Username Password
   or Create an Account
HomeForumsFAQArticlesReviewsDownloadsLinksTop 20Feedback
 Features
 
Greyhawk Wiki


 
More on White Plume Backstory Development I
Posted on Wed, July 28, 2004 by Farcluun
Tamerlain writes "I read Erik's bit on Whitle Plume and thought that I had the three documents that I worked on in developing the "history" for this module...I dug around and found them. The first three articles (composed on July 15, July 16, and Aug. 2 of 1998) were my contributions (as they developed in conjunction with Erik and Lisa) and the Final is Erik's copy that was sent to Bruce (dated December 16, 1998). Note that the "earlier version" referred to in my notes is the compilation of material arising from the discussion between Lisa, Erik and I. Also note that the "Tam" Erik is referencing is short for Tamerlain, my AOL screen name. The final set of Notes is Roger's reply to Bruce's early MS (dated early 1999). I hope that Erik and Roger don't mind me submitting notes to a published item that they worked with that ultimately was sent to Bruce. The "genesis" of the White Plume Mt. backstory is a nice journey of development...discusion, composition, revision, more revision until final product. These are five documents that went into helping create the back story of the module that Bruce ultimately produced (quite nicely, I might add!) It is amazing it takes so much development, at times, for such a short portion of a module! And you wonder if Erik and all pay attention to detail!

More on White Plume Backstory Development I
By: Tamerlain
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Steve's First Draft

History of Keraptis (Erik’s, Lisa’s and Steve’s as of 7/15/98)

Developed after long talk with Erik and Lisa, and then Erik again:

Keraptis was one of the Ur-Flan mystics, a powerful sorcerer with unusual ties. He ruled Tostenhca (now called Skrellingshald) some 1300 years ago. On his assumption of leadership of Tostenhca, the dwarves of the region bestowed upon him “Whelm” a powerful hammer, which became the emblem of Keraptis rule.

Keraptis, though, ran into problems.

As was common with the Ur-Flan mystics (including Acererak, Shatados, and, possibly, Vecna among others), was their thirst for power and domination. In his persuit of power, Keraptis began delving into necromancy, and his eyes turned toward Nerull. So, while Keraptis’ reign began by his subduing the local warlords of the area, and by his checking of the influx of monsters, he gradually became a harder overlord. The weight of his taxes grew, but none complained because of what was rumored to happen to those who balked in paying. His taxes increased, and livestock was high on the list. These animals went straight to the foul smelling alters of Nerull, where Keraptis was seeking to unlock the mysteries of death, and life.

In order to bring his plan to fruition, Keraptis made an aweful pact with Nerull…he would offer one third of the in his fiefdom to Nerull and sacrifice them on the alter. In return, Nerull would withold his hand from Keraptis.

This preoccupation was common with the Ur-Flan, Acererak sought lichdom, as did Vecna. Others though, followers of the more natural faiths, struggled to understand life and death in a different manner. Centuries before Keraptis, in the heart of a great mountain far to the west of Tostenhca, the druids first unlocked the secrets of faith that allowed for a long life, and the ability to traverse the elemental planes, and so extend and change the very essence of human life. These early nature-priests used focussed the four elements through very powerful magical items in the heart of the mountain and so became the first Hierophants. After unlocking these secrets, the first hierophants quit the mountain, holding it in reverence, but no longer needing the arcane energies of the Fane to help in their transformation. But, Keraptis search did not fair so well as the Hierophants’ had.

After Keraptis’ failure to bring about the conditions for his extended life, after his being driven forth by his outraged subjects (led by a priest of Pelor, and a group of Rangers), Keraptis fled. He, along with his evil gnomish followers, moved south and west, running both before the wrath of his people, and the expected revenge of Nerull (because of the shattered pact). He passed through the ancient areas that were the home of Acererak, he journeyed to Sulm, and there met Shattados, last of the mighty kings of the Flannish kingdom of Sulm, who ruled with his eldritch sword, “Blackrazor,” but he was not accepted in these lands. He eventually ventured to that castle which was ancient even by Keraptis’ time, the Castle Inverness of Galap-Dreidal. It was there that Keraptis uncovered hints and rumors of a the group of nature priests, and their desire to find the secrets of life, it was here that Keraptis first heard of “White Plume Mountain.”

Keraptis’ hope was rekindled; if he could learn the secrets of the Hierophants, he could still cheat death, and return to reclaim his rightful kingdom. Keraptis and his minions moved to the ancient Fane beneath the Mountain. Keraptis spent years studying to discover the exact secrets and methods needed to bring about the Hierophant’s extended life. Through the expenditure of potions and wishes, Keraptis managed to set his plans in motion…he rebuilt the Fane of the Mountain after extensive searching for the specific accoutrements necessary: alters, braziers, small pillars, and precious stones. He constructed the four statues of the elements, placed at the cardinal points of the room. Because the requirements for gathering these items demanded that the collection include a “life threatening” event in the course of the collection, Keraptis used his minions for these tasks. He also went out of his way to attract new followers, or magically press others into service, forcing them to do his bidding. Many died on their quests…few remained. Keraptis awarded those successful on their quests by making them his servants…or killing them. As time passed, Keraptis moved out of his complex, and down into the Mountain proper. All that he was lacking now were the four items that were to be placed in the hands of the four statues. Four weapons of Ur-Flan power, each representing an element: “Whelm,” for earth, the hammer, once belonging to Keraptis, cold-forged for him by dwarves of old, but lost in his flight from his lands. “Blackrazor,” for fire, the sword given life in flame by the men of Sulm for Shattados’, a symbol of the kingly power over life and death. “Wave,” for water, the trident forged millennia ago for the king of the forgotten Flannae kingdom on the Sinking Isle by men and sahuagin, and “Seeker,” for air, an elf-wrought arrow of slaying, given to Acererak in the distant past.

