Project Arabel Lite
Thinking about this, I've come to realise that maybe why so many people were wanting to be part of this project is because of what it is (a chance not to have past events and memorable occaisions forgotten) but many then couldn't bring themselves to do very much due to time-constraints, being unable to remember things well enough to give conversations sentance for sentance, or just for having better things to do.
So, rather than laying some scaffolding and then trying to work in a shiny window with hand-carved granite bordering and satin curtains (don't ask) it might be better to work things in a less ornate manner.
Put simply: It'd be very nice to have some sort of record of events in Arabel. I don't mean bullet-points, but say a page or a half per 'chapter'. A brief of that plot if you will. I certainly don't want to put out any of the work already put into the project though, and with the picture i've got in my head of how this'll work, they should fit in just fine too, without the need to cover every single little detail that happened with the central character during that plot (so-and-so went searching for what-not in the sewers.. he came across a trio of rats.. etc). Infact, here's that picture now:
I'm hoping this solves the brick wall I personally hit with the project, which was "right, next step: oh man.. why is this part so important?"
So, at this moment, the slate is clean regarding the numerous 'Briefs' needed for the Lite version of Project Arabel. Please consult the following (which I'll try to keep updated) to see which chapters still need briefs written. If you see one on the list you'd like to write a brief for, please do and post it here, in no particular order - I'll sort through it at another time.
NB :- The briefs of each chapter cover the entire chapter. Not as a lead up to any fully-written short stories, but covering everything in that chapter, while the short stories describe certain key events of that plot (as covered by the Brief, briefly) in much more detail, and hopefully also in a much more interesting manner.
Red means this chapter has no brief written yet.
Green means this chapter has a brief already written, though if you want to write out your own version as well, for the sake of making sure nothing is missed or if you think you could word the events better than the other brief's writer, you're just as welcome.
Bresk Part 1 - Rise of The Sisters/Berena's Defeast
Gift of The Mind
Forming of the Druid Circles
Grey Circle Part 1 - Foundings (basic NPC account to cover necessary stuff prior to PCs)
Grey Circle Part 2 - Wolf Packs
Auril - Revenge For The Bleak Lady/Crusade of Etheldrek
The Tree of Despair
The Runes of Vandar
Alazantar's Folly/The Lurker
Bresk Part 2 - The Gate of Hell
Grey Circle Part 3 - Secret War
Nostra Ayitheren (vampire city) shines again
Grey Circle Part 4 - The Steward
Kar'thax'alon - The New Heroes
Wyvernwater - Early Days/Construction
Kar'thax'alon - Final Battle
Crusaders/Firestorm - Beginning
Scouring the Sands/Archaeology
Wyvernwater - Mid-term
Wyvernwater - The Fall
Corruption of the Helmites/Death of Kelteel
Nostra Ayitheren continues
Rise of the Shadovar
Demise of the Three Bars
Second Druid Circles/The Initiated
Period 10 - too recent to be done
The Fall of Thay
Firestorm - The Last Crusade
(others in progress)
Period 10 is the relative current.
I'd say "Period 10" has since ended, and you could say CoA is now in Period 11 regarding this chart, though it'd still be better to check with a DM if you do intend to write a brief for any plots beyond Period 9.
WYvernwater - The Fall
In recent weeks, Theliobar's most recent disappearance had left the new blood of the village running around in circles. The surge in volunteers for the Wyvernguard was staggering, and numbers were on the verge of overflowing the dictated margins for each division of the militia; however, always the shadow of the Banite fortress hung over the village, and was increasingly becoming too much to ignore for people who signed on to protect or to earn favour with goodly Gods. The biggest hit to the village from Theliobar's vacancy was the lack of gold coming into its coffers now. A lot of money had been placed into its stores recently enough, but just as the Banite Temple rose, supplies were dwindling with no sign of being rescued from their fall.
