Volume #2, Issue #4. (Feb 9, 1994)

Genesis Man/Founder:digdug@iastate.edu
Hack and Slash Man/Editor:msphil@birds.wm.edu

World Index

  1. Forgotten Realms
  2. Greyhawk
  3. SpellJammer
  4. Mystara
  5. Thunder Rift
  6. Ærth
  7. Barsaive
  8. Original
  9. Lakewood
  10. Isthane

Other Interesting Stuff

  1. Reader's Forum

Reporters this issue:
    Sir Kirkland (knorthrup@vnet.ibm.com)
    Eric F. Schetley (onestar+@pitt.edu)
    Kyriakos Sgarbas (HA+3) (sgarbas@upatras.gr)
    Richard Pugh (rjpugh@aol.com)
    Eric L. Boyd (boyd@eecs.umich.edu)
    Jim Rothwell (rothwell@strauss.udel.edu)
    Vincent Gray (VINCE@sscl.uwo.ca)
    Mike Phillips (msphil@birds.wm.edu)
    Patrick A. Lovings (5665@ef.gc.maricopa.edu)
    DM Bloodglutton (mdmnh@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
    Sandy E. Murphy (IO01092@MAINE.maine.edu)
    Brother Tyrus (tyrus@dragon.hna.com.au)

Forgotten Realms

It has been recently reported that Daggerdale has been taken over by the Zhents fleeing the destruction of Zhentil Keep (as per PRINCE OF LIES).
King Gronk Granite-eye of the newly restored Granite Pass outpost, one of the few traversable passes through the mountains between Daggerdale and Anauroch, has declared war on the Zhents now controlling that area. The Zhents are holding the residents of Daggerfalls as slaves and now occupy the Flaming Tower, now thought to be a beholder temple.
King Gronk is asking for assistance in his campaign against the evil Zhents, notices have been posted in Hillsfar, Arabel, and with King Bruenor Battlehammer of Mythril Hall. His small outpost is sorely outnumbered by the hordes of goblinkind that make up the majority of the Zhentish forces.
Mercenary troops, adventurers, and representatives from the Company of Stalwart Adventurers are said to be in route to aid King Gronk and his Fellowship of the Empty Mug in his campaign.

King Gronk and his Fellowship of the Empty Mug are still trying to hold off the Zhentish army that has taken Daggerdale. In a tactical move, the Zhentish army sent about 30 troops to cut off the supply route from Bordertown to Granite Pass. Fortunately, a scout reported this to King Gronk. King Gronk took his Fellowship down the pass to where the troops were and found only a couple of sentries. These King Gronk and Kharos Ironforge took out from range while three other members of the group were scouting the area from a carpet of flying. The horses of the group were found, but the vast majority of the soldiers had gone into a concealed cave at the end of the pass. While Gronk and Kharos went to take the sentry out at the horses and scatter the troops' means of travel, the others were scouting the pass. Laurellin the mage walked up to a very spooked Zhentish soldier to find out that the rest of his troop was apparently destroyed by something in the cave. The soldier forced the lone mage to accompany him back to the cave. Meanwhile, the dwarves were picked up by the flying carpet and taken back to Laurellin. The dwarves, half crazy as it is, jumped from the carpet onto the poor Zhentish soldier. Unfortunately, he did not live through the encounter. The Fellow-ship decided to explore the cave, if only to understand how it affects the security of Granite Pass. They found that it is an old base for a yet living band of adventurers. Somewhere in this cave is the sword Heartseeker, which whoever occupied this place did not want to fall into Pergeiron's hands (Lord of Waterdeep). After some encounters with undead and a very lucky battle against a mummy (Thank the gods for a wand of conjuring and summoning for the extra cannon fodder), the party did find the sword Heartseeker, a holy sword. Instead of being intelligent and leaving immediately, the group went on some more. Gronk fell down a chute trap to the lair of a red dragon (and a pile of scorched Zhents). Luckily for Gronk, the dragon wanted a deal. A mage (one working for the Zhents in Daggerdale, of course) had stolen two dragon-eggs from this lair, and the dragon demanded their return. Gronk quickly agreed (to save his hide) to return the eggs within two weeks but had to leave Heartseeker as insurance of his return. So, the Fellowship lives another day.
On returning to Granite Pass, they found that around 100 orcs had attacked the outpost. The enemy forces were climbing the narrow road up to the outposts and taking heavy losses because of the tactical advantage held by the post. King Gronk, the Fellowship, and 12 elite dwarven warriors who had just returned from an earlier mission attacked the rearguard of the attacking force. After a quick skirmish with the orcs and some intense individual fights with the leaders of the force, the dwarves were victorious in the First Battle of Granite Pass.

Sir Kirkland: knorthrup@vnet.ibm.com

Reports are beginning to filter in at Waterdeep that an unexplored island on a trade route between Waterdeep and Maztica has disappeared. Several ships that follow that trade route have reported the disappearance.
No official word has been released as to the island's disappearance, but one sailor (who asked his name not be released) reported seeing a strange, pink cloud moving away toward that general direction a day before it was first reported missing.
"I dint' know what to make of it," he was quoted as saying, "but it was huge and pink an' dint' move liken any cloud I's ever seen." So far, no one has commented on the occurence.

