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Category: Murrad

Hey all- Notebook GM here. This week we will be covering our first magic item in Murrad. The gods can grant magic to their followers in return for fealty, worship, or favors; however the lore of wizards and the creation of magic items has long been lost to the world. As we saw earlier whilst discussing the political structure of Old Erevor this has lent magic artifacts a special place in the various cultures around the world. To the Gray Elves they represent a means of ascension in society; for Orcs they are curiosities to be examined, clues in their quest to re-establish the ways of the Nueran Magocracy and recreate the magic items forged there; for the Dwarves, however, magic items are valued much less, their value, like most things in dwarven society, hinge on their usefulness. Magic is as any other tool, powerful when used correctly and otherwise either trivial or destructive. This dismissal comes with one exception, The Scepter of One Voice….

My attempt was too shoddy even for our low standards for artistic quality.

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The old Satyr held the copper scepter in his hand. Despite its great age it was without the green patina most copper would hold. He turned it over and examined the sigil at the head, the three marks of the great townships of the dwarves brought together onto one sign. This was the Scepter of One Voice, the famed artifact used at the Great Meeting Hall in Genjuenū . The dwarves had an interesting take on democracy, each town, no matter its size, functioned on a system of true democracy. Any citizen could come to the local meeting hall and make their voice heard. The Great Meeting Hall was no exception except that it held thousands, each voice louder than the next representing the interests of her kin.
“IT IS MAGNIFICENT,” he went to mumble, but the words came out as thunder, loud and deep.
The Copper Keeper, the dwarf charged with the storage and administration of the powerful scepter, beamed as Falkur gave a start. “Ay sir, Mr. Bard, sir. ‘Tis ensorcelled to keep the marks of age from it, and to give the dwarf what has the floor the ability to be heard. As I’m suren ye know, the Hall can hold quite a din as we get to our cups.”
Falkur, too, smiled. “I haven’t yet had the pleasure, but I would be delighted to see the famed Hall in all of its glory.” Falkur had spent decades studying argument, debate, rhetoric, and political ideology. He’d sat in on meetings of the Grand Senate in Abronia, witnessed the coronation of the Marchion of Zennithraille, and even taken part in a meeting of Gnomish elders on the largest of the Western Fringe Islands; but never had he held the Scepter itself. Sure, every dwarven township had a Meeting Hall, but only in Genjuenū did dwarves from all of the major townships in The Northern Trunks meet to discuss issues concerning the realm as a whole and only here did the talking stick hold such powerful dweomers.
“Oh I’ll be taking yerself there this evening, Voice Rinelle had sent word preceding ye that ye were to be taken on your arrival, luck would have it they are meeting this very night.”

The larger flora and fauna of the Great Stag Forest are legendary around the world, but very real for the dwarves.