The council met to come to some arrangement, consisting of Trystan E'Lalueth, head of a merchant company; Ristin Tiavor, a city arenamaster now working near the village, and Adre Darksteel, the current serving Warden of the militia. The manager of the Wyvern's Rest Inn was unavailable, but between them the three men came to a decision to take funds from the council's coffers to keep the militia from becoming broke again. As well as this, a grand fair was proposed by Trystan, something to bring tourists in and hopefully make some more money. Within a few days, posters were put up around town heralding the fair, as well as a Wargame to be held in the wildlands near the Wyvernwater garrison. On the night prior to the events planned, Warden Darksteel went through the wilds with a small group of the village watch to prepare the area; when morning came, rough barricades had been set across the landscape, outlining an arena winding around the small canyons and pools of water, and a ladder set up to allow for viewers to watch from a safe vantage point, where they would have visibility of the entire arena.
At first only a trickle arrived, but before long there were enough for two teams of three to participate, and spectators by the dozen. Kael Helrend and Jason of Ilmater were two of the priests who had come to help with running the event, and by evening the torches had been lit and the Wargames begun, under the watchful eyes of Sergeant Nancy Jones, and the many others. The cheers and noises bounced off the once quiet forest, reaching the village and the garrison from afar, and Wyvernwater's state seemed almost alive; the village was no longer dying, but full of life, and people were coming, not going any longer.
The Wargames were a success, the victors including a Bhaliir retainer and a Deschurren retainer who had gotten stuck on the same team for lack of friends on any other. Unfortunately, the fair itself was not so much of a success. A few bought drinks at the Inn, but by and large, Trystan and Fizzlebrin were not able to make as great a profit as was hoped, as many of the spectators soon left.
The funds recieved a short jump, as the Warden quietly placed all the earnings directly into the militia funds, bypassing the Crown's taxes for the sake of the village that had become his home. It was not enough, however, and within the week, the village was bankrupt…
I'll write up the rest another time, but maybe this can give some people an idea of how to go about writing a brief for one of the other plots.
Wyvernwater - The Fall 2 (Banite Temple)
There was little dissent amongst either the council or the militia at first - many had experianced Theliobar's past vacations and either believed they would be reimbursed once he returned, or were reluctant to turn their back on the village over some gold. The Banite fortress was completed soon after the wargames, and after a few weeks it became apparant that no rent was forthcoming from the temple. The first messenger sent regarding the late payments left the village altogether not long after delivering the Warden's message. The lost income mounted however, until the temple was several thousand in debt to the village, whereupon even further penalties were added and more warnings delivered, no longer by villagers but by men serving in the militia. Finally, an ultimatum was given, and the Warden entered the temple accompanied by some of his old adventuring comrades, and more than a few men and woman in the service of Lord Deschurr of Arabel. The villagers only heard the sounds of fighting, and the Warden and his retinue chucked unceremoniously down the sloped path to the temple.
By nightfall the same day, the temple entrance had been barricaded, and Purple Dragon forces in the camp south of the village began to mobilise. Militia watchmen had an added sentry position overlooking the temple, and Lord Deschurr's Green Dragon company turned its forces towards the village. Behind the mounting preperations for the assault of the fortress however, more concerning discoveries were made regarding the village as the council soon recieved a letter informing them that the land around the lake of Wyvernwater did not belong to Theliobar after all. The fate of the village had never looked so bleak, and in the coming days there was no peace to be had sharing an ale amongst friends and comrades; a dismal shadow fell upon the village as greater powers moved into play over its soil. The militia itself needed purging of its Banite presence, and though three of the four Banites who had once served in the village's protection had long since disappeared, there was one man yet to deal with, who had not been seen since hostilities opened between the village and the temple but was not a man to stand down while the fortress was torn down. Lieutenent Torgor Bor'tal, Raemos' champion and respected or feared by all who knew of him. Under the city laws though, which had been enforced upon the village since Theliobar's claim to the lands was deemed illegal, a man's religion was no ground to base any such decision on. Thankfully, the Banite champion made one mistake. Bor'tal had not run, merely hidden, and a few days later Morrister Dattian, the ranking member of the militia's spellguard division turned up to the garrison missing one of his ears. He had been threatened with far more if he was involved in any way with the upcoming assault on the temple of Bane; the Warden hastily gathered some canteens and rations and made his way to the city, still in uniform.
