Tæün: Reflections (Updated 11-1-04)

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8-Troubling Developments

The Cemetery, Wrensford

Aramon, along with his three companions, escorted Aida and her son, Kade, to the large hill north of Wrensford that served as the location of the town’s cemetery. Though it was only past noon, the sky was dark and brooding. Strong, cold winds rolled the tall grasses in waves and whistled eerily through the branches of the great elm trees that huddled along the back half of the graveyard.

Tríona huddled under her cloak to keep warm. It was the lingering aura of death permeating the landscape that chilled the druid and not the cold winds common during the early days of Arriving. Her beliefs…the Tree’s teachings…held Life as the most sacred and blessed of things and the foul taste of death in the land seemed to sap the will from her.

“Égun, let us not linger here longer than needed.”

The clansman only smiled and nodded in response.

[He’s brave to a fault.]

Álfarr, however, was tense. The Fjoti are a superstitious lot by nature and wandering among dead bodies wasn’t something they were very comfortable with. But being something of a paradox, the manner in which they confronted their own inevitable doom made them strong where others were weak. So with chest pushed out and a broad grin on face, the Northman strode forward as if he were somehow enjoying himself.

The group came to a halt before a set of large, rod iron gates. One of which was swinging freely causing the metal to screech sporadically over the howl of winds.

Aramon paused, held up an open hand, his fingers widespread, and gave a brief benediction at the threshold. “Æhü-Father, please ease the troubled hearts of Aida and Kade. And let the souls departed from those herein dwell in the eternal peace of your loving embrace so that we may find no haunt of evil, nor taint of body. Your Will Be Done.”

“Evil haunts? Tainted bodied? What are you talking about?” Égun asked.

“Have no fear, clansman. Æhü is among us. Let us continue and please be respectful of the dead.”

With that, they entered the cemetery and started along the lengthy, winding trail that meandered amongst the tombstones. Higher on the hill, a small collection of tombs served as resting places for the wealthier families of Wrensford.

“I’m going to go look at them crypts,” Égun said.

“Those are not crypts, they are tombs. Crypts are underground,” Aramon corrected him.

“Are you sure?”

The priest looked at him flatly. “Yes, I’m sure. Try not to touch anything.”

Égun nodded and, along with his cousin, started to climb up in that direction.

Aramon sighed and hurried along to catch up to Aida, Kade, and Álfarr. He was quite disappointed with the shoddy condition of the graveyard and concluded that care-taking duties fell to those few loving visitors who came here. A light drizzle began to fall as they started to round the hill to the darker, cheaper side where the graves had been placed haphazardly amongst the roots of the overhanging elms. A thick carpet of tall grass and leaves covered most everything. The cleric shook his head and scowled.

Ahead, clearly, was the point of interest. A muddy hole and broken casket were in plain view. Aida crumpled to her knees, her body wracking in convulsions from her wailing lament. “Beloved,” she moaned pitifully to the sky.

Overhead, Égun and Tríona were running their direction. While the druid was careful to avoid treading upon the graves, the clansman tromped callously in a straight line with no heed or care of what may lie underfoot.

“Égun!” Aramon shouted in disgust.

“Coming!” Égun replied.


“We, well Tríona, found three more holes,” the clansman explained.

“I think I see another further down the hill,” Álfarr added.

Aramon turned to examine the scene. After some time he concluded that somebody, or something, used the wooden grave marker as a makeshift shovel, exhumed the corpse, and made off with the cadaver.

Álfarr, coming to his own conclusions, said, “Well, he didn’t crawl out of there on his own. That’s good news.”

Aida was staring at the Northman with venom in her eyes.

Égun added, “I’m pretty sure it were grave-robbers that done it.”

“Grave robbers!” Aida shrieked, now nearly hysterical.

“I don’t think so. If anything, it was a necromancer,” Álfarr suggested.

At the word necromancer, Aida fainted and fell down beside the casket in the mud sending Kade into a fit of his own tears.


“Enough!” Aramon declared before kneeling down next to the fallen woman.

Within a few moments, Aramon revived her and helped her to stand. “Aida, you and Kade should return to town while I look at things here. I can send somebody to escort you back.”

Aida looked at the three pagans. “We can make it ourselves, Father.” With child in tow, Aida left to return to town.

Aramon turned to his companions. “Spread out and let’s take a count.”


A frustrated Trevier made his way down the lane, towards the inn, to meet his companions for dinner. Besides the Quinterions, the reeve remained adamant in his reluctance to allow anyone access to the bridge in order to cross the Corandil. The fact that it was the Heterodoxy taking charge of the situation only served to fuel his frustration all the more. So, with his head in prayer, seeking guidance, Trevier came upon a running woman and child as they rounded the corner of a building in front of him.

