The Free City of Daltigoth

At one point did I start to write an article about the Free City of Daltigoth. The idea was that Daltigoth had been taken over by a mysterious force that had destroyed the ogres and rebuilt the city. As with every other project I have started over the pas 15 years, this one never got beyond the introduction. I had a lot of ideas for this one, and I do regret never following through with it. It would have been a lot of fun to write. Alas, it was not meant to be. As you can tell from the few lines below I never got around to writing a lot, however, there are a few references around the blog.

 

Introduction

The free city of Daltigoth was founded after a long and bloody struggle, which claimed the lives of many people. Many of these people were mercenaries who were lured to Southern Ergoth by the promises of wealth and freedom. For the survivors of the struggle only a handful found the wealth they dreamed of, but most of them found freedom.

Shortly after the demise of the dragon empire, a group of people initiated the Daltigoth campaign. The chaos and confusion that reigned immediately after the Dark Queen’s defeat left the ogres in Daltigoth without strong allies. The death of Feal-Thas and Lord Toede meant that there was no strong leader to keep the white dragons under control, and their departure from Daltigoth was the main reason why the invaders decided to strike. Seizing the moment, the invaders launched their armada from Palanthas and reached the bay of Morgash within weeks. Before the arrival of the armada, a group of people had infiltrated Daltigoth and set up several magical traps that were designed to go off prior to the attack. Furthermore, the group had carried out several assassinations of ogre leaders while at the same time finding the fabled mercury lake.

Demons in Dragonlance

In my old campaign I intended to experiment with demons. The idea was to create a Call of Cthulu type mood, where the players would face some of the most evil entities in the world. As all my other plans, this one never came to fruition, but I did do a little bit of work on it.

The letter I have posted below, was supposed to be found by the players somehow, and reveal the existence of demons. The letter is written to an hitherto unknown arch mage, who for some reason, is interested in the denizens of the lower planes. The letter contains excerpts from a red robe, who apparently traveled to the lower planes with several other people, only to be butchered. The mage Daliath Vos is the sole survivor. This letter was supposed to be the first in a long line of correspondence between the two mages, although the inquiring mage’s identity would always remain a mystery.

 

Most esteemed Archmagus,

clip_image002 It was not without surprise that I received your request through our mutual friend in Palanthas. Normally I do not share my work with others, even though they belong to the same order as me, but considering your merits and status I feel compelled to respond.

What you are about to read is a short summation of the knowledge I have accumulated over many long years. At great personal risk have I ventured into realms that only a scarce few have been privileged to visit and the price has been high. So has the rewards, because in doing so I have amassed powers that I only dreamed of in my youth.

You will find references to two key researchers of this field: Daliath Vos and Abi-Dalzim. Both of these were great wizards in their own rights, but they have distinguished themselves by the amount of work they have put in to this venture. I would recommend that you search your own library for references to the mages, since they, to the best of my knowledge, are long gone from our part of the world. I am currently gathering information about the two, which I will forward you when ready.

I feel a warning is in its place. This subject is as dangerous as any undertaken by people of our profession. The person venturing in to this realm risks not only his existence but his very soul. Duly warned, I present to you The Demonology of Krynn.

Gil-Galad uth Vakaar

Archmagus of The Black Robes

I first started to take an interest in the lower planes when I accidentally came across a book by the great Archmagus Abi-Dalzim. From what I understand he was a powerful wizard of the Black Robes who hailed from the lands of Kuhr. I have been unable to determine when he was alive, but I have reason to believe that he at some point in time served the Great Fistandantilus as an apprentice. Abi-Dalzim claimed to have devised a spell that allowed him to scry into the Abyss without actually going there physically. I have attempted to copy his method and have met with some success. During this scrying, Abi-Dalzim saw beings, which he had never even heard of, much less seen. Since he was familiar with many of the races of the nether spheres this, needless to say, came as a surprise. Thus, he started the work that I am now continuing.

