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Adaptations to B1 - Info for DM's

by Jenni A. M. Merrifield

This is the 3rd of 4 messages regarding my personal adaptations to Module B1 - In Search of The Unknown. Enjoy!

This message contains items similar to that in the 1st message (Info for PC's) except that there is significant extra information provided which is for "The DM's eyes only".

The two Essays from the 1st message are reproduced here, with some DM only clarifications in place. Where more than one 'answer' existed in the Essay, the 'True' answer is highlighted by being set off in double braces. {{This is an example of highlighted text}}. When no answer existed, one has been added to the text and highlighted in the same way. When the answer was vague (or dead wrong), explanations have been added and also highlighted.

(In the original word document the highlighting is more obvious as it is done by making the appropriate text bold italic).

After the Essays, there is some additional information that goes beyond the contents of the two Essays. In particular, it explains what really happened to the two heroes, and what happened to three of their closest companions. It is these three companions who became my 'accidental' House in Darokin.

Finally, after all that background information, there is a small section covering suggested changes that should be made to a few areas of the Module itself in order to fit these adaptations into it.

Note that my campaign is currently being run in 999AC. I think that I had originally planned to have it run in 998 but changed my mind later, so it is possible that some of the ages and dates may be off by a year. Please keep this in mind and be lenient if errors are discovered :-)

Essay #1

The great warrior Rogahn the Fearless and the fantastic magician Zelligar the Unknown were two of the finest champions Darokin has ever been lucky enough to see. No one knows what occurrences or coincidence brought these two men together, but it is known that they were quick to form a strong bond of friendship. And it was a union that would last for ages.

It is commonly agreed that these two great heroes chose to pool their resources and expertise to construct a home and stronghold for the them to use as a base of operations for their ventures into the known world. They chose the location of their complex with care, since both men disliked unexpected visitors and intruders. Rumours agree that they placed the fortress far from the nearest settlements and away from well travelled routes and that they carved it out of a high, defensible rock formation. As to exactly where in the republic of Darokin they their mystical hideaway, no source seems to agree: near the source of the Helleck River in the Cruth Mountains, a rocky mountain ledge just north of Lake Amsorak overlooking forested hills yet completely surrounded by mountains, {{a craggy outcropping at the Southern point of the Silver Sierras}}, a cave-ridden cliff at the very western tip of the Dwarfgate Mountains. The list goes on, but these are the places most frequently suggested. Even less well know than its location is the name the occupants called the fortress by, the only conclusive information being that it was something starting with 'Q' {{Quasqueton}}. It is interesting to note that most stories agree that the initial construction of the complex took over a decade {{13 years}}, even with the use of great magics and the toil of many humanoid slaves and hired labourers.

Rogahn and Zelligar lived in their joint sanctuary for quite some time, conducting most of their affairs from within except for their sporadic adventures in the outside world where both added to their growing reputations as foremost practitioners of their respective arts. It is interesting to note that, at the time, the deeds and adventures of these two men were not well known since they kept their distance from civilisation. It was only in later years that songs and stories of their exploits seem to have popped up in all regions of Darokin. Because of their secrecy and rejection of regular society some stories suggest that their motives were based on greed or some kind of vague evil, though no one seems to know for sure.

Despite their questionable alignment, it is apparent that Rogahn and Zelligar capped their reputations of power when they joined forces with the Darokin Army to help stop an Orc invasion in the summer of 967. No one is sure why they chose to involve themselves in this crisis, {{it was occurring quite close to their stronghold, so it was to their advantage to stem the tide}} but it is known fact that in a crucial battle, on the 11th day of Fyrmont, at the border of the Broken Lands between Fort Runnels and the ruins of Ardelphia, they appeared unexpectedly on the battlefield and combined their powerful force with that of Darokin and decisively turned back the invasion. Many of the stories claim that Rogahn slew a horde of Orcs single-handedly and then Zelligar put the Orc army to flight with his powerful magic. {{This is in fact true, though the "horde" of Orcs was on the smaller side and Zelligar was actually helping with his magic.}} While the personal deeds of Rogahn and Zelligar have no doubt been exaggerated by the story tellers, there is no doubt that the presence of their private army was decisive in routing the humanoid warriors. It is well known that the grateful populace of Darokin rewarded the pair and their numerous henchmen with a considerable amount of treasure. ((Most of the treasure was used to continue building Quasqueton, but there are a few items still there}}

