Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ar: Flight of the Archonians

Mystara Alphatia Ar Archon Land
Floating District of Archon -- Map Scale: 8 miles per hex

Archon is one of the more important districts in Ar.  It includes the towns of Zephyria, Aeree-upon-Land, Aeree-the-White, and the fortress of Martial Fields.  Slightly less than 100,000 Archonians call this region home.  Under 10% of the population lives in urban settings. Three other villages provide safe landing areas for skyships, barn-like hangars, and loading docks for local farming produce.  Just over a tenth of Archon’s total area levitates above the surface.  Lord Aerithern, Viceroy of Archon, commands about 400 royal troops and 1,200 local military, 400 of which are stationed at Martial Fields with the royal troops.  These soldiers handle local law enforcement and guard the main passage into Frisland.  Cavalry frequently patrols the river.  Crossing is only permitted at Dovefall Bridge.  The viceroy (whose estate lies in Zephyria) also relies on four skyships to patrol the skies:  three vessels equivalent to small sailing ships (His Heavenly Majesty’s Skyships Nimbus, Cirrus, Stratus, and one large skyship, the H.H.M.S. Cumulus).

As Aran districts go, Archon is fairly large.  Griffon, to the southeast, is the oldest and the one that originated the kingdom’s foundation.  The latter’s Cloudstone mine attracted air-mages to the area.  The discovery of a second deposit prompted the kingdom’s expansion to include today’s Archon territories.  Archon’s Cloudstone deposit is nearly depleted today (AC 1000) and only provides small amounts from very deep beneath the surface.  Huge quantities were extracted in much earlier times, forcing mages to shore up endless galleries and nearly bottomless chasms.  Thousands of spells creating stonewalls and stoneshapes produced colossal pillars and arches in the natural rock that would make a dwarven engineer proud.  Yet, this vast underground expanse now remains empty and dark, save for monstrous denizens who’ve made it their home.  Small flying vessels occasionally patrol the greatest mining canyons, concerned about recent sightings of ogres there, possibly from the crags (see Marches of Ogresfell and
Grünfold for details).

Heraldry Mystara Alphatia Floating Ar
Mining outposts linger to extract remaining Cloudstones.  Skyships transport the minerals directly to the surface.  A great stone dome with metallic gates protects the main vertical shaft, to prevent rain or distracted people from falling in.  Secondary galleries, large enough for ten mammoths abreast, spread from the main shaft at various levels.  Stone towers lock the entrances to galleries reaching the surface.  Smaller ventilation shafts still furnish breathable air to this artificially-manufactured underworld.  More than seven billion cubic feet of Cloudstones were extracted to create Archon Prime alone.  This feat was accomplished with the help of mining constructs, enchanted beasts toiling incessantly to remove the minerals.  Eerie witnesses of bygone times, most of them now sit silently in dark passages, abandoned, their command words forever filed off their metallic skins.


Since they’ve become much rarer, Cloudstones now fetch much higher prices.  Business is still brisk, but far more hazardous.  An aspect of Aran common law and a series of cirsumstances described below lie at the source of a waste of the precious mineral.  Before any wizard is declared dead, legislation demands a body be found and positively identified.  Anti-social beings consumed by their obsessions to unlock secrets of magic, many wizards neglect to form families and secure heirs.  The most powerful ones live isolated and very long lives.  Relying upon enchanted constructs as servants is also common practice in Floating Ar—therefore, when wizards happen to die or disappear, no one may notice.  The Celestial Bureaucracy collects levitating fees in units of ten years or more.  As a result, any number of abandoned floating structures exist in the sky.  A new and rather risky business consists in identifying abandoned monoliths and claiming them, as a maritime salvage operation would.  After investigation, and if no heir comes forth to claim the property, the recovery is successful and the minerals can be resold at market price, along with anything else found inside it.  The danger in this business lies in disgruntled wizards resenting impromptu visits, wizards’ guardians that survived their creators, monsters that took over abandoned monoliths, or rival salvage businesses.  Several guilds compete for such opportunities, sometimes in brutal ways.  If levitating fees are overdue, the Celestial Bureaucracy will seize the property and auction it off publicly.