What I am able to understand from these ancient texts the Abyss is home to a race of beings that, for a lack of a better word, are Demons. It seems that these beings are native to that particular plane, and that they wield great power, power that rival that of many deities. Now, these Demons, or Tanar’ri as they call themselves, are not gods in their own rights, since they are unable to grant power to their followers. I will explore the worship of the creatures later. However, they do seem to at the very least, dominate large portions of the nether planes in a manner that resembles a lordship. So, according to your question I will now turn to the matter of the so-called Lords of the Abyss. I first encountered a reference to the Lord of the Abyss, when I read the work of Daliath Vos. He was a mage of the Red Robes, who along with his compaclip_image004nions actually ventured into the Abyss themselves for undisclosed reasons. Needless to say, this was many eons ago, but after Abi-Dalzim started his work. I have here part of Daliath Vos’ account of what transpired in the Abyss as he later wrote it in the Nethertome:

There is a place where Evil has a face and a body. There is a place where Evil lives and breathes. Within this place of torment they live, the Masters of Hate, Agony and Rage. From the deepest and darkest pits of the Nether World they rule through power so great that mere mortals can do nothing but bow down in homage.

It was to these pits we traveled in search of power and knowledge. Little did we know what fate had in store for us. Sir Gavin the Paladin was the first to fall when his God failed to aid him. What happened to the Holy Daughter Tamera I cannot say, as for the rest they must have been dragged away by the servants of the Lords.

I have come to the conclusion that I was allowed to escape so my tale could be told as a warning to other foolish mortals who want to seek out the Lords of Hate.

-Daliath Vos, Archmagus of the Red Robes

Tower of High Sorcery, Losarcum

clip_image006I believe that this tale provides us with some information concerning the denizens of the nether spheres. Firstly, it appears that there is a hierarchy, which is based on power, meaning that the least powerful creatures serve more powerful entities. I cannot for sure say how many echelons there exist but my guess is around five. There are most likely several different races in each echelon while I suspect the more powerful creatures are unique. As for their relationship with the Gods I can only speculate. Personally, I think some of the hordes do serve the deities of Krynn, although some of them appear to be independent or at least in service of hitherto unknown masters.

Lastly, I feel I should warn you again. Despite your renown and your obvious power, which we witnessed in Neraka, meddling with the affairs of the nether spheres can only bring doom to the unfortunate. However, I will share any information with you at the usual fee if necessary. You can contact me through our Red Robed broker.

G.

Getting the elven itch

513RP8SYGCL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_I have been reading the Elven Nations trilogy for a couple of days now, and I am really enjoying it so far. Actually, I am enjoying it so much that I am considering buying The Elven Exiles trilogy.

I always felt the elves in Dragonlance were portrayed as being terribly weak and passive, but it seems like they are portrayed a little differently here. Of course, the books are all about elves, so it makes sense that they are better described, and therefore a lot more interesting than what we normally see in the books.

Expanding the Dragonlance Pantheon

I was reading a post over at the Dragonlance Forums where one of the users talks about expanding the pantheon and that made be remember a project I started some years ago.

The idea was to collect all the weird references to other gods and entities and try to create a complete list of divine beings. Originally, I intended to create a list for Ansalon and one for Taladas, but as you can see below, I never quite finished it.