It was only a couple of hours hence that the elderly dwarf shuffled a few paces ahead of Falkur, across a rope bridge and around one of the great trunks that hold Genjuenū aloft. The Satyr never grew tired of the canopy city, relishing the simple logic of a race of people that rarely grew over five foot and had a persistent problem with the giants to the west of them. Even as they walked the Satyr could see the traps set for their neighbors, large trunks suspended by woven vines, loaded crossbows set along rope bridges, flasks of oil set with rags kept near lit torches. It had been decades since the giants had struck at the city, but dwarves always preferred to be prepared.
He heard the hall before he saw it, a dull roar of dwarven voices ebbing and flowing around the dense canopy, surely this is how the Giants would find the city if they did decide to strike again. The large circular chamber was built between three of the oldest trees in this part of the forest, the largest of which had been carved out and now housed the lectern where the dwarf that held the Scepter would stand and address the collected citizens. A loud, deep voice broke above the din, “The Collected Voices of The Northern Trunks recognize Falkur Surefoot, Bard of the Northern Pass, Scholar of Discourse at the Grand Academy of Letters in Vosta-Sil-Vorreros, and wandering sage of political rhetoric. He is here to witness the way the Dwarves of The Northern Trunks administer our home, and all of the voices gathered expect that he be treated with civility.” The clunk of wooden chalices and the gentle splatter of spilled berrymeade resounded as Falkur was led into the warm chamber. The dwarf that had introduced him moved from the lectern and was quickly replaced by another. This dwarf, a female by the looks of her “beard” of braided hair worn tied under her chin, took the scepter and held it aloft, her voice magically enhanced as she brought the meeting to “order”. Order, as was so often the case in dwarven politics, actually represented only a slightly duller roar than had filled the room previously.
The meeting progressed slowly, as any interaction involving thousands of people shouting will, and Falkur sat in rapt attention. As different subjects were broached the holder of the scepter struggled to keep hold of the crowd, always with differing results. After several hours the Copper Keeper shuffled to the stage and relieved the speaker of the heavy copper staff. The citizens stumbled out, several hours of drinking and arguing having sapped most of their energy. Falkur stayed after and asked the Copper Keeper about this history of the scepter. As he watched to precedings the bard noticed that the holder of the scepter seemed to sober up instantly, even the most inebriated of citizens spoke eloquently (by dwarven standards) when brought before the collected dwarves.
“It has always been that the dwarves settled their disagreements in this way, we’ve never seen the use of the gilded ways of the other races, a waste of valuable gold if yer askin’ meself, but some questions need the input of all in the Trunks. The first Great Stag War needed every beard available here, holding off the encroaching giants, but the libertarian nature of my people made actual unity difficult. Ausein Settun had the answer- he’d been traveling among the humans, attempting to find one that might teach him the ways of enchantment.” The dwarf paused as he took a deep draft of an overly sweet blueberry berrymeade. “Mind, this was before the Magocracy cracked down on non-humans creating magic items,” he continued. “Anyhow, Ausein wanted to preserve the ways dwarves had always kept but needed a way to be heard above the collected shouting that he might lead the defense of the city. He set to work, smelting a bar of the purest copper he had won in a game of dice during his travels and setting it with what few incantations the enchanters would teach him. He had a natural gift for magic and something he did set to the scepter but the effort killed him. His creation did save the Trunks in the end, though. Prettor Vale, his best friend and adventuring partner, marshalled the disparate clans of dwarves and they were able to hold back the Giants. That was the first time they tried to move out of the Great Stag Forest and into our own. Since then, in his honor, the Great Meeting Hall has always recognized, in its own way, the primacy of whomever holds the scepter.”
Falkur leaned back in his chair, taking a deep pull from his own berrymeade, a tart raspberry concoction given to him by a very patient and likely deaf dwarven page. “That,” he said, “is a terrible, terrible way to run a country.”
The Copper Keeper guffawed and took another swig from his mug. “Aye, it is indeed.”

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A Trip to Broadleef

A Trip to Broadleef

The following is an excerpt from the travel diaries of one BoMork Rinelle, a renowned dwarven hunter and writer who was pinned as a Voice of the Northern Trunks (an ambassadorial title bestowed by the “government” of the great Townships of the Northern Trunks)

Found this when I Googled Dwaf Ranger. I’m definitely not at this level. Source: http://digaoeidt.deviantart.com

On Broadleef:

The city herself is beautiful sight, ‘specially after a coupl’a tenday in the mud, naught but trunks for miles. City’s got walls on three sides, a lake on the last. The Marchion and Viscouncil have laws what keep the city from becoming too crowded so the streets are wide and clean. The market is the second largest in the March, smell of meats and fresh clothing. The poor live in crowded hamlets outside the walls, closely together in areas not already owned by farmers. I arrived and the Briarcloaks at the city gate reminded me they requires a peace-knot, so I yanked me firing pin from me crossbow and packed away me bolts and hatchet. Easier to just stow the things, no nambly-pambly elf could match me a fist-fight besides.

“None of the elves in that picture could beat me in a fight” – BoMark

I head straight for the Viscount’s Hold whenever I get to Broadleef, as Jervon Zentri is a friend. The lad can right fire a crossbow and I ran with The Foxhounds- scouts of the Liseran Legion- a coupla seasons before I got me pin. Zentri was known then as a right commander and remains a good ruler. We strapped on, drank, and carried tales late into the dark. I was no hound with the Silent Tread the next morn, twas a bottle of wine and half the sun before I found me eye.

A closeup of Broadleef from the regional map.

    Tell ye, ye wouldn’t hear those rangers if they was dancing on yer ears. During training ye go a month without speaking, to show dedication to silence. I move right quiet but the lads simply blow away as the breeze. Providing food for the Marches and skins to the tanners keeps them in wine and new leather year round. Their leader, Brevvil Mauer, is a firm old elf, didn’t take to me humor on the road so much but was at least respectful enough of me position to take me along. Glad was I that I managed to fell something for our plates and earn me place.

I had no business with the Marchion here so I didn’t call on her but Mella Juniper is known as a right leader herself. Elves live by station and blood and the Juniper family is ancient by even their measure. Bah, those elves would marry names if they could. Or they do. Depends on how ye look at it is me guess. The Junipers have long ruled these parts- trading at names, taking power when their kids outshine the other old names. Yer Ryeburns, Agavners, yer Huskrells and Berlees. I met Marchion Mella Juniper while passing through on me way to Merschelmerre on me first assignment after receiving me Voice. The Marchion moves slowly in her years but holds her honor well. The Marchion maintains a chamber for the royal family at The Court of the Briar Throne still, common in the Northern Marches where they still want for a King. Right host, them Junipers though; know how to stock a larder. Mella is ancient, nearing twenty six decades, if I’m correct. Still sharp though she’s one of the oldest people yet living. Never would ye see a dwarf live that long, too much drink and falling out of trees. I brought her a cloak what was made from a mountaincat I’d shot whilst going the Hoofway. Doubtful something a woman of her stature wears but if she goes for a day of riding it’ll suit her. Anyhow she treated me well and put me up in the Court for the night as I was passin’ through those years ago and I’d never forgotten it.

