Lore of Secrets of Faydwer
The clockwork armies of the evil gnomish necromancer Meldrath the Malignant gather in the Steamfont Mountains, awaiting his order to invade the kingdom of Ak'Anon. The launch of his great air fortress Mechanotus has torn open the earth, exposing new paths into unexplored regions of the ancient continent of Faydwer.
Rediscover Faydwer as you adventure in the nearby Loping Plains, home to the soul eating wereorcs of Bloodmoon Keep. Strive to end the torment of humans and elves cursed for centuries in the Hills of Shade. All the while, an ancient menace stirs east of the Dragonscale Hills, where the prismatic dragon Kerafyrm the Awakened plans his revenge.
Meldrath the Mad
It is said that Meldrath had a conjoined twin with whom he was connected at the chest. One boy's heart was as pure as the waters of the Vasty Deep and his eyes shone with a beautiful light and the other's heart was as dark and cold as the waters of the Ink Sea and his eyes were as black as two pools of oil. Their two hearts beat as one, each balanced by the extreme of the other. So balanced were they, in fact, that they were both known as Meldrath because no one thought of them as two, let alone suspected the extremes of their souls. They lived in peace, gliding through Ak'Anon wrapped in each other's arms like slow dancers.
Meldrath's mother, however, wanted the two sons she thought she deserved and constantly sought a way to disconnect them. One day Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, ruler of the Plane of Mischief disguised himself as a healer and gave their mother a magic sword to disconnect them. She ran home and, finding them asleep, plunged the sword between them. Both were unharmed and the two rubbed their eyes sleepily.
She rejoiced, but as she looked from one to the other she noticed for the first time that one was beautiful and the other ugly. One looked at her with loving, sweet eyes and the other with hatred. Suddenly, the beautiful Meldrath began to rise higher and higher into the air. His mother screamed and tried to hold him down but the ugly Meldrath bit her leg and stomped on her foot. The beautiful Meldrath floated up to the surface of Norrath and into the sky and was never seen again.
The ugly Meldrath was cast out by his bitter, angry mother and rejected by the people of Ak'Anon. He traveled to the east coast of the Steamfont Mountains, where he resides to this day. In the decades that have passed, Meldrath's hold upon the Steamfont Mountains became absolute - the drakes, harpies, and the precious Minotaurs had fallen under his malignant grip. The minotaurs have since constructed a mining complex, where Meldrath resides, overseeing the mining production of metals used to construct much of the clockwork mechanisms found throughout Steamfont and Ak`Anon. It is unknown as to what Meldrath's ultimate agenda may be, although some fear that it may be too late to stop this mad, hateful necromancer.
It is not an uncommon occurrence for young gnomish adventurers, or even the sturdier gnome guards who patrol the mountain region, to disappear and never be heard from again. Many believe this to be the work of Meldrath, who has made his absolute hatred and desire for revenge upon the people of Ak`Anon more than apparent.
Home to the mad Gnome Meldrath, Fortress Mechanotus is a giant cuckoo clock of gears, sprockets, geysers and steam driven machines. Meldrath uses his mechanized creations to wreak his vengeance on his own people, who many years before rejected and exiled him. The Fortress is a dangerous place as Meldrath's insanity knows no limits.
Meldrath the Malignant is a well known trouble maker in the gnome city of Ak'Anon. His past is fraught with pain and hatred, and his anger toward the people of Ak'Anon knows no limits. For several decades Meldrath has been known to inhabit the mines in Steamfont. Too close for comfort for most gnomes, but at least King Ak'Anon and his people knew where he was. At least they thought they did.
The gnome that has been running the mines for so long is only an apprentice, given the unpleasant task by his master of masquerading as Meldrath to keep suspicion away from his other activities. During those decades Meldrath has been busy building Fortress Mechanotus. Mechanotus is a massive fortress ringed with gnomish siege devices, built on a plateau in the heart of the Steamfont Mountains. After more than twenty years his scheming and construction are complete! Faydwer will tremble with the power of Fortress Mechanotus as it rises into the air to begin its assault on Ak'Anon!
Meldrath's fortress swarms with various types of the creatures he calls steamworks. He has improved on the feeble clockworks created by other gnomes by giving them a volatile steam power source, making them much stronger and perhaps a bit less reliable. Minotaurs still handle Meldrath's slaves, which now include a tribe of unfortunate brownies that have adapted to life inside the massive metallic fortress. At the apex of Fortress Mechanotus is Meldrath's Majestic Mansion, the heart of a massive mechanomagical war machine. It is there that Meldrath himself resides. It is there that the destruction of Ak'Anon may yet find its beginning.