Mystara Alphatia Ar Archon Map
Upper District of Archon -- Map Scale: 1 Hex = 8 Miles

Oldest among Archon’s floating islands, it results from the conglomeration of several neighboring properties acquired during the past forty years by the House of Haaken, a dynasty of shipbuilders and Cloudstone magnates.  The original Haaken island, stretched about eight squares miles and supported a small village named Colbin.  The core of the Haaken family now lives in a large manor on top of a small hill in Aeree.  Cousins and other kin reside in separate demesnes in the surrounding town or on neighboring Aquilonia (Archon-XI).  The original village’s name can still be found on a fancy guest house in Aeree, at the site of Colbin’s old town square: The Colbin Plaza.

Archon Prime levitates 3,900 ft above ground.  It is the lowest of an archipelago rising another 1,400 ft to Aquilonia.  Average temperatures are a good 15°F (9°C) lower than at ground level, giving Archon Prime an alpine-like feel.  It does not benefit from a protective dome, and with the absence of a nearby body of water, temperatures vary significantly between night and day.  About 32 miles long, 8 miles wide, and extending in a rough wedge-like shape about half a mile beneath the surface, it offers a landscape of gentle rolling hills, green like an emerald in the sky, with some heavily forested lowland in the west, and the white spires of Aeree rising in the north.  The land is pristine and largely unpopulated, save for the small town.  Rain, magically summoned during the night, forms small rivers whose runoff drops past the floating island’s ragged edges, forming a fine cloud-like mist in the air beneath.

Aeree is built partly of weightless Cloudstones, anchored with white marble, thus the local name of Aeree-the-White.  It is quite different from Aeree-upon-Land, which lies almost directly beneath.  The latter is a typical medieval town of 3,700 inhabitants, with wooden buildings and narrow alleys, while Aeree-the-White looks more like a resort town for the rich and famous, with not more than 1,850 residents.  Enchanted streetlights, animated statues, monuments, fountains, and varnished cobblestones are the norm here.  Aeree features private palaces and fancy municipal buildings.  Military quarters seem more fit for royalty than for mere boltmen.  Servants living with their employers typically dwell at street level or below.  The well-to-do live above them, the higher the better.  Near the small municipal quarter lies the town’s market and skyship landing platform.  Theaters, libraries, temples, small squares with freeze-resistant topiaries are interspersed with elegant dwellings.  Aeree stretches no more than a mile and a half across.  A ten-foot-high wall surrounds the small town, supporting a fashionable promenade.  There are no gates, but upon uttering a command word, stairs appear on either side of the wall to access the surroundings.

Aeree-the-White operates a mechanical elevator allowing day-laborers to come and go.  Aristocrats never use it, preferring instead their own skyships or teleporters when time is short.  At an average speed of 250 ft per minute, the elevator can reach the floating island in a little more than 15mn, carrying up to 50 people at a time.  Due to Archon Prime’s slow shifting and bobbing, special gears and cables allow some flexibility at the expense of comfort.  On rough days, travelers may feel sick from the oddly weaving ascension.  The elevator does not operate during storms.  Its top end is anchored in a shaft opening beneath Archon Prime, where a platform allows users to disembark.  Holds enable merchandise to be safely stored until dispatched to their owners.  Tunnels lead to the main places of employment, mostly municipal buildings, and a few street-level exits in Aeree.  Provided a visitor obtains a pass to Aeree-the-White, the elevator is the cheapest way to get there.

Fees for Legal Passes
PeriodLand LaborerNon-ResidentAeree Resident
DayN/A5 gpNo charge
Week7 cp30 gp
Month2 sp100 gp
Year2 gpN/A

Legal passes can be obtained from City Hall in Aeree-upon-Land.  The Bailiff-of-the-Chits issues these permits if he or she is satisfied that requests are genuine and honest, usually for a specific floating island.  “Multipasses” costs twice the fee and are valid anywhere within Archonian airspace, although they are limited to merchants and visiting aristocrats.  Naturally, transients of uncertain pedigree need not apply.  A pass comes in the form of a stone chit magically engraved with the owner’s profile, name, destination, and dates valid.  Passes must be presented both when boarding and stepping off the elevator, a skyship, or one of several public teleporters.  The chit teleports back to the bailiff’s office at the end of the permit’s period.  Guards working with the bailiff will come looking for anyone staying longer than permitted, as chits reveal whether a former owner returned.

