September 10, 2021

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Title: Stopping to Smell the Roses
subtitle: Following the Actions of a Misguided but Well-Intentioned Desperate Man

Gram One-Shot Game #1 of 2, 4 Sept 2021 in NYC


  • Mark Taylor, bounty hunter woodsman, human male, skilled tracker, no armor, here on vacation; lasso & small composite bow [Korwin Briggs]
  • Tissy, female fox, good tracker, friend of Mark, can ride in a pouch when needed [Korwin & Edwin]
  • Baba, 5'2" dark-skinned grandmotherly figure, mage and steward, originally from the Southern Realm (African) but adventured (mostly organized adventures) a lot in the Reserve, magic bracers, great sense of smell, works as a docent in the Museum of Wine-Making [Heather Smith]
  • Ty, human male, sage specialized in human food and ancient architecture, knows alchemy and likes potions, curator of the Museum of Wine-Making, no armor, Chelsean, has a nice picnic basket for picnicking, has lots of dates with younger women but no serious relationship [Aside: Ty appeared in another game when he helped rescue Buck (PC) from a Melbonian underground basement lair.] [Joel Green]
  • Wiess Mayberry, cleric-minister of Nevron, chain armor, wears formal battle regalia of Nevronian church [Joel Green]
  • Captain Sarah-Margaret "Sarge" Touliet, captain of the palace guard in Loral Bay, broadsword & boxing, brass knuckles; skilled fighter; has househusband and 2 kids; magic chain & shield, formal [Korwin Briggs]
  • Gram, male human bard, elven chain mail, lute [D.T.Chappell]

excerpted from The Further Adventures of Gramaliustranstalus

In 2178, Gram finished the 4th edition of The Telvar Gazetteer and decided to take a little vacation time to get away for something fun and something relaxing (two different things at the same place).

In May 2179, Gram went to the gorgeous resort island of Fairwind in Cromwell to offer help get rid of evil undead that were near the Cave of Echoes on Sybarate Island. The concept of these undead had been nagging him since his first travel here. He had researched the situation and realized that an exorcism was necessary. He expected it to be a fairly simple process of protecting the cleric who cast the exorcism spell, and he had sent some nice letters to the government offering to assist. The government wrote back arranging for him to meet with the Commodore of Fairwind to discuss it.

Gram hung out in Melbonia a couple weeks beforehand enjoying the many cultural and magical experiences there. In the Town of Loral Bay, capital of Fairwind, he waited for the Commodore, who kept delaying Gram's appointed meeting due to understandably more important business. Meanwhile, the annual Pierina Wine Festival occurred, and that was fun and exciting with a focus on a ewer that travels around the province with a party in each town and village.

Gram wound up not making the appointment with the Commodore, and there was some confusion that the Captain of the Palace Guard (Captain Sarge) tried to sort out, but it was still off a bit. It turned out that Gram was correct on the exorcism's being really simple to do, and that got taken care of in July 2181. Also, they sealed up that dangerous cavern (that had held the evil undead). The undead apparently had been robbers wanting to steal from Porpherio's Garden even though it doesn’t contain anything worth taking. Even though the exorcism was simple, Fairwind is a wonderful resort place, and Gram wound up staying there several years where he enjoyed the beautiful weather, nice flora and fauna, and good company. He also made friends with a really foxy girl, though in the long run it turned out that she already had a man. Gram left with no new treasure (except some trinket souvenirs) but some nice memories of a pleasant vacation and having ignored his mail for far too long.

[This chapter of Gram's memoirs elaborates on all the wonderful things to see and experience on Fairwind Isle and Sybarate Isle, such as the spa, wineries, restaurants, excellent Museum of Wine-Making, ancient ruins, resorts, boat tours, towers overlooking Porpherio's Garden, amazing palace of the Commodore (not open for public tours), annual Pierina Wine Festival, extinct volcanoes, etc., etc.]

Moral of the story: Sometimes it's smart NOT to stop to smell the roses.

Gram investigated the Desperate Man in an effort to learn why one of the Grey People would be so desperate and take the risky actions that he did. Gram spoke with the locals on Fairwind of Grey People heritage and learned that in Fairwind, the Grey People and the Westerners had intermingled peacefully ever since the time of Caerwyn and Porpherio, and now they form a blended and interbred culture. Elsewhere in Cromwell (and the New World), however, the indigenous Grey People suffer from downtrodden lives and are the victims of rampant racism from the Western colonizers. The Desperate Man was clearly not from Fairwind, and even though details of his desperation remained unknown, the generalities of it shone through clearly.

