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TitleFaiths and Pantheons
TagsFantasy Role Playing Games Tsr (Company) Games Gary Gygax Games D20 System Dungeons & Dragons
File Size43.3 MB
Total Pages251
Document Text Contents
Page 250

This gives rise to the possibility that a sleepy guard might forget to

request an oath to the Binder from the midnight visitor or nod off

instead of supervising the visit appropriately. The dream of many a

would-be thief is to sneak into the dungeons beneath the Tower of

the Rising Moon and make their way up into the temple via a long-

forgotten tunnel. However, if any such tunnel exists, it has never

been found.

Adapting the Temple
Temples of Oghma are found within many major cities and not a

few large towns as well, and the Leaves of Learning can be easily

moved to such locales simply by renaming the temple’s inhabitants

as appropriate for the region. The temple could be turned into an

abbey set in the wilderness as well, but, if so, its defenses should be

significantly enhanced, perhaps by placing it within a larger

enclosed structure staffed by many defenders.

The Leaves of Learning is easily adapted to other faiths as well,

particularly those of a more scholarly aspect. All the comments

about other locales above apply to temples of other faiths as well.

Simply update alignments, favored weapons, and dogma. If the

temple lies in a wilderness area or belongs to a less benevolent faith,

replace the spell glyphs with more deadly spells as well. If the faith

is of a chaotic bent, replace the monks with rogues or fighters.

Azuth: The Patron of Mages instructs his clerics to gather and

archive all manner of spells, so that no workings of the Art are lost

when a wizard dies or vanishes. The temple becomes a repository of

arcane knowledge and precious spells, with attendant security to

match. Replace the Children of the Passive Voice with wizards and

sorcerers, some of whom are arcane devotees.

Deneir: The Leaves of Learning can serve as a temple of the

Lord of All Glyphs and Images almost without change. Simply

replace the Children of the Passive Voice with the more militant

members of the Preservers of the Ordered Way.

Milil: The Leaves of Learning also can serve as a temple of the

Lord of Song. Simply restrict the library’s contents to poems, songs,

and eloquent speeches, and replace the Children of the Passive Voice

with the fighters, paladins, and bards of the Harmonious Order.

Shar: The Mistress of the Night’s temples contain many secrets

of the Shadow Weave and are guarded by monks of the Dark Moon

order. The temple becomes a forbidding fortress cloaked in darkness

and stalked by shadows and other shadowy horrors in the night.

Waukeen: Some temples of the Merchant’s Friend operate as

contract houses, where bills of sale, deeds, wills, and contracts are

stored and archived so as to promote the orderly pursuance of com-

merce. Simply replace the Children of the Passive Voice and the

Tower Guard with hired mercenaries, and restrict access to the

temple to those whose business requires access to specific pieces of

documentation.

Getting the Players Involved
The Leaves of Learning can serve as an important resource for

characters based in the Dalelands, western Sembia, or northern

Cormyr. Initially, the temple can serve as a storehouse of informa-

tion for characters seeking adventure in the surrounding region,

providing reasonably accurate maps leading to partially explored

dungeons and spellbooks to wizards just starting their adventuring

career. Later, characters might sell books they have acquired in

dusty crypts or abandoned mansions or exchange such tomes for

useful scrolls. They might also use the temple’s library to learn more

about allied or enemy groups, such as the Cult of the Dragon or the

Harpers, whose paths they have crossed. And finally, the threat the

illithids of Oryndoll pose to the Leaves of Learning might slowly

enmesh the characters, as mysterious attacks against the temple

slowly increase, forcing ever-heightened security measures and

undermining the role the temple was meant to serve.

A MISLEADING MAP
The Binder insists that his clergy only sell copies of maps that accu-

rately depict their subject or, if known to contain inaccuracies, rep-

resent the best available depiction. Late one afternoon, a member of

the Company of the Silver Shaft discovers an old map tucked within

the pages of a volume he paid to peruse and then manages to hide it

under his shirt after his venerable escorts nod off in the midst of

their duties. At dawn the following morn, the Company of the Silver

Shaft is off to plunder the lost elven city of Tsornyl in the woods

north of Highmoon and east of Lake Sember.

Word does not reach Danali until the following afternoon that

a drunken member of the company let slip the group’s “discovery”

to a tavern wench at the Oak and Spear. The Learned Father imme-

diately recruits the first available band of adventurers he can find

to chase after the Company of the Silver Shaft. Danali explains that

the map is an old fake designed over a century ago to lure adven-

turers to their deaths in the heart of the Darkwatch and that its

presence in the book was overlooked during cataloging. Letting it

leave the temple, even if it was stolen, is a sin in the eyes of the

Binder that must be immediately remedied by warning the unlucky

thieves of the peril they face. (Whether or not they heed that warn-

ing is not Danali’s concern.) Of course, since the temple does not

have a true map of the Darkwatch, if the characters would mind

compiling one during their pursuit, Danali would be doubly grateful

and willing to reward them accordingly.