After this adventure the two disappeared into their fortress again continuing to venture forth for adventure from time to time. Most of the stories about them tell of this period and how they accumulating more an more wealth (while simultaneously building upon their reputations). It is in these stories that the other people who are commonly associated with Rogahn and Zelligar begin to appear. Erig "the Brave", son of Rogahn's childhood friend Darren Boras (or {{Toras}}, though about 70% of all references use the former), student and ally of Rogahn and Captain of The Guard of their army of henchmen. Marevak, trusted adviser to both, and apprentice to Zelligar. Melissa "the Fair" {{Ashbridge}}, the young, beautiful and capable woman who won the heart of Rogahn and charmed the reluctant Zelligar into a warm and lasting friendship. Although these three must have been much younger than the two heroes, the stories tell of the extreme devotion between all five, and how they lived, loved and adventured together during much of the next decade.

The latest known stories about Rogahn and Zelligar tell of their decision to foray into the Broken Lands in an attempt to eradicate the looming Orc menace in the north. Taking most of their henchmen and associates along in a great armed band, the two personages disappeared into the forbidding alien lands. {{They left a "skeleton" crew behind (literally, with a few zombies thrown in), though they didn't leave much to guard. They fully intended to return. See information on Melissa for more details}}

As to the current whereabouts of these great men and their followers, virtually nothing in known. There are no further stories about the heroes after this time, and the stories we do have tell only of their "wondrous" army and their "determined" march into the Broken Lands. Nothing is said of the results or if they ever returned. There are a few reports of wandering bards singing songs that tell of some great battle where Rogahn and Zelligar met their demise, but as yet there are few details and no substantiation of the story. If it is true, this rumoured clash must have occurred some years ago, as the existing stories date their initial excursion to somewhere around 979/80. The only thing certain is that Rogahn and Zelligar have not been heard of or from since.

Essay #2

The following is a well constructed essay from one of my better students which discuses the interesting stories of Rogahn's mistress. I felt it deserved to be included with my scrolls. A. Tallah

Melissa "the Fair"
Being an Exposition about the Beauteous Mistress
of Rogahn the Fearless
Written by Sarah Veckar,
this 8th day of Sviftmont, 997
Class: "Darokinian Legend and History"
Professor: Master Anzer Tallah

The tales of Rogahn the Fearless mostly tell of his own wondrous deeds, and those of his companion Zelligar the Unknown. However, there are a small number of others who are frequently mentioned in conjunction with these heroes in many of the later stories. This exposition shall discuss what is commonly believed about his mistress, Melissa "the Fair" {{Ashbridge}}, and will attempt to sift some of the facts from the embellishments.

To begin, the stories frequently tell that Melissa exhibited an incredible prowess in fighting and most accounts claim that this, in combination with her beauty, was how she managed to capture the heart of her lover. The most frequently recorded account claims that he came upon her in the woods as she was in the midst of an encounter with two large, unfriendly Orcs and as a result of their victory he became enamoured of this woman who was both beautiful and capable in a fight. A few of the stories tell how she had managed to kill both Orcs before he had a chance to "rescue" her, but it is more frequently claimed, and therefore believed, that he came to her aid, and fought by her side. {{The truth is that she managed to kill the first Orc as Rogahn joined the foray and then the two of them finished off the second one. The Orcs were loners, acting as bandits on the road from Corunglain to Darokin.}}

Though they were years apart in age (Typically, the stories claim that Melissa was but 17 or {{18}} while Rogahn was somewhere between 46 and 50 {{47}}), it is said they loved each other deeply and truly. Because of this, and because of her grace and charm, she built a strong friendship with Rogahn's longtime companion, Zelligar. Eventually, her name is mentioned as frequently as the two heroes in stories of their conquests and adventures throughout the known world. There are a few accounts which place her at the famous battle where Zelligar and Rogahn defeated the Orc invasion near Ardelphia, but this is unlikely since the accounts of the lover's first meeting would place it between 5 and 10 years after this date. {{This is true - she met him 7 years after the battle with the Orcs}}

