It's been a while since I have posted these to the list. I'm not sure where DR2 is right now, but here's some fodder. To be in the body of the Creature Catalog... Concerning the Brotherhood of the Watchtower Andros stretched his aged legs, rose up from the fireside chair and welcomed the small party of LightRaiders into his home. The elf smiled; so many eager faces, ready for the Good Fight. "Ah, you're early! Let me put the kettle on, and I'll see about that scroll." After dealing with the amenities, he reached into one of the more forgotten cubbies in his ancient oak desk. "I've got that scroll I mentioned. I picked this story up from a Psalmist in a Kaffie house somewhere in the Eagle Peaks. Darn good pie there." He cleared his throat and began: "Set to Papere by Josephus the Psalmist; Concerning all that is Knowne of the Anciente Brotherhood of the Watchtower." "Once upon a tyme, so long ago that Andros was a lad...Harrumph! We'll skip that part! Blah, blah...here it is... "...there was a party of brave warriors who made a pact that they would destroy all the Dragons and save the world!" A gasp mixed with a chuckle ran about the room. He fixed his pale gray eyes on the Raiders and continued. "These knights were cunning; they trained eight hours a day. They were crafty; they studied another eight, learning all of what Man had ever put to paper concerning the Ancient Ones. They were brave; they swore they would fight to the last breath to free the world from the scaly claws of those dark and evil creatures. But alas, they were so utterly foolish, for they thought that they could do this awesome task entirely on their own. "They were impressed by the Overlord of Many Names, make no mistake. They thought Him a great scholar, a brave warrior, a shrewd general. But to these OnceBorn knights, out beloved was only a man who died fighting the Dragons. In their great worldly wisdom, they set out on their own to overcome the darkness that torments Man and hunts him. "At the edge of the Lawless Basin, where the cursed brown dirt begins to wither away into the Dark Wastes, they built a tower. Now this area was at the time a meeting-ground where many Dragon Councils were held, and the people feared it. In defiance of the Dragons, the twelve brave knights built a watchtower like none that had ever been seen by the eyes of Men. From this Tower, they thought to prepare for the Great Battle which would defeat the Dragons, for they knew just enough of the Sacred Scrolls to know of that final conflict, but not enough to know the signs of its true coming. In their great bravery and arrogance, they believed that they would begin that prophesied war. "One of their Brotherhood, Hiram by name, was a architect without peer. The Tower grew rapidly. Its base was a furlong square, and made from green stone quarried from the Dwarven mines at Sharuk. Many people saw the knights as heroes who would scour the world of the long feared Scaly Ones. Many expensive gifts were given to the Brotherhood, as they pledged that upon the Tower's completion, they would burst forth to free the world from the Dragons. The Tower was certainly grand; it stretched a mile into the air, the Bards say (but that is, of course, the way the Bards talk.) The Tower sparkled in the sunlight, a monument to the knowledge of Men. But alas, unknown to the Brotherhood, the dark earth in that place was only a shallow covering over the ancient dunes of the Wastes. The grandest folly ever built by the hand of the OnceBorn was built on a foundation of sand. While it stood, a visitor could see around the world to the back of his own head. (Or so the Bards say; again, that is how they talk.) The day finally came when the Watchtower was finished, and the knights sat down to plan their new kingdom, which they would bring about after they had slain all the Dragons. Another of the Brotherhood, Adamus, by name, was a smith, but that is like calling the Overlord a "wise teacher"; the description does not do justice to the thing. It is said that Adamus taught the Dwarves themselves how to work metal. Mithril, adamandite, fine steel and cold iron...no man alive was the craftsman fit to even bank his forge. He made huge siege engines and tiny clockwork birds with equal ease. A master smith who was said to be able to talk metal into behaving, no task ever presented a real challenge to him...until one of his brother knights suggested that to truly destroy the Dragons, they would need special armor, armor unlike any ever seen in the world. (They really sought the Armor of God that any TwiceBorn may wear, but they were not wise enough to know what they really sought.) Adamus blew a hot breath out past a bushy red mustache. Here was a task! He locked up his shop door, descended into his massive library, and was not seen for seven days. On the eighth day, he returned to his forge, and with the shop door latched tight, he began to work. The forge glowed bright as the sun, but he was the only one there to see it, and in another seven days, after endless clanking and hammerfall, the door to his shop blew outward off its hinges. When his eleven brother knights stormed the shop, they found Addamus exhausted, sleeping soundly on the floor surrounded by a chalk circle. And standing about him, with just the tips of their armored boots on the pale white circle, were suits of armor unlike any ever known. They were blindingly white, and moved without creaking; every joint was crafted with tiny bearings and gimbals. No blow