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Monday, 2 May 2016

The Wonderful World of Mystara

A Manuscript about the Natural Magical World of Mystara

Chapter 4

Into the Hills of Inlashar

As penned down by Salechaam.
Darokin Province of Calair 1014 AC, 28th  Flaurmont
The discovery loaded and prepped, our research group embarked on the next part of the trip. The horses and crew no more tired after their earlier ordeal, pulled forth the Discovery through the city gate of Fort Nell. The guards returned our weapons and wished us well.
Gaston was still digging deep in the bundled parchment book, so Salechaam drove the horses, with Straddle next to him.
The sky was clear, although a strong wind blew from the Black Hills South East into Inlashar. The first trail led north over a well kept trail along Preston creek towards the mining-farming community of Preston. We arrived at dusk due our late departure. The locals were already informed about us, and although there was only an Inn to drink or eat, a large shed gave enough opportunity to sleep safely …and that for only 4 Ducats.

Darokin Province of Calair 1014 AC, 1st Yarthmont  
The next morning we awoke as expected, a bit stiff, but well-rested. Separrim refused to wash in our company, so we decided she will be on the driver’s seat for today. I agreed to work with Gaston this day, a decision I still regret.
From Preston we went east, into the hills over a trail towards a copper-mine. About four and a half mile from Preston, the Urudkhai road became visible again. Badly damaged, but sill useable, it went up a slope and reached one of the flat-topped hills of which Inlashar is known about. These Amon Sûl as they are called, have steep sides with slopes in between. At a height of 2350 feet above sea-level measured with the magical altimeter, we reached the Amon Sûl and the first of the old ruins became visible. Some unknown part of a larger structure, it sank several feet into the ground, and weather, war and wind, and probably plunder has beaten it to this unrecognizable state. Now it is only a landmark of an almost forgotten era. After a few hours of investigation without success we continued. A small enwalled hamlet of 3 farms enabled us our next resting point. The farmers were friendly, and for a few silver they allowed us to set up camp on the grass between the structures. They were particularly interested in me; probably they’ve never seen a dwarf for ages here. This also means that or there are no valuables to find here…or they are forgotten. My advise for dwarves is as thus be careful, polite, inquisitive, and with an open eye, but also a ready axe and shovel.
I wished I had been more careful.  Wiggling the children’s fingers from my beard, I questioned Gaston if we couldn’t do some research here, while we were waiting …or travel further and sleep in the open (I hoped for the last option, but work could save my beard from sticky fingers).
Gaston, arose from his seat, “Yes indeed, we need to do that. Thewe is no map of this wegion. You know how to make maps. Take youw wowk boawd and utensils. And come hewe”. Grumblingly I agreed. In the wagon I released the board from the wall, grbbed a tube of pencils, a gum, some mapping paper and returned. “Ok…I’m ready”. ”Nice be seated on that stuwdy chaiw” I did interrogatively. Separim tied all my stuff to the board, and the board to the chair,, as if it was a drawing set. Then Gaston mumbled some words of magic and wiggled some fingers and with that I suddenly arose up. “I’ve given the contwol of this levitate spell to you, so you could go down when evew you desiwe” And with that I moved up at a rate of 20 feet each round. I wanted to scream, but my pride was in the way, so I just closed my eyes. When the movement stopped I opened them up again I was half a mile or so up. I couldn’t resist screaming here, nobody would hear me, so no shame.
Separim’s bindings worked against the strong wind here, and I commenced the mapping. The sun was already low, so I made haste with the main features of the region. When the light no longer fell on my paper, the sky was already darkening. I decided to go down. I had the control said Gaston…but how? I
The Ruined and cursed city of Tolann, former capital of Inlashar (North Darokin)

The well as seen through the archway to the road
Tried to push, hop, bounce, scream, the damned thing down…nothing worked in my opinion. The problem was I could not notice the difference at this height. The screaming (or wording “down”), had worked and I sank at a rate of 20 feet per round. I noticed this only after a few minutes. But then I noticed something else. I had drifted. A Levitate spell moves only up and down, not sideways, you have to do this by forcing yourselves away from surfaces in the direction sideways you desire…but there was no surface here, just air. The damned wind must have blown me away. I had drifted several miles east, to south east. Down below me, the Urudkhai road led into a city, a ruined city.  I decided to continue mapping while I was slowly sinking.

