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Archdruid of the Isle of Dawn

by Zarcyk

Here's my thought on the druidic head on the IoD. I developed the basic information to best suit my own needs. I don't go far into stats details, as they belong to an experimental system. About the rest I wait for comments.

When my PCs arrived to the Isle of Dawn, they made a stop at Kendach. It was late AC 998. Countess Julia Kendasius claimed as hers the Kendach Escarpment, in the name of Thincol I of Thyatis. She was trying to expand her dominion rights through the occupation of the area. Her project included the building of a chain of fortified towers all around the border of the plateau, in order to protect "her" lands from the Alphatians beyond.
The first tower, the nearest to town, was already under construction. Half the perimeter of the escarpment border had been explored and "cleaned". The internal part of the plateau was checked only 40 km from the first tower.
Countess Kendasius, as the majority of the human population of the IoD, knew nothing about those highlands. So she had to send explorers to map the area and reporting its features. Most explorers were from the County Army, other were hired for that job. Among the latter were the PCs.
Their task was to go straight toward the centre of the plateau, reported to be the most dangerous and mysterious.
They went, and met the most important person they ever knew: Kalmyshiye, Archdruid of the Isle of Dawn.

The first tower rises aside a small river falling from the plateau border onto sheer cliffs. This river apparently comes from the centre of the escarpment. The exploration starts from the tower and directs upriver through a plain grassland.
After about 40 km, the clear waters become darker, the ground becomes muddy and swampy: this is the "Palus Kendasia", or the "Kendach Fen". The river separates in a labyrinthine net of rivulets, which sometimes fade into uniform mud. The air becomes fetid and a thick mist contributes to disorient. The vegetation includes twisted bushes and gigantic fungus. The fauna includes many species of lowlife, insects and arachnids, and many reptilians. Particularly dangerous are numerous killer bees (with grey and yellow stripes), mosquitos swarms, giant leeches and urticant scarabs. Other dangerous creatures are stirges, troglodytes and hungry black alligators. The only intelligent presence inhabiting the "Palus" is a population of "swamp nymphs" (in my campaign I prefer to call nymphs what Expert rules call nixies). They had a problem with a mummy (a Nithian remnant), but were saved by my PCs. They are friendly to elves and know the archdruid and his attendants.
Many stretches of the limit of the swamp are enveloped by black widow webs, leaving reduced ways to safely pass.
Beyond the swamp the mist dissipates and the rivulets merge again in a small river, crossing as plain a grassland as the one previously seen. This plain is inhabited by sprites and "dawn panthers" (light yellow fur with small grey and brown spots). In the distance you can see a dark line, a sort of wood.
Some 10 km from the swamp, you meet the "Wood Ring". It is a wood shaped roughly circular, about 20 km diameter. Few dangers inside it: some vipers and little more.
Closed by the Ring is a vast glade, placid and idyllic, crossed by the river, now somewhat smaller. At the centre of the inner glade, some km from the inner border of the Wood Ring, another small wood is visible, a thin line of smoke rising from its core.
Inside the inner wood lives Oluindomul, a gentle treant. It is even younger than Kalmyshiye and strongly tied with him. In fact, once when he was in Norwold, Kalmyshiye saved young Oluindomul from an arson caused by an enraged red dragon, whose breath destroyed the native wood of the treant.
At the centre of the wood, the rivulet comes from a small lake. A small raft can be useful to lead you to the small island rising from amidst the calm waters. There live the major druids of the IoD.
Their house are little more than humble huts: this help them live closely to nature.

