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Ettin's Mound and the Northwest Adri
Posted on Wed, June 25, 2003 by Legate
PeterOui writes "Explore the legendary Ettin's Mound and get a lay of the land and its inhabitants...as expanded from Carl Sarget's "Ivid the Undying".

Ettin's Mound and the Northwest Adri
By: PeterOui
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

The site of an ancient battle between Flan and Oeridians, Ettin's Mound is a single hillock jutting out from the Adri forest, an isolated extension of the forested western Flinty Hills. Most unusually, there is a tribe of ettins below the mound, perhaps 15 or so in a great extended family. A monstrous chieftain with 16 HD leads these ettins, and they obey the dictates of Iron Grandfather from sheer fear. The ettins have looted most of the items buried with the dead below the mound, though some may remain. Iron Grandfather has a horn of fog, which he uses to best effect in the ettins? battle forays, and a wrought iron brooch of shielding which has the additional property of hasting the wearer once a week without any aging effect. His name acknowledges this artifact, as well as his vast strength and tyrannical nature.

Foresters and rangers give the area around a wide berth. The ettins are thought to be a threat to any humans they find. Iron Grandfather has a particular hatred of humanoids, and the ettins usually slay orcs, kobolds, and others. A spit roast of ogre stuffed with orc stuffed with kobold is a prized delicacy. Why the old, huge ettin has this especial hatred is unknown. Why the ettins tattoo their forearms with the motif of a lightning bolt, which looks astonishingly similar to the holy symbol of Heironeous, is also a mystery.

In truth, this band of ettins are tribes of firbolgs, using their alter self ability to appear as their more hideous cousins. Most of the reclusive gnomes spotted in the Adri are more than likely mixed groups of gnomes and altered firbolgs. The two races have found much in common, from the use of like-minded magic and tactics to the mutual goals of survival and prosperity. Both know that races small in size or numbers need large deceptions and true alliance.

In the years prior to the Greyhawk Wars, both races blended simply and easily into the wooded hills. The firbolgs lived through hunting and gathering, as the forest is large enough to sustain them. The gnomes mined gold from Goldchasm and gems from Yellowretch. Both groups would travel in disguise to Innspa, Knurl, and Nyrond to trade for supplies and luxuries.

With the coming of the war, both groups surmised, correctly, that the hordes from the Bone March would boil through the Flinty Hills. Instead of meeting the invaders directly, their best bet was to channel them away. The numerous indigenous monsters were charmed and sent to harass the Euroz flanks and supply lines. Tales of stinking death, from ghouls to retching clouds from cursed mines, spread among the surrounding lands, bolstered by the magic of the clans. When deception failed, mixed groups of gnomes and giants would decimate war bands, leaving a few alive to sputter tales of spriggans to those in whose arms they collapsed and died. A charmed and mated pair of huge wyverns guards the main valley entrance to the domain. With the Euroz sufficiently sluiced away, only the curious and encroaching Adri folk must be, albeit more gently, dealt with.

Prior to the wars, Immonara sent here most trusted servant, Griffith Adarian, to investigate the northwest forest. Braving and beating all efforts to delude or persuade him, he was finally channeled to an ancillary mine of Yellowretch, also known as the Rachleach's Rest. His druidic skills came in very helpful against the yellow mold, the yellow russet mold, and their spawned zombies - the ghouls of the Adri. There, he found a large cache of emeralds, one of which was the Soul Gem of Rachleach. The irony and humor of a druid of Obad-Hai being possessed by the husband of Ehlennestra is not lost on the gnomes and firbolgs. It is a seasonal challenge to both groups to slyly infer this during the art competitions during the Old Faith Moots.

Certainly the faerie folk of the Adri know of the strange alliance between gnome and firbolg. The greater priests of Ehlonna also know of the alliance, but are forbidden to speak of it outside of the Old Faith Moot. Druids of Obad-Hai also know of it, although embarrassment keeps them silent. It should be noted that Immonara is quite amused by her deception. Her admiration of so many beings acting against what should be their given nature for that of the common good, well, it borders on blasphemy.

Ettin's Mound is the center of the firbolg dominion, which includes at least four separate clans. Iron Grandfather, whose underground hall is here, is known to his people as Eochaid (Fighter 17, Bard 7), a king among his kind if he were to claim that title. At least 15 families are here, making occasional raids on the Euroz to give credence to their deception. They and their clan mates have put the many iron enchantments placed beneath the mound by their ancestors to good use. Their skalds keep good score of each item's best use, recharging, and occasional remaking.

The tattoo on their forearms with the lightning bolt motif does look astonishingly similar to the holy symbol of Heironeous. It is, instead, the flaming spear symbol of their patron deity Hiatea, greater goddess of firbolg, voadkyn, Nature, Community, Agriculture, Hunting, Females, and Children. Fiona, the High Priestess (Bard 9, Pr 14), gives wise counsel to her king, along with her husband Cesard, the court mage (bard 4, mage 15). He is well versed in the Old Lore and the New, but not as well as the court skald, Finegas (bard 15).

Goldchasm is home to the gnomes living here. They are led by Berin (Illusionist 14) and Sonya (Cleric 13) Doublecloak. They use illusions and shadow monsters to ward off those who would investigate. They have contact with a small deep gnome community with whom they trade. Yellowretch used to hide the Soul Gem of Rachleach. It was left in the care of a large tribe of Myconids. They warded the gem with the most powerful natural traps and monsters available, with every known mold and fungus available.

These inhabitants of the northwestern Adri are in a dilemma. They know they are powerful, but not numerous. They know that deception is as important as forming alliances. Some wish to join the other Adri folk, but fear discovery by enemies. They have feelers out to their fellow gnomes in the Flinty Hills, and trade with them as fellow gnomes. They appreciate and independently support the city of Knurl for several reasons.

First, several members from each tribe remember the original lord, Azalin. The current lord is an infinitely preferable neighbor. Second, and preferably, Knurl is a good thorn in the side of the Bone March humanoids, distracting them away from the Adri.

Based on Ivid the Undying. The first few paragraphs are drawn directly.

"
 
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Re: Ettin's Mound and the Northwest Adri (Score: 1)
by cholke on Thu, June 26, 2003
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This is great. I love the deception angle used by the Firbolg. I've always thought the Firbolgs were nice but underused.

My only question is about the levels. No matter what edition is being used, aren't 15-24th level giants pretty tough? Even with small numbers (15 families?), these are some pretty tough honchos.

Thanks for the great post.




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