Realms Personalities : The Heroes of Myth Drannor
by Carrie Bebris (Web)
Fantasy characters lead pretty rough lives. Every time they turn around, it seems someone's trying to take over the world. This time its the Cult of the Dragon, led by an evil sorceress and her dracolich general. The dastardly duo has found a way to control the Mythal, the ancient magic that once protected the ruined elven capital of Myth Drannor. Together they have used the Mythal's power to resurrect the Pool of Radiance, a life-draining menace that Faerûnians think was destroyed years ago. The pool will enable the cult to -- you guessed it -- achieve world domination.
Alas, will the forces of evil never learn? Enter four adventurers who thought they had signed up to keep an eye on the reawakened pool, only to find themselves thrown into the middle of the cult's nefarious plot. Ah, well -- the course of true heroism never did run smooth. Battling dark sorcerers and undead creatures at every turn, the intrepid band must ally with the city's ghostly guardians to restore the corrupted Mythal. Only then can they confront the Cult of the Dragon, its sinister pool, and its diabolical leaders.
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor is the companion novel to the new computer game of the same name. It's also the first novel to feature characters inspired by the new edition of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game. Archmage Kya Mordrayn and her minions wield spells in a manner never before seen in Faerûn. Cult fighters display their superior weaponmastery with lethal precision. The dracolich Pelendralaar puts a terrifying new face on undeath.
But the heroes prove themselves worthy opponents to these and the other villains they encounter. Corran D'Arcey discovers that paladinhood is more than blustering about faith and smiting evil in the name of one's god. Sorceress Ghleanna Stormlake's intuitive approach to magic enables her to adapt her spell-casting as circumstances demand. Durwyn, the brawny fighter, provides quiet strength -- both of arms and of character -- when the party needs it most. Kestrel, the fiercely independent rogue with a sixth sense for danger, discovers she must cooperate with the rest of the party in order to survive. Kestrel, Corran, Ghleanna, and Durwyn begin their journey as talented but untested adventurers. As they confront cult forces and hone their skills, they evolve into formidable champions. They are presented here as they prepare to challenge Mordrayn and Pelendralaar in the climactic final showdown.
Kestrel: Female Human; Rog14; CR 14; Medium-size humanoid (5'); Hit Points 98; Init +4 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 19, touch , flat-footed ; Atk +11/+6 melee, or +14/+9/+3 ranged; AL NG; SV Fort +6, Ref +13, Will +7; Str 13 (+1), Dex 19 (+4), Con 15 (+2), Int 17 (+3), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 14 (+2).
Special: Sneak attack +7d6, evasion, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC, can't be flanked, +2 vs. traps), opportunist, improved evasion.
Skills: Appraise +8, Balance +12, Bluff +8, Climb +15, Concentration +6, Disable Device +14, Decipher Script +8, Escape Artist +8, Gather Information +8, Hide +17, Innuendo +8, Intimidate +9, Jump +8, Listen +17, Move Silently +18, Open Lock +17, Pick Pocket +14, Search +15, Sense Motive +12, Spot +12, Swim +8, Tumble +17, Use Magic Device +7, Use Rope +8.
Feats: Alertness, Ambidexterity, Expertise, Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse (dagger), Weapon Focus (club).
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Halfling, Orc.
Possessions: A gift from Harldain Ironbar (a ghostly lord of Myth Drannor), Kestrel's +3 leather armor enables her to move as freely as if wearing a silk shirt. Her pair of mantle rings can absorb spells up to 4th level. They hold 8 remaining charges; each charge protects the wearer from one spell.
Kestrel carries three ordinary-looking daggers, one in each boot and one in her belt. Loren's Blade, the dagger at her side, is a +1 dagger of returning. She also carries Borea's Blood, a blue crystal shard that functions as a +2 dagger of icy burst. Her more mundane possessions include a telescoping steel club, thieves' tools, a grappling hook, and a pair of weighted dice.
Appearance: Though only twenty-two years old, Kestrel looks closer to thirty due to her rough-and-tumble life. Short and slight of build, her body seldom relaxes -- even in sleep she is on the alert. Her penetrating emerald eyes are quick to assess anyone she encounters. She wears her chestnut-colored hair in a short, boyish cut to keep it out of the way. Kestrel is left-handed but can throw a dagger from both hands with equal skill. She bears a long, thin scar on her left wrist from trying to pick an ensorcelled lock three years ago.
Background: Kestrel was barely a year old when bandits attacked her family's cottage. Her mother managed to hide her in the root cellar moments before the noisy cutthroats burst in, killed her parents, stole what little they could find of value, and burned the dwelling to the ground. Hours later, an old rogue named Quinn heard the baby's hungry cries coming from the smoking rubble. He named the orphaned child Kestrel, for the tiny girl's fierce eyes reminded him of a falcon.
