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[Coldforged: Tabletop Campaign]2: Prophecies of Hope

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Ancient Gamer:
The K'Horune appear as twisted humanoids, their skin grey and their hair long and black. They are human sized, with frail arms and legs. Appearances deceive however, for there is strength in these appendages; strength that could rip an adventurer apart. In the shadows of the depths these hunters are silent and cunning. It is likewise on the surface and few are those who can spot a host of K'Horune wanderers moving from tree to tree in the midst of night.

The faces of these wretches mirror the horrors they have become. They look human, but their skin is wrinkled and grey, their teeth are sharpened and their facial features are distorted and displaced in the manner of some trolls. They didn't wear clothes in the depths and this has caused some to freeze to death in the icy wastes of the valley. The K'Horune learn quickly however and now they have been killing families and sacking outlying farms. They rob the fallen of their clothing, and with every looting yet more K'Horune can exit from their place of exile.

It is not easy to survive in the depths, and when an entire race is cast into unknown darkness with limited or no supplies, cannibalism becomes the order of the day. To put it simply: In K'Horune society the weakest is not only on the bottom of the social ladder. The weakest are eaten. With their re-emergence into the realms of light, that diet has changed somewhat. Patrols from the Gethrensburg now report that where corpses were simply undressed before, they are undressed and gnawed upon now. The K'Horune are particular however and only cheek and abdominal flesh is eated, the rest they leave be.

The K'Horune retain some of the sleep patterns of their ancestral parentage; the Trolls. This means that they enter a form of mild hibernation during winter. This means they would normally be asleep now, but the unlocking of the gates have awakened the young and lightest sleepers. This also means that the old, cunning and powerful of their society are still safely asleep kilometers below the surface. Time is of the essence and this precursor invasion is nothing compared to what would come on snow melt, mere weeks away.

Magic is preserved for the elders and but one such elder has awakened to ascend from the darkness below. Her name is Ankhol-Anakhol, or "Witherfrost" among her kind, and her domain is the Magic of Frost. With her mastery of the icier aspects of magic, she is able to encase an unfortunate adventurer in ice or even call upon the skies to deliver a vast storm of sleet and ice. Her magic is taxing however and after a particularly tiresome conjuring, she has to rest to regain her strength. In times of need she is able to cannibalize her own stamina to keep going, but this is unhealthy and not something she does willingly.

The K'Horune is sensitive to light and afraid of fire. After years upon years without neither, they see poorly in daylight and are terrified of torches. If Witherfrost is nearby she will magically extinguish torches, but she is normally not, so a single torch could save the night. An adventurer can use a torch or bonfire in much the same way as a cleric would turn undead. The hissing K'Horune would circle an unfortunate victim, clawing at the air, but they would not dare approach if the PC is convincing enough in his threatening gestures (Some kind of willpower check OR, lacking that, turning "undead" as per a cleric of the same level).

At day they retreat to dark caves, or even to their place of exile, but at night they re-emerge.

#1: The first clue as to what is happening is a pair of fresh corpses, half eaten and undressed in the snow. Oddly enough their clothes and armour is gone, but their swords are left behind - still clutched in their frozen hands.

#2: Several kilometers away, during daytime, a flock of ravens circle, often diving from the skies unto the ground. Should the PCs check this out, they will discover a truly horrible scene: The previous night the half-trolls struck and an entire village was butchered. The attackers cared naught whether they slew man, woman, child or elder. They are all dead, stripped bare and half eaten.

#3: Movements in the night: After the adventurers have found some corpses and understood that something evil is underfoot (literally), they will have the final pre-encounter experience. As they assemble around the bonfire, ready to partake of their limited supplies, something stirs in the dark of the forest. A hissing sound will be heard, yet nothing happens. Should they explore they will find footprints akin to a human with terribly long and sharp nails on their foot.
Adrenalin Kicker:

Cinematic Sequences:

Rebirth and Betrayal:

The Greater Picture:

On the Trail of Friends Thought Lost:

Epiphanies and Revelation:

Optional Ending #1: Fleeing (Cowardly)

Optional Ending #2: Slayers of the Wild (Epic Heroism)

Optional Ending #3: Sealing the Gates to "Hell" (Heroic)

Optional Ending #4: Long Live Diplomacy (Normal, but beneficial in the long run)

Optional Ending #5: For the Price of your Soul (Easy, but extremely stupid (involves Long Man Death)).

Ancient Gamer:
Hmmm.... Drow... Hmmm...

Must differentiate.

Not being used to Drow, I can't make a surefire comparison, but these seem to be quite a bit separate from those abominations.

Ancient Gamer:
You think so? Good!

Addition: Allies!!

In this valley, the half-trolls are a menace, but inside the now locked city of Gethrensburg is an even greater menace: The caretakers of Long Man Death, and the great convergance that will take place after his heart is inside its new host (for further information on the Long Man Death, search for "The Stairs of Kienor" on the main site).

