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The Kodigvari Quest

By Martin Laurie

The Motivation

To lead the people of Sartar to liberty, new leaders must be found. Leaders who bring noble blood, true and strong. To this end the resurgent cult of Vingkot has searched the exiles and disaffected for those who might make such a claim and risk the perils such status will bring.

The Method

Firstly the would-be nobles hero quest back to the age of Vingkot, to prove themselves a legitimate part of the ruling Kodigvari tribe. Secondly, they familiarise themselves with their lifestyle and to participate in their greatest victories. Once done, the questors can return to the material world secure in their right of nobility and empowered by the ancient strength, rituals and knowledge of the ancestors of the current Orlanthi.

The Ceremony

A lengthy ceremony is performed. Basically, conditions are created to bring the late Storm Age to the site. The right gods (priests) are present, and they set up around some Storm Age relevant landmark.

Note: the deities shown should be ones of war and rule mostly, to emphasise the glories of the Storm Age. Suitable sacrifices to aid the ceremony might be the devotees of Gods defeated in this era, items from such deities or a mythic enactment of their defeat by someone performing their part.

Grizzly Peak is the best place to start given its role as Vingkot's Hall in the Storm Age. How the players get there and how they manage to enact a ritual in the presence of the Glow line, the Provincial Army and Reaching Moon Temple is up to the GM. However, if they do manage this difficult task, they will be rewarded for their efforts by the opportunities awaiting them that will not come from any other location.

Alternatively the players might attempt a more cautious course, to enter the Storm Age from a different focus point - perhaps the Quivini mountains etc. However entering the Storm Age from any point other than Grizzly Peak will cause the players to have at least one encounter with the armies of Uz raiding the region.

As the ritual progresses, it gets colder, darker, and the stormy sky roils overhead, edged by the light of Elmal visible from far off Kero Fin which seems to loom larger and more imposing than ever it does in the present. Lighting, wind and potent energies crash through the sky in a
maelstrom of activity. All of the Orlanthi feel enlivened and energised by the spectacle overhead.

The object of the questors is to find their ancestors and become a part of them.

The Storm Age

Arrival at Grizzly Peak

The Hall of the King is a mighty building surrounded by a great wealth of lesser halls and houses of his thanes and servants. A strong wall surrounds it and many spears hedge its towers. Elmal's light is both close and warming here and all about the fields are fertile and lush, the cattle healthy and numerous.

Yet, as the players arrive they will see that trouble has come to this seeming paradise.

A messenger stands outside the walls of Vingkot's hall and speaks to the council of the king who stand upon the walls in obvious fear and consternation.

The messenger is humanoid but horned, rancid and followed by a swarm of bloated black flies who feed on his oozing pus. He demands that they pay tribute to his lord, whom he names as Chaosman, or they will know his magics. The messenger proves part of this power for with a wave of his hand three weaponthanes on the walls gurgle and die, choking on a stream of
turgid vomit summoned by his magic. The messenger laughs and all are afraid for this is a new power to the Vingkotlings.

Only the players have the capacity to act for they alone at the scene have known chaos and understand that is beatable. Each of them will have passed the Second Son rites during initiation and thus will have partaken in the I Fought, We Won battle. Therefore players will have a healthy fear of chaos but not the overwhelming, paralysing terror of the Storm Age folk. Should they attack the messenger of Chaosman they will find him a hardy foe but one they can defeat, especially if any have anti-chaos magics. He will attempt to flee, carried aloft by the swarm of flies around him who move like an insectoid sylph.

If slain the chaos-fear will dissipate and the players will be feted by the council of the King (who is away on a hunt with all of his sons except Hengall). They will be asked to wait as guests for the King's arrival. The council is made up of deities and legends of Orlanthi life and so this is a great opportunity for the players to make contacts and glean knowledge that they can take back with them. The councillors are:

Hantrafal - Godi
Khalmon - Lawspeaker
Dagordi - Warrior
Kerona - Food Keeper
Hohenla - Midwife
Ebfurya - Herdmother

If the players do nothing to hurt or hinder the chaos messenger, then they will be guested but only after proving their right to such privilege. (defeat a skilled foe in a contest of boasting, charm, oratory etc).