Quinn raised Kestrel as a daughter, at first trying to protect her from the shady side of his life but ultimately teaching her everything he knew. His apprentice proved a talented pupil: When Quinn died in a tavern brawl, the twelve-year-old was well able to fend for herself. After his death, Kestrel drifted from city to city, plying her trade. She and Quinn had often fantasized about accumulating enough wealth to retire from thieving and live a pampered life, and she carried this dream with her as she wandered. Slowly, her stash of treasure grew.
Quinn had often counseled her that there was no honor among thieves, and to beware trusting a fellow rogue. His advice proved sound. When Kestrel was sixteen, she briefly teamed up with a forger named Eaden. Once he won her trust, he framed her for one of his solo jobs and absconded with her life savings while she dealt with the authorities. She resolved to never again leave herself vulnerable to betrayal and has worked alone ever since -- until now. Circumstances beyond Kestrel's control have forced her to team up with Corran, Ghleanna, and Durwyn to complete what she considers a suicide mission. But the more she works to thwart the cult's plans, the more the party's cause becomes her own.
Roleplaying Notes: Kestrel dislikes depending on others and is very slow to trust anyone, especially rogues and arcane spellcasters. Too much knowledge of their general psyche makes her wary of fellow rogues; too little information steers her clear of sorcerers and wizards. She has stayed alive by trusting her five senses. When senses fail, she relies on instinct -- particularly the tingling sensation along her collarbone that warns of serious danger. Years of working alone have made Kestrel impatient with group dynamics. She speaks her mind with little regard for diplomacy and becomes frustrated when her suggestions are overruled. This attitude leads to frequent disagreements with her fellow party members, whom she tends to regard as naive do-gooders. She clashes most often with Corran, whose arrogance (not to mention overt prejudice) gets under her skin like nothing else.
Corran D'Arcey: Male Human, Pal13 [Tyr]; CR 13; Medium-size humanoid (6'); HP 141; Init +2 (Dex); Spd 20 ft.; AC 22, touch , flat-footed ; Atk +17/+12/+7 melee, or +15/+11/+5 ranged; AL LG; SV Fort +11, Ref +6, Will +6; Str 18 (+4), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3), Int 17 (+3), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 13 (+1).
Special: Detect evil, divine grace, lay on hands, divine health, aura of courage, smite evil, remove disease (4/week), turn undead, warhorse, proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields.
Skills: Climb +10, Concentration +12, Diplomacy +14, Heal +17, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +6, Knowledge (religion) +13, Ride +9, Sense Motive +7
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Expertise, Extra Turning, Improved Critical (longsword), Weapon Focus (long-sword), Weapon Focus (warhammer).
Languages: Common, Elven, Orc, Celestial.
Spells (2/2/1) 1st - cure light wounds, divine favor; 2nd - resist elements, shield other; 3rd - prayer.
Possessions: Corran wears dwarven plate and a large, steel +2 shield of Necromantic spell turning that provides added protection from mundane weapons as well as the ability to reflect Necromantic spells back at their caster (as the spell spell turning. The paladin also carries Pathfinder (a +2 longsword) and a holy symbol of Tyr.
Appearance: Though of average build, Corran D'Arcey nevertheless cuts a formidable figure. At twenty-three, he is a man confident of his place in the world and moves about as if he has a right to be there -- wherever "there" is at the moment. His gray eyes can appear cold as steel when battling enemies and dark as storm clouds when provoked to anger, but his whole visage softens when in prayer or ministering to an injured comrade. Over his armor, Corran wears a tabard emblazoned with the scales-and-warhammer symbol of Tyr. A helm usually covers his short dark hair.
Background Corran comes from a long line of paladins in a region that crawls with holy knights. His father (Baron Ethelred D'Arcey of Sarshel) and brothers all serve Tyr, as did countless generations of D'Arceys before them. Corran has thus been indoctrinated from the cradle in the worship of Tyr, the duties of paladinhood, and the nobility of his calling. In fact, he never deliberated over the choice to become a knight of Tyr: It was expected of him, and he accepted the vocation without question. Corran received his military training in the keep of a neighboring noble (Baron Artur Gheinte, whose family traditionally trains D'Arcey heirs, and vice versa). He received his religious instruction from the high priest of the local temple.
After taking his paladin vows at sixteen, he fought in several small campaigns to free Impiltur of encroaching monsters. But he found that wherever he went, he could not escape the long shadows cast by his older brothers, father, and paladin ancestors. He resolved to leave Impiltur for a time in order to prove himself worthy to serve Tyr in his own right. When, in the course of his travels, he heard rumors of the reawakened Pool of Radiance in nearby Phlan, he readily volunteered his sword.
