Friday, May 15, 2015

The Rysanthian Chronicle; Environs of the Mistwater

 Here are portions of a map I fashioned of the locale of the campaign we ran for about a year and a half. The map is one portion of a wilderness, town and dungeon expanse within the greater world of Rysanthis. Its strange how the stories of the gaming table remain--I have so many good memories of the hours spent with my friends exploring the shores and depths of the Mistwater.

Our first party was Thaddeus, a fighter who became a Paladin of Illuvion, Phantom Fireborn, a thief who was raised from the dead after being burned by dragon's fire, Gerta the Priestess of Illuvion who was basically Joan of Arc, Perseus, a warrior from the Merling sea people who joined Thaddeus in the Order of Illuvion, a hill giantess of the Tol Myr race, and a one handed warrior NPC named Daag Mahn. There was also a cowardly retainer named Gort who will forever be infamous to the players for his acts of treachery and his untimely end....

The campaign ended with the party at 10th and 11th levels using 1st Edition AD&D. It has been over a year since we held that game--the party had solved many secrets of the locale and was right at the epic conclusion with a war brewing when life intervened...I still hope to run that battle with the group as a Chainmail wargame!

I am taking other friends through the Mistwater, and yes, I am running the exact same campaign and encounters. They are at fourth level now and are taking an entirely different course...and they have agreed to help playtest the Chainmail OD&D system I want to try.

I am in the process of hammering out a module and campaign setting based upon the Mistwater games and promise it will be available soon!

When I can, I want to share some of the funny, touching, tragic and scary tales that happened along the way. You know you've done an NPC right when the party mourns his death--Daag Mahn died bravely and became a song of the heroes. I will get some of these tales on the blog.

The green portions of the Map are of course deep coniferous forests with some deciduous growth--this is the Forest of Wyr, also known as the Wraithwood. Once an elven kingdom, since the Elves abandoned Rysanthis it has become a haunt of ghosts, goblins, and unsavory men...except for the portions of the King's Road which are kept up by the lords of Carrhoene.  

Brandyburg is a good sized town on the North Shore of the Great Lake and the Rushwater River. The folk there enjoy the favor of the Temple of Illuvion and this gives them some autonomy though they are tributary to Carrohoene. Smith's Ferry takes supplies and pilgrims to the eastern shores of the lake where lies Whiterose Abbey and the Sisterhood of the White Lady. The Abbey is not pictured but I have constructed a model of it scaled to miniatures and will upload pics. Near Smiths Ferry is a settlement of the friendly and peaceful Bog Folk. A bell on either side of the Rushwater summons the Ferry. It is not a pleasant duty to be stationed at night on the Eastern Shores...

Pictured here is the Southern reaches of the Mistwater which peters out into boggy fens and marshes. There is of course another populous Bogfolk settlement here, but the primary concern to the inhabitants of the Mistwater environs is Arnforth, the Citadel. The Citadel serves as the southern defense against the perils of the vast wilderness and also as the training grounds for the soldiers of the Great City. Citizenship in Carrohoene can be granted to any willing and able soul who serves three years in the Citadel's forces-but acceptance in the ranks is based on the strictest standards of General Felhaus, the grimfaced warlord who answers directly to the House of Vhulkas in Carrohoene. Felhaus is reputed to be unbeatable in single combat and known for his severity in dealing with criminals, rebels and derelict soldiers.

The Mistwater is a massive freshwater lake filled with abundant fish and useful crops and mollusks. Many fishing boats are always to be seen in the waters between Carrohoene and Brandyburg. Military boats are to be seen as well ferrying soldiers to and from the Citadel. The presence of water sprites and other mysterious creatures are generally accepted as fact by the superstitious folk but no one who grew up on the Mistwater doubts--fishermen see things while at their nets. There are documented cases of people vanishing near or in the waters in olden days, and it is accepted that a few live now who were the wife or husband of a water sprite for a year and a day beneath the waves before reappearing to live as a legend the rest of their days....

The Bog Folk are to be found in three different locations on the Mistwater. They dwelt here long before Men, perhaps even during the First Age of the Elves or the Second Age of the Jennerak. They survived the Dragon Age; Perhaps it is because few among Men, Dwarves or other races think them much more than walking frogs, and the Dragons were probably no different in that respect. They speak with chirps and croaks that are impossible to mimic or understand, and communicate with Men by means of a simple sign language they have used with the people of the Mistwater for time immemorial. They dwell in mud waddle domed huts on the shores among reed and fern. They will fight at need with their simple spears but prefer to dive into the waters and vanish at sign of danger. They resemble a cross between a frog and a salamander, the tallest among them being well under five feet. They dress in only trinkets and leather belts, travel in reed canoes, and are sought after occasionally as guides.Almost no one in Rysanthis pays them any mind at all--they are treated rather contemptuously by city dwellers, considered nuisances because of their curiosity and chirping voices. Rural folk regard them somewhat more highly--they have knowledge of medicinal plants and trade these for baubles and trinkets when they do not simply give them away. The Bogfolk revere the great Horned Serpent that is found in the Southern Marshes. They display the bones and skulls of these creatures as if religious symbols. The Horned Serpents are not numerous and scholars think they are dying out, but they appear to have once been the greatest predator against the Bogfolk, who will unite to slay the beast when it appears to wreak havoc. Travelers who have seen the aftermath of such a battle have reported seeing the Bogfolk prostrate themselves before the dead beast and sing in chirps and trills as though imploring forgiveness...

It is rumored that an Elf Lord named Thingon lives in the Wraithwood in a protected enclave where he is attended by sylvan guardians. Elves are a lost race in Rysanthis. You've more chance of meeting the Man in the Moon than ever crossing paths with one of the few Elves who remained after the Jennerak Kingdoms fell and the Dragons ruled Rysanthis. That people fled in ships across the seas of Rysanthis, never to be seen again. Many elven ruins were left behind, and somewhere in the vicinity of the Wraithwood a great elven stronghold once stood.

So these are a few highlights of the Mistwater region. I will post more this weekend about Carrohoene, Brandyburg, White Rose Abbey, the ruined town of Barrow on the South Eastern shores, and the Isle of Kazamir. Kazamir is a ruined castle on an island off the shores of Barrow. Its spires can be seen on a clear day all the way from the Great City. It is forbidden by the House of Vulkhos for anyone to go near it, even if they were stupid enough to want to since it is known to be one of the Old Places of the Jennerak, now a haunt of evil spirits and trolls...Barrow was once a thriving town named Thuvial whose people tampered with the Isle and were destroyed by its guardians or some evil they awakened there. Only foolhardy adventurers would even dream of visiting Kazamir...

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