming almost daily and the people of the village retreated into their kaer and Talloria enacted the rituals to seal the portals of the shelter and activate the magical wards given to them by the Therans to keep out the horrors.

Not long after Kaer Talloria was sealed, the sorceress revealed to the people the artifact that she had so carefully constructed to keep the forces of the horrors at bay, should the protections of the kaer fail them. It was a great bell of bronze woven with True Earth and Air. The frame, structure and clapper of the great bell were carved from bone – the bones of the victims of the first horrors, bones that still resonated with the terror of the coming Scourge. At first the people of the kaer were wary of such a gift, touched as it was with the power of blood magic. Some feared that the bell might be tainted with the power of the horrors, but Talloria was steadfast in her insistence that the bell’s enchantments would help to keep the horrors away.

It was only a short time after the sealing of the kaer that the bell was first used. Some kind of powerful horror attacked that kaer, so mighty that it shook the whole of the mountain where Kaer Talloria was dug. It was as if the horror intended to uproot the entire kaer. While the people huddled in fear of what might be outside their shelter, Talloria rang the great bell she had created and it sent forth a peal that was like the crying of tortured souls, the screams of those victims of the horrors. The peal of the bell echoed all throughout the kaer. In a matter of moments, the terrible sounds of the creature outside stopped and all was still once again. The people hailed Talloria as a hero and gave many thanks to her for saving them with her creation.

Many years passed, and Talloria passed the guardianship of the Bone Bell down to her successors. The magics of the bell were carefully maintained, for the people considered it their last line of defense against the horrors. The bones of many of their kaer’s dead went into repairing, maintaining and strengthening the bell’s enchantments to make it a lasting weapon against the horrors. The magicians who maintained the bell became an Order whom the people of the kaer knew and respected for their great power, but also feared for their dabblings in nethermancy and blood magic needed to maintain the artifact. The bell was used several times over the centuries to drive off horrors that threatened to breach the kaer and threaten its inhabitants.

After generations had passed, the end of the Scourge predicted by the scholars of Thera failed to come about. The sphere of true earth had stopped its descent towards the bowl of true water and had held steady there for years. The people of the kaer were greatly concerned. Was the Scourge over? Was it safe for them to emerge into the sunlight once again?

The magicians of the Order of the Bone Bell thought not. It was a trick, they said, a foul deception of the horrors intended to make the people believe that they were safe while, in fact, the horrors lay in wait for them outside of the safety of their sheltering kaer. The magicians declared that the people would have to wait and be patient while they ferreted out the meaning of this omen.

More time passed and with each passing day, the people grew more and more restless. Dark rumors circulated and resentment against the magician-priests grew. Many said that the magicians sought only to maintain their power over the people, that they knew that the Scourge was over and they had stopped the progress of the sphere of true earth themselves so that they could rule over the closed kaer forever. The time had come and surely the horrors were long since gone. Open talk of rebellion began and the ruling magicians were forced to take harsh measures with those who spoke treason against them, but this only stoked the fires of rebellion higher.

Eventually, the people of Kaer Talloria rose up against the Order of the Bone Bell and killed them all in the center courtyard of the kaer where the bell stood. They then threw open the gates of the kaer to emerge into the outside world. It was only then that they discovered that Talloria’s artifact did not work quite as she had planned. The horrors that were supposed to have been driven away by the bell over the years were in fact a single horror trapped in astral space near the kaer by the power of the bell. With the doors of the kaer open and the magicians slain, the horror took its vengeance on the people of Talloria and left the kaer a haunted monument to their folly.

I heard the tale from one of the few survivors of the kaer and she told me that the Bone Bell of Talloria still remains in the ruins of their kaer. I’m sure the horrors would not want such an item to fall into the hands of other Name-Givers, but who knows if they were able to destroy it?

That is the tale, for such is the truth.

Adventure Ideas

The gamemaster can decide if the Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria still exists and, if so, whether or not it can still be found in the ruins of the ancient kaer. Perhaps the bell was removed from the kaer by horrors (or their agents), robbers, or explorers such as the player characters. If so, it might have traveled the length and breadth of Barsaive to come to rest in some hidden lair or some scholar’s collection of artifacts. If the bell has remained hidden in the ruins of the kaer, it will no doubt be guarded, perhaps by traps laid by various horrors to keep name-givers away from the power of the bell or by a horror-cult devoted to protecting it from outsiders.

If the characters do discover the bone bell, they will need to decide what to do with the artifact and if its power is worth the high price that it carries with it. The Bone Bell is an item that would be of great interest to those involved in studying or hunting the horrors (such as followers of the Horror Stalker discipline and the Lightbearers).

The Bone Bell

Maximum Threads: 2 • Spell Defense: 18

The Bone Bell of Talloria is a large bronze bell of about half a human’s height, growing greenish with age. The outside of the bell is decorated with a complex web of delicately carved bones and the clapper on the inside is made up of many bones strung on a fine copper chain. A heavy metal ring is attached to the top of the bell, allowing it to be hung from a support frame or the like. When sounded, the bell gives off a deep shrieking and moaning sound that echoes for a great distance.

Thread Ranks

Rank 1 (Cost: 300)

Key Knowledge: The character must know that this the Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria.

Effect: The ringing of the bone bell provides +1 Spell Defense for all Name-Givers within hearing range against the powers of Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 2 (Cost: 500)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn who created the bell and what discipline she followed. Talloria was a human elementalist who also practiced the arts of nethermancy.

Effect: The sound of the bell provides +2 Spell Defense against Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 3 (Cost: 800)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the location of Kaer Talloria and the fate of its people.

Deed: The character must travel to the location of Kaer Talloria and ensure that all of its people are given a proper burial, after which the kaer must be sealed and the true fate of its people carved upon its entryway. If accomplished, this deed is worth 1,200 Legend Points.

Effect: All horrors and horror constructs within earshot of the bell are considered Harried for as long as it is rung. All name-givers within earshot gain +1 to their Social Defense against the attacks of Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 4 (Cost: 1,300)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the names of those Name-Givers whose bones cover the bell.

Effect: The ringing of the bell can ward off horrors. The ringer can make a Willpower or Willforce test while ringing the bell. This becomes the difficulty for a Willpower test required by the horror to come within sound of the bell. This effect lasts for as long as the bell is rung.

At this rank and higher. the sound of the bell also affects name-givers who hear it like the Arcane Mutterings talent (Earthdawn, p.97) at Step 15. This effect occurs automatically when any of the bell’s powers above Rank 3 are used, despite the wishes of the bell ringer. All characters within hearing range are affected.

Rank 5 (Cost: 2,100)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the Name of the Horror that destroyed Kaer Talloria.

Effect: At the cost of 3 points of Strain, the character sounding the bell can force any horror that can hear the ringing of the bell into astral space by making a successful opposed Willforce test against the Horror’s Willpower or Willforce. If the character is successful, the horror is forced back into astral space for a number of days equal to the level of success.

Rank 6 (Cost: 3,200)

Deed: The character must learn the fate and whereabouts of the horror that slew Kaer Talloria. This deed is worth 4,000 Legend Points.

Effect: At the cost of 6 points of permanent damage and a successful Willforce test against the horror’s Spell Defense, the bell-ringer can trap a horror in the vicinity of the bell. The horror is trapped in its present form (physical or astral) and cannot leave earshot of the bell for a year and a day. The character who sacrificed the blood magic may then renew it at then end of that time to continue the effect. The horror can escape only by the death of the sustaining character or the destruction of the bell. The horror’s powers are not reduced or limited in any way.