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Mordor XP: The Demise of Dejenol December 2007 Update

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December Update

This month, there will be a good deal of reading in the updates. All four updates for this month have been combined together here.

Evil Storyline Introduction: Part 1

The rogue guild of Marlith has some original ways to mark its targets. One of them is to send out children on the ramparts during busy days, carrying little sacks of bird droppings mixed with white paint, while accomplished rogues (such as yourself), thugs and muggers roam the streets looking for the white mark (white meaning "alone and new to the city"). Look at that one! Eyes and mouth wide open, admiring the "local atmosphere." Humph! This town is as undesirable as any other commercial city on weekdays; only the festivals bring a little color to the otherwise grey atmosphere. There he goes, a worry-less, and now purse-less adventurer. You swiftly dive into an alley to assess your trophy, but a three-dimensional curse escapes from your lips when the purse reveals a handful of pebbles. Irritated, you decide to follow the arrogant foreigner (yes, he insulted you! He didn't even let you welcome him to your town - your way). Luckily, the man enters the pub you have connections in, and so you follow him. There, you place yourself not far behind him and begin your observations. You realize you'll have to cut some feet soon, and start wondering about that axe you saw in the smith's shop the other day, when a young rogue from your guild tugs your hood. "What is it?" you ask, irritated, because the kid makes you spill some of your ale. "Guildmaster. Gathering," whispers the kid, and runs away. Looks like your amputation ambitions will have to wait. You quickly finish your beer and head to the guild.

The guild quarters, hidden behind a store, have always been the last refuge for rogues and pickpockets who seem to ‘disappear’ from the city guard's sight in daylight. The door is always guarded by a couple of ogres who only open to a particular series of taps and a password which is changed regularly. As you enter, you see the guildmaster's face, usually relaxed and welcoming, now worried. The pickpockets of Marlith have a code of solidarity among themselves, and in this ‘neutral territory’ everyone listens to the old man Gomun, who in his old age still carries the task of organizing this riffraff and conducting raids, as he calls it, to "relieve some citizens of the weight of a few coins." Usually, no one questions him, but when they do, they are usually found dead within a day. The meeting was in session, and Gomun spoke: "Let’s cut to the chase. We are missing Burke," he immediately stated. Burke was the guild's sorcerer, who would cast invisibility spells for especially dangerous missions and was overall a fine spell caster, rivaling all of the other guilds' mages. "He left the guild yesterday evening and did not come back. He ain’t at his home, he hasn’t been seen anywhere in town, and I dunno where he might’a gone. I want you to set aside all other missions and find him." He quickly, as always, forms teams to search for the wizard and assigns sections of the town to each of them. You have been assigned to search the sewers, alone.

You wonder what could have happened to the man...

Moving in the shadows, you come to the entrance of the sewers. The watchman guarding the iron door is in a jolly mood, mostly thanks to the gallons of ale which went through his throat, and does not see you sliding through the small opening someone left.

Evil Storyline Introduction: Part 2

Sliding past the guard, "like a shadow" as you call it, you sense the smell of something new to the town. Of course, being a true rogue, you know every corner, cache, hollow tree trunk, and everything else there is to know in the town, and what odor should accompany it. This time, aside from the stagnant water and the occasional rotting mouse, you smell something fresh inside the sewers (luckily, Marlith has a very developed sewer system, so the excrements are thrown into a specially designed segment that leads to a river that flows out of the valley so you don't get nausea. The previous mayor spent half of the year's budget on digging that branch. You thank him silently and move on). The half darkness reveals nothing unusual, but then again, you don't think you'll find Burke that easily – he probably isn't even here. The faint smell of fresh meat intrigues you though, so you advance deeper, remaining alert for the faintest sounds. After walking a few dozen feet down a straight (and wet) corridor, you come upon a large square chamber with a heavy wooden door on the other side that doesn't look like it can be moved by a single person. You can hardly see a thing now, so you decide to use your lightstone, a small trinket given to you by Burke some time ago: if squeezed tightly, it emits a light equivalent to that of a torch. However, the light only lasts for approximately fifteen minutes until it needs to be recharged by daylight.