Eric F. Schetley: onestar+@pitt.edu

The Swords of Light adventuring company has arrived in Tilverton to a hero's welcome! The band apparently shifted a flying castle to another plane seconds before it plummeted into the center of Tilverton, avoiding mass death and destruction. Numerous parades, medals, and other honors were bestowed by the grateful populace. Lady Regent Alasalynn Rowanmantle has proclaimed the band "Exalted Heroes of the Realms" - whatever THAT means.
The band disappeared into the Stonelands several weeks previous, supposedly on the trail of a slaving organization that has been plaguing northern Cormyr and the Stonelands. It is unknown whether the slavers were dispersed, but slaving raids have decreased in the region in the past few weeks. The Swords of Light apparently recovered several lost caches of magic and gems, but the Rogues of Tilverton have steered clear of the band out of gratitude.
Currently the Swords are reported to be staying in Tilverton at the Temple of Gond Wondermaker (formerly Gharri's House), as several of the band reportedly needed powerful clerical magic. Both the paladin Dylan of Torm and the warrior Jaxx had magically withered limbs suffered while clearing out Talagard's Turret, a fortified waystation along the Stonebelt Trail.
Rumor has it that the Swords are headed next for ruined Myth Drannor, but others claim they are planning to stay in Tilverton and rule as a Council of Lords.

Eric L. Boyd: boyd@eecs.umich.edu

Waterdeep : Nightal 12, 2063

There are rumors that the gypsy band that has been performing in the Market, and at various other places in the city may be renting space in one of the villas near the Standing Statue. They are currently staying at the Dripping Dagger, and are available for shows.

It appears that several halflings may be missing from the village near Blackrock alley (between the High Road and Dragon's Way in South district). Rumors varry as to the exact number, but they seem to include a priestess of the village, as well some children. It is speculated that the priestess went in search of the children, but no one will comment.

Those venturing into the snow covered City (of the Dead) in the late afternoon can usually be treated to the sight of a very large dog being exercised and trained. Note: the dog is actually a wolf, and is a familiar to a witch (male) conjurer. The training involves some combat training, as well as simple exercise. The witch is careful to disguise his calling.

The grain riots continue, and have spread to include guild establishments, as well as the few independents who seem to have been the cause of rising grain prices (and bread prices, beer prices, etc.) The guard has been called in to diffuse a few situations, as have some teams from the Order. The riots are still mainly concentrated in Dock and South wards, though some incidents have happened in Trades and Castle wards.

Jim Rothwell: rothwell@strauss.udel.edu

Forgotten Realms, pre-troubles (modified):

The SVG adventuring group (known to foes as the Silly Vicious Goons) has recently experienced some changes in its organization, and has won a series of major successes.

SVG is composed of:  Presteria  -- human cleric/mage        (10/9)
                     Bombart    -- dwarven fighter          (9)
                     Ralf       -- dwarven fighter          (9)
                     Janni      -- human swashbuckler thief (11)
                     Ora        -- gnome illusionist/thief  (8/8)
                     Arman      -- human ranger             (7)
                     Keymil     -- human cleric             (9)
                     Trionalas  -- elven cleric/mage        (8/8)

The organizational changes that have occured concern Ora and Arman. Ora had been a henchman of Janni; she has been promoted to full party membership, following constant good service, and a singular success against carrion crawlers attacking the party. Arman had been a hireling, charged with protecting Presteria (who is forbidden to use any weapon...); after a notable success, detailed below, he too attained full party membership. It is rumoured that SVG is considering adding a second ranger, one "Galan of the Hills" to their party.
Adventuring to the east of Silverymoon, the party discovered an abandoned dwarven complex. Abandoned is used advisedly, as it had been taken over by a band of kobolds; larger areas had been claimed by a group of trolls. The kobolds were very organized, beyond what would be expected, and possessed both ballistae and Greek fire. After a very difficult series of battles, the party managed to clear the kobolds and disposed of the trolls.
What surprised SVG more than anything else was the level of organization of the kobolds. After interrogating a captive, it discovered that there was also a "walking statue" in the area; investigating, they discovered a secret door behind the statue. In turn, this discovery led them into another complex off the kobold lair, which contained living quarters of one of their former opponents (who had been killed off the coast of Straitguard Island).
This opponent, Corm Alantan, a human cleric of Myrkul (and formerly an illusionist), had left his area trapped quite adequately. A particularly painful discovery was the glyph of blade barrier left behind to guard his living quarters and research centre: Presteria and Ora died from the experience. The multiple traps on Corm's permanent spellbooks, although difficult to deal with, claimed no casualties.
The party has since claimed this area as a centre of operations; authorities in Silverymoon are prepared to allow this. Notices advertising for an alchemist have been posted in Silverymoon: this to be a staff position funded by SVG (see copy below). SVG also hopes the presence of a dwarven shrine in the complex (guarded by iron golems) will also attract dwarves to follow Ralf and/or Bombart.
Party members were approached by representatives of the Harpers, with a view to recruiting members; it is unclear whether any SVG members have joined with the Harpers. It is known, however, that SVG was instrumental in freeing the ruler of Mirabar: the Red Wizards are suspected of involvement in his disappearance. However, less reliable reports indicate that the disappearance might be simply part of an ongoing contest between the Mage of Shadowdale and a foreign wizard named Dalamar the Black.
Following this success, SVG attracted two paladins of Torm to their banner, and set out after a black dragon (led by the nose, by a sword possessed by Ralf). Arriving at the swamp, the party searched for a long period of time, and finally managed to locate the dragon (turned to stone), by what villagers nearby reported to be a medusa. An apparent movement of a stone claw of the beast was later discovered to be a illusion cast by Ora: she was severely chastised. Arriving at the medusa's lair (a deep pit), the party was horrified to discover that the beast was in fact a beholder: both of the paladins vanished as they were struck by the beams from the beholder's eyes.
Janni had met a messy fate prior to the discovery of the beholder. She had opted to jump into the pit, trusting to Ora's feather fall spell to arrest her movement: unfortunately, the spell failed against the beholder's central eye beam, and Janni plunged 120' to lie broken and bleeding at the bottom of the pit.
Bombart had experienced the same fate, as his cloak of arachnida catastrophically failed: he maintained his consciousness, only to be telekinesed up onto a group of stalactites at the ceiling. Managing to grab hold of one, he attempted to secure his hold by pounding an iron spike into the stalactite, which shattered and again sent him plunging to the floor.
Other party members quickly rappeled down into the pit: after hitting the beholder a couple of times, Ralf was petrified by the beholder [after successfully making 9 saving throws]; Ora managed to bind Janni's wounds on the off-chance that she still lived. Hence, the battle against the beholder was largely left to Arman, Bombart being unconscious, the paladins gone, and Ralf petrified.
Arman made the hit of his life: taking his time, and swinging very carefully [called shot], he managed to sever a number of the beholder's eye stalks. When the beast turned to flee [disintegrate, CSW, petrification, slow all severed], Arman struck an even more telling blow, and split the beast in two. For his valour and service above and beyond the call of duty, Arman was promoted to full party member.
Returning to the village, SVG was disconcerted to discover that the inhabitants were freed of charms cast by the beholder, and both apologetic and thankful for their release.
The party travelled back to Waterdeep and began investigating Undermountain. It appears that they annoyed someone or some group: one of their servants was murdered, and a message left on the body. Upon ignoring the message, SVG was attacked by a band of hireswords, known as the Band of the Broken Land: after a difficult battle, SVG won the day. One survivor of the Band of the Broken Land escaped, returning later to gather up some of the bodies of his fallen comrades. He (and they) have since departed Waterdeep.
SVG appears to have followed suit: reports indicate that they visited Mirabar, but are now again in the Silverymoon vicinity.

