Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Tale of Wakim, part 1.

A little something for Anem Kram. A little yarn whipped up back in the days of whimsy back in the late 80s.

In the last days of the Schism Wars, it became apparent that the Fey could not defeat the Elves and their growing number of allies. One fey known for his masterful sorcery as well as his unconventional ways, even for a fey, decided that he must do something. Jokala his wife, also known for her sorcery but also for more dark than unconventional ways, did not like his worrying.

"We've lost." She counseled. "Let us sue for peace. Or let us be defeated. Doing something drastic would do no good for anyone."

Wakim, knew his wife was wise, but she tended to be a bit bleak as well. She had a taste for darkness and death, complete with blood-drinking. He, himself, understood force, but was not darkly-driven and no fan of fate. He had crafted victories in his own battles with the elves' troll allies under the marshaling of Marduk early in the war. He had foiled every incursion by the elves into his own lands. In short, we was not used to defeat.

He traveled to the closest edge of the universe around him, a trip that took weeks. Along the way, he burdened himself with dry branches and small logs to the point of teetering. In the cold place where the ice of a giant's breath met the stone and kremm of the in-between, Wakim started a fire. And he kept the fire going for many days. During this this he drank only water and hummed.

It was when he was on his last log, that something in the icy darkness stirred, and a great eye peeked at him from the darkness.

"I thought that was you." The wind howled. "My little brother."

"You were never born." Wakim replied. "I am probably your grandson, you crazy behemoth. But you know me. "

"Stinging sting-haver!" The icy wind ripped everything under a couple of stones weight away from the fey's campsite.

"Yes. I drove you here." Wakim answered.

"You were not alone sprite!" The voice went from wind to grinding stone.

"You are correct." Wakim showed no fear. "But the others would've failed to drive you here without me."

"You are alone." The stone voice ground out.

"You know me." The sorcerer stayed his ground. "And I know you. Your name specifically. Grumjellug, I know you."

The giant, a wildermagick reeled back at hearing its First Name spoken by another.

"And what do you want from me, despoiler?" The wildermagick asked. "The places I dwell now would have no interests you. Too cold for your thin blood. Nothing to steal but frost."

"I have a battle for you." Wakim said plainly.

"A battle which you must be losing." Grumjellug responded.

"Yes." Was the others answer.

"You have stolen all the Fair Lands from me!" The giant's voiced shifted to the wind again. "I can smell me in your veins, and you have driven me here! You want me to fight for you?"

Wakim did not reply at first. Instead he made a point to warm his hands by his struggling campfire, before turning around rather abruptly.

"You and your ilk were doing nothing but freezing these 'fair lands' that you now yearn for." The fey spoke firmly. "You, great primordial force and magic that you are, have no use for these stolen trinkets, Otherwise you would not have allowed me to gain lordship over them. "

The appeal to the giant's vanity worked, the wind died down. A ice-encrusted giant with a red beard and as tall as three elves stepped forward.

Wakim breathed a silent sigh of relief. He continued speaking, almost singing, "You smell us in your nostrils. We are you. We were your thoughts when you battled the dragons. We are your thoughts now when you count the stars beyond your fingertips."

"And who is our enemy, little brother?" Grumjellug asked rather coyly, but still his eyes sparkled with interest.

"Oh Grandfather, it is the elves and their lackeys the trolls." The shorter figure explained. "Along with a horde of muddled kindred that join them out of convenience rather than any sort of conviction."

"Then let us make myself horrible unto them." The wildermagick agreed.

Wakim provided the giant with many a totem and magical artifact during their journey towards the encroaching enemies of the fey in the Schism War. Once there, upon a bluff overlooking a very wide vale spreading towards the east and wet horizons for a day's travel, the giant and the fey sorcerer stood looking at the conquering armies before them.

"This isn't going to be easy or pretty, little brother." Grumjellug commented.

"Do it for your prosperity, brother. Your off-spring." Wakim coaxed.

"I have no mother, you silly dwarf." The giant became much larger than he was a moment before. "What do I really care about ties? You're an idle fancy at best. And the usurpers of my place in the cosmos when I am in bad mood."

Wakim did not reply.

"So what can you provide me to do this task?" The wildermagick asked.

"Nothing but being a part in this struggle." The fey answered finally. " You need more than a fight? A place remembered by us fey. A place as our progenitor and ultimate protector."

Grumjellug laughed heartily, and Wakim cringed.

"Worry not little fey-elf." The giant said. "I like the offer. But think on this; I can only give to this battle what I have to give. And it will hardly be enough for a real victory for you, grandson. My Other name is Ooblun. "

Before the sorcerer could consider what the elder magic giant had said, Grumjellug lept from the bluff into the valley and strode to the approaching armies. Yammar, the Eldest Elf and leader of the advancing forces, held up a hand. With great noise and confusion the cumbersome horde stalled its momentum, and not in equal paces.

The mere giant, hiding his full size, stood a few strides away before the mass of armed assailants. The elven overlord called out to him.

"Dear cousin fey." Yammar sang. "Why do you encroach upon our path? We mean no one individual harm."

