Memoires of Cabirus - Source salikon.dk
Memoires of Cabirus
the original call for colonists in the Abyss
The Chronicle of Sir Cabirus .......................................1
an account of the history of our isle
The Colony of the Abyss ..............................................5
a more detailed description of our society
Ye Who Venture Here ................................................13
words of wisdom for any who might join us
Magic in the Depths ...................................................16
how magic differs in the Abyss
creatures we have seen in the depths
a final statement by Joye, the Librarian
A Note of Explanation: This volume came into our possession
only recently, though it was penned decades ago. The chronicler
is one Corby, scribe to the Cabirus whose life was devoted to the
doomed experiment on the Isle of the Avatar. All contact with the
settlers of the Abyss was lost years ago, and we therefore suppose
the colony to be extinct. - Joye the Librarian
Memoirs of Cabirus
To All Who Strive Along the Avatar's Path:
I, Cabirus, call upon those of Virtue to join me in a Valorous Quest, one which
promises to be rich in Sacrifice and Spirituality.
Decades ago, Lord British in his wisdom founded eight settlements, each
dedicated to one of the Virtues. We Britannians have lived up to our lord's
expectations, for the towns of Britain, Jhelom, Minoc, Moonglow, Skara Brae,
Trinsic and Yew have flourished to the present day.
I believe the time has now come to found one further town, where all of the
Eight Virtues are bound together into a unified whole. In order to people this
new community, I call upon the most faithful among our citizenry to come forward
in this cause - fighters and mages first, and later craftsmen and even children.
Further, it is my intent to bring together in this new settlement those who have
seldom been a part of our civilized community - creatures of the mountains,
woods and swamps. Whether by myself or my agents, these primitive beings will be
contacted, taught of the Way of the Avatar, and invited to join our pioneer
And where shall this new town be located? This has been a matter of long
discussion. At first, it had been thought to place this colony in a setting
conducive to its goals - a pleasant woodlands, adjacent to a placid lake, or
even at the peak of a lofty mountain. However, I have since realized the
usefulness to all of Britannia should this Center of Virtue be situated in such
a place as to seal off a gate that has in the past been used by Evil forces
to trouble us - on the Isle of the Avatar, directly in the Great Stygian Abyss
With the blessing of Lord British, I dedicate myself to this sacred Quest, and
call upon all who are likewise stirred by the Vision of Avatarhood to join me in
this Honorable Deed. Pray that we may succeed, for the auguries hint of dire
consequences should we fail to guard the Abyss against the incursion of Evil.
As I set these words upon this parchment, I have recently emerged from the
Stygian Abyss. I am the former page of the late Sir Cabirus, and the Eight
Virtues have impelled me to compile these excerpts from the writings and
speeches of my beloved spiritual master.
Through the founding of our brave colony in the very heart of the Great Stygian
Abyss, Sir Cabirus has demonstrated a degree of Valor and Sacrifice comparable
only to the selfless acts of Lord British or the Avatar themselves.
I witness to the Honesty and Justice of this record with my signature.
The Chronicle of Sir Cabirus
I have chosen to set down upon this parchment the facts, as they are
known to me, concerning this island upon which I and the colonists have chosen
to found our new town. I wish that most of this information were not new
to my readers, but unfortunately, few of my fellow-citizens seem to take as
much of an interest in our history as they once did.
The Ascent of the Avatar
The Isle of the Avatar was discovered during the Fourth Age (as related in
Quest of the Avatar), at the climax of the Avatar's quest. The Stranger from
Another World, who came to Britannia in answer to Lord British's summons,
completed the Test of the Eight Virtues and became the Avatar - the embodiment
of the pure axiom of life.
It was during his journeys that the Avatar unearthed a chilling artifact: the
skull of Mondain the Wicked, the first of the Triad of Evil. There were those
who claimed that the artifact held the power to destroy all life on our world.
Fortunately, it was the Stranger who discovered it, and not someone of lesser
Upon completing the Path of the Eight Virtues, the Avatar embarked on a
search for the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. Legend linked this ancient tome
with the subterranean maze known as the Great Stygian Abyss. "Truly, no one
has ever plumbed its depths," wrote Shamino, who arranged by magic to obtain a
map of its corridors. "I cannot imagine the horrors that await the first to
venture into the Stygian depths."
The entrance to the Abyss was found to lie on an uncharted island south-east of
the mainland, guarded by a squadron of sailing ships crewed by ghosts
of ancient pirates. Forcing his way past the spectral fleet and unraveling the
mysteries of the Abyss, the Avatar at last succeeded in obtaining the Codex of
Ultimate Wisdom. In honor of this achievement, the mystery island was chris-
tened the "Isle of the Avatar."
Peace and Treachery
With the Avatar's triumph accomplished, Britannia settled down for a
period of reconstruction and consolidation. The kingdom's seers took note of
the discoveries made by the Avatar on the Isle of the Avatar - notably, the
entrance to the dungeon Hythloth (which was sealed shut) and the location of
the Shrine of Humility. Lord British also caused a second sanctuary to be built,
where the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom was enshrined.