                               For Hire

                       One Experienced Alchemist
                      for an indeterminate period
                        by the Adventuring Band

                        Salary to be negotiated
                     Equipped laboratory provided
                         Apprentice negotiable

                       Contact Presteria at the
                           Temple of Mystra

Vincent Gray: VINCE@sscl.uwo.ca

Damara/Barony of Bloodstone/Bloodstone Village,
DR1149 (FR1359-Year of the Serpent)
9th of Tarsakh of the Storms (April)

The terrible news spread all over Damara: His Excellency Baron Gareth Dragonsbane, ruler of the Barony of Bloodstone, was stabbed during the Outdoor Feast held at the Closing Ceremony of the six-day celebration he had announced due to the reopening of the Galena Mountains. Thankfully, although the Baron was seriously injured, he managed to escape from death.
In the Baron's table were invited all the winners of the contests held in the previous days of the celebration. The man who tried to murder Baron Dragonsbane was the winner of the jousting competition, Sir Alfred Pickwick, a 30 year old paladin. Of course, that man was an imposter. The real Sir Alfred Pickwick has been reported to be on a mission in Vaasa during all 6 days of the celebration.
The imposter had been injured during the jousting tournament and he had his left arm bandaged. Because of his "injury", the guards neglected to search his bandaged arm. That's how he managed to carry the lethal dagger to the Baron's table without being noticed. The imposter and his companion maiden were sitting close to the Baron. Just when the bards had started to entertain the people, sudden darkness fell over the Baron's table. When the patrolling priests finally dispelled the darkness, Baron Dragonsbane was found unconscious, bleeding to death while the imposter and his maiden had disappeared. The Baron was carried immediately to his tower where he was nursed by Quillian the Sage himself. Baron Dragonsbane was reported to have escaped danger, but he is still too weak to leave bed.

Kyriakos Sgarbas: sgarbas@upatras.gr

Eveningstar: NEW HEROES IN TOWN?
The Knights of the Rising Sun (formally the Knights of the Order of the Rainbow), upon their return to Eveningstar, were treated to a drink by a native of the town. The next morning, a man came looking for them claiming fame and fortune but bearing a woeful tale. Daggerdale, to the Northeast of Eveningstar, was beset by a strange illness. The Knights proceed to take up the call. The former Order of the Rainbow became the Knights of the Rising Sun in the city of Arabel, where they also inducted three new members into their group. Orland and Bensen, Raven, and Fayatan.
After meeting with the rebel leader Randel and his men and the Constable Trent, the Knights entered the Temple. There, they found the cause of the troubles and put an end to them. They then traveled to Shadowdale to meet with Elminster, to sell him various magical items of no use to the party. They soon returned to Eveningstar to begin work on their keep.
Throughout the months of Tarsakh and Mirtul, they were very productive, but between the dates of Kythorn 1-6, King Azoun IV visited, halting work for a week. On Flamerule 28, a swarm of cicadas slowed work by two weeks, and during the month of Eleasias work continued. The first of Eleint, the skies above Eveningstar was plagued with the symbol of Cyric. Rain began to pour for three weeks, during which time a visiting bard recorded their exploits. Work was slowed seven weeks, beginning again on the 7th of Uktar and continued until the 30 of Ches. They are now beginning to adventure afresh, with a new keep and many new friends. What does the world of the Forgotten Realms hold in store for them? Tune in next month to find out...
Reported by: Carrik Rayajavikk

Patrick A. Lovings: 5665@ef.gc.maricopa.edu

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Spelljammer: Greyspace: The Spectre (Greyhawk tie-in)

Official Press Release of the Spelljammer's Aid Society
Over the past several months, scro pirates and mercenaries have been attacking space vessels owned by adventurers and powerful merchants. There have been conflicting reports regarding these attacks, but they are assumed to be connected and one controlling party is involved. Who this person or persons is has not been determined.
The latest series of attacks has been on the diskworld of Spectre, in Greyspace. Five ships have been destroyed by the scro in the last four months, including the famed hammership Eternal Wanderer.
Holinor Brightscales, executive director of the Narrashan Towing and Salvage Service, oversaw the salvage of the Eternal Wanderer. He has been unavailable for comment since the incident, but a representative of the Narrashan company made the following statement:

"The Eternal Wanderer wasss dessstroyed asss part of a commerccccial conflict with the employer of the sscro mercccennariesss."