  • Elevator: 1 cp per ride. + 1 cp per 100 lbs of merchandise; travel time approx. 15mn.  Frequency 1 per hour.
  • Air Freighter: 1 sp per ride + 5 cp per 100 lbs of merchandise; travel time 30 mn.  Frequency per individual schedule, weather allowing.
  • Skyship Shuttle: 1 gp per ride + 5 sp per 100 lbs of merchandise; travel time, 20mn.  Frequency 2-3 times per day, weather allowing.
  • Luxury Yacht: 30 gp per ride (no charge for personal gear; no merchandise allowed; full meal and cabin included); travel time 1-3 hours.  Frequency 1 per day, weather allowing.
  • Public Teleporter: 100 gp per use (n/c for personal gear; no merchandise allowed); travel time instantaneous.  Frequency on demand, regardless of weather conditions.
Aristocrats also operate private teleporters capable of displacing non-living objects.  Public teleporters have a chance of error.  To avoid fatalities, public teleporters aim 100 ft above their destinations, triggering automated featherfall effects that can be disconcerting to first-time users.

Standard Disclaimer: If of the dwarven persuasion, pregnant, faint of heart, suffering from back pains, dimensional disorders, anamorphic deficiency, or orthophasing distropia, please consult a healer for advice.  Public teleporters are not liable for bodily harm or damage to property during or after teleporting.

Other modes of transportation are available from Aeree-upon-Land, usually riding or being pulled by various beasties.  These fit in the recreational category, providing maiden flights, romantic rides, weddings, anniversaries, and other pleasurable tours.  All transportation to and from Aeree-upon-Land is regulated and relevant to one traveling guild or another.  Unregulated air transport is illegal in the District of Archon, as with throwing or dropping anything past the edges of a floating island or while in flight.  The offense may result in fines, community service, and/or imprisonment depending on the severity of the damage.  The latter law explains why all above-land refuse is either burned, disintegrated, or transported to be dumped at sea.  For this purpose, garbage scows trawl from one island to the next, collecting trash.  And yes, there is a Guild of Sanitation. . . or two.

 
Many of the magical items in this section are listed in the Encyclopedia Magica Vol. I-IV or in AC 4 Book of Marvelous Magic.  Those marked with an asterisk are explained in the text below.

Lord Aerithern, Viceroy of Archon, Sky Lord of Aquilonia

Being a cousin of King Qissling was the main factor in being nominated as a viceroy.  Aerithern is an able administrator and an advisor to Qissling.  The viceroy, a close friend and ally of Lord Niborray, the Grand Secretary to the Council of Wizards in Sundsvall, strongly suggested to King Qissling that he approve a recent request from Queen Llynara of Bettellyn that an Aran aristocrat marry her daughter.  Qissling, eager to get rid of the trouble and return to his research, quickly sealed his consent.  Aerithern is well aware of Niborray’s hostility toward Empress Eriadna and Haldemar of Haaken, the future groom.  He sensed a marriage between the famous admiral and a Bettellyn princess may in time become a source of embarrassment for Eriadna, as well as force Haaken’s missing son to return to Alphatia.  The latter outcome offers Niborray an opportunity to seal the admiral’s fate in some way.  Although Aerithern does not have anything personal against the House of Haaken, its possible demise might mean the dismantling and resale of Archon Prime, from which he expects to profit.  Once the queen’s request was approved, the viceroy intrigued to have it forwarded to Lord Niborray for endorsement by the Council of Wizards, bestowing the request with a quasi-imperial status.