The woman froze and put an arm up to protect herself and her child, her eyes wide with fear. Trevier’s warhorse bore down on them, but with the practiced ease that came only from extensive training in the saddle, Trevier pulled his horse up and turned it aside as his steed neighed and snorted fiercely while kicking forward into the air with its steel-shod hooves.

“My apologies, I did not…are you alright?” Trevier changed up, as the tears of the woman and child were evident even through the constant drizzle of afternoon rain.

“Oh, Sur Knight, I beseech your aid!” Aida cried, placing a hand upon this boot.

“What distressed you so?” Trevier asked.

“My dead husband’s body has been stolen by necromancers!”


“It is true! Father Aramon and his pagan followers told us it was so. They have sent me away from the cemetery and I thought to alert the reeve so that he may protect us!”

“I will escort you to the manor at once,” Trevier declared.


The Lord’s Manor, Wrensford
Émile was less than pleased with the escalating pressure on him to maintain control of the township. In addition to the political crossfire he was evading between the Æhüthian and Quinterion churches (something he was less than comfortable with in the first place) he was now faced with rumors of grave-robbing necromancers in Wrensford. And grave-robbing necromancers could not be good for business.

After hearing Aida’s recount of recent events, the reeve had a room provided for Kade and her to rest in while he considered how to proceed.

“Sur Trevier, you say you know these men?”

“I have met them, yes. I believe they are retainers hired by Lazzaro Balsorano as a mercenary force he has gathered in order to open the Great Road,” the knight replied.

“I see. The Balsorano Trading Company has long been respected member of the business community throughout the March and I understand the urgency of the situation but I cannot have these rumors flying throughout the scir. For God’s sake, necromancers! If this gets out it will surely put a bigger stop to business than the orcish brigands!”

Sur Trevier cleared his throat.

“I am sorry. Please forgive me for my outburst. I am but a poor man saddled with such overwhelming responsibilities. Would you do me the favor of expressing the importance of rumor-control to young Master Lazzaro and ask that he speak with his employees in regards to such matters?” the reeve asked.

“Of course I will, Émile. As the bridge remains yet closed to me, I will utilize this time to also make an investigation into the validity of Aida’s story.”

Émile sighed.

Pressing on, Trevier continued, “You can be assured that I will adhere to both canonical and local laws in my efforts. Furthermore, I will bear in mind the sensitive nature of the information and the effects it could have on both your local economy and, more importantly, populace.”

The reeve, finding no avenue for logical argument, couldn’t help but place his trust in the knight’s hands. “Thank you, Sur Trevier. Please keep me informed of your progress.”


The Golden Tankard
Lazzaro, wearing a fine, blue doublet for their dinner with Ewart and Lysette, was waiting alone when Trevier arrived.

“I am afraid it will be just you and I this evening. I have no idea where the others ran off to,” Lazzaro explained.

“I do,” Trevier replied. Looking around that the crowded inn room where patrons were arriving for their own evening meals, he added, “I will explain on the way. We should get going before the rain picks up too much.”

With that, Lazzaro pulled on his cloak and followed the knight outside. “What’s going on?”

“It seems something is amiss up at the cemetery. A grave has apparently been dug up and a body removed; for what purpose, I am uncertain. A grieving widow discovered the open grave and spoke of it with Aramon. I gather that he, along with the others, went up there to poke around. I came upon the widow and her son as they were making their way to the manor with stories of grave robbers and necromancers.”

Pulling himself into the saddle, Lazzaro nearly slipped to fall off into the muddy street. “Necromancers?”

“It would seem that one of the ‘pagans’ indicated as such. Which is why I am to inform you that Émile has request to have you speak with your employees about their indiscretions and particular choice of vocabulary with the locals. He is rightfully concerned about the effect such rumors could have on business.”

Lazzaro frowned, shaking his head. “What do you think?”

“I’m more concerned about the safety of the people who live here and, though I remain committed to my appointed task, will make an investigation of my own. Necromancy is a very dangerous practice, Lazzaro. Left unchecked, it could fester and prove to be ultimately fatal to everybody in the scir…and beyond.”

Lazzaro only nodded. “Let’s not bring this up at dinner.”


The Cemetery, Wrensford
“There is another here,” Aramon called.

After spending the waning hours of stormy daylight searching the entire hill, the companions found a total of eleven open graves. All of which were found in out of the way locations that seemed to be dominated by the deceased poor of Wrensford.