Continent of Ansalon

Greater Gods

Gilean Knowledge N M

Ionthas* Nihilism E M

Mishakal Healing, beauty, life, blessing LG F

Paladine Hope, leadership, light, protection LG M

Reorx Weapons, technology N M

Sargonnas Revenge, destruction, fire LE M

Takhisis Night, hate, intrigue CE F

Intermediate Gods

Branchala Music, forest, beauty NG M

Chemosh Nemesis, undead LE M

Chislev Nature, savagery CN F

Habbakuk Animals, sea, creation NG M

Hiddukel Greed, slavery, treason CE M

Kiri-Jolith War, courage, valor LG M

Lunitari Neutral magic N F

Majere Meditation, inspiration, control NG M/F

Morgion Disease, rot, weakness NE M

Nuitari Black magic LE M

Shinare Riches, freedom N F

Sirrion Change, fire N M

Solinari White magic LG M

Zeboim Sea, storms, jealousy CE F

Zivilyn Wisdom N M

Demigods

Artha Greed, debauchery CE F

Daidlin Sea vegetation CG F

Jiathu’li Chaos, underworld, intrigue CE F

Kailthis Love, creation CG F

Raistlin* Loneliness, magic, excellence NE M

Randoril’thi Luck CG M

Tumarq Trade, crafts LG M

* These gods are singled out because unlike the rest of the pantheon they do not have any actual priests. They should be considered to be supplements to the gods in the core rule books. Below there is a thorough description of each of these gods.

Continent of Taladas

Taladas name Ansalonian name Perception

Paladine

Majere

Qu’uan Kiri-Jolith

Mislaxa Mishakal

Habbakuk

Branchala Not worshipped

Gilean

Zivilyn Aspect of Gilean

Sirrion

Shinare

Chislev

Reorx

Erestem Takhisis

Hith Hiddukel

Chemosh

Zeboim Not worshipped

Morgion

Sargonnas

Solis Solinari Magical force

Lunis Lunitari Magical force

Aengomis Nuitari Magical force

The Cabal

Many are the organizations that attempt to control the fate of Krynn. Most of these organizations believe that assuming control over the other nations and their inhabitants is the key to power. In doing so the scales of power are constantly moving between good and evil. In the middle of this conflict, the forces of neutrality attempt to maintain the balance of Krynn.

One of the more noteworthy organizations, which work to ensure stability, is a cabal of wizards known as the Cabal. Gil-Galad uth Vakaar of the Black Robes, Mordread Gemerald of the Red Robes and Norrin Furlong of the White Robes make up the core of this organization. These mages work to promote and enhance the strength of arcane magic in Krynn as well as strengthening their own positions of power. All the mages are highly lawful, which ensures the stability in the group. Despite working together on numerous occasions, the three wizards still work to further their own ends. This is illustrated most prominently by Mordread’s involvement in the siege of Daltigoth. Norrin Furlong is involved in the development of the city of Tarsis with special emphasis on the restoration of the grand library. Gil-Galad is more active in the east, where he is researching the location of the Tower of Losarcum. He is also keeping taps on the Minotaur nation of Mithas.

The cabal does not meet on any set times or location but work more on a case by case basis. Their preferred mode of operations of the three mages is to use agents who often do not know who they are working for. On other occasions the group will provide knowledge or funding to a specific group that work toward the same ends as the wizards. Seldom, the wizards will intervene themselves, but only as a last resort. Evidently an intervention by three such powerful mages will attract a lot of attention, which the wizards will seek to avoid since secrecy is one of their more potent weapons.

Enemies

The biggest enemy of the cabal is not surprisingly the Knights of the Thorn. The Grey Robes represent an upset to the Conclave of Wizards by impeding on the domain of the gods of magic. The actively work to disrupt the work of the Thorn Knights by hiring assassins to kill every Grey Robe they can. Ultimately, the cabal aims to assault Storm’s Keep but they lack the power to do so for the time being. The cabal plans to use Daltigoth as a build up place so they may be able to mass a full scale war against the Knights of Takhisis. However, given the secret nature of the Knights of Takhisis, spying is one of the most important aspects of the cabal’s work. Therefore, the cabal employs an extensive network of spies across the continent of Ansalon. Most of the spies do not know who they are working for but the pay is good, and questions are not encouraged. Mot, if not all thieves guilds across Ansalon have one or more members, who report directly to one of the members of the cabal.

As for the ogre nation of Kern, most of the spies are actually ogres themselves. They have been charmed or controlled by magical means and provide valuable information about the activities of the Grand Lord. The cabal is not concerned about any ogre uprising for the time being, but since the ogres are a powerful group with connections to the Dark Knights, they are deemed important enough to keep taps on. As for the ogres in Daltigoth the situation is a bit different. Given the upcoming siege, Mordread has dispatched several agents who report back to him.