All he needed was to recover these weapons. The arrow, he recovered quickly, within the first five centuries of his labor. The Efreeti who recovered it were given the job of guarding Keraptis’ home. The others were more difficult to track. Keraptis’ power also waned…the continued usage of potions and wishes to extend his life had stretched him and unbalanced him. The completion of the Fane became his obsession. He also knew that Nerull would come and claim him soon. In a final bid, Keraptis’ used [initial thief/thieves of classic WPM] to secure the missing weapons. As an aside, this could be tied to Bluto Sans Pite. He could’ve been involved in the theft. Keraptis reached out magically and taken control of this individual (which might explain the Blood River Massacre incident.). As fortune had it, all the weapons, and Bluto, had made their way to Greyhawk City. Keraptis manipulated the minds of these thieves, unknown to them. He set one Ctenmiir, a vampire, to guard Whelm, a crab of monstrous proportions to guard Wave, and Quesnef, an ogre mage, to guard Blackazor. The arrow Keraptis hid in the Fane itself (possibly fearing that Acererak would attempt to recover it).

The events of WPM (classic module and novel cover this) and its party frustrates Keraptis’ ends. He must now attempt to recover the items again…and make sure that he can finish his project and utilize the Fane to cheat Nerull, and to give himself the life he craves…

Notes for WPM 3(new module):

If the party succeeds in keeping the weapons from getting back to White Plume Mountain, or if they can stop Keraptis from completing the ceremony, Keraptis dies from old age. If the party fails, they witness a very bizarre thing (if they are in the Fane), the apparent birth of the first Ur-Flan Mage Hierophant: {this section should be developed immensely}

Keraptis’ in the completed Fane, walks to each cardinal point and places a weapon in the hands of each statue, while humming a disturbing and deep drone. “Fire for creation” he mutters as he places “Blackrazor” in the hands of the first, “Water for life” he says as he places “Wave” in the hands of the second, “Earth for growth,” as he places “Whelm” in the hands of the third, and “Air for breath” as he places “Seeker” in the hands of the fourth…he then walks to a staired alter in the center of the Fane and walk to its middle. A deep rumbling fills the chamber and fire rings the altar. Keraptis ascends the steps and stands on the alter, and raises his hands…and cries in a loud voice, “Fire, Water, Earth, Air, I call these elements into me…and take their nature into mine…” The rumbling grows…and a mist rises from the alter, a strong wind fills the Fane…and then silence……Keraptis eyes glow…his form straightens…power swirls around him as visible light. The Hierophant-Mage is born.

As Keraptis stands, bathed in radiance, reveling in his new found life, a great, ancient feminine voice, heavy with the centuries, but light as the note of birdsong, speaks, her voice filling the chamber: “As there is life, so must there be death. Nature is a cycle…all returns from which it came.” Another voice, male, sinister, evil and filled with hatred and lust laughs…and growls out: “Keraptis, you thought to cheat me? Learn of death now!” A dark wind blows to the top of the alter, and surrounds Keraptis…he screams as his form his pulled apart by the dark whirling mass…

The ancient first voice then says: “This once was a place for life, it is now a place of death. Balance has been restored in nature, and the gift of the life of the first Hierophants is balanced in full.” With this, the altar splits and the statues fall to the ground shattered. The items held by each statue fall free to the floor, but the ceiling of the cavern rumbles ominously…

The History of the Items

Whelm: the hammer, forged by the dwarves for Keraptis. This hammer was left behind in his flight from Tostencha…the Cleric of Pelor gifted it to the chief Ranger who helped him overthrow Keraptis. The priest of Pelor cursed the moneys of Tostenhca in response to his rapacious greed and tax. The hammer was passed father to son, for generations until one day, it was traded to a merchant in a time of hardship. The hammer was taken to Greyhawk, and ended up at a collector.

Wave: the trident, created by sahuagin and men for the king of the long lost Flan culture on the sinking isle.
Attir Aedorich brought this item back to Aerdy in 155 CY after his discovery of that island. He gifted the trident to the Overking of Aerdy on his return. The trident stayed in the overking’s treasury until 375 CY when it was given as a gift to Zagig Yragerne when he assumes power in Greyhawk. Yragerne, unimpressed, gave the trident to a trusted lieutenant. It was passed down in this family, in the city, until recently (560 CY) when it was purchased by a collector.