by the knights could even scratch the finish of the dazzling armor. As they moved to examine them, they found their own names etched in the finest filigree on the breastplate of each suit. Delighted, they forgot their sleeping comrade and donned the armor. It fit exquisitely, as if molded to every muscle of their finely trained warriors. With a strangely final click the helmets one by one snapped into place, and they set forth to conquer the world. They were never seen again. Did they fall in battle against the Dragons? No tomb records it. Did they travel to the Eternal Lands on a ship of their own devising, or were they lost at sea in a horrible storm? No one knows. But the Brotherhood of the Watchtower disappeared from the world without so much as a puff of smoke left behind. It is recorded that on the same very night, the whole of the western sky lit up with gouts of flame. The tower was found utterly shattered; not toppled merely, but melted and blasted to ruins, and even that in time was covered by sand as the Wastes expanded from their ancient home and reclaimed the site. Thus, the Brotherhood of the Watchtower came to an end. From time to time the Wastes shift and move like living things, and they say that foolish adventurers pass through the southern Wastes trying to find the remains of the Tower, which after all did hold enormous wealth at the time of its demise. But though many foolish OnceBorn disappear in that area, the Wastes have never given up so much as a trinket or coin. Thus ends my tale." Andros sipped his tea and reguarded the students. "Let that be a lesson to you, young ones. You fight at the High One's bidding, for His reasons, in His time. A humble warrior survives to repel the Darkness. A arrogant one looses his way in it." APPENDIX II Sleepless Knights ------------------------------- No. Appearing: 1 Size: 7' Battle Ability: 14 Vitality: 57 Enchantment: Dark Tongue Strength Attacked: CO Strength Damaged: PE Passed by: Speech Physical Attacks: d8+4 Great Sword Special Attacks: Dreamwalk ------------------------------- They dress in black. There are eleven Sleepless Knights, and they are never found together. There have been sightings in the Wastes, in the cold northlands, in the depth of dungeons and in the Eagle Peaks. They say that if the full eleven ever appear in one place that the world will split from pole to pole and the Final Conflict between Man and the Dragons will begin. (But then again, that's just the kind of thing they would say, isn't it?) They also say that even the Dragons fear them, although who but the Dragons really know? Even the Wise Ones at the Academy know very little about these creatures. Are they men, Dark Creature, or some strange Dragon-made clockwork? What are their goals? Very little is known, but here is what LightRaiders have discovered about them. This information is to be regarded as little more than rumor, but it is all we have. They move on their own quests for their own reasons. They appear as knights in the finest black armor, but are supernaturally silent, their armor giving no creak, a MS of 20! This errie silence even extends to their battle; a Knights blow to a foe is completely soundless (but just as painful!) They TE at 14. Their armor also allows them to BWS at 20, although any WordRune that evokes light will drive them back, and lower their BA to 10. For all that is known, they may be Dragon-animated suits of armor, for no man has lived to raise the visor of a Sleepless Knight. They get their name from the fact they never sleep, never stop, never give up tracking a foe. Once they select a target, they pursue relentlessly. Brave men have been known to lay down in their tracks and wait for the Knight's huge foul blade rather than run like dogs for the rest of their lives. They seem to seek out LightRaiders especially. And oddly, no victim is ever found...they disappear upon the killing blow. They are fierce fighters, but often they will simply stop and stow their swords, and begin talking with their Dark Tongue Enchantment. This is their most fearsome weapon. Any round they are not fighting, they may begin chanting a whispering drone of almost unintelligible words, that is hard to identify but seems to be in the native tongue of every listener. Anyone hearing this for more than one round must make a DL10 ability check vs. their Courage rating, or run in absolute total terror at the highest movement rate possible for the next hour if not restrained by their fellows. A SF check will prevent 8 points of Peace damage, but will not lessen the fear. The character is running from whatever thing or person that it absolutely, down deep fears, and will not stop for anything. (The sole exception, of course, is Rescue by WordRune or Scripture. See the Remove Fear WordRune in the Appendix.) Stoppering one's ears with wax will prevent the effect, or the music of a Psalmist will drop the DL level of any check to DL5. This dark enchantment works only once per encounter, though, and the Knight will hand-to-hand if it fails, seeking to dispatch the remainder of the party who stand around to fight. If anyone survives an encounter with a Sleepless Knight, and the Knight is not destroyed or subdued, the person will begin having horrible Knightmares(!) upon going to sleep the following night, in which the Knight will attack and battle the person in their dreams. Combat is Solo Battle, but all processions of the PC are allowed into the dream if the player wants to try something creative. If