Little additional information has been found. All that is known is that a powerful commercial adversary wanted the Eternal Wanderer destroyed and its crew killed. One should also note that local authorities found the charred, burned body of a Dizantur near the sight of the wreck. Apparently this dizantur had orders to assassinate the Eternal Wanderer's second mate, the famed arcane inventor and scholar, Blaise Pascal.
The crew of the Eternal Wanderer was last seen in Krynnspace, where they recently defeated a pirate operation, as reported last month. They are now using a converted illithid dreadnought, named the Eternal Wanderer II. It is assumed that the dreadnought is the same one that was located in the flow near Realmspace some months back. How the dreadnought was transported and converted in such a short time has not been adequately explained. The Narrashan Towing and Salvage Service, which also oversaw certain aspects of the salvage and conversion, has refused to disclose any details.
Witnesses on Spectre do report seeing Narrashan tradesman making frequent trips to and from Spectre, carrying lumber, metals, and other ship building materials. The only non-Narrashan ship involved in this incident was a kraken-class squidship called the Calla Maraine, owned by Tiegorus of Maplegrove, a friend of the Eternal Wanderer's crew.
All adventurers are advised to be on the alert for attacks from pirates and mercenaries, especially if they are carrying powerful spelljamming equipment.
Additional details will be posted as they become available.

Richard Pugh: rjpugh@aol.com

Editor's note: the following appeared in my mailbox. I thought it would interest the readers, although I was unable to ascertain who this mysterious contributor was. If you run across this "Shadow Monk", please let me know!

by the Shadow Monk

I recently made a trip to the city of Greyhawk with the intention of investigating reports that dragons, Greyhawk dragons, resided in the city in secret. I found that the reports are indeed true.
After tracking the magical emmenations of several hundred residents, the ones that I supected because of their behavior, I decided to confront the top ten suspects, and go from there. The third resident that I confronted responded in the following manner:

    Monk: "Excuse me, cousin. Would you like to discuss the philosophy and art of this part of the continent over the last thousand years? It has always been an interest of mine."
    Marcus (the resident in question): "Do I know you, friend?"
    Monk: "I don't believe we have met. So I take it you are not interested in art and philosophy?"
    Marcus: "Quite the contrary, actually. I'd love to discuss these things with you. How about coming to my house tonight for dinner?"

I accepted, and later asked him straight out, "Are you of the species called 'Greyhawk dragon'?" At first he laughed at me, but I knew that this was no ordinary being.
We had been playing magical manipulation games all evening. I would try to Know his Alignment, and he would counter by Altering his Psychic Footprint. I would Shield my Thoughts moments before he Probed them. I would try to Penetrate his Disguise but find that a Mental Barrier was in place. All the while, we carried on a conversation about the artistic value found in the paintings of Juhlamy, and the like. But he could not hide the fact that he was much more than he was pretending to be.
When he stopped laughing at my seemingly ridiculous query and noted that I was quite serious, he asked me some questions which proved to him that I intended no harm to him or to his kind. He then agreed to an interview, as long as I respected his privacy.
In the interview that followed, he showed me his true form to prove to me that he was indeed a dragon, and he told me of his current status in the city, proving that he was (and had been for a long time) living in the city of Greyhawk.
I could say more, but I send this report as it stands, to protect the privacy of "Marcus". I will say this, however: Greyhawk is a much better place because of the likes of "Marcus" and his kind.

The Shadow Monk: ???@???


After receiving news of the untimely demise of a member of The Sleepless Knights, the Duke's special, non-humanoid task-force, and the complete dissappearence of another four members at the hands of 'The Necromancers', a band of evil mages, the Duke has offered a reward to any member of the public who has information that leads to the capture of these villains.
The Sleepless Knights were charged with the duties of conducting espionage within the Valley of the Mage, and apprehending (killing, maiming, or dismembering) 'The Necromancers'. After encountering them on two occasions, the Necromancers are believed to have called on the powers of some ancient evil being, causing the death and disappearence of the Knights. The escape of the final member of the Knights is believed to be more a matter of good luck on his part than good management.
The Duke has subsequently decreed that a reward of 2000 gold pieces will be paid to any member of the public that provides correct information as regards the whereabouts of 'The Necromancers'. A further reward of 5000 GP will be paid to anyone who presents the head of one of the evil mages to His Excellency. A bonus 5000 GP will be paid to anyone who presents the heads of all five Necromancers, bringing the total reward to 30000 GP.
The Palace has further decreed that because of the seriousness of this matter, and the fact the The Necromancers are long-time enemies of Bissel, the Duchy of Geoff, and their neighbours, anyone attempting to mislead the Palace with false information (or false heads) will be punished severely.
It is also rumoured that the Duke has paid the surviving member of The Sleepless Khights (a Fremlin) a very generous allowance, and has retained his services as 'Special Advisor', with reference to non- humanoid affairs.
A committee has been appointed to investigate the possibility and likely outcomes of a mission to discover the fate of the four missing Knights. This committee will report to the Ministry for Ethnic Affairs - Non-humanoid (M.E.A.N.) who will determine the best course of action before reporting to the Duke.