Heraldry Mystara Alphatia Floating Ar
Appearance:  Lord Aerithern is in his mid-forties, and a man of powerful presence.  A heavy brow accents his habitual squint, but his light brown eyes gleam shrewdly.  Once pale blue, strands of white and silver now grow among his hair which form a peacock-like crest on the back of his head.  His chin is sharp, and so is his nose.  He enjoys playing politics.  Lord Aerithern often wears iridescent pearl gray robes with a thick gold chain of office.

M18, AC0, hp 50, MV 120’ (40’), AT 1staff, Dmg 1d6, Save M18, ML9, AL N.  St11, In17, Wi12, Dx16, Co13, Ch14.  Magical Items: robe of winds* (see below), dagger +2, wand of lightning bolts, and desk of studying in his quarters.

Robe of Winds: it is a heirloom of the viceroy’s family.  When in combat, the robe’s magic deflects normal missiles, insects and other small vermin, and provides an effective AC of 2.  It also enables its wearer to fly (as the spell), and sustain only half damage from cloud-based attacks (quarter damage with a successful saving throw).

Haldemar of Haaken

Born in 1911 AY (AC 911) in Colbin (now Aeree-the-White), this adventurer of princely status was an explorer and diplomat at the service of Empress Eriadna.  His journeys in command of the Princess Ark led him to leap 36 years through time and reappear in Mystara in 2000 AY.  During the following year, Haldemar uncovered the existence of the Nucleus of the Sphere in Glantri, and warned Eriadna.  After he narrowly avoided a deadly palace intrigue when he returned to Alphatia several months later (Sulamir 2001 AY), the empress convinced Haldemar to flee with his crew.  She was researching at the time an enchantment to counter the effects of the dreaded nucleus, which had the potential of killing both Haldemar and Berylith, the air elemental bound to his flying ship (from the Princess Ark’s last episode in Dragon Magazine, early 2006.)

A year later, the wayward admiral still lingers far away from Alphatia.  Before leaving the empire, he’d stopped at Aeree and made a stunning return to the survivors of his family.  Some were overjoyed that he was still alive.  His younger brother Felldorian—born 1912 AY, thus approaching ninety years old—his wife Ethrenielle, and multiple generations of offspring in their sixties, forties, and teens, proved much less than enthused about Haldemar’s unexpected reappearance, as it reshuffled matters of inheritance.  House Haaken and Archon Prime represented a coveted fortune entirely in the hands of Widdemar, Haldemar’s father, now about a hundred and ten years old.

Haldemar’s “younger” sister, Lady Auriane, remained friendly and quietly maintained communication while he sailed away once more.  They relied on a miniature dragon construct, a clockwork device capable of skipping through the fringes of the outer planes to travel the world of Mystara quickly.  Otherwise known as Ratchet, the clicking, whirring construct contains locks of Haldemar’s and Auriane’s hair in its enchanted heart.  It is what enables Ratchet to home in on either of them, wherever they may be, despite its limited intelligence.  Its magical coils can record a message of no more than 100 words.  The two siblings understand the construct’s mechanical language, and have the keys to rewind it before each trip.  Ratchet is a clumsy flyer, crashing into walls, decks, or people when it skips back into the prime plane.  The copper and silver machine looks like a wreck after its arrival, before springs, wires, and coils of golden magic pull the pieces back together, 2d4 rounds later.

It was through Ratchet that Haldemar learned of a certain request for marriage.  The strange document, worded more as a royal summons than an offer, was apparently from the hand of Queen Llynara, and adorned with seals of approval from King Qissling and the Council of Wizards in Sundsvall.  The object of the matrimonial endeavor identified the queen’s daughter, referred to as Her Eminence Llyndara, Cardinal-Princess of Bettellyn.  Lady Auriane also informed Haldemar that their father approved the imperious demand straight away, positively charmed that the House of Haaken would become related to royalty.  Naturally, the accompanying dowry promised to be more than adequate, which settled the arrangement.  Lady Auriane did note that, although somewhat of a headstrong youngster, Llyndara was quite beautiful, adventurous to a fault, and should no doubt provide her promised husband with much pleasure, felicity, and ample progeny.