Curious scholars researched the ancient records of the land, and identified
the Isle of the Avatar as the former home - in another age - of the great
daemons who destroyed Old Magincia for its lack of humility. The same beings
had guarded the Shrine of Humility through the eons, but now the mystic
creatures could no longer be found.
Meanwhile, the raising of the Codex from its subterranean resting place
had caused great disturbances across the face of the land, and opened a vast
underground network of caverns which came to be known as the Underworld.
The Great Stygian Abyss became one of the many entrances to this subsurface
world. Vulcanism tore up the Isle, reawakening its central volcano.
The next drama in Britannian history (as related in
Warriors of Destiny) involved the kidnapping of Lord British. Since the king was
believed dead, his realm fell under the rule of Lord Blackthorn, whose good
nature was corrupted by the Shadowlords. The Avatar was once more summoned from
his distant world to combat the menace, and his tortuous quest took him once
more to the Isle of the Avatar and the depths beneath it, before his victory.
The Time of Prophecy
When the Avatar liberated Lord British from imprisonment, the act had
both geological and spiritual reverberations. The most dramatic of these was
the collapse of the Underworld, which forced many denizens of the depths to
venture into our surface world.
Among those who emerged from below were the Gargoyles, whose sages
prophesied that their race could only be saved by the recovery of the Codex of
Ultimate Wisdom (which they claimed as their property) and the destruction of
the Anti-Prophet (whom they believed the Avatar to be!). With diabolical
cunning, the subterranean beings summoned the Avatar to Britannia in an
attempt to kill him, but Lord British intervened in time to rescue the
Still, the Gargoyles remained a threat to the peace of Britannia, and the
Avatar embarked on a difficult quest which once again brought him to the Isle
of the Avatar. The Twin Shrines were in time liberated from the Gargoyles'
possession, and in the lower regions of Dungeon Hythloth - from which most
monsters save drakes and dragons had been driven by lava - the Stranger
rescued a mariner with priceless information about the Gargoyle menace.
Eventually, the Avatar realized that there was but one way to peace to
Britannia - making the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom accessible to both Lord
British's subjects and to the Gargoyles, by placing the Codex in the Vortex and
then supplying both enemies with mystic Lenses by which they could view the
arcane tome. By working his solution from the Shrine on Avatar Isle, the
otherworlder brought peace to our world.
Ten Years Later
The Avatar has now returned to his world, and we must seek our future
through our own devotion to the Eight Virtues. Thus it has come to pass that I,
Cabirus, have set about to found a Town of Virtue within one of the arcane foci
of Britannia - on the Isle of the Avatar, within the Great Stygian Abyss.
Map of Britannia
Isle of the Avatar
The Colony of the Abyss
With the permission of Lord British, my fellow colonists and I set sail for
the Isle of the Avatar five years ago. After a brief though difficult voyage, we
sighted the bleak, forboding island rising above the waves.
We wasted no time in charting out the island, pausing to meditate at the
Twin Shrines and once again sealing the entrance to the Dungeon Hythloth.
Our company of warriors, mages and other pioneers then made the descent
into the legendary Abyss. The eruptions and quakes of the past drove away
many of the former predators of the chasm, and with the island again stable, we
can dwell here in relative security. Nevertheless, our fighters find many chal-
lenges against which to test their Valor.
Lord British ordered that a village be established upon the surface of our
isle, as a point of contact between ourselves and the rest of Britannia. Baron
Almric, formerly the King's Master of Hounds, has been appointed to com-
mand the settlement. His men have erected a rough stone tower, and the
completion of a small fort should take only a few years more.
Lord British may soon favor us with a seat upon his Council - that is, we
may gain equal status with the Eight Towns of the Virtues. If so, this can only
be because of the brotherhood we have established among the disparate societ-
ies who have settled this Colony: Knights, Mountain-Folk, Seers, Lizardmen,
Goblins and Trolls.
Knights of the Crux
The first to respond to the Proclamation of the Abyssal Colony were the
Knights of Jhelom. These fighting men from the town which Lord British
dedicated to a life of Valor were attracted by the valorous nature of our
Here the former warriors of Jhelom have formed the Order of the Crux
Ansata - "crux ansata" being an ancient term for ankh - in the hope of
establishing an organization to rival the heralded Order of the Silver Serpent.
Someday they plan to have extensive training facilities and barracks for young
recruits, but at the present time conditions remain primitive. Warriors and
mages, while not exactly traditional enemies, have often been bickering
companions in the world of Britannia. Such is not true among us, for the Knights
of the Crux Ansata are dependent upon our wizards for magical light and healing.
Therefore, mage and fighter are amiable allies in the Abyss.