Blackrazor: Forged by followers of Shattados in the final years of the Sulmish kingdom, this sword lay forgotten in the ruins, moved and pilfered from monster’s hoard to monster’s hoard. In 571 CY, a nomad from the Bright Desert showed up to Greyhawk with this sword. He was killed in the Foreign Quarter, and the sword made it’s way to the Guildmaster of the Thieves guild, who recognized it for an ancient and valuable weapon…

Seeker: This elf-wrought “Arrow of Undead Slaying” was made for Acererak by elves, because of the interest taken by Acererak in undead. The elves thought he was attempting to try to find a way to drive them from his realm entirely. Little did they know of his true plans, until later. The arrow lay for centuries in Acererak’s lair. But Keraptis discovered its existence, and sent two Efreeti that he had summoned and bound, to collect the arrow for him.



Rationale for this approach:

The previous approach does several things:


1. It gives Keraptis a reason for his actions, it also ties the weapons and their importance to Keraptis.

2. It helps add some body to the Ur-Flan (whether they be a tribe, as some contest, or Proto-Flan as others suggest.

3. It keeps Keraptis from being just another normal wizard. He has an unusual goal, and an unusual way of trying to achieve it. He is not a lich, not a shade, and not quite sane…

4. It allows for a lot of campaign expansion and historical gaming too, but it keeps Keraptis from becoming another powerful renegade mage (or in this case Mage-Heirophant), he will die in the end, even if the party fails…but they are not to know this. For all anyone knows, things would get really nasty if K. succeeds

5. The Fane of the Mountain complex (or the complex itself) is a natural gateway to UnderOerth.


Earlier version:



Keraptis ruled Tostenhca some 1300 years ago dwarves make hammer "Whelm" as a gift. "Wave" held by king of the Sinking Isle (another Ur-Flan stronghold), "Blackrazor" made in Sulm. K. worships Nerull, becomes worse. Overthrown...flees. Goes to Sulm. Keraptis flees at fall of Sulm...goes beneath White Mt. with gnomes.

Collectors, over the years get weapons:

"Wave" came from Attir Aedorich's journey to the Sinking Isle in 155 CY...was part of overking's treasure, but given to Marit Niall upon his appointment in Greyhawk City...passed down in Landgraff's and later Mayoral treasurey.

"Whelm" left by Keraptis as he flees Tostenhca, taken by cleric of "?". Passed down in Tenh in chapel...sold to trader at a time when the chapel needed more money to help parishoners, trader made way to Greyhawk, weapon eventually winds up in the personal treasury of the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild.

"Blackrazor" taken out of Bright Desert by Nomads...sold in Greyhawk City..ends up at ?

The three weapons collectively are known as "The 3 Mystical Weapons of the Ur-Flannae" even though they have no connection other than all having been the state weapons of 3 separate Flannae kingdoms.

***Ivid the Undying mentions sword guarded by Grey Elves in Granwood in “A Vengeance from the Past”

Keraptis, in his fallen state...(demi-lich? shade? failed lich?) asks minions (Bruto) to recover weapons. He believes if he has all three he can lead the Flan back to their rightful place as rulers of the Flanaess...

___________________________________________

Steve's 2nd version with comments from Erik

History of Keraptis (Erik’s, Lisa’s and Steve’s as of 7/15/98)

Developed after long talk with Erik and Lisa, and then Erik again:
>>>
With additional comments by Erik Mona
>>>

Keraptis was one of the Ur-Flan mystics, a powerful sorcerer with unusual ties. He ruled Tostenhca (now called Skrellingshald) some 1300 years ago. On his assumption of leadership of Tostenhca, the dwarves of the region bestowed upon him “Whelm” a powerful hammer, which became the emblem of Keraptis rule.

>>>
As Tam and I discussed, it might be best to assume that these dwarves had previously acted as the patrons of the Tostenhca (assisting in the literal carving of the mountain into a steppe format – hey, notice that there is an inverted ziggurat in White Plume Mountain! Cool!) flan.

I also think WPM makes it rather clear that Keraptis was not the titular ruler of the region, at least at first. I see him sort of like a really powerful terrorist with nuclear weapons who both keeps your nation safe from enemies, but also hold armageddon over your head, without explicitly saying so.

Another question. Why would the dwarves give him this weapon? Especially is he’s truly evil? Perhaps he took it from the rightful ruler of Tostenhca?
>>>

Keraptis, though, ran into problems.

As was common with the Ur-Flan mystics (including Acererak, Shatados, and, possibly, Vecna among others),

>>>
Now, now, now. Let’s not over-do it. There is no evidence that any of the above folk were Ur-Flannae. I do believe that Ur-Flan means more than just magic-using Flan, though I’ll need to check Ivid to be totally sure.
>>>


was their thirst for power and domination. In his persuit of power, Keraptis began delving into necromancy, and his eyes turned toward Nerull. So, while Keraptis’ reign began by his subduing the local warlords of the area, and by his checking of the influx of monsters, he gradually became a harder overlord. The weight of his taxes grew, but none complained because of what was rumored to happen to those who balked in paying. His taxes increased, and livestock was high on the list. These animals went straight to the foul smelling altars of Nerull, where Keraptis was seeking to unlock the mysteries of death, and life.

In order to bring his plan to fruition, Keraptis made an awful pact with Nerull…he would offer one third of the in his fiefdom to Nerull and sacrifice them on the altar. In return, Nerull would withold his hand from Keraptis.

This preoccupation was common with the Ur-Flan, Acererak sought lichdom, as did Vecna.

