Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Calender

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The Avern year has 360 days, and is divided into twelve 30 day months. The first day of the year is the day after the Winter Solstice, and is the first day of the Midwinter month.

According to the common calendar the months are called: Midwinter, Cromtyth, The Thawing, The Seeding, Sharythal, Greenwind, Highsun, Harvesttide, Sélfarin, Leaffall, Stormhall, and Eris-sar.

These names are derived from the old druidic calendar and the ecclesiastic calendar.

Each month is consistent with a Sélfas-till or lunar cycle. The months are themselves divided into three ten day weeks. The days of the week are called: Luen, Maith, Mercher, Liaith, Gwener, Saten, Silen, Wythan, Naith, and Deggan.

Liaith also called Midrest is not a typical working day. It is the big market day, where people visit nearby towns to trade and barter.

Naith and Deggan are not working days either. Naith is by most faiths the temple day, where people go to mass at the temple of their patron deity. The remainder of the day is typically spent with family or friends preparing the Supper of the Faithful, which is an important bonding ritual for most families. Deggan is typically a day of merriment and relaxation where people put thoughts of work aside until Luen.

These festive days are observed by most common people of the heart lands, though exceptions are common during busy seasons such as harvest season.
Current Events

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Recently Amroth faced the gravest threat from Dastana, the land of the Undead, since the Scourge of Morgul swept the land. The undead invaded Amroth in several locations, empowered by the Veil of Morgul. With the Veil effectively cutting off all divine magic, rendering clerics and paladins almost powerless – the undead advanced with great speed and the Royal Legion suffered a series of devastating defeats. It was not until a Knight of the Trinity, Duncan Fenwick recovered the relic “the Heart of the Sun”, that the Royal Legion was able to effectively fight back. In a number of hard-won battles, the tide of undead was stopped and the invasion halted. With the help of their allies; knights of Nova Nastara, the numerous mercenary companies in Amroth, and the churches of Asterioth and Helios, the Royal Legion has been able to drive the undead back – once again reaching a stalemate.
These days the endless skirmishes continue centered around the border with Dastana.
In response to this most recent threat, King Theomin III has begun the construction of the Royal College of War Magic, for the training of War mages. Aside from this, a number of rumours abound, chief among them that the King is planning an invasion into Dastana to once and for all cease the initiative and that the King plans to create a draft; making it law that all men aged 18-24 serve in the Royal Legion for at least one year, and that they remain available for duty until they reach 34.

Character introductions


Here follows a brief introduction to the characters of the party. Most of you have known each other for a number of years, probably since you were teenagers.

Eron Sunbow: Eron hails from a wealthy noble family, one of the few remaining in Amroth. He is the youngest of four brothers. His family are long time friends and allies of the Stark family, Eron’s father and Duke Stark fought together in service of the King. It was only natural that when Eron was 14 years old he was sent to Saron’s Gorge as the ward of the Stark family – to learn the warriors craft and experience life on the frontier. Eron has been taught to fight with the greatsword by Volgan Ravenscar, the Vors weapon master of House Stark – and has over the years developed a unique fighting style combining speed and strength. Eron is well liked in Saron’s Gorge and is know for being very protective of his honor, a trait which has gotten him into trouble on several occasions.

Erik Rainier: Erik is the son of Karl and Ada Rainier, Karl being the owner of the Black Willow lumber mill in Saron’s Gorge. Erik has two older brothers, Otho and Darin, and a younger sister Lydia. Growing up Erik fell in with a bad crowd, the two town bullies; Mirrek and Roy. At the same time Erik showed an unusual level of intelligence, which caught the eye of Lady Amara. While the circumstances surrounding the event are not quite clear, it was arranged for Erik to travel west to Glamis to the School of Wizardry to study. Erik left many people behind, including his childhood sweetheart Amelia Smith, who in his absence became engaged with a merchant from Dendrith. Erik recently returned to Saron’s Gorge a changed man, grown up and well taught in the arts of the arcane he carries himself with confidence and a greater understanding of who is he.

Serindë Moonshadow: Born in the Crystal Wood, in the city of Dalamara, Serindë is the eldest among three children. Her father Lenwë Moonshadow led a company of elven arches from the Crystal Wood, who assisted King Theomin III in the battle against the undead hordes from Dastana. Himself a great archer he strongly wished for his children to become enemies of the evil forces and to partake in life outside the sorcerous realm. Thus, he began to train them in the martial skills. Her younger twin brothers chose the greatsword as their favourite weapon, but Serindë chose another path. At an early stage her parents discovered a great deal of mental power in her and decided to guide her in another direction. She was meant to fight evil with her mind and so her parent decided to send her to Saron’s Gorge to stay with her uncle Saeros, the monk. They thought his experience in controlling and focusing her mental force could help her fulfil her potential.