Elsewhere

If they appear in any other place than Grizzly Peak, Trolls assail them in great numbers in the hills. These trolls will be lead by several powerful warlords equal or stronger than the players are. It should be a terribly close fight and just when the players are losing hope, the Vingkotlings will
come, having witnessed the battle. Hengall, the Second Son of Vingkot, will lead the host. He has been pursuing the troll warband for some time and the players' battle allowed him to catch the fast moving Uz and destroy them.

All the players who successfully defeated an Uz in battle will gain the Vingkot feats against the Uz if they return to the material world.

Hengall is most generous in his praise and soon shows himself to be a great man and potential friend to the players. He asks them to accompany him to Vingkot's hall where the king will gift them for their aid.

On arrival at the Kings hall, Hengall will hear form the council that his father is yet to return and the lands are under threat of a deadly new enemy called Chaosman who struck such fear into them that they were unable to act against his taunting messenger.

The return of the King

Vingkot will arrive with a splendid host of men. Their glittering mail and multitude of rings displays their wealth while their gleaming spears and bejewelled swords display their martial prowess for all to see. His four other sons - Kodig, Korol, Janard and Jorganos the Archer, follow Vingkot.


The king is soon told of the new threat to the land.

THE PLAYERS: If the players drove off or killed the messenger, he will summon them forward and look at them with great seriousness. He will ask them to tell the tale of their battle and will nod approvingly for any well-told tale that is forward but not too boastful. He will gift each player
one of his spare spears and a ring of gold forged by Gustbran. For the warrior he deems the mightiest in valour (ie the player who made the best boast, poem, song, story etc) he will declare him a Thane worth 300 cattle in weregeld. He will also gift him with Black Cloud - a huge umbroli in a Sky Bull leather bag. It takes the form of an angry black cloud when released. Black Cloud has powers over storm and thunder and is exceedingly bad tempered and wilful. It is prone to destroying the area it is inflicted upon.

If instead the players defeated the Uz and returned with Hengall, they will be rewarded by the council with a wind horse each - a permanent umbroli summoned for transportation purposes. However, the king will not see them, as he is too busy with the latest crisis

The players will live among the Vingkotlings for at least two generations. To the players the time will pass rapidly, perhaps punctuated by raid and war against old foes and new - Chaosman's forces will return to bedevil the Vingkotlings and the players will be called upon to fight once more.

This will be a good time to introduce the players to the troubles between the sons of Vingkot. Each strives to outdo the other in contests to prove themselves worthy of their father's name. Many of the warriors and folk of Vingkot's hall support one son over the other and their various wives from different lands often attempt to stir up jealousies, strife and bad feelings against one or the other son to aid their husband. Vingkot stands above all this with regal justice but stamps down on overt idiocy.

The only son who doesn't get involved in these affairs is Hengall, the Second Son. He is liked by everyone who has kindness in his heart but even in Vingkot's hall there are those who have room only for malice in their souls.

It is after a growing number of defeats at the hands of Chaosman's foul hordes, that Vingkot sees the problem that stymies his efforts to counter this new foe. His people are so afraid of Chaosman's powers that they fight like weaklings and doubt their ability to win. Seeing that ultimately only he can lead them in courage, as a king should, Vingkot arms for battle with
the aid of his council (players might be struck by the similarity of this to the Arming of Orlanth) and marches to his doom.

Any offers on the players part to accompany him will not be mirrored by his own peoples and this will shame them but Vingkot refuses aid.

The Wounding of Vingkot

The King is gone for a long time and he is greatly missed. Kodig rules in his stead but tribal morale crumbles without their king and is further shaken by ever stronger raids from the Uz, the Dara Happans and the Chaosmen. The sons of Vingkot begin to argue among themselves and fear the death of their father and King. Many plan to follow him and save him but no mission ever seems to gather support and is quietly dropped after a while till a fresh one is aired.

Finally Vingkot returns. There is rejoicing, then sadness when the extent of his wound is known. He battled Chaosman and was mortally wounded by it. Yet he is an immortal and so cannot die from his injury, instead he suffers the torments of chaos.