The city was build up along a few roads next to each other with buildings in between. When I was down, it was at the end of twilight. I felt uneasy, as if something was here, some influence, or someone. Luckily I now had a map, so I knew which direction I had to go. 

Next to me was some structure that seemed to be a stone well, roofed to prevent spoilage by rain as in many places. The typical thing was, the structure seemed undamaged by time, unlike the other buildings. I looked down, and saw steps carved into the sides, no rope, nor bucket, but water glistening deep below, some hundred feet or so.  

Tolann's Tomblike structure
Then I heard some unindentifiable noise, and being alone I decided to move away here, back to the Discovery as fast as possible. Through a small arch I reached the street. 

Consulting the map, and the last shimmer of sunlight on the horizon I could decide which way to go, but first strolled a bit around. Most structures were indeed ruined walls, but together with the well I noticed three intact structures; The well (or whatever it actually was), a tomblike structure with a clear entrance, and in the distance some other building which I did not investigate.

Then I heard an unearthly scream that almost stilled my blood. I grabbed my axe an ran, as fast as I could along the street home. It was at this moment the last sun rays had left. No twilight, but true night. Whatever made that noise, I did not want to meet it. I noticed the last ruined structures in front of me, so soon this immortal forgotten location would be behind me, yet then some fleeting images appeared on either side. 
Spectres, I shouted an old dwarven curse “Spirits and Bones” and increased my speed as fast as I could. 
Tolann armed Orc Spectres
The spectres however were a bit faster, as being flying creatures. The arrived in front of me. Clearly armed Orcs, but then translucent vile undead, there’s not much worse. 

At first they used only their weapons, which did not affect me with their undead chill, but the arrows and sword blows weakened me enough to enable them to make their draining strikes. The first struck me to the head, dizzying me, the second passed through my armor and grabbed my heart. And again the next round. Which each stroke the made I became weaker and more dizzy. I fell to the ground, and with my last moment within the conscious world I heard a powerful word; a name of an Immortal in an old and obscure tongue. Drifting in and out of consciousness, a few moments later I thought I was touched by someone soft, and being fed the ethereal goo that normally remained when slaying Spectres. The bile liquid gushed through my throat, I fainted, but slowly I regained strength. The last thing I remembered were two huge yellow eyes with a large black iris in a haze of brown and grey.
I awoke a few miles west of Tolann, still weak and bruised, but all of my possessions and weapon were with me. It was a small brook that gave me water, so I could continue west. I recognized this brook as the one between the Amon Sûl east next to Tolann, and the hills west holding the farmstead enclave where the Discovery would be. The brook water refreshed me somewhat, and my survival skill enabled me to find some herbs that lessened the pain. At about dawn I stumbled towards the enclave, and beckoned in. They all helped me. Gaston immediately recognized I had been drained and poured two potions of Heroism down my throat, to restore the damage done.

Later Gaston told me the city is, or was called Tolann, and it was founded along with other separate villages in the area in 780BC by several Ethengar tribes merging with local Neathar tribes. Of these villages, Tolann was the largest. Here, in the hills of Inlashar, the early Inlashar prospered due to their uncanny ability to grow amazing crops in the almost dead ground. These villages flourished here for hundreds of years… until one day, in 25 BC, they simply vanished.

