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    Postfest III: Ef’Räeon The Blue
    Posted on Fri, December 10, 2004 by Dongul
    IvorMac writes "Why did Perrenland really bow out against Iuz in the Greyhawk Wars? I created this NPC to perhaps help explain the real reason why Perrenland may have had to “commit treason” as nations like Veluna and Furyondy would view its actions. Even the people of Perrenland more than questioned their voorman’s decision. At the same time I also want a Non-Player Character that would not be anybody’s ally and very much a loose cannon - perhaps causing a major catastrophe trying to exact his revenge. Otherwise this is Dragon Slayer gone all wrong.

    Ef’Räeon The Blue
    By: IvorMac
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Ef’Räeon The Blue was born of dragon and human stock—blue dragon to be more precise.

    There existed a small town, maybe 900 hundred people, about 10 leagues north of Lake Quag, nestled against the trailing edge of the Mounds of Dawn. The town was called Wolf Creek. This small town and the nation of Perrenland’s fate was changed the day the woman Alistryna, of Flan-Rhennee blood, entered looking for the City of Exag. She looked more Rhennee than Flan and her invisible scars of prejudice seemed always raw.

    The town suffered under what they called “Iggwilv’s Curse”. An old blue dragon called Juron threatened the town with destruction unless sacrifices of money, gems and food, preferably humans, were made to him. Despite the best efforts of the town to rid themselves of Juron, nothing had worked. Most caravans and traders avoided the town and few visitors came by. As time passed, the routine of sacrificing criminals, usually lone wanders falsely accused of crimes by the town’s folk, became commonplace. So it was that Alistryna a Ranger/Shadow dancer from the south, was drugged by the innkeeper and accused of stealing. Her Rhennee looks made it easy for her accusers to convince others of her crime and she was accordingly sentenced to be sacrificed.

    For whatever reason, for who can truly reason with a dragon, Juron saw her as beautiful. Rather then devourer her, he disguised himself as human and seduced her. He brought her to an old abandoned estate that he had plundered and visited her often. It could be said that they actually loved each other. When she became full with child, he fiercely guarded the estate and surrounding area. The local town grew more fearful. They once more attempted to find a solution to the curse.

    As if an omen was being sent to his world, Ef’Räeron was born during a raging winter storm. The winds knifed through the land, driving the snow like fine daggers. So much snow fell that even Juron found it hard to venture abroad. The snow slowed the return of messengers to Wolf Creek bringing news of knights coming to remove the curse. Six months after Ef’Räeron’s birth, they arrived eager to hunt for the notoriety they desired.

    Aided by strong magic, the knights slaughtered Juron. If it were not for the child in her arms, Alistryna would have raced to her lover’s side. She knew that if anyone learned that she was alive or that Juron had sired an heir, they would be hunted and killed. Using her skills, she hid herself and the child and quietly faded into the nearby forest as the knights stared in amazement at the flames that engulfed the mansion. The town held a glorious celebration and changed its name to Dragon’s Bane.

    The small cabin in the forest was the only home Ef’Räeron knew growing up. His mother taught him the ways of a ranger and shadow dancer. She taught him the value of money and of its ability to warp humans. She told him everyday of his father, of the brutality of his death and of how the town’s folk celebrated. She sent him out on his own into the wilds to learn survival. She educated him on history, on the rules of the “civilized” world and of art and politics—all with her own bias and hatred of those who had harmed her. She told him of the mysterious City Exag. She told him always that he was blessed. In his looks, he appeared more human than dragon. Only his size, serpentine eyes and the scales on his arms, legs and body gave away his other bloodline.