appealing in prayer to the OverLord, player may create normal weapons or items in this dream to counter or battle the Knight. (Do not treat this like a magic ability...the PC MUST be aware that the OverLord sustains him in this battle, it is not his own doing.) It is possible for the PC to be slain in this dream, and in real life. AM's, and AM's alone may examine the Appendix at the back of the book for more information on the Sleepless Knights. AM's Eyes Only - Concerning the Sleepless Knights: The Knights are, of course, the eleven white-clad Brothers of the Watchtower. They are doomed to walk the Urth doing the Dragons' bidding until the end of the world...or until a certain young band of LightRaiders stops WHACKING on them, and starts witnessing to them! All the chopping in the world MAY kill a Sleepless Knight, but remember the Overlord's own prohibition against taking the life of a OnceBorn; if the party slays one, they are going to bear the sin and will need to repent it. The visor of that jet black plate is down...anything (or nothing could be there.) If players think to subdue the Knight and bind him, they will find his Strength is a mere 5, like other men. If they think to lift the dark visor of the armor's helm, they will hear a keening unlike any they have ever heard; the Knight has had a thousand years to walk the Urth, destroying the lives of the ones he thought to protect, and knowing what he is doing every minute. A lined, anguished face will stare back, eyes pleading. Once this is done, and the party knows that apparently a human is inside, give the Knight a brief burst of Strength at 15 in a DL5 check to try and snap the ropes. The Dragons don't want to give their plaything up! Only the love of the OverLord and becoming TwiceBorn will shatter the now jet-black armor to bits and free the poor hapless soul within. The knight may be killed or subdued, tied and bound, but that armor of Darkness is on tight until the Sword of the Spirit and/or the Great WordRunes blow it off. They are tired, they are so tired; they haven't slept for a thousand years. A freed TwiceBorn Knight will praise God, and fall down to sleep for a month. After a game year training in the Liberated Lands, they may return to the game as player characters. They will have a KN bonus of +10 alone in History from a thousand years ago, a +3 KN bonus in ancient artifacts, and other pluses as determined by the individual AM. People "killed" by a Sleepless Knight do not die, they evaporate into a Dragon's castle, to be mindless servants until that Death Knight is killed or freed from the control of the Dragons. When the Knight's spell is broken, all those imprisoned by his actions reappear about him, no older than when they were taken. Concerning the "nightmare" attacks: other LightRaiders, if currently in the realm of sleep, may be bidden in to the defender's dream to offer aid...if the PLAYER thinks of it. A Sleepless Knight cannot be killed in the DreamRealm...but defeating the dream-shade of one WILL place the Knight in a dormant mode for 24 hours...if players can deduce the creature's physical lair from clues in the dream. And there may be clues in the dream fight to the Knight's true nature if the AM wants to use it to move the plot along. "What's that on the hill behind him? Could it be...a TOWER?" Also, remember that if anyone is killed in the DreamRealm, their physical self evaporates from the dream and from their bed, and they get to be a mindless NPC in some Dragon's castle somewhere until the party either redeems THIS knight, or learns from the Overlord where the character has gone. If they assume that because his body has disappeared that he is dead, don't dispel the mistake immediately. But you will want to tell the player what he sees in the Dragon's castle as he reports for work, and EXPECT that this information WON'T come back to his comrads. And what of Addamus, the Smith, the Brother left behind when the Eleven disappeared and the Tower fell? Odd you should ask... This tale may only be found in Addamus' own diary, or told from his lips. And thereby hangs the tale. --------------------------------------------------------------- His name is Omegus, or that's what he tells his acquaintances. He has no friends to speak of, and he doesn't. He looks about eighty, but a hard eighty. Those aren't laugh lines, friend; those are grief lines. His shoulder-length white hair is ragged and frizzled. A small trickle of red runs through his full beard, but other than that it has run to white as well. For his age, he has remarkably strong arms. He carries a staff with a carved chesspiece on the top, apparently a rook. He lives in a one-room shack in a quiet part of town; nothing too showy, a bit dusty and rumpled. He is said to be a sage of sorts. He has an almost complete grasp of ancient history, and is a bit of a tinker as well, often mending cookpots for the local housewives. But he keeps to himself...and talks very little. "As silent as Omeegus," his neighbors say when they mention him at all. If you were to look into his room, you would see mainly books; hundreds of them, mostly history texts. His only other real possessions other than a cracked anvil and some ancient smithy tools is a tiny clockwork bird. If wound up, it only gasps, some tiny internal mechanism long broken. He may be found at home, where he will refuse any contact with outsiders he does not know. If introduced by a third party he knows, he will consult on history...for a fee. If