Therefore, at the relatively young age of 80 she was sent to live among the humans in Saron’s Gorge. Though she as many crystal elves are a bit hot headed when it comes to defending her personal honour she quickly befriended some of the city’s youngsters and she began to feel at home in the town. As often as she could, Serindë went back to visit her parents, her brothers and her close friend Elemmirë who had chosen to study elven lore to become a sage like his father.

Aust Mínroth: The second son of mist elves Cúthalion and Míriel, was born on the deck of the “The Wind Song”, the great winged ship which is the home of his family and kin. A familiar guest in Saron’s Gorge, “The Wind Song” has long carried goods, timber and iron from the small village to hidden mist elf settlements across the land. From his early years Aust demonstrated a profound fascination with music and with magic and thus he was eventually sent to the Elderwood, to a distant relative, to become a priest of Corelleon Larethian. Here he stayed for many years and fell deeply in love with a mist elf called Círya. Círya, however, was not what she seemed, she was really a fey and thus she ultimately left him. The painful separation prompted Aust to leave the protection of the enchanted forest and journey back to Saron’s Gorge to find his family and to visit his friend Serindë. In the village he made fast friends with Eron and Erik, and he has also made an unlikely friendship with Balin, the dwarf innkeeper, with whom he shares a love of singing.

“Quest”
The party has already undertaken a few quests with each other, consisting primarily of dealing with bandits, a few Orcs and protecting lumber shipments for Erik’s father. Most recently, you all travelled with Erik to Amroth where he applied for membership in the Seekers Guild; a loosely organized society of explorer, fortune hunters and adventuring scholars, who travel the world for ancient secrets, lost magic and antique artwork

As we begin our story we find the party travelling through the Umbral Forest, hunting a wounded owlbear – responsible for repeated attacks on a nearby lumber camp.
The Map of Amroth

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Saron’s Gorge

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Welcome…welcome traveler to Saron’s Gorge, where we mine the finest iron in Amroth and the days are filled with wonder. I see that you are wearing a sword and armor, adventurer yes? Well if it is adventure you seek, then you have come to the right place. You know, most of Amroth was elven lands once, now there are only few elves left, some say they live in the Elderwood – I do not know if that is true or not but in the nearby Umbral Woods, I have heard of old ruins, some say old elven ruins – no doubt filled with treasure and secrets. Yes, I see your eyes light up, treasure and secrets, not bad eh? But mind you the Umbral Woods is not exactly a safe place, filled with dire wolves, goblins, and from time to time trolls from Blackmoor. As you can see the village is nestled in the mountains; where Lord Stark from time to time hunts wyvern and manticores and just on the other side of the mountains, gnolls, gnolls by the thousands. Every summer they come, into the mountains raiding and pillaging, but not to worry Lord Stark and the Royal Legions will keep us safe. Aside from this, there is plenty of work to find here for a young man as yourself, caravan guard, miner, or as an apprentice in the smithy – and the nights, oh the night – well if you have coin, then I would recommend that you spend them in Dorin’s Inn, where he serves the finest Dwarven spirits and his signature dish, rack of lamb seasoned with fresh spices and if you are lucky, then Dorin will sing. Yes, we have many wonders here in Saron’s Gorge.

History:
Saron’s Gorge was settled more than 250 years ago, when the iron was discovered. The village was named after a large gorge discovered nearby. A small settlement quickly sprang up, mining the iron and shipping it to Dendrith for processing. The settlement was plagued by repeated raids from gnolls, and a small fort was built nearby to protect the main mountain pass leading south, and garrisoned with Royal Legionnaires. It was widely accepted that if the iron mined was not of such a high quality, the village would have been abandoned. Out of the way, from the settled lands of Amroth, Saron’s Gorge remained a small village until King Theomin III came to power 30 years ago. As a sign of favor, King Theomin III granted the lands surrounding Saron’s Gorge and the responsibility of the mining and the foresting to one of his oldest and staunchest supporters; Duke Eddard Stark. Since Duke Stark has taken over, the village has grown considerably and has now become a small town. Duke Stark built a lumber mill to process the lumber harvested in nearby Umbral Wood, and constructed a small keep, where the Stark family lives alongside their Household guards and servants. With the Duke came several of his retainers, who also settled in the town among them Lady Amara, Dorin and Volgan Ravenscar.

