Kelfour Edition volume I number I

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|    The ART of Roleplaying by Blumokshadavhar Sukudushakti .......  2     |
|    GemStone III On I.C.E. by Mendle Seldagrave ..................  4     |
|    Editorial by Usul Lu'Nak: Diamonds in the Rough ..............  6     |
|    Interview with GemStone's Designer by Phaedra Bleu .. ........  7     |
|    City News Desk ...............................................  9     |
|    Natural (GemStone) Resources ................................. 11     |
|    Natasha's No-Nonsense Hint for Survival: Armor ............... 12     |
|    Known Monsters Compendium .................................... 13     |
|    The Lone Ranger :Fiction by Caliban Eilorn ................... 18     |
|    A Trick of the Tail :Fiction by Usul Lu'Nak .................. 19     |
|                                                                          |
|  Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted  to the game of  |
|  GemStone III  on the  GEnie Information  Network. Submissions are wel-  |
|  come and may be edited for space,  accuracy  and readability.  Contact  |
|  KE Editor-In-Chief Usul Lu'Nak (GEnie ID: ST-ING) or Publisher Phaedra  |
|  Bleu (P.HERRINGTON) for more information. Banner art by Dagger.         |
|    ______________________________________________________________________|_
|   /                                                                       /
                            The ART of ROLEPLAYING
                        by Blumokshadavhar Sukudushakti
  |~|    ~~~  
   \~\____                              (1) WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? What
 _  ~~~~\~\                             shapes you and I will shape a
 ~|~|    |~|  IX MAXIMS ON              character as well, and fundamental
   \~\__/~/     ROLEPLAYING             influences are familial and cultural
    ~~~~~~       in GemStone III:       Who are your people? What do they do?
                                        What are their customs? Where did you
                                        spend your adolescence getting that
(1) There is nothing in the current     training? Hint: Resist being gran-
game design that renders roleplay       diose here, i.e., a hero born and
impossible. (2) Roleplaying is a game   bred, of noble family and historic
element that design can enhance or      lineage, destined for greatness. If
impede. (3) Current game design does    you're so great how'd you end up in a
little to enhance roleplay, and does a  dump like Kelfour's Landing?
bit to impede it. (4) There is nothing                                      
inherently inconsistent between         (2) HOW DID YOU GET TO BE WHAT YOU
roleplay and rollplay, whether this     ARE: Where and under what circum-
distinction refers to two types of      stances did you learn your pro-
play or to the activities of a single   fession? What was your apprentice-
player. (5) Roleplaying occurs          ship like? Did you have formal
everyday in GSIII and has been          training or pick it up in the street?
occurring since the beginning of BETA.
(6) Some players roleplay; some don't.  (3) WHY DID YOU COME TO KELFOUR'S
So what.                                LANDING? Did you mean to come here?
                                        Were you sent here? Why? Quellborne
I hope these maxims provide the         is a frontier, a region re-opening
assumptions I bring to this topic.      after some 200 years. It looks like
But, the major assumption is this:      the boonies, an isolated backwater.
If you WANT to roleplay, you CAN.       And it's not an easy place to get to.
                                        So why did you? Why would you? There
SIX SUGGESTIONS FOR BUILDING A WHO      are certainly better places to be
                                        on Kulthea.
The current character generation
system allows you to determine WHAT     (4) WHAT DO YOU WANT? This is a hard
you are (physical and mental            one to answer in GSIII, but having
qualities, race, profession and         even very general goals is useful.
skills, appearance). Roleplaying        Right now there's nothing really very
requires that you further define WHO    clear to aspire to here, so... well
you are, and though elements of the     good luck with this one.
character generation system may
influence or be influenced by this      (5) WHAT KIND OF PERSON ARE YOU? In a
definition (e.g., race and              word: attitude. Few people are un-
profession), most of what you need to   dimensional, but characters generally
build a WHO you must provide for        have certain broad dispositions.
yourself. I offer below six             Good or evil, though important, don't
suggestions for what you might          help much here. Are you friendly
consider. Not an exhaustive list to be  and out-going? Shy? Morose? Kind?
sure, and fairly standard, but it may   Obnoxious? Selfish? Cantankerous?
help you get started:
                                                    (Continued on next page)

                           The ART of ROLEPLAYING
Developing this aspect of your          (6) Play with other roleplayers. Like
persona is perhaps the most difficult   actors on the stage, the better the
task of all. Many players find it       performance of the others, the better
easier, and enjoyable to play pretty    yours can be. Roleplaying develops
much straight from behind the keyboard  as you interact; the better the
(i.e., themselves). Others will use     interaction, the more enjoyable the
roleplaying to explore other            roleplay. AND REMEMBER: Give as well
attitudes, usually exaggerating some    as receive. Give the others room to
aspects of their personality as         play, play to them, be generous,
components of their character's         don't 'hog' the stage.
persona. But, however you chose to
approach it, attitude is fundamental.   (7) Roleplaying can require much
                                        concentration at first, especially
(6) READ THE TOMES. The game setting    with a new character. But you will
for both Kulthea and Quellborne is      find that eventually the character
fairly detailed. Though many aspects    will take on a 'life' of their own
may never be realized in the game       and their words and deeds will come
design, the more you know the setting,  'naturally.'
the better able your character will
'fit' into it, and believably be a      Since retiring Blu and leaving the
product of it. And, the Tomes may       game for a bit, I have learned that
suggest answers to some of the          other players enjoyed him. That's
questions above.                        gratifying; I liked him, too. Which
                                        in the end is what I suppose you'd
SEVEN HINTS FOR ROLEPLAYING             want: To like the role you have
                                        chosen and, if you can, contribute
(1) If you fashion a biography for      to enjoyment of the game.
your character, DON'T just announce
it. Let others discover these details   Finally, roleplaying is like
as they get to know you, let it come    improvisational theatre, you set down
'naturally' in conversation when        certain conditions and a general
appropriate.                            direction, and then you let it
                                        develop. It is not something you can
(2) Likewise, let others discern WHO    do alone, it is a cooperative
you are by your words and deeds.        undertaking. To do well, you need
Again, don't just announce a persona.   the help of others.
Pay attention to what's going on         ___________________________________ 
around you and how your character       |                                   |
would make sense of it and respond to   |   Ale! Ale! The Gang's All Here!  |
it. This is difficult currently, since  |                 at                |
pretty much the same thing goes on all  |      Helga's Bar and Grill        |
the time. But, then, that may be what   | I.C.E. Kold Beer - brewed locally |
your character needs to react to.       |                                   |
                                        |          IMPORTS AVAILABLE        |
(4) Use the BB to write letters home,   |                                   |
or journal entries, or reports to       |            Also serving:          |
others. This is one way to let others   |         Helga's World Famous      |
see a 'private' side of your character. |                                   |
                                        |           KULTHEAN GULASH         |
(5) DON'T CONSTRUCT A PERFECT           |           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~         |
PERSONA. Give serious consideration     |    Made  from  choice  cuts  of   |
to flaws and foibles, weaknesses,       |    torkaanii with Helga's secret  |
short-comings, and idiosyncracies.      |    blend  of herbs  and  spices.  |
And then play them.                     |    Tastes  great, less  filling.  |
                           GEMSTONE III On I.C.E.
