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    Postfest IV: The Devourer
    Posted on Mon, April 04, 2005 by Dongul
    Osmund-Davizid writes "The connection between the Coldwood and Icespire is more then just superficial. There is a powerful artifact at the epicenter of each location that entwines them by a shared fate and shared origins. At the dark heart of Icespire, lies the vile staff, Devourer. It has the power to lay to waste entire regions and is guided by an unknown power. Beware, lest the curse of Icespire be set loose upon the world!

    The Devourer
    By: Osmund-Davizid
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    “It has been recorded that the grand wizard-armies of the Ur-Flannae desired the magical secrets of the City of the Summer Stars, an elven enclave deep within the Adri. The grey elf ruler, Queen Sharafere, saw the lust for power in the hearts of these men, and rebuffed their overtures. In their rage, the Ur-Flannae waged war on the elves. Fire, acid, lightning, and hail rained from the skies. Fiends, undead, and summoned monsters stalked the forests. The very trees themselves cried out in anguish. In desperation, the son of Sharafere called out to the powers of the outer planes to help him vanquish the Ur-Flannae. To the doom of the elves, a dark power answered…”
    --- from a single scrap of ancient parchment found in the archives at Eastfair, author unknown.

    The legend of Darnakurian’s Doom is known to only the wisest of sages. This tale of madness and betrayal centers on the prince of the grey elves, the son of Queen Sharafere, Darnakurian. He was a peerless enchanter, but he felt powerless against the might of the Ur-Flannae’s forces. So, he began to feverishly research into forbidden lore to create a weapon to defeat his foes. All the while, strange voices from beyond gave him the guidance he needed. He did not know who the voices were, but he did not care, so long as the weapon was being made. When he forged the dread sword Hunger, he sealed the fate of his entire people. The blade possessed Darnakurian, leading him to slay all his kin and destroying his city. Darnakurian still exists, locked within his keep in frozen stasis with Hunger, but he is well guarded. A group of elves known only as the Sentinels have sworn to keep the evil sword and its possessed prince locked away for eternity. These defenders have for centuries kept their solemn vigil. But alas, even elf lives are mortal, and eventually the original Sentinels have been replaced over time. All except for one, the elf wizard Nilfhelm, who was consumed with desire to see his people avenged.

    Nilfhelm had spent many years as a Sentinel and he did his work with a passion and zeal not found in the other members. Over the centuries, he became the foremost leader of the Sentinels and gained much knowledge from researching the Coldwood. After many years of service, Nilfhelm heard the calling of old age. But he felt he was close to discovering a possible weapon to combat Hunger and forever end the curse of Bitterness. In his pride and folly, he did not heed the call to Lendore, and instead redoubled his efforts to try to find a way to destroy Darnakurian and his sword.

    Nilfhelm left the Adri and his Sentinel companions in order to search out forbidden Ur-Flannae magic. Nilfhelm reasoned that only the Ur-Flannae’s magical lore could cause enough destruction to counter the sword Hunger. He began to hear voices, whispering to him to go south to find the tomb of a great Ur-Flannae necromancer. There is where he would find his inspiration to create a weapon to counter Hunger.

    Nilfhelm wandered south through the lands of Ahlissa, always guided by the strange voices in his head. He eventually reached a lonely promontory along the coast. There he found a series of caverns that extended deep within the earth. Nilfhelm entered the caverns and found a hidden tomb. To Nilfhelm’s surprise, the tomb had already been opened. Upon his investigation, he found the charred remains of a Suel wizard locked in mortal combat with the remains of a lich. Nilfhelm surmised that the lich was the body of the Ur-Flan necromancer he sought, and the Suel was a wizard who came with the great migrations centuries later and slew the lich. Nilfhelm carefully examined the tomb’s carving and glyphs and found buried lore within the cavern, both Suel and Ur-Flan in origin. From the knowledge gained, Nilfhelm was able to piece together enough information to make a wizardly weapon to rival Hunger.

    Satisfied that he had found what he was searching for, Nilfhelm began his vile experiments. Always guided by the voices in his head, he began to construct a magical staff. After years of work and research, the Devourer (as the voices called it) was almost completed. Nilfhem was ready with his weapon, but to his horror, the voices in his head began to grow louder, urging him to sacrifice a life to the staff in order to finish it. Nilfhelm then, at last, realized the true nature of the voices - they were the same ones that urged Darnakurian to make Hunger. Even worse, the purpose of the staff was not to destroy the horrid sword but to free it!

    Nilfhelm was just a useful dupe in making the wizardly counterpart to Hunger. Nilfhelm fortunately realized the true nature of his work before it was completed, so he was able to stop himself from finishing the staff before it was too late. In his last sane act, Nilfhelm buried the staff far below the tomb. Faced with the enormity of his actions, Nilfhelm’s mind finally snapped and he slew himself deep within the caverns.