The Gyrospire Towers - Beza and Zeka
Gyrospire Beza and Zeka are two of three towers made by Meldrath specifically to guard his keep and serve as a flanking force in attacks. Gyrospire Azia was destroyed in the attack by the Gnomes from Ak`Anon while Gyrospire Beza and Zeka both remain functional. Beza is currently the oldest tower. It was the second Gyrospire created, and has become the "lead" tower. Zeka is the newest tower, and one of Meldrath's experiments at an ultimate weapon. At the top of the tower is a large steam and magic powered catapult that can be used with devastating ability, though it is a bit cumbersome and ends up best used as a siege weapon. There were many failures and many tower designs before Zeka, but they all failed spectacularly. This final tower is a success.
Despite attempts to have the towers completely clockwork controlled, Meldrath found that some times a more creative brain is required. While clockworks dominate in Gyrospire Beza there are gnomes, brownies, and minotaurs in the zone as well. Gyrospire Zeka is a different story. The Captain of the tower, a steamwork, took it upon itself to remove all living creatures from its tower. It has such a hatred for anything living that it has systematically killed everything from Meldrath's gnomes to the rats in the walls. Nothing lives within this tower. The only living being that it will tolerate in its domain is Meldrath, and only because its programming to not harm Meldrath is so deep it has not been able to alter it. Meldrath tolerates this destruction because to him even his living servants are just tools to use and discard.
S.H.I.P. Workshop (Somewhat Hazardous Industrial Prototype Workshop)
Designed by Meldrath and built by his minions, the tower was designed to be used as an experimental laboratory where somewhat hazardous experimental research is carried out. The tower was built away from Mechanotus as a preventative measure... Damaged inflicted during an experiment gone awry has left the tower somewhat immobile, and it is now towed with a large linked chain attached to Mechanotus.
The tower itself is designed so that dangerous portions are kept away from the central tower in the experimental pods. The zone is overseen by Head Administrative Grigano. Each of the pod rooms is somewhat autonomous, and under the supervision of a head scientist / researcher. The purpose of the tower is to conduct experiments, and produce new technology, although for some reason the tower never seems to produce much more than the occasional ill-fated explosion.
Unseen beneath the Fortress Mechanotus lies a vast network of tunnels, mines, and caverns. These tunnels are the heart of Meldrath's operations. Mines, living quarters, and manufacturing plants could all be found being worked to capacity. As with the fortress, no one outside knew of the tunnels even with several of them extending beneath land the gnomes of Ak'Anon were quite familiar with. It wasn't until the fortress rose into the air that this vast network was revealed.
The majority of the tunnels were left behind when the fortress lifted off. Many of the tunnels left behind collapsed, crushing those unfortunate enough to have been left there. Taken with the fortress were rooms central to the operation of the fortress and Meldrath's mansion. Several power stations to keep the fortress aloft along with the primary manufacturing facility and foundry were all left in good repair. These together with the limited mining under the flying fortress allow Meldrath to continue his operations and attacks on Ak'Anon.
The Steam Factory is filled with Meldrath's minions. Gnomes supporting Meldrath are in charge of operations in the tunnels. They are tasked with keeping things running at levels meeting Meldrath's expectations. Steamworks can be found in all areas of the tunnels, helping with manufacturing, mining, or guard patrols. Minotaurs provide slave handling and brute labor. The brownies of the tunnels receive the dubious honor of being the lowest on the chain of command and receive the most hazardous duties. However, a small group of the brownies have broken away from working for Meldrath and are working day and night to thwart the operations of the Steam Factory and the entire fortress.
Meldrath's Majestic Mansion
Meldrath's Majestic Mansion sits atop the massive flying fortress called Mechanotus. The mansion is a marvel of metal, beautiful yet harsh and hard. There are few concessions to comfort in this place. Steam, oil and water pipes line the walls and act as support pillars for arching galleries and servants quarters alike. Gears and rivets can be seen on the walls and ceilings. The surfaces are metal panels and everything echoes with the sound of metal meeting metal. And yet the place has a powerful beauty to it that even the most conservative Koada'Dal will recognize.
There is more to Meldrath's Mansion than its appearance. There are secrets hidden there, some of which can be discovered by simple exploration. The more interesting secrets are told through stories or legends. It is said that Meldrath built his mansion to be a terrible walking steamwork in its own right. He intended to crush Ak'Anon and then rest his own mansion on the bones of the city where he was born.