                            by Mendle Seldagrave
 ____      ____  
 +|~|      |~|+                         The other two Companions have some
  |~|  __  |~|                          interesting variant rules, addition-
  |~| /~~\ |~| hen first approached,    al spell lists, and extra character
  |~|/~/\~\|~|  GemStone III can over-  classes but these are only useful
  |~/~/  \~\~|  whelm the uninitiated.  if you are planning on playing Role-
  |__/    \__|  Since the game is       Master. This holds true for the
  ~~~      ~~~  based on the role-      Creature and Treasure volumes as
playing game Role Master by Iron Crown  well; interesting to look through
Enterprises (I.C.E.) you can get some   but not necessary for someone who
outside help in understanding how       plans on playing only GemStone.
GemStone works.
                                        The Shadow World supplements must be
While there are a number of Role-       looked at in a different light. Most
Master products available, only a few   of these publications are adventure
of them are particularly relevant to    modules of some sort, designed to be
the GemStone environment. Of the        used with Role Master by a referee
basic Role Master books, only the        as an adventure setting for the
Character Law book provides much in     players. While sooner or later some
the way of really useful information.   of these might see their way into
Spell Law, while giving you lots of     GemStone in some form, most of them
interesting spell descriptions and      can be overlooked by the GemStone
charts, won't come in too handy since   player. Two notable exceptions are
Simutronics is condensing and           the Shadow World master module and
designing 10 new spell lists            the Quellborne supplement. The
especially for GemStone from the        master module provides you with a
multitude of spells in Role Master.     great deal of background on the
The Arms Law book provides the          world setting that GemStone is
specifics of the Role Master combat     placed in. Most of the basic infor-
system, but since GemStone is using     mation can be found if you spend
a variant of that, it too is only       time pouring over the Tomes on
marginally useful. The Character Law    the GemStone menu, but it is
book will give a basic understanding    presented more fully in the World
of game mechanics, character statis-    Guide of the Shadow World boxed set.
tics and how the skill system works.    Also presented are many of the more
GemStone follows these basic            plentiful inhabitants that we may
mechanics fairly well considering it    see in GemStone someday in the
has to adapt a paper and dice           Inhabitants Guide. The Quellborne
table-top game to the multi-player      module is useful because it deals
computer environment.                   with the area in which GemStone is
                                        already set. It details Kelfour's
There are three Companion volumes       Landing, Stonehold, The Shrine of
available for Role Master as well. Of   the Spider Goddess, etc. While these
these three, only the first (Role       areas have obviously been somewhat
Master Companion I) has anything that   modified before they are implemented
ties in at this point, the combat       for adventure, you can get a feel
system. GemStone is currently using     for the background and atmosphere
the Condensed Combat System variant     of the area from this module.
that is presented in that book.          
         GEMSTONE on I.C.E.               __________________________________
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~              |                                 |
           (Continued)                   |          MERCHANT MALL          |
So when buying Role Master products      |                                 |
to attempt to understand GemStone        |          TODAY MAY BE           |
better, only three or four items are     |             _YOUR_              |
really needed or useful. The             |            LUCKY DAY!           |
Character Lawbook (for the basics of     |                                 |
the system on which GemStone is          |  *****************************  |
based), the Role Master Companion I      |  *  BELDRICK'S GAMING HOUSE  *  |
(only if you are really interested in    |  *****************************  |
the specifics of how the combat          |                                 |
system works), the Shadow World boxed    |       Where the fun begins      |
set (for general world background),      |      when the chips are in.     |
and the Quellborne module (for local     |                                 |
information on the areas that            |  Try your hand at CRAZY ORCS.   |
GemStone is currently centered in).      |  Play ROLLETTE!  Shoot KRAPS!   |
The Shadow World boxed set runs about    |  HOBSKOTCH matches every hour!  |
$20 and the other three books run        |                                 |
around $12 to $15 each if memory         |       !! More fun than          |
serves.                                  |     a BARREL OF TORKAANII!!     |
Editor's Note: Additional background                                        
information about Jaiman (which is     There once was a fighter named Treel
the continent on which Quellborne     Who went out the gate with cold steel
and Kelfour's Landing are situated)      He met with a Torkaan,
is available in I.C.E.'s Jaiman          Two Hobs and an Orc, an'
Module.                                Now he'll take six months to heal.
  __________________________________               by Swiftkill Two-Swords
 |                                  |     
 |            *Official*            |             Pesky Agates?
 |           GemStone III           |             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 |                                  |    Don't you hate those pesky agates
 |          COMPLAINT FORM          |    that seem to turn up with amazing
 |          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          |    regularity in chests you have to
 |               ____               |    pay 14th level thieves to open?
 |              |    |              |    Well, don't thrown them out, and
 |              |    |              |    don't sell them for a measly 25
 |              |____|              |    silvers to the gem cutter either!
 |                                  |    Take them to the temple. Rather
 |                                  |    than shelling out hundreds of coins
 |   Print full problem in space.   |    for a Deed, offer them instead.
 |  Write legibly and explain ALL   |    The Priestess usually accepts an
 |  details including PORT number.  |    agate in lieu of 500 silvers,
 |                                  |    although she refuses to take them
 |       Do NOT fold, spindle       |    from higher level characters.
 |           or duplicate.          |     
 |                                  |                     Symon t'Kedra
 |      -SUBMIT IN TRIPLICATE-      |     
                       GemStones: Diamonds In The Rough
    ____               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 |~|    ~   
 |~|        et real! It's 2:37 AM.      As roleplayers we are creators. The
 |~|  |==|    GEnie's batch processor   gods may play dice with our universe
 |~|    ||    and your local node       but WE are responsible for our
  \~\__//     started playing games     creations. Each of us is a work of
   ~~~~~      just as you tried to      art framed by statistics, skills and
breeze by a cave troll in Tralog's      professions but the pictures we paint
Silver Mine. Now you're somewhere in    on the canvas are our own. Role-
techno-limbo and your mind and credit   playing is emphatically NOT about the
card are fried greasy as bad bacon.     finished work; that's the stuff
At this rate, who has the patience      creators leave behind on their way
for cranky machines, sagging soft-      to something else. HOW you play the
ware or the twiddling of the random     game was never more meaningful than
generator's numerous thumbs - much      in GemStone III.
less roleplaying!? Although this sorta  
thing doesn't happen much anymore,      Thus it came to me, freed mercifully
it's times like these that you need a   (if briefly) from the consumer habits
high alpine valley with the faint       which are my regrettable birthright,
musty smell of rustling windak leaves.  that consumption and creation are
Anything as long as wallowing in it     mutually exclusive. What roleplaying
replaces your sense of perspective or   requires is the time, care and polish
provides a dash of inspiration. And at  which the obsessive consumption we
times like these, it helps to know the  call roleplaying doesn't permit. We
not-so-subtle, dangerous but useful     can consume or we can create. We can
difference between consumption and      eat or we can talk. But to try to do
creation. Say what? Weren't we talking  both is to choke. Consumption res-
about roleplaying? Rollplaying or       pects only its own hunger.
roleplaying, consumption or creation?   