The most concerning piece of information uncovered by the cabal, is the cult of Ionthas. Lately, many cults have been uncovered and destroyed, but the cabal suspects that there are many more groups operating around the continent. Further evidence points to the continent of Taladas as a place where the influence of the cult is especially strong. So far, the cabal has not pursued this lead, but an expedition is being assembled.

Norrin Ashe Cahill

Norrin Ashe Cahill was born in the frozen lands of Icereach. He was the son of a middleclass family. The family took an active part in the struggle against the evil Thanoi, which instilled a rebellious spirit in the young man. Norrin entered into an apprenticeship with a local wizard of the White Robes and he eventually left Icereach to take the test of high sorcery.

Upon completing his test, Norrin donned the white robes and went to Tarsis to make a living for himself. Here he met the Red Robe Mordread Generald who took him on as an apprentice. He followed his master to Palanthas where he spent years studying the arcane arts. During his years in Palanthas he partook in many adventures in the areas surrounding the lord city of Palanthas.

Norrin was among the first spies who were sent into Daltigoth to gather information about the ogres and their defences. In spite of many dangers, Norrin managed to survive the hazardous quest and he eventually returned to Palanthas. At this time he had become a powerful wizard in his own right and he decided to strike out on his own. He remained a friend and ally to Mordread Gemerald, which is one of the reasons he eventually became a member of the Cabal.

Norrin returned to Tarsis where he wasted no time buying an old manor, which he completely restored. He set about locating the legendary libraries of Tarsis with the intention of restoring them. At the same time, he became involved in politics, which spurred him to become an advisor and ensuring political backing for his ambitious project. He has purchased a piece of property inside the city walls, which he plans to demolish in order to make room for his own tower as well as a grand library. This is an ambitious project mainly because Norrin insists on building the tower out of white marble. Currently, his associates are scouring Krynn for all the marble they can find and they are close to reaching their goal. Norrin plans to use the combined might of the Cabal to construct his tower.

Norrin has no political ambition, but he may find himself in a position where he has to fill some sort of political position in order to ensure political goodwill for his projects. For this reason, he is looking for a partner who can represent him in the City Council, thus lessening his workload.

Whenever possible, Norrin travels to Icereach to visit his family and relatives. He maintains close relationships with all his contacts in the region in order to keep taps on the Dragonarmy. Norrin has been considering an assault on Icewall Castle with the aim of taking over the building but his duties in Tarsis prevent him from pursuing this goal for the time being. However, he will sponsor groups of adventures who intend to raid the castle.

Norrin Cahill is usually an easygoing person who generally takes whatever time he can spare to talk to anybody who seeks him out. Of course, he is normally very busy, which makes him difficult to approach. He is a skilled mage who takes pleasure in his profession and who is proud of the work he does. The tower/library he intends to build will be the culmination of his life’s ambition.

Residence: Tarsis

Gil-galad uth Vakaar

As a member of the Cabal, Gil-galad is taking an active role in the political situation in Krynn. He is primarily interested in the eastern parts of Krynn around Goodlund. He believes this is place to find clues about the ruins of the lost Tower of High Sorcery of Losarcum. He resides in his black marble tower with golden domes, and is rarely seen outside its walls. He cultivates excellent relationships with the other two members of the Cabal, while maintaining a seat on the Conclave of wizards. Gil-galad is considered one of the leading scholars pertaining to the tower of Losarcum.

Gil-galad has been watching the events that transpire in the region of Khur. He is aware of Sagarassi’s involvement and he has personally investigated the ruins of Amun-Ra’s pyramid after it was raided by adventurers. He believes that the raid is connected to the rise of the Hierarchs in Shrentek but has so far been unable to establish a relationship. Gil-galad has sent his apprentice Gadriel out among the tribes of Khur to gather as much information as possible, but so far the pair has come up short. There has been one unexpected benefit from this strategy though; Gil-galad has built an extensive network of spies throughout the entire region.

Residence: Eastern Ansalon.

