Kelfour Edition volume I number I
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
___________________________________________________________________________ | \ \ | | | |@/_________________________________________________________________________/ | ___ _ _ __ _ __ ___ ___ _ _ _ ___ _ __ ___ | | | || ' || < | ' /| /| o || |' || || __/| |_ | <|_ -| | | |_| |_|_||__< |_|_\|_| |___||_|\_||_||___\|___||__</___| | | ___ __ _ __ _ _ _ ___ _ _ __ ___ | | | o || < | ' /| | || |_ | || ' || <| o | | | |___||_| |_|_\|___||___| |_| |_|_||__<|_|_| | |__________________________________________________________________________| | | | XXXX XXX XX XXXXX | | xXX XX XXX XX XX XX | | XX XXX XX XX X | | XX XXX XXXXXXX XX XX XXXXXXXXX XXX XX XX XXXX | | XX XXX XXX XX XX xXXXXXX XX XX XXX XX XXX XX | | XXXXX XXX X XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXX | | XXXX XXXXXxxx XX XX X XX XX XX XX XX | | XXXXX XXX XX XX XX XX XX XXX x XX | | XXXXXX XXXx XX x XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXX | | XX XXX XXXXXxx XXxXX XX XXXX XXX XXXX XX | | XX XX XXXX XX | | xXX XX xX XX | | XXX XXX xXX Volume One | | XXX X Number One | | XXXXXXXXXXXXX XX XXX XX XXX June 1990 | | XX XX XX XX XXX XXXX XXX | | X XX X XX XXXXXXXX | | XX XXXXXXXXX XX XX XX XXXXXXXX XX XXXX | | XXXXXXXX XX XX XXX XX XXX XX XX XXX XX XX | | XX X XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXX XX | | XX XX XXX x XX x XX x XX x XX XX XX XX | | XX XX XX X XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX x| | XXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXX XX XXXX| | XXXXXXXXXXX | |__________________________________________________________________________| | | | 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) -2- The ART of ROLEPLAYING (Continued) 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. | |____________________________________ -3- 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. (Continued) -4- 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- | |__________________________________| -5- Editorial: 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. -6- 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. -7- 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. -8- 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 FIRST MARRIAGE HOUSE OF ILL-REPUTE BOONS ------------------------ ------------------------- 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 \_ | | | ( (_____/ ( (_____/ \___\ | | |wWvVVVvwWWvWWWvvvvvvWWWvWWvvvvWWVVVVVVWWvWvvvvvvvvWWWvWWVWWVWWVvWvWw| | | DigiSorcerer | | | "Cowardly mages..." | \|____________________________________________________________________| -9- 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). | |____________________________________| -10- 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! :-) | |________________________________________________________________________| -11- 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.) -12- _____ _____ +|~ ~\ /~ ~|+ KNOWN |~|\~\/~/|~| ~~~~~ |~| \~~/ |~| __ _ _ __ ___ ___ ___ |~| ~~ |~| |~~| |\ | |~ ~|~ |_~ |__| _|~| |~|_ |__| | \| ~| | |~ |~\ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~ COMPENDIUM ~~~~~~~~~~ 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 Graveyard. 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 pestilence. -13- ____________________________________________________________________________ -MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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. -14- ____________________________________________________________________________ COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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 MORE INFO ON GNOLL SOCIETY AND DIFFERENT CLASSES. ============================================================================ 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. -15- ____________________________________________________________________________ -MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS=MONSTERS- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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 catch. QUERY TOMES FOR MORE DETAILS 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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- THIEF GNOLLS - QUERY TOMES FOR MORE INFO. See Gnolls above. ============================================================================ 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 -16- ____________________________________________________________________________ COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM=COMPENDIUM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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 TROLL SOCIETY CAN BE FOUND IN THE TOMES. ============================================================================ 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 recover. QUERY TOMES FOR MORE INFO. ============================================================================ 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. ---------------------- -17- 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. ___________________________ -18- Fiction: 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. listen. (Continued) -19- "'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. (Continued) -20- "'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