Vingkot gathers his folk around and tells them that he will and must pass on. He announces that Kodig, the eldest of his line, will be his heir. He also announces that all his sons will be Kings of their own lands but Kodig will be High King, able to speak to outsiders and enemies for all of them. Alone of his sons, Hengall has no lands or desires for them. Instead he will be adviser and warlord to the high king, tasked with leading the Vingkotlings to battle against their many foes while the kings spend more of their time with their peoples.

After that Vingkot is seated on his throne set atop a huge bier and then he is burnt till there is nothing but ash and the winds take even that away in the end.

The Rule of Kodig

Now the players watch while the Vingkotlings divide up the lands and wealth of their father. Kodig is high king but Vingkot left the responsibility of this division to Hengall, who most consider just and honest beyond anyone else in the lands. Even under his virtuous hands jealousy and anger simmers.

Kodig gains the south lands and declares all who will follow him to be the Kodigvari and members of the ruling tribe. He says that only the greatest and noblest can be Kodigvari for their blood will rule all of their peoples. Thus the first Kodigvari must win their place by contest.

THE PLAYERS: The players want to be Kodigvari and so must partake of the tests which will tax their skills in war, piety, speaking, leadership, tactics, hunting, rule etc. All of the opponents will be at least 15w3. It should be difficult and taxing but possible to win entry. Kodig is building a strong tribe and wants the best but he needs numbers too.

The Kodigvari

Now the players live among the Kodigvari. They take part in the settlement of their lands, driving off competition and those unworthy of their name. Kodig is a wise and strong king and the Kodigvari flourish under his rule and their own great skills and talents. The children of the Kodigvari are golden, noble and trained in all the skills of rule. Truly they are a blessed people.

Here the players can prove themselves to be great Kodigvari by participating in battles and events that bring them fame. To most of the Kodigvari this is a good time but in truth they are already leaving the Vingkot Age which ended with the death of Vingkot. Now is the coming of the Greater Darkness. From this point things grow worse.

The Saga of Hengall

Hengall worked to keep the Vingkotlings safe from their foes and always led warbands to battle them wherever they appeared. However, the foes grow more numerous as the years went on and many of the tribes suffered to provide him the warriors and resources he needed to keep them safe. Many remembered what they though of as the uneven division of Vingkot's
possessions based on some imagined favouritism of Hengall. Many saw his growing requests for more men and arms as a sign that he was seizing more power for himself.

Finally someone acted. While guesting in the hall of the Ifithtelli, he was poisoned by a hidden foe. Yet the poison didn't kill him for he had the Star Heart. Instead he grew to be a giant of ever greater height and girth. So great was his size that a whole clan could not feed him. Soon after this, he told all not to pursue his poisoner for they would know their error when the darkness came. Then he armed, as did his father, and walked, as did his father to the edge of the world where he disappeared from the sight of the Vingkotlings.

So it was the Hengall learnt that Kinstrife would only aid chaos and by avoiding it he armed himself for his lonely battle.

The Four War on Dara Happa

This will be the last part of the quest for the players. Here they can join in the arguments of the surviving sons of Vingkot as to who is the most worthy of their father. Now that the unifying influence of Hengall is gone, they find ever more ways to argue and struggle. Finally Kodig says
they should wage war on a common foe and see who is the greatest in deeds to prove their superiority once and for all. All the brothers readily agree and muster their armies to battle Dara Happa. The players will be leading warriors in this struggle.

The Dara Happans are weakened by the darkness and soon fall to the combined powers of the Vingkotlings. Several battles and personal contests will show the players worth. Any great victories will give them feats and powers on their return to the material world.

Return

At this point it would be wise for the players to return to their own time for events gather pace and the doom of the Vingkotlings hurries forward.

Gains

Defeats on this quest will have serious consequences. If they survive such defeats, the players will experience permanent skill minuses or reductions on return to the material world as well as a fear of the foe they lost too.

Victory will give them the opposite. Directed skill increases, new skills, bonuses and feats against specific foes etc. If they were gifted with something they may bring it back. To bring an object back from the Other Side should increase the difficulty of the ritual to leave significantly.
Given that the players are carrying items that identify them with a specific time that is not their own, they have to be strong indeed to bring those things back with them.


 

 

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September 23, 2001

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