Haldemar, a bachelor in his fifties, had always been too involved with his duties to the empire to consider marrying and settling down.  If he did, Lady Abovombe, who joined him aboard the Princess Ark before his time leap, comes closest to a romantic interest.  Having his marriage arranged by his father and a gaggle of foreign royals isn’t remotely what he’d expected to have to live through.  The specter of a political conspiracy dawned on him, possibly a scheme to get him to return to Alphatia and become embroiled in something that would later embarrass Empress Eriadna.  Increasingly suspicious, Haldemar dispatched Ratchet back to Auriane, letting her know he’d mull the offer for some time. . . and promptly set sail in the opposite direction.

Heraldry Mystara Alphatia Floating Ar
Appearance: Haldemar is a typical Alphatian aristocrat of medium height, slim, proud, with long black hair, pale skin, and deep blue eyes.  He keeps his hair neatly tied at the back of his neck.  Graying strands at his temples and slight wrinkles at the corners of his eyes fail to betray his actual age—53 in AY 2000, following a 36-year time warp.  Physically, he looks and acts more like a swashbuckler in his mid-forties.  Haldemar’s expressive face is a pleasant rectangle, with high clean-shaven cheekbones and a strong jaw.  His voice is a light baritone.  A slightly upturned patrician nose sits above a mobile and generous mouth that compresses when he’s tense.  His lapis eyes glint with good humor most of the time, but turn stone hard when he’s confronted in battle or by a conundrum.  He sometimes dons a broad-brimmed, high-crowned black leather hat with a swooping pale plume when he thinks it’s necessary to make an impression.  While on duty on the Princess Ark, Haldemar wears dark blue pants tucked beneath the tops of his knee-high boots.  A swirling thigh-length cloak that matches his eyes covers an ample white laced shirt with full sleeves.  On more formal occasions, he sports a knee-length, midnight blue and white silk tunic with silver knot and loop fasteners rather than the shirt and cloak.

M21, AC2, hp 35, MV 120’ (40’), AT 1 dagger, Dmg 1d4+2 or by spell, Save M21, ML10, AL C.  St10, In16, Wi12, Dx17, Co11, Ch15.  Magical Items: ring of protection +3, dagger +2 of warning, pouch of security, and one of three wands (one per adventure) of fireballs, lightning bolts, or disintegration.  Haldemar also recovered during his last call to Aeree a displacer cloak (dark blue) and a swashbuckler’s dagger*.  For the AD&D Game, Haldemar is a Chaotic Good M21/T4 adventurer with 40 hp (1st Edition) or 38 hp (2nd Edition).  Thieving Abilities (1st Ed.):  PP50%, OL47%, FT35%, MS38%, HS30%, HN15%, CW88%, RL20%; or (2nd Ed.):  PP35%, OL47%, FT5%, MS70%, HS15%, DN15%, CW88%, RL20%.

Swashbuckler’s Dagger: on command this +2 weapon can turn into a magical rapier (1d6 damage).  Since the weapon is attuned to its owner, a wizard may use it, provided three weapon proficiencies are spent training with it (dagger + rapier + attuning).  The weapon also confers its owner with a +1 bonus to Dexterity, Charisma, and saving throws when used on a ship (it must be unsheathed, held in hand, and in its rapier form).

Felldorian of Haaken

The likeness between Felldorian and his older sibling Haldemar was almost incredible in their youths, although Felldorian now owns a slightly shorter stature and looks much older.  Having grown up in his brother's shadow, Felldorian was eager to prove himself, and spent much of his time experimenting with new skyship designs, in pursuit of a vessel faster and more nimble than anything else in the skies which, he hoped, would help him make a name for himself.  Unbeknownst to him, he did acquire a moniker, "The Sky Terror", among Floating Ar’s elite, owing to his habit of "buzzing" other skyships while testing his latest designs.  (Thanks to Geoff Gander for Felldorian’s original entry on Pandius.)

During the decades following his brother’s absence, Felldorian began to see himself as the presumptive heir to the Haaken fortune.  Now close to ninety (in AY 2001), he bitterly resents his father’s longevity.  Haldemar’s relative youth and persistent fame feel like salt in a festering wound.  Perhaps the family fortune will instead go to his own son, Ethredorian, a cocky, brash, vain, and ungrateful wizard living beyond his means, even though in his early sixties.  Felldorian considers this possibility with mixed feelings, but the news of Haldemar’s possible marriage with a young, healthy royal prospect comes as the worst of news.