Right outside the market, the two met; Adre Darksteel stood in his red-and-black plate, scratched and dented from countless forays into the wilderness of the village; Torgor Bor'tal was similiarly garbed for battle, covered head to toe in armour fit for one holding his rank. Heated words were exhanged, and market-goers and militia alike gathered to witness the happening, until the Warden pulled out a rod from beside his leg, and magically relieved the ex-lieutenent of his previous powers within the boundries of the village. With threats of one dying slow to Banite blades and the other watching his Lord's temple torn down to a brick, the two parted company. At that moment, it would have been impossible to believe that at one point these two men had been all that kept the Wyvernwater militia from dying.
When the day finally came for the assault, catapults were rolled into the village, as a contingent of the Green Dragons company marched into the clearing leading to the temple. Within hours, the militia had arrested a man under suspicion of being a Banite; no amount of interrogation would make him talk, or change his story of how he was but a druid wearing curiously dyed clothing. He was left in the cells to be realesed after the temple was taken, and the Warden and those of the militia still left with him left the garrison only to hear that the seneschal had been brutally murdered, beheaded within the council chambers. Clouds gathered overhead, and nothing could be done for the dead woman beyond speculation on her attackers, and by evening Purple Dragon banners stood unfurled outside the temple, and catapults barraged the southern face of the fortress. The fighting was intense, and the Banites fought to the death at every breech made in the wall. Frantic villagers struggling to know if they would be in the Crown's clutches or made into Banite slaves were made even more uneasy by the rumours floating back from the frontlines: Bor'tal was outside the Temple gates, fighting off every charge with the help of demon swordsmen who butchered Green Dragons, Purple Dragons, and adventurers alike; everyone in the first assault had been killed but Sergeant Dattian, who had been carried off the front having lost hands and feet within the temple; the old NightWarden of the militia herself was hurling fireballs down from the tower at Crown forces; Green Dragons had breeched the main hall; a retired Lionar and a mad gnome were cutting down any Banites who tried to sally forth; Private Perriwell had succeeded in paralyzing Bor'tal; Warden Darksteel was refusing entry to the village to Councilman E'Lalueth and his wife; the rain was actually a thunderstorm conjured by a foul Banite ritual.
When dawn broke, bodies littered the field, but by and large the militia itself was unharmed. Several Green Dragons had died in the fighting deeper down the temple - which had been so harried by catapults that it was no longer possible to enter many of its chambers. One of the Purple Dragons in command of the operation, Lionar Leonson, became the new chairman of the village council, and though it seemed that perhaps some peace was finally returning to the village, the village now resembled something closer to a Purple Dragon borderpost rather than the ambitious gathering of merchants, adventurers, workers and outcastes out to strike for fortune that it had once been…
Wyvernwater - The Fall 3 (Hell on Earth)
Pyth: I hope you meant that you wanted to write this section from Algar's perspective when you mentioned it before.
The Wizard's continued absence no longer inspired unease amongst the villagers, but past the walls of the garrison and before the shores of the great lake, people took to living guarded lives. Construction had ceased since the announcement of Theliobar's lack of a claim to the lands, and not just a few villagers were leaving altogether rather than waiting for the real owner of the lands to be found - a task and a half in itself. The militia had a new lawbook on its hands, several times the size of their old one; thankfully, the Purple Dragon garrison from Arabel had seen fit to keep the militia in place, temporarily at least. Recruits were no longer pouring into the militia though, and the council was growing ever smaller. The end of the village's tale was coming, clear enough to all whether they wished to see it or not.
When the sun set upon the stillwater of the lake, the Warden and Sergeant Jones of the militia were headed back for the garrison from a patrol in the wildlands. The sombre mood had carried over from the last few weeks, and what words passed between the two were little enough to call it a conversation. Not one remarked on the sight of nightfall, but perhaps if either had known it was the last sunset many of the village would ever see again, the sun would have had more attention that day.
