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The Fire and the Void

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 11:00


Our Land of Azurth game continued last night with the party in the midst of exploring the strange, ruined temple beneath the Crooked Hills. The party ran afoul of a group of skeletons that they quickly dispatched. They avoided a pit trap where they also found another strange item--a vial of silvery liquid. They were disappointed to find it wasn't magical.

They came to a room with a relief of a muscular, bearded man holding a scorched brazier. The group tried burning something in it and a secret door opened. On the other side was a room with a large oven with a roaring flame inside. They discovered the flame was a fire elemental who suggested it needed to be bribed to allow them to pass through to the run beyond the oven. Dagmar gave it gold pieces, which it melt in its flames. Then it parted like a curtain to allow them to pass.

On the other said was a wide, shallow bowl with a whirling void on the inside. As the party began to investigate, a group of the sleepwalkers came in. They largely appeared to ignore the party as one took a couple of items the party took to be trinkets and dropped them into the void where they disappear. When that was done, he extended a hand expectantly to the party.

They decided to give him a trinket to see what happened. He took it and put it in the void. They kept giving him the trinkets they had, even the newly acquired silvery vial, and they all disappeared. The sleepwalkers turned and left.

When they were gone, the party investigated the room further. Waylon figured out that the void was only an illusion. Items dropped into it went down a passage. Erekose found a secret lever to open a secret door. What they found, down a short passage, was essentially a glorified closet with a number of trinkets and other items that had been dropped into the void.

Mindful of the townsfolk's warning about the trinkets exploding, they cautiously experiment with putting groups of them together in the same place, but nothing seemed to happen. Eventually, they divided up the nonbroken items and took them with them.

The First Folk of the Wilderness

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 11:00

This is a follow-up to this post.

The First Folk were the earliest inhabitants of the Western Lands, that is certain. Their tradition holds that all people emerged from the navel of the Earth, somewhere in the far west, but that they, the Children of the Dawn, were specially loved by the gods who taught them their secrets, which the first Folks used to found the earliest civilizations in the world in the Eastern Lands.

Some human scriptures teach that the First Folk are the hybrid children of rebellious greater spirits, sometimes falsely called gods, and humans. They cite the Great Flood as the True God's punishment for the iniquities of the First Folk and their parents. This religious condemnation did not stop human tribes from studying under the First Folk and learning their craft and science. Of course, these humans, too, committed the same sins in the eyes of God, perhaps, for was not their island home destroyed in a cataclysm for their wickedness?

After the Flood, the surviving First Folk lords and their people returned to the shores of the Western Lands. There they found members of their own race, fallen in their own reckoning, living primitively in the endless forests. They sometimes met these kinsfolk in peace, sometimes in violence. They raised new cities, though perhaps not as glorious as those in the East. The barrows and ruins of these people are still found, though in the end a strange fall overcame them, so that they were only a shadow by the time the first humans came West. 

These human tribes sometimes warred with the surviving First Folk from the East, but over time became beloved of the the First Folk of the woodlands. Later human tribes would not be so receptive to the First Folk ways.

The Folk of Forests have receded ever further as human civilization has encroached upon the dark wood beyond the mountains. It is wise for travelers to abide by their rules and attempt to placate them, however, as they have be known to punish those who do not respect their ways.

The First Folk of the east were taller (perhaps as tall as 8 feet, with some of the ruling class of the great kingdoms of the East even taller) and in general, considered more beautiful than humans. Their lifespans were exceedingly long--before the Deluge they were immortal--and their physical capabilities exceeded those of man. Their eyes and sometimes their faces, were said to have a subtle radiance about them, perhaps a suggestion of their Celestial heritage. The Folk of the Forest are not as tall, and often more angular, but still strangely beautiful, possessed of a glamor, it is said.

Solar Trek Episode Guide - Updated

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:00

In honor of Star Trek's 55th anniversary (yesterday), it seemed like a good time to revisit my 2019 posts on Solar Trek, a solar system confined, more hard science fiction rationalized Star Trek. Here are all the posts to date, titled with the TOS episode/setting element that inspired it.
The introductory post
The Orion Syndicate
"Return of the Archons"
"That Which Survives"
"The Cloud Minders"
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
"Tholian Web""The Amok Time""The Way to Eden"


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