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 Campaign: the Silver North

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JulianAmici
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PostSubject: Campaign: the Silver North   Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:22 am

Argentum, Gem of the North
Population: 40,000
Notable Imports: Food (especially grain and livestock), armor, weapons, footwear, textiles and clothing.
Notable Exports: Books, paper, furniture, herbs, inks, glass, glassware, furs, timber, valuable ores.

Argentum is that rarest of things, a bustling city dominated by trees and beautiful stone buildings. Old oaks, shadowtops, and duskwoods compete with tall, thin spires to touch the sky, and blueleaf trees shade flagstone sidewalks along most of the cobbled streets. The prevailing style of stonework is flowing curves, as if buildings grew rather than being erected block by block. Many older buildings are clad in a thin layer of fused royal blue or emerald-green glass.
Balconies and curving stairs are everywhere—and windowsills, railings, and newel-posts are all adorned with herbs and flowers growing in sculpted bowls. Most dwellings have grass paths leading to sheltered bowers. Many folk take time every day to lift their harps, pipes, or voices to make music and things of beauty are more than prized and admired – such design is expected.
Many places preserve lore, but in Argentum knowledge is highly valued. Most folk find satisfaction in being well informed in at least one area of expertise. The citizens of Argentum, also called Silvaeren, love witty sayings, sharing jokes, lore, music and readings of ballads, poems, and romantic fiction; most attend revels or private dances and feasts thrice per week. They tend to dabble in many interests, so shops in the city appear and disappear with the seasons—but these small, cozy boutiques are always crammed with beautiful, fascinating objects, small magics, books (including blank tomes for writing use), and maps.
The older part of Argentum on the north bank of the River Rauvin is linked to the newer environs on the south bank by the famous Moonbridge, a magical construct of silvery force whose central span can be deactivated to protect the city from invasion, or to allow tall-masted ships to pass. It impresses the eye more than the many soaring spires of the city, slender and graceful towers unmatched elsewhere in the world.
Unquestionably the foremost center of learning and culture in the North, Argentum is a happy place where folk of many races dwell in peace together. Much of this feeling of safety and goodwill is due to the influence of powerful local mages and the Swords of the House of Flowers. Both forces are joined in the person of the lady who shaped modern Argentum, the kindly, diplomatic mage known as Lady Hope. Her real name is not used, only her epitaph. She encourages many feasts and revels; outlanders are warned that her spies are everywhere at such diversions.
Lady Hope prefers to keep people happy and hopeful through enlightened rule, but she recognizes that intrigue, deception, and evil deeds are unavoidable, and long since established and trained a cadre of personal agents to guard against such things. Some of these individuals now act as her heralds as High Lady of the Silver Marches, but others remain in the service of the new High Mage and serve Argentum first. The city’s army, the Knights in Silver, openly patrols the land for seven days’ ride around the city, and the city remains a member of the Lords of the North Alliance.

Visiting Argentum
Argentum looks more like a series of gardens or forest glades than a stone city, and thanks to all the growing things, it smells badly less than most settlements a third its size. It’s also quieter, thanks to the generally gentle breezes and sound muting properties of the city’s protective wards, which also prevents extremes of temperature and rainfall and the harshest winter weather. A good series of cisterns, pumps, and piping ensure that the city has both flushed privies and ample fresh water both for drinking and for gardening.
The lush beauty of the city and its many forest districts makes it quite easy for visitors to become lost. Thankfully, Silvaeren don’t mind furnishing directions, and every cistern cover in the cobbles of an intersection has an arrow graven into it, denoting north.
Most city buildings have cellars, and four or even five floors above them, but the trees and gently rolling landscaping make the spires of Argentum seem to loom over passersby a lot less than the structures in most cities. The older part of the city is Northbank, and the newer, still swiftly expanding area is Southbank. Many folk have rushed to buy and build in the new city and are short of coin. They eagerly rent rooms or floors to strangers without question or scrutiny.