Not far from the garrison, the ground tore itself right in the path of the weary pair. Bright light pushed its way out of the ground - an unnatural blue, followed by yellow and then a crimson glow as the smell of brimstone filled their lungs. Out of thin air a humanoid figure emerged, which became more and more monstrous by the second. As it came fully into view its height increased; horns materialised upon its brows, as a pair of huge wings unfurled behind the creature, and huge fangs, blue eyes, rocky skin and all manner of demonic appendeges were drawn forth. As the two members of the militia backed off, struggling to draw their weapons, the demon stepped off the rough circle that the ground had drawn itself into beneath it. With a hellish roar, the beast lunged at the two. Months of fighting goblins, orcs, ogres, handling grey renders, giants, wolfpacks and surviving troll and bugbear clans kicked in instincts, as axe and sword ripped through the demonic entity. Dark blood poured out from the twitching bodyparts left in the middle of the road, as the two ran for the garrison, their previous weariness forgotten. The last rays of the sun flashed against storm clouds overhead as they ran into the cave and the Warden called for backup. Just as Nancy was running to send a message magically to the city to call for war wizards however, another circle began to tear out its shape within the garrison cave, cracking the rock as if it were little more than paper. This one was much larger though, and several of the creatures materialised inside it. With the help of Tragil and the militia hound they were brought down, though not before they had wrecked the militia sleeping quarters and disabled the village's quickest method of communication with the city of Arabel. Adre gave the order for a lockdown, and rushed back up the steps with his sergeant to open ground…
...only to find even more demons inside the garrison. Even as the gates slammed shut with magical force and spikes pulled up out of the dirt to stop attackers, the ground within was tearing up in a dozen places and the militia was becoming increasingly outnumbered. Between the shouting and the fighting, the Warden left for the village post-haste along with Private Perriwell and Nancy Jones. As they ran for the village, Green Dragons wrestled with tiger-headed men, matching each swing and growl with an axe-head and a roar. Atop the village's entrance crouched D'rain Nailor of the village watch, bow notched and ready in his hands. The four made for the raised plateau, searching for anything out of place while Adre and Nancy tried to explain what had happened to the other two. It proved unnecessary though, for as soon as they were on top and able to view the calm sight of the village at night, a ferocious tearing noise broke the peace behind them. The demons clawed their way as if they had dug through earth and stone to arrive, while the four tried desperately to cut them down before any could reach the village.
Across the valley came the echoes of men fighting and dying at the garrison, while lights burst inside the Wyvern's Nest Inn windows as villagers were woken up from their sleep. The demon wave ebbed out a small while after the last screams ceased from the garrison. Turning around, drenched in the dark demonblood, Adre could see the faces of men, woman and children pressed against the windows of the village Inn, looking on from their windows as once again a battle had come within its boundries.
The next moment, a horrific conflagration burst from the ground on the other side of the inn. In an instant the scene went from relative tranquility to chaos. The blast was enough to send Adre flying head-over-heels from where he stood, his axe lost and the shield strapped to his arm causing it to flail wildly against the force. Thudding into a rock-face, the Warden nearly went unconcious. Fortunately he was back to his senses in a short while. Heaving himself up, the sight of his village burning greeted him. Nancy was trying to talk sense out of a sobbing woman who had been blown clear of the inn, while Algar Perriwell of the spellguard began casting elemental resistance spells on himself and D'rain looked forlornly up at the burning upper-story of the inn. The statue of the Warden who had preceeded Adre's time - Casper Cleareyes of the Wyvernguard - lay face down in the dirt, cracked and caked in mud. Perriwell came out of the Wyvern's Nest with what survivors he could find in the crumbling building. The Sergeant had managed to piece out that the other woman was an exile from the city, a woman called Elektra Sandstorm, who wouldn't stop asking where she was to go now in desperation. There was no time for questions or answers and the four tugged what few survivors there were from the village towards the Purple Dragon camp in the hope of finding some respite. Only minutes dead, the burned bodies from the inn began to make their own way out. By the time they had reached the gate dozens of zombies were on their heels, empowered by some infernal force. Giving the order for Nancy and Algar to get help from the camp, Adre shut the gate and locked it shut, before climbing up a steep cliff beside it with D'rain to shoot down as many zombies as they could. Sergeant Jones and Algar came back earlier than expected, only to tell of how the camp was dead to a man past. Dispairing further, they decided on a daring plan to save what was left of the village and its people. As the Warden pushed open the gates and began to cut a path through the masses, Nancy made a break for it, to run all the way to the city. The Sergeant did not want to abandon the village when she knew she may never see any of it or its people ever again, but for once in the history of the militia under Adre's command, the order given was obeyed without argument. For that much, the Warden was thankful; it was no easy thing.