Several stories say that Melissa's feminine influence brought some beauty to the subterranean stronghold she agreed to live in with her lover. There are other rumours that she even orchestrated a small number of gala dinners for a select number of Darokinian nobility who were whisked into the fortress by magical means, though this does seem unlikely as Rogahn and Zelligar had always preferred their relative solitude to associations with regular society. Nonetheless, Melissa's presence in their hidden fortress must have changed much of the "household" workings of Wizard, Warrior and Henchmen. {{The stories of the parties are true. There were about three or four of them. The guests were brought in and out by a combination of magic and planning. It is because Melissa wanted fancy balls that the throne room was dressed up slightly so it would fill the need for a ballroom}}

As an interesting final note, Melissa is not directly mentioned in any of the stories regarding the last known excursion of Rogahn and Zelligar into the Broken Lands. This is unusual, especially since the two other people who are frequently mentioned in the stories (Erig, the Captain of the Guard, and Marevek, the Esteemed Adviser) are discussed in the majority: Erig directs the army, of course, as it enters the Orc's homelands, and Marevek remained in Darokin to wait for the hero's return or word of their demise in any one of a number of cities and towns {{he waited in Corunglain}}. As puzzling and vague as this is, it is generally agreed by scholars that she must have gone into the Broken Lands with the army, as the stories always say that, after they met, she always joined Rogahn on his adventures. There appear to be few reasons why she would not have gone, and so I must also agree with the general consensus that she is as missing as Rogahn, Zelligar and Erig have been these past 20 years. {{This is NOT True - she did NOT actually go with them. See the next section for details}}

Further Details for the DM

Mereth Ashbridge, Marek Vak and Erok Toras of House Ashbridge

Zelligar and Rogahn have, in fact, died, and so has their adviser Maravek. Rogahn's mistress, Melissa the Fair, and his captain of the guard, Erig the Brave, are, however, alive and well.

It is not generally known that Melissa did not journey with her beloved and his companions on their final journey. Melissa was 23 at the time (Vatermont, 979) and she had just recently realised that she had conceived Rogahn's child. Rogahn, the father to be, was ecstatic, but he was also concerned for her safety and that of their unborn child. For this reason, he requested that Melissa travel with them only as far as Corunglain, where she would wait with Maravek, who would also serve as her personal aid. She agreed that this was reasonable, even though she truly wanted to ride into battle at her lover's side.

Just before they were to leave Quasqueton, Rogahn asked Zelligar if there was any way to find out what the child would be before they left. Zelligar agreed and achieved this aim by casting Contact Outer Plane. Though he was only granted three questions, the results were pleasing to all: the child would be a boy, his best assets would be his intelligence and his beauty, and he would live a long and prosperous life. Rogahn was happy to have an heir, Zelligar thought that an intelligent boy could provide him with another apprentice (besides Maravek) and Melissa was pleased that her son would have a long life. Together, Rogahn and Melissa decided to name the boy Jorn, after Rogahn's long dead father.

On Vatermont 28th the army marched to Corunglain, where the army of Zelligar and Rogahn left Melissa and Marevak with high hopes and some teary-eyed good-byes.

Alas, the only member of that mighty army that Melissa and Marevak ever saw again was Rogahn's trusty captain and friend, Erig.

Nine months after leaving Corunglain, Erig had stayed in the camp to fix a broken saddle strap when Zelligar and Rogahn marched off to their final battle. Within hours a stream of wounded men started to trickle into the camp. It had been a massacre. A lucky shot had taken Zelligar through the lung. Without his magic, the tide quickly turned, and the Orcs had started to slaughter their men. One man had seen Rogahn run to Zelligar's side to comfort him as he died. Soon after Rogahn gave the word to retreat and so those men who were wounded but could still run left as a few stalwart fighters, Rogahn included, tried to keep the Orcs off of them. Just then, as Erig was trying to take the camp apart so they could flee, four men straggled in with a wounded Rogahn in their arms. Rogahn, who had taken an arrow in the side, told Erig to forget the camp, and get everyone who could ride on a horse and headed out of the badlands as fast as possible. The Orcs were only minutes behind them. "Leave me", he said, "I can't run, but I can still give those monsters a fight to remember." Then he held out a golden ring and a silver pendant (Zelligar's) and told Erig to return to Melissa. "The ring is the key to my Strength, and the pendant is the key to Zelligar's secrets. She will know how to use them." handing the items to Erig, Rogahn then added, "Tell her how much I love her, and how I wish I could watch Jorn grow. Promise me that you will take these to her and that you will do whatever you can to keep her and Jorn safe. Now go."