NOTED TAVERNS
Many excellent alehouses, taverns, wine cellars, taphouses, and similar establishments grace Argentum’s shaded streets.
The Bright Blade Brandished: Located in Northbank, on Sunset Lane in the westernmost angle of the Wallrun. All are welcome at this friendly alehouse, which consists of two floors of rustic charm, with curtained booths. Wizards down on their luck can earn 1 cp per mage hand spell cast to whisk tankards overhead to waiting hands.
The Dancing Goat: Also located in Northbank, on the east side of the Moonway just north of the Moonbridge, the Dancing Goat is renowned for raucous revelry at all hours. It is a site of endless, enthusiastic dancing and flirting, with a remarkable cellar boasting hundreds of vintages. The Dancing Goat sometimes attracts the attentions of pickpockets and other professionals.
The Hammer and the Helm: Found on Highaxe Lane in Northbank, this cheerful barn of dwarf revelry also welcomes trusted sword-companions. Roast fowl wings provide missiles when jests go bad, amid oceans of stout, Strongbeard cider.
Helmer’s Wall: In Northbank, bridging Bowshot Ride at its meeting with the Old Wall, stands this former city gatehouse built of massive beams and rough stone walls. Helmer’s Wall boasts a superb wine cellar. It is quite popular with students of the various colleges, both scholarly and magical, who haunt these bare boards, alight with hope and dreams and pompous high-minded speeches. Such activity often makes for an entertaining evening, although the worst speakers are often pelted from their perches.
Sorlar’s Smiling Satyr: Located in Southbank, on Auchtareen Lane, this relatively new, bright maze of stained glass windows, booths, curtains, and odd stairs makes difficult navigation for the tipsy. The establishment caters to females and dignified or timid males escorting them. The proprietor is a sorcerer of some skill who brooks no brawling.
The Stagstand: Located in Northbank, on the north side of the Old Wall nine doors west of the Market, the Stagstand features antlers everywhere and bright battle banners lit by lanterns. This place is a dining house and dance hall rather than a simple taphouse. The Stagstand serves venison, strange-tasting eel pie, crusty cheese-baked river crab, an assortment of spiced breads, hearty darksmoke rothé sausage, and the famous nut cheese of Argentum. Late in the evening the large, empty dance floor often comes alive with revelry.

MAJOR INNS
In the summertime, passing a night or two in the gardens and parks of Argentum is not an unpleasant experience, but at all other times of year most travelers find a good inn advisable. Some of the more notable are described below.

The Golden Oak: Located in Northbank on Dancer’s Mask Lane, northeast off Rallowglass Ride, the Golden Oak features cozy, rustic rooms, dim flagstone passages, fragrant herbs, and windowbox ferns, reminding guests of sleeping outdoors in a safe, pleasant corner of the woods. Meeting rooms are available for rent upstairs, while a friendly cellar taproom boasts entertaining gossip downstairs. All the rooms in this inn open off a central atrium dominated by a huge oak that rises up to the open sky, lanterns depending from its branches to hang above tables. Dedicated to the goddess Shiallia, the Golden Oak is favored by druids, rangers, elves, and those who like privacy or peace and quiet. The prices are stiff, but guests can expect superb personal chamber service.

Wayward House: Found in the northwest corner of the meeting of Bowshot Ride and the Ghostwalk, this inn was built on the former site of the Inn of the Wayward Sages, a local landmark. That building was destroyed by a fire and subsequently replaced by the Wayward House, an inn less shabby and less seedy than its predecessor. The Wayward House is the new popular place to stay for visitors not concerned with trumpeting their wealth or importance. Chamberlains Havorr Merendil and Jhalessa Shorncrown are quick to recommend local craftfolk, tutors, and repairers.