Meldrath's plan failed when he brought his mansion up onto its two splayed feet. It stood there for several minutes before collapsing under its own weight. No harm came to the mansion, so strongly was it built and magically protected, but many were crushed under the device or killed inside when it fell. Meldrath eliminated any living servants and slaves that witnessed his failure or so claim the few that escaped.
Today the mansion is again fully staffed with brownie slaves, minotaur slavers and of course a large and frightening variety of steamworks. A steamwork is a modified clockwork. Meldrath, never satisfied with anything that comes from Ak'Anon, has added a steam power source to his clockworks that supplants the wind-up power source (which is used as a backup system). This has made his new steamworks a lot faster and stronger. It has also made them a lot less reliable.
For tasks that his steamworks can't attend to, such as climbing inside dangerous machinery to clean or repair them, Meldrath has enslaved several generations of brownies. Many of these poor creatures have come to believe that the life they live now is the life they were meant for. They dress in patchwork rags and maintain their tribal markings, but use grease to paint themselves rather than berry juice. There is a small rebel faction hiding in the steam tunnels below the mansion, but their lives are constantly at risk from clockworks specifically sent into the small tunnels to hunt them down.
Anyone stepping foot in Meldrath's Magnificent Mansion must be very bold, for death awaits the unwanted visitor, with their last vision being that of glowing red eyes and a feeling of heat mixed with the smell of oil and grease.
Curse of the Bloodmoon
The Loping Plains occupy the central area of Faydwer. Once a healthy habitat for a large variety of Tunare's creations, the Loping Plains has become cursed and twisted by the influence of dark powers. From the south, the dark forces of the Bloodmoon tribe creep out from Bloodmoon Keep threatening to consume the land, while the curse of an angry god pulses from the northern coast and the Hills of Shade.
Little is known about this new tribe of orcs, but they are believed to be a splinter group from the Crushbone clan led by Ralkor Bloodmoon also known as, "The Prophet". Several rumors that these orcs are lycanthropic have drawn Norrath's most famous werewolf hunters, the Fangbreakers, to the Plains. Larquin Fangbreaker and his band of hunters have come in hopes of whipping out this new curse before it can spread beyond the plains. An unlikely ally has also emerged from the depths of Darkhallow to combat this new curse, but their ultimate goal is as yet unknown.
Along the north coast lies the Hills of Shade, a once lush landscape cursed by the fury of an angry goddess. Damned spirits of Humans and Elves roam through the ruins of their once beautiful cities, cursed to replay the fateful actions of their final days for eternity. The powerful energy of the curse has drawn several visitors to the hills. A holy order of paladins hopes to cleans the curse and free the damned spirits from their torment. Nearby, a conclave of necromancers hopes to harness the power of the curse and use it for their own malicious plans.
Meanwhile, in a dark crypt beneath the hills, the Soulbleeder continues to amass the power of thousands of souls and an army of undead. Soon the Soulbleeder will run out of spirits to consume in the Hills of Shade and certainly head south to begin the culling of the living.
Bloodmoon Keep was once the elven holy site known as Faygannen, Temple of the Vines. Decades ago the vampire prince Mayong Mistmoore grew worried at the proximity of the holy site to Castle Mistmoore. He sent his forces to destroy the temple and cover it in a dark curse, trapping the spirits of the slain elves in the halls of the castle. For many years the elven ghosts suffered in silence, unable to pass into the Realm of Growth and the presence of Tunare. Now, with the arrival of Ralkor Bloodmoon, the desolate spirits of Faygannen find themselves twice cursed.
Once the Prophet of Clan Crushbone, Ralkor Bloodmoon failed in a foolish coup to overthrow Emperor Crush. Bloodmoon barely escaped with his life and a small band of loyal orcs into the wilds of the Faydark. Somewhere between the Crushbone court and Faygannen, the Bloodmoon tribe was overtaken by a dark curse and infused with terrible, feral might. The Fangbreakers, a society of werewolf hunters, has begun to investigate the source of their new vigor, but have so far had little success.
Travelers say that a new race of lycanthropes stirs within Bloodmoon Keep. Ralkor may be a beast by nature, but his cunning cannot be denied and his ambition knows no limits. Given time the shadow of the Bloodmoon could overtake all of Faydwer.
Hills of Shade
The Elddar elves fled Tunaria, the land now known as Antonica, to escape the destruction that Solusek Ro wrought upon their land. They found their way east, to Faydwer. Over time on the new continent, the Elddar branched off into two distinct tribes: the Koada'dal and the Fier'dal. A fraction of the Fier'dal population settled in the Hills of Shade, creating a small village they named Kirathas. The elves of Kirathas cherished nature, and resided in simple wooden huts not unlike the structures of Kelethin.
