Oakvael

Overview

History

In ages past, Oakvael was overrun by the foul creations of the brotherhood of Yasnac. In an effort to protect themselves, the citizens of Oakvael built a great city in the trees of the realm, some of the trees are so great that they can actually support the full weight without bending or breaking. The dwellers of the city devised a way of walking safely among the trees, and after a few accidental drops from the tree city to the surface, they developed the boots for walking on air. Thus was the beginning of the group commonly referred to as the 'Air Walkers Society'. Many of the greatest trainers in the lands have taken up residence in Oakvael, training those that would venture forth in the advanced arts of sword, hand, and magic. They are scattered throughout the land, but with due diligence all may be found in order to seek the wisdom that they may provide.

Geography

Oakvael Town

The city in the trees is a vast expanse of walkways that link the various shops and domiciles that are present there. The sheriff keeps vigil in the area surrounding the temple and most of the northern walkway, but does not go near the pawnshop or Bank. This is of great value to the thieves that reside within the town, as they can transact business without the constant sniping from his deadly longbow. Many huge ancient oaks support the city from below. In the city proper can be found many of the shops where the business of town is performed. The west end of town is primarily reserved for commerce, and the jeweller, apothecary, pawn broker, weapons and armour dealers can all be found there, along with the bank and the lockers. The east end of town has the temple, the tanner, the tavern, the sage, and the climb up to the wizard trainer and confessor ghost. The Bull and Falcon Tavern has long been a meeting place for the locals to exchange stories. Adventurers congregate there to set up expeditions or to unwind after a trip of eradication. Near the pawn shop lives the lower martial arts trainer. The main level of the temple is located in the town proper and houses the thaumaturge trainer, the priest and the balm seller.

Along the main boulevard is a hut that belongs to Konran. Unfortunately, he is never home, but he will grant a gift to those who can help him find his way there from the troll temple. Above the town level, in the upper level of the temple, the confessor ghost resides. From the upper level of the temple are two other climbs. One will lead to the advanced wizard trainer and the other to a lookout position way up in the trees. In ages past, this was used to watch for any enemies approaching the city, or to locate fires in the forest (which could be devastating). Below the city, but still above the surface, the gym facilities are located, along with the weapons trainer, who will train those advanced students in the art of using the particular weapons.

The Surface

The surface of Oakvael was ravaged by many of the foul experiments, and for many years the foul beasts roamed the surface. There are still areas that are controlled by the forces of evil, but for the most part, the surface has returned to its original wild state, with griffins, bears, and boars roaming freely. Occasionally, toward the burned wood, one can find an orc sentry, but most of the foul beasts have been contained by Peyton and Karin, the guardians of the portal. Cudyl the Great Knight of Old, roams the surface, and is the trainer that will send a knight on to greater glory.

DoomOrc's Lair

To the south, behind a wall of trees, in a very secluded glade, lives DoomOrc, a vile half-breed that is all that remains on the surface of the forces that were unleashed by the brotherhood. An archer of great renown, he commands a small garrison of orc archers, and with them is a presence that will stun any that try to seek entry into his domicile. His dislike of magic is such that he has a veil to prevent any Wizard or Thaumaturge to enter his domicile. DoomOrc carries an ancient weapon, the doom crossbow, a blue-glowing weapon that may only be used by thieves.

The Old Order of Knights

In the far north-east corner of the surface, through a long trail that leads deep in the woods, live Aniet and Brych. Aniet is a knight trainer, and will grant knighthood to all that are worthy of the title. Brych is another of the old order of knights, and he will grant a weapon of great renown, the knight's halberd, in exchange for a small token, the misericorde dagger (incidentally, another blue-glowing weapon that may be used successfully by a thief). He will also send those that he gifts with the halberd to seek the ancient master of knights that is hidden deep within the catacombs beneath the surface.

Ninja of Old

To the south-west, the master martial artist has managed to setup a residence of sorts, and will train martial artists that desired advanced instruction in the disciplines of the hand. Living with the master is Yuri, a ninja of old, who will tell any martial artist that inquires in the way to obtain a special set of gauntlets, capable of penetrating any armour and killing all but a very few of the forces of evil.

Thieves' Guild

In the north-west corner of the surface, the thieves have claimed an area where they may train in peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Next to the thieves guild is Berg's Pit, a hole where garbage that is collected is dumped.