DM Bloodglutton: mdmnh@cc.newcastle.edu.au

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Dark Sun

The Templars of Tyr are frantically trying to ascertain the nature of a strange flying vessel that was seen in the sky over Tyr approximately ten days ago.
The craft has been described as being a bright blue in color, with silver and green highlights. It vaguely resembles a marine squid, like those that can still be found in some of the few seas of Athas. The vessel was also carrying a crew of what appeared to be humans, some types of elves, what appeared to be bearded dwarves, and one creature that looked like a winged ape. The only distinguishing marks on the craft was an inscription carrying the name of the vessel: "Calla Maraine."
An attempt was made to capture the craft, and a large amount of magic was exchanged between the Templars and what appeared to be a wizard from the strange craft. Based on the magic that was employed by the wizard, it is assumed that the wizard (described as a human female) is some type of Preserver. The Templars have determined, through divination, that this craft is independent of the Veiled Alliance. A frantic search for information about this craft is being conducted. Historical records exist of vessels like this one, but none have been reported in almost eight centuries.
Members of the vessels crew broke into the royal museum of Tyr and stole a rather nondescript artifact. The artifact is reported to be one of five pieces of a larger artifact called the "Key of Darran- Koor." Incidentally, Darran-Koor is a legendary wizard who reportedly came from "another world" and, according to the legend, made the conversion to Avangion about five-hundred years ago. No portion of this legend has been proven as fact.
Currently, no attempt is being made to recover the relatively mundane artifact, but a grand reward is being offered for the flying craft or information leading to its capture.
The craft was last sighted over the Sea of Silt. An attempt was made to track it using various psionic powers, but the craft eluded extended tracking. Apparently, someone or something on the craft was able to combat the psionic scrying and disrupt it long enough for the craft to hide itself. One witness has also described the craft as being able to turn invisible.
Additional information will be made available as it arrives. All citizens of Tyr are encouraged to report any sightings of the mysterious craft to the Templars or Tyr as soon as possible. An artist's representation of the craft is on display in the Grand Plaza, near the Great Ziggurat.

Richard Pugh: rjpugh@aol.com

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The following is an official release from the Council of Magic, Omni.

As of Dayrise, Martak 14, 2569, the fourth planetary body of system Omnispace, Sphereworld, disappeared.
The disappearance was first reported by orbital observatory outpost Tarakalam shortly after dayrise.
Sphereworld has been an interplanetary anomoly since its first reported observation in 1126. The "planet", an E-size world, is actually a Dyson's Sphere. Spelljamming vessels have never been able to land on Sphereworld; it projected a reversal field that none could penetrate.
The world was colored black and appeared to be of the same material the Spheres are composed of. This is conjecture, however, since no ship has ever landed on the surface.
Unable to touch the surface, astronomers, sages, and wizards used to man observation asteriods. With the use of modified crystal balls, the surface was mapped and explored. There were two major continents, one on each side of the "surface", surrounded by water on all sides. The world was populated by all known races of sentients.
One person was known to escape Sphereworld, the samurai Onestar. How this was managed is unknown, although divine intervention is rumored.
Sages have long believed that Sphereworld was the creation of the gods, for whatever reason they have never revealed. However, since this has never been proven, it cannot be counted as fact.
Devonshire Tawrn,
Deputy Minister of Interplanetary Affairs,
Omni, Omnispace

Omnispace: Omni,

Omnispace's oldest, wisest, and most controversial sage died today outside the Spire of Eternal Thought. Andresson predicted that Omnispace was doomed to a painful death if they did not stop the Council's attempt of controlling all magic.
While Andresson has been predicting the end of Omnispace for the past 200 hundred years (quite a long for a human), the crowd gathered by the Spire today commented after his collapse that he "seemed quite sincere, even frightened."
Andresson spoke for 15 minutes then died from what appeared to be heart failure. His body was taken into the Spire after collapsing. Second Magican Tannenbam Colicor commented to the crowd after Andresson collapsed that "a great man has left us. No longer will he share his insight with us...no longer guide us along the correct path."
This proved to be interesting, since Colicor has been a long- standing feud between Colicor and Andresson. Andresson, considered radical for his views and stands, was almost removed from the sphere on several occasions by Colicor. He might have succeded were it not for Lord Monitor "running interference."
Andresson had no heirs. He did write up a will, however, and it is expected to be read next week.

Omnispace: Omni,

Second Magican Tannenbam Colicor has upped the ante on his search for Artifacts (announced two months back). He is now offering 250,000 GP for each genuine artifact brought to him at the Spire of Eternal Thought.
However, reports from the Spire indicate that if you've got an artifact you're thinking about selling, you'd better make it fast. Lord Monitor, it has been rumored, has been yelling in Council sessions at Colicor at his actions.
Lord Monitor, after returning from his years-long journey, has not been pleased with Colicor's actions. Lord Monitor has not approved of Colicor's actions, and unrest has occured in Council because of this.
In a related matter, one of the first artifacts brought before Colicor remains to be determined. New information about this artifact has been released in hopes that someone might know its secrets.
It is a box approximately 2ft by 2ft by 2ft. Crafted in a dark bronze, the box radiates magic. There appears to be no way to open the box, but it also has a large red indentation on the top.
Anyone with knowledge or information about this artifact is requested to contact Tannenbam Colicor on Omni.

Eric F. Schetley: onestar+@pitt.edu

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The Republic of Darokin: Akorros:

The barge guards hired by the merchant Bancohr limped into Akorros' harbor, the barge barely afloat. They talked of a gigantic creature made of water and multiple ambushes along the way. As they were obtaining the warehouse space for the barge's cargo, one of the unloading cranes collapsed, driving its arm through the makeshift repairs in the barge's hull, and sinking the worn vessel.
The guards, upset and distraught, reported to the authorities. One of the guards later turned up dead, and the remainder fled the city after reports of a reward offered for their heads began circulating.
They were last seen heading south.

The Republic of Darokin: Darokin City:

Bancohr, a merchant dealing in fine porcelaine, placed an insurance claim on the cargo destroyed in the accident in Akorros. Lord's of Darokin is said to have insured the cargo for its full value. Rumor places the claim to be in excess of 100,000 daros (gold pieces). The merchant has already announced his plans to leave the mercantile life.

Mike Phillips: msphil@birds.wm.edu

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Thunder Rift

The tiny farming village of Rillford was saved recently when three brave villagers ventured forth in search of the miller. The miller had been sent, with the town's collected savings, to the great city of Melinir, where he was to buy seed, as the crop had recently been destroyed by a freak hailstorm.
When the miller was more than a week over due, the brave youths set forth. They stumbled across his ruined cart and the carcass of his ox, and followed his trail through the mysterious Dark Forest. They finally found their way through a strange ring of red mushrooms, discovering themselves in the realm of the Faerie!
It took some doing, but they were able to convince the miller, who was enjoying himself immensely at a Faerie feast, to return home. The Faerie Queen gave them a sack of "perfect grain" for their trouble, and this grain, not planted until midsummer, has grown extremely well, despite having survived a minor drought. Unfortunately, the villagers were unsuccessful in obtaining additional seed.