>>>
Again, locking these down as Flan, while probably, will be a first (unless I’ve missed something). Locking them down as _Ur-Flannae_ is even more of a statement.
>>>

Others though, followers of the more natural faiths, struggled to understand life and death in a different manner. Centuries before Keraptis, in the heart of a great mountain far to the west of Tostenhca, the druids first unlocked the secrets of faith that allowed for a long life, and the ability to traverse the elemental planes, and so extend and change the very essence of human life. These early nature-priests used focussed the four elements through very powerful magical items in the heart of the mountain and so became the first Hierophants. After unlocking these secrets, the first hierophants quit the mountain, holding it in reverence, but no longer needing the arcane energies of the Fane to help in their transformation. But, Keraptis search did not fair so well as the Hierophants’ had.

After Keraptis’ failure to bring about the conditions for his extended life, after his being driven forth by his outraged subjects (led by a priest of Pelor, and a group of Rangers), Keraptis fled. He, along with his evil gnomish followers,

>>>
The gnomes need more description and motivation than this. Was Keraptis for some reason forced underground, where he “befriended” them? In short, where did they come from?
>>>

moved south and west, running both before the wrath of his people, and the expected revenge of Nerull (because of the shattered pact). He passed through the ancient areas that were the home of Acererak, he journeyed to Sulm, and there met Shattados, last of the mighty kings of the Flannish kingdom of Sulm, who ruled with his eldritch sword, “Blackrazor,” but he was not accepted in these lands. He eventually ventured to that castle which was ancient even by Keraptis’ time, the Castle Inverness of Galap-Dreidal. It was there that Keraptis uncovered hints and rumors of a the group of nature priests, and their desire to find the secrets of life, it was here that Keraptis first heard of “White Plume Mountain.”

>>>
I like the Sulm tie, but am less enamoured with Inverness, if only because if we tie in _everything_, it begins to get a bit silly.
>>>

Keraptis’ hope was rekindled; if he could learn the secrets of the Hierophants, he could still cheat death, and return to reclaim his rightful kingdom. Keraptis and his minions moved to the ancient Fane beneath the Mountain. Keraptis spent years studying to discover the exact secrets and methods needed to bring about the Hierophant’s extended life. Through the expenditure of potions and wishes, Keraptis managed to set his plans in motion…he rebuilt the Fane of the Mountain after extensive searching for the specific accoutrements necessary: alters, braziers, small pillars, and precious stones. He constructed the four statues of the elements, placed at the cardinal points of the room. Because the requirements for gathering these items demanded that the collection include a “life threatening” event in the course of the collection, Keraptis used his minions for these tasks. He also went out of his way to attract new followers, or magically press others into service, forcing them to do his bidding. Many died on their quests…few remained. Keraptis awarded those successful on their quests by making them his servants…or killing them. As time passed, Keraptis moved out of his complex, and down into the Mountain proper. All that he was lacking now were the four items that were to be placed in the hands of the four statues. Four weapons of Ur-Flan power, each representing an element: “Whelm,” for earth, the hammer, once belonging to Keraptis, cold-forged for him by dwarves of old, but lost in his flight from his lands.

>>>
Again, not sure about “forged for him.”
>>>

“Blackrazor,” for fire, the sword given life in flame by the men of Sulm for Shattados’, a symbol of the kingly power over life and death.

>>>
Better for the Sumlish Empire than for Shattados himself. Shattados was a cad.
>>>

“Wave,” for water, the trident forged millennia ago for the king of the forgotten Flannae kingdom on the Sinking Isle by men and sahuagin, and “Seeker,” for air, an elf-wrought arrow of slaying, given to Acererak in the distant past.

>>>
These both work.
>>>

All he needed was to recover these weapons. The arrow, he recovered quickly, within the first five centuries of his labor. The Efreeti who recovered it were given the job of guarding Keraptis’ home.

>>>
Perhaps “humiliatingly tasked with guarding Keraptis’ home.
>>>

The others were more difficult to track. Keraptis’ power also waned…the continued usage of potions and wishes to extend his life had stretched him and unbalanced him. The completion of the Fane became his obsession. He also knew that Nerull would come and claim him soon. In a final bid, Keraptis’ used [initial thief/thieves of classic WPM] to secure the missing weapons. As an aside, this could be tied to Bluto Sans Pite. He could’ve been involved in the theft. Keraptis reached out magically and taken control of this individual (which might explain the Blood River Massacre incident.). As fortune had it, all the weapons, and Bluto, had made their way to Greyhawk City. Keraptis manipulated the minds of these thieves, unknown to them. He set one Ctenmiir, a vampire, to guard Whelm, a crab of monstrous proportions to guard Wave, and Quesnef, an ogre mage, to guard Blackazor. The arrow Keraptis hid in the Fane itself (possibly fearing that Acererak would attempt to recover it).

The events of WPM (classic module and novel cover this) and its party frustrates Keraptis’ ends. He must now attempt to recover the items again…and make sure that he can finish his project and utilize the Fane to cheat Nerull, and to give himself the life he craves…

>>>
Two logical concerns.

1) While I like the “transcending mortality” as the Hierophants did, it is worth nothing that this module concept views that “ascension” as more or less independent of the “hierophant experience.” To wit, immortality seems here something the first heirophants seized, or schemed to get, rather than some intrinsic quality of “becoming one with nature” after a long life of living up to the goals of druidhood, not to mention the edicts of the various druidic gods (Phyton, Obad-Hai, Ehlonna, etc.)

