Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking Back: Campaign Summary: Thonak '89

Back in this post in 2009 I'd presented some summaries of the various fantasy campaigns which had all taken place in the shared world. Today I happened upon a document with summaries I'd written closer to the time of those campaigns, back in 2000. They have more detail and some interesting points I'd forgotten about. Since we're still playing in that world, I thought I should post some of these to flesh out the history a little further. Some of these events would impact later games pretty heavily.

The Thonak Campaign (1988-1989)
Simlain Glantri, a half-elf warrior mage, is hired to join an expedition investigating old ruins. The site is filled with both traps and strange arcane ancient texts. He discovers a variety of prophecies, including those of the Three. However, the expedition is betrayed by a mad scholar servitor of the Thonak. Glaantri and a companion manage to escape the ambush. He heads to Neutral City to inform the expedition leader’s lover of his death. She turns out to be one of the Three, the Grey World Mage.

Following this, Glaantri decides to journey to Aoniae, the land of mages, to try and follow up on some of the prophecy he has heard. He is briefly joined by a member of the royal house of Miremal and her companion. It is here that he first hears of Lord d’Aragon and his fruitless campaign against the Thonak. To further his ends, Glantri joins up with a group of adventurers sent to explore an ancient tower. The group includes Kari (later known as Lionspaw) an Elven scout; Yorich Skrull, a Save Knoran scholar; Izan the Friendliest of Barbarians; and Cree a swordswoman from the Greater Glory. In the tower the uncover more about the Three and how they might be able to aid against the Thonak. They also learn of how mages came to this continent “from elsewhere.” [Incidentally, this is the first suggestion that there is more than one continent]. The group eventually makes its way back to the mainland.

In Gilden Hur they face many adversaries, fighting off the Thonak’s chaos plots throughout the region. They travel to the desert kingdom of Ylaruam to consul the great libraries there. They are joined by Elon Shadowfall, a mute Orc-hating archer; Stig Samhain, a thief; Seralin, a mysterious shape-shifter, and Sebastien Farnsworth, a fop. They uncover the secrets of the ancient Nithians who originally summoned the Thonak and raid the fortress of their evil.

They return to Gilden Hur, tracing the Thonak’s activities. There is a hunt up and down the great river culminating in the destruction of a great family of chaotic servants. Finally with much evidence and hope they head to Rykel to speak with the Lords of Miremal. However, this plan is thwarted when Seralin gives into a murderous rage, apparently at the instigation of the Thonak whom she once served. The rest of the group is forced to flee. Through a series of accidents they fight their way through the Skaven who have been chewing at the underbelly of the great city. To escape they are forced through a gate.

They find themselves in Gundabad, the heart of the Thonak’s Orcish armies. Stig Samhain is lost, but the group is joined by Kamien and Alvacan, half-elven magical brothers apparently tied to the Drow. They have been part of d’Aragon’s quest to find allies and uncover intelligence. After a series of running battles, the group is rescued and transported to a hostile region of Aoniae. They fight against a Vampiric Sheriff who defeats them, but releases them after they turn over d’Arargon’s lover. This is not a high point.

Now having contacted d’Aragon, although not without cost, the group heads back. They return to plead their case before the College of Scholars at Bogenhafen. The Save Knorans are reluctant but agree to spread their words among to their diplomats in many of the unaligned kingdoms. Most notably the Atlantaen representative seems to commit to fight against the Thonak. Word reaches the group here that the Thonak’s forces have mobilized at an increased rate. Miremal and the other border countries stand ready to fall. Finally the nations which have been content to wait understand the gravity of their situation.

The group splits briefly at this point. The Scholars have provided directions to a place where other magical armaments might be found. Half the group heads there, while the rest meet with agents of d’Aragon to discuss strategy. However, the expedition goes awry. Izan is killed and the others are forced into the realm to Sensailia Itatain to escape his fate. Yorich Skrull, sensing danger to his companions, makes a desperate solo trek across the mountains in the worst storm in Gilden-Hur’s history. He dies just before reaching the location.

Sensailia Itatain, once an ally of the Thonak has realized the danger his being poses. She releases the group and rejoins them with their fellows. She also frees a Cyclops named Arges to join them. One of d’Aragon’s trusted lieutenants, Hurok joins them. He shows a profound distaste for magic. They strike at several key Thonakian strongholds. Eventually gathering the intelligence needed for the final battle to come. That battle is based on the knowledge the group has gathered so far, that the Thonak can be split, but it will require the strength of the divine and the faith of many, something once forgotten in this. Plans are made, but squabbles break out among the group as to what role to play. In the midst of their debate, a simple warrior who has accompanied them reveals himself to be from a world where this argument led to the division of their efforts and the Thonak has won. Reaffirmed, the group sets out for the Darkest Woods.

They are not greeted well by the Drow there. The brothers, Kamien and Alvacan turn out to be part of a pact shown between the Changer God Ilvir and the Elvish Dancing Goddess. In exchange for the creation of children of her body, Ilvir has created a buffer against the Thonak. However, the return of the brothers signals an end to that. The Drow, realizing that they cannot hide behind ancient ways, agree to aid in the fight.

Meanwhile in Rykel, Priests from across the land have gathered to form a Circle of power, a living representation of the Divine Wheel. They channel that power into the Thonak’s Fortress, the Cabatura. It is shattered, but most of the priests die in the backlash. However, the Thonak himself is split into three parts, which is what has been planned. Those parts flee to his three remaining citadels, but the forces of good are prepared. d’Aragon leads his group into the Crimson Fortress, while a band of Paladins of all faiths descend into the Forsaken Citadel. Glantri leads his group into the Tower of Night. There they fight and destroy one part of the Thonak, split and weakened. With his passing, the armies of the Thonak fall apart and his allies collapse. However, Glantri’s soul is ripped from his body in the battle. It takes seven years for the Lady of the Woods to finally find it in the Pool of Souls and return him to full life.

The victory against the Thonak is bittersweet however. Those places which allied with the darkness find their lands barren and poisoned. The Atlantaens take advantage of the the defeat to seize vast mainland areas and slaughter the entire race of the Cebu. It will take Miremal, even under the leadership of d’Aragon decades to recover. Many of Glantri’s heroes become nobles in the new Miremal, Alvacan assumes the Drow throne, while Kamien joins his father Ilvir, still others, like Kari, vanish to await the next evil which they know must come.