Mike Phillips: msphil@birds.wm.edu

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Francia: Paris:

The latest opera performed at L'Opera Lyrique has provoked a great scandal and many outrages. The story revolves around a woman with extremely loose morals, and, unable to find a singer to play the part, the producers were forced to hire a harlot and train her. In addition, the chorus girls have expressed their displeasure at the parts they must play, and the production is in ruins. The composer is avoiding the public, and rumor has it that his health is extremely poor at the moment.

Mike Phillips: msphil@birds.wm.edu

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This is the setting for Earthdawn. It is described in this month's Reader's Forum.

The players gathered together in a way common to the day, each seeking the companionship and safety of a group in these dangerous times, to seek fame and fortune. In the northeastern corner of Barsaive is the small but growing town of Haven, built on the edge of the ruined city of Parlainth. Parlainth was a Theran city during the Scourge. However, to protect itself during the scourge it did not use the regular Rites of Warding and Protection. Through the use of great magic, the entire city was removed to a pocket in another plane. However, it did not escape the horrors. After the scourge, it reappeared, devoid of inhabitants and in ruins, and far from where it initially resided. In Parlainth are great treasures and great danger, both of which attract adventurers, Theran spies, and the people who provide for them : the vendors and shopkeepers of the bustling town of Haven.

The group is as follows:

    Tornyphael, a male Windling Thief
    Felix Allowicious, a T'Skrang Swordmaster
    Gotrix Skullcleaver, a Dwarf Skyraider
    Mestoph, an Obsidiman Wizard

On their journey to Haven, they encounter the small village of Tureem, where they are mistaken by the villagers as a group of adventurers who were sent for to rid the village of some kind of monster that has been coming into the village and killing villagers. The group finds the town's hospitality on their initial entry extremely strange and unnerving. In these post-scourge times, most small villages are wary, suspicious and sometimes blatantly hostile and violent to travellers, for fear they may be horror tainted. Until the characters discover the mix up when they are approached by the village elder, they are extremely edgy. When they tell the elder of the mix up, he tells them that the other group is two days overdue, and if the adventurers could do it he would be willing to pay them the fee, plus whatever else they may find when they slay the monster. The players agree and track the beast deep into the forest nearby the village. Unable to find the beast, all the players except for Tornyphael continue to hack through the forest hoping to draw the monsters attention. Tornyphael flies back along the trail, believing the monster to be back that way and that the rest of the group is looking in the wrong place. Well, he was right. Searching through the brush, he comes across a tangle of bushes making a dark tunnel deeper into the woods. About to head back to the rest of the group, he is surprised by the monster, a Jehuthra. The Jehuthra is a horror construct, looking like a gigantic spider but with the distorted head of a humanoid. Tornyphael flees and soon works out he can fly faster than it can run, as it chases him. He did not know, however, of the monster's special abilities. A blast of what looks like web comes from the beast. Tornyphael cries out just before the web like substance strikes him, enveloping him in the web and sending him plummeting to the ground. The Jehuthra chases him, and is about to sink its fangs into him when the rest of the group, alerted by the cry, charge forward. Mestoph, the obsidiman wizard, starts tossing spells at the beast while Gotrix and Felix hack at it. After a pitched battle, the beast dies. The group finds its lair, discovering an amulet. Tornyphael, through the talent Astral Sight, discovers it is magical, however a great deal of research must be conducted into magic items before there powers can be found and used, regardless of the item. Returning to the village, the group collects the reward, and heads on to haven.
In Haven, they seek the wizard Heinmor to fathom the purpose of the magical amulet. He agrees to do it, however it will take two weeks, and he requests in payment the group to deliver a package to the Elven Court in Blood Wood. The group shudders, for all of Barsaive knows of the corruption of Blood Wood. During the scourge, the elves in Blood Wood refused to make regular kaers like everybody else. Instead, they wove the forest itself into a kaer, twisting the plants through magic into the wards of protection. However, after two hundred years, the kaers were gradually breached by a certain type of horror, one that thrives on inflicting pain on people. Seeing the imminent downfall of the elves in the wood, the Elven Queen ordered her wizards to find a solution. The solution was terrible indeed. The spellweavers of the court cast a spell that would change them forever. From the skin of all the elves within the court grew thorns, leaving the elves in constant, excruciating, almost unbearable pain. The horrors, unable to feed by inflicting pain, left and thus the elves were saved, but at a high price. The woods themselves began to reflect the corruption, being, as like the elves, beautiful in its terror.
In Haven the group is spied upon by Therans, for they know Hiermon has an artifact from the ruins of Parlainth, and they want it badly. Their movements are tracked, and once they leave Haven they are attacked 2 days down the trail on the 2 week journey to Haven. Overcoming the enemy, but failing to capture the spies, they continue onward, stopping halfway at the Midland Trading Post. Here, in the evening they are set upon again while they sleep by orcs. Defeating the foes again, the spies only barely make their escape by slaying the group's horses.
Finally, the group arrives at Blood Wood, marvelling at its terror and beauty, and that of the elves, as they are granted safe passage through due to a rune stick Hiermon gave to them. They report to Blood Warder Takaris, and deliver the box. Unfortunately, the item they have to take back to Hiermon has not been collected (blood ivy), so Takaris asks/forces the group to perform a task for him while the ivy is collected. They are to find a slaver, one Fegis Kul by name, and free the slaves.
The last heard of the group, they had exited Blood Wood, and were searching for the slaver.