    On one survival training session, sent out into the wilds with nothing, Ef’Räeron rescued the daughter of a barbarian Clan Chieftain being taken by a Perrenland Ranger to meet her “justice”. The chief was thankful and impressed by Ef’Räeron’s size and guile. He proclaimed that this was a sign from the gods and that his daughter would be wedded to her rescuer. As an ally, the chieftain thought Ef’Räeron would be useful and invited him and his mother to join the clan as well. Despite revering him as a hero, the barbarians’ great respect always verged on fear. It was not that he had the strength of ogres or that his eyes could frost one’s heart. His ability to disappear right in front of people and suddenly reappear behind them would have scared them the most, except for the fact that he was his father’s son and could wield his electric breath against his foes, turning them into char, which chilled them to the bone. The chieftain’s foresight soon proved fruitful. Ef”Räeron was with one of the clan’s raiding parties when it found itself be hunted by a company of soldiers and knights of Perrenland. Even though they were outnumbered 2 to 1, Ef”Räeron led the band to victory. He soon proved to be a great strategist, using his skills as a Shadow Dancer to infiltrate the enemy camps, gathering the information he needed to crush them. Often he would kill the leaders in their sleep and then charge with his band to overcome the disorientated enemy.

    The chieftain acknowledged Ef”Räeron’s prowess and gave him his own raiding party of twenty warriors to lead against their enemies. Ef’Räeron tested the loyalty of his group mercilessly. He led them on increasingly dangerous and risky and yet ultimately successful raids. Those who fought well and proved resourceful he rewarded well. Those who he saw as cowardly, clumsy or disloyal by talking against him or his band, died in a bolt of blue light for all to see. On an anvil of harsh lands, crazy attacks and perilous orders, the Sect of The Blue Scale was born. His mother and he trained his loyal band in the ways of the ranger and shadow dancer. The sect became the nucleus of the Dragon’s Vile Guild, which popped up from Tusmit to the Rover Barrens. There were at least two members of the sect in each guild house. As the sect grew, it consisted of shadow dancers, assassins, rogues and fighters marked by a blue gold tattoo, all selflessly loyal to Ef”Räeron. In the early days, Ef’Räeron was served by the Sect and a growing number from barbarian clans, lesser tribes from the Yatil Mountains and factions from the Tiger and Wolf nomads. His successes were many. Though his enemies never saw him closely, the name “The Blue” spread fear and panic.

    The time for revenge had come. Ef’Räeron sent his sect into Dragon’s Bane and commenced a campaign of fear. A rash of unexplainable murders, robberies and extortions beset the town. He hid his forces around the town and killed anyone trying to leave. Despair washed over the residents. Some nights they would hear a dragon’s roar, driving the fear even deeper. On the day of his father’s death, the day that the town celebrated as Dragon’s Day, he sacked the town. The pitiful survivors were brought before him. He revealed whom he really was and his mission to avenge Iggwilv’s curse. The leaders of the town that still lived he killed himself. Any surviving warriors of the town were executed. The sect took the children to be sold into slavery. The men and women who were not warriors were given to the barbarians as slaves to increase their mix in the clans. The town was burned to the ground. Hidden now by nature, only the odd burnt timber gives any clue that the town ever existed.

    The horrific stories of the destruction of the town, Dragon’s Bane, spread the notorious name The Blue as well. Across Perrenland, nomad lands to the north, south to Ket, to the Horned Society and even across the Yatil Mountains to Tusmit, the infamy of The Blue spread.

    As time passed on, his band grew to an army and his exploits broadened. Even the Barbarian chieftains began to worry that he would take their lands as well. The bureaucratic and slothful leaders of Perrenland felt they must stop this Blue before it would be too late. They sent an army three times that of Ef’Räeron’s after him. At first, they had some success, but as the campaign wore on, strange things began to happen. Generals and captains were assassinated in their beds without a trace of the culprits. The army’s cavalry lost its horses. Then followed a sudden swift attack. . It was a massacre. Wizards and Elf mercenaries were sent to help the Perrenland army. This produced a period of stasis for many years, with neither side able to gain the upper hand. Ef’Räeron changed tactics. He set up a spy network by sending members of the sect deep into Perrenland to become members of the Perrenland army. He waited, only sending minor assaults against the Perrenland armies to test for areas of weakness in the Perrenland’s line.