The story goes that there was an evil half Orc Wokani who had a lot of power in the government of the humanoid forces which defeated the Inlashar holdings one by one, and he had his eye on the human daughter of the chief of Tolann. Dewan was his name, and he came to the chief and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The chief told him that it was against their local customs to marry outside of their own clan. Dewan grew very angry and gave the chief a deadline on accepting his offer. If the chief failed to accept Dewan’s offer by the deadline, Dewan would take the chief’s daughter forcibly, and slaughter the rest of the town's population.
The chief didn’t know what to do. Finally, he convened with the heads of the larger families, and they reached a decision together. To preserve the pride and honour of their people, they were going to leave. Here’s where it gets a little weird. All inhabitants – this means thousands of people – left overnight. Nobody even saw them leave either, which is pretty unbelievable, considering the terrain and the sheer number of people that were fleeing, but it gets weirder. Nobody even knows where they went! They vanished into thin air! We do know one thing though: before they left, they cursed this village to bring death to anybody that tried to live there in the future. The Orcs who later invaded the area became affected and were turned into Spectres. Their skills and weapons still available, they became a force to be reckoned with. Unable to move further from the city than a few miles, they cause Tolann to become almost forgotten.
There are rumours that Mithrass Attleson who appeared in 3 BC was the offspring of the Tolann’s daughter and Attel Eastwind; others say there was Orc blood within his veins, but the mother was indeed this daughter of Tolann.. But if he was a half-Orc, Dewan must have succeeded in capturing the Tolann female, and he must have been born before the spectre curse came into effect, or born later by the mother who succeeded to flee before the curse took effect. Nobody now could tell the truth, as time hid all. They settled along the Canolbarth fringes, and most descendants can be found in the Nutt-bearing hills




Magical Altimeter; created 671 AC by Arturo Devonsmith of Thyatis. 
Rumored to have existed by the ancient Nithians. A bronze stick with several thickened knobs around it, each with a different thickness. On top belonged a copper encrusted magical crystal. This crystal is placed somewhere at sea-level (in this case the port of Thyatis secretly embedded in a stone at sea level (mid tide). The copper tip is placed on the ground and a magical connection is created between the crystal and the stick. Five soft electrical current rise one after the other along the stick until the stops and stays at that location until the tip is removed from the ground. At several intervals are placed the thickened knobs. These stand for the different numbers (2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0 and 15.0). The first current displays the single feet, the 2nd current the tens of feet, the 3rd the hundreds of feet, and the 4th the thousands of feet. The last current always reached the top when the calculation transfer is ended. 
When the holder feels along the stick he/she can thus roughly estimate the height of the ground point of the stick as seen from the level of the crystal. Exact measuring is very difficult, as the display is rough, and the crystal at sea suffers mistakes due the different tides, which can vary up to 5-25 normal, 15-45 feet at full moon, or even up to 25-60 feet at springtides. This is the reason the crystal is placed at mid tide, to lower the ratio of flaws. When the crystal falls dry for longer than a single day, both stick and crystal  lose all magic. They need to be reconnected for 1 full moon cycle to be recharged, and then placed anew. The stick measures only the difference between crystal and its metal point, if the crystal is thrown in the see at say 34 feet it will measure from that location. Likewise if the crystal is placed at a mountain-lake of 1500 feet above sea-level it will calculate any higher altitudes from this number. The stick does reveal lower altitudes by ending the last charge at the tip instead at the top. The maximum height to be measured is 15.000 +1500+150+15=16.665 feet difference.
A person under influence of protection/immunity to electricity can’t use this item.
Size; 65 inches (with crystal +5).Cost; 350 GP, 24 cn rarity uncommon although often known to exist. Spells needed to create; Levitate, transport through water, caster level 9+.
Warning; do not use in thunderstorms; the chance of being hit by natural lightning doubles. The saving throw vs lightning attacks is worsened by 4 if holding this item while being hit..


A level draining in action

A note about Level Draining; As according Canon matter about level draining (also found in my Monster manual compilation about Undead).
When an immaterial undead capable of level draining is slain in whatever manner it falls apart in quickly evaporating ethereal goo. When this goo is devoured it will restore some of the power this undead had drained from any victim. Check for initiative for the moment the goo comes into existence (the same moment the undead was slain). Then add one initiative segment for each Level/HD the specific undead drained to the half of the undead’s own strength (round up).
Each initiative segment one Level/HD is evaporated from the goo. A character gobbling up the disgusting black or ethereal goo (depending on the undead), will be able to restore as many HD/Levels drained as it can consume before it evaporates, but never more than its own body lost, and never faster than 2 + PC’s constitution adjustment (never less than 1) in 1 round = 6 segments.

Only thus will HD or levels drained from a spell or item be able to restore a living creature, and not restore the spell or item in question. The goo cannot be stored in any way, but temporal stasis, or setting it outside of time, will prevent it from evaporating. It will further always evaporate unless consumed. 