You hold it tightly like you have done so many times before, and something unusual happens: The stone heats up so much within two seconds that you are forced to throw it on the ground to avoid burning your hand. At the same time, it crackles loudly and emits an extremely bright light that lasts for just a moment, during which you survey your surroundings. You are shocked; on the ground are the remains of a finely drawn pentagram, and a red trail leads from its center towards the wooden door and continues on underneath. Just as the light fades, you notice a small green amulet in the center of the pentagram, which you recognize as being Burke's "emerald charm," a small trinket he carried for luck. A moment later, all is dark again. You stroll to the place where the amulet lies, and pick it up. You decide to report to Gomun as fast as possible; you can no longer remain in this place where magic goes wrong and strange events happen…

Neutral Storyline Introduction: Part 1

"You can go no further!" "And why not?" you ask.

You have been in Marlith for a few days now, making a halt between the ridges of Kher and the Red Mountains. You've tasted local food and ale (disgusting), been to the pub, and shared stories with other guests of the town. Everything had been normal for the most part...until a bard's song attracted your attention earlier this night:

Deep in the sewers an entrance lies, The ancient caverns of Mordor it hides. Ineffable dangers are lurking within, Protecting a fabulous treasure therein.

A man brave of heart, with resolve made of steel, Will traverse the dungeon, facing horrors unreal. Over bodies he'll step, stalwart and strong, And shall slay throngs of demons, yet march right along.

Deep in the sewers an entrance lies, Coffer or coffin, up to you to decide.

You caught up with the bard after his song. He laughed at your puzzled expression and explained that the song is about the old dungeon which was explored, cleared, and sealed four hundred years ago. You however, were attracted by the expression "fabulous treasure," and after a short time decided to head for the sewers.

"And why not?" you ask again. "The sewers are as old as the mountains and could collapse at any moment! Some areas are in poor state – no amount of money is worth the risk of being caved in." You look into the guard's eyes and announce dramatically, "I am not afraid of falling rocks – only those with eyes." "You've met rock giants too, eh? Oh well, go in, do whatever you must do and come back quickly!"

You delve into the first level of the sewers and a foul stench overwhelms you. You wrap a cloth around your nose and proceed further on. The stone walls are cracked and stained, but are holding up, as if their long-dead builders are still maintaining the integrity of the structure. Lighting your torch, you advance deeper into the darkness. You can no longer hear the sounds of the city above, but you do hear the sound of water dripping not very far away, as well as voices. Voices? You distinguish two different voices, singing in unison in a language you don't understand. Their tone reminds you of an incantation. As you come closer, they abruptly stop their spell and a fountain of light illuminates everything as far as you can see. The flash is accompanied by a maniacal laugh which resonates in the hallway like nothing you've ever heard before. You sense a mix of sensations in that laugh; freedom, resolve, exaltation and malicious intent all combine to deliver a thunderous spectacle for your ears. You wonder if you're the only one who heard it. An instant later, you hear a loud whooshing should and everything returns to normal. You decide it's safe to advance, already predicting what lies ahead. You are correct: around the corner, a faintly glowing pentagram and two bodies in robes cover the stone floor, and fuming tracks lead to a huge wooden door. You decide now would be a fine time to invest in a weapon other than your bare hands.