Overview:
Saron’s Gorge is located in the South-Western tip of Amroth, nestled in the mountains, approximately, half a day from the Umbral Woods. Saron’s Gorge has grown considerably over the last 30 years to a population of approximately 1500, excluding the 100 Royal Legionnaires. Most of the people work either in the lumber mills or in the mine, but with the growth of the town several craftsmen have set-up shop in the city including a blacksmith, a tanner, carpenter and a large inn. There are also a number of shepherds, living in the mountains surrounding Saron’s Gorge, where they tend to their flocks. Once a year, they drive the sheep into town, where their wool is cut and shipped north to Amroth City. The town is divided into three; 1) the mine site, where many of the miners also live in what is being called “shack-town”, 2) the lumber mills, where the craftsmen have set-up shop and the Foaming Mug is located. There are two lumber mills in Saron’s Gorge; one built by Duke Stark which supplies much of the raw material for buildings and support for the mine and a smaller mill owned by Karl Rainier which focuses on black willow exports and 3) the town center where the keep, two general stores and the inn Dorin’s Rest is located. In the town center many of the well-to-do families live. Recently a small chapel was built in the town center, where Father Siegfried now ministers the word of Asterioth.

A short walk from the town center there is a watchtower hailing back to the founding of Saron’s Gorge, where Lady Amara lives.

About a days journey into the mountains from Saron’s Gorge lies the Royal Legion garrison led by Captain Steiner. It is a small fort guarded by 100 Royal Legionnaires, protecting the southern border of Amroth. It is not uncommon to see a few Royal Legionnaires in Saron’s Gorge.

The near-by Umbral Woods is where most of the lumber is harvested. One has to be careful when venturing into it’s darkness for trolls from the Blackmoor swamp venture there. The Umbral Woods are named for the darkness within it. This is mostly due to the black willows growing there. Black willows look much like common weeping willows do, except that the bark of their trunks is pitch black and the leaves on their branches are a dark ash gray. They are ominous and gloomy to behold but their wood is a beautiful jet black and easily takes a glossy luster if polished. Thus small groups of armed woodsmen at times go into the forest to find the finest trees as it’s timber is highly prized in lands as far south as Alakir and as far west as Talaron.

Notable characters:

Duke Eddard Stark: The lord of Saron’s Gorge and the surrounding lands. Duke Stark, also known as just “The Duke” is widely known for his exploits in the wars against Dastana, where he fought alongside King Theomin III. Duke Stark was also a strong supporter of the King during the unification of Amroth. Know as a pious and just man – he has become famous, as he insists on carrying out the King’s Justice personally. He is married to Lady Caroline, the daughter of a Nova Nastaran nobleman and the father of Bran, Arya and Sansa Stark.

Lady Amara: The Lady Amara served Duke Stark during the Dastana Wars, and since followed him to Saron’s Gorge. The Lady is a Weaver of some notability, but keeps to herself. Every so often there are wild rumors of where she is from, what she does in her tower and who her frequent visitors are. However, she has on several occasions used her spells to aid Duke Stark and the people of Saron’s Gorge, most recently when the mine collapsed. She is well-liked, but a favorite subject for gossip among the women of the town.

Volgan Ravenscar: Volgan Ravenscar is a large Vors warrior and the weapon master of the Stark household. He also leads the Household guard; 15 veterans from the Dastana Wars. Known for his great temper and his seemingly endless capacity for drinking ale, he is the favorite companion of Dorin, the innkeeper of Dorin’s Rest. Volgan used to be an adventurer before he came into the service of the Duke, and many a nights he will entertain the customers in Dorin’s Rest with outrageous stories of his skill and previous adventures.

Father Siegfried: Father Siegfried is a young cleric from Othian. He came to Saron’s Gorge at the request of Duke Stark. Ministering to the townsfolk, he is a devout cleric of Asterioth and has built a small chapel in the center of the town. He spends his time teaching the children of the town reading, religion and history. One day a week, he visits the mine, where he and his acolytes care for the miners and their families in a small hospital built by Duke Stark.

Other notable characters: Dorin Wyrmbane (innkeeper: Dorin’s Rest, dwarf), Captain Steiner (Captain of the Royal Legion), Karl Rainier (owner of the Black Willow lumber mill), Thorak Wyrmbane (Dorin’s brother), Tradis Winthrop (innkeeper: The Foaming Mug), Ulrich (blacksmith).

Rumors:
Rumors abound in Saron’s Gorge from gnoll incursions to troll attacks in the Umbral Woods, and wyverns attacking the sheep in the mountains. Most recently, a group of lumberjacks stumbled across some overgrown ruins in the Umbral Woods which they claimed looked ancient. Unfortunately, before they could investigate they were beset by goblins and fled. Since then a few groups of adventures have tried to find the ruins again, but unsuccessfully so far. There have also been rumors of necromancers and stillborn from Dastana infiltrating Amroth, spying, looking for weaknesses and spreading their foul magicks. Recently there was a bandit attack on one of the iron caravans to Dendrith, but it was fought off by the Royal Legionnaires. Rumor has it that Duke Stark have contracted a group of workers from Dorin’s clan to build a smelting facility and a number of forges in order to process the iron ore in Saron’s Gorge, which would lead to more jobs and further growth, but it is unclear how the merchants in Dendrith would view such a venture.