the party finds him elsewhere, it will be late in the evening, at a run-down pub called the Hope & Anchor. He will be drinking...and crying. The party will learn of him as a sage, and probably begin by viewing him as a tool toward larger goals. The AM must remember to play him with tragedy and sympathy to draw the party out. This is a man lost, a man adrift. What is his story? It will take a long while, several favors, and some serious trust-building to find out. They will learn it only from his own lips...or perhaps he drops a book during some consulting session at the pub... The Fall of the Watchtower ---------------------------------------------------------------- Addamus awoke alone, his forge long cold, the only sound in his massive smithy was the demonic laughter of a small red Dragon. He looked away in shame, knowing how he had compromised himself, and knowing something had gone wrong. Where there had been twelve fine suits of white plate armor, there was now only one standing watch over his smithy. A sickly-sweet smoke filled the air of his workshop as he lay in the dust. He had failed at first. He had tried and tried to find the formula; the powerful combination of the elements that would yield the perfect metal for the Fight. He sought some steel alloy that would provide his Brotherhood with the earthly protection they would need to vanquish the world's many dragons. His vast knowledge had failed him, until one day, when feeding the small subdued red Dragon that the Brotherhood kept as a research animal, the idea finally came to him: To slay the Dragons, once and for all, they would need the armor of a Dragon! He had scraped the scales from the small, horse-sized creature and had used the Dragon's own flame to heat his forge. He had melted the scales together with the finest, hardest metals, and talked it into shape; twelve suits of armor for the Brotherhood of men! They had thought they would emerge from the Watchtower and free the world! But here in the dust at the feet of the Dragon, he was beginning to see that they had been terribly wrong. The Dragon's laughter now mocked him. "Petty human!" It snorted. "So full of your own arrogance, so bloated on your own self-made wisdom! It is a wonder that our Enemy even notices your worthless lives! You so hungered for your own path to glory that you would dance with the Ancient Ones themselves and try to steal our secrets!" Addamus shook the sleep from his head, and for the first time he noticed that their "captive" Dragon was now twirling its collar on one razor-sharp claw. Its missing scales seemed to fill back in as he watched. It spewed another wicked laugh, and eddies of flame began to burn sections of his smithy. It regarded him with a cold, bright eye: "I was the weakest of our brood, sent to let your petty Brotherhood capture me. It was thought that your own pride would make you take me in as some lickspittle pet. I have waited years for your own arrogance to grow to the point that I could quietly work my will upon you." "No!" Addamus shouted, as it all began to become clear. "Did you not hear me in the night?" The creature chuckled a deep, throaty laugh. "Calling to your petty brain in the stillness? Urging your kind on to their self-appointed task?" "You will fail!" Addamus proclaimed. "We fight on the side of Good! That armor..." "That armor I let you *think* you designed?" A thick spume of flame melted his anvil into a cherry-red puddle. "Weakling! Did you think of your own glory you walked in Light? You walk in Darkness!" And with that, the tiny Dragon grew and shifted, filling out until his now-massive wings blew out the windows of the workshop. The finest smithy in the world was in ruins, and with his fiery breath, the Dragon flew up and turned his flame upon the grand Watchtower. The Dragon was joined by several others of his kind, even larger and more terrifying, and they all focused upon the Tower. The very stone flowed like water as the Tower crumbled unto itself, and sank beneath the sand it was built upon. The dragons danced in the air high over the smoking remains of that place. The now huge Dragon's laughter echoed across the Wastes, and with a flutter of his great red wings, he was gone. At the last, only silence ruled the place. What of the smith? He crawled from the ruins, bitter, bruised. His Brothers were all gone, clad in the armor they believed would protect them...armor forged by human hands to Dragon designs. Who knew where they had gone, or what would befall them? Did they die in the "battle" of the Tower? Did they run into the night clad only in the missing armor? Who knew? The smith cursed his own name, they day he was born, and his family line back to the Glade. All he found in the ruins of their great Watchtower before the Wastes blew quietly over the slag was a single clockwork bird from his workshop, a toy he had been creating before the armor was even a dream. It was battered and bent, and when he touched the switch with a bloody finger, it merely coughed and sputtered. He walked out into the Grey Wastes, hoping that this day would be his last. No curse in the world would be great enough for him. He had danced with the Dragons, and now he would willingly pay the price." ----------------------------------------------------------------- The first chapter of the tiny book ends there, and after some ragged and torn pages picks up again in the same handwriting, but different ink. Assumedly some time has passed between the two