Neutral Storyline Introduction: Part 2

The next morning, you sit in bed and ponder your situation. Is there any need to stay in town? You are curious about what you've just seen. Dead bodies have never been your thing, but you realize painfully that you might be the only witness of this horrible deed, and decide to report it to higher authorities. After a night's rest, a trip to the store and the bank (thieves are numerous, cash is precious) you head to the mayor's house to ask for an audience. The secretary looks at you behind his thick glasses: "And what business do you have with the mayor?" "I have witnessed something horrible within the city limits and I believe it is my obligation to report it to the Mayor. I have reasons to believe the citizens of this town are in danger. I would be most grateful if I could see him immediately." "The Mayor is busy at the moment. Why don't you come back in…how about a week or two? Then we can see if we can do anything for you," says the secretary, grinning. The little scrawny man with bottle-bottom glasses is obviously abusing the bureaucracy to refrain from responsibility and work. In other words, he is seriously getting on your nerves. You slam your fist on the table: "Listen to me, you little... (control yourself!)…man (good!). I am not joking. Would you like to see your dear town in danger, or worse, infested with evil magical creatures? Because that is what is going to happen if I don't have an audience with the Mayor RIGHT AWAY!" There is no answer from the man behind his desk. However, behind him, a door opens and a tall, athletic blond man with a little beard comes out and asks: "What seems to be the problem? Wilfred?" Wilfred responds: "This stranger is here to see you, sir. Following your orders, I politely asked him to leave, but he is now hinting that our town may be under attack." "Now, now Wilfred. I'll take this into my hands from now on." Then, looking at you: "Follow me into my office."

Mayor Gatsfil has a very well-organized office with matching furniture and paintings on the walls. The atmosphere reigning within is very comfortable and welcoming. You wonder if all visitors feel the same way. The Mayor himself is very polite and a courteous, good-looking fellow, slightly over forty, and full of energy. He indicates toward the seat, and sits down in his chair behind the desk. He moves aside a pile of papers: "Tell me what brings you here." You tell him of what happened the day before. He looks in your eyes while you tell your story, his face expression-less. You ask, "Do you have any idea what is going on here?" "No. But I thank you for informing me. I shall inform all the guildmasters of this. You should go visit them, too. I have to ask you a favor. I can expend no guards with the festival at hand, you understand, so someone will have to go down there and bring back more information. That's where you come in. You will, of course, be rewarded for the risk you're taking. Will you go into the sewers, look around, and bring some more information?" You feel you're going to stay in this town longer than you expected...

Good Storyline Introduction: Part 1

Ah, Marlith at last! Your trip is finally over. You have spent the last three days roaming the hillside looking for the damned town. As you cross the huge iron gate, a bird poops on your backpack, and you see the local children pointing their fingers and laughing at you. "Oh well, it's just their way of saying welcome," you say to yourself, smiling, and carry on. The town itself is in a festive mood: the streets are full of people, colored drapes cover clotheslines, and children and pets are playing in the streets. But festivals also mean pickpockets. As you enter the pub, you realize you won't be seeing your purse any longer, for it has already been in some scoundrel’s pocket for some time now. You pay for your drink with the money you keep in your shoes (being good-natured does not mean the same thing as being naïve, mind you) and start planning for the following day. Bards sing their songs around you while you are lost in thought. A song about treasure and demons whizzes past your ears. You smile at the bard and leave him a coin, then ask for a room at the front desk. As you go up to see your new (luxurious, the barmaid assures you) apartment, someone bumps into you. It's a small boy, wrapped in rags, his face covered with a dirty cloth. "Hey little guy, what are you doing here?" The boy gazes at you. Between two folds of cloth you see his eyes: two red sparks flashing, full of anger, or perhaps despair… You make contact for only a second before the boy runs out of the pub. You are too tired to pursue him, so you just make a mental note about the red eyes and enter your room. Sleep overwhelms you instantly, but the red eyes plague your dreams. You wake up in cold sweat. Who the hell was that boy? It's dark outside. No matter, you can't sleep anymore, so you decide to take a walk and breathe some fresh air. You walk on the empty streets (it is not recommended but you have nothing to lose; anything's better than suffocating in your room) and Marlith seems to unroll itself beneath your feet. A few more steps brings you to the entrance of the sewers, as well as the stench accompanying the place. It’s a smell you've felt before, not too long ago. You see light within, and curiosity takes its toll; the guard is fast asleep, and before you know it, your feet are taking you through the sewers, each step echoing off the stone walls. A dim light glows ahead, although you cannot see the source. The passage twists and turns for a while and then leads downwards. The light becomes stronger. You also hear a guttural sound and footsteps other than your own…or is it just your imagination? The tension mounts with every step, as if one, two, then an orchestra of violins are playing a crescendo followed by a violent apogee inside your head. The orchestra stops when you enter a large chamber, illuminated by moonlight seeping through the grate above. A red pentagram decorates the floor and bloody trails lead to a huge wooden door at the end of the room. And you thought tomorrow would be a good day for food-tasting...