He is an elf from the Shiye clan of Alphatia. His grand-parents participated in the abandon of Mealiden Starwatcher migration. His father was among the first Shiye elves born on the continent of Alphatia. He himself was an elf-kid when he saw the Alphatian coming down from the sky.
His appearance comes from his extraordinary age: he himself lost the count of the springs he saw (you understand, he's very old), but he clearly remembers the Alphatian-Thyatian wars preceding the crowning of Zendrolion I! He was already a young adult elf, an initiate in the druidic hierarchy. Surely he's more than 2000 years old! (It is a mystery how this could be possible)
PERSONALITY: Kalmyshiye is not a born leader. He keeps his charge out of sense of duty, but he's not interested in rise through druidic hierarchy. He is more philosopher than adventurer. All this explains his relatively low level in spite of his long age.
STATS: elven D20*; hp 50; St 13, De 11, Co 10, In 16, Wi 18, Ch 15; (he should have weapon mastery with staff and short bow).
APPEARANCE: He's hardly recognizable as an elf, because he's short and bowed (he hardly reach 1.20 m), with white hair and beard, both very long (similar in this to Mealidan Mealidil of Alfheim), and a myriad of wrinkles upon his face. He usually wears druidic tunics in black and green.
MAGIC ITEMS: He always wear a pair of "boots of travel and jump", and carries a druidic knotty "staff of healing". Other items includes a "wood armour +3", an enchanted short bow named "Showerain" (short bow +2 of extinguishing), a "magical rope", a set of "panic drums", a "hydroelemental amphor" and a "training muzzle".
DM NOTES: Due to his long life, he has stored an extraordinary amount of knowledge, in particular related to "his dominion", the Isle of Dawn. He knows all animal and vegetal life forms of the island, he personally knows the heads of all packs, of all herds, of all flocks and of all swarms on his territory, and he's guardian of all the natural inhabitants of the land under his feet.
Moreover, he can tell about ANY historical event happened on the IoD from AC 0 to present day. His charge requires him to constantly monitor human (and non-human) activities in order to prevent any major natural disaster.
Nevertheless he's not known by virtually any civilized being, as he always adopts subtle methods to act. Maybe one or two of the eldest men on the IoD knows of him, simply naming him the "Wise One of the Escarpment".
Kalmyshiye fights only if strictly necessary.

He's the fighting attendant of the archdruid, he who pursues wrongdoers (in the eyes of nature) and who plans and coordinates the actions commanded by his superior. Kurnos was born in AC 970 in Redstone to a family native to Julinius. He soon showed a special love for pets. Then he was fascinated by horses, as to go around trying to free all of them. Lastly he met a druid who told him the "right way". He adventured and grew until he took the place held before by his teacher: attendant to the archdruid.
PERSONALITY: Kurnos hates the use of animals as slaves. He literally goes mad when he sees a whip risen upon a humble mule charged with great loads. He's in charge of coordinating the actions towards (and against) civilians. He's a little Machiavellian, but he remains loyal to Kalmyshiye.
STATS: human D10*; hp 30; St 16, De 12, Co 14, In 11, Wi 12, Ch 15; (he should have weapon mastery with mace and whip).
APPEARANCE: Thyatian stock, 28 years old, tall 1.90 m, muscular; totally bald, brown short beard, blue eyes, aquiline nose, well drawn lips. His voice is commanding and thunderous, very impressive on male characters. He wears comfortable clothes in neutral colours (from light to darker browns), and a pair of soft boots made from alligator hide. He always wears his armour, his weapons, and a medium sized wood-and-leather shield.
MAGIC ITEMS: Bone armour +1 (elm got from a big deer skull), mace +1 (the head is a fossil dinosaur skull), black leather whip +1.

Taphniri was born in Edairo, second daughter to a goat herder. One day, while attending her father's flock, she met Kalmyshiye. Fascinated by that elderly figure, she instantly followed him, and no one ever heard of her among the civilized men. She was taught the druidic philosophy and rapidly grew studying plants' virtues. Now she's the closest attendant to the archdruid, and nurtures her master out of affection and respect.
PERSONALITY: Peaceful and comprehensive. She incarnates the motherly aspect of nature.
STATS: human D10*; hp 30; St 10, De 10, Co 13, In 12, Wi 12, Ch 16; (she should have weapon mastery with dagger and short bow).
APPEARANCE: Thothian stock, 27 years old, 1.54 m tall, regular built; hazel eyes; black hair; thin lips. She wears comfortable linen-clothes, undyed, and a pair of sandals. She seldom speaks, but when she does, her voice is hypnotic to male ears.
MAGIC ITEMS: Leather armour +1, staff +1 (engraved with flower patterns), 6 bone daggers +1 (wolf fur hilt).
DM NOTES: She never adventures unless told to by her master. She'll take care of him until the end of his (or her?) days.

