The Coming of the Zioth

Huerten City

With ten thousand people and a disproportionately large military, Huerten City is the largest and most powerful population center in Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
. Baron Huerten lives in the center of the city, in his castle, the outer walls of which long ago crumbled to ruin.

Places of Interest

The Andan Huerten Trader's Lodge

The Lodge is an upscale inn, tavern and resteraunt owned by the baron and patronized by the more wealthy merchants in the city. It charges several times what other inns charge, but it's still very popular and extremely large. The Lodge sits right next to the lake, and is stilted six feet above the ground to protect it from flooding. The main support of the Lodge comes from an enormous Ostmark Oak rooted fifty feet into the ground, a gift from Diure LVIII. The Lodge was destroyed during the earthquake of 10/8/100188plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 88: Uyithlyaw's Prophecy

The heavy heat of the morning became more oppressive as the day wore on, then it slacked off, and by evening was replaced by a thickening fog. The Winter Fair and Festival went on. As stands and shops closed, people and their money moved inside, where all manner of entertainment could be found. Sir Jerenil's First Knight and the baron's Trader's Lodge, of course, had the best, and both had hired people to act like patrons of the competitor and then shout out things like,
.

The First Knight Inn

The First Knight Inn, commonly called “Sir Jerenil” after its owner and operator, is the Lodge's main competition. Neither Jerenil nor any of his ancestors is actually the first knight of Huerten, but his inn is well known for its quality, and the performers it regularly hires, and the large dancing space in the center of the tavern area. During holidays and other celebrations, Jerenil tends bar in his armor. The First Knight is less expensive than the Lodge, but still charges double what most other inns charge, and it has large, expensive suites and rare foods to compete for the highest class of patron. The inn is larger than the Lodge, with almost a hundred rooms. Most of the year, the inn is largely empty, but Jerenil makes up for it during the major trading seasons.

Description

Turn 58plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 58: The Journey to Huerten

As soon as their escort turned back to Osander River Village, the party mounted their horses and rode on toward Huerten. The sky was clear and bright, what was visible through the trees, and well before noon, the snow melted. The air was still cold though, and smelled of a winter that was more than a month off.

It took quite some time to find the First Knight. Both pairs got lost once or twice based on incomplete directions, and many people they asked had not heard of the inn. Finally, someone responded with “Oh, you mean 'Sir Jerenil!',” and directed them to the right place. When Ardithplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Ardith

Ardith's long hair is tied in a bun with cords dyed with berry juice, two each of red, blue and black. She wears an unbleached linen shift and bodice, a deerskin jerkin, and low brown boots. Ardith always wears the Sign of Andritha on a chain around her neck. The Sign is a three inch circle of copper with a large onyx in the center, obviously quite heavy, but Ardith wears it with the ease of one long accustomed to the burden.
and Koriscaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Korisca Valym

Korisca would be a beautiful woman if she bathed regularly. Most of the time, her face is soot-covered and her hands are grimy. Her blue eyes stand out as the only colorful feature of her face. Her blond hair is full of dirt and ragged, and is never combed neatly. Even after bathing, which never cleans her completely, she seems to draw the dirt back onto her skin within hours. Korisca is slim and light-footed. She wears a good cloak and breaches, soft boots and a vest. Two knife s…
arrived at the inn, Kreemon and Kayplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Kay Wanderwit

Kay is an attractive, eighteen year old girl. She has dark brown hair, tanned skin and hazel eyes. The bow she carries is of a very fine quality. Kay wears brown calfskin breeches, and a green wool vest. When traveling, she wears brown deerskin breeches and a red linen vest. Her old cloak is black, and made of fine but worn wool. She has become a close friend of
were already there, and had been waiting for half an hour.