Brief History
Founded on a place sacred since time immemorial to the deities Corellon and Melora, Argentum grew from a cluster of log steadings around the Moonsilver Inn, near the holy groves at Argentum Ford—one of the few places where the River Rauvin was shallow enough to be forded in summer, and easily bridged. Moontree became Silver Village, and then Argentum Town. The town developed slowly because its inhabitants built in harmony with the forest, rather than clearing and burning the land. Legends claim that Corellon and Melora visited the Moonsilver Inn in human form and were so taken with the folk of Argentum and their sensitivity to the land that they blessed the inn. Though the building later collapsed, its stones were used in the construction of the city gates and walls, and the promise of safety bestowed by the deities’ blessing is thought to remain in effect, holding sway over the entire city.
Argentum became a city in 637 CR, when its first set of walls was completed and the first of the city’s ruling High Mages, Ecamane Truesilver, was elected. Truesilver and his nine apprentices brought learning to their fellow Silvaeren (many of whom were rough, unlettered trappers and loggers) and founded a library to accompany their school. Successive High Mages have pursued this goal of fostering learning and culture. Through the excitement of artistic endeavor and a feeling of refuge founded in various races dwelling together in harmony, they have sought to make Argentum “the Spellguard of the North,” a bulwark of civilization in the Silver North. Throughout Truesilver’s reign, skilled wizards and loremasters continued to come to the city from elsewhere in Faerûn, and Argentum became an important center of magical study.
In 712 CR, Truesilver died and was succeeded as High Mage by his nephew Aglanthol the Red. In 714 CR, the kingdom of Spellguard fell, shaking all the nations of northern Faerûn. Noble wizards and heroes of Argentum rescued a handful of Myth Drannor’s more prominent leaders and scholars from the destruction, sacrificing themselves in the process. A desire on the part of some Argentum mages to plunder the ruins of Spellguard brought demons and devils into Argentum, and Aglanthol died fighting them in 719 CR. He was succeeded by Ederan Nharimlur, who took to wife the elf princess Elénaril (one of those rescued from Spellguard) and reigned long and peacefully. During his time the city doubled in size.
Upon Ederan’s death in 784 CR, his daughter Amaara Nharimlur became High Mage of Argentum. In 815 CR, Elué Dualen, a human girl of great magical aptitude (actually Alustriel, unknown to all) arrived in the city and befriended Amaara and her sister Lynx. In 821 CR, Elué and Lynx established the Lady’s College, the first open school for mages in Argentum to take students, not apprentices, and as payment for tutelage required an equal time of service in defense of the city. In 843 CR, Elué and other wizards created the Moonbridge, the city’s most famous landmark.
Elué became High Mage in 857 CR when Amaara and her mother left for the depths of the Feywild. Elué and Lynx departed in 876 CR. This time, the High Mage’s seat did not pass peacefully. Warlord Lashtor, commander of the city’s army, took the opportunity to seize the city, slaughtering wizards in the streets and burning magical libraries. His reign lasted little more than a year before the mage Tanalanthara, later known as “Lady Wolf,” deposed Lashtor and restored power to the High Mage’s seat. She in turn sacrificed herself in 882 DR, helping to defend Argentum from a fierce orc-horde.
The people of Argentum elected Tanisell the Cloaked, a humble and soft-spoken wizard, to become their next High Mage. In his time the wards around the city were strengthened, and the great library known as the Vault of the Sages was built. The Keeper of the Vault, Nunivytt Threskaal, succeeded Tanisell in 920 CR, beginning a long and peaceful reign that ended with Threskaal’s death in 1050 CR. The next High Mage of the city was Orjalun, a mage marked by Ioun at birth. His reign was marked by the emergence of many great mages, but also by a plague in 1150 CR that slew half of Argentum’s citizens. Orjalun appointed his former apprentice Sepur as his successor in 1230 CR, but that wizard abandoned the city after two years. Sepur’s departure led to a series of deadly spell-battles between resident wizards for rule of the city. In the absence of a worthy mage, the folk of Argentum elected a mayor to rule the city.
In 1235 CR, the Silvermayor lost control of the city to Warlord Khallos Shieldsunder as an orc horde besieged the city. The orcs broke through the walls—the first time an enemy army entered Argentum—but an army of elves and humans led by Alistair Silverbrow and the woman who became Lady Hope destroyed the invaders, the Warlord Khallos, and the self-proclaimed High Mage Shaloss Ethenfrost as well, restoring peace and just rule to the city.
Lady Hope became the first High Mage of Argentum unanimously chosen by the people. As High Mage she has ruled long and well. Under her gently guiding hand (and mastery of subtle intrigue and manipulation), Argentum truly became wealthy, well defended, sophisticated, clean, and a beautiful place to live. In 1369 CR, Lady Hope appointed Taern Galinndan to the office of High Mage of Argentum and turned her efforts to creating the Lords of the North Alliance. She remains revered in the city, and commands the love and loyalty of the great majority of the city’s residents. The advent of the confederation known as the Lords of the North Alliance has reinvigorated Argentum as a base for adventurers eager to carve out their own holds and steadings, or at least win their share of the fabled riches of the North. Argentum today is bustling, but Taern is working hard to keep overcrowding to a minimum. He encourages settlement in the surrounding countryside by issuing land grants, improving trails and patrols, sponsoring (and guarding) traveling vendors who bring trade to outlying settlements, and establishing palace officers who regularly visit settlers to learn their concerns and problems.