I would expect some reluctance to “but into” this idea, though I think rationalizing it (the elements is cool, but why must the weapons be tied to Keraptis’ own people, the Flan? Surely the druids used some other method. . . Perhaps the ritual varies, and is dependant upon the person who would exploit the fane for themselves, or perhaps it is just a cruel, neutral trick of Obad-Hai. Ain’t no eternal life for non-druids, chummer, and this little place likes to wipe out those folks who feel otherwise. I kinda like that. . .

2) Why the hell wouldn’t Keraptis hide all four weapons in the Fane? Why didn’t he prevent the PCs from taking them c. 576 in the first place? Of course, we can easily concoct a reason, but it’s something we need to consider.
>>>

Notes for WPM 3(new module):

If the party succeeds in keeping the weapons from getting back to White Plume Mountain, or if they can stop Keraptis from completing the ceremony, Keraptis dies from old age. If the party fails, they witness a very bizarre thing (if they are in the Fane), the apparent birth of the first Ur-Flan Mage Hierophant: {this section should be developed immensely}

>>>
I’d rather see him screwed by Obad-Hai. How would the druid gods tolerate a non-druid Heirophant? It’s like a fighter archmage.
>>>

Keraptis’ in the completed Fane, walks to each cardinal point and places a weapon in the hands of each statue, while humming a disturbing and deep drone. “Fire for creation” he mutters as he places “Blackrazor” in the hands of the first, “Water for life” he says as he places “Wave” in the hands of the second, “Earth for growth,” as he places “Whelm” in the hands of the third, and “Air for breath” as he places “Seeker” in the hands of the fourth…he then walks to a staired alter in the center of the Fane and walk to its middle. A deep rumbling fills the chamber and fire rings the altar. Keraptis ascends the steps and stands on the alter, and raises his hands…and cries in a loud voice, “Fire, Water, Earth, Air, I call these elements into me…and take their nature into mine…” The rumbling grows…and a mist rises from the alter, a strong wind fills the Fane…and then silence……Keraptis eyes glow…his form straightens…power swirls around him as visible light. The Hierophant-Mage is born.

>>>
Or is turned into a petrified tree. Serves him right. Bastard. :)
>>>

As Keraptis stands, bathed in radiance, reveling in his new found life, a great, ancient feminine voice, heavy with the centuries, but light as the note of birdsong, speaks, her voice filling the chamber: “As there is life, so must there be death. Nature is a cycle…all returns from which it came.” Another voice, male, sinister, evil and filled with hatred and lust laughs…and growls out: “Keraptis, you thought to cheat me? Learn of death now!” A dark wind blows to the top of the alter, and surrounds Keraptis…he screams as his form his pulled apart by the dark whirling mass…

The ancient first voice then says: “This once was a place for life, it is now a place of death. Balance has been restored in nature, and the gift of the life of the first Hierophants is balanced in full.” With this, the altar splits and the statues fall to the ground shattered. The items held by each statue fall free to the floor, but the ceiling of the cavern rumbles ominously…

>>
Indeed, though I would make this more indirect than you have it here, Steve. Cameos by Nerull don’t really sit well with me.
>>>

The History of the Items

Whelm: the hammer, forged by the dwarves for Keraptis. This hammer was left behind in his flight from Tostencha…the Cleric of Pelor gifted it to the chief Ranger who helped him overthrow Keraptis. The priest of Pelor cursed the moneys of Tostenhca in response to his rapacious greed and tax.

>>>
This is completely and totally un-Pelorian of him to do. I’d rather Keraptis curse Tostenhca as he leaves. They would not give him his tithe, so they may keep it, and let it be the death of them!
>>>
The hammer was passed father to son, for generations until one day, it was traded to a merchant in a time of hardship. The hammer was taken to Greyhawk, and ended up at a collector.

Wave: the trident, created by sahuagin and men for the king of the long lost Flan culture on the sinking isle.
Attir Aedorich brought this item back to Aerdy in 155 CY after his discovery of that island. He gifted the trident to the Overking of Aerdy on his return. The trident stayed in the overking’s treasury until 375 CY when it was given as a gift to Zagig Yragerne when he assumes power in Greyhawk. Yragerne, unimpressed, gave the trident to a trusted lieutenant. It was passed down in this family, in the city, until recently (560 CY) when it was purchased by a collector.

Blackrazor: Forged by followers of Shattados in the final years of the Sulmish kingdom, this sword lay forgotten in the ruins, moved and pilfered from monster’s hoard to monster’s hoard. In 571 CY, a nomad from the Bright Desert showed up to Greyhawk with this sword. He was killed in the Foreign Quarter, and the sword made it’s way to the Guildmaster of the Thieves guild, who recognized it for an ancient and valuable weapon…

Seeker: This elf-wrought “Arrow of Undead Slaying” was made for Acererak by elves, because of the interest taken by Acererak in undead. The elves thought he was attempting to try to find a way to drive them from his realm entirely. Little did they know of his true plans, until later. The arrow lay for centuries in Acererak’s lair. But Keraptis discovered its existence, and sent two Efreeti that he had summoned and bound, to collect the arrow for him.