Not a cycle, not two sides of a coin,   Roleplaying is scrambling eggs and
not even two seats on a see-saw. Just   getting diamonds. Diamonds in the
conscious CHOICE.                       rough; multifaceted diamonds, no two
                                        alike; gemstones created and born of
Consumption implies instant gratifi-    ideas that sparkle, that poke through
cation. It's all gimme-gimme-gimme, I   the muck giving glimpses of the
want it and minemine! Consumption can   treasures buried within. We are con-
turn War And Peace into bathroom read-  cepts in a web of social networks and
ing and Beethoven's Ninth into elevator exchanged information that, in sum,
music. It can turn spontaneity and      comprise our online society; all
magic into boredom and mediocrity.      within the environmental simulator
It devours in seconds that which took   that is GemStone III. So get out the
immeasurable moments to create.         sparkle in YOUR GemStone! Polish it
Consumption is about immediate access.  until it shines so brilliantly that
                                        others cannot be trapped into role-
Creation, on the other hand, takes      playing.
time. Sometimes vast amounts. Creation  
is about search more than access, pro-  
cess rather than results. Whether it's     LET roleplaying become the rule,
art, poetry or roleplaying, creators    not the exception. Get real!
seek a deeper kind of satisfaction      
than consumers. Next time the scenario  
gets to you, remember this: It's not                        Usul Lu'Nak
that artists have to suffer, it's that                      Editor-In-Chief
suffering never stops REAL artists.                                        
                      Interview with David Whatley
         Designer of GemStone and President of Simutronics, Inc.
                             by Phaedra Bleu
The  original  GemStone was  an offline  prototype  on  the  Amiga  personal
computer, done preliminary to GemStone II which made its appearance on GEnie
in 1987.  GemStone II was  a  charming multiplayer game set  in the mythical
land of Elanthia,  which  disappeared forever on December 31, 1989. GemStone
III had opened for beta testing a month prior to that.
Phaedra:  Did you search through game settings to find one for GemStone III?
David:  No, this setting was pretty much a product of a working relationship
with  I.C.E.  As I recall,  when  we  were  originally  looking  for a world
environment  we  came  up  with  I.C.E.,  another  product,  or  building it
internally ourselves like  we did in  the original game.  Doing a  game like
GemStone is  a problem that's  half technical and half design.  Doing it all
ourselves was a big job,  and we decided that if we could defray the  design
half we could concentrate on the technical end of it and get it done faster.
And before  we're through,  of course, GemStone  will have a lot more detail
than we could  ever have come up with ourselves in the given amount of time.
Phaedra: Does GemStone differ substantially from I.C.E.'s game design?
David:  The area around Kelfour's Landing is based on the Quellborne module,
and the plan originally was to have three islands.  The first island is what
we actually ended up building - that's Jaiman on the Shadow World map, where
Quellborne is. The  second island is in a rougher place, the idea being that
once you advance to a certain level you can just hop on a ship and there you
are. And then the third island would be for the highest level characters and
be an aggressive, difficult  place  to survive.  We still plan on doing that.
Phaedra: Kelfour's Landing is to the north, or top of the island, right?
David: Yes, it's  actually on a  bay, the  east  shore of  Claedesbrim  Bay.
There's  an island out  in the middle of the  bay called Sea Kral which will
probably  be the site of  the second island.  No, I don't have a time-frame.
Phaedra: What's next on the agenda?  You recently  opened a new  area by the
Hobgoblins with a mysterious tower we can't get into, apparently for need of
a high-level cleric, so what's next - and where will it be?
David:  The Spider Temple will be open soon.  It isn't open yet because it's
changed  hands  a couple  of times,  and  the  person  working  on it now is
changing jobs  -  moving from being a  GameMaster to  take charge of the new
Assistant GameMasters  -  so it's changing hands again and that causes it to
get a little  behind.  The Spider Temple  is  actually  from  the Quellborne
module. You know, GemStone is not tactical in nature so you can't really say
where something is, unlike, say, Ultima (or in multiplayer terms,  Island of
Kesmai)  where you  can  SEE  things  relative to  each other  on a map.  In
GemStone, each  'room'  can be  as small or as big as the writer creates it.
That could be a  tiny closet or a  huge cavern, so there's  no way to really
map  it in a tactical manner.  We just  have  an  approximate  direction  or
distance, and distance isn't the  easiest measure either.  That's one of the
last things we decide, though, where something will be.
                          Interview (Continued)
Phaedra:  In a conference  earlier  this year you mentioned a jousting arena
where players could  pit their skills against each other.  Is that still on?
David: Yes but it's in a state of disarray. In other words, it was completed
but not to my satisfaction. I'm thinking about having it redone.
Phaedra: Is it inside the town gates?
David:  Yes, the arena will be in town.  But probably  the next thing that's
going to happen is that  we'll build an  area underneath  the entire island.
This game is supposed to  be Dungeons-and-Dragons-like,  and what's  missing
are the dungeons.  Most of our stuff is out of doors now,  so we're going to
start digging.
Phaedra:  How  true  is  GemStone  to the  Quellborne module,  and how much
liberty can you take?
David: The whole thing is an intellectual concept, of course, and people are
adding to it all the time.  In fact, when we work with I.C.E. it's like they
say, well, let us know if you  want to do a certain island on the map,  tell
us where it is,  and if we don't have any plans for it  we'll reserve it for
you.  We have a great deal of freedom. I.C.E. is  easy to work with and they
have been very supportive and haven't  restricted us in any way.  But you've
got to remember  that our plans  could be altered  or even  cancelled at any
time.  It all depends on what's going on, and there are bigger things in the
works which could supersede what  we've talked about here.  About the Spider
Temple  -  the one thing we don't need is more spiders  -  and the reason it
exists at all is  because it was  begun before  everything else  back at the
beginning of beta. There's some tricky stuff in there and it's taken a while
to get it to work correctly. In the meantime, spiders created for the Temple
were distributed  out where they are now, in the mines and the new  area, so
it might not make as much sense to open the Spider Temple now as it did then.
Phaedra:  What about Stonehold?  I've heard remarks that it's under-utilized.
David: Stonehold was created specifically for the smaller races. It's in the
Quellborne  module, too,  except the map has  been changed.  We're  probably
going to do more  that will make it worth going there so  that Stonehold can
be a part of the economy  -  but you have to be  halfling or a dwarf to take
advantage of it. We have a lot of stuff coming up, although like the two new
areas, I think they were connected so they might look like one big area.
Phaedra:  Coming up soon?
David:  I have a number of requests  in my mail box from the Gamemasters for
monster  implementation so  I know  they're  doing things.  They want higher
level creatures,  things  like  that.  And soon  we'll  have  the  Assistant
Gamemasters in  place and  they'll be  doing assists,  roleplaying  and some
special events, too, so it's looking good.
Phaedra:  Great, Dave.  I think we're all looking forward to things like the
Spider Temple,  the  jousting arena,  the dungeons  and  the  new  Assistant
Gamemasters. Thanks for bringing us up to date.