Long after she had gone, the remaining three and who survived of the villagers had taken up position on a raised platform atop a sheer cliff with mounted ballistae to keep off any more attackers. Something caught the Warden's eye far below on the burning ground however, a shimmer of light so familliar...
Out of a cave no one had checked for more survivors stepped out Theliobar, the Wizard of Wyvernwater, for once with nought but a modest stoneskin upon him. As Adre raced down, he saw one of the tiger-men turning to face the archmage. Rather than going down into the village, Adre ran in the opposite direction for the nearest ballista. The force of its magical bolt nearly brought the demon down in the first blow, and the second was enough to kill it before it could do any damage. Rushing down with the other survivors, they met the Wizard as cool as ever, speaking in a distant voice. The demons had broken loose. The wards were broken, the prison shattered. It was time to leave, Warden. As the archmage led the remnants of the village out towards the garrison, from where they could leave to Immersea, Nancy Jones arrived back, out of breath and with a dozen adventurers at her back. No sooner had they all come together than a wall of fire ten feet high rose behind them, where once the proud village gates had once stood, guarded by Green Dragons.
The gathering turned as one to face the fire, which obscured the sky and sent shadows racing along the ground behind them. A huge horned skull appeared through the flames, followed by the massive body of a greater demon lord, deathly silent against the roaring of the fires behind it. It took a few steps towards the group, scorching and cracking the earth everywhere it stepped as a giant flaming sword hung lazily in its right hand. The Adventurers, villagers, and militia began to edge away, but Theliobar did not move. A second blade cut through the wall of fire, as a demon even larger than the first stepped through. A low rumbling, like a great, mocking laugh echoed across the lake, until Adre realised it was the demon. The Archmage of Wyvernwater stood facing the demons, his stoneskin since vanished, but he turned his head sideways all the same to give his last order as Lord of Wyvernwater: Go.
The militia shouted the others through the garrison gates, and bodily pulled some who were too busy contemplating dying needlessly. A tremendous blast came from behind, where Theliobar and the demons had been moments ago. It was impossible to see, but somehow Adre knew that Theliobar was dead. His run slowed to a walk until he stood still on the bridge leading out. The water in the moat dug around the garrison and kept filled by the lake of Wyvernwater itself rippled, and then crashed, until it was as roiling as any sea. The shockwaves from the explosion tugged at his cloak, threatening to toss him down into the waters to die in the place he had reigned as Warden for nearly half a year, but the Warden steeled himself against it, clenching jaw and fist, and let the wind pass by him. For years the Wyvernguard had faced up to every challange set to them, and the council as well, and as the wind passed him by, Adre looked up towards the sky. There were no stars to be seen this night, as Wyvernwater burned around him, but there was a flaming orb racing across the sky towards the garrison and getting larger by the second. For a while, he thought about letting it all end here like Theliobar had, but when he turned around to give the order for the others to leave, he realised this was more than just about himself. A dozen of his Wyvernguard had died to give the villagers and him this chance of escape. Between D'rain's nervousness, and the determination of Algar and Nancy, his will was broken. Breaking back into a slow run as tired as he was, he gestured north towards Immersea to the others, and as they fell in behind him he glanced back, shouting one last order as Warden of Wyvernwater as a deep rumbling filled their ears, and a tremendous meteor raced for the garrison: "Lock the gates."