Our Knights have also renounced many lifelong prejudices and formed friendships
with their traditional foes - our Troll, Goblin and Lizardman citizens. Any
fighter who violates the least aspect of the strict code of the Crux Ansata must
submit himself to the will of the Knight-Master, who prides himself on finding
acts of penance which match the violation. This method of discipline has worked
so well that the Knights have become strict advocates of the Way of the
Avatar, and are often the first to locate and bring violators to our Court of
Our Colony in the Abyss is a place for new beginnings. This has certainly
been true for the Mountain-Folk of Britannia.
Short of stature and broad of shoulder, the Mountain-Folk - known in
times past as "Dwarves," though they detest this name - have a unique
lifestyle dedicated to traditional craftsmanship. Over the ages, however, their
distrust of outsiders and their well-known love for precious metals have put
them in disrepute. In the past century, many of the Folk abandoned their old
ways, left their homes, and married outside their clan.
I was surprised when the Chief of the Mountain-Folk wrote to me con-
cerning the desire of his people to join the Abyssal Colony. Knowing that the
Folk were in danger of dying out as a culture, I suggested that the Chief might
not want his people to be part of our town - where, after all, our goal is to
prove that all people can live in unity.
However, Chief Goldsword was stubborn, and correct about his people being useful
in hewing out living quarters from the rocks of the chasm. (Indeed, some
histories claim that the Mountain-Folk built the original passageways of the
Abyss, in the days when the Isle of the Avatar first rose from the ocean.)
The Mountain-Folk have proved to be excellent fellow-citizens, and they are on
friendly terms with our Knights and Seers. They even abide the presence of their
traditional foes, the Trolls.
Seers of the Moonstone
On the southern tip of Verity Isle, the town of Moonglow was founded by
the mages of Britannia as a settlement embodying the virtue of Honesty. The
wizards of this town were among the first to volunteer to be colonists, and an
entire contingent of mages joined me on our first voyage to Avatar Isle.
Our magic-users have formed their own Order of Magic, and refer to themselves as
the Ancient Illuminated Seers of the Moonstone. They have an especially close
relationship with the Mountain-Folk - it was the mountaineers who carved out the
seers' living chambers from the rock walls of the chasm.
The seers have, of necessity, chosen to specialize in those magics most useful
in our subterranean abode - spells of light, food and comfort. They also conduct
many magical experiments, and hope to find new spell reagents among the
materials which occur naturally in the Abyss. The seers have asked our explorers
to bring back samples of all that they find. (The seers do not speak directly to
me of their matters, but I have overheard them on occasion. While the Eight
Virtues may have prompted some of the mages to travel here, I believe that most
came for the chance to conduct experiments. It is said that the Great Abyss is
unique in all of Britannia, because the barrier between dimensions is especially
thin here. - Corby)
"The Dark Ages" is the name given to that long-ago time when the Triad
of Evil stalked the lands. In those same years when Lord British first arrived
upon our shores, a young mage named Mondain was perfecting his skills in the
arcane arts. The wizard slew his own father in order to seize a gem with mystic
powers. Mondain subverted the jewel to evil purposes, and began a campaign
of unrest and dismay against all of the world.
In his most foul experiments, Mondain dissected his own servitors as well
as the great reptiles which then dwelt in the southern swamps. Reuniting the
body parts through magical means, he created a variety of strange sauran
forms. One strain proved successful, and thus came the Lizardmen into our world.
After Mondain was slain, the Lizardmen were hunted down one by one until none
remained. Or so it was thought, until our colonists came to settle the Abyss!
Here we found the last clan of the reptilians living in the grottos.
Inspired by Compassion, we forbore slaying the monsters and taught them of
the Path of the Avatar. To our delight, the Lizardmen can understand the common
tongue, but not speak it. Goblins and Lizardmen intermingle in the wetter
portions of the Abyss, and have a friendly rivalry with the Mountain-Folk (the
mountain-men hate dampness, and would build channels and drain the Abyss if left
The Goblins originated from forbidden arcane experiments performed on
prisoners and other victims by demented, power-seeking mages. (It was for
causes like these that magic was once banned in our lands.) During the Third
Age of Darkness, Exodus bred the Goblins into an army dedicated to his
wicked cause. Following his defeat, the survivors vanished from the face of
Britannia - hunted down by vigilantes or banished to other realms. (In those
times, the Goblins were so loosely bound to this world that a single spell could
expel them from this plane of existence.)
It was only after our Proclamation went out, promising clemency to those
primitive monsterforms who would undertake to follow the Path of the Avatar,
that the Goblins were rediscovered. A delegation of Goblinfolk appeared at the
gates of Castle Britannia, asking for an audience with Lord British. Not just
one but two species of Goblins had survived in hiding from the days of Exodus.
The Gray Goblins, originally mountain dwellers, had skulked in the caves of
the Serpent's Spine mountains. The forest-dwelling Green Goblins hid themselves
by retreating into an underground river's channel, near the baneful lake
Today, virtuous Goblinfolk make up one-third of our community. There was a time
when a Green Goblin would rather slay a Gray Goblin than any other enemy, but
the Path of the Avatar has brought the tribes together as brothers.
