Surm's Notes


Crimson Cord Quests

Kirirthterrix’s Fire
The Heart of the World
The Purple Lotus of Kadath
The Dead God’s Dark Breath
Deliver Orphans
Isranthr’s Spear
Sakka the Grim
Killed an Intellect Devourer; hard to kill, nasty critter

The Obelisk 19 Harvest 508

At the University, Kerendal seems very excited. He has you all sit down and has the obelisk on a desk before you.

“This find is exceptional. Trevans and I have been working all day and all of last night, making notes and studying it. Not only is it an intact Aedonii narrative, but it details a particular ritual that is a unique meld of Aedonii and Ysar magics. Exceptional!

The narrative itself is focused on an Aedonii princess by the name of Imano-Tai. She was a princess, but also an adventurer and a scholar. She sought not only enlightenment, but transformation. And, according to the narrative, she achieved it. The narrative details how she “ascended” to a heightened form of existence. I translate the actual phrase “walking in the halls of the gods.” Through the use of a ritual that combines Aedonii and Ysar magics, which took place in the Chamber of Harmony in the central temple of the Aedonii city of Andropolae, she was transformed. Inside the chamber is an obelisk known as the Stone of Ascension. Through its use in the ritual, a person could achieve this heightened state.

The ritual requires several parts to be complete. However, their descriptions are devilishly vague:

Kirirthterrix’s Fire
The Heart of the World
The Purple Lotus of Kadath
The Dead God’s Dark Breath
All of these requisite parts are used in the final ritual. Now, Kiritherrix is a Draconic name, this much I know. However, I do not know of any of the other parts mentioned. Still, an intriguing find nonetheless. Linguistically, it helps confirm many of my suppositions about the Old High Aedonii."

Kerendal smiles. “It is an honor to get to study such an object. While I can study further and get more nuance and beauty from the text, this is the gist, as it were, of the narrative.”

Report from the Department of Philosophy and Metaphysics, 1 Changewind 508

The Purple Lotus of Kadath

The Dimension of Dreams (aka “The Dreamlands”) is an unaligned plane of existence laying just outside the Ethereal Plane, often abutted by the Dimension of Time.
As a mortal sleeps, its monadic soul withdraws from the physical body to manifest in the Dimension of Dreams. This dream avatar is known as the lucid body, and can take a variety of forms based on the dreamer’s subconsciousness.
The minds of the countless dreamers of the Material Plane brush up against the Ethereal Plane, bubbling forth ephemeral demiplanes in which the dreamers’ lucid bodies experience fantastic adventures inspired by their own unconscious minds.
Essentially, each dreamer creates their own demiplane within the Dimension of Dreams in which they experience these adventures. A plane within a plane.
Experience in a dreamscape is usually a private affair.
Rare spells, magic items, and other abilities allow creatures to enter and share another creature’s dream demiplane for a short amount of time.
While these secondary dreamers can interact with the highly morphic qualities of the plane, with the primary dreamer, and with each other, the existence of the demiplane is still contingent on a single primary dreamer.
When the primary dreamer awakens, the demiplane pops out of existence, causing any other dreamers to continue dreaming—shunted into a dreamscape of their own creation—or to wake up.
A lucid body is not the only way to enter a dream, however, and considerable danger faces the explorer who enters the Dimension of Dreams in his physical body. While a dreamer is physically unharmed by the dreams he has—those who travel the dreamlands in a physical body are, in fact, harmed by the fantastic and impossible things they find there.
Regular methods of planar travel, such as a plane shift spell, do not offer transit to the dream world. Only specialized means such as those offered by occult practitioners—psychics, mesmerists, and the like—offer a means to travel to the dreamlands in a physical body.
Although most dreamscapes are ephemeral, fading when the sleeper awakens, particularly potent dreamscapes, bolstered by recurrence or by the shared subconscious of numerous dreamers, sometimes last forever. Among the most formidable and permanent regions of the Dimension of Dreams is the bizarre realm of Leng, where near-human denizens sail ethereal seas in black-hulled ships packed with slaves bound for the dark markets of the multiverse.
The Plateau of Leng is believed to be either a pocket within the Dimension of Dreams or accessible through it. It is a dry desert littered with ruins. The greatest of these ruins is the abandoned city of Sarkomand, the original home of the denizens of Leng. The most powerful being in Leng, perhaps its ruler, is the mysterious yellow-clad High-Priest Not to be Described, who presides over the plateau’s culture of blood sacrifice. The fabled city of unknown Kadath, while not itself in Leng, can be reached through that dimension.
The black ships of the Denizens of Leng can sometimes be found in the harbor of Tarsas, where they have dark dealings with slave traders there. It may be possible to strike a bargain with them to gain access to Leng. But such a bargain is sure to be dark and unsavory.
Kadath is a city on the Plateau of Leng. It was once the home of gods, but has been abandoned by them and is now only a shadow of its former self.
Kadath lies deep in the mountains that surround the Plateau of Leng, in its own pocket dimension.
According to the ravings of the mad prophet Kalil Tabrasi who wrote on the subject:
To enter unknown Kadath, one must first cross the Cold Wastes of the Plateau of Leng. Then they must travel through the mountains that surround the Plateau, through the Spider Vales, until they reach the Windswept Ridge. From there, they can travel down into the Valley of Obsidian and solicit a great Shantak to take them to City of the Lost Gods.