City News Desk:
   / \   Simutronics Corporation                                         \
   |                              |                                     |
   |       Formally invites       |          COSTUME BANQUET            |
   |       you to attend its      |  Prizes! GSIII T-shirts and Jackets |
   |                              |                                     |
   |          |  First Annual     |     Live Gaming! Meet the GMs!      |
   |_     ____!____               |                                     |
    /    /\/\/\                   |   *COME ONE, COME ALL! BE THERE!*   |
   |     \/  \/ GemStone III      |                                     |
   |      \  /   Conference       |   See Games RT CAT 20, TOPIC 7 for  |
   |       \/                     |   details on room rates and more.   |
   |                              |                                     |
   |   AUGUST 17-19 in ST.LOUIS   |    Make YOUR reservations today!    |
 /@|   at the Henry VIII Hotel    |                                     |
     ------------------------                -------------------------    
Kelfour's Landing's first official        On a less positive note, as     
joyous occasion took place last month     demonstrated by dramatically    
in the Garden Wedding Room. Married       increased traffic into the in-  
in an elegantly simple cermony con-       famous house of ill-repute, the 
ducted by Songmaker LightCladd            newfound popularity of Cheldar's 
(freshly arrived from their long          Bathhouse is an openly scandalous
journey from Elanthia with husband,       comment on the declining morals 
Han) were Bard, Arlie Quinn and Cleric    of our times. Our trusty Sheriff,
Slaughn Wellborne, both common men.       urged to action, no doubt, by   
The couple wore matching flowing robes,   outraged citizenry, will surely 
the groom's of green while the bride      take appropriate action should  
wore traditional white set off by         this shocking behavior persist. 
stylish high leather boots. The happy     Decent-minded residents are     
newlyweds departed immediately after      warned to beware of a curious   
the hasily arranged ceremony to honey-    stranger - reputedly a mystic - 
at an undisclosed hideaway.               wandering the streets, who is   
                                          evidently in Cheldar's employ.  
  | |                                                                    |
  | |        Anyone out there still remember this fine fellow?           |
  | |                                                                    |
  | |                      /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\                              |
  | |         __/\/\/\/\/\/   vvvv vvvvv  v\/\/\/\/\/\/\                 |
  | |      __/@@ )  v      /vv  vv  v   vv vv   v v \vv \/\/\/\          |
  | |     /..    vvv /''  /       vvv vvvvv  vvv   vv\ \vvv__v \/\       |
  | |  >--\________v/   \ ( vvv )    vv vv vv \ ( vvv )       \__v\      |
  | |                   (\(  vv )_________vv____(  vv )          \_v \_  |
  | |                  ( (_____/             ( (_____/             \___\ |
  | |                                                       DigiSorcerer |
  | |                        "Cowardly mages..."                         |
                        City News Desk (Continued)
        PICNICS NOT ADVISED                       REPORTER WANTED            
        -------------------                       ---------------            
A new wilderness area was discovered     The Kronicles of Kulthea, Kelfour   
recently near where the Hobgoblins       Edition, number one news service in 
lurk in the Upper Kaldsfang region.      this quadrant of the galaxy, wishes 
This area is the site of a mysterious    to employ the services of an exper- 
tower surrounded by a moat in addi-      ienced journalist to manage its City
tion to extensive forests and numerous   Desk. Applicants must be reliable   
caves, and citizens are cautioned to     and come equipped with a nose for   
travel there only in experienced         the news. Contact Usul Lu'Nak or    
company. Although delightfully scenic,   Phaedra Bleu for more information.  
picnicking is not advised as bears,      
ogres, grey orcs, war and cave trolls               FOR POSTERITY 
abide there in abundance.                           ------------- 
                                         As of May 22, 1990, Kelfour's
         THIEVES CONTEST                 residents with the most Family Fame:
In a chest opening contest held on       Tulkas Gwath, Half-Elf Thief
Easter Sunday, Thief Valeria Deering       at Level 16 with 1,147,671 points
was the fastest to weild her trusty      Valeria Deering, Fair Elf Thief
lockpick, beating out famed cohorts        at Level 15 with 1,142,400 points
Tulkas Gwath, Riverwind Entreri and      Valkyrie Lacroeix, Half-Elf Mage
Bocca Lyllwelyn (may his mighty soul     at Level 12 with 957,670 points
rest in peace).                          
           HAPPENINGS                   ____________________________________
           ----------                  |                                    |
Kelfour Edition has received un-       |                                    |
confirmed reports of large groups of   |       BARD CONTEST ANNOUNCED       |
monsters sited together recently,      |       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       |
and citizens are reminded to travel    |                                    |
at full parry in the wilds. In fact,   |  Although contributions from all   |
parrying elsewhere is advisable as     |  are always welcome, Kelfour       |
two Major Spiders appeared inside      |  Edition is pleased to announce a  |
the gates late one night and wasted    |  contest especially for Bards.     |
little time before casting webs on     |                                    |
unwary residents (as do spiders in     |                RULES:              |
the crevice now). Landreth deLorde     |                                    |
was able to kill one of them only      |    Submissions must relate to      |
after a terrible battle, and the       |    GemStone III in the form of     |
other disappeared as mysteriously      |    prose, poetry or song lyrics.   |
as it had appeared originally. Much    |                                    |
to their collective relief, exper-     |  Length will be considered as the  |
ience to Healers for dressing wounds   |  winning entry will be published   |
was implemented shortly before we      |  the next Edition. The author will |
went to scribe. Earendil's lost locket |  receive a valuable Mystery Prize  |
was found and returned to him by       |  as well! Only Bards may enter.    |
talented Sorcerer Syphe Flin. KE       |  Send entries via email by mid-    |
strongly advises Lord Earendil to      |  night Monday, June 18, 1990 to    |
keep track of his Willow Wood Staff.   |  Usul Lu'Nak (ST-ING) or Phaedra   |
                                       |  Bleu (P.HERRINGTON).              |
                        NATURAL (GemStone) RESOURCES
Besides the Instruction Manual and      type is SET 20 and BRO CAT each time
Version Notes on Page 930 (both of      you return to the BB to read the
which are required reading for          current messages. Of course, leaving
informed Kultheans) several other       messages is fun, too.
GemStone resources are available on     
GEnie. For example, Scorpia's Games     The Software Libraries on the Games
RoundTable Bulletin Board (Page         RoundTable (Page 805;3) contain
805;1, Category 20) holds an            further GemStone information. While
enormous collection of messages         some of these files are in formats
exchanged between players and                  that are specific to certain
Simutronics staffers       ________________________________    computers,
and GameMasters about    //                               /  most of them
playing GemStone,       //            Danjir!            /   are in simple
both on specifics      //             ~~~~~~            /    text, like
and generalities.     //     Meen critter warnin'!     /   Kelfour Edition.
Unless you want      //                               /    These files
to spend a couple   //   Y'beter keep yer gard up!   /    include invaluable
of days reading,   //_______________________________/   playing aids like
however, you       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   maps of the land,
might not care to                  / /                armor, herb and sur-
capture them all.                 / /               vival guides, fiction,
                                 / /              poetry, and even art, all
To get to the 'BB'            ~~~~~~~~         of which you can put on paper
as it's called by familiars,             using your printer. The simplest
type M805;1. Use your GemStone           way to identify these files is to
character's name (by typing NAME         SEARCH on the keyword GEMSTONE.