(Though the two species rarely come to blows nowadays, the Gray and the Green
still attempt to outdo each other whenever possible in matters of Virtue. Old
enmities die hard. - Corby)
In the district where I was raised, it is not uncommon for Trolls to waylay
an occasional traveler. Several times I have seen such brigands after justice
had dealt with them, hanging from roadside crosses. Until I visited the Shrine
of Compassion, therefore, it had not occurred to me how nearly civilized the
Troll people are. After all, they use civilized weapons (stolen from us), wear
tatters of clothing or hide, and speak a rough form of the same tongue which we
speak. Curiosity next drove me to visit the Lycaeum on Verity Isle, where I
learned that the Trolls had once been a mountain-dwelling people. Over
recorded history, however, they have always moved closer to civilization -
today, they are commonly found along roads and under bridges. I became
convinced that the Trolls were fit candidates for the Way of the Avatar.
My servitors and I travelled the roads of Britannia for two years, recruiting
Trolls for our great Abyssal Experiment. Many of the monsterforms rejected us,
and some we were forced to slay in self-defense. However, I am glad to report
that the Trolls accepted our ways and now constitute an important section of our
community. It has been difficult for many to accept the presence of the Trolls.
The Knights were trained from youth to slay such creatures on sight, and Goblins
are a favorite food of Trolls. Nevertheless, the Virtues have triumphed.
(And those Trolls who offend by dining on Goblinflesh are immediately exiled, if
caught. - Corby)
What follows has been written by me in the interests of Honesty and Justice. The
fact that Sir Cabirus did not include these facts among his own writings was no
doubt a simple oversight. - Corby
Some colonists prove unable or unwilling to live according to the Code of
the Avatar. A few became discouraged by life in the Abyss, which is hard and
bleak. Some were formerly wicked men who honestly adopted the Eight Virtues, but
who, through weakness of will, returned to wickedness. There are
those who say that the Abyss itself works to degrade the quality of a man's
character, but Sir Cabirus regarded this as sheer superstition.Those unable to
live in peace with the rest of us are asked to separate themselves, and if
they will not go of their own will, they are driven at the point of the sword.
Most Exiles join Baron Almric's keep, or from there sail back to their former
lands. However, some Exiles descend further into the Abyss than any colonists
dwell. Knights who have explored the deeper recesses tell of reclusive beings -
they call them "ghouls"- who eat rats and vermin. Our warriors claim that the
Exiles have degenerated in physical form, and that even though they were
once of several races and colors, all approach a common, horrific semblance.
I suspect these are stories embellished by a few rounds of ale, for who can
believe such an occurrence!
Ye Who Venture Here
This passage is a guide to those who might feel moved to join our Colony.
This rough place is unsuited for those with soft hands or unsteady swords!
In particular, we are looking for settlers of these eight professions:
Minstrels with bright songs and inspiring tales might relieve our bleak
existence, and our Colony is worthy of a new tale or two. Bards considering the
journey to Avatar Isle must be prepared to perform deeds of valor, not just
chronicle them! Many bards are greatly skilled with sling and crossbow, not to
mention the arcane arts - these are talents always needed here.
We are now seeking a contingent of druids to join us in the Abyss. We hope they
might be able to use their mystic abilities to persuade a sacred grove to take
root in our chasm. Many druids are skilled with bow or mace, and so would be
doubly useful. Druids generally shun the wearing of metal armor. Here this is
good, for in the Abyss sound carries easily, and metal armor is noisy.
Those warriors wishing to join our number should be prepared to satisfy the
qualifications of our fighting society, the Order of the Crux Ansata.
Prospective Knights should have spent their lives in martial training and
have the use of all weapons and armor. (The Order has particularly found the
double-edged Britannian sword to be a devastating weapon in the close quarters
of the Abyss.) Horses are impractical in our surroundings, and we have no
facilities to feed or stable mounts, so leave your steeds behind. The Order's
custom is that engaging in magic is only a waste of energy for fighters -
Knights leave spell-casting to the mages.
As with the fighters, wizards desiring to join our Colony must be ready to
satisfy the entry requirements of a fraternal organization unique to the Abyss.
This is our magical society, the Ancient Illuminated Seers of the
Moonstone. Their by-laws encourage magic-users to shun armor except that made of
cloth, and to carry no weapons beside staff, sling or dagger. (Arcane weapons
are, naturally, excluded from this limitation.) However, no natural
or magical law prevents spellcasters from using whatever armor and weapons they
choose, and many of the younger Seers opt for the heaviest arms and armor they
can manage. Still, the Seers' rules serve to keep the mage focused on his
primary purpose - the working of magic.
I have lately regretted not encouraging immigration by members of this
profession, as it might be useful to have colonists experienced in both magic
and combat. It is well-known that paladins are formidable warriors and
With the coming of the druids, should I be successful in recruiting them to
establish a grove in the Abyss, we will of course also welcome woodsmen of all
types. I have often thought that rangers would be useful here to track down
intruding predators, and their training in woods lore might enlighten
us about some of the odd creatures we find.
