Pre-Episode 0 … questions to be answered.

(DM Note: I decided to start the campaign with some foreshadowing questions to provide possible fodder down the line …)

Why was the Storm King directing his forces toward the Stronghold of the Gargoyle Countess? What’s the name of Storm King’s second-in-command?

To which Hrolth replied, “The Storm King rides to recover a weapon, his deputy Dragger by his side.”

Vilurian , at the last Commemoration of High Day, you committed a now-legendary faux pas. What was it?

“I had the misfortune of walking in on the High Lord as he was … pressing himself … against the High Septum,” he explained. “A quick leap through a window and I made away.”

Vaudin, centuries ago your family’s ancestral weapon, Luminous Vengeance, was lost. What type of weapon was it and how was it lost?

Remembering the tales told for centuries by generations of his family, Vaudin shared that, “Our two-headed war hammer,  beak on one side, claw on the other.  It was lost by the expedition sent into the Highlands to seek out my family as they were forced to make their way to lower ground.”

A few years ago Ruric offended the head of the Thieves Guild in the Floating City of Caleah. What is his or her name and what did you do?

Smiling mischievously, Ruric recalled ignoring the romantic overtures offered by the head of the guild, Avlye, choosing instead her ginger-haired second-in-command, Sasha. “I always was fond of the redheads,” he said, laughing.

Vilurian, trader in valuable things

(This character background contains in-game backstory, portions of which have been removed to maintain role playing storytelling …)

The thing you must understand is that culture really matters.

Oh, its true what they say about us – sure, but that is because we have chosen to be that way. Good and evil are irrelevant concepts. The only thing that matters is what we as a people believe is appropriate behavior. That is the power of culture, and it allows for fantastic accomplishments, or disastrous outcomes.

There are merits to our way of life. When you live in the darkness you must struggle to survive. Trust needs to be earned, and morality takes a back seat to more pragmatic considerations. We evolved to suppress those emotions that create weakness, and focus our energies on maintaining order and security. If that sounds harsh to you, well… you might never have faced the kinds of realities that we do on a daily basis.

Religion goes hand in hand with culture. We chose Lolth as much as she chose us. We understood her on a visceral level, and she saw in us worthy creatures ideal to represent her on the material plane. Although she sows discord and betrayal amongst the people, she does so to keep us sharp and fortified against the true evils of this world. However, Lolth is not the only deity we worship. Some of us, like myself, also adhere to the Masked Lord Vhaeraun. He knows the truth – that males and females are of equal importance, and that we have a role to play in making our people strong and prosperous.

Lolth has taught us much – but the price she extracts has become too high. Vhaeraun has seen a path forward for us, and has recruited a handful of males like myself to venture into the up-world. We are all under guises that conceal our heritage, and our mission is to find the non-Drow servants of Lolth wherever they are – and eliminate them. Vhaeraun knows that this will weaken her but not harm our people – thus opening the door for him to bring balance to our culture. Together they will be able to unite our fractured people, and forge a new era of power and prosperity for our race. We are after all the most deserving of that honor.

have taken up this calling.  I am Vilurian, a high elf who wanders the kingdoms in search of precious trinkets and valuable information. I trade in these to gain knowledge of, and access to, the servants of Lolth.  That is my culture – and culture matters.

Character Sheet: Vilurian,

The Angry Dwarf

The Angry Dwarf was born before Leifri was a gleam in Barad Eoren’s eye. It is said his double-bladed axe, “Luminous Cruelty” played a key role in the outcome of the Celestial Crusade. These days, when he’s not relaxing in the natural springs on the Bastion of the Pyre or wagering massive sums of gold playing eight-card hands of The Ghastly Profanity of Bapha Elysian at the luxurious Tower of Gavriel he can be found curled up with a good book and hit cat, Lefty.

Vaudin Sormere – Knight of the Foremost Wall

Vaudin Sormere, a young Knight of the Foremost Wall, an organization devoted not to a god or pantheon, but to the structure, safety, and ascendancy of civilization itself. They enshrine and adore the society-building races, and see in civilization the means by which otherwise base creatures can elevate themselves above the putrescent mud of ignorance and baseness. Without societies and civilization, races like men, elves, and dwarves are nothing more than myopic beasts, deserving of each brutality that might fall upon their jutting brows. Civilization, as a product of security, provides space for the sentient races to shed their primitive snake skins and engage in the higher functions: art, commerce, governance, life freed from the vicissitudes of the natural world. Knights of the Foremost Wall lavish praise and protection on those elements of civilization that could not exist outside its walls.

The Knights, then, see themselves as the first barrier against entropic encroachment. They are the living barriers against all manner of chaos, anarchy, and violent disruption to society, at once so profoundly necessary and so fragile. The Knights repel brigands, hunt rampaging beasts, deter unrest; they protect scholarly expeditions and road crews, venturing into uncharted wildernesses (for with their maps and charts, these men and women are constructing knowledge, peeling back the wild unknown, and shackling empty spaces to inhabited ones).

The Knights are beholden to no kingdom, religion, or creed other than their own hierarchy. Once in full service to their order, many Knights may claim a city or kingdom, and thus construct a permanent post from which they operate in alone or in small groups; others seek the roaming lifestyle, drifting across the continents to prop up the settled, city-strewn world. Above all, they honor order and stability. They loathe criminality when it festers above its shadowed boundaries–because in moderation, even thieves maintain a certain order and societal harmony. Likewise, they maintain no compunctions against removing (bodily, if need be) corrupt city or court officials who, with the pestilence of their corruption, are rotting civilization’s thin structure from the inside. Civil war and pure anarchic strife are their worst fears, and of any such movements, the Knights are quick and brutal to respond. If an invading empire were to show greater discipline or more thoroughly enact their laws than their victim, one might find the Knights fighting for the invaders, opening the city gates (if such an action could legitimately quell any burgeoning chaos), or at least standing by in neutrality. As Knight initiates are drilled: Order above Justice, Justice above Mercy.

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