Tríona spoke to Égun who waved her off.

“What did she say?” the priest inquired.

“Oh, ‘tis nothing important. She found a hole under the inn earlier and thought it related somehow. No worries,” the clansman replied.

“I wouldn’t be too hasty to make any conclusions, Égun,” Álfarr offered.

“Well, we’re headed back there at any rate. Why don’t you show us?” Aramon asked.

Égun shrugged. “If you want.”


The Golden Tankard
Positioned near the edge of town, where the ground sloped downward towards the Corandil, the inn and surrounding buildings had been built upon raised platforms to allow for seasonal floods. As the current waters were low, this left a four-foot crawlspace beneath the entire inn save a brick basement that went deep into the earth from where it had been dug out near the rear of the building.

The sun was setting as Aramon, Álfarr, and the two Highlanders crouched along the side of the inn to have a better view of the crawlspace below. Before them was a large, muddy hole that sunk into a foreboding darkness.

“See? Nothing but a hole. I’m tired of standing in the rain. Let’s put some warmth under our feet and in our bellies,” Égun suggested.

Tríona moved forward, intent on going down to have a better look. She made it all of three feet before her cousin grabbed one of her arms.

“Whoa! What are you doing?”

The druid shook her arm in a failed attempt to be free of his grasp. “Let go, Égun. We need to see what is down there. The Land is hurting and it must stop.”

“Alright, alright. I will go down and look. You stay put,” he said firmly.

Égun handed his sparth and claimh mhor to Álfarr, placed a dirk between his teeth and crawled head first into the hole. “Mmm, dark. ‘Canna see nothing.”

Aramon, with surprising agility, scuttled over near the hole himself. “Égun, look at me.”

The clansman turned to face the priest who reached out and lightly touched the pommel of his dirk.


An eerie, bright, violet light spilled forth from the weapon allowing everybody to see.

Égun reeled, dropped the dirk, which planted itself in the ground, and fell back. “Careful with that! You must warn a man be for you magic on him!”

Aramon picked up the glowing blade causing long, dark pools of violet hued shadow to fall over his normally jovial face creating a fiendish visage of darkness. “I am sorry to have upset you. If you please?” his voice little more than a whisper, he offered back the dirk to the highlander.

Égun shivered before he, hesitantly, replaced the dirk back between his teeth and returned to the hole. Head first he peered down into the ground. “It goes further than I thought. Let me crawl down a bit.” With that he continued to crawl down the muddy hole.

Álfarr laughed. “Nice kilt.”

“Shaddup, you!” the clansman’s reply echoed back before he gave a short scream that ended with a loud splash.

“Égun!” cried Tríona.

Again, with a physical grace unknown to the others, Aramon sprung into action and wiggled his way down the hole where he held himself fast along the sides of the mud-slicked burrow and looked down upon the murky, violet glow of muddy runoff. “Rope!” he called.

Álfarr tossed the clansman’s weapons into the mud, pulled out a rope and hook, and handed it down to the priest who promptly tossed the hook into the water below.

Meanwhile, Égun was floundering to find some much needed oxygen. He fell to the bottom, turned head up, and sprang up to the surface where he found a five-inch air pocket and stone. Thunk. He quickly took a gurgling breath before plummeting towards the bottom again. The violet glow showed all kinds of detritus floating within the water.

Something moved past him in the water. [What was that!]

Just as Égun was about to go into a full panic, a grappling hook managed to bounce off of his head.


Égun grabbed the rope that was attached to it and pushed off the bottom, pulling his way along the rope as we went, before exploding from the surface. Above him, head first, was the dark priest who lunged down and grabbed him by collar of his breastplate.

“I got him!” Aramon’s voice called from the hole. “Are you alright?”

Égun nodded. “There is all kinds of stuff floating around down here. Also, I think there is something else moving around down there as well.” He thrust the dirk into the side of the hole as he continued and tied the rope around his waist. “Im’a going back down and see if I can grab something.”

“Are you sure that is wise?” Aramon asked and regretted it immediately.

“’Course it is,” Égun answered before wrenching the dirk free and replacing it in his mouth. Taking a deep breath, Égun pushed himself back down into the dark water.

Looking about he saw what he thought to be a body tightly wrapped up in some kind of white cloth. With a push from the bottom, he jumped for it and grabbed what he assumed were its shoulders. There was a swirl of motion that sent everything into an eddy and the body was quickly snatched from his grasp.

[Aww, hell!]