Appearance: actual age 89, Felldorian is altered magically to look like a healthy seventy-year-old.  His features are much like Haldemar’s, except a bit thinner and sagging.  He hides his straight dull black hair beneath a sherry-colored velvet hat with a medium brim pinned up on one side by a nail.  Various other magical doodads flash, shiver, or crawl from place to place on the hat.  Their movements sometimes reflect his emotional state.  Like Haldemar, he favors wearing blue, but chooses stormier shades.  His robe has an embroidered yoke of blue-on-blue that shows only in certain light.  It appears to be a complicated blueprint of an airship.  Most onlookers see only a fraction of the detail.  The rest of the robe is in graduated shades of blue that trick the eye by seeming to twist into and out of one another.

M16, AC4, hp 30, MV 90’ (30’), AT 1 staff, Dmg 1d6+1 or by spell, Save M16, ML9, AL C (Chaotic Neutral in AD&D Game terms).  St7, In16, Wi13, Dx12, Co9, Ch14 (reflecting his advanced age).  Magical Items: robe of Ar*, Widdemar’s tiny staff*, lens of far seeing (set in a pair of leather goggles), nail of building (stuck in his hat), and portable mast*.  Felldorian also commands the Archonian Shadow, a small but fast and nimble skyship.

Robe of Ar: this magical garment confers AC4 to its wearer and the ability to step on any vertical or upside down surfaces as a house fly would, or climb a ship’s rigging, masts, and booms with no more than a 1% chance of falling.

Widdemar’s Tiny Staff: Felldorian’s father gave it to his younger son for his fiftieth birthday.  On command, this magical staff can shrink to the size of a 2” matchstick.  As a +1 weapon in its normal size, it also can store up to 12 levels of spells (spell levels 1-3).

Nail of Building: it is an enhanced version of the original item, working with enchanted materials and reusable.

Portable Mast: it is a compact version of the one described in the Book of Marvelous Magic, about the size of a normal wizard’s staff.  It answers to three command words.  “Set” causes the staff to grow into a mast up to 30 ft high.  The staff must be held upright above a wooden surface in order to function.  The mast grows 10 ft per round or until the second command is spoken, “Expand,” at which point corresponding booms, main lateen sail, jib sail, rigging, and centerboard materialize.  The last command, “Return,” causes the contraption to vanish, leaving the original wizard staff in its place.  The staff and resulting mast/sail arrangement can only be harmed with natural or magical fire.  The staff is equivalent to a magical +1 weapon.

Archonian Shadow: Felldorian had used his nail of building when he constructed this 20’ skyship.  He removed it when he retired from airship regattas and, as he expected, the ship vanished.  He keeps the magical nail stuck in his hat.  The Archonian Shadow does not require a crew other than its captain.  It looks like a giant black hawk whose wings and tail were replaced with large red sails.  The sails can be rotated to enable the Archonian Shadow to glide, dive, or fly with the wind.  AC6, HP 30, MV 300’ per round (flying) or 180 miles/day, Capacity 10,000 cn + 1 pilot.

Widdemar, Sky Lord of Haaken

This venerable old wizard is the head of the House of Haaken.  A bit confused and prone to becoming distracted as the result of his advanced age, Widdemar remains in control of the family fortune and still manages to run its shipbuilding business effectively.  He pays generous stipends to Auriane, Felldorian, Ethredorian, and to his great granddaughter, Felldorielle.  His face is a map of wrinkles, and what’s left of his hair is white, long, and stringy.  Widdemar wears a floor-length robe embroidered with cloudstones, black at the hem and ending in a white stand-up collar reaching from ear to ear.  His long-sleeved
outer robe features various shades of gray.  Oddly, Widdemar always seem to walk an inch above the floor, as if levitating.