Learning all this opened Gram's eyes further and made him reflect on what he'd seen of the Northerners in Latt and the Coastlanders elsewhere. As a product of Western culture himself, he had always mimicked the typical Westerner attitude of a focus on Realmish and Western culture. This new mindset having seen the Grey People's view partially later guided Gram to pay more attention to a new, young bardic student whose mixed heritage had some similarities to Gram's (yet also a glaring difference) but who was 1/4 Coastlander. In turn, that bardic student's staunch pride for his Coastlander heritage (taught him by his Coastlander grandfather) influenced Gram to change the tone of his later publications, especially the famous Telvar Gazetteer, to treat the Grey People not as second-class humans but as equal in worth to the Westerners who settled and conquered the New World and Cromwell. Such writings spread, and the effects may be small and may be subtle, but some of the readers' attitudes over the years were undoubtedly influenced by the tone of the famous author's works. And so it was that the actions of a Desperate Man, though they may not have directly undone any wrongs by the Westerners despite his good intentions, did indirectly have lots of little effects to ease slightly the plight of the Grey People.

Moreover, that 1/4 Coastlander bard would go off to have adventures of his own, some of which he and his party left unresolved. And one of those unresolved adventures was handed back to Gram to finish: an adventure that he worried might involve something as dangerous as a lesser demon prince. But that is a story for our next Gram one-shot game, which probably will be much more dangerous and less certain of success than this first one. (Gram one-shot game #2 of 2 is tentatively October 4 in NYC.)

April 17, 2006

The Ninth Telvar Open Tournament: Faces from the Past

[The Word-formatted Summary is found here.]

"It had never previously been understood why the Northerner word for 'unavoidable danger' literally translated as 'blue fire mountain.'" - Loren Kenither, BoS


""More are men's ends mark'd than their lives before.

The setting sun, and music at the close,

As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,

Writ in remembrance more than things long past."

--William Shakespeare, King Richard II


Events of 5 November 2005 in Charlotte, N.C. / 10-11 June 2192 B.Y.
in far western Cromwell, a place known as the Salt Sea Region


[the same day as the events of the Eighth Telvar Open]


[NOTE: Some of the diverse summaries of these events contain contradictory information, and skewed perspectives based on the experiences of the characters involved. Some of these have been noted specifically, but otherwise the unique

perspectives of each group have been maintained. The truth

of each situation probably lies somewhere in the middle.]



We begin as:


A corrupt and evil kingdom of slave lords collapses...

A city built on the edge of a large salty sea is in chaos...

And Cromwellian forces enter the region to restore order and crush the slavers...


The ruins of an ancient Kraken temple molder...

A haunted forest in the shadow of an extinct volcano slumbers...

And a librarian at Cromwell's famed Academy heads off on an unusual vacation...


But meanwhile:


A holy Paladin of Nevron receives a vision of great importance...

One of the High Priests of Aurora hears a rumor of a city in dire straits...

And the government of Cromwell realizes that there are several “irregularities” in the librarian's preparations for his vacation, resulting in an Academy Team known as Death from Above being dispatched in pursuit...


Events begin to fall into place in the city, forest, and surrounding lands, as…


The city of Towlmere devolves into chaos and mayhem…

The servants of Aurora and Nevron converge on the area…

The Academy Team finds the trail of the errant librarian and is in hot pursuit…


As the librarian completes his work on a strange device at the top of an ancient pyramid in the midst of the haunted forest…


And an ancient evil awakens...


Continue reading "The Ninth Telvar Open Tournament: Faces from the Past" »

November 05, 2005

Ninth Telvar Open: Teaser Summary

The Ninth Telvar Open Tournament: Faces from the Past

5 November 2005 in Charlotte, N.C. / 10 June 2192 B.Y. in far
western Cromwell, in a place known as the Salt Sea Region

[the same day as the events of the Eighth Telvar Open]

We begin as:

A corrupt and evil kingdom of slave lords collapses...

A city built on the edge of a large salty sea is in chaos...

A haunted forest in the shadow of a extinct volcano slumbers...

The ruins of an ancient Kraken temple moulder...

And Cromwellian forces enter the region to restore order and crush the


A librarian at Cromwell's famed Academy heads off on an unusual vacation...

A holy Paladin of Nevron receives a vision of great importance...

One of the High Priests of Aurora hears a rumor....

And a team of auditors working for the government of Cromwell realizes
that the Librarian's preparations for his vacation violated some of
the policies of the Academy, resulting in an Academy Team known as
Death from Above being dispatched in pursuit...

And we begin:

As the Librarian completes work on a strange device at the top of an
ancient pyramid on the edge of the haunted forest...