Slice of Murrad: “Conversations with Cloudherders”

Slice of Murrad: “Conversations with Cloudherders”

For this week’s Slice of Murrad we have our first short piece by Jacqueline, she has taken control of building culture of the fey, mystical elves of Southern Renser, where the influence of the Nueran Magocracy was strongest after the Fall.

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“Conversations with Cloudherders,” is part of an ongoing series of letters by Greivik Garmarche, alchemist, explorer and court tutor to the Viscount Harvold of Merschelmerre. The Viscount has recently embraced an interest in anthropological data from across the continent. Greivik Garmarche is more than happy to oblige, as he believes he can continue to unlock the secrets of reviving magick without use of artifacts.

 

16th of Vehrdawn

A herder fresh back from the Southern Droll can be sensed sooner by smell than by sight in the crowded markets of old sim-Cthal; crones whisper to children that the jade hue on a herder’s head comes not from the moss clinging tight to his strands, but from the dank musk hanging heavy around him.

                    Baud’s History of Inlet Migrations, First Edition

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South and east of Inlet-sim-Cthal the clouds run along the ground, birthing a strange ecology

As is often the case in cautionary rumors, Baud’s account of the stigma surrounding the Cloudherders of Inlet-sim-Cthal is perpetuated to steer children away from the Southern Cloud Sea, or ‘drolls’ in local dialect. Long have the drolls, thick with rolling clouds and the holy storms of the Mother, Pthalodenai, served as both a shadow of fear and breath of life since the Great Rising brought the sea to sim-Chtal. Without the bounty of the great Cloud Sea, the mercy of Pthalodenai and the wrath of her storms, sim-Cthal would have been lost to merchants and foreigners, ignorant to the service of the Mother. It is the Cloudherders, who practice the Rite of the Dreigonflye, appeasing the Mother, sparing the Inlet from her cleansing breath, to whom the residents of Inlet-sim-Cthal owe their sanctuary.

An elf of Inlet-sim-Cthal
An elf of Inlet-sim-Cthal

To perform this Rite, the initiate must surrender their spirit to Pthalodenai and offer the empty vessel of their flesh in her service. Heeding the call of its mistress, the Dreigonflye pour the cleansing breath of the Mother into the vessel of the initiate, freezing them from the inside like the bitter frost following Freijeksdei. The Dreigonflye then carries the initiate high above the rolling clouds to the sea, where the initiate is filled and thawed with the storming waters. It is then that the Dreigonflye and the initiate begin their journey back through the drolls, through the cleansing breath of the Mother, and are born anew as Daigonfrei, the dual vessels of a single breath of our Mother. As Daigonfrei, the Cloudherder communes with the Mother in foraging the Cloud Sea, and the Dreigonflye is bound to this servant as in the first days of Pthalodenai’s conception, when Gilthavoss birthed the winged warriors to protect the crystal egg from which the Mother first exhaled.

 

Many believe it is for this reason that the Cloudherder may never pillage the drolls in a way that the merchants and outlanders aspire. Hands stained with greed for the coveted Pthalodonium are too oft wrought with lungmoss or plum bloat, if not struck from the current to fall to the earth, and ships loaded with the Mother’s horde are swept back to the rocky cliffs obscured by her breath. And while yea, she is a bitter maiden to strangers, she is but generous to her children who seek to honor her gifts. For without the blessed Pthalodonium, indeed, her children would be at the mercy of the Northlanders. But for the chaste and pious labor of her Daigonfrei, her children need never want for weapon or window alike. Tis indeed a shame that crystal such as that in Inlet-sim-Cthal should never be exported by the local devout, though the breadth of the  Pthalodonium supply has never been estimated.

A Slice of Murrad: Treatise on the Governments of the Grey Elves of Renser

A Slice of Murrad: Treatise on the Governments of the Grey Elves of Renser

An excerpt from Communities Governments: A Primer on the Many Ways Sentient Races Organize Themselves by famed historian, Arkko Vrunn, High Tomekeeper of Biirocrittis- Orcan God of Ministry and Government

 

On The Class Structure of Old Erevor

The feudal system of Old Erevor is still practiced in several of the Marches, most prevalently in the northern Marches where the incursion of Neuran technocratic magocracy has had less influence. In several of the southern Marches (especially the heavily Nueran-influenced Inlet-sim-Cthal, Merschelmerre, and Marque-sim-Monte) the barriers between these classes have blurred in various places.

