Anvil of Davyd
In Aelfa's arms, have I left my anvil...
These were the last words of Davyd, the last master alchemist of the Old World, upon his deathbed. For nine centuries many have sought out Aelfa to find the anvil so that they might create weapons of power equivalent to those crafted during the height of the Old World.
There were many tools sought out from the Old World. The hammers and tongs of the eldritch smithies, the quenching vats, and metal pouring ladels, all of these were hunted out, and scavenged to feed a world hungry for powerful weapons not seen since the fall of the Old World.
Among these, the greatest sought are three anvils. The Anvil of Dragon's Flame was destroyed by Emet the Wise so that Hennet the Cruel could not use its powers. The Anvil of Heaven and Hell was lost into the depths of the ocean when brave Captain Omen and the Dusktreader sank returning from the far shores. Last was the anvil of Davyd, the most elusive of the three. It was never found, and many a treasure hunter, or would be master smith has sought it out, their quest to end only in agony and ruin.
There is a ruined city, one that dates back to the height of the Old World, when thousands made the pilgrimage to brilliant Glasyabolas, or the distant snowclad domes of Glasheim. Many a treasure seeker has pillaged through the ruins, and there was found Davyd's forge, and his archives, and the fruits of his works, ruined in the cataclysm that destroyed the Old World.
It was ransacked. Anything of value taken, anything not of value was smashed in fits of frustration and bitter rage. There is no anvil, no arsenal of sacred steel, nothing. The treasure seeker Jino Vel found the workshop and was as frustrated as the rest, but managed to keep a level head and looted the place for what it was worth. Anything of the Old World that was in decent condition was taken, including half a dozen marble statues. Each was carved in the likeness of a different woman, and are also known as Caryatids. (Caryatid: column carved in the shape of a woman)
Each of the caryatids held an item in her hand; one held a torch, one a sword, a scroll case, a ladies fan, a fawning cat, and a bell. The marble sword has been broken, to make sure it wasnt a magical weapon, as if the bell, the torch, and the fan. The cat and the scroll case are undamaged, save for chips and scratches from time and rough handling.
Jino made a gift of the caryatids to the King, a dual effort of showing both gratitude, and paying 'taxes' on his loot. The King placed them in his personal palace as a reminder of how great the Old World was, and what price came with their hubris.
The king has the Anvil of Davyd, but does not know it. Jino had it and did not know it either. Aelfa was a common name during the Old World era, and was also the name of his wife. The caryatid holding the scroll case was carved in the very image of his wife, a fact that extensive research into Davyd the Alchemist could reveal, but would not appear in any reference to his work, or alchemy in general.
The caryatid of Aelfa was made by Davyd's own hand. The scrollcase can be opened, and its contents released, but it must be opened from the bottom, literally out from under her arm. The case is very thinck on the exposed upper end, and does not ring hollow if struck. This is the skill of the stoneshapers of the Old World.
The Anvil of Davyd is his compiled notes and formulae for the making of special types of metal. Alchemical gold and alchemical silver are easiest to decipher, as both materials should still be present, though difficult to make. The Anvil could reduce the cost of making weapons and armor of these two materials by at least 50%.
Methods are included for the working of Starmetal, also called adamant, and adamantine. Soulsteel, shadesteel, and white steel are also included, but they are signifigantly more difficult to decipher. All in all it is the most concise and advanced treatise on the workings of metallurgy and magic in existance.
Should the Anvil of Davyd be found, the scrolls are nothing more than a collection of gibberish. The entire work was written in Davyd's own shorthand. In theory, a gifted alchemist, and a linguist might be able to decipher the code. It is difficult as Davyd uses as many as six different shorthand forms for the element of gold, and as many as sixteen for the element of iron.
Greed! - Eager for the possibility of being able to make weapons of the Old World, the PCs embark on a mission to find the ruins, and the anvil. A trail of clues leads them back to the city where they discover the true resting place of the anvil, and now must get it from the king. Are they willing to share, would the king be willing to share? Mayhem ensues.
The King's Treasure - It is a race to find the Anvil as a second party has decided to make the quest. They are obviously evil, chaotic, antagonistic to the PCs and the world would be the worse for their success. The antagonist party has more money and help, but lack the imagination to crack the codes and ciphers left by Davyd before his death.
You Find a Scroll - The PCs discover the Anvil, but oblivious to its importance, discard it. Now, antagonists are hounding them for the scroll, but they dont know why, and when they discover why, they have to hunt down the scrolls themselves, or suffer the attention of dozens of treaure hunters, tomb raiders, and flat out thieves.
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? Responses (9)-9
I love pieces that are myth and history: Two thumbs and a tail.
Aumabsotanomistioustically instupitreous and thrupetralistic!
Oh, by the way-
I would like to point out that when I was reading the story, I didn't take any points off for it, but as I read it, it seemed like something was missing, like a paragraph got deleted and you didn't notice, or something.
Might want to check on that.
I too like ancient myths or half-forgotten histories to explain things, both as a GM (allows for plenty of false leads and red herrings) and as a player (much more interesting than the bash-the-monster-and-pinch-the-gold cliche)
The idea that the treasure is ancient knowledge rather than anything physically (like gold or weapons) might not be particularly original (I've used it myself before now as, I would guess, most Strolenites have) but I'm not going to mark you down for that - such treasure can lead to further scenarios
I also like that the treasure has actually been found but nobody knows it - great twist with all sorts of possibilities
I like the twist on the column and the last plot. The detail about the indecipherable shorthand is also good. One of the interesting things about the scroll is that if it's not enchanted it could deteriorate very quickly to the elements. On the whole though if you don't have an artificer in the party it's just another MacGuffin.
This one is very good - an excellent little secret and treasure.
Despite the magical properties missing, I loved the twist that the anvil wasn't an anvil at all. No apparent typos/grammatical errors, highly creative, I would have given a 5, if it wasn't for the missing section, but for now you get a 4.5. Think of it as an incentive to finishing it.
Hah, I love it: an anvil that isn't really an 'anvil' at all. Seeing as my current group knows a paramount master smith who'd eat this up, I think I'm stealing it.