Mordread Gemerald

Mordread Gemerald is one of the biggest protagonists in Krynn. He is the mastermind behind G&B Trading as well as one of the most ambitious projects in years – the siege of Daltigoth. Like the other members of the Cabal, Mordread’s primary interest is high sorcery. The reason why he is willing to commit to the Daltigoth campaign is his faith in the conclave’s ability to recreate the Tower of Daltigoth.

He resides in a huge manor in Palanthas built from a rare form of red stone, which he acquired from one of the dwarven clans with which he conducts business. The manor is heavily guarded by magical means in order to keep out intruders and competitors alike. The most noticeable competitor is the Pandra House, who, besides being a trading house, is also a family. The feud between the two trading houses has been long and fierce and has resulted in many casualties. The biggest casualty has undoubtedly been the Pandra house’s loss of their archmage Ariana, who was slain by Mordread and his companions near Winston’s Tower. This marked the escalation of the conflict since the two houses started targeting each other’s leaders in stead of going after henchmen and suppliers.

Mordread spends most of his time preparing for the assault on Daltigoth city. This prevents him from leaving his manor for days at a time except for occasions where his presence is required. When he is not busy preparing for the invasion, he travels around Ansalon between the different allies who form the coalition. He uses diplomacy to ensure that the various fractions are satisfied and willing to fight the ogres.

Residence: Palanthas.

The end is nigh

I know it sounds pretty gloomy, but it is not meant that way at all. As you probably gathered from my last post, I am putting this blog hiatus, probably forever, but since I have had so much fun writing this thing, I thought I would go through my old stuff and publish it here. Who knows, maybe someone can actually use it for something.

Anyway, I posted a piece I started some years ago about thieves guilds, which I intended to use in my Daltigoth campaign. The idea was that the guilds were an important part of the conflicts on Anasalon, all vying for control and power among all the players in the conflict.

I imagined that the conflict would be a little bit more intricate than what we have normally seen in Dragonlance. I felt that having a more politically charged campaign would be a perfect lead up to a regional war would the players  better feeling for why things happened and who was the primary movers and shakers. I envisioned a conflict brought on by greed and the search for monetary and political power and so much a conflict driven by Takhisis’s desire to return to the world. Of course there would be godly interests behind many of the powers that participated in the struggle, however, they were not the main focal point of the campaign. An added benefit was that it would allow me to introduce the other gods, and have them act according to their own interests. Alas, it never came to fruition, but that doesn’t mean that nobody can use the idea.

I have uploaded most of the stuff I ever wrote, or rather, I have uploaded must of the stuff that is worth uploading. I have a lot written in Danish, but I doubt I will ever translate it, and I see little point in uploading Danish texts. 

I noticed that Wizards are going to create a new version of D&D, so I will take a look at that when the time is right.

Thieves guilds of Ansalon

Most of the major cities of Ansalon have at least one thing in common – they all have one or more thieves’ guilds. These guilds operate on the wrong side of the law but in spite of this, some of them serve an important purpose when it comes to the every day life in the city.

Unlike other organizations such as the Wizards of High Sorcery, these guilds are independent of each other, meaning that there is no centralized governing body. Some of the guilds maintain some sort of contact with their fellow thieves whereas others jealously guard their territory. History has documented covert battles between rivaling thieves’ guilds and even infighting and power struggles have occurred.

Some of the older guilds practice a strict hierarchical system of government, which appears to ensure a certain measurement of stability. Some guild masters have even assumed legitimate positions of power such as Talbard van Ashen of Daltigoth who is one of the directing oligarchs. In Palanthas the guild is mostly involved in the covert warfare between the merchant houses, always finding rich rewards for a job well done.

In the smaller towns scattered across Ansalon, the guilds are usually very small and fairly insignificant in relation to the power structure. Many thieves residing in these small towns have been banned from the bigger cities for various reasons, thus, they fear for their own safety. Great deals of these thieves are rather paranoid and usually work under a false name.

The Guild of Palanthas

The Palanthas guild is headed by the master Dantrag Nenshen who has been the guild master for almost two decades. During his rule, the guild has experienced prosperity like never before, but at a cost.