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It is interesting to note, however, that all of the Marches have kept some form of Marchion and Viscouncil as their governing bodies- although each body, over the course of time, has been allocated different amounts of power in March society.

 

Citizen- These are the common folk, they do not own land or a business and hold little political power in most areas. Some of the Marchions have implemented a more democratic system by which to grant political power to all citizens regardless of economic power.

 

Tradesperson- A Tradesperson owns land or a business, sometimes purchased through savings, other times gifted by a noble. In some parts of Renser there is little distinction between Citizen and Tradesperson, in others the distinction imparts more political power to the elevated Tradesperson, offering them a say in local politics or increased access to government officials and services.

 

Knight/Baron- The lowest levels of noble Knight and Baron are equivalent classes distinguished by the nature of the noble’s service to the March. A Knight, obviously, is most often a military title while a Baron is a for civilian functionaries. Both titles confer the same level of nobility, although being a Knight is often seen as the more honorable moniker.

 

Warden- A Knight or Baron who can provide at least 3 Realmsworn [see below] to the defense of Renser gains the title of Warden and is eligible for Viscountcy. This restricts the number of Wardens, and the type of people who can ascend to this level of nobility as it is a person of unique ardor that can convince nobles to forfeit their titles, lands, and inheritances. Again, in the southern marches Wardens often have no additional political power assigned to them and are given the title as a matter of tradition.  

 

Viscount- A Warden can be elected or appointed Viscount, depending on local custom, to obtain a seat in the Viscouncil and the Keep associated with the position. Viscounts, in addition to their seat on the Viscouncil of the March, are responsible for governing a region of their March, though most delegate this responsibility down to the lower noble classes.

 

Marchion- Once the title for the regional lord in the different Marches of Old Erevor, Marchions are now essentially kings in their own right. Marchions in the Northern Marches hold absolutel power, while the three former Rebel Marches treat their Marchion as more of a figurehead, meant to represent the people of the March in negotiations with other realms.

 

On The Realmsworn and the Oath of Old Erevor

 

After the fall of the Nueran Magocracy to the Horror of Simthal as the survivors and refugees poured onto the coast in droves, new coasts created by the sudden water rise- the result of an entire continent being dragged into the Southern Sea. Countless hamlets and fishing villages had been destroyed, two major cities lie in ruins, castles crumbling into memories far off the shoreline.

In the wake of this great tragedy Queen Elviir II called the 8 Marchions together to decide how they were to proceed. It was at this Great March Council that the Order of the Realmsworn was created. Donning the sky-colored tabard, adorned with a black gauntlet, Captain Grenwald Elviir (nephew of the Queen) was the first to take the Oath of Old Erevor:

 

My heart, my shield for the Realm- We stand in the face of Horror. Empty, the hands that wield the Shards of Nuera. Without name, without house, legacy in song We are the Swords of the Wardens Aegis of the Realm. With ardor, grit, and iron, We’ll stand in front of hell.
My heart, my shield for the Realm-
We stand in the face of Horror.
Empty, the hands that wield the Shards of Nuera.
Without name, without house, legacy in song
We are the Swords of the Wardens
Aegis of the Realm.
With ardor, grit, and steel,
We sing and stride to hell.

Captain Elviir gathered the Houses with the largest stores of magical armaments and saw to outfitting the first Realmsworn regiment. It was decided shortly before the First March War, as internecine conflicts began to reach a boiling point, that each House should have their Realmsworn close at hand, a tradition that persists to this day in most places. This tradition, that each Realmsworn be pledged to a local Warden rather than to a centralized structure of officers, is seen by many to have set the conditions for the March Wars and the eventual dissolution of the Kingdom of Erevor and the beginning of individual March governance.

    However, it is this author’s contention that (despite leading to a pair of brutal civil wars, irreparable infrastructural damage, and total political upheaval) the tradition of swearing Realmsworn to the Wardens that outfit them is a concept that has led to a net gain for Elvish culture of the last two thousand years. Since the Realmsworn must sacrifice their own inheritances and titles (even taking the last name Realmsworn) a sort of benevolent feudalism has emerged, as those who nakedly seek for their own gain and power seldom inspire loyal followers. In addition, the “buy-in” of magical items, though high when counted in terrium bars, is attainable for even the lowest commoner in any number of ways- from pure luck to arduous adventuring…

 

[The bottom of the page has begun to smudge slightly as the young bard-in-training begins to drool in his sleep, the light of a rising sun just beginning to catch his golden hair]