PrinceCon XL: Bob’s Scenario Recap
Long ago, in the Sword Ages of the world, most Giants were still friendly with the Gods, and Kjallintar became the companion of the gods, but most especially of Janda and Mavors. Under their authority and tutelage, she judged the law among all the races, giant and non-giant. Indeed, she bore a son to Daglir, whom she named Djaglintar. The offspring of gods and giants may be of either kind, and Djaglintar was of Giant-kind, and remained with his mother. But, Kjallintar was jealous of her privileges as judge, and fearful to appear weak in her application of the law.
One day, in the Riven Shield Age, two mothers came before her, laying claim to the same child. The facts were easily ascertained: the birth-mother had fled before invaders, and was forced to abandon her son. The foster-mother rescued the child and lovingly raised him. Now, both mothers wanted custody. In a similar case, Janda had declared that law could not decide this, and handed the case to Mavors to decide on the equities. He offered to divide the child in twain, but this was merely a ruse to determine who loved the child more, and the child was restored to the foster-mother. Kjallintar tried the same ruse, but was unable to quickly decide which mother was more appalled. Afraid, lest indecisiveness undermine her reputation, she carried out the division, and handed each mother half the corpse. The mothers were distraught beyond words, and Janda was furious. She cursed Kjallintar to have two faces, and banished her. Her children followed and Mavors judged that the curse would fall upon them as well.
Kjallintar nursed her hatred. Djaglintar, being of god-blood, was able to modify the curse, so that each of the Ettin, as Kjallintar’s offspring were called, had two heads, not merely two faces, which gave them powers in addition to being hideous to all other races. All the Ettin swore revenge upon all the gods, that their tongues would be cut out, and that Janda should die painfully at the hands of Kjallintar.
Now, if came to pass that Djaglintar had a son, Albervir, who was subtle of craft and mighty to make marvelous things. But, Albervir was not content, and wanted to be the instrument of his grandmother’s revenge. So, during the Wind Age, he learned the arts of disguise from Ratri, and disguising himself as a Svartalfir, lived a mortal’s life as a faithful follower of Daglir, until he had gained the attention of the god himself and was taken to Godsheim to learn craft. Being the grandchild of Daglir, he learned quickly, and more than his grandfather wished or wot. Having learned deep secrets, he departed for Stoneheim, to perfect his arts. Keeping his disguise, he travelled to Mannheim, and tested many ideas there. But he lacked the power of Daglir’s Forge, that is until he learned of the great power hidden within the volcano Katla.
And so, in the Wolf Age, Albervir proposed to create five great items.
The first would be the Rings of Drawing Clerical Power. These would appear to be rings that gave additional prayers each day, and that would become more and more powerful as the days hastened to the Final Battle. But, in reality, they were drawing power from the Clerics, and at the appointed time would vanish with their accumulated power to add their power to that of Kjallintar. In this manner her vow to cut off the gods tongues would be fulfilled, for how do the gods speak if not through their clerics?
The second would be the spear Aetgir, which could allow a mortal to slay even a god. While Kjallintar, as primordial Ettin, had the stature to slay a god, this spear would make her twice as deadly.
The third would be the armor Weliundmail, which could protect the wearer from the attacks of the gods. The power of this armor would be greatly increased if the power of the wearer were enhanced, as by the rings.
The fourth would be the Helm of Forgetfulness. It was the plan to place this upon Mavors head, so that Janda could watch her brother disgrace himself by forgetting all oaths and promises. This would be her torture, before the blade struck.
The fifth would be the Hammers of Unfate. Albervir had learned of the Fatestones, upon which the Wyrd Sisters had written prophecies that could not fail unless the stone was broken. H bethought that some would protect the gods or foredoom Kjallintar and need to be destroyed. For this purpose, he created two great hammers that, if used to strike a Fatestone, would destroy it, though the energy released might cause great destruction. Djaglintar had learned that the Wyrd Sisters had inscribed two fatestones, one protecting Janda and one protecting Mavors. Both needed to be found and doubtless both destroyed.
He also created a variety of war statues, each with a different purpose, designed to protect his laboratory and to bring low the mortal realms. Some were agile and spider-like, to run down adversaries. Some were built like tortoises, with tails that could batter down castle walls and destroy siege engines. Some were predators, shaped like bipedal crocodiles, some of which were small and swift, and some slower and more powerful. And there were statues in the form of fire-breathing brazen bulls, while others were monstrous beasts with multiple horns and vast strength. And so matters lay, until the Valiant intervened.