_________________
"Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits." (Marauders of Gor, p.10)

After the lights go out on you/After your worthless life is through/I will remember how you scream
I can't afford to care/I can't afford to care ("Lights Out" Breaking Benjamin)


Last edited by JulianAmici on Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Campaign: the Silver North   Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:25 am


Map Key

1. The Bright Blade Brandished
2. The Moorgate
3. The Golden Oak
4. The Hammer and the Helm
5. A Handful of Stars
6. Helmer's Wall
7. Wayward House
8. The Stagstand
9. Hunter's Gate
10. The House Invincible
11. The House of the Harp
12. Rhyester's Matins
13. The High Palace
14. Temple of Silver Stars
15. Halls of Inspiration
16. Everdusk Hall
17. The Market
18. The Star Court
19. Sundabar Gate
20. The Map House
21. The Shining Scroll
22. The Dancing Goat
23. The Moonbridge
24. Utrumm's Music Conservatory
25. Blacklar Gate
26. Sorlar's Smiling Satyr
27. The Lady's College
28. Arkhen's Invocatorium
29. Mulgate
30. The Vault of the Sages
31. Melora's Glade
32. Silverguard Isle
33. Optym's Blade

_________________
"Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits." (Marauders of Gor, p.10)

After the lights go out on you/After your worthless life is through/I will remember how you scream
I can't afford to care/I can't afford to care ("Lights Out" Breaking Benjamin)


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PostSubject: Rose Hill   Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:38 am


Rosehill
North of Argentum is a small town with a monastery nearby it devoted to Corellon and the teachings of the House of Flowers, a militant group seeking to destabilize the drow who threaten Argentum and all of the north. The town is called Rosehill. Even before the arrival of the founders of the monestary, it was a beautiful town in a naturally protected valley. Only flying creatures had a chance of assailing the village unseen, as all the passes into the valley are easily covered from one vantage point, a bluff that now houses the monastery of the House of Flowers. Giving food and building materials to the House of Flowers was an easy trade, since the swordsmen of the House of Flowers are warriors and mages with few equals.

The town itself is fairly simple, with a blacksmith, a mill, two small inns, The Church of the Silver North, a leather worker, and an outfitter who specializes in meeting the needs of the monastery and traveling adventurers. The location of Rosehill, despite its relative safety, is near no less than ten sites known for trouble and where adventurer’s flock to. Most come back empty handed, or keep what they find, but enough spend their gold to make many items available in Rosehill that might not otherwise be there.

Aramil the Blacksmith is an accomplished weapons and armor smith who moved from Argentum after a short stint adventuring, where he became acquainted with the House of Flowers. Though he does not study their ways, he does generally get along with them, and will provide items to students of the monastery that he would deny to most. He also does a brisk enough business in farming implements and such for the town, which has made him a welcome addition to the town.

Sariel isn’t what most would expect when they hear of a leatherworker. The dirty smelly and downright nasty profession is accomplished by a gorgeous elven woman well into her prime. Even smelling of tannery chemicals she manages to exude a calm and elegance that has endeared her to the locals. She has lived in the area for most of her adult life, moving here after a short stint as an adventurer. Her leather goods are among the best north of Argentum, and some have claimed they almost feel enchanted, though most scoff at such a notion.

The Church of the Silver North is a typical church of the area, with three major shrines to Corellon, Melora, and Sehanine, along with minor shrines to most other deities in its many alcoves. Priestess Althea Willowbend leads most prayer services, but favors Melora more than the others, as befits a small village in the middle of wild woods, especially one half entwined by the feywild itself.

The Black Feather Inn is small inn run by a family of halflings who come from a place called Black Feather. A raven’s feather was found in the inn when they bought it, and they took it as a sign they were destined to run the place, and so they have for five generations.

The Rose Garden Inn is a human run inn that is considered a destination of those few folks who can and do travel outside of Argentum. Those dignitaries stay at the Rose Garden Inn and visit the House of Flowers, and its winery.

Argent Arms Outfitters is an outright curiosity in a village the size of Rosehill. Were it not for the existence of the monastery it would not exist. The Argent Arms is run by the Williamsburg family. They moved to Rosehill not long after the establishment of the House of Flowers, and run regular caravans from Argentum to Rosehill, and many small villages in between. Many items uncommon to the area (luxury items and those aimed towards adventurers) can be found or ordered from here. The turn around is usually a week and a half, which isn’t bad for the distance involved. Payment is in advance however, though refunds are given if an item is unavailable for purchase. Certain items can be made to order, but that process extends the lead time to three weeks.

The House of Flowers
Bards sing of the archfey known as the Rose King, who led an entire eladrin city in a grand crusade against the drow and their followers. The Rose King claimed to be the son of Corellon, and he convinced the city that it was their duty and their birthright to permanently resolve the problem of the drow. They began with the drow city of Irith Tal.
Unfortunately, the Rose King underestimated the dangers of the Feydark and the willingness of the drow to put aside their rivalries when faced with an outside foe. Drow raiders harried his army at every step, fading in and out of the shadows, while aberrant horrors feasted on scouts and pickets one by one. Nevertheless, the archfey would not be dissuaded. He and a corps of his elite guards made it as far as the heart of Irith Tal before they were ambushed and killed. With the Rose King and his army dead, the drow responded in kind, reducing the archfey’s city to ruins and scattering its name on the winds. The tales also report that Liria Valthorin, a young devotee of Corellon and handmaiden to the Rose King, was among the few who survived.