SPELLFILCHERS IN THE NIGHT
Despite widely circulated reports that the Leaves of Learning con-

tains no tomes of arcane lore, there are always wizards who believe

such rumors simply indicate that all manner of books of magic lie

hidden within the spired tower of the Leaves of Learning. Of late,

a rumor has been spreading through streets of Highmoon that

Danali has made an exception for the collection of spell tomes

amassed by the late Rhauntides, despite more truthful tales that

sage’s legacy now lies in the dungeons beneath the Tower of the

Rising Moon. By chance, the characters learn of an apparent infil-

tration attempt by a noted sorcerer/rogue from Saerloon and have

the opportunity to foil the attempted theft. Assuming they succeed,

Danali hires them to supplement the tower’s guards until such talk

dies down, and, over the next tenday, no fewer than 12 separate wiz-

ards or their agents attempt to seize Rhauntides’s library from the

Leaves of Learning.

INKSHADOW
Although the Leaves of Learning contains no tomes of arcane

lore, the knowledge it does contain can be dangerous to possess

nonetheless. Several days ago, the temple received a consignment

of books from House Ithivisk of Selgaunt in payment for several

contracts rendered that cemented a trade alliance between the

Sembian merchant house and the Silverhand House coster of

Highmoon. Among the dry accounts of trade agreements and daily

life dating back more than a century was a small book, long for-

gotten. Titled Songs of the Bitter Heart, the book contained the

dark and melancholy songs of Esvele Ithivisk, the long-dead great-

aunt of the current patriarch. In cataloging Esvele’s writings, one

of the clerics briefly paged through the book before showing it to

Jhenna Iliathor to get the bard’s opinion. Jhenna agreed that the

book was of little import, and Esvele’s labors were promptly cata-

loged, shelved, and forgotten.

The Leaves of Learning

12

Page 251

Unbeknownst to Jhenna and the cleric, both were afflicted by a

supernatural contact poison known as shadowspawn that lay latent

within the chapbook’s ink. Prompted by the whispers of Shar, Esvele

had concocted the poisonous ink as a trap for the lover who had

spurned her, in hopes he would suffer as much as she after reading

of her travails. Esvele’s plot never came to fruition, however, for

her former lover died at sea before she could deliver him the book.

Esvele herself died soon after of a wasting disease, and her book was

shelved away unread.

Shadowspawn affects only warm-blooded creatures, disjoining

their shadows from them as they sleep. Each night at dusk the

victim falls into a tortured slumber, temporarily losing 1d6 points

of Strength. They cannot be awakened until dawn. During this time

their shadow transforms into the undead creature of the same name

and stalks the surrounding area. All successful attacks against the

shadow are reflected as bloody wounds upon the victim’s body and

inflict like amounts of damage. If the shadow is destroyed by any

means, the victim is dead. If the victim is ever reduced to 0

Strength, they are dead and their shadow becomes a free-willed

undead creature. Daily application of spells such as lesser restoration

and restoration can keep the victim alive by restoring lost Strength,

but do not end the ravages of shadowspawn. Only by casting nega-

tive energy protection and neutralize poison on the victim can the

supernatural poison’s ravages be ended, a cure known only to certain

followers of Shar.

On the night following the chapbook’s arrival, both Jhenna and

the cleric fall ill and cannot be awakened. Meanwhile, their shadows

begin stalking the residents of the temple. Danali destroys the

cleric’s shadow before the tie between each shadow and victim is

realized, causing the cleric’s death. Once they realize the danger,

Danali orders the other inhabitants to flee the temple, leaving only

himself to watch over his beloved. The cycle continues over the next

several days, as Jhenna grows progressively weaker and Danali

cannot find a cure. Then one night several of the temple’s glyphs of

warding are triggered and Danali observes several people fleeing

into the darkness. Knowing that the elderly clerics of the temple and

Tower Guard are not up to the task, the Learned Father instead

recruits a band of adventurers brave and trustworthy enough to

guard the temple against interlopers while fending off Jhenna’s

shadow without killing it. He then closets himself in the temple

library in the desperate hope of finding a cure. Unbeknownst to

Danali, the interlopers are monks of the Dark Moon order who have

been instructed by their dark mistress to recover the long-lost book,

considered a sacred text by the faithful of Shar. They return the fol-

lowing night prepared for the temple’s wards and engage the char-

acters in a running battle through the Leaves of Learning. If the

characters determine the object the intruders seek or track them

back to their master, Danali has a hope of discovering the chap-

book’s poisonous secret and curing his beloved.

About the Author
Eric L. Boyd is a name well known to Realms fans for his work in

the previous edition of the campaign setting as well as the new edi-

tion. Eric coauthored Faiths & Pantheons and is currently detail-

ing the human ethnic groups and dwarven subraces for a future

FORGOTTEN REALMS sourcebook.

The Leaves of Learning

13

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