The summary is provided to help the DM get a quick handle on the setting, and the background provides bite-sized pieces of information to reveal as appropriate to the group, through gossip (for rumors) or lore (for research). None of the background is crucial, but all of it could make players feel smart and increase the appreciation of the game.
Ammanassi. The Ammanassi cabal wants to make the Magnificent Hall into a receiving area for esteemed guests. To that end, Ammanassi is trying to disable the shifting etheric magic maze in the Sholkh Gate as he makes plans to get more workers and followers in to continue construction on the Hall. Failure to disable the Aglatch magics is increasingly embarrassing to Ammanassi—fortunately there is a nondescript entrance besides the main gate (D1-7), so not everyone has to get through the puzzle.
Fungaloids. Their neighbors, the fungaloids, once worked with Selukaan as research partners, offering their lore and spores in a symbiotic relationship. They do not like Ammanassi, mainly because he plans to bring a lot of traffic to their tranquil spot, he brought a zoo of monsters in, and he is arrogant in assuming their cooperation instead of asking for their help. In the last few centuries, the fungaloids have dwindled from a large colony to a shadow of their former selves, with their leader now only a Third rank. Still, they have their pride and independence.
Ammanassi Monsters. The Ammanassi cabal ousted the wolf-riding goblins and kept the wolves as part guard and part monster-food. They brought an otyugh in for waste disposal, and since arriving they have summoned a gargoyle to stand guard, and a malignous to patrol. Ammanassi plans to continue bringing monsters in as the cabal’s power to control them increases.
Ammanassi Leadership. The cabal itself is led by Ammanassi, mostly a researcher. He is assisted by Kelessa, a more tactical and operational wizard, and her apprentice Ulain. Passli and Thim are androgynous captains of the cabal’s warriors, more heavily armed than their 19 troops.
Main Treasure. The cabal used up its cash, but Ammanassi has an expensive art collection, and they have retrieved the fabled Selukaan’s Book of Kelrubia, so those are the major treasures of the setting.
Scholars and questing knights (and others as appropriate) might know the legend of Selukaan, or research it. Each point can represent the results of inquiry or prior knowledge. Each point is a bundle of information gained by a success, and you can use this to answer player questions as appropriate. You can let players ask questions, and answer out of the information, or if their questions don’t fit, volunteer something along similar lines.
Three Ways to Give Out Information. Choose a method, combine them, or make up your own method.
Granted by Awareness rating.
- Awareness +2 to Aglatch wizards (or those with an Aglatch book of power or grimore).
- Give 1 per Awareness to wizards.
- Awareness -1 to clerics, shokoro, and lore experts.
Granted by Awareness test and/or research.
- 1 fact per 6 in the total of an Awareness test, per 3 with research in an appropriate venue.
Assign Information. You can have an NPC share lore, or devise another method.
These facts are part of lore and history, dusty with over four centuries of time passed.
Timeline. About 450 years ago, Selukaan became famous. After further exciting and dangerous exploits, he decided to settle down and build a stronghold about fifteen years later. Then, 425 years ago, he disappeared without a trace.
Identity. Selukaan was a shokoro warmage of the Aglatch School, famous for returning from a wild extra-planar adventure.
- Kelrubian Expert. He thought of himself as a wizard-priest, and Kelrubia was the name of the dimension his people thought of as the realm of the afterlife. He explored there extensively, one of the only travelers in legendry to return from that haunted realm. Upon his retirement, he spent himself crafting a tome detailing all his knowledge of that fabled realm.
- Potions Master. Selukaan was famed for a wide variety of magnificent mystic potions. Legend whispers that he had help from the underworld, unique and peculiar ingredients.
- Vilheusin. Selukaan dedicated the fortress to Vilheusin, a shokoran archmage that was one of the founders of the Aglatch order and the last one to see the mighty dragon Aglatch alive.
- Geysers. The valley mouth where the Majestic Hall lies is shrouded in deep fog because of geysers that make travel back to the Sholkh Gate risky for those who leave the road marked by the original builders with waystones.
Loot.Selukaan adventured quite a bit before retiring, and was famous for a mighty shield that could shine with the light of the dim Kelrubian sun, as well as a sash that had one coin from each of the Kelrubian burrow-cities—each coin worth far more than its metal alone.
These rumors are flying around about the current state of things.
Ammanassi Cabal.Magus Ammanassi is an Aglatch wizard with a small cabal of two apprentices and some support staff. He heard that the Majestic Hall and Sholkh Gate had been found, and rumors of Selukaan’s book of Kelrubia surfacing.
- He led his forces against some goblin raiders and now has found the ancient stronghold.
- There was a back door of some kind, a way around the cursed, trapped Sholkh Gate.
- The raiders were wolf riders, and howls are still sometimes heard.
- Ammanassi himself has some wealth, even if Selukaan didn’t leave anything behind…
- A monster was carted through town in wagons, when Ammanassi announced his victory. In a cage. Like a big lump, with snakes sprouting out of it, and a great big mouth. He has probably built or conjured or trapped more monsters—it’s what wizards do, after all.
- There are about thirty of them, three actual wizards in the lot.
- The cabal has bragged about planning to set up a much bigger operation in this place, changing the local power structures—nobody is happy about that.
- The leader is more of a bookish researcher, it’s his second in command (Kelessa) that is more dangerous and the one who manages defense and arrangements.
- Two androgynous military types handle the troops and answer to her. Less than 20 troops, after the goblin fight.
- They fight with chainmail and scimitars. They don’t look particularly battle-tested, at least when they headed out, but they haven’t been seen much since the goblins disappeared—who knows?
- Ancient Ingredients. Selukaan’s weird potions had components from deep in the earth, and strange fungal growths can still be found around that area to this day. What might have survived?