Using her own nascent powers, Liria broke through the teleportation wards around the city and escaped with Janil, the captain of the king’s guard. Together, they fled to an area of the Feywild near Argentum where they founded the House of Flowers. In the early days of the House of Flowers, Liria and Janil worked to recreate the Rose King’s fighting style to preserve the specialized combat techniques developed by her liege. Passing this knowledge on to adventurers, she gains a small bit of vengeance for every drow who falls to one of her trainees. Liria has a network of spies throughout the world and Feywild, watching for those wronged by the drow and then recruiting them to her cause. She also keeps an eye out for martial-minded devotees of Corellon, talented sword wielders, and adventurers who have proven themselves against the drow. Called Swords of the House of Flowers, they are a widespread group who use small pins in the shape of a rose pierced by a sword to aid in identification, though few wear them openly. Most Swords will severely punish an interloper who dares claim allegiance by wearing the pin, but not knowing what it represents.

The Monastery of the Flowers
At the top of the highest bluff overlooking the valley is a small monastery that consists of a three story building on top of a towering pinnacle. Its red tiled roof glistens in sharp contrast to the weather-stained grayness of the rocks while the late afternoon sun bathes the landscape with a golden glow. At nighttime, the rocks are shrouded in mists which lend them an ethereal mysteriousness that appeals to the founders of the monastery. Only the light of ever burning torches mark the safe path up to the House of Flowers. The monastery consists of a three story building on top of a towering pinnacle. The Church of the Triumph of Corellon occupies the ground level along with acolyte’s rooms. The second and third levels are occupied, in addition to more cells, by quest quarters, receptions halls, and a banquet hall.


_________________
"Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits." (Marauders of Gor, p.10)

After the lights go out on you/After your worthless life is through/I will remember how you scream
I can't afford to care/I can't afford to care ("Lights Out" Breaking Benjamin)


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PostSubject: Character Creation Details   Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:09 pm

Stats to -8
All characters must be fey, arcane, or be story linked to a fey and/or arcane NPC or PC.

Dragon 386 channel Divinity: Corellon article is active game material, so its useage is encouraged for sword weilding types.

_________________
"Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits." (Marauders of Gor, p.10)

After the lights go out on you/After your worthless life is through/I will remember how you scream
I can't afford to care/I can't afford to care ("Lights Out" Breaking Benjamin)
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PostSubject: Feel of the world   Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:01 pm

The world is NOT your standard D&D world, per se. Normally my games have a very Dragon centric feel to them. Races are measured by their loyalty, usefulness, and spunkiness in draconic terms. Its part of why I like Eberron so much. This world is drawn along fey lines, across the board. For this we are definitely using a more Celtic/Norse feel to the world. Giants (which include orcs and goliath) are fey in origin, as are elves, gnomes, and other fey creatures.

Seelie and Unseelie fey are very common. The eladrin once ruled all of the courts, but now the drow (once eladrin) have split off and now run their own twisted versions of the Courts. Goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, etc) are the commoners who follow the unseelie courts, while gnomes and elves (commoner eladrin) make up the majority of followers of the seelie courts.

That said, many standard D&D tropes do apply: Orcs hate all elves, including drow. All giants want destroy the gnomes, halflings, and their dwarven allies. Elves (of all kinds) don't trust dwarves - but no one knows why. Demons hate Devils, almost as much as they hate mortals. Humans are the baseline that everyone else is based on.

Technology wise, the setting is 14th -15th century France, except no gunpowder, and with magic. The Monastery of the Flowers is a medieval European monastery, complete with it being relatively wealthy (not having to pay taxes, and getting financial kickbacks from the surrounding areas helps). If you're interested, look up 14th and 15th century France medieval governing practices, especially regarding the rights of the church. Of course you don't have to, that's just more for you to look at if you're bored. I also have a great game book on the subject I'll loan to anyone truly interested (though it is a bit dry and numbers intensive).

_________________
"Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits." (Marauders of Gor, p.10)

After the lights go out on you/After your worthless life is through/I will remember how you scream
I can't afford to care/I can't afford to care ("Lights Out" Breaking Benjamin)
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