When the door swung closed behind them, Ardithplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Ardith

Ardith's long hair is tied in a bun with cords dyed with berry juice, two each of red, blue and black. She wears an unbleached linen shift and bodice, a deerskin jerkin, and low brown boots. Ardith always wears the Sign of Andritha on a chain around her neck. The Sign is a three inch circle of copper with a large onyx in the center, obviously quite heavy, but Ardith wears it with the ease of one long accustomed to the burden.
and Koriscaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Korisca Valym

Korisca would be a beautiful woman if she bathed regularly. Most of the time, her face is soot-covered and her hands are grimy. Her blue eyes stand out as the only colorful feature of her face. Her blond hair is full of dirt and ragged, and is never combed neatly. Even after bathing, which never cleans her completely, she seems to draw the dirt back onto her skin within hours. Korisca is slim and light-footed. She wears a good cloak and breaches, soft boots and a vest. Two knife s…
were struck suddenly by silence. They'd gotten used to the noise of Huerten, and even such a large inn, at three o'clock, was not well attended. A tall man in his fifties with broad shoulders tended the bar, and nearby, standing on display, was a well-polished suit of plate armor, which wore an elaborately-hilted sword at its waist, and a shield strapped to its wrist, emblazoned with the form of a snake twisted around the perimeter of an ellipse.

The common room was spacious, and was full of empty tables, including two long rectangular tables and a large number of round ones for smaller groups. Only four of them were currently occupied, including one of the long tables, which had a single man sitting at its end. The middle of the common room devoid of furniture, possibly for use as a dancing space, and a raised platform took up most of one side of the room.

Description

Turn 82plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 82: Johannes's Adventure: The Knights of Huerten

Mindolpha led the way back to the Maelbourg-Huerten road. Based on the angle they took, Johannes realized that Uyithlyaw's home was in Marchhanbar, a politically insignificant barony surrounded on three sides by the barony of Huerten. They continued through the woods for the rest of the day, cutting in at a sharp angle relative to the road, and made camp when it started to get dark.

The First Knight Inn, popularly known as “Sir Jerenil,” was still serving dinner when they arrived, though it was quite late. A popular place for travellers and merchants, it often kept lights on, music playing and food cooking until midnight or later. Tonight, the entertainment was a woodwind quintet and a frail-looking woman with a high-pitched, sweet voice. The music had an airy, mystical quality, and often gave the impression it was telling a story. Mineasia was entranced by the music, the people, the smells and sounds. There was more going on in this room late at night than in her entire village most of the time.

Other inns

Bull's Tavern is a small place with a dirty common room but nice bedrooms and good service. Second Inn is the oldest inn in the city. There are many inns owned by knights who need to make a living somehow (Sir Wendal's Inn, Sir Greveran's Inn, Sir Uruni's Inn etc).

The Castle

Description

Turn 59plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 59: Kreemon and the Second Clerk (Kreemon only)

Kreemon headed for the Baron's keep, making a few subtle inquiries along the way about the patrols outside the city. He asked several people, but soon realized that neither the patrols nor the group they sought were common knowledge. That pursuit at an end, he began to formulate a plan for how he would deal with the message.

The castle was not difficult to find. Its towers, which rose nearly as high as the spires of the Temples of Andrithaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
, could be seen from almost anywhere in town, even in the moonlight. From a distance, the castle was quite impressive, but when Kreemon approached the outer walls, he was disappointed. The castle was far larger than Baron Wently's – no, Baron Velhelm's – in Elgony, and at some point in the past it had no doubt been a great fortress, capable of housing hundreds of townspeople against a siege. Now, however, the outer wall was in a pitiful state of disrepair. The huge stones out of which it had been constructed were broken up, making the wall easy to scale. Out of the cracks grew moss, grasses, weeds and even small shrubs. What had once been a wide moat was filled in, though it dipped slightly downward, and a drawbridge was permanently lowered over it. One of its chains was rusted through, and the broken red metal swayed gently back and forth in the breeze, while more of the chain lay in a pool on the ground.

The Zioth Institute

The Zioth Instituteplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Zioth Institute

After he was rewarded by the baron, Sahlman decided to set up an institute to study the Zioth. This started in turn 92 and turn 93.

Locations to choose from

These were the places Sahl investigated for the Institute. Sahlman chose #4.

