Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Great Paths

Astral Sea

Best known and most used of the Great Paths, the so-called Astral Plane surrounds the Wyrld.  Anyone with knowledge can open a portal (known as color pools) from a planar realm to the Astral Plane, and from there to another realm. 
No deity has dominion over the Astral Plane, and its infinite expanse has allowed individuals, organizations, and even entire races to settle there.  It is the most commonly used of the Great Paths because of its lack of divine affiliation, and accessing it is slightly easier for arcane casters than reaching the other four Paths.

City of Brass

Sometimes called the City of Doors, reaching planar realms from the City of Brass is a matter only as complicated as opening a door.  With keys, codes and tokens, nearly any door, arch, or gate in the City can be made to reach a desired destination.
The City of Brass is in the hands of the efreeti, the fiery geniekind.  Travel from realm to realm is faster here than on any of the other Great Paths, but travellers are also the favored prey of the efreeti slave-traders, and many planar adventurers never manage to exit the City.  The efreeti are currently embroiled in a civil war between factions loyal to Umoth and those loyal to no divine power, but normally only druids and clerics of a fiery or metropolitan power use the City of Brass as one of the Great Paths.

Gray Road

Also known as the Path of the Dead, the Gray Road leads from the center of the Wyrld to the palace of the Lord of Souls in the Outer Realms, with smaller tracks leading to anywhere a creature has died in the entirety of time.  It takes the appearance of a time-worn, cobblestone road atop a grassy bank.  Because of the unusual nature of the road, anyone walking directly away from it soon (within a hundred paces) finds themselves approaching it from the other side, as though they had just walked around the outside of a cylinder.  Smaller paths and trails lead off of the Gray Road at intervals; much like color pools in the Astral Plane, these allow travellers access to and from other planar realms.
The Gray Road is travelled by the souls of the dead, (escorted by minions of the Lord of Souls), druids, and clerics whose god possesses an affinity for earth, roads, or travel by walking or riding.  Arcane spellcasters can access the Gray Road, as they can access any of the Great Paths, but most prefer the unaligned Astral Plane.  Portions of the Gray Road are regularly patrolled by guardian spirits, but others are lawless and unsafe for the ordinary traveller.

The One Tree

The One Tree is rooted in the Well between Worlds, and the highest of its branches reachs the outermost of the Outer Realms.  Travelling the One Tree is more taxing than walking the Gray Road or sailing the Wyrldflow, but most destinations can be reached in a day or two, instead of the week or longer common to the less trying Paths.
The One Tree is most frequently used by druids and clerics aligned with air, plants, or nature.  Some sections are the domain of a self-appointed guardian, and the safety of those branches is entirely dependant on the guardian’s good wishes.

The Wyrldflow

The Wyrldflow is a great river, flowing from a  thousand thousand headwaters in the Outer Realms together into a vast torrent that plunges into the Well Between Worlds.  Sailing the Wyrldflow is the calmest and most sedate way of travelling the Great Paths; many creatures have taken up lives as ferrymen and offer comfortable passage to anyone able to meet their price.
The Wyrldflow is used by druids, and clerics aligned with water or sailing.  The Wyrldflow supports a vast ecology, and many races spend their existence sailing its waters.  Most of these are friendly, but a few are tyrannical pirates more interested in plunder than trade.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Off The Map 0

Back in my early days, I spent a lot of time drawing maps. Large maps. 24"x36" maps. My dad was (and is) in construction, and there were a lot of house plans around. Different iterations, bad copy, whatever. But they were all blank on one side.

The first map I ever draw was the island "continent" (it's really just a big island) of Raem. I'm still proud of that map. For my second map, I wanted something that reached beyond the edges of the paper. That was the Shadowood (36x24). Followed by the Eastern Shadowood (18x24), and Southern Shadowood (36x24). Then the Shadowend (36x24), and the Eastern Shadowend (18x24). Amk'hilur; Dranamar; the Middle Lands; the Lost Kingdoms. (For those keeping track at home, from north to south is Shadowend, Shadowood, Southern Shadowood, Amk-hilur. A solid 6' of map top to bottom. I literally ran out of wall space.)

I think I'm missing a few, but they all connected.

I'd always intended to run a campaign in the Shadowood, but when it actually happened, I suddenly veered north and set it in this little throw-away corner of the Shadowend map, in a country called "Larenyss" (which I'd named after the book "Lavondyss", itself derived of the mythical city of Ys.)