Good Storyline Introduction: Part 2

You turn on your heels and decide to leave this dark and damp place. All these walls and pillars are starting to weigh on your mind. You take a few steps forward and take a final glance at the pentagram: it is shining faintly, a red glow in the surrounding half-darkness. Then a calm voice speaks: "Halt." For an instant, you think your mind is playing tricks on you, but a figure steps out from behind a pillar. You watch it take a step forward into the ray of moonlight, and recognize the red-eyed boy from the tavern. It speaks again: "I knew you’d come here. I've called you to show what awaits those on the surface, so that the humans will have a fighting chance in the war to come." He waves his hand and a shining ball of energy forms in the air in front of you. Within, dark shadows in foggy surroundings move slowly, then their features sharpen and you stare in horror as you see all sorts of demons and monsters staring back at you. There is exaltation in their eyes, a sense yearning for long-awaited freedom. They seem to be ready for war. The boy waves his hands again, and the vision disappears. "Go now, the door is about to open, and I wish you no harm." He points to the massive, reinforced wooden gate that looks so incredibly old. You wake up in cold sweat as the morning sun touches your face. “So it was all a dream!” you think, but then notice you are fully dressed and there is mud on your boots. You think it's the right time to do some weapon-shopping and guild-visiting.

Every game needs a theme song

And this game is no exception. I'm sure most if not all of you are familiar with the main Mordor 1 music theme. A re-worked version of the theme now plays on the main menu when you start up the game, and let me tell you, it is fantastic! I hope you enjoy it!

The world of descriptions

We have told you time and again how the descriptions open up a new world to the game. There are countless stories or famous individuals, places, and events that you will encounter several times throughout your readings. You will come to be familiar with the Great Disgorging, which involved the release of monsters into the mines. You will enjoy laughs over the shady dealings occurring in the Maze of Worms. Perhaps you will even take a liking to one of our favorite characters - Dalyn. He is quite a cunning character with usually funny adventures, although one of our examples below will show you another side of the sorcerer. Let's introduce you to him...or, instead, let's just tell you about a couple of his adventures.

Dalyn's Tear
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Dalyn's Tear is an an exotic amulet said to contain the actual tears of the now legendary and completely misunderstood wizard Dalyn. The story behind the amulet's origin is a sad tale of unrequited love. Dalyn was enamoured with the beautiful sea princess Peshkari, who lived beneath the silver waves of the Sundering Sea. The poor wizard was so smitten by her that he was known to spend untold hours on the shore, singing her praises and throwing gifts of exotic flowers and rare jewels into the foaming waves in the hopes of winning her heart. But she was unmoved by his advances and, to her great amusement, enticed him further by the beauty of her graceful swimming while she collected whatever gifts he would toss in. One day, a terrible storm struck. Wave upon wave burst upon the jagged rocks at the sea's edge and when it was over, the body of the sea princess Peshakari was found washed up on the shore, her alabaster skin covered in brine and her perfect face and shimmering white hair cloaked with seaweed. Grief-stricken, Dalyn built a funeral pyre from driftwood and tenderly placed the princess' body upon it. Then he poured spiced oil on the wood, lit it and watched as the flames and sweet smoke began to consume her lovely form. As his tears began to freely flow, he took a small vial from his breast pocket and captured them in the small glass container. The city's best jewel-smith was then commissioned by Dalyn to craft a housing for the vial so he could always wear it around his neck as a reminder of his hopeless obsession. After Peshkari's death, Dalyn became extremely stoic and resisted the temptation to look for love once again. His stony expression and debilitating grief were also captured in his tears, and so this artefact encompasses adventurers by a barrier of protection against stone and paralysis attacks. Those who wear the amulet today have reported uncanny sensations of the ocean wind in their hair, smelling the fresh scent of salt spray and hearing the mournful cries of sea birds on the wing echoing from somewhere far away. It is also said that clutching Dalyn's Tear to your breast and focusing the mind can cause a wave of bitter sweet sorrow to overcome any adversary, leaving them more than vulnerable to your whims.