Grumjellug laughed. "I am not one of those that you'd bother sparing. Nor an individual that needs to explain himself to an elf."

Yammar, being wiser than most elves of the time, was not insulted at the jibe. And he heard the other words that the antagonist before him had said.

"Oh. You are a giant." The great elf said, sniffing the air. "You should leave this skirmish to those with more involved. I am sure the fey here did not grant you the return of this in-between to you."

"You are someone to speak for the folks that you conquer?" was the giant's retort.

And with that, Yammar knew that a battle was about to occur. He just did not know what scale it was going to take place upon.

As the elf raised his arms in a different signal to his generals at his flanks and elsewhere, Grumjellug raised his own arms. The giant raised his arms, and his eyes flashed, and thunder rolled over his head in the sky over the valley where he and the invaders were assembled.

(to be continued)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

There is a Schism Between the Wizard's Guild and the Leprechauns

Ever since I read that phrase in the 5th Edition of Tunnels and Trolls, I have been addicted. It has worked better for me than the Babylon 5 catch-line from the pilot, "There is a hole in your mind."

It was like heroin to this fantasist stumbling upon it unknowingly. It made me create worlds in words, paragraphs and hand-drawn maps to fulfill the cosmos around that sentence. And since this was the early 80s, I had the great example of Glorantha. Then to a lesser extent the World of Greyhawk and JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth also came into play. So I crafted an epic.

Having been fond of the Norse myth cycle, especially the D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, the universe had to start out with a lot of ice and giants. And since I was designing something a fantasy role-playing game, having dragons also being a primal force made sense. So I had Fire and Ice covering all of the universe, and what a harsh place it was. But then in the in-betweens of the giants and dragons where the places where the First Peoples arose. These were the Trolls, Elves and Fey.

Seeing how harsh the universe was around them the First Peoples warred upon the individual dragons and giants that were closest to them, to expand the in-betweens making room for more peoples. And it is at this time that we see the Tribes of Mann (human, hobbs, apes and hominids), the golbins, the dwarves and many, many others start to pop up as well.

The First Peoples walked around pretty much as gods in these earliest of times. The elves became associated with light and order. The trolls, something of gia
nts themselves, preferred the dark and powerful. The Fey liked both light and dark, but reveled in chaos. While all three had problems with other, the elves and the fey went at it directly. If the trolls weighed in they helped out one side or another.

Well this war was rather far-reaching and earthshaking for everyone around whether they were involved or not. And towards the end, the fey were losing big tim
e. Up until this certain guy named Wakim came up with a plan. He called upon a giant, Grumjellug, who was related to him. You see the dragons and giants are related to the first Peoples in varying degrees. And this giant was something known as a Willder-Magick, about as powerful as solar flare. Wakim called upon Grumjellug to help out his fey cousins.

So Grumjellug severed the magic from the form, and created nature. And no one was pleased by this. This cure was probably harsher than the illness to most of the First Peoples. The most powerful elves were separated from the natural world, leaving only the younge
st and magically diminished there. One elvish Power (god?) lost his arm trying to maintain his hold on his family and followers. The trolls suddenly had to live with sunlight bathing all parts of the world at one time or another, this really pissed them off because they viewed themselves as not participating in the fight-- a partially true claim. The fey were hit hardest of all, well they were losing the war anyway.

As it turned out the fey have a tendency to be allergic to nature and natural means. This mostly meant that those that remained in the world had to stick to a form, except for a few rarities. Some became fairies and some became leprechauns, others became other things.
Most of their strongholds in the universe went Never-Never. The only sizable part to remain on the world was the Island of Ooblun, which also happens to be the name of Elder's second moon.

So I put it somewhere in the southern Westerlees on my world of Elder, a sea where it could be said that the North Atlantic meets the Caribbean meets the South China. Now this island tends to rather hard to find. While it is said to remain at the Western Pole of the planet, that has a tendency to move. Sometimes it moves widder, other times it moves widdershanks in its course. And the areas available to access have a tendency to change as well.

And once there, things can be very strange to very dangerously odd. I populated it ettins, pookas, the more magical goblin (not the goblinoid of standard FRPGs), b
ogey men hobgoblins, Wink-Winging leprechauns and fairies gone wild. There are many more fey running around the place that I just don't have time to list here, heck many more than I myself can ever write down all by myself for that matter.

So why am I telling you all this? Well this last weekend at BASHCon in Toledo, I finally got a chance to start to share some of this with my players. And luckily th
e players I had about the best group of players possible at a convention. Jerry, Robin, and Paul Haynie are members of Trollhalla; Jherri, Perrryton and G'noll respectively. The fourth player Andrew has played in my T&T games in Toledo before. "Leprechaun Island" definitely needs a better title; but as for a start to one day making Ooblun a place for more delvers to explore. The notes and matrices came together with my earlier static narrative scenes. My NPCs flowed from my subconscious nicely as I could see the players in front of me start to wonder about the bits and pieces of information that they were hearing.

And I still didn't explain the schism between the Wizard's Guild and Leprechaun.