Taking the ring and pendant, Erig promised to do as he was asked and then rode like a madman to Corunglain. He nearly killed his horse in the process, but he made it back alive. Melissa wept, and accepted the tokens.

The ring is a "Hero's Ring" (+2 to Strength, +1 to Dexterity, +1 to Charisma while worn). The pendant serves as a magical "key" that will open Zelligar's permanent Spell Books by being placed over top of a similar design on their covers.

Originally, Melissa chose to wear the ring herself, however she did not want to return to the stronghold with a babe in arms and with memories of Rogahn to haunt her, and so Zelligar's secrets would have to wait. Since then, Erig and Marevak stayed with her, and helped to her raise Jorn. Over time, Erig and Melissa fell in love though they never married. As a result of their relationship, Erig took on the role of Jorn's father while Marevak acted as an older Uncle. Jorn was eventually told who his real father was.

Jorn is unfortunately not as strong or healthy as either his mother or his father, though he is incredibly intelligent and amazingly handsome. Because her son was obviously weaker in body than in mind, Melissa gave him his father's ring for protection, and then asked Marevak to teach him the ways of magic. (He is now 19 and at the 4th level of mastery in magic.) Because she lost Rogahn, Melissa has always been very close to her son, and tends to keep him close to her, rarely letting him go anywhere without herself or Erig to protect him. Jorn loves his mother dearly, but he often wishes she would "give him more space" and let him experience more of the world on his own.

As a way to survive in the Mercantile world of the Darokin cities, Melissa, Erig and Marevak took up roles as Art and Antiquities Collectors/Dealers. To help themselves blend in to Corunglain society and to hide their identities, the three friends assumed pseudonyms: Mereth Ashbridge, Erok Toras and Marek Vak. They have been quite successful in their new life, with wealthy clients to be found throughout Western Darokin. After a few years, Meilissa and Erig moved a significant portion of their operations to Akesoli (Melissa preferred the lakeshore environment of Akesoli to the arid plains of Corunglain), and Marevak stayed in Corunglain to handle affairs there. Journeys were frequently made by the friends between these cities in order to allow Jorn to receive further training in magic and to catch up on old times. Most of the dealings of the Ashbridge House of Art and Antiquities are done in one of the following four cities: Akesoli, Darokin City, Akorros and Corunglain.

It has been 19 years since Erig returned to Corunglain, and Marevak, already old then, has just died a peaceful death in the last year. Unfortunately, this means that Jorn no longer has a private teacher in the magic arts. As a result, Melissa is now ready to return to the stronghold to reclaim Zelligar's spell books. However, it has been discovered that many of the protections on Quasqueton have failed over time, and it is now over-run with all sorts of monsters. Melissa does not want to leave Jorn on his own, and refuses to take him with her into such a dangerous place. She also doesn't want Erig to go because she is afraid that he will not return to her, just like Rogahn. Thus, she has decided to hire a number of adventurers (the PC's) to go in and get the items she wants using a small subterfuge. Her plain is to claim to have "discovered" an old diary belonging to an associate Marek Vak and have found that was in fact Marevak. She is going to assume that the PC's don't know squat about the Art and Antiquities business and will modify her relationship with Marek Vak for the purpose of this subterfuge.

There are two items that Melissa wants: All of Zelligar's spell books, which she want for Jorn's use; and a small, ornate chest full of momentous and letters from Rogahn. Erig and Melissa also know that there is a hidden treasure room in the unfinished second level of the Stronghold (room 54), and are somewhat interested in what may still be there. Tell the following to the players when they are being briefed by "Mereth & Erok":

[[ED Note: The following 'boxed text' served to introduce the PC's to their role in this module --JAMM]]

"Mereth" (Melissa):
Being buyers and sellers of fine art and antiquities we are always travelling, looking for items that we or many of our clients may be interested in. About a year ago, we went to Corunglain and discovered that our associate, Marek Vak, another well known dealer in antiquities and magic, had apparently died in his sleep. After his death had been discovered, the city found that no one knew who his relatives were or where they might be located. There was also no know will. As a result, the city had taken control of the estate and was auctioning off his wares and personal belongings. We attended the auction and managed to purchase a few items at a very good price. One item in particular was a clerk's desk which had been a personal possession of his.

"Erok" (Erig):
Very nice, finely crafted desk too. We'd admired it previously, even tried to buy it from him, but he refused to part with it. Something about being part of his past life. Never did explain that. It needed some repairs too, that's why we managed to purchase it for so little. Same with some of the other items we bought.