Dramatis Personnae, in order of first appearance:
|Martine Klaengrdottr||Mannfolk Hero, NPC (backstory)|
|Len||Vatenari Mage, follower of Mavors, played by Colin Sandon|
|Treeborn||Mannfolk Guardian, Pantheist, played by Tim de Capio|
|t, r, a||Svartalfir Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Elissa Hoeger|
|Bruce Battlestandard||Svartalfir Mage, follower of Magus, played by Joshua Gabai|
|Jaru Fryen||Katterfolk Hero, Pantheist, played by Peter Vancsa|
|Black Sun||Mannfolk Mage, Storm Lion, played by Aaron Mulder|
|Hrothnjall||Mannfolk Mage, Servant of Albervir, NPC|
|Krojin||Ettin Guardian, Assistant to Albervir, NPC|
|Albervir||Ettin Mage, NPC (offstage)|
|Hrolff the Burning||Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Chris Cavender|
|Thunder||Katterfolk Cleric of Storm Lion, played by Spencer Kipe|
|Alyeria||Alfar Guardian, pantheist, played by Zen Zen|
|Thornflower||Alfar Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Susan Bergeron|
|Krosp||Katterfolk Hero, follower of Danu, played by Charles Taylor|
|Markus||Katterfolk Cleric of Danu, played by Tim de Capio|
|Haldir||Alfar Hero, follower of Carrunos, played by Michael Brokes|
|Pirata Fuerte||Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Timothy Sullivan|
|KatteroHexMonkeybane||Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Ryan Carr|
|Amberette||Svartalfir Cleric of Danu, played by Megan Coppock|
|Pfferdsensen||Riddari Guardian, follower of Carrunos, played by Greg Nelson|
|Magus||God of Magic, played by Alex Reutter|
|Noly||played by Charles Taylor|
|Rogar Ironheart||Svartalfar Hero, follower of Daglir, played by Corwin Knaff|
|Vegt||Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Alan Zitomer|
|Mavors||God of Justice, played by Robert West|
|Kjallintar||Primordial Ettin, NPC|
Chapter 1: In search of a lost expedition
The morning dawned as ever in Valor Hall, except that groups of the Valiant were preparing for missions to other realms — a thing that had not happened for an age. As groups were forming, and ways to forestall the evil times discussed, one lone survivor from such an expedition arrived. It was Martine Klaengrdottr, a Mannfolk Hero, who had travelled with six companions to Mannheim, following some vague clues. Moments before entering Valor Hall, where all her wounds would surely be cured, she collapsed. Several of the Valiant rushed to succor her, but she died in their arms. Her last words gave the location of a cavern in the great volcano Katla and the garbled phrase “Alb..collapse..second..” In her possession is a burnt-out Trollhammer and the fragments of a stone with an inscription in moving, magic writing, that somehow gave an impression of being of more-than-ordinary importance.
Examination of the broken stone revealed a text: “Janda will live longer than her brother, but if Mavors should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Janda shall not outlive that star.” Examination of the trollhammer revealed that it once was a fearsome weapon that had power to smash items of great power, perhaps even the fable fatestones. The burnout released such great power that it was now only under slight enchantment.
Seven members of the Valiant gathered to go to Katla, find the cavern and explore. Wishing to prepare themselves for what might be a desperate battle, they arrived at dusk in a secluded dell within sight of Katla, cast spells and prayers of preparation, and settled down to rest. In the morning, they ascended the forested slopes of Katla where they spied furtive movement underneath the trees and black crows at about the place where they expected to find the cavern. Moving cautiously, the group drove off an attack by huge dire wolves.
The cavern was nearly completely blocked by a rockfall, through the gaps of which carrion birds flew. Martine’s last words might have spoken of such a collapse, but was it a natural misadventure, or was it connected to the burned-out hammer? And what did this have to do with the danger to the Gods? With due care and great labor, the Svartalfir, aided by the remaining members of the party, removed the rocks and opened the way into what was left of the cavern. The interior was piles of rock, and the back was blocked by another rockfall. The whole smelled of burning and of the charnel-house.
More digging revealed the bodies of the lost expedition, and their magical treasures, mixed with burned parts of some sort of giant. A debate ensued on the proper disposition of the bodies, and whether their prized weapons and other magical possessions should be left with them as grave goods. An infernal machine soon dubbed the Hammer Wheel lay on its side. There were signs of an enormous fire and collapse, and a muffled, high-pitched laugh could be heard. One of the bodies had a sack, which contained an undamaged table with a prophecy concerning Hione. Was this the “second” of which Martine spoke? It did not read as something that ought to be destroyed; perhaps it was to be protected from destruction?
Digging some more, a door was found, and behind that door a filthy chamber, with a man, half-starved and dying of thirst, who identified himself as Hrothinjall, assistant to the Great Albervir. Albervir, it seems, had somehow fooled Daglir and received training as an artificer. (Was this what Martine meant by “Alb”?) Hrothinjall was clearly quite mad, but careful questioning and ESP revealed that Albervir was the grandson of Kjallintar, that “fate had been destroyed”, that the trollhammer and a vast explosion had a part in that, that turning on the Hammerwheel was dangerous, and that the party should remove the remaining rockfall so they could die. He also denied that the stone found was the “second”, saying that the first and second were “like, yet unlike, such as siblings ought to be.”