Rationale for this approach:

The previous approach does several things:

1. It gives Keraptis a reason for his actions, it also ties the weapons and their importance to Keraptis.

Yes, it does do that, and rather admirably.

2. It helps add some body to the Ur-Flan (whether they be a tribe, as some contest, or Proto-Flan as others suggest.

This definitely needs to be cleared up before we do anything definite with it.

3. It keeps Keraptis from being just another normal wizard. He has an unusual goal, and an unusual way of trying to achieve it. He is not a lich, not a shade, and not quite sane…

Actually, he has a rather usual goal, but the method is original and pretty cool, provided we clear up the “immortality as an inherent aspect of hierophantdom as an inherent aspect of neutral nature druidism” concerns I outline above.

4. It allows for a lot of campaign expansion and historical gaming too, but it keeps Keraptis from becoming another powerful renegade mage (or in this case Mage-Heirophant), he will die in the end, even if the party fails…but they are not to know this. For all anyone knows, things would get really nasty if K. succeeds

I think a more ambiguous ending might be better, as opposed to a deus ex machina passion play in which he is slain by avatars. I do like the balance of life for death (I take it, in retrospect, that the woman in Beory?)

5. The Fane of the Mountain complex (or the complex itself) is a natural gateway to UnderOerth.

I suppose. :P


Earlier version:



Keraptis ruled Tostenhca some 1300 years ago dwarves make hammer "Whelm" as a gift. "Wave" held by king of the Sinking Isle (another Ur-Flan stronghold), "Blackrazor" made in Sulm. K. worships Nerull, becomes worse. Overthrown...flees. Goes to Sulm. Keraptis flees at fall of Sulm...goes beneath White Mt. with gnomes.

Collectors, over the years get weapons:

"Wave" came from Attir Aedorich's journey to the Sinking Isle in 155 CY...was part of overking's treasure, but given to Marit Niall upon his appointment in Greyhawk City...passed down in Landgraff's and later Mayoral treasurey.

"Whelm" left by Keraptis as he flees Tostenhca, taken by cleric of "?". Passed down in Tenh in chapel...sold to trader at a time when the chapel needed more money to help parishoners, trader made way to Greyhawk, weapon eventually winds up in the personal treasury of the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild.

"Blackrazor" taken out of Bright Desert by Nomads...sold in Greyhawk City..ends up at ?

The three weapons collectively are known as "The 3 Mystical Weapons of the Ur-Flannae" even though they have no connection other than all having been the state weapons of 3 separate Flannae kingdoms.

***Ivid the Undying mentions sword guarded by Grey Elves in Granwood in “A Vengeance from the Past”

>>>
But this sword is CLEARLY not Blackrazor, though it too is an Elric ripoff.
>>>

Keraptis, in his fallen state...(demi-lich? shade? failed lich?) asks minions (Bruto) to recover weapons. He believes if he has all three he can lead the Flan back to their rightful place as rulers of the Flanaess...

__________________________________________

Steve's 3rd version

Keraptis

The Distant Past

Keraptis rose to power in Tostenhca (now called Skrellingshald by the Barbarian Suel in the area) over 1300 years ago, a mighty sorcerer, he used his power to clear the region of powerful monsters. Keraptis gained the allegience of the lords of the surrounding area, and was proclaimed High Lord of Tostehnca and the surrounding lands. One group, who resisted his rise to power, was a group of gnomes, and dwarves. Keraptis issued an ultimatum to each, the dwarves capitulated, and sent Keraptis a mighty hammer, Whelm, as a sign of their shift in allegience. The gnomes refused. Keraptis warred against the warren, and conquered it utterly. As punishment, he took the children of the gnomes, and delivered them to the priests of Nerull to be specially trained as dark servants for the Sorcerer Lord. These gnomes grew to become the core of Keraptis’ guard. They and their children were twisted and bent to Keraptis’ service, for as long as he lived.

Strong though Keraptis was, however, he was still not immune to the siren song of power which seduced many of the Ur-Flan sorcerers of old. He demanded more and more of the resources of his people, drawing their crops, livestock and even their monies for his personal use. He commanded that, as savior of Tostehnca, that even a portion of the sacrifices that went to the Old High Gods Beory, Nerull, Obad-hai and Pelor should be given to him.

As his appetite for power grew, so too, did his abuses. During the high festivals of the gods, he demanded that sacrifices be made to him on every occasion demanded by the gods...including human sacrifice on the mid-winter recognition of Nerull and his power as Lord of Death. As years passed, and Keraptis’ demands for sacrifice grew, neither the gods, nor the human population of Tostencha deemed it necessary to continue tolerating the Sorcerer Lord’s behavior. In the 30th year of his reign, Keraptis demanded that 1/3 of all of the children of Tostenhca be delivered to him. The population, aided by clerics of Pelor, and rangers who held Beory and Obad-hai in high esteem, drove Keraptis from the throne. Keraptis, surrounded by his select gnome guard, fled Tostenhca. He wandered long, looking for a way to wreck revenge on his city. He passed through the ancient areas that were the home of Acererak, he journeyed to Sulm, and there met Shattados, last of the mighty kings of the Flannish kingdom of Sulm, who ruled with his eldritch sword, “Blackrazor,” He passed through the ancient Flannae kingdom of Sulm on the eve of it’s destruction. There he learned of a place of power where it was rumored that the Hierophants had first learned to communicate with Beory. This mountain was considered by some to be the heart of the world, fashioned from a feather from a great feathered serpent as a gift to Beory in the first days. Thus the mountain gained it’s name, White Plume Mountain.