1. The Ashen Druids of Longwaithe
This is an age old cabal of fallen Druids, their hearts no longer beating and their flesh long dead. Even in death they keep vigil over the valley, like they did before their fall. Their Great Temple is in Longwaithe; an ancient village nestled in the slopes of Mount Kadrhorn and the peak called Kardhan-Karthak, where the dwarves of old once dwelled. The trail leading up to Longwaithe is steep, winding and long, and at the very top of the path is a snow draped village. There is a huge monolith in the village square, and due north of the monolith is a single story temple, with only supporting pillars, a roof, a stone fundament, but no walls. The altar is in the middle of the construct, and above the altar there is a square hole in the roof, allowing rain and snow to fall upon the altar. Bushes grow around it, and it is here that the Ashen Druids pray to Ghaunar, the human God of Nature. The buildings in the village are made of stone with brown wooden support beams and with grass roofs.

The Druids were undone centuries ago by Myythien the Thrice d**ned; a lich which has later been buried in the halls of the dwarves, which abandoned their mountainous fortress over a millennium ago. Despite their unlife, these Druids still believe in the path of life and the living. If the PCs come before the remaining cabal of eight druids, led by the Arch-Druid Finifiel of the Crooked Yew, the druids will offer whatever aid they can. This will hopefully even out the odds somewhat. While the druids won't directly enter battle, they will send Greynack Owl-Rider with the PCs and his magics and mastery over nature is spectacular and useful.

2. Al'Chrand the Cursed
Al'Chrand was a Paladin of Old and was the Paladin Lord in charge of sealing the tunnel to the nether realm and the banishment of the K'Horune. For this feat he was rewarded with a divine curse, cast by the K'Horune Council of Elders itself.

For your effort,
for your feat,
for your diligence.
And our defeat.

These words were uttered by Aldershine, the K'Horune Prophet Seer and chosen of the Council, as he died by Al'Chrand's sword. Days thereafter Al'Chrand was forever changed and unable to die of old age. He believes in Fhalgharod, the Sun God, and is thus unable to take his own life. His form is now that of a great, black Cave Bear with patches of silvery fur. While his strength is legendary and his resilience epic, he cannot speak the language of men anymore and only the Druids of Longwaithe know of him now.  If the PCs meet him without knowing his true nature, they may well decide to slay him in an epic battle that might cost them dearly. If not attacked, Al'Chrand will simply observe the PCs as they pass by. If the PCs are in need, or they request his aid (he understands human speech), he will try to help them. If the PCs are accompanied by one of the Ashen Druids (or speak animal tongues themselves) they may freely converse with Al'Chrand.

Next post: A focal point (somewhere beside the forest and valley in which most of the action will take place).

Ancient Gamer:
Nopes. The focal point has to wait. Instead I present myself with: "A grand encounter table... stub"

1. The Lost Lord of Sinuthawal

A haunting melody draws the PCs to a forest glade. Atop a mossy boulder is a man wearing silvery chain mail, with a long, white tattered cloak and a white sash with a green emblem resembling a rearing wolf on it. A bow is beside the boulder and a quiver on his back. A the jeweled hilt of a lordly sword is hung in its sheath from the belt.

The man, whose hair and ears are hidden beneath the silvery chain hood, is playing a long wooden flute. It is easily the longest the PCs have ever heard. Aware PCs will notice how the pleasant breeze makes the trees sway back and forth, and how there seems to be an eerie atmosphere in the forest.

As the PCs approach, the man stops playing his flute and looks at the PCs with a wary gaze. Attentive persons will notice old blood stains on his sash and cloak and the many scars upon his hands and face. While his beauty is almost womanlike, there is steel in his eyes and voice. He presents himself as Argand Wilhelm, a mercenary from Ardamien. He is on his way to the war in the south, where he will hire his services to the Kingdom. He will not come with the PCs, except in the odd chance they should blurt their entire life saga to the adventurer, and tell him of their intended goal: The Unkaralth Citadel of the Northern Elves. In that case he will become angry and tell them they are liars, for the elves are no more. If the PCs are able to convince the angry man of their honesty, he will change his heart, and the PCs will have an extremely skilled companion for the rest of their journey north to the Citadel.

GM's Info:
His name is not what he tells, for he is an Elven Lord of the Mir-en-Tarnil, the fallen realm. He was the High Lord of Sinuthawal, but after the fall of the elves he awoke trapped inside the burning wood. As he has been trained in the arcane arts of a mage, as well as in the finer points of sword play and the bow, he did not perish with his brethren. In the centuries that followed he has walked among men in disguise. He has had fifteen human wives, and watched them all grow old. He has sired a number of half-elves, the only ones on the continent not under the control of the Church of Sil'Dhuron. The High Lord is an expert flute player, and can charm animals and plants alike with his fey melodies.

If the PCs behave particularly badly, mocking the memory of elves and praising the God Sil'Dhuron, they will face him in battle. He will flee if hurt, using his mastery of short distance teleportation. After that he will harry the PCs at every opportunity. He will stay with them as an unpredictable foe for the reminder of the month, until his elven ire has calmed, or everyone is dead.

2. Kknarrokhs - Cave Troll
- Will be enslaved by the K'Horune, to be used as a war machine, if they can find him
- Fond of meat (shocking surprise!)
-  blahblahblahblah

3. blahblah... Okay. To be continued


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