Young Kingdoms Adventures is a supplement filled with story ideas specifically intended for Elric! or Stormbringer Fifth Edition. A listing of all of these background pages can be found at the Young Kingdoms Adventures Main Page.
This set of adventures is set in the Young Kingdom's northern continent. Chaosium's Atlas of the Young Kingdoms, Volume 1: The Northern Continent provides a wide variety of information on the lands of the Northern Continent, including: Vilmir; Ilmiora; the Weeping Waste; Nadsokor; Org and the Forest of Troos; the Sighing Desert; and Tanelorn. The Young Kingdoms Adventures articles on this area include a general article on Ilmiora as well as more information on the city-state of Bakshaan there and an article on the duchy of Rignariom in Vilmir.
The NPCs, Locations and Items in this article are intended to be set in the city-state of Rignariom, in the country of Vilmir (see Atlas pg. 22-23).
Like all of Vilmir's cities, Rignariom is a place of lawful order. It was once the capitol of the entire country, and its history is a honorable one. But, the order of Rignariom is slowly starting to break down; refuges from the growing wasteland, Dinner-of-Dust, line the roads leading in to Rignariom, and gradually trickle into the city. Grey Defenders stand watch more vigilantly than ever. Heretics preach in the market. Slowly the lawful strictures of four hundred years are descending into chaos. See Atlas of the Young Kingdoms Vol. 1 pg. 22-23 for more complete notes on the Duchy of Rignariom, with the city itself highlighted on the last page. See Atlas pg. 27-33 for notes on Vilmirian society in general.
NPCs of Note
This section includes notes on a minor NPC located with Rignariom who can help provide interesting adventures hooks. Also take note of the following NPCs detailed in Atlas: Prince Hervis (pg. 34) and Estele Regardus (pg. 35).
Thirteen generations ago Roclin Silverblade's ancestor fought in Vil Valario's army, to help drive out the Melnibonean oppressors. After the rebellion ended he settled in Vil Valario's new capitol, Rignarioum, and served as an honorable Grey Defender. As did his son, and his son, and his son. Even when the capitol moved to Jadmar in 106 Y.K. the Silverblades stayed in Rignarioum and each son pledged his sword to the Grey Defenders when he came of age. So the tradition has passed down to Roclin Silverblade.
Roclin served well in the Grey Defenders for eight years, rising to the rank of Tensword. Then came the Night of Black Sands when a score inhuman creatures entered the city from the direction of Dinner-of-Dust and wreaked havoc among the populace. Roclin was gravely hurt fighting one of these creatures, and his wound was infected with the dark sand that flecked the skin of those monstrosities. The wound took months to heal, and even after the physical hurts were gone Roclin began to notice changes in his mind.
At first Roclin could resist the urges that came upon him, but they grow ever stronger, especially at night. He has found himself drawn to certain secret ceremonies to the chaos god Slortar the Old. He has found himself participating in debaucheries, disfiguring innocents, and even aiding in murder. Roclin is completely aware of his actions but he fears too much for his life, and for his family's reputation, to do anything about the doom that has set up him. The recent spate of suicides among warriors who fought on the Night of Black Sands implies that others do not have the same qualms.
Description: A robust looking-man in his mid-twenties. Always clean-shaven and neat, Roclin appears a pillar of the community. Roclin's brown hair and eyes would make him indistinguishable in a crowd if not for the neat uniform of a Tensword that he typically wears. Several decorations for bravery are sewn on to it. Chaos 39*, Balance 7, Law 37 * Increases by 1 a week. The further it exceeds Roclin's Law score, the more deeply he falls into the thrall of Slortar the Old. STR 14 CON 14 SIZ 13 INT 9 POW 10 DEX 12 APP 10 HP 14 Damage Bonus: +1d4 Weapons: Silverblade** 90%, Damage 1D8+3+1D4 Small Shield 90%, Damage KB+1D3+1D4, 20 hp Dagger 75%, Damage 1D4+2+1D4 ** A family heirloom. This finely made broadsword normally does 1D8+3+DB damage. Against demons it does 1D8+3+1D8+DB. The blade of this sword is extremely reflective. Armor: Leather & Rings 1D6+1 Spells: none Skills: Bargain 40%, Dodge 52%, Hide 43%, Insight 59%, Lead Troops 54%, Move Quietly 33%, Oratory 57%, Search 75%, Track 24%, Young Kingdoms 27%
- Roclin becomes obsessive about destroying the handful of other people who share his affliction but have opted to live. He hires the adventurers to slay certain "chaos cultists" in the cities. Most of these are indeed people doing despicable things, but Roclin wrongfully assumes that everyone wounded on the Night of Black Sands was infected by this chaotic disease, and thus some of the people he wishes killed are actually innocent.
- Rightfully believing that Dinner-of-Dust is more than just the result of mismanaged crops, Roclin hires adventurers to go into the area. Deep in the wasteland they will find a portal to a chaotic realm. However even getting to the portal will be difficult, for chaos monstrosities are moving into the area of Dinner-of-Dust, among them the infectious Black Sand Men, and the Sand Giants (see below). And afterward the adventurers will need to determine a way to collapse the portal.