    This tragic episode would have remained a lost mystery had it not been for the construction of a lighthouse near the caverns many years later. This lighthouse, known as Lezt Lechtfeur, was built in 217 CY, and had stood for hundreds of years until the year 565, when a mage assigned to the lighthouse began to investigate the caverns under the keep. This wizard opened the sealed cavern that held the old tomb and there he discovered Nilfhelm’s research notes. He was able to determine where Nilfhelm’s creation was buried and decided to get the device for himself. When he uncovered the staff, he was barraged by the same evil voices, urging him to sacrifice a human life to empower the staff. The wizard, desiring power above all else, complied with the voices’ request. He slew his attending soldiers to complete the staff, unleashing a great curse. Thus, Icespire was created in the same manner as Bitterness.

    The Devourer, now fully activated and evil, required a stronger wizard to wield it. The wizard who found the staff was too weak; he went insane and died quickly upon the freezing curse of Icespire. The staff began to call out to the surrounding area to find a suitable candidate to wield it. The whispering voices found the ear of a local wizard named Bortwimn. Bortwimn is now becoming more and more obsessed with becoming powerful enough to enter Icespire and survive, and is engaged in many projects to increase his personal power. Without a strong group like the Sentinels to guard Icespire from intruders, Bortwimn is likely to eventually succeed and claim the Devourer for his own. The consequences of Devourer being unleashed upon the land is unthinkable.

    The staff itself is about six feet tall, made of a strange, pitted black metal that Nilfhelm found in the caverns. There are arcane symbols carved into the staff every 12 inches, incorporating both Suel and Ur-Flan glyphs of power. At the top of the staff is a stylized carving of a mouth full of sharp teeth, open as if to bite. The staff is very heavy for its size, and is always cold to the touch.

    It is a staff of the magi combined with a rod of rulership. Devourer is chaotic evil, and has the special purpose to free Hunger from its stasis. It can possess its wielder, and its ego is so great that any Player Character who attempts to own the staff will completely fall under its control. It has the additional epic power to control the weather. Devourer rules an army of unnatural creatures under Icespire, the exact types are unknown but are thought to include gibbering mothers, grimlocks, and even an aboleth. Other creatures may yet be dwelling under Icespire as well. Devourer can also project its voices to drive whoever hears insane, urge them to commit acts of evil, and otherwise bend them to its will.

    Adventuring Hooks: Player characters should oppose any attempt to free the staff from Icespire. A series of adventures could center around preventing Bortwimn from completing his tasks to claim the staff, to researching the history of Bitterness, to even creating an organization like the Sentinels to guard Icespire like they guard the Coldwood. Should Bortwimn succeed in getting the staff, the first thing he would do is immediately travel to the Adri to attempt to enter the Coldwood and free Hunger. The PCs could be involved in an overland chase of Bortwimn to prevent this from occurring.

    Sources: Ivid the Undying for Icespire and the Coldwood, articles posted on Canonfire! by Taras Guarhoth, and for additional information about Icespire, see article on Canonfire! further describing Bortwimn

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    Re: The Devourer (Score: 1)
    by Duicarthan on Tue, April 05, 2005
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    wonderful story man. Very well thought out and written. I would have liked to see a stat block for details for it though. Otherwise, wonderful man and a good choice of subject. =)

    Re: The Devourer (Score: 1)
    by cwslyclgh on Tue, April 05, 2005
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    I'm not fond of the old "It can possess its wielder, and its ego is so great that any Player Character who attempts to own the staff will completely fall under its control." cop out, but other then that I think everything is well written and interesting, great job!

    Re: The Devourer (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Sun, April 10, 2005
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    I think this is a well thought out article. Many people believe that all magic is attainable or controllable. You have very simply pointed out that not all things are meant to be used. This is a potentially world changing device.

    Be careful if you covent power over everything else for power has it's price. I like this submission and you even leave just the right amount of suspense behind the items creation. Well done.

    Re: The Devourer (Score: 1)
    by Osmund-Davizid on Mon, April 11, 2005
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    The great debate on the wisdom of having items that are just too powerful for player's control will not be resolved anytime soon. Suffice it to say I feel my item is in that catagory as it is a blatantly evil item that is completely self serving. Even if your characters are of an evil bent, the device will always attempt to subsume the user for its own purposes (like the One Ring).

    I chose to have the Devourer be a reflection of Hunger. I leave it up to your imagination to determine what would happen if these two items were ever brought together (would Darnakurian rise from his stasis and continue his swath of destruction? would the icy cold of Bitterness and Icespire start to spread?). I made no suggestions on how to destroy these items, for now all that is know is that they must be kept hidden and unused. Whole adventures can revolve around researching a method to destroy Hunger and Devourer and thus ending the threat from these vile items forever.



    Re: Postfest IV: The Devourer (Score: 1)
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