Roleplaying Notes: As the third son of a baron, Corran has always known the privileges of high station. He has never wanted for anything, and -- for all his lofty blustering about charity -- lacks a true understanding of what life is like for those less fortunate. He speaks with the assumption of authority, a manner perceived (often accurately) as bossy or arrogant to those who don't know him well.
Corran holds romanticized notions about honor and what it means to be honorable, but these theories were never put to the test until he arrived in Myth Drannor. Now he finds that the concept of honor must be tempered with the realities of survival, a gradual wakening that causes him no small amount of worry and discomfort. As a paladin, Corran is intolerant of rogues on general principle, a bias that blinds him to Kestrel's value to the party and causes him to clash with her continually. He respects Durwyn's battle skills and Ghleanna's command of magic; they, in turn, have accepted him as the party's de facto leader. His training has made him a talented strategist, and he has the good heart and noble motives a paladin should possess. But in Kestrel's opinion, Corran could use a little humility.
Ghleanna Stormlake: Female half-elf; Sor12; CR 12; Medium-size humanoid (5' 6"); HP 58; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11, touch , flat-footed ; Atk +6/+1 melee, or +7/+2 ranged; AL GG; SV Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +15; Str 11 (+0), Dex 13 (+1), Con 14 (+2), Int 18 (+4), Wis 18 (+4), Cha 17 (+3).
Special: Proficient with all simple weapons.
Skills: Concentration +17, Diplomacy +10, Hide +8, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (elven history) +11, Spellcraft +19, Spot +6.
Feats: Combat Casting, Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Spell Penetration.
Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Halfling, Sylvan, Ancient Elven.
Spells: (6/7/7/7/6/5/3 from the following list): 0 -- daze, detect magic, disrupt undead, ghost sound, light mend, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance; 1st-burning hands, mage armor, magic missile, protection from evil, sleep; 2nd-blindness, flaming sphere, invisibility, knock, web; 3rd-dispel magic, haste, hold person, slow; 4th -- confusion, tear, improved invisibility; 5th -- feeblemind, hold monster; 6th -- globe of invulnerability.
Possessions: The sorceress wears a +3 cloak of resistance (bonus included above) and snakeskin boots that provide her with a +2 bonus to Fortitude saves vs. poison. Her staff absorbs fire and fire-based spells that target her as a rod of absorption. Ghleanna can release such spells from her staff on command within 24 hours of capturing them. Ghleanna also carries several potions of cure serious wounds concocted from blueglow moss, a plant native to Myth Drannor.
Appearance: A slender young woman, Ghleanna has long golden hair, gold-flecked blue eyes, and slightly pointed ears that reveal the moon elf heritage on her mother's side. Though she dons mage robes while in the laboratory or library, she normally wears brown leggings, leather knee-high boots, a loose-fitting shirt, and a dark green cloak when traveling.
Background: Ghleanna Stormlake is the product of a tryst between a human adventurer and a noble elf maiden. Ghleanna's mother, Jesenalae, was a young girl when her own parents died and she went to live with her brother. Adualacathus Stormlake was a hard man with little compassion for his orphaned sister. When Jesenalae reached adolescence, she ran away from the tyranny of her brother's house. She did not get far before stumbling upon a human named Garth, who lay wounded from hunting a magically protected stag in the elven woods.
Jesenalae helped Garth reach a cabin just outside the forest, where she lingered a few days too long nursing his injuries. Garth seduced the kindness-starved girl, then returned to his human wife and child with nary a thank-you-ma'am. Devastated - and desperate when she discovered she was pregnant - Jesenalae returned to her brother's house. He grudgingly took her in, but she received no end of verbal abuse for her folly. Intending to leave as soon as possible after her child was born, she did not reveal that the baby's father was human, for she knew the fact would only enrage Adualacathus further. When Jesenalae died in child-birth, Adualacathus wanted to quietly smother her "half-breed spawn," but his normally timid wife intervened.
He spared the child but warned his wife to never intercede on Ghleanna's behalf again. She didn't. Ghleanna thus grew up unloved and ostracized in her uncle's house. Though she exhibited a gift for magic from an early age, Adualacathus forbade her to develop it. Ghleanna was ordered to tamp down the mystical power that pooled and welled within her, just as she was forced to quell her spirit. Then came the wondrous day when Ghleanna's human half-brother arrived. Garth had made a deathbed confession about the seduction, and his more honorable son had gone in search of the wronged Jesenalae afterward. Instead he discovered Ghleanna, a neglected waif whose natural talents were wasting away with disuse. At his invitation, Ghleanna departed with her half-brother and never looked back.
