Hey team, Notebook GM here with a sneak peek at the hook for a long module that I’m hoping to release later this year. It also serves as kind of the origin story for Murrad itself. Hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter @TheNotebookGM
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The bard leaned forward onto the back of the chair and the old wood creaked slightly. The golden cloak that marked him as a true Bard of the Northern Pass seemed to catch the firelight and hold it a moment before relinquishing it to the dark corners of the small tavern, “Ye downslope folk and yer small gods, ye forget the old stories. The times when Humans walked Murrad, and magic filled the air. The times before the Small Gods and their small wars. Once there was but five gods- Nue was firs… nah, hark here, and I will speak it proper.” As he put aside his pipe and drew himself to sit straight his cloak seemed to become more greedy with the firelight.
“In the beginning there was Thing and Nothing. Movement and Stillness. Positive and Negative. The interaction of these two gave rise to the Field- which grew slowly as they continued to effervesce. After eons the Field grew too vast for the cosmos that contained it and the cup runneth over.
From the spillage Nue was born, first of the Gods. Nue wandered the cosmos learning to weave from the Field- creating the stars. It was an inevitability that another would be born and eventually Nue found a companion.
Curious Vyr was next, and the two of them experimented with the limits of the Field, feeling the weft and wane as it moved to their wishes.
Playful Eche then arrived and the first family was formed- the three of them galloped through the universe filling it with wonders.
Ta’am came next and brought order to the cosmos: organized the haphazard creations of the other three, and created the Sun and the Three Moons for them to live on around a planet that Eche had grown fond of.
They named it Murrad.
In their creativity and harmony, they had forgotten to expect another, and so when Sim came they moved to make room. Nue created the seas, and with them an empire of coral and sand. Sim accepted the aquatic kingdom, but never forgave the other gods the slight.
Sim wove of kelp and created the Merrow, the first of the sentient races, as company and servants in self-exile. Nue saw the Merrow and, applauding Sim on a brilliant idea, created the Humans with a breath of magic.
Vyr took to the northern forests, and from wood carved the Dwarves. Vyr swathed the Dwarves in furs and taught them of craft and the hunt.
Eche wandered the dunes of the Yael and from glass and sunlight created the Orcs. Eche gave them laughter and poetry and a love of simple pleasures.
Ta’am walked among the grasslands and mountains of Erevor and from silver smelted the elves. Ta’am wrote of discipline, civility, and the value of a strong community.
The gods agreed to step back and allow these creatures the freedoms and shackles of sentience, without direct intervention. As even Gods are vulnerable to sibling rivalry, each wanted to see their creation best that of their peers.
The Magocracy of Nuera arose overnight- to the mind of a god- and in the shadow of its splendor the ire of Sim grew. Gathering the sages and warlocks of the Merrowfolk, Sim began to outline a plan to curb the power of the rival Humans.
As time wore on, the Magocracy of Nuera cast many in its shadow, and the 9 Sages of Nuera decreed that, in order to maintain their dominance, teaching the secrets of the Arcane outside of Nuera must expressly forbidden. The other sentient races objected, but lacked the power to stop the Sages from withholding their lore. For centuries the Magocracy ruled Murrad by hoarding magic, sure of their superiority.
The actions of the Magocracy further angered the sea god. Sim released the Horror, a great creature rose from the sea, and began to pull Nuera and her cities into the deep. So vast, so powerful, was this creature that even the collected Arcana of Nuera could not fell it. What Nuerans could escape did so, either by ship or spell, but the vast majority of the Human population fell. Hundreds of thousands died, pulled below by the great sweeping tentacles as the destroyed the continent.
Once the other gods saw what Sim had done they rushed to overcome the power of the titanic beast Sim had created and save what Nuerans they could. After a battle that lasted 100 years the Gods were able to imprison the Horror at the bottom of an ocean trench. Those Merrow who had helped Sim create the creature were given an edict: guard the Horror of Sim for eternity.
As for the survivors, the elves of Erevor took in the human refugees, and over time the bloodlines mixed to form the Gray Elves but Nue was devastated at the loss of the beloved Humans. Grief took Nue to the glaciers north of Hooftrod Pass where the god’s tears froze as they touched the frigid ground. From ice Nue formed the Satyr and bade them wander the northernmost mountain passes and look to the stars.
Sim, for this terrible treachery, was killed by the three remaining siblings and the creatures of the sea were left to feed on his sunken corpse. They grew to be the titanic beasts that still inhabit the seas today, further ensuring the safety of the Sunken Horror of Sim….”
The room had grown darker, quiet. The fire popped- somehow somberly.
“But somewhere out there, among the storms, it is said a small group of islands exists. Some say the islands are deserted- just the mountaintops of a sunken continent, others say that it is a shard of the lost landmass- possibly teeming with lost magic. Stories tiny human-like creatures and turtles larger than towns are told by the seekers what return. However the great fauna have claimed almost all who have sought to explore the Southern Seas…”
The cozy room was silent now and as the Bard trailed off the cloak seemed to release the firelight it had been stockpiling, leaving the room a little brighter.
“Anyway, so the lot of ye’re set to take a trip skirting the Seas… I’m sure ye’ll have a grand time… just don’t forget to leave a watchman, best ye have warning before the great creatures pull ye into the depths.”
These words seem to echo through your minds as the ship you had chartered sails through the air- and crashes into the hard, choppy seas.
Then the world goes black.