That big map wasn't really suitable though, so I drew a regular page size version, 8.5 x 11, but at the same scale as the big map. Every map since then has been a version of that narrow view.

Which is a very long way of saying, there's an awful LOT "off the map"

When this quarantining and all is overall, I'm going to take them in and get them scanned. It'll be cool.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dwarven Greathalls

I found a small stack of index cards recently detailing the various dwarven greathalls. I think they're circa 1990-1992, but could be a little earlier or later. I'll fully transcribe them later, but here's a fast rundown. This is straight off the cards; I'm going to move some around eventually, and smooth out the names. The full shadowend map has two great mountain ranges, the Kamuerhorns and the Southern Peaks, and dwarves were slowly driven north by dragons. Ariendrellur was the cradle-hall of the dwarves; Dolnare, Fadreisil, and Nobrildain its successors.

Edit: Ah, I'll bet this is circa the release of the Dwarves Handbook for 2e from TSR. I think there was a dwarven settlement generator in there that I used to flesh out entries.

Ariendrellur (Hearthhome) - Southern Peaks - Dragon-held by Dranakedbenur
Arthringlaur (Diamondsdelve) - Kameurhorn Peaks - Mountain dwarves
Baidruck (Dragonsden) - Kameurhorn Peaks - Originally hill dwarves, now duergar
Bersinagul (Silverdeep) - Shadow Peaks - Originally mountain dwarves, now goblin-held
Dolnare (no translation) - Dolnare - Hill dwarf nation; renamed Dolnaur
Breodoghin (Starsdeep) - Enchanted Hills - Originally mountain dwarves, now a gnomehold
Dansreldane (Goldendelve) - Southern Peaks - Originally hill dwarves, now mind flayers
Fadreisil (Sorrowshome) - Southern Peaks - Dragon-held by Velgrenidbenur; also goblin-held
Kadrinamur (Dimmersdelve )- Southern Range - Destroyed by sidhe fighting svartalfar(?)
Nobrildain (Hall of the King) - Shadow Peaks - Mountain dwarves
Rogunsur (Gemsdeep) - Seer Mtns - Hill dwarves
Sammisthur (Ironsheart) - Banrigh Mtns - Originally mountain dwarves, now duergar/dragon-held by Nendremor.
Shordrugin (Summersfall) - Shadow Peaks - Moulder dwarves
Taeghamor (Hammersfell) - Tyger Peaks - Hill dwarves
Tarandrellur (Hollowhome) - Grey Peaks - Mountain dwarves
Tamathedra (Darkinghalls) - Kameurhorn Peaks - Originally mountain dwarves, now duergar
Tundacendran (Fallenstar) - Southern Peaks - Mountain dwarves

Other Halls/Later creations/Alternate names
Mathedrellur (?-home) - unknown
Rimenghur (Gemsdeep?) -unknown
Svorndriel (Whitemine) - Smallhall of Arthringlaur - mountain dwarves
Tamathdrellur (Darkhome) (initially/originally Tamathedra) - duergar
Ordinglaur (Trollsdelve) - Smallhall of Arthringlaur - mountain dwarves
Zelazghur (Silverdeep?) - unknown

 - Den Aejarndril (Citadel of Broken Swords)
 - Den Nedandjor (Citadel of Cloven Shields)
 - Den Tiadis (Citadel of Sundered Axes)

Named Dragons

Dranakedbenur the WyrmAttacked & took Ariendrellur, driven out; attacked & took Dansreldane;  later abandons it for reasons unknown; retakes Ariendrellur
Kadisrothirin (deceased) - Attacked & slain at the city of Olph
Kadrisbenur (offspring of Dranakedbenur; deceased) - Attacked & took Fadreisil; later killed
Kalavandremor (deceased) - Attacked & slain at Sammisthur
Mawligraxbenur - (Black dragon in the Shadowend; see Shadowend Folio)
NendremorAttacked & took Sammisthur
Pagrixlur Svar'xilyed, aka Painsdeath (deceased) - Attacked & slain at Rogunsur
Tesardremor (deceased) - Attacked & slain at Sammisthur
Velgrenidbenur (offspring of Dranakedbenur) - Attacked & took Fadreisil
Yegsoderim (deceased) - Attacked; lair transformed in Baidruck