Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 12:46:18 -0600
From: John C Wright
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Here is a prelude to my upcoming module that is midway in its completion. Hope
you all enjoy and I look forward to any constructive criticisms.
Adventure Background: Several decades ago, in the late 570's, a temple of great evil arose again within the Flannaess. This 'Temple of Elemental Evil' had been vanquished once before, but as is often the case, the evil only lay dormant long enough for the forces of good to forget and turn an errant eye on the
During this time the young son of King Belvor IV of Furyondy became betrothed to the daughter of the leader of Veluna. Their marriage would unite both kingdoms, and young Thrommel would become the leader of all matters temporal, while his wife would lead the united kingdoms in all matters spiritual. This would be a great blow to not only the forces of evil in the Flannaess, but it would greatly disrupt the balance. Good would hold sway over most lands, and the extra power garnered by the union of Furyondy and Veluna could likely bring about an age of unparalleled peace and prosperity. Mordenkainen, great sorcerer of the Citadel and Circle of Eight, was both an advocate of and defender of the 'Balance.' He firmly believed that with the rise of the Furyondy/Veluna kingdom, that although peace and good would reign for a time, the metaphysical representation of the balance would induce a cataclysm every bit the equal of the 'Invoked Devastation' or the 'Rain of Colorless Fire.' It was then that he began his plan to prevent this supposed cataclysm.
Mordenkainen turned to his colleagues in the Circle of Eight, and explained to them his beliefs. For the most part they all listened objectively, and in many cases nodded their agreement. All save one that is. Tenser had long been a proponent that the Circle should promote and work for good, not hinder it as it would evil forces in an effort to maintain the balance. Tenser argued long and hard against his colleagues, but on the third day of argument they called the matter to a vote. Right before the voting occurred, Mordenkainen spoke to him. "Tenser, we have been friends for years. We have studied many of the same magicks, learned under some of the same sources. We have long been close friends and trusted each other with our lives. Trust me in this, I know what is proper to do here. I would never mislead you and I would do nothing like this unless I knew it was warranted and there was no other way."
Tenser was swayed by the argument, and when the vote occurred, no one opposed it. The Circle began plans then on how best to bring about their result. Ideas of fomenting dissent and possibly war between the two kingdoms were heard, but to these Tenser vehemently refused to even hear more of. If good were to be dealt a blow, he wanted it isolated to a few individuals of power, rather than to a common populace at large.
Finally a plan was arrived at, the Circle would allow a subversive group they had heard of recently, in on the movements of Prince Thrommel, and entice them with a large offer of monetary reward to kidnap him. The Circle never mentioned who they were and worked through intermediaries to supply the Scarlet Brotherhood then with the means to penetrate the courts of Furyondy and spirit away Thrommel. When the agents of the Brotherhood had captured Thrommel, they were to meet with an agent of the Circle in the small village of Hommlet.
The Scarlet Brotherhood agents were successful, and quickly made it to Hommlet, easily evading even the best magical searches due to their high-powered help from the Circle. When the kidnappers reached Hommlet, Mordenkainen (disguised as a simple traveler), passed on to them the fee for their mission well done. The Scarlet Brotherhood agents smiled as they checked the payment, and then mentioned how nice it would be to receive not only this one payment, but a ransom as well. Mordenkain was furious at this betrayal, and quickly attacked the treacherous agents.
Thrommel took this one chance at escape and broke his bindings and sprinted away. An agent of the Brotherhood, seeing the Prince (and his payment) disappearing before his eyes, leveled a crossbow and fired. The bolt flew straight and drove into the Prince's spine. Thrommel collapsed, and then Mordenkainen's spells incinerated the last of the Brotherhood men.
Mordenkainen rushed over to the fallen Prince, and sighed when he saw how pale and deathly the Prince looked. As the Prince's life-blood flowed out Mordenkainen realized that the only way to save the Prince's life was a spell he had memorized in advance. Reaching down to the Prince, Mordenkainen lifted Thrommel's hand and examined the ring on his finger. Nodding in satisfaction, Mordenkainen etched something into the gem set on the ring and then began to chant. The Prince moaned weakly, and then gasped as a filmy white apparition of his body slipped free of his mortal confines and fell into the signet ring on his finger. Mordenkainen smiled grimly, his plan had not come off as cleanly as he would have preferred. Prying the gem from the ring, Mordenkainen then pocketed it, and standing he looked about. Nodding silently to himself, he then uttered a word and vanished from sight.
Several days later, brigands from the 'Temple of Elemental Evil' came across the bodies and proceeded to loot them. One item of note was an expensive signet ring bearing the heraldic symbol of Furyondy. It would be claimed by one of the higher priests down inside the temples dungeons and would remain there for a little while to come.
Later in the year though, a warlord by the name of Robilar came to Hommlet. He had heard of the missing adventurers and the rumors of not only evil, but of buried treasure. Not wanting to miss out on any sort of wealth, he proceeded into the temple, and laid waste to all who opposed him for two solid days. Reaching the lowest levels of the temple, Robilar had an insight into freeing yet another being of power (the reasons behind Robilar's being nearby in almost all cases of imprisoned deities/demon-lords breaking free still astounds many, perhaps he wasn't there by chance, but came with the express intent of freeing Zuggtmoy). Needless to say, after freeing the Fungi Queen, Robilar continued his looting, until he realized that the forces of good, led by Tenser and several wizards of the Eight, had come a calling. Fleeing before their superior forces, he was forced to return to his home, where he was laid siege too. Finally, he and his few men escaped, but not before leaving behind much of the looted treasure. It is here that Tenser found an interesting item. When detecting for magic, he noted one ring seemed to glimmer slightly, and lifting it carefully he noted the symbol of the Furyondy kings. He also noticed the missing gemstone, and immediately broke off helping those gathered sack Robilar's keep. Returning to his own fortress Tenser began to investigate the ring and discovered much of the previous background. His heart was heavy, for he had given his aid to this plan, but he still did not feel comfortable with it. Locking the ring deep within his fortress's vaults, Tenser tried to forget, and did so for several years, before his untimely death at the end of the Greyhawk Wars.
Now it is a little over a year since events of the Return of the Eight, and Tenser is now a solid proponent for good. He has broken from the Circle of Eight and does not believe in their goals anymore. He has seen the heart of evil, and knows that he will oppose it now with all the force he can bring to bear. Now it is time to right one of the wrongs he was involved in, for there is nothing worse than having your body tormented, other than having your soul twisted and broken.