The goo of a stronger undead like spectres that has drained levels/HD will not be as reactive to the environment and will be existent for an additional 1d3 initiative segments more, and may be stored in a pure clear crystal bottle that may never be exposed to light other than a small candle or soft magic light  (any other will instantly destroy the goo, in an explosive way—literally blasting the crystal bottle in all directions 10' for 1d8 dm (sv DR for ½) Some assassins thus use this goo as a trap..

The blood of material undead that has drained levels/HD will be able to function similar, even when it does not evaporate, but this will always cause a poisonous reaction, even when it restores the drained levels. This poison will cause 1d6 points of damage  for each HD the Undead had, at the rate of 1 point of damage for each HD the undead had. The victim must make a single saving throw of poison to half the damage done each round and in total. A Neutralize poison spell cast beforehand on the blood will negates this, but also the restoring capability, however if cast on the victim when poisoned after the first poison effects become clear, the restoring will continue without further poison effects. A Slow Poison spell will function as normal. A protection from poison effect will not poison he victim but does allow the regenerating HD/Levels effect. As rotting takes place very rapidly when an undead is  slain, blood can only be extracted on a succesful healing or alchemy skil with a cumulative penalty for each Turn one hour after the Undead is slain as per table and can be stored in a Dark Ceramic jar, for up to 3 full moons that passed (3 month max)-When blood or Goo are expired or from an undead that did NOT drain levels, all negative effects still take place, but no restoration takes place.;  
Time passed Skill Penalty
0-1 Hour  1
1 Hour 2
1 Hour 1 Turn 4
1 Hour 2 Turns 7
1.5 Hour 11
1 Hour 4 Turns 16
1 Hour 5 Turns 21

Another thing that could restore drained levels are Potions of Heroism and Super Heroism
Normally they give a temporally boost in Level and HD, but if the imbiber is drained, it restores drained HD or levels at once. No more HD or levels are given then the imbiber originally had in this case. Heroism restores 1d4 drained levels, Super Heroism restores 1d6. These potions are somewhat stronger than the goo, and function fully till 24 hours after the draining took place.
Then there is the Restore spell which temporarily gives power from the Cleric as healing to the patient. The cleric naturally restores these lost HD/Levels
An unconscious person (due the draining) could be saved by pouring either goo, or potions down his/her throat, but to prevent drowning in this a successful healing check must be made (or survival at -5). 
A person fully drained can’t be restored this way, not with goo, not with blood, not wit potions, there must still be somewhat of life within the body, to enable restoration.

Then there is the magic way of Restoration.

Restore                               

Range:                                 Touch
Duration;                              Permanent
Casting Time ;                    3 r.
Effect:                                  Restores 1 level lost to Energy Drain  
Save:                                   None
Cleric 7, Healer 6, Exorcist 6, Humanoid Shaman 7, Druid 7, Dervish 7, Master 7, Shaman 7 spell.

This spell restores one full level of Energy (experience) to any victim who has lost a level because of Energy drain (for instance, from a vampire’s attack). It doesn’t restore more than one level, not does it add a level if no level has been lost. Furthermore, the Cleric casting this spell loses one level of experience, as if struck by a Wight when the spell is cast; however, the Cleric’s loss is not permanent, and the Cleric need only rest for 40 minus his or her level in days to regain the lost experience. This loss will not be regained as long as the caster doesn’t rest continuously. It is clearly that the caster can’t use this spell on him or herself, since the level added by use of this spell will be the same as the one that  is drained by it.

Additional information; Living creatures that use draining magic or weapons (always an Evil act!!) are killed DO NOT have the stolen Levels/HD stored somewhere that can be retrieved, (unless specially noted differently).
In this case only the Goo/blood of an Undead that has drained levels/HD, A potion or a Restore spell will work.

Earlier chapters;
PreludeChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3,
Interlude;
Geomorphological History of the Broken Lands 1
Geomorphological History of the Broken Lands 2
Following Chapters;
Chapter 4Chapter 5

Tolann map source; google maps same area
Draining art from D&D Mystara Rules Encyclopedia.

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