* Farmland as far from the rift as possible. This will likely be small, expensive, and require a lot of repair. It's certainly doable, and might pay in the end. Farmhouses will generally be from one to four miles from town, the farther ones…
was founded by Sahlman el Musafirplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Sahlman El Musafir

Sahlman's hair is blue-black and graying. His skin is dark and weathered. A huge handle-bar mustache sweeps down to cover much of his lower face, and Sahl is always careful to keep it properly groomed. He is generally very particular about his clothing, equipment and appearance. Sahlman wears the desert robes of his homeland, with headgear that blocks out the sun and hangs over his neck. He wears light trousers and high hard boots, and when his robes are wet, the hard links o…
as a place to research the Zioth and ways to prevent it. More...

The Rift

In turn 88plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 88: Uyithlyaw's Prophecy

The heavy heat of the morning became more oppressive as the day wore on, then it slacked off, and by evening was replaced by a thickening fog. The Winter Fair and Festival went on. As stands and shops closed, people and their money moved inside, where all manner of entertainment could be found. Sir Jerenil's First Knight and the baron's Trader's Lodge, of course, had the best, and both had hired people to act like patrons of the competitor and then shout out things like,
, a devastating earthquake hit the city, which opened a rift in the earth two miles away (discovered in turn 90plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 90: The Rift

The rising sun illuminated a new Huerten. Fog burned away to reveal destruction unimagined the night before. What had been gaudily decorated streets were now piles of rubble, where not one house in two still stood. What had been packed fairgrounds were now a chaos of wood and canvas.
). Between then and turn 100plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 100: A Disappointing Conclusion (The game fell apart at this point, so this story line has come to an end. Read on for Ziedon's adventure!)

Teulen, Ker and Daluar spent the next couple hours scouting the halls for sh'kurdaru. What they found was promising in some ways, at least. Adult sh'kurdaru came through this area only rarely, perhaps once in half an hour at most. The downside was that they weren't part of a regular patrol, so their comings and goings would be unpredictable. If they moved quickly and quietly, they could get from the low baraderres' area to the shaft leading up to the high baraderres in about fifteen minutes. Doi…
, the Sh'kurdaruplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Sh'kurdaru

In turn 88, a rift opened up in the earth near Huerten City. Creatures were found inside, which could eat a man alive before he even knew what was happening.

The creatures move like lizards, and are extremely sensitive to bright light. Sh'kurdaru think only of food. They sneak up on their prey, and emit an anesthetizing poison through their skin and mouth, numbing the skin and muscle of their prey, and eat them alive before their prey are even aware of the attack.
and Baradarres were found living inside.

Important People

The Second Clerk of Huerten

In 859, the region now known as Huerten was re-conquered by Diure LVIII and enfeifed to the first Baron Huerten. The baron was given this land along with the added responsibilities of caring for a good many knights and soldiers of Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
, and closely monitoring the southern border. In the later capacity, the baron received the additional title of Royal Clerk, or First Clerk of Huerten.

The Second Clerk of Huerten is second in power only to the baron. He is responsible for assigning knightly duties, collecting taxes, reading legal documents before passing them on to the baron, and maintaining the system of law in the city and barony.

Priests

Gisald: Unassuming and unambitious, Gisald, High Priest of Huerten (named after His Eminence Gisald the Holy) leaves politics to the baron. He is on good terms with the baron.

In his thirty years as high priest (Gisald is nearly seventy), he has done little of note. He's encouraged the passing of several laws restricting Morenthiansplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Morenth

Morenth's theology revolves around the simple idea that the entire universe belongs to him, and humanity is barely worthy to bask in his radiant presence. Those who refuse to acknowledge this simple, self-evident fact heretics, and deserve punishment or death. There is no repentance for heretics
, and for the four years from 978-982, he advocated registration of Jarramites, Zahiransplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Zahira

by Diane Hutton and the DM

The Common View

Zahira is seen as a dangerous cult that welcomes the Zioth and embraces death. It is led by mysterious druid-like entities known as “True Zahirans.” There is quite a bit of legend surrounding these druids, such as their ability to appear out of nowhere, or the fact that they all look alike.
, Durramanians and other non-Andrithansplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
in the city. This eventually became too expensive a law to maintain, so the baron and priest jointly signed the document that repealed it in 982. He has supervised the construction of one and a half temples (the second one, due to a critical flaw in its architecture, collapsed and was replaced by a courthouse). Ironically, he opposed a law promoting increased taxes on Jarramiteplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Cult of Jarram

