Mysterious Places09/14/2004

Rumours and Whispers of the Flanaess

Tall tales, unlikely rumours, and idle gossip swirl throughout the taprooms, marketplaces and temple precincts of the Flanaess. Separating truth from foolish speculation, downright lies and the ill-informed ramblings of drunks, yokels and rumourmongers attempting to separate a fool from his coin is an essential skill for any adventurer travelling the Flanaess.

The veracity of many of the rumours detailed below is certainly in doubt. While in many cases the truth of the matter is impossible to determine, these are the kind of rumours that adventurers inevitably hear. Some may foreshadow events detailed in as yet unreleased core or core special modules, while others may hold as much weight as a summer breeze. DMs are encouraged to use the below rumours as fillers in any encounter in which the PCs could learn about supposed events.

Rumours and Whispers

A Keoish merchantman is said to have found a vessel of unusual design and unknown provenance, drifting derelict in the south-western Azure Sea. Her masts and rigging gone and her holds waterlogged, the hulk was apparently a victim of storms that had lashed the area in the days previous. However, a member of the Keoish boarding party claims to have found scorch marks, bloodstains and other evidence that the vessel had recently seen battle. Of the crew there was no trace, although a jade effigy of an enthroned wyrm and a sword of exquisite quality and exceptional sharpness were allegedly recovered from the hulk before it finally sank. The master of the Keoish ship has been unable to produce these artefacts however, leading many to denounce him and his men as liars and hoaxers. Nonetheless, the Royal Keoish Explorers Society is offering a sizable reward to any who can produce the salvaged items for their perusal and examination.

Arkalan Sammal of Ket, better known as the brother of the traitorous archmage Rary, has disappeared from his lodgings in the Free City of Greyhawk. Arkalan publicly disowned his infamous sibling after Rary’s treachery on the Day of the Great Signing but many still suspected him of being in league, or at the very least in contact with, his brother. Some say his disappearance is nothing but a sham and that he has secretly gone to Bright Desert to join his brother. Others say that he has been kidnapped by someone seeking to influence the archmage Rary.

Disturbing reports have surfaced in Rel Mord of the latest diplomatic machinations in the viper pit that is the lands of the former Great Kingdom. Nyrondese spies are said to have recently seen an emissary of Prince Strychan of Dustbridge leaving the palace of Overking Grenell, ruler of the North Kingdom, in Eastfair. Alone among the great princes of Aerdy, Strychan has thus far refused to pledge his allegiance to either the United Kingdom of Ahlissa or the North Kingdom. What this meeting bodes is as yet unclear, but the news is certain to be greeted with alarm in the court of Grenell’s great rival, Overking Xavener of Ahlissa.

Perrenish traders have returned from the steppes of the north with news of vicious skirmishes between the Chakyik and Wegwiur nomads. Gajtak, Ilkhan of the Chakyik Horde, has reportedly vowed to drink a toast to his ancestors and the “Eye that Withers All” from the flayed skull of that “base father of falsehood” the Wegwiur Tarkhan, Bargru. Raiding bands of Chakyik warriors have reportedly crossed the Fler, burning Wegwiur encampments where they find them, slaughtering the men and sacrificing women and children alike on alters to their fell tribal gods. Tarkhan Bargru, who had been directing new raids against The Old One in the Howling Hills, has been forced to divert his hard-riding Wegwiur Tumans west to face the new threat.

Pontylver, the great Oeridian port-city dominating the Flamni estuary is still beset by a seemingly inexhaustible tide of undead that seems impossible to eradicate. Razed to the ground during Ivid’s Imperial campaigns of 584 CY, the devastation here is matched only by that visited upon Chathold. Madness also stalks the ruins of this once bustling metropolis with those spending much time picking through the shattered city falling prey to both delusion and homicidal mania. Military forces of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa have succeeded in retaking the island of Keritharn and in controlling the causeway linking it to main sprawl that was Pontylver but have made almost no progress into the ruined heart of the city.

Shipwrecks said to contain forgotten treasures are common fixtures in tavern tall-tales, but one such tale has been circulating throughout ports on the Azure and Aerdi Seas for many months. It seems that several vessels of the legendary Lost Treasure Fleet of the Sea Princes have been found. Reputed to carry wealth almost beyond counting, the fleet was thought lost after it disappeared during a massive storm. According to the much repeated words of one witness, a few vessels survived the storm but became mired in a huge floating reef hundreds of leagues to the east of the Aerdi coast. This news is thought to lend credence to an-oft derided account by one Ishankinn of Pontylver who claimed to have visited such a reef in the mid-570s. Several naval powers are thought to have sent expeditions to discover the veracity of this tale. If true, large expeditions will no doubt be swiftly organised.

The Madi of the Dry Steppes is said to be gathering an army of fanatical dervishes to his banner somewhere in the heart of the arid trackless wastes east of Lake Udunakhar. Tales circulating through the souqs of the Western lands report that the Madi is bent on reuniting the Bakluni people and restoring the Empire of the Padishahs, destroyed centuries ago in the Invoked Devastation. He has denounced all who stand in his way as infidels and the consorts of shai’tans (fiends). Though many of these rumours contradict each other, the one consistent detail is the description of the Madi himself – a tall man swathed from head to toe in robes of black and green, his face obscured behind a silken cowl.

The necropolis at Unaagh continues to be beset by a malevolent cloud of darkness that hangs above this forsaken place. The few travellers who have witnessed this phenomenon have reported that the cloud seems immobile and immune to the effects of the howling winds and vicious sandstorms that periodically pummel the Bright Desert and its inhabitants. The cause of the cloud is unknown but doomsayers postulate that this must be some dark plot of Rary to unleash some terrible doom on his enemies.

White Plume Mountain, one of the most infamous locales of the Flanaess, is once again the destination of several famous, and many not-so-famous, adventuring companies. Rumours of a powerful weapon discarded by Keraptis and missed by previous explorers have caught the imagination of many individuals intent on making a name for themselves. Descriptions of this weapon vary widely depending on who is telling the tale, but an arrow of Olvish make and a spear of ancient Oeridian crafting feature most frequently.

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