Ghleanna's brother knew little of the arcane arts himself but arranged for her to meet a wizard friend of his. The mage, recognizing an unusually intuitive element in Ghleanna's magical talent, brought the girl to the attention of Elminster. The famous wizard took her on as an apprentice to both instruct and study her. Under Elminster's guidance, Ghleanna has learned how to channel her powers. But fully mastering them is something she must figure out for herself, for her instinctive method of spellcasting -- without spellbooks or scrolls -- lies beyond the direct experience of even the great mage of Shadowdale.
Roleplaying Notes: Because she grew up in a hostile house where she could never do anything right, Ghleanna often falls into her much-practiced role of mediator -- trying to placate both sides in disagreements that arise within the party. Her childhood isolation has also made her an introvert, though she isn't afraid to state an opinion when she believes she has one worth sharing. She regards the fellow orphan Kestrel as a bit of a kindred spirit, Durwyn as a gentle (but puissant) giant, and Corran as a man whose goodness is surpassed only by her half-brother's.
Durwyn: Male Human; Ftr11; CR 11; Medium-size humanoid (6' 7"); Hit Points 151; Init +0 (Dex); Spd 20 ft.; AC 18, touch , flat-footed ; Atk +16/+11/+5 melee, or +11/+6/+1 ranged; AL CG; SV Fort +11, Ref +3, Will +3; Str 20 (+5), Dex 10 (+0), Con 18 (+4), Int 9 (-1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 14 (+2).
Special: Proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields.
Skills: Climb +13, Jump +6, Ride +5, Spot +7
Feats: Cleave, Expertise, Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Great Cleave, Improved Critical, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (battleaxe), Weapon Focus (light crossbow), Weapon Focus (shortbow), Weapon Specialization (battleaxe).
Possessions: Durwyn wears magic armor (+3 chainmail) given to him by Harldain Ironbar. His weapon of choice is the battleaxe, but he is also an excellent marksman with his short bow. Along with his ordinary ammunition, he carries three bronze-tipped arrows with unusual carvings.
Appearance: Durwyn is a large man with wide shoulders and muscular limbs. He wears his coarse blond locks tied back and trimmed short on top to keep hair from falling in his eyes during battle. His square jaw gives way to a neck thickly corded with muscles. During battle, his eyes reflect fierce determination, but in times of peace they reveal kindness unexpected in one whose body seems sculpted for brute force.
Background: Durwyn grew up on a farm just outside of Phlan. The eighth of eleven children, he was raised as much by his older siblings as by his parents. The bustling, noisy household was often brimming with laughter and always full of love, but there was never quite enough food on the table or enough patches for the threadbare hand-me-downs into which young Durwyn struggled to squeeze his rapidly-growing body.
To ease the strain of such a large family, one of Durwyn's older brothers left home for the "big city" and joined Phlan's city guard. When Durwyn turned thirteen, he followed suit. Though young and untrained, the burly teen exhibited such impressive raw strength that the guard captain readily accepted him and arranged for proper weapons training. Durwyn proved a skilled fighter, excelling in the use of the battleaxe and shortbow. In his five years as a guard, he has earned the notice of his commanding officers for unmatched loyalty and discipline. He competently and unquestioningly carries out orders, and volunteers for tough assignments with alacrity. But he has never been considered for a promotion: Durwyn is a follower, not a leader. Even he recognizes that he lacks the quick thinking necessary for crisis command. Until his adventures in Myth Drannor, he was happy to simply do what he was told and give half his pay to his parents each week.
When the Pool of Radiance returned, Durwyn's commanding officer assigned him to guard it. But the warrior would have volunteered for the duty anyway. While he is too young to remember the events of nearly thirty years ago, frightening tales of the pool's first appearance live on in local legend. Despite personal risk, Durwyn will do anything to protect his home and family from the encroaching evil.
Roleplaying Notes: Easy to dismiss at first, Durwyn is a person one comes to appreciate more upon better acquaintance. By his own admission he contributes mostly muscle to the party, but he offers some surprisingly good suggestions at times -- while others endlessly debate strategy, he comes out with a simple "Why don't we just do this?" solution. Durwyn has a good heart. He wants to do the right thing but isn't always sure what that is. He is unwaveringly loyal to his companions and trusts them to do most of the thinking. When discord arises, he finds himself torn, wanting to follow what all sound like clever ideas to him. He admires Corran for his military prowess and his command capabilities; Ghleanna's magical powers impress him beyond words. Initially intimidated by Kestrel's sharp tongue, he soon grew to admire her quick wits and keen senses.