And an ancient evil awakens...

[The Ninth Telvar Open Summary is finished! You can read it here!]

March 22, 2000

Defenders Summary #83: See the World, They Said

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 8th level cleric, 51 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Jeff
Quentin, 9th level druid, 44 hp, played by Jeremy
Donald, 8th level mage, 43 hp, NPC
Bogomel, 4th level fighter, 41 hp, henchman
Alduin, 8th level thief, 39 hp, played by Vic
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Albee, 6th level monk, 37 hp, NPC
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman
Chiaro, 6th level illusionist, 12 hp, played by Aaron

We last left our party choosing a mission. Chiaro had just trained to 6th level, gaining a huge 3 hp to stand at 12, and picked up Hypnotic Pattern to give him an actual offensive 2nd level spell.

The party had also gone bankrupt, currently in debt to Cassian a total of 4000 gp, with about 1500 gp in cash.

We decided to attempt a mission in the Tegefed Mountains in Northern Cromwell/ Western Latt (near Groorg’s fortress). We have a poem about the Horn of Iguil, and notes from Kaal Na Ka’s journals, of a strange dungeon with demons and vampires and virtually anything imaginable. There is also great treasure about. The most detail we have are notes of a CERTAIN party that ventured there in the 2140s and defeated a vampire in stasis by using every single protection item they had…. They decided to leave the area after a really bad encounter with two major demons.

Sounds like fun!

Continue reading "Defenders Summary #83: See the World, They Said" »

September 01, 1998

Warwick Summary: Warwick vs. the Evil Mountain Giant Grungar Goldeyes

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugliest Player Character in Telvar.

It all begins with a grand idea which, after reality whittles away the grander
parts, becomes a questionable enterprise.
We re-join our beleaguered party in autumn, 2187:

Warwick had just returned from Borglyn's roost, and his superiors at the
Academy were grumbling about schedule, funding, the usual lot. Due for more
excitement, Warwick soon hatched a plan to rid western Cromwell of one its
more legendary menaces - the giant Grungar Goldeneyes. With proper equipment
from friends, the church, and the government, Warwick believed that he could
probably eliminate Grungar with a solo Holy Quest. So, astrology readings
began, and a Commune spell was cast for Warwick on High Holy Day. The results
of both were discouraging.

Although it was foretold that Grungar was susceptible to Warwick's lethal bow,
it seemed certain that Warwick would get one shot at most. After that first
shot (not likely to kill Grungar), then Grungar's escape or the immediate
death of Warwick would result. It further seemed that Grungar was impossible
to surprise, despite all of Warwick's methods (invisibility, silently
approaching in the air, downwind, etc.). The omens in the astrology reading
were similarly grim: "the void eclipses the hunter", "the scythe is
ascendant", the unlucky color is transparent, etc.

Of course, this galvanized Warwick's Holy Quest, confident that Phaulkon would
provide the key source of inspiration and guidance for destroying the menace.

Continue reading "Warwick Summary: Warwick vs. the Evil Mountain Giant Grungar Goldeyes" »

June 01, 1997


And the Follow-up Adventure (it was only a matter of time!)
The dynamic duo returns in an escapade worthy of godly notice:

On their first adventure in possession of the new Windsock, our heroes were last left
dividing up treasure:

The survivors of the Rakshasa attack were Marriat the ranger, Warwick the ranger,
Buck the fighter, Tristan the druid, and Lanoi the Phaulkonian cleric.

The rakshasa wagon had burned, but spectular treasure was recovered, as recounted in
the official summary for the previous game. Here are some of the results:

The Regeneration scroll was used on Buck! Shockingly, Andy rolled an 01 (on my dice)
and the scroll failed!!!


On the good side, I also rolled Leon's Reincartion. Incredibly, (05) Leon came back as
a GIANT EAGLE! So now Lanoi feels really cool, walking around with a giant eagle.

Warwick growled at the thought, but Skylltor offered 550,000 gp for the circlet of the
white mage (+1 spellcasting level). Gring refused.

As Warwick said, "It only works on GOOD mages..."

While Leon was getting used to his new body, Warwick decided to get the 1500 XP he
needed for 7th level by attacking... the frost giant nation. Alone.

With the Windsocks.


May 01, 1997

Warwick Summary: The Quest for the Windsock: Recovering a Phaulkonian Artifact, as Scribed by Lanoi the Cleric

"The Tent of the Night hides an unknown threat."