The Heart of the World

The Heart of the World is an exceedingly rare silvery/blue substance that is rumored to have the strength of adamantine and the lightness of mithral. It is found only in the deepest of the deep caverns of the underground realms. It is considered a holy item by the dwarven followers of Skondir and its very existence is considered a dwarven state secret. However, information about the metal has inevitably leaked to other quarters, making it a thing of legend.
The most likely location of any troves of this rare metal would be the city of Khazak-Ur, the capital of the dwarven nation. It lies some 200-225 miles from Kalimsport, to the NE, as the crow flies. It lies nestled in the Hadurk-Sur mountain range.
The most likely source of information on any sources of the element would be the temple of Skondir; however, they are unlikely to part with such information to outsiders.
The temple of Skondir at Khazak-Ur is currently led by Grand Hammer Sorja Stonegrim. She is a veteran fighter who is said to have suffered some sort of injury in the course of her service and now stays primarily at the temple. Her superior, Grand Anvil Rognar Splitaxe, also resides at the temple. He oversees the spiritual needs of the entire Skondir religion. He, too, is a veteran fighter but now resides primarily at the temple. Both Stonegrim and Splitaxe are reputed to be exemplary dwarves of honor and service and good.
The University may be able to provide more information on the city of Khazak-Ur or on dwarves in general, but they have exhausted their sources on the Heart of the World.
Khazak-Ur: Silver crown on black and silver wedges
One of three primary Dwarven cities of Hadurk-Sur. Khazak-Ur is considered by most dwarves to the their capital, though they have not had a proper King in several centuries. The dwarves are now ruled by their clan Thanes, not a united king.
Khazak-Ur is the only dwarven city that is built both above ground and below, providing access to the depths beneath the mountains. It is a major access point for trade with dwarven artisans and craftsmen.
The city of Khazak-Ur is ruled by a council of thanes known as the Thannic council. Each of the 7 local clans is represented by its thane (or his duly appointed representatives). The council appoints magistrates, settles disputes, and handles all aspects of government within the city.
Order is maintained in the city through the Anvil Guard, the city’s combination militia and policing body. The Guard is headed by its Marshall. The warriors of the guard are designated by their wearing of black and gold armbands.
Points of Interest:
The Lonely Throne, the unoccupied seat of the Dwarven kingship, sits in the Hall of Kings. It is guarded by an elite squad of dwarven warriors.
The Hall of Making, a vast complex dedicated to a variety of crafts and metallurgic arts, lies near the heart of the Upper City. It is essentially a large temple dedicated to Skondir.
Kargan’s Run is a ruined neighborhood near the lowest slums of the lower city. It is only tangentially part of the city and has only been heard of by sages. It has long since fallen to ruin and been reclaimed by the various things that live beneath the earth.