- Eventually the other infected men will be slain, and Roclin will be left alone to practice his ever-increasing atrocities. The city government of Rignorium will hire the adventurers to find the culprit behind a particular gruesome slaying in the Nobles District. What will they do when they find a Grey Defender is the culprit? Will city officials believe them? Roclin will be so corrupt by this point that he will not be above using all of his power, reputation, and prestige to defeat those who are attempting to unveil him.
Places of Note
As is noted in Atlas, Rignorium was the capitol of Vilmir until 106 Y.K. Thus it is an place of old and important history. Beyond the large Ducal Palace and the associated Nobles' District, Atlas also makes specific note of the Temple of Goldar (p. 23) and Valarion Park (p. 23). Special note should also be made of the Dinner-of-Dust (p. 26) a wasteland lying near to the city of Rignorium. Below is detailed one more place of interest in Rignorium: The Vision Chamber of Vil Valario.
The Vision Chamber of Vil Valario
Some histories report that Vil Valario was mad, but in truth he was only touched by the gods, acting out their desires upon the Earth. He often had visions sent to him by the Lords of Law, but they were erratic and irregular until Vil Valario constructed his capitol in Rignariom. Deep below the city Vil Valario made a Vision Chamber, and it was the perfect place for communing with his gods.
The Vision Chamber lies far beneath the Ducal Palace, which was in turn built atop parts of Vil Valario's original "palace" (which was small and cramped, in honesty). Most passages down to the chamber are unused, even bricked up, but a few paths to the chamber still exist, taking tortuous and labyrinthine routes. Some of these passages end in the Ducal Palace, while others emerge into the basements of houses in the Nobles' District. No living man knows of the Vision Chamber or its properties.
The actual Vision Chamber is shaped as a perfectly regular pyramid, with a three-sided base. Each edge is precisely nine meters. There are three entrances to the pyramid, one in the center of each triangular wall. The fourth triangle, forming the floor, is unbroken. The walls and floor of the Chamber are all made of odd, shining metals, not native to the Young Kingdoms. A metallurgist could determine that each wall is made from a subtly different substance.
Properties of the Vision Chamber:
- The chamber has abnormal gravity, abruptly heavier and lighter in different parts of the pyramid. Any physical exertion will require Dexterity rolls every round; failure indicates the round was wasted, and with a failed Luck roll the individual takes 1d3 damage from striking a wall or floor.
- When an individual achieves an unconcious state in this room, gravity's hold on him weakens then disappears. The individual slowly floats to the precise middle of the room and becomes the focus of all of its energies. This usually is the result of meditation (a skill), but may also result from sleep or excessive damage. If the individual is awakened too quickly (always the case with sleep; never the case with meditation) he will fall, taking 1d6 damage.
- An unconscious person becomes the focus of the energies of the pyramid, and thus the focus of the thoughts of the Lords of Law. If he successfully rolls Luck he is visited with a vision straight from the White lords. It is most frequently a quest or a geas, but may also be a piece of necessary information. This increases the individual's Law association by 1 point. If the individual chooses to ignore a quest/geas he is cursed by the Lords of Law; treat his POW as -3 for all future Luck rolls. If he chooses to attempt it and succeeds, his law association increases by another 2 points, and the Lords of Law may decide to reward him further.
- The unearthly metals of the pyramid are drawn from four different planes of law. Each metal could be used as a necessary component in a spell to open a gate to its plane of origination; a spell would need to be found on its own, but once it was located that same spell could be used on each of the four metals. The metals may have other Lawful properties as the gamemaster desires. Taking the metal from the pyramid will destroy its properties of Vision.
- A noble in Rignorium is hiring adventurers to explore the strange hole in his basement. It leads through the labyrinth of old passages under the palace, and eventually to the Vision Chamber of Vil Valario. Adventurers might accidently stumble into the Ducal Palace, and be forced to explain themselves with their blades, could stumble across old traps left by Vil Valario, or might discover ancient items, creatures of Law, or Melnibonean relics.
- A noble of Rignorium discovers the Vision Chambers and decides it is a perfect punishment for criminals, for it forces them to do Good Works. For whatever reason the adventurers are thrown into the chambers. Afterward they are faced with a set of quests for law. Alternatively, they may turn to the Lords of Chaos in order to try and break their geases.
- A vision in the chamber portrays Vil Valario slain by crony of the young church of Law in Vilmir and demands he be avenged.
Items of Note
The Regalia of Vil Valario
In the middle of Valarion Park stands a statue of Vil Valario. Only the Duke and the most trusted nobles know that, buried just a few feet below that statue, are ancient, historical artifacts, the Regalia of Vil Valario: his Sword of Smiting, his Whip of Scourging, and his blood-red Circlet of Rulership. The Circlet was taken from the dead Valario's own brow, and the Sword from his weapon belt. The triad was completed when an old sage came to Rignorium bearing the very Whip which Valario had once used to scourge himself when he was a hermit. Using great rituals of Law, these three items were buried beneath the statue, to bring strength, penitence, and righteousness to the city of Rignorium.