    The break for Ef’Räeron came as the ice cleared from Lake Quag. The Perrenland army had converted merchant barrages into an amphibious navy of sorts intended to surprise him on the eastern flank as a pseudo assault was thrown at him from the south. His spies had done their work well. The world was to learn of the skill of the Sect and its spies. Ef’Räeron had the barbarian shamans bring up a wall of fog where the flotilla was to land. Then, hiding in the woods around beachhead, he ambushed the invaders destroying the entire landing army. This sent shockwaves though all of the Perrenland leadership as the place of landing was supposed to be a complete secret. The northern part of Perrenland fell under Ef’Räeron’s control. Conscripts and mercenaries quickly reinforced Perrenland’s Southern army, but Ef’Räeron was wise enough not to over extend himself. He knew that the Barbarian leadership behind him was fearful of his power. He spent the next few years “smoothing” out their concerns.

    Events of the World changed what may have been. A blood red moon rose over the land the night Ef”Räeron’s mother died. The shamans spoke of ill omens. Iuz came back to his Empire, turning the world upside down. The advent of the Greyhawk wars would once again change Perrenland, turning Ef”Räeron’s works asunder. Iuz saw in Ef’Räeron a leader who could unite the Barbarians to his northwest and the Perrenland to the west. His also saw a leader he could not control. The conflict between Ef’Räeron and Perrenland Nobles provided him an opportunity. Iuz perceived the skill and the importance of the sect to Ef’Räeron. He sent his most trusted blackguard and assassins to find sect members to bring to him to be corrupted. He bought the Perrenland absence from the GreyHawk wars by promising to rid them of Ef’Räeron and the Blue Sect. Iuz was able to break the will of one of the Sect and find the location of many of its agents, information that he sold to the Perrenland Nobles and the highest bidders. However, he was not able to break the devotion to Ef’Räeron. The broken agent, sent to assassinate Ef’Räeron, instead went straight to him and confessed the whole nightmare. For his loyalty Ef’Räeron killed him quickly.

    It was Ef’Räeron’s turn to be surprised. Large black clouds billowed over his army, masking the charge of Perrenland cavalry and Iuz mercenaries. His men fell easily and his shaman lay strangled by strange magic. Fuming from the news that his most loyal sect had been broken and that his agents were now being slaughtered about the land, he began to smash his way through his attackers. Suddenly, he heard his mother’s piercing voice through the din of battle. “Do not die to win one battle—live to bathe in the glory of winning the war!” Using the same clouds that caused confusion in his ranks, he faded from battle. Word soon spread that he was dead.

    Ef’Räeron used the skin of his father retrieved from Dragon's Bane many years ago to proclaim his own death. He paid a tanner extremely well to change it to appear to be that of his. Disguised as a human, he walked in to Schwartzenbruin, the capital of Perrenland, and went before the nobles to collect the 100,000gp reward for his own head. He noted their names, their homes and listened to hear of their habits.

    He went to his mother’s tomb and swore an oath of revenge against Perrenland and Iuz.

    It is not known where Ef’Räeron is now but it is said that he can be found in the City of Exag searching for clues to the power that would cause Perrenland to crawl at his feet and/or researches the clay disks of the “Crafter”1 to find the means to bring Iuz to his knees.

    Dm notes:
    Ef’Räeron is a neutral being bent on revenge. Anyone who stands in his way is his enemy. Anyone who helps him is his ally. The enemies of his enemies he tolerates. Ef’Räeron views it as his right to determine the fates of Perrenland and Iuz. The greatest danger is what he may unleash in pursuit of his revenge.