I have given some thought to the introduction of sheep into the Abyss, and for
that reason would like to encourage shepherds to make their way to our isle.
Herders vary widely in their training, some being adept at certain weapons or
even spells, but the one certain attribute of every shepherd is a degree of
humility which would be most welcome here.
Our community has great need of any who can repair metal or wooden implements
(especially weapons). Such artisans should also be warriors, due to the
nature of our settlement. I do not think that the well-known tinker aversion to
magic will be a problem here, for our mages are never intrusive.
Magic in the Depths
In the first years of our settlement here in the Abyss, our mages have
learned much about the nature of magic in this most strange place. What is
written below is meant for the guidance of those pilgrim mages who may wish
to join our company, lest you bring with you those items of great expense
which will be useless to you here. (Many thanks to Seer Danlock, who has advised
me in places where my natural gifts and learning failed me.)
A History of Magic
Many alive today do not realize that magic - or the "dreadful arts," as the
mystic arts used to be known - was once a lost art in the land we now call
Britannia. The rulers of the various city-states recognized the great evil which
could be worked through the casting of powerful spells, and enforced a rigid
ban on the practice of magic-working.
Unfortunately, there was one who did not hold himself subject to the rule
of law. His name was Mondain, and his evil wizardry brought about the First
Age of Darkness. In order to defeat him, certain good citizens took down from
their shelves the long-disused tomes of magic, and taught themselves the secrets
of the arcane world in order that their power might be used in opposition to the
spells of Mondain the Wicked.
There have been many ages since the defeat of Mondain, but the forces of
evil, empowered by their knowledge of spell-casting, have never ceased to be a
threat to our peaceful world. Therefore, our own mages have never abandoned
their studies, and have greatly added to the number and power of their spells
A wizard who is also a true follower of the Way of the Avatar recognizes
his heavy responsibility to wisely use the arcane powers which he possesses.
The Prime Virtue of all mages is Honesty, for a practitioner of magic must
strive to be free of illusions or confusions - he must see the world as it
is, and correctly assess his own limitations and improper aspirations. Should a
mage use the mystic arts for personal gain or vengeance, he might find that his
powers have deserted him. The ways of magic are diverse and strange, and there
is much yet to be learned by even our most advanced mages. We believe that the
magical energies are arranged in eight spheres, all positioned about a common
center, and each sphere larger than that which precedes it. Unseen bonds link
these shells of energy with the workings of the physical plane. As a mage grows
in learning, he also grows in his ability to touch the greater spheres of
energy, until at last he can cast even the spells of the Eighth Circle.
An important element in the manipulation of these arcane energies is the
use of syllables of magic, for unless a mage can speak the proper words of
power, the energy of the spheres will remain locked to him.
The magically-attuned among our original colonists quickly discovered
that the rules of magic as known in the rest of the world do not apply to our
new underground home. As any student of our world's history must be aware,
many titanic and dramatic events have unfolded in the vicinity of the Great
Stygian Abyss - indeed, the chasm and the isle itself originated in energies
arcane! Our foremost mages believe that the release in past times of enormous
mystic energies here has worn the dimensional fabric thin, allowing the laws of
other worlds to mingle with and even negate certain of the mystic principles.
Firstly, the casting of magic while within the Abyss does not require the
use of reagents. Bring no sulfurous ash, ginseng, spider silk, nightshade, black
pearls, blood moss or garlic - you will have no need for arcane ingredients in
Secondly, new colonists should leave behind their spellbooks. We have
discovered a way to cast magic which works only in the Abyss, and which does
not require the user to carry a cumbersome tome with him. There are, scattered
among the corridors in the depths, special stones charged with mystic potency.
Each of these stones is inscribed with a rune identifying its nature. These rune
stones are similar in function to the syllables of magic used in ordinary
Britannian magic. Any spell can be cast by a mage who possesses the rune
stones pertaining to that spell, unless the caster lacks the experience to
utilize the spells of that Circle.
Thirdly, rune stones can only be used when they are placed in a suitable
receptacle. Our seers have enchanted special bags for this purpose, and will
provide you with a rune bag upon your arrival.
Fourthly, mages in the depths must develop proficiency in the physical
gestures associated with spell-casting. We have noted spell failures here when
all other conditions have been satisfied, and we attribute these disappointments
to a lack of casting skill on the part of the wizard.
Lastly, it is just as important for a Runic Mage to possess Mana as it is for
any other Britannian Mage, for this is the power which must be channeled into
all wizardry. The mystic energy is restored when a mage sleeps, or sometimes
by the use of arcane objects such as scrolls.
The prospective member of our community should not be discouraged to
learn that there are many fierce beasts which inhabit the Abyss. Numerous and
diverse as they are, they have proved no match for the swords of our Knights.
(Or so the Knights tell us. - Corby)
These verminous, disease-ridden pests proliferate in the more remote portions
of the Underworld. Bats are bird-like in aspect, but covered with a rough fur
rather than feathers. Bats make annoying foes, as they are difficult to strike
and very swift, and are almost always found in flocks.