Keraptis knew that he could fashion great magics in this place, great enough to strike the city which had been his home. He, with his most trusted gnome guardsmen and illusionists, went to the Mountain, and wrested it from the druid who tended it. Keraptis and his minions moved to the ancient Fane beneath the Mountain. Keraptis spent years studying to discover the exact secrets and methods needed to bring about the destruction of Tostehnca. Through the expenditure of potions and wishes, Keraptis managed to set his plans in motion…he altered the Fane of the Mountain after extensive searching for the specific accoutrements necessary: alters, braziers, small pillars, and precious stones. He constructed the four statues of the elements, placed at the cardinal points of the room. Because the requirements for gathering these items demanded that the collection include a “life threatening” event in the course of the collection, Keraptis used his gnomish minions for these tasks. He also went out of his way to attract new followers, or magically press others into service, forcing them to do his bidding. Many died on their quests…few remained. Keraptis awarded those successful on their quests by making them his servants…or killing them. All that he needed were the four items that were to be placed in the hands of the four statues. Four weapons of Ur-Flan power, each representing an element: “Whelm,” for earth, the hammer, belonging to Keraptis, cold-forged by dwarves of old. “Blackrazor,” for fire, the sword given life in flame by the men of Sulm, a symbol of the kingly power over life and death. “Wave,” for water, the trident forged millennia ago for the king of the forgotten Flannae kingdom on the Sinking Isle by men and sahuagin, and “Seeker,” for air, an elf-wrought arrow of slaying, given to Acererak in the distant past. And the final key, “Shadowheart,” a large smokey quartz-like stone, and pathway to the Land of Shadow.

He went to the heart of the Mountain, and there using the four ancient weapons representing earth, air, fire, and water, and a large smokey quartz-like stone, called “Shadowheart,” he opened a rift to the plane of Shadow...and drew on that power to create a curse which he called down onto Tostencha, twisting and poisoning the place, and rendering it uninhabitable. In this casting, Keraptis was pulled into the Plane of Shadow, his gnome guard, save one, fled, taking with them the four weapons that had been key in opening the nexus. The one that remained, Keraptis’ most loyal leman, a gnome whose name is lost to history, was bathed by the shadowy fires and the basic elements of creation.

The Near Past

He was trapped in this vortex of power for millenia, until recently, when the energies finally expended themselves. The gnome was mortal no longer, but a shade, a creature of unlife and shadow. His years of imprisonment had given him not only great power, but they had also driven him insane. He was, he knew, Keraptis, ancient terror of the Flan, minion of Nerull and killer of children...but, he had to get four weapons, and a large unusual gem back. And he had to open a vortex, for something he couldn’t quite recall...

He built a complex under the Mountain, and through trickery and force managed to locate the arrow. The Efreeti who recovered it were humiliating tasked with guarding the gnome Keraptis’ home.

He then sent spies across the land, including an ogre-mage and a vampire, to find the other weapons “Blackrazor,” “Whelm” and “Wave.” (As an aside, this could be tied to Bluto Sans Pite. He could’ve been involved in the theft. Keraptis reached out magically and taken control of this individual [which might explain the Blood River Massacre incident.]). As fortune had it, all the weapons, and Bluto, had made their way to Greyhawk City. Keraptis manipulated these thieves. He set one Ctenmiir, the aforementioned vampire, to guard Whelm, a crab of monstrous proportions to guard Wave, and Quesnef, the ogre mage, to guard Blackazor. The arrow Keraptis hid in the Fane itself (possibly because the gnome Keraptis feared that Acererak would attempt to recover it). Only the stone was missing.

In 576 CY, the gnome shade, Keraptis, had managed to gather three of the weapons necessary to open the gate, but a group of adventurers had thwarted this intention. They tresspassed into his stronghold, and stole away the three recently recovered weapons “Whelm, Blackrazor and Wave.” These events are covered in the original White Plume Mountain adventure (and novel).

The gnome Keraptis withdrew in a melancholy fit, for 15 years.

The Present

The year is 591 CY, the Tenha are in desperate shape. The troops of the Hold of Stonefist continue to rule the northern portion of this land. And the south is sought by both the Palish troops and Nyrondal. General Iaba, up until recently, Regent of Tenh, is disgusted with the ineffectual rule of the new young Prince, E???? He has proven by policy and military display, despite early success to be incapable of taking Tenh back to its exaulted position as the true FlanHome. Iaba knows that the Flannae in Tenh need a strong leader, someone to help them reestablish themselves as the pre-eminent power in the Flanaess. Someone like the Ur-Flannae sorcerer kings of old. A forebear of the modern Tenha...someone like Keraptis. Some might call such thoughts treason, but Iaba knows that hard times demand hard measures.

In the past months, Iaba has learned of the activity in the past two decades involving Keraptis. Consultation with sages, and application of magic both priestly and wizardly, has convinced Iaba that Keraptis is alive, and that he could be asked to return to lend his power in returning the Tenha Flan to greatness. Further magical prying has uncovered that four weapons and a great stone are necessary, in some wise, for insuring Keraptis’ aid. Now all Iaba has to do, is find a group of adventurers willing to find the items, and bring Keraptis back to Tenh.