This mercantile religion is centered in Duerstadt, capitol of Rang, but Jarramites can be found in many major cities, where they focus their efforts on money-lending and trade. This is not just where opportunity has landed them; Jarram is known as the Merchant God
-sold goods, and generally opposes restrictions on trade for religious reasons. In 991, he granted the title of priest to the baron's second son.

Gisald is responsible for a small group of a dozen knights, who, while officially under his command, spend most of their time serving under others. Gisald has become less active in recent years, delegating much of his responsibility to lesser priests.

Barburan: Barbruan, a priest of the Fighter, takes care of most of the administrative details of the priesthood in Huerten. He arranges correspondance with priests in other cities, and, on rare occasion, with Duerstadtplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The City of Duerstadt

Duerstadt has been the capital of Rang since the reign of Diure XXXVIII (729-749). It is a major trading port on the Ice Sea (so called for the occasional iceberg that shows up therein). The Ice Sea separates Rang from the Skendu Islands to the north. Although the harbor of Duerstadt isn't threatened by pack ice in the winter, the various Skendui ports are, and the distance between the north coast of
. While he would have little to do with a court case, his church is known for detailing certain stories of the Battle of the Magicsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Battle of the Magics (577)

Belazan: The conflict dates back to the beginning of time, and has little to do with magic. I imagine the first men to craft arrow heads out of stone were feared and hated by their enemies, and the weapons themselves viewed with suspicion. Nothing changed when mages began to hire themselves out to princes and kings. The kingdom with more power was hated, but that hatred couldn't target an entire kingdom. To do so would be to admit inferiority. Instead, the weapons…
, where priestly magic is said to have been used.

Meretier: Meretier might have something to do with the courts, as he was a judge before being ordained as a priest of the Lover. Dispite the aspect he works for, he's not known to be particularly sympathetic to anyone.

Yunwel: Yunwel, priest of the healer, replaced the current Healer of Dunweigplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Yunim / Dunweig

by Arnell, edited by the DM

Yunim

Yunim is (in the year 577) a cosmopolitan trade center in the region of Meheiral, run by the Orithoran religion, led centrally from the great Temple of Justice. It is on the edge of Yunim Lake, making fishing one of its principal industries. The
when the older man became a high priest. He is in favor of teaching all the old stories, whether they be seen as truth or legend.

Criminal Law in Huerten

By Karl Schinke (or was it Nathan Weismuller?) and the DM.

Finding a Judge

The most important cases are presided over by the First or Second Clerk of Huerten. Other cases are presided over by various local judges, many of whom are knights or other gentry. Typical fees amount to 5at per trial per day for a local judge, 40at per trial per day for the Second Clerk, and 60at per trial per day for the First Clerk. Bribing a judge is a crime punishable by death, which is not to say it doesn't happen. The loser of the case is required to pay 80% of the judge's fee, while the winner pays 20%.

Finding an Advocate

An advocate (lawyer) is a trained and licenced orator who can make your case before a judge. Fees range from 1at per day all the way up to 50at per day.

Finding a Court

The judge usually decides on the location of the trial. The cost of the trial, excepting the fees of the judge and advocate, is paid in equal share by the defendent and prosecutor. This usually amounts to 2at per day. An additional 2ag per day is paid by each of the accused and accusors.

Treatment of Suspected Criminals

Guilty until proven innocent is the policy of all courts in Huerten. Because of this, it is not unusual for defendents to be imprisoned or even tortured for information before the trial. Clergy are all but immune to torture, since the baron must receive special permission from the High Priest of Huerten to engage in such an act with a priest.