Our Knights report finding two varieties of bat in the Abyss. Cave Bats are not
known to be fearsome antagonists, preferring to avoid battle when they can.
Being dark as midnight, they are difficult to sight but may be detected by the
high squealing sounds they make when communicating amongst themselves. One is
easily killed with a well-placed blow.
On the other hand, the Vampire Bat is a robust creature which seems to seek out
opponents. This cunning beast - which can be distinguished from the Cave Bat by
its red fur - prefers to attack from above, and may easily remain unseen by
those who keep their eyes fixed on the ground, looking for traps or
gold. Beware the bite of the Vampire Bat, for the venom it releases is strong
enough to sear one's skin.
These repulsive green crawlers are distantly related to the common Rotworms of
Britannia, but are possessed of an aggressive nature that would befit a creature
ten times their size. Sir Broderick stumbled upon a subterranean nest of these
vermin, and quickly discovered that they were not as easily killed as
Rotworms. Seeking to find a better location to make his stand against the
beasts, the Knight retreated - only to discover the worms pursuing him with single-minded
determination. Broderick finally slew them all, only to die from poisoning of
the blood as a result of the worms' venom. His scrawled notes, written as a
selfless act by a dying man, were recently recovered by explorers, but the good
knight's body has never been found.
These beings of fire, left in the chasms after eruptionss of lava in the last
age, ar among the most challenging foes of the Abyss. First of all, one should
know that these Elementals have the ability to toss portions of themselves -
balls of living fire - at their opponents. Secondly, they are fearsome warriors:
quick to attack with their flaming arms, nimble enough to escape most
blows, and sturdy enough to withstand grievous damage. As they can kill a man in
only a few blows, it is often prudent to avoid their attention by passing
quietly and at a distance (Elementals are said to be nearly blind).
Surely this creature was created by sorcerous means, for no natural law could
have given birth to a beast this monstrous. Gazers float through the corridors
of our chasm, and with their many eyeballs are quick to spot intruders into
their domain. Do not underestimate the fearsomeness of this obstacle, as a
Gazer's attack - noted by the wink of its great central eye, or the twist of an
eye stalk - cuts as deep as a sword thrust, and this beast seldom
misses its mark.
Our Seers have been at a loss to explain the presence of the several types of
spectral beings which are sometimes found within the Underworld. We do not know
whether these are the spirits of Britannia's dead or merely beasts of an
ethereal nature. The typical Ghost is no match for an experienced warrior, as
two or three well placed blows will quench its essence, and in such a short
the specter cannot seriously injure its foe. More dangerous are the rarer, more
powerful ghostforms. The White Ghost, which differs from a typical ghost by
being opaque and blazingly white in hue, is more substantial in this plane and
thus much mor difficult to slay. Therefore, combat against this foe typically
takes much longer - and the White Ghost can easily slay its foe in such
a span of time!
The most dangerous form of ethereal being to be found here is the Dire Ghost.
Dark as night and as substantial as a shadow, this creature is difficult to see
until it attacks - when its eyes glow a bright golden color.
Seer Moonwane believes that these ghosts are the remnants of slain monsters,
based on the observation that Dire Ghosts attack with an unmatched ferocity.
Over the centuries, the rodents of Britannia have grown ever larger (and
hungrier) in the catacombs and tunnels which honeycomb this land. Natural
agility and sharp teeth are these creatures' chief advantages. Even a single
Giant Rat poses a significant danger for a lightly armed opponent, though an
experienced warrior can slay a pack in as many blows as there are enemies.
Of the rats which have bred in the Abyss, we have distinguished two varieties.
The Giant Tan Rat, commonly found in the drier upper levels, is an aggressive
beast with the disgusting tactic of leaping up in order to slash with its teeth
at an enemy's throat. The Great Gray Rat is found in the lower depths, where it
feeds upon the refuse washed down from higher in the chasm. Consequent to their
revolting eating habits, these rats are universally infected with noxious germs
which they pass on with every bite. Seldom do our Knights tangle with Great Gray
Rats without someone in the party becoming ill. Fortunately, these rats can
often be avoided, or driven off with a spirited defense.
Whether these monsters are natural to this chasm, or whether they were created
here by long-ago wizards experimenting with dark forces, our wisest men cannot
say. What we do know is that the Golems attack us on sight, and that no single
mortal warrior has yet been a match for their fearsome strength and resistance
to damage. Each type of Golem appears to have been formed from a different
element, and they also differ somewhat in mass. The Earth Golem, a brown-hued
figure composed of solidified soil, is the smallest. Still, it is a formidable
creature best tackled by well-armed opponents. Knight Galloway claims that he
once escaped from such a Golem by entering a maze of passageways - he thinks
these beasts track their foes by eyesight, and are probably hard of hearing.