<your name>) and change the prompt       
to brief by typing SET BRIEF.            Don't forget Mendle Seldagrave's
SET 20 points you toward just the        article "GemStone On I.C.E." in
GemStone Category, and IGNORE CAT        this issue. Mendle plays board
fools the system into thinking           games and in his article elaborates
you've already read all the messages     on several books that provide
there. If you want to read some of       background information about
the more recent ones, type READ ALL      GemStone which you can purchase
DAT>900601 substituting whatever         at retail game stores all over the
date you like. Then all you have to      country.
  |________     |
  | ~|_|~~|~|   |
  |  |~|  |~|   |__________________________________________________________ 
  |  |~|==//                                                               |
  |  |~|   robably the least utilized GemStone resource on GEnie are the   |
  |  |~|     Tomes on Page 930. Seen as immense, cryptic and formidable,   |
  | ~~~~     most players would rather face a Cave Troll than search the   |
  | them - and the outcome is about as predictable. Never fear, though:    |
  | The next issue of Kelfour Edition will tell you ALL about using them.  |
  |                    Don't miss it. Subscribe Today! :-)                 |

Natasha's No-Nonsense Hints for Survival:
                       What YOU need to know about Armor
 ____      ____  
 +|~|      |~|+                         With nine ranks in RIGID LEATHER
  |~|  __  |~|                          training and wearing a leather
  |~| /~~\ |~|  hat armor to wear is    breastplate, you can gain an addi-
  |~|/~/\~\|~|    one of the most       tional advantage on CLAW attacks
  |~/~/  \~\~|    common questions      by changing the monster's neces-
  |__/    \__|    people ask. Without   sary total to 77. In addition, the
  ~~~      ~~~    going into lengthy    breastplate helps to protect you
explanations of the technicalities      MUCH more than mere hide would have
involved, let me tell you everything    in the event of a successful bite
you need to know about armor for at     or claw attack.
LEAST your first 10 to 15 levels.
After that point, you can take up the   Wearing a leather breastplate
technical discussion with someone who   without 9 ranks of skill is certain
actually understands it.                death. The penalties to your offen-
                                        sive abilities and to your defenses
All NEW players should wear HEAVY       are too great to risk even a small
HIDE. There are no penalties for        encounter.
wearing it, and it affords you more     
protection than nothing at all from     Using leather breastplate against a
attacks by creatures. Additionally,     monster which attacks with a weapon
you can wear arm greaves, leg greaves   will result in a lower number than
and aventails to help reduce the        the ToHit that monster needed when
wounds from critical blows to these     you wore heavy hide. Again, though,
important regions. None of these im-    it does afford greater protection.
pose penalties or require training.     You will have to decide for yourself
                                        whether the additional protection
As you plan your training, you will     is worth it - or whether you prefer
want to plan on getting at least 9      to change armor as you change
ranks of RIGID LEATHER armor train-     opponents. Many characters from the
ing. With 9 ranks in this skill, you    realm of arms have enough training
will be able to wear leather breast-    to help offset the difference. Spell-
plates with a minimal penalty.          casters may find they have a much
                                        greater need to switch armor types.
With Heavy Hide, you will ALWAYS        
have your best chance against a            -Natasha with another
monster with a weapon. A Lesser Orc           No-Nonsense Hint for Survivors
with a cudgel has a 99 ToHit on you,    
for instance. Sharper or heavier        
weapons will have different ToHits,     -------------------------------------
EVEN from the same kind of monster.     | Get Natasha's No-Nonsense Guide,  |
Unfortunately, if the monster comes     | #1903 SURVIVORS.GUIDE.TXT or      |
at you with claws or a bite, it         | #1904 SPELL_SURVIVORS.TXT. Also   |
would only need a 66 to hit you.        | Taluk's more technical treatise,  |
(Rats, Torkaan, Wolverines, Trolls,     | #2078 ARMOR.TXT, both in the      |
Wights, Mummies and other monsters      | Games RoundTable on Genie p.806.  |
use claw/bite attacks, and we all       -------------------------------------
know how MUCH those attacks hurt.)

                _____    _____                               
                +|~ ~\  /~ ~|+      KNOWN                    
                 |~|\~\/~/|~|       ~~~~~                    
                 |~| \~~/ |~|   __  _  _  __ ___ ___ ___     
                 |~|  ~~  |~|  |~~| |\ | |~  ~|~ |_~ |__|    
                _|~|      |~|_ |__| | \|  ~|  |  |~  |~\     
                ~~~~~    ~~~~~  ~~  ~  ~ ~~~  ~  ~~~ ~  ~    
                     Levels provided by Tulkas Gwath
          Descriptions adapted from "Creatures And Treasures" by ICE
                        Compiled by Usul Lu'Nak
  LEVEL 1:
     TORKAAN - This fat wooly animal is one of the most useful in the ice
cold, barren climate of the Mur Fostisyr, for not only does it grow thick
fur (which can be woven into a wool with superior insulation qualities) but
it also gives milk. The meat of the Torkaan is delicious when broiled or
stewed. Resembling nothing so much as a large, overweight sheep with
oversized hooves, the Torkaan is not known for its intelligence. They are
for the most part domesticated and herded by the Ky'taari Shepherdesses.
Imported into the Landing's grasslands from the Mur Fostisyr by the Ice
Kraal Merchants during Rame Kelfour's time. Unfortunately, a disease of
unknown origin has infected scores of these normally tranquil pasturers.
Their rabid attacks are a deep source of concern to Kelfour's citizens as
the contagious disease can be transferred to other living things.
     SKELETON- The animated skeletons of dead creatures, man or beast,
possessing little except bones and hostility. Retaining expertise at
wielding weapons or claws and tusks, they scamper to denude bones of their
cloaking flesh at every encounter with the living. Since sorcery rather than
muscles and ligaments holds their own limbs intact, broken or shattered
bones rejoin during tranquil times. Sometimes seen hanging around the
     LESSER GHOUL - A strangely transformed, putrescent corpse with teeth
lengthened into fangs and nails strengthened into claws, the ghoul prowls
moist, swampy or underground tunnel areas near cemeteries and old
battlefields. Stupidity clouds its behavior. A ghoul remains preoccupied
with the protection of its territory.
     KOBOLD - 3 to 4 feet tall, smaller, quicker, weaker goblins with ruddy
skin and a pair of horns growing from the head. Kobolds knuckle under to the
fiercer bullying practiced by their larger kin. The arts of lying, cheating,
stealing and flattery enable the cowardly Kobold to survive within
bloodthirsty goblin society. They exercise these skills with much whimpering
and whining in all situations. The compassionate wayfarer who feels sympathy
for their piteous plight discovers his mistake when Kobold treachery rewards
his generosity with capture by goblins.
     GIANT RAT - Mice on steroids. 2 to 3 feet long. Diseased. Probably a
result of one of Kadaena's warped and depraved experiments. Tales speak of
how a noble Bard's enchanted flute was able to lure them all down into the
catacombs of Kelfour's Landing where they now wallow in their own

  Level 2
     GOBLIN - 3.5 to 4.5 feet tall, Goblins are roundheaded imps with snub
noses and wide, grinning mouths possessing greenish yellow skin and tender,
toeless feet. To protect these sensitive appendages from hurt (and perhaps
to hide their lack of toes - all of the proper bones and ligaments are
present, but the mass of flesh has not divided into separate digits),
Goblins wear clumsy, stone clogs. When particularly enraged, they attempt to
remove a scapegoat of his clogs and stamp with laughter upon the exposed
limbs. Mechanical devices appeal to the clever cruelty intrinsic to Goblins;
they have invented many machines of torture as well as those useful in war-
fare and siege. Utility and strength mark most of their creation, but beauty
and elegance eludes them. Skilled miners, Goblins enlarge their underground
kingdoms by connecting nearby caverns with tunnels. Often an entire mountain
range may be webbed by these passages. Goblins stay below ground by day,
but night sees them swarming the lands in search of brutal amusement.