Much later, an enterprising group of humans led by their captain Han Jensen, "discovered" Faydwer while searching for profitable fishing routes. They erected a crude port on the northern coast, opposite from Kirathas in the southwest, and named it Blackwater. Under Jensen's orders, they made a point of keeping Blackwater's location a closely guarded secret. This protected the sanctity of their bountiful fishing port, but it also eliminated any possibility of a rescue should disaster strike.
It was only a matter of time before the elves and the humans met. The first introduction was between a young fisherman, Fendel, and the daughter of Kirathas' leader, an elven girl named Amber. They stumbled upon one another at an elder oak tree. Their initial fear of each other melted away, replaced by curiosity. Curiosity turned to friendship, and friendship blossomed into love. This was a union that was blessed by the goddess of love, Erollisi Marr.
Unfortunately, the subsequent interactions between the citizens of Kirathas and Blackwater were anything but blessed. Territorial skirmishes and confrontations spiraled out of control, escalating into all-out war between the two villages. Not long after Amber gave birth to Norrath's first half-elf, she was slain by her own father. He felt the act of sacrifice would end the conflict, but Fendel's screams of anguish reached Erollisi's ears. She descended upon the squabbling tribes, furious that her gift of love would be twisted into such hatred and pain. She cursed the inhabitants of the hills to relive their mistakes, forever.
Today, the Hills of Shade are haunted by all manner of twisted and tortured creatures. The residents of Kirathas and Blackwater continue to battle each other even in death, seemingly unaware of their tragic fate. The elves' ancient burial catacombs, the Crypt of Shade, are overrun with the undead. Feeding off of the decay are a vicious new breed of Sporali, darkly transformed by the remains they consume. The foliage of the grove, disfigured by the divine curse, stand guard near a statue to Erollisi. A flock of crow aviaks known as the borrowers has taken up residence in the northwest, decorating their home with scavenged baubles, brightly colored cloth, and bone.
Two camps of relative newcomers have arrived in the Hills: the benevolent members of Camp Valor, and the gnomes that call themselves Bertoxxulous's Chosen. Both groups are recruiting passing adventurers for assistance with their wildly different goals. The gnomes' attention is on scavenging dead bodies. For a necromancer, the concentration of death and decay are a valuable untapped resource, and profitable if one is willing to risk one's neck collecting it. The paladins of Camp Valor have come to the Hills for a more noble cause. They desire nothing less than to fend off the undead and destroy the curse. They are failing thus far, however, and their membership dwindles.
The Crypt of Shade
Beneath the dark, damp earth of Hills of Shade lays the Crypt of Shade. The Crypt of Shade is where the elves of Kirathas interred their dead. Before the curse of Erollisi Marr struck the Hills of Shade, the Crypt was seen as a beautiful resting place for the ancestors of Kirathas. The vines and roots that formed the passageways were bright greens, pulsating with life. Many different kinds of blossoms could be found growing along the archways, acting as a colorful memorial for the dead. Now, the Crypt of Shade is just a series of twisted and tainted earth-filled tunnels where the undead Kirathas elves roam as zombies, spirits, and skeletons.
The curse also brought a necromancer that has been seen lurking within the tunnels of the Crypt. Many have passed on tales of the necromancer using the undead souls in the Crypt to perform dark rituals that enhance his own power while further corrupting the Hills of Shade. Speculation is that he will use the souls to raise an army to battle any foe foolish enough to cross him. Only those brave enough to venture into the Crypt of Shade will learn the truth of this.
Crystallos, Lair of the Awakened
Kerafyrm the Awakened, mightiest of the prismatic dragons, feels the world has gone awry with the passage of time and that things are not as Veeshan intended. As the great black dragon Kildrukaun prophesied, Kerafyrm believes that the time has come for him to take decisive action. It is time for Norrath to once again belong to dragon kind. Kerafyrm plans to recreate the world to abide by his laws and be prosperous only keeping those creatures he needs to begin again.
Within Kerafyrm's lair Crystallos are the Old Disciples of Kerafyrm, a faction of followers dedicated to serving the prismatic dragon. After Kerafyrm was imprisoned in Sleeper's Tomb, these servants came to Crystallos and constructed a Keep to serve as a gathering place for all those who follow him.
Construction was overseen by the 4 Ancient Dragons that are most loyal to Kerafyrm: Kildrukaun the black dragon prophet, Tjudawos the golden arch mage, Zeixshi-Kar the silver general, and Vyskudra the storm dragon.
