Roger E. Moore
installment in this series provides more detail about a network of portals
linking various parts of Faerûn and beyond in the Forgotten Realms
campaign. These portals can take your party to new adventure for
a night or as part of an ongoing campaign across Faerûn.
of the Lost
IV: Activating "Voices of the Lost"
way to introduce this portal network is to have the PCs be in Daggerford
at the same time a well-known bard there announces that she has a special
announcement and special performance to make at the Lucky Lady. The half-elven
bard is a part-time historian as well, and she has researched the legends
and (few) known facts about Illefarn for most of her life. She believes
she is a direct descendant of one of the wood elves of Illefarn -- but
then, so are many other elves across in this region, know it or not.
announcement is that she has managed to piece together, from many sources,
one of the great lost poetic works of Illefarn. The simplest translation
she can make of the poem's title, from its original Seldruin into Common,
comes out as "Voices of the Lost." She plans to sing the song
for the assembled crowd in its original language, which the bard has managed
to learn. The poem is sung a cappella as it was originally written.
As the bard is widely known for the exceptional quality of her voice,
the surprise performance, even on such short notice, swiftly causes the
Lucky Lady to be swamped with the largest audience it has seen in several
years, with an unusual number of elves in attendance. The tavern is in
danger of selling out of alcoholic drinks hours before the performance
is even scheduled to start, and some shipments of wine and ale destined
for elsewhere are suddenly derailed to meet the demand.
most nonelven patrons could care less, the bard's historical research
was astounding, indeed. Despite the difficulties she faced, her detective
work in assembling the long poem was flawless and inspired. She was allowed
access to several protected libraries in Evereska and Candlekeep in her
research, and she has already delivered copies of her final reconstruction
of the poem (and its translation into Common) to the libraries that aided
her. The poem's reconstruction and translation are regarded by elves who
have read them to be unparalleled masterworks, an event akin to discovering
a lost play of Shakespeare in the modern world. The bard's eternal fame
among the elves is ensured. Some elves from Evereska, tipped off about
her performance here, arrived in Daggerford earlier under the pretense
of being on other sorts of trips, and they were swift to get to the Lucky
Lady for the performance.
interaction with the portal stone, however, is entirely unexpected
by everyone. Fifteen minutes into one of the greatest recitals of ancient
poetry ever made, while elves weep openly for their lost realm and other
races sit entranced at the music -- the bard vanishes while standing on
the portal stone, which began to register as increasingly magical
during her performance. She's activated the portal and has been
involuntarily sent on to the next one. The portal stone's magic
vanishes with her disappearance, but it can be activated again under the
usual circumstances. The scene inside the Lucky Lady is a screaming riot,
with everyone hunting for the bard. Many elves are convinced that antielven
forces are behind the disappearance. Some say the poem was cursed, others
cry that the elven deities who watched over Illefarn have taken the bard
to hear the song for themselves. Martial law is declared. Chaos reigns.
may choose to pick up the scattered copies of the bard's notes, left behind
on a table before she vanished, and attempt to duplicate her actions.
Luckily, the bard's notes show how to pronounce the unfamiliar words in
Seldruin for anyone who speaks only Common, but this process is laborious.
Have anyone attempting to read the transliteration of "Voices of
the Lost" make an Intelligence check for every 5 minutes of reading.
A failed check means the reader takes an extra 5 minutes to finish this
segment of the poem. For example, activating the first portal takes
15 minutes normally, or 30 minutes total with three failed Intelligence
of the half-elven bard is left to the DM to decide, but the PCs should
move quickly if there is to be any hope of rescuing her before she gets
to the most dangerous portal stones. (She quickly figures out what
happened, but she becomes determined to follow the portal system
to its end, at any cost.) Elves in particular wish to see the bard returned
in the fastest possible time. This would be a good adventure for elven
PCs, particularly if one is related to the bard.
possible for the PCs to put this portal system to some use, but
as the portals are one-way and do not link up to major trade centers,
such use is questionable. However, elven spellcasters and historians will
jump at the chance to explore the portal network, once the PCs
have worked the bugs out of it. Discovery of the portal system
as well as the lost poem will become a major topic in the clack across
Faerûn for months to come.