Runequest Thursday #140 - Current Events and the Great Raven!

Clint Staples

The Brightwaters are returning from their mission to safeguard Jarang Bladesong and his band of Heroquesters in completing the Heroquest of Orlanth Dragonbreaker, thereby making all wyverns creatures of the Air/Storm rune sacred to Orlanth, and causing serious trouble among the Lunar Wyvern Corps.  

As they will be in and around Brightwater and the River of Cradles for the next while, I thought I would post about some developments in the region. In no particular order:

The Lunar trade mission (which is to say spy operation) based at Corflu, is suffering under a plague of giant mosquitos, caused by the defection of their mercenary troll priestess of Gorakiki Dragonfly, who had been breeding giant dragonflies to keep the chihuahua-sized mosquitos under check. It seems that, back in Storm Season, an unknown anti-Lunar agent did something to drive the priestess away. Now that the warmer weather has arrived, the situation in swampy Corflu is truly miserable.

Meanwhile, the Lunar Garrison, until recently the unwelcome guest of Duke Raus of Rhone (a Lunar ex-patriot trying to set himself and his folk up in the southern portion of the River of Cradles, about twenty miles south of Brightwater, in the Bilos Cut), has been driven out. Raus has resented their presence for some time, and disliked the heavy-handed way with which they treated his neighbors, among them Brightwater. Apparently a recent attempt by the Hell-Sister Centurion in command (to foment discord at Brightwater's Water Day Market) was the last straw. There was an incident that resulted in the death of several Lunars, the Centurion among them, and the Duke, on hearing the details, could not bite back on his honor any longer. He refused the fleeing Hell-Sisters admission, and drove the peltastoi garrison out of Rausfort.

Not far to the west, a Humakti Runesword-Priest by the name of Caladhor (brother to Aelen du Moragonne, a friend of the Brightwaters) journeyed to the southern River of Cradles region after recieving a vision from his god. On arrival, he immediately found the ruin of a monastery from the era of the Empire of the Wyrms' Friends. Above its ragged walls he spied the soaring forms of giant ravens. Since the raven is sacred to the Death God, Caladhor took this as a sign of Humakt's favor, and settled in. Further, he found that these Great Ravens were smarter than their smaller cousins, could learn to speak, and seemed happy to stay on in the cells they had appropriated for their nesting spots. The Runesword has managed to bind several to the service of Humakt. Though they are too small to ride, they make adept spies and messengers. 

 

Great Ravens

Great Ravens are identical in appearance to normal ravens but much larger, standing about 5 feet tall, with wingspans of 15 feet or more. Scholars believe that they are descended from the Raven Spirit Lord of the Three Feathered Rivas, but as one might expect, the Great Ravens themselves are elusive on the question. Great Ravens are smarter than most other animals, with an intellect equivalent to that of a human child. Rumors of older, more intelligent Great Ravens are not uncommon. They can be taught to speak, and seem to relish the opportunity to express their opinions. As a rule, Great Ravens are gregarious, even quarrelsome, inquisitive, and acquisitive. Many run afoul of men because of their thievery, especially of jewels and small metallic objects.

Great Ravens are normally found in colder climes such as Balazar, the Elder Wilds, the northern portions of the Lunar Empire, even Valind’s Glacier. However, they sometimes choose to winter in the wooded sections of the River of Cradles or the Wasteland, generally in rocky cliff-side caves, or the tops of the largest of conifers. Their nests are often caches of various treasures that they have retrieved from the (apparently) insufficient care of others. See the Great Raven Treasures Table to generate the loot for a nest.

Great Ravens form lifelong breeding pairs, and appear capable of true affection, mourning the death of one of their own with elaborate funereal rites involving the leaving of food and treasures to accompany the soul of the departed in the afterlife. Great Ravens seem uncannily can detect anyone who has killed one of their number, and shun or bedevil such an enemy from a distance.

The Stats for the Great Raven are attached. SInce they are corvids, you might like to generate some of the sparklies with which they line their nests:  (roll 1d10, 1d4x times):

  1. A bejeweled and gilded sword hilt, with a short broken blade section.
  2. A metal scale from a scale byrnie, covered in scratches, but shining silvery in the light.
  3. A river-polished stone: pretty, as smooth as glass, but of little value.
  4. A small glass potion bottle (if the finder can succeed at a Luck Check, it still contains a viable potion).
  5. A shiny coin (roll 1d6: 1-3: Copper, 4-5: Silver, 6: Gold).
  6. An artificial beard of silver wire, once fine, now rather bedraggled and full of litter.
  7. A glass eye.
  8. A gem (Powx5%: Garnet worth 1d100L; POWx3%: Milky Blue Agate worth 1d6x100L; POWx1%: Emerald, Ruby or Sapphire worth 20 x 1d100L).
  9. A ring, still on a bloody severed finger, with a 1d4 POW storage crystal.
  10. A scarab of lapis lazuli and obsidian (Roll 1d4: 1-3: it is an actual beetle of those colors; 4: It is a mechana beetle of wire and cogs, with a shell of lapis and obsidian).