The Keep is built to survive attacks from the other factions of Dragonkin. There are many different types of creatures found here: Dragons, Wurms, Wyverns, Drakes, and Golems. Any follower of Kerafyrm is welcomed, as long as they help defend the Keep from attacks.
The main defensive mechanism of the keep is magical. A barrier made up of energies stolen from the 4 elemental planes surrounds the it. The barrier is attuned to Dragonkin and repels them completely if they are not already loyal to Kerafyrm. There still remains a slim hope for those determined to thwart The Awakened - mortals may be able to slip through the barrier given the right preparations.
Once Kerafyrm was woken, his followers led him to the Keep to protect him and allow him to regain some of the power that was lost during his imprisonment. Kerafyrm also learned to sanctify his surroundings by using a special breath spell that covered objects, terrain, and constructs with his essence, giving them a prismatic sheen.
Using his immense power, as well as his knowledge of Norrath's creation, Kerafyrm's goal is nothing less than the destruction of all non-dragon life on the Norrath. He plans to take the eggs of his Dragonkin followers and sanctify them with his prismatic breath, thereby making them his own. This brood will be the foundation for Norrath's new age. Kerafyrm has entrusted their safety a dragon known only as "The Broodmother," her mind completely warped by his power, living only to serve and protect the eggs entrusted to her.
Kerafyrm knows that a war will surely come, and this time he does not intend to be stopped.
Exposed to Norrath by the launch of Meldrath's Fortress Mechanotus, the Dragonscale Hills rise up to the south of the Steamfont Mountains. Though seemingly a peaceful vista, the Dragonscale Hills are rife with danger from the native inhabitants, many of whom are not happy about the intrusion of adventurers into their lands.
Carved out of the rocky hillside, the home of the Kirkoten Minotaurs serves as the last line of defense against would-be invaders. From the outside you would never know they were at war, but they most certainly are. For many years these minotaurs have struggled to defend themselves from the night-crawling wereorcs and exploitive gnomes. Led by Overseer Gakkor Deepscar, the Kirkoten Minotaurs are regarded as the oldest and fiercest of their kind.
In a grove of withering trees and diseased plants is a nightmare grove where haunted by a dark spirit. Long ago, a wealthy horse owner named Lelluran was cursed when he tried to capture and breed Equestrielle the Corrupted -- the unicorn whose horn was broken by Firiona Vie in order to defeat Cazic-Thule. Having Equestrielle in his stable corrupted all his horses and him as well. He went mad, becoming more animal than wood elf and now can be seen on occasion among his corrupted stable.
Far to the south stretches a wide path into the steep mountain range. As early explorers progressed deeper into the valleys and canyons found here, the earth took on a sheen that danced before their eyes. Deeper still, crystalline and metallic outcroppings formed, until they entered a labyrinth that had become more crystalline than natural. In the deepest reaches of the labyrinth, Kerafyrm has created great prismatic pools to serve as magical wells, drawing upon the power within Norrath to bolster his power.
The Guardian is a massive steamwork, nearly one hundred feet tall. It was originally built to guard Meldrath and his Majestic Mansion on the flying fortress he calls Mechanotus. It was used during the final stage of construction of Mechanotus for lifting and placing large girders or gears, but its main function was meant to be destructive, not constructive. The device is strong enough to crush dwarven-built castle walls or sweep away brigades of armed knights with a swing of its arm.
Misfortune befell the Guardian before it could be used to crush Ak'Anon. During the first flight of Fortress Mechanotus, a process that proved to be far more difficult and time-consuming than Meldrath had anticipated, damage was done to the fortress. Explosions in one of the power rooms of the fortress caused the massive slab of mountain to lurch horribly to one side, sending many gnomes and steamworks plummeting to the ground below. Some of those were subsequently crushed when the Guardian also fell from the fortress, landing jarringly on top of many that had fallen before. The fall caused serious damage to the Guardian and to the mechanics and spell casters that run it.
Despite its chaotic nature, the Guardian is not an entirely independent creature. Within this great steamwork, there are living spaces, boiler rooms, control rooms, workshops and repair facilities where a veritable horde of creatures constantly work to keep it functional. Among that horde are a select few that man the controls and operate it. However, those in charge of the major functions of the Guardian were killed in the fall, and the remaining crew does not have the keys and information needed to regain control.
The Guardian now wanders Dragonscale Hills uncertain about its goals, causing havoc as it travels. It often flings locals hundreds of feet with the forward movement of one of its tremendous boots. But for the daring adventurer, one of those boots holds a doorway to danger and reward.