The Graveyard

The graveyard is just to the south-west of the portal complex, and will provide any that desire a passage to Praetoseba - the underworld.

Drops to Lower Levels

Three areas of the surface have collapsed, granting those with feather-fall the access to the lower reaches of the area. The first of these areas is just to the east of the graveyard, and leads down to the spider city, where great arachnids, scorpions, and vipers live. This is the highest level of the catacombs, and is actually rather deserted, except for an occasional kobold, orc, or troll.

The second area is east of Rager's Lake, and is really a two-square jump. One square leads to the Serpent's Sea level, the other to the former temple of the demons, now the Troll Temple. Both of these areas are very dangerous, and should be avoided except by very high level individuals, or larger hunting groups.

The third area is in the south-east corner of the surface, and has been nicknamed 'The Express Elevator to Hell", which should give the wary adventurer a warning that extreme caution should be used by those desiring to use it as a method of quickly moving from the surface to the areas below. Some of the jump points lead to the spider city or to the serpent sea, but most lead directly to the undead level, an area where the brotherhood performed some of their most advanced research in the generation of undead warriors.

The Burnt Woods

The east end of the surface ends is covered in a great forest of burned trees, and is referred to by the locals as the Burnt Woods. No one remembers exactly how the forest was destroyed in that region, though legend has it that the brotherhood summoned a great reptile there which decimated the woods until Cudyl came and killed it. Cudyl can still be found wandering in the woods, probably waiting for more monsters to appear. Beyond the woods is a great cliff that drops off to other levels below.

Spider City

Below the Surface is where the brotherhood liked to perform their research. The first level below the surface is where initiates were trained in the arts. The area was once guarded by a garrison of orcs and kobolds, and a few of them still remain, but for the most part, the area has been taken over by spiders, vipers, rats, and scorpions. Many of these creatures can inflict a poisonous bite.

The Wet Caverns

While the brotherhood was active, they had minions of hobgoblins, orcs, and trolls. Some of these they trained in the arts of magic. They housed these minions in some wet caverns located below what is now spider city and, to keep the troops in line, the brotherhood summoned spectres from the undead level. Even after the fall of the brotherhood, these foul creatures maintained their barracks in the wet caverns that they were used to, and they made an alliance with the spectres set to watch them. For you see, the spectres did not wish to return to the undead level, where they were less powerful, so they agreed to assist the hobgoblins in guarding their area, There are many foul pools in the caverns, and what goes into those pools even I dare not think.

The Eastern Ledge & The Wyrm Wilderness

The eastern ledge and the wyrm wilderness were formed by unknown magic, probably the same magic that devastated the surface forest on the east side. The various passages and climbs that are found on these levels helped to provide easier access from the wet caverns and the serpent sea for the brotherhood to move supplies around. The eastern ledge is basically deserted, except for an occasional kobold or orc found wandering. The cave on the west side of the ledge was used to store supplies for the brotherhood, and has a pit that leads to the Wet caverns. The wyrm level is sparsely inhabited except for a few creatures created by the brotherhood. The wyrms of the wilderness are insidious creatures, and are very tough to kill. they are impervious to any blade except those made of silver, and though magic can hurt them, they are more resistant to Magic than most creatures. Extreme caution should be used if even one of these beasts is encountered.

Serpent's Sea

Ages ago, long before the existence of the brotherhood, an underground river managed to carve a small lake beneath the surface of Oakvael. In this lake, a vast multitude of creatures thrived without the direct aid of sunlight. But as time passed, a serpent moved from the surface to the lake, feeding on all of these creatures. the brotherhood discovered the cave where, Cecil, the serpent lived, and tried to carve out more dwellings for its ever growing number of minions. This time it was for the associates of the brotherhood that the caves were used. The serpent did not like this intrusion, and devised its own plan of defence. With the help of Pesclanor, a water nymph that also lived in the sea, they conjured up a black fog, which constantly transported the brotherhood from one location on the level to another. And to further complicate the matter, they convinced a few renegade trolls to assist in carving the central cavern so that the shape would be symmetrical, confusing those that were caught by the fog. the plan was partially successful, as the brotherhood abandoned most of the area immediately surrounding the sea, leaving the serpent in relative peace. But other areas farther to the west were developed, and the sorcerers from the brotherhood took up residence. Descendants of those dwellers can still be found there today, though fortunately they have lost the main secrets of the brotherhood, sticking to the more common forms of magic. These descendants saw the futility of fighting the serpent's control of the level, and decided to form an alliance (albeit an uneasy one) with the serpent and the nymph.