The Trial

The crimes and standard punishments are listed by the bailiff. Then the prosecutor, who may be a proffessional advocate or any other person of the accusor's chosing, makes his case. Then the defendent, a proffessional advocate or any other person of the defendent's chosing makes his case. The prosecutor gets a final statement, while the defendent does not. At any point during the trial, evidence or witnesses may be brought.

After all testimony has been heard, the judge either makes an immediate judgement, or retires to deliberate. During deliberation, the defendent is held in custody, often in a jail cell.

With fair regularity, the spokesman for the defendent has been tried after the trial for bearing false testimony. For this reason, it can be difficult to find someone to defend a case.

Description

Turn 58plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Turn 58: The Journey to Huerten

As soon as their escort turned back to Osander River Village, the party mounted their horses and rode on toward Huerten. The sky was clear and bright, what was visible through the trees, and well before noon, the snow melted. The air was still cold though, and smelled of a winter that was more than a month off.

In the early afternoon of the eighteenth, Ardithplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Ardith

Ardith's long hair is tied in a bun with cords dyed with berry juice, two each of red, blue and black. She wears an unbleached linen shift and bodice, a deerskin jerkin, and low brown boots. Ardith always wears the Sign of Andritha on a chain around her neck. The Sign is a three inch circle of copper with a large onyx in the center, obviously quite heavy, but Ardith wears it with the ease of one long accustomed to the burden.
, Kayplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Kay Wanderwit

Kay is an attractive, eighteen year old girl. She has dark brown hair, tanned skin and hazel eyes. The bow she carries is of a very fine quality. Kay wears brown calfskin breeches, and a green wool vest. When traveling, she wears brown deerskin breeches and a red linen vest. Her old cloak is black, and made of fine but worn wool. She has become a close friend of
, Kreemon, and Koriscaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Korisca Valym

Korisca would be a beautiful woman if she bathed regularly. Most of the time, her face is soot-covered and her hands are grimy. Her blue eyes stand out as the only colorful feature of her face. Her blond hair is full of dirt and ragged, and is never combed neatly. Even after bathing, which never cleans her completely, she seems to draw the dirt back onto her skin within hours. Korisca is slim and light-footed. She wears a good cloak and breaches, soft boots and a vest. Two knife s…
arrived at the gates of Huerten. The city walls were high, about twenty-five feet, and innumerable guard towers were spaced about. There were four gates, to the south, south-west, north-west and north- east, and Andan Huerten, a Lake whose dimensions put the Black Lake to shame, formed most of the south-east wall. The slight fog made it impossible to see all the way across the lake, though innumerable fishing and trading craft were visible even through the fog. One enormous ship was docked in the distance. Its flags were lowered, so it was impossible to tell whose it was.

Even from outside the south-west gate, the city looked large – larger than its population of ten thousand would require.

Although Huerten was large for its population, that did not make it look any less crowded. Trader's booths lined the main streets, even spilling into a few of the residential areas. Shops had their doors closed against the chill afternoon, but it hardly seemed worth the effort, since they were constantly swinging open and closed as customers and traders went in and out, and it was not even evening, when the town would be at its busiest. The streets were full of people; walkers, runners, cart-pushers and horse-leaders, wagons, coaches and trains of servants. A goodly number of knights in and out of armor rode on well-groomed horses, with their ladies before them or behind them, and numerous small patrols of guardsmen kept watchful eyes out for trouble. In sum, Huerten exhibited all the sights, sounds and smells of a market day, even though it was the middle of the week.

The size of the town was not an indication of sparseness. There were gardens and areas of undeveloped land here and there, but mainly, the town was packed full of businesses and public buildings. An almost absurd number of inns, taverns and lodges were set up for the benefit of traders, many of which were named after (and, most likely, run by), some knight or other. Others had more generic names, like “Second Inn” or “Bull Tavern.”

There were also a lot of temples. Two large temples sat in the center of town, to Andrithaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
the Mother and Andrithaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
the Fighter, but there were also dozens of smaller temples, some little more than private homes converted by the affixation of a symbol of Andrithaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
above the doorpost. Were it not for the Signs, it would have been difficult to tell that these were temples at all.