Unknown to any the "sage" was a spy for Melnibone, and the whip he bore was in actuality an artifact of his masters.
Properties of the Regalia:
Great rites of Law were conducted when the Regalia were buried, and as a result each item of the triad exudes an influence over the entire town. The actual effect of the items on any one person are minor, but on the population as a whole they have a great impact.
- The Sword of Smiting gives strength to the people of Rignorium. It increases their bravery, and makes them unafraid to face danger. In addition, it makes them indomitable, able to bow beneath even the worst burden without breaking.
- The Circlet of Rulership gives justice to the people of Rignorium. Nobles decide rightly when peasants approach them for justice; peasants behave lawfully.
- The Melnibonean Whip of Torture gives cruelty to the people of Rignorium. While the people of Rignorium are just, due to the Circlet's influence, they are also uncaring and cruel -- as proscribed by the law.
A great deal of the power of these items is bound up in the rituals that interred them, but they still have some power of their own. If the items were moved elsewhere they would retain their effects, but at a much reduced level. The wielder of any item and his companions would definitely be influenced by its aura. If the items were interred elsewhere, they might affect a city block or so, but not an entire city unless the rituals of Law were learned and conducted.
- The adventurers learn of a great "treasure" beneath the statue of Vil Valario in Rignorium. How exactly do they acquire these sacred relics, hidden in the middle of a busy city? Further, if the items are recovered what do the adventerers do with them, and what affect do they have on the adventurers?
- The nobles of Rignorium have learned of the malignant effect of the whip. It must be utterly destroyed in order to forever remove its taint from the city. Adventurers will be hired to take it to a certain oasis deep in the Sighing Desert. It must first be cleansed in that oasis, and then burned, all while certain lawful chants are sung over it.
- Having destroyed the Melnibonean Whip of Torture, the nobles now seek Vil Valario's true Whip of Scourging, for with only two items of power the magic that once influenced the city is weakened considerably. Unfortunately, though the Whip still exists, it lies in a treasure chamber in Melnibone.
Creatures of Note
Though some blame the wasteland, Dinner-of-Dust, upon bad farming, drought, overgrazing, or even goats, this is untrue. Through they would be surprised by the revelation, the clergy of Vilmir speak the truth when they say Dinner-of-Dust is the result of Chaotic magics. A hole exists in the middle of the desert, a gaping wound in the fabric of reality. It leads to another plane, one of chaos ascendant, and that is the true source of this wasteland. Many creatures seep through from that other place. The Black Sand Men have already been mentioned, but much worse lies beyond the portal, waiting to get in.
Dust Giants, Monstrosities from Another Plane
At first it seemed just an eddy in the growing sandstorm, a patch of solid black outlined in grey, but then it began to take on distinctive features, utterly inhuman. It was a great giant, made of sand, and as it lurched forward a dry thirst fell upon the entire camp...
--The Chronicle of the Black Sword
The Dust Giant is a powerful entity from a chaos plane of dry, parched deserts, utterly without water. It is not unique, but the number of Dust Giants is thankfully small. They seem uncontrollable even to the Lords of Chaos, and thus the few of these creatures that have stumbled upon the Young Kingdoms have done so utterly by accident.
At a distance the Dust Giant appears as a dark patch of sand. Since a sandstorm tends to surround it, it is typically hard to make out. The form of the Giant is inhuman. Its main body is a barrel-like torso. A varying number of long limbs emerge from both the bottom and top of this torso, roughly forming arms and legs. Sensory apparatus is scattered chaotically across the Giant's torso, orifices and lenses giving the impression of eyes, noses, and ears, though none appearing precisely like their human equivalent. They tend to move about the Giant's changing, sandy exterior. The Giant has no mouth; it draws the watery life from people with its tentacles.
Though Dust Giants are not mindless they are quite single-minded. Their prime desire while in the Young Kingdoms seems to be to collect water: from lakes, rivers, and even the bodies of men.
Dust Giants, Single-Minded Destroyers Character. Rolls Averages STR 10D8 45 CON 10D8 45 SIZ 10D8 45 INT 1D8 4-5 POW 5D8 22-23 DEX 2D8 9 MOV lumber-2D8 av. HP 45* * Adventurers may attack individual tentacles rather than the main body. Each has 5 HP, but damage done to them does not hurt the main body (the Sand Giant just regrows them). Still, this may free a grappled victim. Av. Damage Bonus: +5D6 Weapons**: Grapple 50%, hold for next round Suck Water 100%, only if held - drains 1D4 CON, which is restored at 1 point per day if the victim survives ** At any time a Dust Giant will have 2D8 "arms". Each one may attack, though no more than two may attack any individual foe. Armor: may only be damaged by magical weapons or weapons of law. Against them, has 8 points of armor. Skills: Sense Water 75%, Track 50% Magical Powers: SANDSTORM. At all times the Sand Giant is surrounded by a great sandstorm. This cuts visibility almost to zero, reducing all visual-related skills (including combative ones) by half. In addition, the sand may get into delicate items and destroy them, at the gamemaster's whim -- items of law are particular vulnerable due to their intricacy.