Brother Tyrus: tyrus@dragon.hna.com.au

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Original: Lakewood

"The Holy Order of the Unquantifiable" has received word from a group of their clerics who live out in the desert that they are under attack by a tremendous force of goblins that mysteriously seems to have appeared out of nowhere and is ravaging everything in their path. It is apparent from the message (sent by clerical spell) that the monastery is doomed to be destroyed. The message is as follows:
"Greetings from Lakewood. We are being attacked by an army of goblins that has appeared out of nowhere. Our prayers avail us not and it seems that it is now inevitable that we will be destroyed. Do not send a relief party. By the time it arrives, there will be nothing left for it to save. May The Unquantifiable have mercy upon our souls."

Sandy E. Murphy: IO01092@MAINE.maine.edu

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Original: Isthane

After the recently reported arrest of Heinrich Heymann, proprietor of the town's general store, for setting up a band of orc raiders to raid caravans coming to town, it has been attested that he is in fact a worshipper of Achrya, the Goddess of Intrigue, Revenge and Misery. Under strange arcane torture, he revealed that he was in fact a member of a small coven of worshippers. With the trial set for the next day, everyone retired to earn some well earned rest.
However, it has now become obvious that the worshippers of the Goddess of Strife were not idle during the night. A fire was started in the general store about 2am, which we can now understand was an attempt to remove any possible evidence that might be found in Heymann's personal quarters. At approximately the same time, another fire was started in the home of one of the townsmen, one Martin the Huntsman, who had helped to detain Heymann.
Luckily, Martin awoke and attempted to restrain the intruder. In the scuffle that ensued, Heymann escaped and was pursued through the sewers by Martin. During the breakneck dash through the town's sewer system that followed, Martin came across a mutilated body. Although he managed to follow Heymann in the sewer, he lost him when Heymann exited the warren of tunnels.
During this time, a brave attempt to save the store had been put up by the townsfolk, resulting in half the store being saved. It was only after the fire had been extinguished that Heymann was found to have escaped.
Doran Atheran, priest of Dekan, the Sun God, went to question the prisoner and found his guard in a deep sleep with a number of items scattered on the floor beside him. The guard was awakened and questioned before being sent to find the Marshall of Gird and Shelanna, Paladin of Gird.
With the help of the local Girdsmen, a townwide search was conducted for Heymann during the next few hours and a guard placed on what was left of the store. A council meeting has been called for this morning but so far we have not been able to gain any insight into their deliberations. However, the identity of the mutilated corpse has been established as a young courtesan called Cindy from a local house of ill repute. She had apparently been tortured and crushed between 2 slabs of stone before being surgically killed by cutting both of her major arteries. This appears to have been part of some sick ritualistic murder and will bear further investigation in the near future.


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Reader's Forum

This is a forum for asking questions of the other readers, and discussing issues pertaining to various fantasy gaming systems. This month, we are treated to an overview of the Earthdawn setting.

First, the preliminaries, including races and disciplines (classes for you AD&D freaks).
[hey, hey, no name calling ;-) -- Mike]

(EARTHDAWN and BARSAIVE are Trademarks of FASA Corporation. Copyright (c) 1993 FASA Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)

Archer: An Archer learns the art of the bow. This Discipline stresses accuracy, and to a lesser extent, speed. Most Archers show great perceptive powers, often noticing things that others miss.
Racial limit: Can't be Obsidimen.
Beastmaster: Beastmasters have a skill for working with animals. Most Beastmasters feel uncomfortable in large cities or towns, and prefer to live in the wild, far away from other people.
Racial limit: Can't be Obsidimen or T'skrang.
Cavalryman: Cavalrymen are fierce, mounted warriors. They train with their mounts and form an empathic bond with them. A Cavalryman often respects his mount more than other characters or people, excepting other Cavalrymen. This Discipline emphasizes emotion and empathy for the character's mounts.
Racial limits: Can't be Obsidimen.
Elementalist: An Elementalist is a spellcaster who learns about and gains power over the five magical elements: air, earth, fire, water, and wood.
Racial limit: None.
Illusionist: Illusionists cast spells that work through deception. Some illusionist spells have real effect, however, because illusionists learned long ago that if everything they did was an illusion, people caught on. Now they balance real magic, illusions, and sheer trickery or sleight of hand.
Racial limits: None.
Nethermancer: Nethermancers are spellcasters who specialize in the magic of the netherworlds. Their magic focuses on other planes, and they can access the spirits and creatures that inhabit those planes. Most people consider Nethermancers to be a little "off" in an eerie sort of way, and most followers of this Discipline are unlikely to win any popularity contests.
Racial limits: Can't be Windling.
Sky Raider: Sky Raiders form a potent force in Barsaive. Their sky ships raid all over the kingdom, most frequently targeting Therans or their vassals. Sky Raiders are proud, and show great loyalty to other Sky Raiders, unless that raider belongs to an enemy clan or moot.
Racial limits: Can't be Elf, Obsidimen, or Windling.
Swordmaster: Swordmasters learn the value of a well-handled sword, training to demonstrate quickness and flash in a fight. Swordmasters often swagger a bit.
Racial limits: Obsidimen.
Thief: Thieves learn early to be self-reliant and how to steal. They draw power from their self-confidence and the knowledge that they must depend only on themselves. The abundance of rumors governing thief guilds means such groups do, in fact, exist, but the proof or disproof of their reality remains a secret.
Racial limits: Troll, Obsidimen.
Troubadour: Troubadours serve as entertainers, storytellers, actors, and songsmiths. They represent the closest thing to a historian or scholar that common people usually see.
Racial limits: None.
Warrior: Warriors are fighters trained to use magic to enhance their techniques. They often join other Warriors in groups called orders, living in seclusion in self-sufficient settlements similar to monastic orders.
Racial limits: None.
Weaponsmith: A Weaponsmith trains to gain an iron will and a very critical eye. Weaponsmiths borrow a bit from elemental magic, and a bit from wizardry as well. Weaponsmiths help identify and create legendary weapons. Nearly every community in Barsaive values Weaponsmiths.
Racial limits: None.
Wizard: Wizards are spellcasters well trained in the theoretical aspects of magic. Those who follow other spellcasting Disciplines sometimes disparage Wizards as "book magicians," but very few have the guts to call a Wizard that to his or her face.
Racial limits: None.