Zefram was the fifth child of a farmer family from the countryside of Hillvale lands. One day he lost in a wood, where he met the druid who was his teacher. Similarly to Kurnos, he took the charge of attendant as legacy from his mentor.
PERSONALITY: Curious and substantially peaceful.
STATS: human D10*; hp 30; St 13, De 13, Co 11, In 12, Wi 14, Ch 15; (he should have weapon mastery with staff and dagger).
APPEARANCE: common Alphatian stock; 30 years old; 1.90 m tall, lean but built like an athlete; golden and almond shaped eyes; long blonde hair, worn loose; small mouth, thin lips. He wears comfortable scanty clothes (in mimetic colours ranging from yellow to reddish brown) under his magic armour, goes barefoot.
MAGIC ITEMS: dawn panther skin (fur armour) +1, staff +1 (twin to that owned by Taphniri), bone dagger +1 (wolf fur hilt, similar to Taphniri's, but unrelated to them).
DM NOTES: His task is that of looking at human action toward wild nature and report to Kalmyshiye. Often he takes animal form (dawn panther is his favourite) to test human behaviour: in case of attack he flees, to come back later (in human form) at the head of a great pack of wild beast, in order to hinder the attacker's plans, whatever they are.

* A NOTE ON RULES. When the PCs were playing this campaign, I was extensively experimenting new rules and game mechanics, some by my own, some found in the web. In particular I stumbled upon the 20 levels druidic class description of AD&D_2E, and tried to span it over my 36 levels system. So I estimated "archdruid level" to be around 20 level in my system. I used (and will keep on using) AD&D model for druids, as the OD&D official version never fitted in my perspective of that class. Now I'm thinking upon coming back someway toward the OD&D rules, though maintaining some corrections and adding some new. If I ever come to a pseudo-final version, I'll share its features.

Kalmyshiye never wanted to overtly act, in order to let [almost] nobody suspect druidic presence on the island. His idea is to find subtle ways to preserve nature's beings, thus preventing direct actions by possible enemies. His method consists in slightly manipulate flora and fauna configurations where this could discourage human settlements, thus cutting away stretches of land from human influence and actually limiting it to reduced areas. His attendants work as lieutenants, commanding and instructing lesser level druids and managing minor forces of nature.
This method has proved successful for a millennium (thus partially justifying the relatively low population density on the island), but Kalmyshiye himself doesn't know how long it could be so.
This is why he accepted to be addressed by representative of the human dominion which is closest to his hermitage. He intends to come to a secret and personal alliance with one dominion ruler who could be an intermediator between druids and civilians. This can be the pact: Countess Kendasius keeps silent about druidic existence and promotes a nature protecting policy (similar to Machetos' or Vyalia's), at least under her jurisdiction; the druids agree on informing her about human movements all over the IoD and to help her in case of natural disaster.

Kalmyshiye's age appears to be absurdly long even to elven eyes. There may be several theories about that:

- Kalmyshiye conducts a particularly healthy way of life. This could grant some extra years of life, maybe beyond racial limits; but 1000 extra years perhaps are too many indeed.

- Kalmyshiye has discovered a way to prolong lifespan. This could be some kind of herbal-druidic mixture producing effects analogous to "potions of longevity". In that case he'll probably teach this knowledge to Taphniri, and keep on taking that drug until he feels his time has come.

- Kalmyshiye is actually 1000 years old. He tells to be older in order to inspire a sense of reverence in those who listen. What he knows of older history he was told by someone else, adding details spawned by his mind. He keeps on being an extremely old elf, and a very joking one.

- Kalmyshiye was bestowed Exalted status by a druidic Immortal (think about Eiryndul, Djaea or someone else) he has done a major favour to. This way he is virtually immortal and can live many millennia longer. If this solution seems too strong, you could replace "Exalted status" with "longer (but finite) lifespan".

- Kalmyshiye is actually an Immortal in mortal form. This could mean he is a new Immortal at Initiate rank, keeping on pretending to be Mortal until he finds a suitable successor. Alternatively he could be a senior druidic Immortal (see above) who wants to look at the IoD by a close point of view (or has some other plot in course). This last theory could justify his noted predilection for covert action, this coming out of habit.

I won't tell you what's the truth. You are free to choose what best fits your ideas, or even add some new.