Savaric’s Isranthr Spear Quest

“Sit, Twice-Born. We have much to discuss. The gods are stirring and, I don’t know about you, but they’ve been keeping me up at night. My name is Vigdis, by the by. Vigdis Blooddrake.”
Vigdis takes Savaric’s hand and shakes it as Ghost chows down on the scraps. She settles back into the chair.
“Your coming was foretold to me in visions. As was your purpose. There is an abomination coming. A great darkness that will engulf us all, hunter and prey alike, if you fail.”
She takes a deep breath and stares steadily at Savaric. "In my visions I saw a weapon—a spear. It’s haft, silvery grey, with the runes of The Hunter engraved upon it, as well as those of the sorcerers who have imbued it with magics. Its jagged head is a fiery orange crystal. The Spear of Salvation it will be called, for that is its purpose. To save us all from the abomination that comes.”
“This is the quest that Isranthr has set before you: to find the materials and ensure that this weapon is created and ready for when it is needed.”
“The haft is of Ysarian make—their steel is hardest and tempered with magical fire.”
“The point is made of a rare crystal, difficult to shape, but forms a powerful weapon. The Aedonii knew the secrets of its cutting.”
“Together, the power of the Ancient Ones will be placed together and bound in sorcery to forge the weapon of our salvation.”
When Savaric explains his dream, does she think it is the same gem as the one we sent with the priest to destroy??
“While I have no knowledge of this gem of which you speak, I think that it is not the same artifact. I cannot say with any certainty. It was not part of what I was shown.” “There have been no Ysar since before the Rivening, my boy. Some say they were wiped out. Some say they became the Elven race, while the Aedonii became human. I don’t believe that. The Aesen made we humans, that is what I believe. So the other is probably only the stuff of legend as well. The only truth is that the Ysar are no more. As far as who is to craft the weapon, that is for you to discover or decide—the gods are not going to give you every answer—especially not a god of the hunt. You will have to find your answers. Hunt for them, as it were.”
Am I to just continue as normal until these items fall into my lap? Where do I even start looking?
The old woman looks at Savaric, a bit perplexed. “You were chosen for a reason. Look at the information you have been given. Think about it. Think of it as following a trail. You are on a hunt, Twice-Born. The most important one of your life. No, nothing is going to fall into your lap. You have to think. You have to work. You have to struggle. That is our lot in life. That is what life is—struggle. In the end, that is what you chose, is it not? To continue your struggle?” She closes her eyes and sighs. “The Aedonii and Ysar are long dead. But some of their secrets remain. Perhaps that is the beginning of your trail.”
The following is the information on Cassite crystal the Master Kerendal was able to glean for you:
Cassite is a rare element only found in the deepest reaches of the underground kingdoms. The secrets of its use were thought lost with the Aedonii. However, a dagger manufactured some fifteen years ago in Khazak-Ur has been uncovered. Its actual manufacturer is unknown.
Update: The dagger is known to bear the following mark—Conclave of the Forge
Crafting with Cassite Crystal is a delicate process—failure by 5 or more will result in shattering the crystal.
Weapons forged from Cassite have the following properties: +3 to confirm critical hits due to never losing their edge. It ignores the armor bonuses from all armor and deflection bonuses. It also reduces the creation cost of magic weapons/armor by 15%. Weapons made from Cassite Crystal have a hardness of 30 and hp of 10/inch and is assumed to be of masterwork quality. However, Cassite crystal will shatter on a confirmed fumbled attack roll…
Armor imbued with Cassite has the following properties: Hardness 30, hp 25/inch, offers SR 20 to the wearer, including against magic missile (as the shield spell). Armor imbued with Cassite is automatically assumed to be of masterwork quality. However, if protecting against a confirmed critical hit, the crystal will shatter…

Ysarian Ruins

Dark Dwarves: A colloquial name for the duergar. Cousins to dwarves, duergar are foul-tempered creatures that loathe intruders to their underground realms—but not nearly as much as they do their kinfolk closer to the surface. Duergar dwell in communities deep underground, and appear as darker, more twisted versions of their kinder kin. Their skin is a dull gray, as though rubbed with dust or ash, but this is a natural coloration that better allows them to blend with their underground surroundings. They are a race of slavers, but while non-dwarven prisoners are usually put to backbreaking work, dwarven prisoners are generally slain on the spot. In combat, duergar fire crossbows from a distance, then shift to the warhammer after a few rounds. If outnumbered, or given sufficient threat (and space), a duergar will use its enlarge person ability and begin lashing out at its enemies. They are known to be able to become invisible and, like many underground dwellers, their eyes are sensitive to light.

Pyrohydra: Multiple angry snake-like heads rise from the sleek, serpentine body of this terrifying monster. Hydra are known for their regenerative properties—the ability to heal quickly and for their heads to regrow two-fold when decapitated. The hydra can be killed either by destroying its body or by severing all of its heads, but the regrowing of multiple heads makes this approach problematic. Cauterizing the stumps with acid or fire can be effective in keeping this from happening. Pyrohydra are a variation on this creature that usually dwell in volcanic caves or in the desert. This creature is known to be able to breathe fire through its heads and to require cold, not fire, to cauterize any wound created by the removal of one of its heads. They are generally immune to damage caused by fire.

Surm's Notes

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