* please note that all these races are available to PC's,  and do  not
  conform  to the stereotypes in other systems,  for example there are
  orcs and trolls running shops, in positions of government, etc etc.

Racial descriptions:
Dwarf: Stocky build; ~4 ft. tall; ~120 lbs.; skin is pinkish-white to ebony; hair is abundant and in all colors; physically mature by 10 yrs.; live to 100 yrs.
Elf: Slim build; ~6 ft.; ~150 lbs.; skin is pure white to jet black - rarely a pale green; hair is fine but luxuriant, abundant o nhead but sparse elsewhere, ranging in normal colors including violet, blue, and metallic/iridescent; physically mature in 20's; live to 300 yrs.
Human: Do I really need to explain this one?
Obsidiman: Bulky build; ~7 ft.; ~900 lbs.; skin appears in all stone colorations (from individual to individual, of course) - a rare few have veins of rich stones running through them; hairless; physically mature by their first century; life span unknown; associated and rarely stray far from their Liferock - the place or more specifically the "rock" from which they were born.
Ork: Powerful build; ~6 ft.; ~225 lbs.; skin can appear olive-green, beige, pinkish, tan, ebony; coarse black or grey hair, physically mature in their teens; live to 40 yrs.
Troll: Huge build; ~8.5 ft.; ~500 lbs.; skin from olive to mahogany; normal hair coloration, but thick - esp. on head; physically mature in their teens; live to 50 yrs.
T'skrang: Lithe and wiry build; ~6 ft.; ~200 lbs. - 40 of which is the tail; skin tones from green, green-yellow, green blue, aqua, to sunset-red; hairless; physical mature by 10; live to be 80 yrs.
Windling: Small build, wings (like dragonfly); ~18 inches; ~13 lbs.; chameleon-like skin that changes color slowly (over a period of months) to match the Windling's surroundings; hair colors are normal, but abundant and luxuriant; physically mature at age 30; live to 170 yrs. - do not show signs of aging.


The Earthdawn world is the ancient predessor of Shadowrun. The continent is called Barsaive, and is actually the Ukraine on Earth. Rich in magic, this became a mixed blessing during the period known as the Scourge. You see, magic in Barsaive is powered by tapping into the Astral Plane. The magic level of the world fluctuates throughout time, rising to peaks then dropping again, then it happens all over again. This happens over thousands of years. When the magic level reaches a certain peak, it allows terrible creatures, called the horrors, through from Astral space into the world. The horrors are creatures from nightmare. They have forms and powers enough to drive a normal man insane, and strike terror into the hearts of even the most hardened adventurers. The strongest of them cannot be destroyed by anybody at all. Thanks to the finding of a tome called The Books of Harrow, the people of Barsaive were informed of the horrors, for the books are from the past, during another Scourge. Within were details of how to protect people from the horrors, detailing physical and magical protection rites. Huge protected colonies called Kaers had to be built before the Scourge started. Built underground, underwater, completely covering existing citadels and a variety of other innovative ways, all had impressive physical and magical protections to stop the horrors. The scourge was estimated to last 500 years, so the Kaers had to be stocked, have areas for growing foods etc etc. When the first of the horrors started entering the word, possessng, killing and worse, the people retreated to their Kaers to live while the surface was ravaged. 400 years passed before the magic level was deemed to be low enough that most of the horrors would have had to go. During that time, many kaers were penetrated, due to the strength of a particular horror, or an oversight of the builders. Some kaers are still closed, the residents too scared, or not believing the scourge is over. The current game period is 80 years after the opening of the kingdom of Throal, a dwarven stronghold, and whose opening measures the offical ending of the scourge. Races in Barsaive include dwarves, orcs, trolls, obsidimen, humans, windlings, T'skrang and more. Far from being stereotypes of other game systems, all these races are intelligent and take an active part in the world, some cities ruled by trolls, orcs etc and in larger communities, all races live side by side. The main enemies in the world are the Therans, humans who ruled Barsaive before the scourge, and practiced slavery. After the scourge, they attempted to regain control, but the dwarves banded together the other races and the Therans were fought back to the southeast corner of Barsaive, but still plot to take over the continent again. There are still horrors present, though, strong enough to stay behind when the magic dropped, or small enough escape also.
The world after the scourge was tragic. Forestland destroyed, wiped bare, landscapes scarred with blood and worse. The climate changed, people superstitious that anybody they meet may be horror tainted. In the 80 years since, strong magic has been used to regenerate a great deal of the land, but areas still remain that will never be the same.
Characters can be any of 8 races, from a variety of disciplines (classes, in AD&D terms). They advance in circles (levels) picking up a variety of skills and talents. All PC's are adepts, people who can utilise magic, though not necessarily as spells. Talents are powers that are activated magically, whereas skills are just that. Each race has a definite philosophy on life, though the intermingling of races durng the scourge has changed previous racial cultures. During the 400 years, each Kaer developed its own culture, regardless of the racial mingling.
Resolution of actions, be it using talents, attempting to leap off a horse onto a carrige, combat or casting spells is accomplished by gaining ranks in a skill, thus gaining what are called Steps. the higher your step for an action, the higher the number of dice you roll for determining the result.

Editor's note: see also the NEWS FROM BARSAIVE section for one of his adventures

Brother Tyrus: tyrus@dragon.hna.com.au

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