Dalyn's Laugh
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In the days of the phenomenally clever but strangely underhanded wizard Dalyn, much time was spent at the local academy by a select group of physicists and mathematicians searching for a grand unified theory that would explain the nature of everything. So great was their desire to accomplish this goal that a generous reward was offered to merchants, thieves, traveling salesmen and the occasional itinerant fishmonger to search far and wide and harvest, by means legal or suspect, any scrap of knowledge they could bring back. Soon after, volumes of political treatises, tomes of astrological charts, a shoe box of cereal box tops, uncounted spell scrolls both known and apocryphal, hundreds of mothers' apple pie recipes, twenty grade school primers, and more were collected; in short any kind of knowledge that could be written down was soon delivered to the academy by the cartload. Each was then perused, cataloged and cross-referenced by the select group in the hopes of finding a logical pattern in the ever-increasing piles of paper and books that were building at their feet. But the academy's coffers began to run dry as it soon became apparent that the task was too big for the professors. So the dean mandated that a consultant be hired to help with the effort. In desperation, they turned to the formidably brilliant but unpredictable Dalyn for help. Assessing the situation, Dalyn immediately ordered a large vat be constructed and filled with warm water. Then he told his trusted but equally odd apprentice Kazildapek to collect all the papers and books and toss them into the vat, and then stirred it liberally for a few hours. Dalyn changed into a bathing suit and climbed the ladder to the top of the vat. "I shall now float for a time with my alphabet soup." as he now called the vast brew of papers and books that was fermenting below him, "and thereby absorb the stewing knowledge which I will then impart to you - for an extra fee, of course." It was at that moment that Kazildapek found one last scrap of paper hidden under an old boot that was carelessly left in the corner. What was written on the paper to this day no one really knows, but upon reading it, the apprentice bolted up the ladder, whispered something in Dalyn's ear and quickly handed it to him. Upon reading the scrap, Dalyn’s eyes became wide and he began to laugh, but not just any laugh: it was a deep, hard, totally debilitating laugh that left the mage so paralyzed that he pitched forward head over heels into the now frothing mixture below. As he sank to the bottom, his laughter formed hundreds of bubbles that slowly rose to the surface transformed by all the jumble of words floating around them. These bubbles then began to rise from the vat, catching the morning sun streaming through the room's windows with an iridescent beauty. Struck by this spectacle, one of the mathematicians reached out and touched a bubble. It popped and Dalyn’s debilitating laughter was again heard. But the poor mathematician became instantly paralyzed and, unable to breathe, died immediately. Sensing the danger, Kazildapek pulled a magical red bag from his cloak. He then leaped from the vat’s edge and, doing a double somersault in the air, opened the bag. All of the deadly bubbles containing his master's laughter were instantly drawn inside. Then the apprentice cut a perfect arc into the now mushy water below, taking the bag with him. Both Dalyn and Kazildapek swam a hasty escape down a drain that had been installed at the vat's bottom. This enchanted bag of bubbles has since been found again. It is now referred to as Dalyn's Laugh and is highly coveted by adventurers. Opening the bag allows a laughing bubble to escape that when bursts, casts Nerve Blast, which causes paralysis and instant death to most adversaries. And what happened to the quirky wizard and his apprentice? Shortly after, the local public works department had to excavate to find a blockage in the city's storm drains. The workers uncovered that after escaping from the vat at the academy and swimming through the storm drain system, Dalyn and Kazildapek had blocked the pipe at a break they had found and had dug themselves a room where they were comfortably seated, smoking cinnamon tobacco in long clay pipes in front of a cheery fire and reading back issues of "Mage's Weekly" which they had somehow pilfered from the pile of documents at the academy.

Interested in joining the project?

As usual, we're always looking for talented graphical artists and other talented people to join our cause. Look in the new recruitments thread thread for details.

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