Troll Temple

The main city and temple of the brotherhood was established below the serpent sea level. Walking along the avenues, you can both appreciate the beauty of the city (even the brotherhood did a few things right), and at the same time sense the ultimate evil which was the driving force behind the brotherhood. The northern part of the city was the temple to the demon lords, and other minor temples were established around the perimeter of the city. The temple, with its grotesque imagery, is still perhaps one of the few marvels from the brotherhood that was not destroyed when the brotherhood itself perished. It has now mainly been taken over by trolls and is therefore now commonly called the 'Troll Temple'. Glamuzu is the local variant of law enforcement, though it is doubtful that there are any laws to be enforced. Nonetheless Glamuzu keeps a sheriff's eye on everything with help from his deputy, a crossbow wielding martial artist named Driizalu, and makes sure that nothing comes along to disrupt their daily business. Indeed some suspect that Glamuzu may be a generic title rather than a single individual, for it appears that having killed him, he miraculously regenerates almost immediately. In the north-west corner is an abandoned archery range, which has been converted to a prison of sorts. Glamuzu caught Konran wandering through the city, evidently drunk from a few too many troll brews, and had him locked up here. Anyone daring enough can try to spring Konran free and lead him back to his home in the city. The successful rescuer will receive a fragment of special cloth in return. The troll minions, archer orcs, hobgoblins and a few wizards and thaumaturges, still remain, keeping the sacrificial flames lit, and performing their evil incantations, on the hope that one day a new brotherhood will emerge.

Undead Alter Level

The level of the Undead Altar is a hazardous place to be, even for the bravest adventurers! Hushed stories are told about how the brotherhood built an altar complex, based on the pattern of the Portal complexes, in order to assist them in summoning many of the foulest beasts imaginable. In this complex, they summoned many liches, wraiths, wights, spectres, ghouls, banshees, and stalkers. Many of the summoners attempted to prolong their life beyond its normal measure with enchantments of enormous power. They had managed to summon wraiths that were very capable fighters, but had lost their capability for magic. The banshees they summoned were capable of casting their spells by simple force of will, but lacked any real endurance. The ghouls and stalkers were very potent fighters indeed, and the liches were among the best spell-casters around. The sorcerers that attempted the life prolonging technique were successful to a degree, though in the process they lost some of their magic skill, and were limited to one or two spells that they could still remember. In an attempt to summon a being that was both a capable fighter and a competent magician, the brotherhood set forth in the altar area to cast their greatest enchantment yet, even greater than the one which summoned the dragon to Kesmai. The results were devastating. A great explosion rocked the entire area around the altar and ripped a great hole all the way to the surface of Oakvael. Most of the brotherhood was killed by the blast, and the few that remained were so beat up that they could not withstand the onslaught of the two creatures that answered their summons. For the brotherhood did manage to summon two demon liches, both were capable in the area of the martial arts, and had a limited amount of magic. The summoning did not work as they had desired, but as none of the summoners survived, it hardly matters. The lich twins (often called the Iron Liches - Larry and Harvey) roamed the level until they found an area to their liking, and then they established a permanent residence there.

The Reptile Pit

Near the stairs leading from the Troll temple level is another staircase, carved with a completely different architecture, leading down to the reptile pit. Aeons ago, the ancient order of knights devised a testing area for the bravest of knights and sited it in the lowest level of the Oakvael dungeon. The reptile pit is the result of their efforts. The ancient knights created perhaps the greatest test of bravery and fighting ability and filled it with some of the most formidable opponents one could hope to meet. Two knights administer the pit, Clwyd, who guards the entrance and bars admission to all but knights, and Gorfwylltra, who stands in the innermost point of the pit. Between these two lie numerous obstacles and powerful creatures. The obstacles include walls of magical concussion which confuse adventurers by convincing them that they are under attack by their fellows.

Having survived the concussion spells, would-be heroes will encounter a series of nasty creatures, the most famous of which is Wendy, the whirlwind dragon. Apart from the dragon there are also several minotaurs, stalkers, large serpents, spectres and perhaps worst of all, up to four wyrms each considered to be as dangerous as a small dragon. Any knight who can complete this journey and present Gorfwylltra with further evidence of courage (in the form of a knight's halberd) will be rewarded with extra health.

See Also

Known Lands

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