Runeslinger is hosting the RPG Blog Carnival this month, which is focused on Heroes – Living & Dead. As a Dungeon Master, I thought I would write about two “heroes” I created during the course of The Delvers’ campaign. They were originally throw away NPCs created because Kay wanted to rob some villagers.
Developed over time, they remained a simple human couple, living in the large world of Greyhawk in the small town of Eastbrook, but how did they get there?
Their story was not one large information dump on the players as presented here. Pieces just came out over the course of the campaign; their history was mainly revealed through conversation with Yaen, a former stable boy.
His wife, Rilindra, was not just a woman tagging a long for the ride. She grew up in a well known Inn where adventurers were always in and out of her home. Feelings for Yaen aside, her head was filled with tavern patron tales. She was quick to leave their village when the stable boy confessed his love, so that she could experience the world of Greyhawk for herself.
Back in My Day We had to Walk to Old School
Yaen and Rilindra left the village of Hommlet, adventuring southeast towards Woolly Bay. They purchased a ship and eventually mustered up a crew and sailed across the Sea of Gearnat.
During their sea voyage they were attacked by slave lord ships near Highport; outnumbered, they made headway by sailing south, losing them in a storm.
For days the sea tossed their ship about. When the ocean and sky finally grew calm, they found themselves far south in the Azure Sea. Needing to repair their ship, Rilindra ordered their vessel to anchor by the nearest tropical island.
While exploring the island, most of the natives turned out to be cannibals with one exception, the small village of Tanaroa. It was there they learned of a great black pearl.
Having lost most of their crew to cannibals, the remaining sailors were in no condition to explore the Isle of Dread. However, Yaen did record their discovery on a vellum parchment and sketched the outskirts of the island, before setting a new course west to the mainland.
Their plans of a continued sea voyage were soon foiled; after setting sail from the island, they were discovered by the slave lords who were still on their trail. With their crew dwindled, they decided another tactical retreat was in order.
However, their ship was not going to outrun the vessel of the slave lords for long and so, as a last desperate measure, they abandoned their ship on western shores trying to lose them in the jungle marshes. There, they discovered an ancient ruin where they made camp for the night.
The next morning, two events took place. Their camp was discovered by the slave lords and, with no other choice, they prepared for a final battle. Yet, they were inadvertently saved when the ruin below their feet collapsed. Engulfed in darkness they now found themselves in the hidden shrine of Tamoachan.
Eventually, they made their escape and, with the remaining survivors, Rilindra and Yaen trekked through the tropical vegetation back to the shores on the edges of the Amedio Jungle. They built a raft and traveled along the coast of Jeklea Bay. Aided by the clockwise motion of the currents, they headed north.
Parting ways with their crew, they booked passage on a river boat in Saltmarsh and headed northwest up the Javan River where they found themselves in Geoff, cradled between the Barrier Peaks and the Crystalmists. Here, the couple joined with others and helped in a battle against hill giants.
Below the conquered Giant Chief’s Steading they found a means to travel – using drow constructed gates to other giant settlements – throughout Greyhawk.
Against conventional wisdom, the party decided to split up; each group chose a gate in the hopes of pursuing the remaining giant forces. Yaen and Rilindra’s gate lead them far east to the northern part of the Glorioles. On the other side of their gate they spilled the blood of frost giants that were part of this unusual banding of large humanoids.
After they fought off a pack of hungry winter wolves seeking food, they discovered that Rilindra was pregnant. With no way back they descended the mountains and helped to settle the town of Eastbrook, where they gave birth to their son Len.
It was quite the honeymoon.
What Does It All Mean, Basil?
Yaen and Rilindra were mainly developed to answer questions during The Delvers’ campaign.
Did I just say they were from Hommlet? Shit. That’s on the other side of the Flanaess.
The Sunndi is subtropical. Why didn’t I change the name of the tavern?
Usually, those answers produced more questions.
Why go out of their way to leave Hommlet for Eastbrook?
Why were they fighting winter wolves?
And so on.
Although the pieces of the story were not presented in chronological order to the girls, not only did it answer the questions that came up, but it allowed me to present the history of Greyhawk to the girls throughout game play.
Fantasy or not, sometimes heroes are forged, because you need the world to make sense.
Dedication & Thanks
Although Yaen and Rilindra is a small homage to Robert E. Howard’s characters, Conan and Bêlit (minus the tragedy), Yaen is based on a former player of mine from Jr. High. Not in name or deed, but in the spirit of how he often created a character with a wife and how they would get wrapped up in some sort of crazy adventure.
Hopefully Rilindra’s survival makes up for a time when his character’s wife did not make it out alive. She had died in a cave they had entered to hide from pirates.
Thanks to Runeslinger for this month’s excellent topic, giving me an excuse to make this post in the first place.