     COBRA - Slender, scaly, reptiles; flexible and often quite quick, they
rely on powerful jaws, venomous fangs, and strangling constriction to kill
their prey. Some have jaws with detachable connections, enabling the snakes
to free the upper and lower bones and swallow extremely large victims.
Cobras use powerful nerve-poisons which act fast and can kill very large
prey, but their attacks are usually slow and their venom is often delivered
by a chewing rather than injection method. Some cobras can spit their venom,
blinding their adversary.
     CAVE GNOME - bald, wizened men who usually live in shallow caves, long-
lived Gnomes are 4 to 5 feet tall and gather knowledge and lore as a hobby.
Ancient tomes and rare scrolls litter their crowded libraries, precious
chambers that usually fall to ruin with a gnomes death. A love of solitude
assures that most gnomes remain heirless, rarely marrying or raising a
family. Although loners, they are neither shy nor joyless; generous hospi-
tality accompanied by ingenious entertainments draw many friends to visit
as houseguests. Gnomes often return these visits, for they dislike abandon-
ing their abodes and the treasures guarded within for even a few days.
  Level 3
     TROGLODYTES - (Also know as Trogli in these parts.) Primitive cave
drawings mark the stone surfaces where Troglodytes have passed, mute evidence
of the strange tie that they believe bonds an object to its image. Gory
portrayals of dying goblins and orcs emphasize the identities of their chief
enemies, although they fear all things alien to their underground world.
Troglodytes skin their fallen foes, creating simple garments from the cured
pelts; claws, tails, and mummified heads remain as ornament. Beneath his
macabre clothing, Troglodytes posses muscled bodies with bluish-white skin
(their own dead do not provide clothes). Sloping foreheads and massive jaws
form the contours of their large heads and long, tangled black hair grows
from their scalps. Troglodytes often wear armor and wield weapons stolen from
their foes, but use stones as clubs or missles when their swords and maces
are lost or damaged.
     GREATER GHOULS - a larger, more powerful type of ghoul which inspires
terror with their more ghastly appearance and dispense more certain
infection with their decomposing talons. Known to inhabit moist rank tunnels
under graves or crypts. See lesser ghouls above.
     HOBGOBLIN - Larger, tougher goblins 4 to 5 feet tall, whose skin has a
muddy tinge and whose feet feel no pain. Hobgoblins often mingle with their
lesser brethren. Superior size and strength offer them dominance over those
who revere the rule of brute force, and goblins frequently submit to a
hobgoblin King. The brilliance of the sun, although unpleasant, holds no
horror for hobgoblins who fearlessly follow enemies through daylight. Only
lack of numbers prevents them from terrorizing all lands lit by the sky.
Goblins avert this fearsome fate by killing most hobgoblins at birth.
     RANGER GNOLLS - Small, wrinkled men with grey skin and little hair,
Gnolls inhabit the natural caverns that abound in mountainous regions. They
travel in clans and settle only in deserted grottos where access is limited
and concealed. When sheltered by secrecy and stone, their timid dispositions
relax and permit the enjoyment of gleeful festivals. QUERY THE TOMES FOR
  Level 4
LESSER ORC - Also know as Lugroki in the Seoltang dialect of Kelfour's, 4 to
5 feet tall. Rumor has it that these foul creatures are Elves whose minds and
bodies were twisted by the Unlife. If any truth remains mingled with this
often repeated whisper, the fair has indeed become obscenely foul. Grotesque
faces with slanting eyes and flattened snouts full of sharpened tusks further
deform the heavily built, muscled body with its long arms and thick, swarthy
hide. Cannibalistic cruelty motivates their distorted souls. Orcs respect
little save superior force. Lesser orcs are born to live, fight and die in
in darkness; they hate the stars and the moon and panic under brighter sun.
  Level 5
     WOLVERINE -  Large, quick, vicious canines. Originally native to the
Grey Mountain forests of eastern Zor, they were trained and brought to the
Quellborne plateau by Gark nomads to assist in their plundering raids. A
few of the wilder ones escaped and have multiplied. They now make their home
in the Lower Kaldsfang Forest.
     GREATER ORC - 5 to 6 feet tall, these orcs (Lugroki in the seoltang dia-
lect of Kelfour's Landing) are smarter and tougher than their lesser breth-
ren. They can operate in daylight and possess superior skills in speaking,
reasoning, and fighting. Most are superb smiths, but they rarely make items
unassociated with war. Loremasters frequently confuse Orcs with troglodytes
(Trogli) due to their similar gruesome physiognomies and proclivities, but if
legends are to be heeded, their origins are very different. Fabulous tales
depict orc and elf locked in fratricidal hatred, determined to vanquish their
their sinister brethren or perish in the attempt. The fury displayed their
counterparts outside the realm of story lends credence to the existence of a
blood tie. Tales are heard of a secretly evil social underground in Kelfour's
where elf initiates are gradually corrupted by the Unlife and eventually turn
into lugroki of different types depending on their talents and skills.
     CAVE GNOLL - QUERY TOMES FOR MORE INFO. See Gnolls for details.

  Level 6
     FOREST TROLL - Long-lived, immune to heat and cold and wary of the
daylight, these 8 to 10 foot tall hideous travesties of sagacious
Treeherders posses huge, hulking bodies patched by brushes of harsh, wiry
hair. Ill-proportioned hands and feet display granite claws, while flattened
nostrils deformed a cruel visage. A perpetual snarl distorts the sneering
maws of these battle fiends to reveal curving, blood-stained fangs. They are
able to hide with ease in dark woods - remaining immobile for days at a time
and to ambush their prey with frightening speed. Forest trolls are also said
to sometimes become trees if they stand in one place too long, their toes
growing into roots and sinking into the earth. They are more common than
other species of troll, but like all trolls, they seem to spend much of
their waking time seeking food, which to them can come in many forms. Their
favorite is men, though they will settle for just about any animal they can
     LESSER MUMMY - Embalmed human remains secured by many layers of
wrappings. They prowl the necropolis built for their interment. Concerned
primarily with grave robbers, a mummy usually limits its attention to its
own sepulcher, where intruders are ruthlessly attacked. Lesser mummies crush
with their well-wrapped arms; greater ones use sorcery and inflict disease
with their touch. Both will falter when confronted by fire, to which they
are particularly susceptible.
  Level 7
  Level 8
     GREATER SPIDER - These giant (4 to 8 feet long) spiders are another one
of Kadaena's perverted mutations. They are venomous, eight legged, web
spinners. Armed with both reduction and muscle poisons, they lurk in rocky
defiles, suspending themselves above their complex web traps waiting for
their ensnared victims. Major individuals of this race are often ascribed to
be, at least in part, demons. Clearly enchanted, they are exceptionally
large (11 to 20 feet long) and are capable of casting spells. They are
rumored to have attracted significant followers devoted to the worship of
the evil spider goddess Hrassk. A giant shrine exists for their evil
practices and rituals somewhere in the mountains of southern Quellborne but
no one has run into it yet. QUERY TOMES FOR DETAILS.
     BROWN BEAR - native to the blue forests of Lu'nak but driven southwest
by the invasion of the evil Shards in the last era, this great mammal is
definitely smarter than your average bear. Brown bears have been known to
randomly attack even large groups of hunters. Brown bears grow to over ten
feet in height, and their huge paws can kill a man with one swipe. Their
luxurious pelt is rumored to bring great wealth in the trading post of
Kelfour's Landing.