Falling back to the bottom, Égun reached out and grabbed the first thing he could. A large sheet of skin almost two feet long and half as wide before pulling himself up along the rope to the surface. “Skin! I had a body, but they took it away from me.” Égun flung the skin up the hole, past Aramon, where it landed in a sickening, wet heap at the feet of his cousin.

Tríona turned, heaved twice, and threw up in the alley.

Aramon had seen enough and cast ‘detect undead’ that culminated in a brief pulse of light from his outstretched hand. He thrust his arm into the water and concentrated. “The Unliving… it is strong… and coming this way!”

Nearly pushing Aramon down into the water in the process, Égun squirmed up the hole with speed and strength inspired through his own sense of self-preservation.

“Begone unholy spawn of darkness!” Aramon commanded as a pale, yellow light burst from the holy symbol he held forth causing the entirety of the pool to glow.

“Let us be away from this place!” the priest commanded as he quickly pulled himself out from under the inn.

“Will it not give chase?” Álfarr asked.

“Not if we’re lucky.”

Saw your query on the General section and thought I would check this out. You have a clean, crisp and flowing writing style which I envy. When I write it tends to be a bit chopped up (cost of trying for humor).

Keep it up the good work.

Hjorimir said:
I spent about five hours last night learning the ins and outs of Campaign Cartographer. I pretty much have the continents laid out. As soon as I label everything (meaning I figure out how to do it well) and learn out how to export it for web use, I will try and post it here. The map will really only detail the continent names and maybe a few countries or regions. I will link smaller, detailed maps off the larger once it is complete.

What do you think of the program? I have been considering buying one for a while now but have not. Jenner's World calls.


Thank you for taking a look, megamania.

As far as Campaign Cartographer is concerned, I find it extremely powerful and (by extension) highly sophisticated. With sophistication (fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be) comes a certain complexity. Reading the instruction book (approx 90 pages of normal sized text) is critically important.

Overall, I find it to be very powerful and I expect to produce some better work for my world.



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First Post
Wow, very impressive so far! I'm curious how much of this was done in a game. How many times have you played this campaign so far? And far along in those games are the updates so far?

Also, how much of the original story was role-played, how much was backstory, and how much was narrative embellisment on your part? I'd be even more impressed if it turned out that the first game consisted of "You all meet in a bar, and decided to team up to fight some orcs. :)"


Thank you for your kind words, LordVyreth; it means a lot.

Everything prior to Gathering (Part 1 of 2) was pre-campaign background that the respective players and I worked on together (I did all of the actual writing, however).

From Gathering to Troubling Events, we're still in the first session (we play long sessions of a little more than eight hours at a time). I have quite a bit of story from the first session to cover still and am about two months behind at this moment.

Other than the character backgrounds, there has been very little embellishment as far as events and character interaction goes (though I wrote the conversations from memory). I've had to speculate somewhat on the emotions and thoughts of the player characters, obviously.

We've been playing together a long time (some of these players I've known longer than I haven't...meaning for more than half of my life). We're pretty much past the "meet at the bar and go hunting orc" stage - not that it is a bad way to play, just that we've done that many times already.

As far as players go, I consider myself damn lucky. Tríona is played by my wife (Michelle) and I consider it a godsend that I have a wife that will hang out with the gang and play make-believe.

Álfarr is played my Kyle, who (as I think I mentioned on an earlier post) constantly amazes me with his unorthodox (yet highly effective) strategies (though he sometimes bites off more than he can chew).

Égun is played by one of my oldest friends, Chris. He is a published author and one hell of a nice guy. One of the most enjoyable things about Chris is his utter lack of interest in munchkin rules (he barely knows the rules to be honest). Instead, he just dives into the character and lets the dice fall as they may. I can stress enough how enjoyable and refreshing this can be for a DM.

Aramon is played by Dennis (and I know I already mentioned him on this thread – but it bears repeating). Dennis is definitely a guy to watch. He isn’t a full-fledged munchkin but he comes about as close as you can without actually being one. Again, a player that will come up with some amazing stuff.

Lazzaro is played by Mark whom I have known for over 25 years now…he’s more like a brother than a friend. I’m really looking forward to his take on a rogue, as Mark is a quintessential capitalist and republican.

Trevier (our local, stuffy knight) is played by Scott who, as somewhat of a theologian himself, will be in a great position to really portrait some aspects of church life within the campaign.

All in all, I expect this to be a great game…if they live. :]
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First Post
I noticed that all the PCs appear human, unless I'm mistaken. If I'm correct, was that intentional, or just coincidence? Are demi-humans even a regular part of your world? And what would you say the magic level is in your world?

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