The Stone Golem is larger than the Earth Golem, and can be recognized by its
gray color. As it can slay a man in as few as two blows, and since it would seem
to take many sword strikes to slay it, our Knights only tackle this opponent in
teams. Worst of all these unnatural creatures is the Metal Golem, noted for its
mottled rust-and-steel appearance. Few weapons can dent this massive being,
while a single blow from a Metal Golem canleave a warrior crippled for life.
Knight Galloway concluded that Metal Golems were practically blind, but his
recent death at their hands has put this theory into disrepute.
Do not fall prey to pity for these wretched deformities, for the Headless have a
relentless animosity for all upright beings with heads - they attack without
thought, and give no quarter unless on the verge of their own extinction. Having
no visible eyes or ears, it has long been a mystery how the Headless find
and pursue their prey. It is a simple matter to avoid a pack of these beasts by
exercising silence and keeping a prudent distance.
These damnable abominations, virtually extinct elsewhere in Britannia, remain
alive in the Abyss despite our best efforts to slay every last one of them. They
are a foul conglomeration, part demon, part monkey and perhaps part creature or
creatures unknown (to account for their hideous green coloring).
Flying lazily overhead in the larger crevices, taunting our Knights and tossing
down the occasional arcane bolt, Imps have been a nuisance and a thorn in our
flesh since our arrival. They are poor fighters when one can draw them into
hand-to-hand combat, and can easily be slain with a sword-thrust or two - if
they can be enticed to fight.
For the most part, these tentacled monstrosities have been more of a nuisance
than a threat. Lurkers dwell in the subterranean rivers and channels of the
Abyss, and have never been seen on land. They are normally seen floating just
below the surface of the water, with their eyes and yellow tentacles poking out
above. We know of a few cases in which a Lurker has pursued a swimmer, and once
a beast became so enraged that it lurked at the water's edge and attacked those
along the shore. Knight Willomar tells of encountering a more ferocious variety
of Lurker in the deeper catacombs. This Deep Lurker is reportedly a veritable
giant. (We do not know if it is a lone monster, or one of a new sub-species.)
Its great size could not be detected from the small profile it presented above
the water, but the Deep Lurker should be recognizable by its distinctive green
color. Willomar spent many days recovering from his battle, and was for a time
wracked by a mysterious fever that poisoned his brain, but we do not know if the
disease came from the monster or from some other source.
The Mongbats rank even worse than Imps as the most pestiferous elements in
our underground abode. Resembling a cross between bat and monkey, these
brown avians have no honor, but instead conduct battle by swooping down to score
a hit, then flying off to circle out of range of one's weapons. Even worse, the
beasts are so swift and nimble that they are difficult to hit even in close
combat. These evil pests are most accurate in their diving attacks, though
fortunately they are too small to cause great damage with any single blow. We
would exterminate these vermin if we could.
Legend tells us that the first Reapers were born when an ancient, enchanted
forest was swallowed up in a cataclysmic upheaval long ago. Ever since, these
animate, arcane treeforms have been found in subterranean places, often guarding
some object they fancy or patrolling their chosen territory. The common Reapers
of Britannia are fully mobile for only a brief period in their life cycle, but
the specimens to be found here can wander about at will (though quite slowly).
Although their wildly swinging branches often miss their targets, one blow that
strikes a valiant warrior can do more damage than any sword thrust. Therefore,
Reapers are a serious menace, to be avoided by the inexperienced warrior.
In the dank depths of the Underworld - where rot infects, corrosion ruins and
corruption festers - can be found the foul nests of these loathsome worms.
Should one approach close enough to be sensed by a Rotworm, the beast is sure to
attack. An armored warrior has little to fear from these worms, but an
illequipped explorer could easily be overcome by sheer numbers.
There is little we can say about this entity, or family of entities - we
obviously cannot see that which is invisible, so we do not know how many there
are. The Shadow Beast is thought to be immensely powerful, more than a match for
any single warrior. When attacked by an unseen adversary, first look up (for a
flying attacker) and down (lest a small worm or other foe is striking) - if
none of these be the case, then suspect the Shadow Beast and begin to strike
in all directions!
Perhaps a consequence of the unique, arcane nature of our Abyssal environment,
these Undead creatures may be found almost anywhere - some think Skeletons crawl
directly out of the rock walls of the chasm! Furthermore, these monsters are
most commonly found in groups (should you find one Skeleton, there are likely to
be more around the corner). Skeletons hate all living beings. Fortunately, they
are weak, ineffective warriors.
Not to be mistaken for the common Slimes of Britannia, the Slugs of the Abyss
are gelatinous, amorphous entities. Their extremely small and limited minds are
entirely taken up with an insatiable curiosity, and so Slugs are certain to
follow any motion they detect. Fortunately for explorers, Slugs have no eyes or
ears, and therefore miss much that occurs around them. Of the two varieties of
Slug found locally, the Flesh Slug - notable for its pale fleshy color - is the
most common and least dangerous. We are not certain if these creatures intend to
bite their victims, or if their offensive actions are accidents of their
constant writhing. Certainly, no warrior of any experience need fear these
pitiful beasts. However, beware the greenish Acid Slug. Though only a little
larger than the Flesh Slug, the Acid Slug secretes a noxious vapor which
sometimes intoxicates its foes. Despite its fearsome name, this Slug is not
poisonous - merely inedible.