     LARGE OGRE - these 8 to 10 foot tall creatures are an unkempt, slovenly
race whose coarse, grizzled features betray their rapacious greed. Ogres
resemble giants when distance blurs details and disperses their rank odor.
Garments constructed of hastily cured animal skins add to the stench, but
contribute little to modesty. The fetor of their littered dens keeps most

thieves at bay, effectively guarding the enchanted things and extensive
wealth garnered within. While relaxing and quarreling at home, a clan of
Ogres displays the rollicking exuberance of a band of clowns. When they
leave their cave to raid the countryside, this levity yields to intent
eagerness for a fight. Wood or stone clubs accompany them on these forays
but are frequently abandoned in the heat of battle for the more satisfying
sensation of knuckle against tender flesh and bone.
  Level 10
     GREY ORC - Differing from normal orcs in some ways, these orcs are just
like their more common brethren in personality and habits. They are beings
most foul, possibly tracing their ancestry back to twisted and evil elves.
Grey orcs are a variant strain of lesser orcs, differing physically from
them in that they are larger and have smoky grey skin. They are highly
intelligent, although they use that genius for evil and dark things. They
are spellcasters of every type but most are sorcerors, and magicians.
Thernection between the grey orcs and the rhodintor (an entity from another
plane) although exactly what that link is, no one knows for sure.
     WAR TROLL - 9 to 11 feet tall and easily the rarest of trolls, Black
Trolls are also the most fearsome. More formidable armor guards their skin.
Articulated plates of Adamant (a stone-like material) grow naturally from
their petrified skin, warding the sharp edges of an enemy's sword with ease.
Bred to withstand the sun's bright gaze, War Trolls are quicker and more
clever than other Trolls. With tough stony hide, evil red eyes, and some
spellcasting powers they are intelligent, agile and cruel. MORE INFO ON
  Level 12
     CAVE TROLL - 10 to 14 feet tall. Found in high mountain vales, these
cousins of the Stone Troll  live in shallow caves. Grey stony hides with the
rough texture of a cliff face protect the calcified innards of these
reclusive, solitary beasts making them the strongest and hardiest of all
Trolls. They are also the most stupid of their kind. They are able to hurl
large boulders incredible distances with accuracy, and use them to aid in
smashing their dinner to a gelatinous pulp. Like their nearest relatives,
contact with the rays of the sun actually turns them into stone, never to
  Level 15
     BARROW WIGHT - Dark, shadowy human forms with eyes akin to faint lights,
barrow-wights haunt the mounded tombs erected to honor great warriors and
kings. Evil forces of the Unlife create them by perverting the spirits of the
fallen. When observed through magic, they take on the tattered form of great
lords and ladies with cold cruel gleaming eyes. Wights wield with chill
efficacy the enchanted weapons often buried with the dead and cast dread
spells on the living who violate the burial grounds by night. The touch of a
barrow wight drains one of the very life force, so they are presently the
most feared creatures in all the land.
                             The Lone Ranger
  | |=========|     by Caliban         This fact bears true as, on closer
 /  ||~~|~|~~||        Eilorn          inspection, I see upon their belts
    ~~  |~|  ~~                        a number of human and elvish scalps.
        |~|                            Stifling my rage, I move quietly
        |~|                            within striking distance of the last
        |~|   is a night much like     two beasts. I leap out with a sud-
       ~~~~~  any night. I am in a     den cry, my scimitar falling in a
small clearing, the only distinctive   cleaving arc! Before they can re-
feature of which is a fallen windak    cover their surprise, two of their
tree, part of the forest that ex-      number lay dying at my feet. But
tends westward from the city (if you   the three others - forewarned now, of
can call it that) of Kelfour's         course - start to circle me slowly,
Landing.                               their swords angled to parry any
                                       blow I should attempt.
The smell of pine, heavy in the air,                                      
and the light fog creeping around      I attack in earnest, recalling the
the darker parts of the wood, make     words of Earil, my old instructor.
it difficult to tell one trail from    "When thou hast the advantage,
another. The many voices in my         exploit it to the fullest. Never
head, affects of the magicked amulet   let your opponent wrest it from
I wear about my neck, fade slowly.     thee." At first, my thrusts fall
At last, I am truly alone.             from their shields, but I gradually
                                       begin scoring demoralizing blows.
Becoming one with the forest is        All of this, mind you, is not to
what I do best. I listen to its        say I'm not parrying and receiving
story. The crickets, the stamping      cuts and bruises, but they are of
of the torkaan's hooves, are like      no consequence. After a time, one
pages in a book; I read them as the    kobold tires of the attack and I
scribes in town read their scrolls.    swiftly strike a sound blow, kill-
                                       ing it with a thrust to its torso.
And what is this? Carried upon the     As their comrade falls, the two
night air, I make out the sound of     remaining kobolds renew their
a group of kobolds coming down the     attack upon me. Wild and imprecise,
trail in my direction. Hastily         they manage only to give me oppor-
gathering my few belongings, I make    tunity to strike at them.
my way behind the windak, its rot-     
ing mass a perfect foil to watch       In a move Earil would be proud of,
their arrival. Moving silently, as     I shove one of the creatures against
only rangers know how, I draw my       the windak and sweep upward toward
scimitar and unsling my shield from    its companion with my weapon, cut-
its position on my back. My pulse      ting through its ribcage. Then, as I
races as I watch the kobolds arrive    turn to deal with the last remaining
at the place I rested moments ago.     beast, I realize it has moved. From
Examining them from my hiding place,   behind me it strikes a savage blow
I notice they wear the normal fare     to my head. I fight retaining con-
of kobolds: bits of hide, worn and     sciousness and turn, pushing my
used; a shield, cracked and dented;    scimitar against it, skewering it as
and short swords showing signs of      I fall. My vision fades more as I look
rust. I count five of them shuffl-     about. To my astonishment, I see a
ing about, and by the way they         large, white wolverine padding out of
conduct themselves I can tell they     the darkness toward me. I try to raise
are not searching for food.            my scimitar, but I have no strength.
                            A Trick of the Tail
                              by Usul Lu'Nak
 |~|     ~                              "Magic began before the world,"
 |~|       OYETE, the Gamemaster,       chanted Coyote. "It began before
 |~|        circled the firelight's     even the dream of the world. But it
 |~|     _  edge and spoke to the       was not magic then. In those days
  \~\___//  small group gathered        the Essence Lord was a warrior,
   ~~~~~~   close within its glow.      hunting the sky beasts with his
He said, "I will tell you the truth     winged horse and five fine dogs,
of how magic began. No one else can     and everything was as perfect as it
for they know it not. But I, Coyote,    could ever be. The dogs were
will tell you... for I was there.       brothers in their master's service,
                                        and they loved him and served him
It was the night of the New Third       faithfully, but the Essence Lord
Moon, when the shadowy disk of          was troubled by thoughts his dogs
Charon - Kulthea's ominous, off-axis,   could not comprehend. One day he
third moon -  was the only moon visi-   hung his shield and bow and
ble in the night sky. It was a rare     sheathed his arrows and sword,
occurence, a time of truce in the       saying that he was not conent with
natural order of things, and full       things that were, or things that
darkness was over the land. Other       could be, and he left his dogs
nights were for hunting, hiding and     behind and rode away across the sky
hoarding; with New Third Moon the       to look deep into his own heart.