Following his conversion to the Phaulkonian faith by Alegra, while undertaking a
top-secret government venture in the mountains of Cromwell, Warwick, Principal Ranger
of Cromwell, became keenly interested in one of the Holy Quests that Alegra had often
mentioned. This Quest was the recovery of the paired artifact of Phaulkon known as the

The Windsocks were a powerful, but relatively minor, artifact of Phaulkon lost forty or so
years ago in the Darkwood (in the Northlands). The Windsocks took the form of two
indestructible stockings which when worn together had the
major power of being able to place a step wherever you wanted in the air. That is, the
Socks could be used to climb an imaginary staircase in the air to reach the roof of a high
cavern, or step higher to get a shot over a friend in combat,
or any number of other uses. There were other powers as well, but not a great number
of them. More importantly, the Socks were an important artifact that needed to be
recovered and brought back into the hands of Phaulkonians.

It was known from _Communes_ and other sources within the Church over the years
since their loss that the Socks had both left the Darkwood sometime afterward,
separately. One of them had shown up in the New World and had been
found by an adventurer who wished them to find their way into the hands of the
Phaulkonian Church, but needed money for his efforts. Unfortunately, at the time, the
Church was (as usual) low on resources and could not front the 10,000 gold pieces to
have the one Sock in hand. The adventurer was represented by an attorney in Dunthrane
City (Bimwiddle, who purports to provide "the only representation for non-Nevronians in
the land!") who maintained the offer at 10,000 gold pieces through the years.

Continue reading "Warwick Summary: The Quest for the Windsock: Recovering a Phaulkonian Artifact, as Scribed by Lanoi the Cleric" »

March 08, 1997

Summary LVII: Beyond the Dark Servant

Quick summ:

Memorial service held for Deirdre
Party/Funeral/Party at Dwarves
Ruben's Runner to Shocktrooper informing him of sack of Temple
and that they should not disturb sleeping evils
Lots of purchases and trading at Dwarves
Alegra, Star, Eli, Theo, Warwick, Tristan, Raven leave for Cromwell
They encounter a furred snake
There is a dual wyvern attack.
We track to a lair and find some stuff and capture 3 wyvern
Out of the mountains: Creepy forest.
Fight: 12 zombies, 5 wights, 1 spectre, 10 ghouls
Raven is permanently level drained but gains back the level
through later training (he lost almost all of the adventure
experience as a result)
Letters were sent to Faranyn, etc. from Hook Hill
Hochoch-- High Holy Day, etc. (Warwick becomes a Phaulkonian!)
On to Academy
The Rest: Wait for Spring, get armor and weapons made.
In creepy forest: attacked by 4 wights.
The party rejoins at the Academy. Eli has paid to be teleported ahead to
the School of Wizardry.

Magic items are selected. (Loot at wyvern lair and Groorg's potions add a
couple of choices. Final selections to be posted later.)

Total take: 50% of 2.089 Million.
Almost all of Groorg's treasure was given to the Dwarves.

That's all folks!~


January 17, 1997

Summary XLVI: The Quest to Recover the Great Mithril Key


Here is a brief summary of the games on the 15th and 17th. Note that much
of this informations is "Class 2 Classified" in Cromwell and that, as
always, publishing on the list should not be construed that we are being
loose with our lips...

Mission: Recover the Great Mithril Key requested by the Behir before he
will leave the city. We believe that the GMK is the key to the box in the
"Electrical Zoo" of the Castle from which the Behir escaped, presumably some
time after Tan-El fell. Probably the Behir is still tied to the box and
cannot be gone for too long from the vacinity. Once we have the key we will
explore what the results of two actions would be : 1. Unlocking the box;
2. Destroying the lock and key together. We have not committed to
releasing the Behir, because we are aware that he is an evil creature, but
we will have to gauge the risks when we come to that. So, for now we must
find the Key.

Continue reading "Summary XLVI: The Quest to Recover the Great Mithril Key" »

August 03, 1996

The Fifth Telvar Open: The Peaks of Light

The Peaks of Light: August 3, 1996 (December 18, 2178 B.Y.)
"Does anyone know what that sound was?"

The Fifth Telvar Open, known as the Peaks of Light, took place in August, 1996.

This Open involved the quest for a Mithril Key by a group of Frost Giants bent on revenge against the Regency of Cromwell.

Ultimately, the giants failed in their quest, a tribe of gnolls was decimated, the human parties were very confused, the Polar Wyrm ate some, and the xenophobic dwarves closed off their mine from prying eyes. Makes you wish there was a summary, doesn't it?

You can see a picture of the participants on Joey's picture Telvar Open picture page.

Continue reading "The Fifth Telvar Open: The Peaks of Light" »