Hrothinjall was locked back in his cell, now cleaned and provisioned. The Hammerwheel was dragged outside, and Bruce Battlestandard began to play with it, trying to understand its function. Meanwhile, a metallic statue in spider-form strode through the rockfall on the far side of the cavern, and attacked the party. Another appeared, in the shape of a great tortoise with a shell made of stone and a tail in the form of a huge club. A third also appeared, in the form of a crocodile that walked upon two legs made of brass. Black Sun, having decided that the rockfall was an illusion that affected all senses, strode through it purposefully, and found himself confronting a small (20′) ettin who was starting up a fourth statue, this in the shape of a quadruped with three horns. A long corridor stretched behind. After a pitched battle, the spider was destroyed, and the turtle entangled with the Hammerwheel. Both went careening down the mountainside. Using spells of hallucination and tripping, the Ettin was disabled long enough for the party to effect its escape. In a valiant last blow, Treeborn blinded the Ettin, but was himself slain. The party escaped to the plain and sounded the horns to summon the Valkyrie to return them to the Halls of Valor.
Meanwhile, came the news that Janda was dead, and a new star had appeared that the sages said would soon vanish. In light of later events, it was clear that a servant of Kjallintar had given up his life to strike the Fatestone that protected Janda’s life, striking it with a Hammer of Unfate. Martine’s party had, doubtless, died attempting to prevent this. The nature and fate of the “second” stone would be revealed in due course.
Chapter 2: Exploring the Laboratory
Having confirmed from other sources that this was indeed a laboratory, a party of seven set forth to learn what could be learned, thwart what could be thwarted, and perhaps to wrest some powerful knowledge and/or weapons. It was agreed that there was a second fatestone somewhere that had to be destroyed before the new star faded, whatever doom it portended. Arriving, they saw a large number of Ettin, guarded by statues, bearing objects off to the Southwest. Rather than engage in a hopeless, but glorious, fight, the Valiant decided to enter the cavern complex. Using Locate Object, the mages were able to pinpoint the location of a stone, similar in substance to the broken one, but intact, and which gave off an air of portentousness. Hrothnjall was gone from his prison, and the corridors of the laboratory were vacant. Apparently all been abandoned in some haste: remnants of a library remained, as did component parts of various infernal devices and a rear guard of the combat statues. Some of these were gathered for later analysis.
Because time was believed to be of the essence, the party tried various ways to limit combat. Attempts to use Dimension Door and Teleport to reach the location failed. Eventually, using stealth, the Valiant found their way deep inside the mountain, to a chamber that contained a strange cylindrical device. The device seemed to bring up mud and steam from the unguessable depths at which the dormant volcano was active. Beyond the device was a narrow passage, too small for an ettin, or indeed a riddari. At the end of that passage was a smooth surface, impervious to Darkvision. Ordinary light would penetrate it, however, and beyond was a stone tablet, written with magic writing.
Hrolff the Burning had knowledge of a crystal that darkvision could not penetrate: such crystal is impervious even to the greatest of fire, or indeed lava itself. It is very hard, but very brittle. A strong stroke thrusting with a sword shattered it, and the stone was brought forth. Reading the magic writing, “Mavors will live longer than Janda, but if Janda should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Mavors shall not outlive that star.”
Obviously, this was the “second” stone, like a sibling to the first. Sages have since argued about the fact that two fatestones, both created by the Wyrd Sisters, contradict one another so directly. Some say that it shows limitations in the knowledge of the Fates, but others argue that a Fate is not contradicted until events inconsistent with that Fate transpire. If either Mavors or Janda died, one of the two Fatestones would be false, so clearly neither could die until one or the other stone was broken. And it was fated that at least one should be broken, as clearly as if that fact had itself been written on stone. Kjallintar’s plan was now clear: having destroyed the Janda stone, she would strive to preserve the Mavors-stone from all harm, thereby sealing his doom.
Hrolff knew of a method by which such a fatestone could be destroyed, but he had never seen it done, and did not know what the consequences were. So, he began a chant of the victory of his Will over Stone Sealed Fate. And when it was done, the stone shattered, but so did the cylinder behind him. A great gout of flame poured out, enveloping and incinerating him, as clearly foretold by his name. Thunder stepped forward, prepared to throw all his power into a massive cure that could save Hrolff, but it was too late. And, somehow, Thunder sensed that Hrolff had been chosen by Fate to die, and that interfering with that could only bring further woe.
The cylinder now spewed out mud and clay, which was glowed of magic. The party gathered up handsful of it and proceeded to return to Valor Hall, singing the praises of the mage who had sacrificed his life for Mavors as the star that was to herald his doom faded from sight. The clay that was extracted from the mud proved to have marvelous powers: a few minutes’ concentration, and it would transform itself into a magical weapon or armor. The more clay used, the bigger the weapon or armor.
Chapter 3: Out of the Frying Pan, into the Lava