    The Dragon’s Vile guild still exist in remote areas—a mere shadow (pun intended) of its former self. There are also surviving sect members in hiding; some seek Ef’Räeron to join with him again.
    As a ranger, his favoured enemies are humans (+6), elves (+2) and magical beasts (+2).
    He speaks Dwarven, Ancient Baklunish, Elven, Old Oeridian, Rhopan, Ordai, Common, Draconic and Flan.

    Here are his undress e-Tools stats:

    Ef’Räeron, Male Human Rgr7/Shd6: CR15; Medium Half-dragon; HD 7d8+21/6d8+18 (hp 106); Init +7; Spd 30; AC 17 (touch 13, flat-footed 17); Base Atk +17/12/7 melee, Base atk +14/9/4 ranged; SA Breath Weapon DC 10 + 1/2 Racial HD + CON Mod, Breath Weapon Type - 60 ft. Line of Lightning; SQ Darkvision (Ex) 60 ft., Immunity to Electricity (Ex), Low-light vision (Ex), Immunity to Sleep Effects (Ex), Immunity to Paralysis (Ex); AL N; SV Fort +10, Ref +13, Will +6; STR 23, DEX 16, CON 16, INT 18, WIS 15, CHA 17.
    Skills: Bluff +19, Concentration +13, Escape Artist +19, Handle Animal +13, Hide +19, Knowledge (Geography) +7, Knowledge (Nature) +9, Listen +18, Move Silently +13, Perform (Oratory) +8, Search +20, Speak Language +5, Spot +12, Survival +12, Use Rope +13.
    Feats: Armor Proficiency (light and medium), Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Endurance, Extra Favored Enemy, Favored Critical, Improved Initiative, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Mobility, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Track, Two-Weapon Fighting.
    Spells Prepared (Rgr --/2): 1st - Entangle, Pass without trace
    Companion:
    Erwinmore the Raven: CR 1/6; Tiny Animal; HD 2d8 (hp 2); Init + 3; Spd 10, Fly 40 (Average); AC 17; Base Atk -2 melee, Base Atk + 5 ranged; ( 1d2-4, Claw ); SQ Low-light vision (Ex); AL N; SV Fort + 3, Ref + 6, Will + 2; STR 2, DEX 16, CON 10, INT 2, WIS 14, CHA 6.
    Skills: Hide +10, Listen +3, Spot +5.
    Feats: Weapon Finesse.

    Other notes:
    Ef’Räeron is pronounced the same as the French word effrayant which means fearsome or frightening
    Juron is the French word for swear word or curse.

    Ancient History: The Mystery of Exag


    "
     
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    Re: Ef’Räeon The Blue (Score: 1)
    by abysslin (abyss@canonfire.com) on Wed, December 15, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://www.canonfire.com
    For some reason, I just can not cozy up to the thought of "half-dragons."

    Does the offspring not take on the alignment of it's dragon heritage? Ef’Räeron seemed quite evil despite being designated as nuetral (and even shows some signs of lawfulness). Perhaps Nuetral Evil? A mixture of each parent...

    Overall the article is packed with content. Just enough to not overwhelm. Although there isn't any room for Ef’Räeron and the wordly affecting deeds of his, in my campaign, he does fill the niche which you described in your introduction.

    In closing, my opinion of this piece is a solid article with good story depth.



    Re: Ef’Räeon The Blue (Score: 1)
    by grodog on Thu, December 16, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message) http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html
    I also don't really take to 3e's half-this-and-that style of monster-building, but I liked Ef’Räeon The Blue: IvorMac, you tied him nicely and solidly to canon, and created an interesting history and purpose for this NPC :D



    Re: Ef’Räeon The Blue (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Sun, December 19, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I am also not a fan of the Half Dragon but the article is well written and for that alone it deserves praise. Great job on this article!



    Re: Ef’Räeon The Blue (Score: 1)
    by Anced_Math (mlheath@mindspring.com) on Mon, January 17, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://www.greyhawkonline.com/granmarch/
    I just reread the article, and it is excellent. I think you have written an outstanding villan, and I think my players will despise him. Thanks.




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