Erik can elaborate on this at will

1. One weapon in Rift area, one in Greyhawk, one in Pale (it doesn’t matter which is where. Arrow in WPM Complex, and stone teleported to Tostenhca at the moment of the curse, and is the focal point of the curse. Removing the stone from Tostenhca effectively breaks the curse on the city. The gnome Keraptis just assumed it was stolen.

2. The gnome Keraptis will attempt to take the weapons from the party should they enter WPM with them. He will then attempt to reopen the vortex, this is also the parties’ goal. They could actually end up working together…depending on the gnome Keraptis’ state of mind.

3. The *real* Keraptis can be summoned back. He, too, is a Shade, but is now called Keraptis, Lord of Shadow. If the vortex is opened, Keraptis can be persuaded to return if the concept of ruling the Flan near Tostenhca is approached (the party might tell him they are descended from Tostenchans). The gnome Keraptis, if still alive when his master is summoned back, has a 50% chance of attacking his former master (calling him an imposter) and a 50% chance of returning to his service. If the real Keraptis returns with party, he will indeed help restore Tenh, but he will re-establish Tostenhca as his capitol and rule with an iron fist.

The Principle Characters:

Keraptis:

Originally a powerful mage, (maybe upwards to 20+ levels), now a shade (Monster Manual II). This character would be powerful in the extreme if reintroduced to Oerth, but would not be the unbeatable bogeyman that Iuz is.

The gnome Keraptis:

This was Keraptis most stalwart follower. He could be a fighter/gnome of middling level (maybe Fighter/Illusionist 7/10). He, too, has been transformed into a shade. In his state, he could be either an enemy or ally of the group, or both, at different times.

Bruce Sans Pite:

Bruce could play a strong role here, he might be a “bandit king wannabe” that has remained allied with the gnome Keraptis.


The History of the Items

Whelm: the hammer, forged by the dwarves and given to Keraptis. Keraptis took this hammer with him, it was taken by the gnomes that fled at the opening of the vortex, and ended up in the hands of a Ranger from the Gnarley Forest.

The hammer was passed father to son, for generations until one day, it was traded to a merchant in a time of hardship. The hammer was taken to Greyhawk, and ended up at a collector.

Wave: the trident, created by sahuagin and men for the king of the long lost Flan culture on what would later be named the sinking isle. After Keraptis used this item, his gnomes returned it to the ancient Flan enclave from which it came. It was discovered centuries later, when Attir Aedorich discovered the sinking island, long after the fall and curse of that Flannae land. Attir brought this item back to Aerdy in 155 CY. He gifted the trident to the Overking of Aerdy on his return. The trident stayed in the overking’s treasury until 375 CY when it was given as a gift to Zagig Yragerne when he assumes power in Greyhawk. Yragerne, unimpressed, gave the trident to a trusted lieutenant. It was passed down in this family, in the city, until recently (560 CY) when it was purchased by a collector.

Blackrazor: Forged by men of Sulm at the height of that kingdom’s power, this sword lay forgotten in the ruins, after Shattados’ fall. It was moved and pilfered from monster’s hoard to monster’s hoard. Keraptis the mage recovered it and used it to open the vortex, but his gnome followers stole it and fled south. These minions, after making their way back to the Bright desert, died attempting to cross it. In 571 CY, a nomad from the Bright Desert showed up to Greyhawk with this sword. He was killed in the Foreign Quarter, and the sword made it’s way to the Guildmaster of the Thieves guild, who recognized it for an ancient and valuable weapon…

Seeker: This elf-wrought “Arrow of Undead Slaying” was made for Acererak by elves, because of the interest taken by Acererak in undead. The elves thought he was attempting to try to find a way to drive them from his realm entirely. Little did they know of his true plans, until later. The arrow lay for centuries in Acererak’s lair. But Keraptis discovered its existence, and sent several of his gnome followers to collect it, they did so, though many died in the attempt. It was lost again after the gnome followers fled, however, the gnome Keraptis recovered this item by using two efreeti that he tricked into service…



Rationale

This approach introduces Erik’s excellent Iaba suggestions. It also makes Keraptis cruel, but not as “evil” as Iuz, but still no nice character. It introduces a henchman as the “fake” Keraptis, gives him history and rationale for existing, and ties in the previous WPM action...although it has similar elements to previous modules (weapons/return=Vatun, other planar return=Acererak) the approaches and motivations are quite different.

More on White Plume Backstory Development II"
 
 Related Links
  · More about Greyhawk Apocrypha
· News by Farcluun


Most read story about Greyhawk Apocrypha:

Ancient History: Vecna’s Realm

 
 Article Rating
 
Average Score: 4.44
Votes: 9


Please take a second and vote for this article:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Regular
Bad

 
 Options
 
 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

 
"Login" | Login/Create an Account | 2 comments | Search Discussion
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

Re: More on White Plume Backstory Development I (Score: 1)
by Mystic-Scholar on Sat, October 03, 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://mysticscholar.blogspot.com/
Interesting plot. Are the weapons used in the story borrowed from Forgotten Realms, or did they originate in Oerth?




Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.21 Seconds