entries. ----------------------------------------------------------------- "I may be the only survivor. Drunk on the wisdom of men, I have dammed my fellows to the Overlord knows what fate. I have scoured history to locate any mention of them, but there is none. In the years that followed, I sought them in the surrounding lands, then further and further away. They are as gone as our grand Watchtower. As far as I know, only I survive to carry the shame of my all too human arrogance; the blood of my brothers is on my hands. I committed the sin that caused the Tower to fall; I sought to conquer Evil with Evil's own tools. Surely the Overlord himself has turned his face against me. I am not fit to live, and yet I do. "I have tried many times to take my life, and yet I live. Cuts heal before my eyes, poisons pass right through me. I am a ruin of a man, aged but denied death. I walk the lands of the living, passing among men but never of them, afraid to tell a soul who I really am. "I began this as a history of the Watchtower, to set right every lie and error that men have said about us over the millennium since its fall, but even now, my spirit fails me. What is the point of what men say? The Brotherhood is gone. Perhaps they were the lucky ones. May they rest in a better place, if in truth there is a better place. I will probably be here, cursed that I am, long after the true Final Conflict has come and gone. "Our great Tower lies broken beneath the sand, and every night I find myself in another murky bar, listening to another tuneless bard further mangle the memory of my Brothers and our quest. Will this hell never end? In my hand, Addamus" Omegus (Addamus) Hope of 1 Knowledge of 20 in metalwork of all kinds Knowledge of 15 in Ancient History Vision of 12 Strength of 12 PV 25 (apparent...regeneration makes this Infinite until The End of Time or TwiceBorn) Omegus is a pathetic old man who is cursed by the Dragons to wander the world, calling no place home and no man brother. He keeps to himself, afraid to share his sin. The man is a sage of sorts, friends will tell the LightRaiders. If you want History, you want Omegus. The Orc Uprising in the highlands? He tells it like he was there. The Sad Case of the Battling Barons? He tells it better than the Bards do, and he knows their first names! Trust me, for research, its Omegus. His knowledge is vast, but his short-term memory is a bit spotty...always forgetting where his staff is, or what street he is on. He's not a bad tinker as well, they say. But he never touches weapons. He will fix a pot like new, or make a clockwork toy for a child, but he never repairs armor or weapons, not for money or threat. This fellow is a man without a country or kin, a hollow shell of a machine built solely for carrying his grief around, and built so perfectly it never wears out. This is the true curse laid on him by the Dragons: he will remember his failure forever...or so he believes. The sad thing is this, it need not be this way. Omegus knows not what happened to his Brothers, but he believes them dead, with the blood on his hands. He believes (in a stout, Old Testament way) that the Overlord could never forgive a sinner such as he. And though he knows it not, that is what is keeping his horrible enchantment alive. The enchantment is simply broken, if only he would accept the Overlord's gift. His exile is self inflicted. The party will need to witness to him several times. He will at first hustle them along to their adventures, then at another time he will make bitter comments about his sin being too great. At a time of the AM's choosing (possibly when drunk) he will relate the entire story most tragically, filling in what is known about the Brotherhood from the Palsmist's tale in the main book. The party will have to role-play him through the Great Runes, and get him to accept the Overlord. When he does, the following happens: complete catharsis, de-aging to a man of 50, and quite probably a Unicorn visitation. (Touched by a Unicorn?) As far as he knows, his Brothers were never seen again. He does NOT know they are the Sleepless Knights. If the party relates this to him at any time, he will take out a VERY nice sword, tucked away wrapped in velvet, and begin a quest to free his Brothers from the domination of the Dragons. If the party is nice, they can come along too! Some possible plot lines to mix into the stew for the dedicated Adventure Master... * Omegus hears his lost armor calling to him, haunting his dreams. He fears it will work its dark magic on him, and compel him to put it on. He seeks a party to join him on a quest to the Wastes to seek the foundation of the Tower. * Or perhaps this is a lead in to the revelation of his true past; the party leans of his dreams, the Overlord dispatches them to destroy the armor, and along the way they learn the tale of his past! * Or, word comes that the Tower's ruins have emerged from the Wastes. Perhaps the Overlord wants the armor destroyed, or perhaps some Dragon has taken over the dungeons beneath the dunes as home base for a raid on the Human lands. * A secret society, a sect of the dreaded Cryptic Alliance, has found the armor and is trying to divine its secrets. Or... * Or the sect is seeing to perform some hideous ceremony which will draw the 12 knights together and begin the Final Conflict before its time! * Or the above sect is doing so at the bidding of the Dragons to destroy the mortal lands! * Or they are doing it as a power grab to try and control the Dragons!