various societies of Kulthea            At first the five dogs kept their
followed a different law. Men,          peace. But the Essence Lord was
Elves, Gnolls, Trolls, Dwarves and      gone longer than they had ever
Halflings of all professions and        remembered. With nothing to hunt,
gender would join together beneath      no one to love, their passions
the canopy of the stars in the          overtook them. Biggest Dog grew
central square of Kelfour's Landing,    surly in his loneliness and would
content to set aside their conflicts    not talk, dragging his tail across
and enjoy the gifts of food and fire    the ground. Bigger Dog climbed the
that were provided by the Lords of      mountains at the edge of the sky
Orhan in gracious apology for their     and watched the horizon for the
absence.                                Essence Lord's return. Big Dog ran
                                        and ran and ran, chasing the Sun
     It was a good time for the         and Moons and biting them terribly
telling of tales. Especially            when he caught them. Little Dog ran
Coyote's tales. Coyote was a greedy     and ran as well, but in purposeless
and selfish Bard. No one ever trusted   circles, leaping over obstacles as
him twice, but now his eyes burned      if the Essence Lord himself were
with reflected fire and his hair        chasing close behind. Only Least
glittered with starlight. As he         Dog, brightest of the five, was not
danced circling them, his voice the     worried. He knew that the Essence
gentle murmur of thunder over           Lord would return, and, thinking
distant valleys, his tail wagging       the actions of his brothers silly,
mesmerizingly back and forth, the       decided to give them something else
gathered few could not help but         to do by picking a fight.
     "'Oh, foolish brothers,'                 "'No, me!' cried Bigger Dog.
challenged Least Dog. 'Don't you        'I broke my teeth for him!'
see that our master is testing us?      
When he returns he will see which            "'I burned my nose!' growled
dog has found the gift that will        Big Dog.
ease his heart, and that dog he will    
love and run and hunt with above the         "'And I could have drowned!'
others.' Even as he finished            barked Little Dog.'
speaking his brothers raced to the
four corners of the sky, each eager          "'Still and all,' smiled Least
to help the Essence Lord, while         Dog, 'The Essence Lord will choose
Least Dog sat back, laughing, to        me, for all of your gifts were my
watch the fun.                          idea.'
     "Biggest Dog ran until he               "At that, the fight Least Dog
reached the lowest caverns, where he    had hoped for began. Mad with anger
dug for roots and rich minerals,        and envy, the five dogs tore at
seeking a treasure of Earth. Bigger     each other. They rolled across the
Dog climbed again in the mountains      Essence Lord's campfire, scattering
at the edge of the sky, pulling         it. They ripped windaks from his
thunderclouds down with his teeth,      fields, and shook his home until
seeking a treasure of Air. Big Dog      bow and shield and sword fell from
chased the Sun off its path, seeking    their hooks and broke. They fought
a treasure of Fire. And Little Dog      for days, as only brothers can, and
dove deep into the white rapids of      they might have been fighting still
Star River Streaming, coaxing bright    had not the Essence Lord chosen
scales off the fish that swam there,    that time to return. He had found
seeking a treasure of Water. One by     solace on his journey of discovery
one they brought their gifts back to    and was eager to build a world to
the Essence Lord's home and set them    match the wonder of his newborn
in place for their master's return.     dreams. So light was his heart that
                                        he had already begun, shaping new
     "But now Least Dog was troubled.   lands and beings from the sky-stuff
His brothers had not fought, which      he had found along the way. But
disappointed him. Much worse, the       when he saw the destruction his
gifts his brothers had won were         dogs had wrought in his absence, he
magnificent to behold and would         grew angry.
surely please the Essence Lord,         
while Least Dog could show his               "'Why have you done this?' he
master nothing. Hiding his thoughts,    asked them. The five dogs, seeing
Least Dog looked at the glories         his face, cowered and could say
before him disdainfully and turned      nothing.
away. 'You have done well, brothers,'   
he said. 'But the Essence Lord will          "In the ash of the fire, the
choose me.'                             Essence Lord found the broken
                                        remains of the four treasures, now
     "'You have no gift!' snarled       worthless. He picked them up and
Biggest Dog. 'I bloodied my paws for    let them fall through his fingers.
him, and he will choose me!'            At this, Least Dog finally spoke.
     "'They were meant to be a gift,    He felt happier and more at peace
and I am the cause of their unjust      than he had ever felt before.
destruction,' he explained. 
                                             "Smiling, the Essence Lord
     "'Love is the first gift and       looked him up and down and said, 'So
self sacrifice the second,' said        be it, O bright one. You have new
the Essence Lord. 'And honesty and      purpose and vision; you shall sing
loyalty is the glue that binds          of my works to the future but your
them together. Would you give           mischief and pride will be a
yourselves to mend your wrongs?'        reminder of your past. For at present
                                        you are no longer Least Dog; you
     "'Yes,' answered Biggest Dog       shall be known as Coyote and the song
quietly. And 'Yes,' said Bigger Dog     in your voice will be as a howling
and Big Dog and Little Dog just         cry to the heavens."
behind him. But in his shame, Least     
Dog could find no voice. He was left         Coyote stopped chanting. He
alone as the Essence Lord folded the    looked down from the stars at those
other dogs to him and poured their      around the fire and smiled. "That
beings into the broken forms at his     is the truth. Now I will leave you
feet. The sky turned in place, and      with a riddle: I use earth, air, fire
the force that is the essence of all    and water to make a point. What am
things gathered from all corners, as    I?" Coyote waved his tail and flames
the treasures of Earth and Air and      sprang up all around him. When they
Fire and Water were fused with four     died down, Coyote had disappeared.
selfless, frightened, loving hearts.         
                                            "I don't believe it," said Lotoh
     "When the light faded Least Dog    the Gnoll, rather in awe of him.
looked down in surprise, for where           "Neither do I, said Lady Chani.
the fragments had lain there was now    "He tricked us again! Look!" They
a solitary treasure, and it was         turned back to the fire. Somehow,
singing with four aspects that were     when Coyote had vanished, their food
somehow one. It stood on the deep       had vanished, too.
structure of Earth, soared with the     
melodies of Air, beat with the               "Oh well," sighed a Troll. "What
rhythms of Fire, and flowed with the    do you expect from a GM? It was a
harmonies of Water; it was Music,       very good story though." He shrugged
the first magic and there had never     as he eyed Durinar the Halfling care-
before been its like in all the         fully. "And I will eat tomorrow
sky."                                   night."
       "The Lord of Essence pointed          "Only if you catch me, Troll,"
at the treasure and said, 'For your      said the Halfling. "You know, about
honesty I will reward you with this     that riddle...."
gift of gifts. Take it into your        
heart and let it transform your              From far away, the group heard
being. Remember me whenever you feel    the echo of a distant howling. They
a song come unto your lips... for       shivered and gathered closer to the
your will be my messenger, and I        fire, certain that it couldn't be
have much work to do.'                  Coyote. And even if it were, surely
                                        his cries could only be for the
     "Least Dog did as his master       Shadow of the New Third Moon.
told him and he could feel his          
brothers' present inside him as he      
was transformed into a new being.                   The End
  Usul swears he got this genesis myth straight from the mammal's mouth.
    In its own allegorical way, he dedicates it to creators everywhere.
                                  -21-                                 end
                                                                   KE V1N1

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