Exactly. So, we set ourselves up in a small place in that city and started cleaning, repairing and re-finishing anything that needed it before trying to sell it or move it to our home city, Akesoli. While he was cleaning this desk, Erok accidentally triggered a secret compartment which had been overlooked when the desk had been cleared out before the auction. Inside the compartment, he found some Journals, maps and other papers.

It appears that our friend Marek Vak was actually Marevak, trusted adviser to Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown.

We've read through the Journals, which document much of his life after the date when he was apparently asked to stay in Corunglain and wait for the return of the army. After some time he realised that they were not going to return, and chose to build a new life for himself, as Marek Vak rather than attempting to return to the stronghold. Much of the information was interesting but useless to us. However, in his earliest Journal's he often discusses the reasons why returning to the fortress could be beneficial, mentioning several items which he could reclaim, some of which interest us ... and some of our clients ... a great deal.

We want you to attempt to retrieve some of these items on our behalf. We have selected you from all the applicants we have seen because we feel that, together, you have the skills and power necessary to do this job. It most likely won't be easy, the fortress has been abandoned for close to 20 years now, and is likely filled with newer denizens, ones who will not appreciate your trespassing anymore than Rogahn and Zelligar would have.

As for payment, we will provide some money to outfit you with horses, a cart, and other reasonable equipment. Whatever you bring back, aside from the items we are asking for, is yours, but we request the opportunity to see it before anyone else so that we might offer to purchase it, for a reasonable price, if it appeals to us. Are there any questions?

After answering the questions that they may have, make sure that the PC's know which items the Ashbridge's want, and especially that they should NOT attempt to open the spell books due to a deadly magical enchantment on them. Melissa might also mention the potential "treasure room" on the bottom level.

Now, give them the maps and then get the PC's to determine what items they would like to add to their equipment. If anything seems unreasonable, have Melissa veto it. Then let them travel to the fortress: 5 days to Akoros, 1 day to Crowlerd and 2 days to the site.

Suggested Module Changes

Zelligar, being a high level Mage, should have several Spellbooks with a fair number of suitable spells inside them. The Ashbridges should mention how many the 'diary' said there should be. Place one of the books in Zelligar's Chambers (room 5), one in Marevak's Chambers (room 32) and any others in Zelligar's Workroom (room 8) or Laboratory (room 9). The higher level ones (most of the ones found in the Workroom and/or Laboratory) should be sealed with a Magic that can only be successfully opened using Zelligar's amulet (now worn by Jorn). Something VERY BAD should happen to PC's who attempt to open the sealed Spellbooks without returning them to Melissa first.

Because Melissa is now supposed to be a good fighter, and not someone who was helpless and rescued by Rogahn, the tapestry in her Chamber (room 24) must be redesigned as follows:

A small tapestry, measuring 3' x 4' hangs on the east wall. It depicts a handsome and robust warrior fighting back to back with a beautiful warrior maiden, both in a fighting pose and with swords in their hands. The fight is set in a burning village, two large orcs are attacking our hero and heroine, numerous dead combatants litter the ground around them, and a horde of ominous-looking enemies view the scene from afar. Embroidered in gold cloth at the top of the scene are the words: "Melissa, the greatest of all my treasures." The tapestry is within a wooden frame, and is firmly anchored to the wall. It cannot be removed without damaging it, in which case it will only carry a value of 40g.p.

Note that the likeness of "Melissa" is very good. Give any PC who studies the tapestry for a few minutes some chance of making the connection between Melissa and Mereth.

Also in Melissa's Chambers (room 24), add the small chest that "Mereth" requested:

Under the bed is a small chest about 2' x 1' x 1'. It is ornately and finely carved with a detailed floral motif. If it is examined, the name "Nayetar" will be discovered carefully etched into the bottom. Nayetar was a very well known craftsman from Thyatis, whose carved furniture is highly prized in the known world. (PC's with knowledge of antiquities, furniture or Art should be able to make the connection). This is the box that "Mereth" and "Erok" asked for - inside it contains several love letters, a few love tokens, a small vial of perfume and some pressed flowers - various momentous given to Melissa from Rogahn.

Add something worthwhile to the contents of the Treasure Room on the lower level (room 54) to make the journey into that part of the dungeon worthwhile for the PCs.