M28, AC4, hp 42, MV 60’ (20’), AT spell only, Dmg by spell, Save M28, ML8, AL C (Chaotic Neutral in AD&D Game terms).  St6, In16, Wi13, Dx9, Co9, Ch13 (reflecting his old age).  Magical Items: abacus of calculation, amulet of spell resistance (30%, spell levels 1-6), balance of coins-to-gems conversion, excellent rod of engineering (applies strictly to wood and shipbuilding), periapts of health and proof against poison, ring of clear thought (protects from mind-affecting powers and old age dementia), robe of cloudstones*, and scarab of protection.

Robe of Cloudstones: provides Widdemar with an AC of 4 and an invisible floor under his feet enabling him to walk in mid-air even if he stepped off the edge of a cliff.  The floor extends 10’ radius and moves along with him as he walks about.  Anyone staying within this radius may safely accompany Widdemar.  The effect can be cancelled upon command.  When lifting a knee a foot or more, Widdemar can change the floor’s level, as if climbing steps.  Lower tiers only last one round, which requires anyone in his company to carefully time their progression with Widdemar’s, or tumble.  Steps may be made to go down if bending one knee instead.  The invisible surface does not interfere with intervening obstacles (walls, cliffs, floors, natural ground, vegetation, or living beings unaware of the robe’s enchantment).  It prevents Widdemar from triggering weight-sensitive traps or leaving any footprints regardless of ground cover (sand, mud, water, grass, carpet, snow, etc), or his feet from making any noise.  The invisible floor moves with the surface immediately underneath, such as the deck of a skyship.

Lady Auriane

Auriane is a spinster spending much of her waking hours building clockwork devices of all sorts.  Although she’s thought to be an eccentric loner by the rest of the family, her brother Haldemar knows better.  Auriane doesn’t say much but fears the day either Felldorian or his son inherit the family business.  She would much prefer that Haldemar did.  Her relation with Felldorian’s wife, Ethrenielle, is at best distant.  The two have never developed any friendship, due to Ethrenielle’s greed and jealousy.  Auriane relies on a variety of automatons large and small to spy upon the family and watch over her when she sleeps.  She has the appearance of a seventy-year-old with amber colored eyes like her late mother.  Her wide-set features seem odd because of her long pointed nose and cleft chin.  She usually wears a wimple at her hairline, with a stiffened hood rising a hand-width behind her head.  Yet, her attire is cloth of platinum embroidered in antique gold threads that outline gears, sprockets, keys, and mechanical articulations.  She also wears an elaborate gold pectoral featuring bits of machinery that occasionally animate when then she thinks.

M14, AC3, hp 28, MV 90’ (30’), AT spell only, Dmg by spell, Save M14, ML8, AL C (Chaotic Neutral in AD&D Game terms).  St8, In17, Wi12, Dx12, Co9, Ch9 (reflecting her old age).  Magical Items:  bracers of defense AC3, flask of sovereign glue, flask of oil of slipperiness, pectoral of analysis*, rod of many things (a small rod Auriane uses to create various clockmaking tools), and a tome of minute workings*.

Pectoral of Analysis: worn on the shoulders and upper chest, Auriane’s semi-metallic garment enables her to temporarily boost her Intelligence rating halfway up to 20, rounded up.  Duration lasts up to 1 Turn per point of Constitution or until dismissed, at which time each Turn of use demands an hour of narcosis-deep sleep.  The effect also enables Auriane to grasp the general nature and function of any mechanical device, including enchanted ones.  It provides answers up to five words to simple questions (1d4 answers per Turn active), such as “what happens if I pull this lever?”  Responses and general concepts unveiled earlier remain intelligible when Auriane wakes up, however, the effect does not enable her to understand, learn, or use spells not normally available to her.

Tome of Minute Workings: this volume enables anyone reading it to acquire a free clockmaking proficiency.  If the owner already had this skill when first reading the tome, its contents enable the devising and assembly of complex clockwork mechanisms, such as automatons.  With an Intelligence score of 19 or more, the reader may draft blueprints usable by lesser workers.  The two last feats require the tome be used as reference during the process.


Special thanks to Janet Deaver-Pack for character descriptions and editorial support, and to Pandius fans for their contributions.

To be Continued.