When the trade wars started the guild was hired to by both sides as spies and there was work enough for anybody who wanted it. However, as the conflict escalated the jobs became more and more dangerous. The defining moment happened when a group of master thieves were hired to break into the manor of Mordread Gemerald. This was the first time a head of a merchant house was targeted but the operation was deemed fairly safe nevertheless. When the party did not return the guild master assumed that they had fled town with their bounty, however, the next night he found out what had happened to them. The mutilated bodies of the master thieves were found in the inner chambers of the guild with a small note attached to it: “Thus is the fate of ye who are found in forbidden realms”. Since that night, the guild has not officially accepted any contracts directly involving the headquarters of the merchant houses.

The biggest problem for the guild is that Dantrag Nenshen might find himself in a position where he has to pick sides in the trade war. He is reluctant to do this but given the power of the houses he may not have a choice. If Nenshen picks one house over the other, he will certainly incur the wrath of the opposing house and most likely the destruction of the guild. Therefore, he attempts to tread a narrow path of neutrality. He is currently considering denying both of the houses the services of the guild but he fears that this may result in an unending enmity of both houses.

At the same time, Dantrag Nenshen fears for his own safety. Reliable intelligence suggests that one or more of the merchant houses plan on replacing him with someone loyal to their cause. Dantrag has not succumbed to paranoia yet, but he has tightened security and he is never seen in public without armed escorts. He has employed the services of several medium ranked mages to ensure his safety, but he does not feel secure behind their magical wards and protective spells.

Besides being involved in the trade wars, the guild has various operations in Palanthas. The thieves control a large part of the gambling facilities as well as many taverns and inns. They also run contraband, which is dangerous, because the merchants lose money in account of this practice. The guild is also involved in blackmail and prostitution as well as smuggling – a practice greatly appreciated by the local mages. The guild can provide pretty much anything for the right price. Lastly, the thieves’ guild is associated with the assassins’ guild.

The Guild of Daltigoth

The guild in Daltigoth is the second largest in Ansalon. It is also the youngest guild, given that the Free City of Daltigoth, in its present state, has only been around for a few years. Ever since the last bloody battle of Daltigoth, when the ogres were slaughtered, the influence of the guild has slowly but steadily increased.

The reason why the guild has been so successful is due to the acceptance of its existence by the ruling oligarchs. The guild master, Talbard van Ashen, has even managed to merit an invitation to join the directing oligarchs, thus, becoming one of the rulers of the free city. The lords of Daltigoth believe the guild is a necessary part of the city’s structure. This does not mean that the city guard does not try to catch the thieves, but rather that the lords have a use for the rogues.

One thing that limits the power and influence of the guild is the internal power struggle that plagues the organization. Despite being a directing oligarch, Talbard van Ashen is constantly being challenged by ambitious thieves who crave his position of power. Due to his position as a directing oligarch, Talbard will most likely be forced to resign as guild master within a year or so. Since his membership of the guild is a secret he feels the stress is beginning to wear him down and he cannot resist the challengers for the guild leadership forever. Talbard’s own ambition leads him in the direction of the position of the Lord Mayor of Daltigoth. Currently, he is reluctant to challenge Richard Baglortin because he feels he cannot match the backing the Lord Mayor receives from the city’s leading mages, including the arch mage Mordread Gemerald.

Just got Holy Orders of the Stars

Holy Orders of the StarsWell, actually I got it the other day, but the weather here has been so good that I haven’t really been online.

So anyway, I am on a quest to buy all the Dragonlance books that Margaret Weis Publishing did a couple of years ago and next in line was Holy Orders of the Stars. I found it on Amazon and paid a whopping £ 1.94. Yes sir, it was that cheap. Shipping and handling made a little more expensive, but all in all I paid around £ 7.

As usual, the quality of the book is astounding. The work is top notch and the authors have bridged a lot of different aspects of Dragonlance, and turned otherwise confusing elements into a coherent representation of the pantheon and religion of Krynn.

If I had a gaming group, this book would be very useful. Hat tip to the authors.