The repellent arachnids which patrol the depths of the Abyss are not of the
web-building kind, but roam the crevices in search of fresh prey. The common
Giant Spider is a dark gray in color. These gargantuan spiders are midway in
stature between a bloodhound and a small pony, and since they travel in mated
pairs or clans, these creatures present a reasonable challenge to the typical
fighting man. Despite their bloated appearance and short legs, don't be
surprised by their leaping form of attack. Smaller in form and reddish-brown in
hue is the poisonous Wolf Spider. It is the most easily killed of the large
spiders, but the Wolf Spider will likely score one or two bites (and inject its
red bile, a powerful poison) before succumbing to the inevitable. Most Knights
think this spider to be relatively inoffensive, but Knight Vitalar reports the
beasts have attacked him whenever they have detected his presence. The greatest
adversary among the arachnids of the Abyss is the Dread Spider. A ghostly white
or light gray in color, this creature is the equivalent in combat of two or
three of its cousins - very sturdy and thus difficult to kill. To compound the
problem, this spider is a vicious opponent, capable of repeatedly penetrating
one's armor with its sharp bite. The Dread Spider is one of the most venomous
creatures known in the Abyss.
Having the harmless appearance of floating bits of light, the solitary Wisp of
the Abyss would appear to be no more than a beautiful apparition. The contrary
is true. Wisps are nearly indestructible masses of energy, and given their
tremendous speed and devastating electrical attacks, they cannot be fought by
ordinary mortals. Our Seers think them capable of casting magic as well, and
often seek them out to consult them on arcane matters.
The volume penned by Corby, scribe of Sir Cabirus, came into the possession of
our Library after many years of being passed on from one reader to another. At
this time, I should like to make some historical clarifications.
Firstly, there have been many suspicions about Sir Cabirus' death. These I
wish to put to rest. Corby's scrawled notes testify that his master died in his
sleep, in an ordinary though untimely manner. There is no evidence whatever
to support rumors of murder by poison or strange magics. Such unfounded
speculations apparently helped to stir up the discord which led to the downfall
of the Abyss Colony.
Secondly, there is the matter of the theft of the eight mystic devices which
Sir Cabirus collected before his death. It was Cabirus' plan to cement the
harmony of his settlement by presenting each of these artifacts to a different
group or faction among his community. Unfortunately, he did not leave a guide as
to how to distribute the items. This caused great disagreement among the
Colonists, and certain factions seized those objects which they believed Cabirus
meant for them. Even the grave of Sir Cabirus was desecrated by colonists
hungry for treasure.
What follows is a description of the eight arcane devices. Unfortunately,
the precise nature of the enchantment upon the artifacts is unknown to me.
* Book of Truth.
Said to have been penned by Ravenhurst of Moonglow, a great philosopher of the
past age, this book contains meditations on the meaning of life, the importance
of truth, the fallibility of the senses, and the difficulty of seeing even what
is directly adjacent to one's mustache.
* Ring of Humility.
This simple ring was worn by Bill, the humble son of Jenn. Bill labored at Lord
British's Museum of Oddities to repair and preserve the exhibits, yet never
asked for reward.
* Cup of Wonder.
This object was carved from the heartwood of an ancient oak by one of the finest
craftsmen of Skara Brae.
* Shield of Valor.
Once carried by Lord Blackthorn, this shield was set aside when that noble
ascended to the rulership of Britannia upon the kidnapping of Lord British
(a tale told in Warriors of Destiny. It is therefore symbolic of Valor, which
Blackthorn also set aside when he became regent.
* Standard of Honor.
This banner was carried by none other than Sir Geraci, who was slain at Lord
British's side during the ill-fated expedition to the Underworld (as related in
Warriors of Destiny). Though Geraci could have saved himself by fleeing, he
instead upheld his oath to serve his king until death.
* Sword Caliburn.
Reportedly molded after a legendary sword from the world of the Avatar, this
weapon is said to cleave truth from falsehood.
* Taper of Sacrifice.
Crafted by the finest artisans of Minoc, this candle was once used to illuminate
the Shrine of Sacrifice. I am told that none may bathe in the light from this
taper without appreciating this truth - that the candle produces light only
through its own destruction.
* Wine of Compassion.
Brewed by the brethren at Empath Abbey, this noble vintage is said to open one's
heart to the sufferings of others.
Thirdly, I must warn all to avoid the Stygian Abyss. Without Sir Cabirus
to guide them, the Colonists warred among themselves. Contact with the
subterranean community has been lost for many years, and I fear that there are
no human survivors.
Jonathan Arnold, Doug Church, Jon Maiara, Dan Schmidt, Carlos Smith
Brad Freeman, Dan Schmidt (game), W.G. Armintrout (manuals)
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