Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Traveller's Guide to Faerun: Foreword

'I really should sort all this out before setting up the next shop... let's see... Skalaraxitilorikaan's Axe, Nagendra's Sword... What's this?  'The Traveller's Guide to Faerun, by Zephran Aerson'.  Of course, I remember him.  Strange man; an air genasi you know?  A being descended from air elementals.  He entrusted me with the first edition of his book and to my shame I never got round to reading it...'

Faerun, as it appeared in 1372 DR

The Traveller's Guide to Faerun
a guide for those unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms
by Zephran Aerson

The elemental plane of air is a wonderful place, or so I'm told, though my memory of it is now that of boredom.  Imagine a place that is an endless expanse of sky, the occasional rock, constant winds, and the colour blue all around.  Of course I was young and ignorant then, it seemed a blissful place- but then my eyes were opened.
It all started with a wizard; a phrase heard all too often on Faerun.  I was out hunting vapor rats- horrible
Never trust a wizard.
vermin, like a 'normal' rat only harder to exterminate as they have a tendency to shimmer and distort the space around them.  An unexpected wind started to blow around me, which came as a shock as all winds are expected on the plane of Air, and sure enough a hole in the fabric of space opened up in front of me.  Through this hole all I could see was darkness, though as I got closer to get a better look a man stepped through!  Bearded and robed, he seemed as shocked as I was and in his shock he threw me straight through the hole which closed behind me.  On the other side I felt something I never had before- the sensation of falling.  On the plane of air you merely decide which way is down, but to my distress in this place no matter how hard I tried I continued to fall, until eventually I hit what I now know to be called the ground.  It hurt.  A lot.  Then I passed out.
I do not know how much time passed, but when I awoke I was in a house made of wood and stone; rare commodities in my domain.  I tried to move but could not, my leg was broken.  I cried for help, and met my rescuer- a cleric by the name of Lynne.  She spoke to me in Common, a language I only had a vague grasp of.  She told me of how I fell from the sky, though I could not understand her as my people have no word for 'falling' or 'sky'.
I wanted to return home as soon as possible, though had no idea how.  Lynne's best guess was that I passed through a 'Gate' spell, a very advanced level of magic, and that the nearest wizard that might have any chance of helping me would probably be several days ride away, and even then they would want substantial payment.  I decided it was only sensible to stay until I was healed, and I could learn more about humans and the world in which they lived whilst I was here.  Of course word got round the village, and I was often visited by children who wanted to hear stories of where I was from.  Even the most mundane of tales were met with wide-eyed wonder, and it wasn't long until some of the women of the village turned up to hear my stories as well.  I had heard Lynne's husband talking to her, and the words he would say often made her happy; so I tried these words on the women that came to me.  Often they would turn red and leave hurriedly, but always they would return wanting me to say more.  All this time I was bound to my bed, and the more I interacted with the villagers the more I wanted to stay.
Such beautiful colours!
Eventually my leg healed, and I was able to leave the house.  It was a life-changing moment.  I opened the door and my senses were assaulted.  The first I noticed were the colours- grey above, a mixture of green and brown below, and a blue winding snake through the middle.  I stepped outside and felt a drop of water on my cheek, soon followed by another and yet another- 'rain'.  At home we did not have rain, merely clouds- any water would just naturally form in balls.  Walking around in the rain I discovered grass, trees, the river, and the fish that lived within it.  Everything fascinated me, much to Lynne's amusement.  I stayed out until the rain slowed, then became aware of the world becoming brighter with the light of the sun.  As I looked up, a band of colours crossed the sky.  I demanded an explanation from Lynne, who said this was a 'rainbow' and was completely natural- it happens when light shines on rain.
From that moment on, I knew I needed to explore the rest of this world.  A world of such beauty and such interesting inhabitants- I had to see more.

...Now, as I head for pastures new, I provide you with this book in which I have compiled my notes from travelling Faerun.  I will provide you with things to do, places to see, and people to avoid.  As well as notes on how to overcome the more persistant beasts in the wilderness.
Please, enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing.
-Zephran Aerson.

This series of blogs, aside from hopefully being an entertaining piece of fiction, is also to help any Dungeon Masters wishing to play a game set in Faerun.  As Zephran says, it will cover popular locations and what you can expect from the areas, as well as detailed analysis of various monsters.  I will be mostly keeping to a 3.5 edition timeline (pre-Spellplague), though a few variations from my own previous campaigns may sneak in.

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