Session 17 – Spoiler Alert
Advice to the reader
In order to interpret the structure of my gaming session posts effectively, it is strongly suggested that you peruse A Readers Guide to Play Sessions on The Old Bard, if you haven’t already.
To better grasp what I mean when I bring up Fate questions, you might find it useful to keep the Mythic Fate Chart accessible, potentially in a new window or tab in your browser.
The Story So Far
If you are reading this series for the very first time, and you are reading each session post in session order, and you do NOT want any spoilers, then I ask you to STOP before continuing on.
As of this moment, I’m not exactly sure which actual session This session will proceed. So you may be surprised to see us jump “back” in session numbers in this post, if you are reading them in publishing order. Regardless… STOP, take a moment to consider. If you want to jump to the next session after 16, which continues the story without spoilers, then click right here for session 18.
You have been warned.
Building The Brothers Bledstone
Ooooo, it’s the secret session I had to flesh out details for the big reveal! I’m using this session to jot down all the details for Blyris Bledstone, Eldon Marrowwind (aka the older brother) and the Sinister Figure (the youngest jealous brother).
So, if you haven’t read the big reveal in the story yet, and you ignored the warning at the top of this post, well sorry. They’re all brothers.
Ok, so they are all brothers AND they are all Sorcerers. Here is what the D&D 5E Players Handbook states about sorcerers:
Sorcerers carry a magical birthright conferred upon them by an exotic bloodline, some otherworldly influence, or exposure to unknown cosmic forces. One can’t study sorcery as one learns a language, any more than one can learn to live a legendary life. No one chooses sorcery; the power chooses the sorcerer.D&D 5e Players Handbook – Ch. 3: Classes – Sorcerer
So how did they all become sorcerers?
That’s what we are here to detail, but first we need some names. Blyris is the only brother in the family choosing to use his birthname up to at least session 16. Eldon Marrowwind is actually a name used to deceive and hide who he truly is. And we have yet to have any name for the Sinister Figure that has been chasing the party.
So, let’s start with coming up with a first name for both of them. The brother who is currently going by the name of Eldon Marrowwind, who is also the eldest, needs a name first. I’m going to use the following website page I came across by just searching for “magical names”, which happens to be 50 Magical Baby Names. The first one in the list happens to be Alaric. The meaning for this name is “all-powerful ruler; noble; regal” and honestly that seems fitting for what we’ve known of the character Eldon at this time with him being the Chief Administrator of Athesa. Therefore, the eldest brother is Alaric Bledstone.
Now, for the youngest brother, the Sinister Figure. Hmm, another interesting name on this page is Odin, and this page denotes that it’s meaning is “Inspiration; rage; frenzy“. I like that and it’s fitting for the character. However, I like the alternate spelling of Odyn so we’ll use that. The youngest brother is Odyn Bledstone.
I take this information and update my ChatGPT session for this series with it.
Let’s also take a moment to detail some key points from our story so far that can help us flesh out the sorcerer brothers and their backstory.
- In Session 4, we learned that Mara and her husband were at Blyris Bledston’es Menagerie of Curiosities. A sorcerer (Who we now know as Odyn) showed up and massacred everyone including her husband. The Sorcerer also transferred Maras’ soul into an Ape.
- A mystic informs the party that only the sorcerer who placed this curse on Mara can reverse it permanently.
- Moody Cleves, the soothsayer at the carnival reveals to Mara that she must confront this sorcerer. She was also told to mediate on the Rune and listen to the whispers of her soul and it would reveal the path to take. The Rune allows her to temporarily switch between her ape form and her human form.
- Cord Stomrock, excavated an ancient crystal ball from a tomb in the haunted woods. We now know this is the Umbral Sphere from Session 9, and that it is kept guard by Moody Cleves.
- The Sphere is what allows the carnival to move from place to place.
- Moody has also stated that the Umbral Sphere is a dark and powerful artifact, with the potential to corrupt those who seek to control it.
- The power of the sphere is great, but the power of the heart is greater still.
- Once the Sphere was pulled back, Moody noted that he could have used the Sphere to return the party back to their homes, however it was fate that brought them there, and to use the sphere to return them would deny that and cut short the path that they have begun to walk.
- Blyris Bledstone is the carnival leader for Blyris Bledstone’s Menagerie of Curiosities. He carries with him a magical staff made of a dark wood, with intricate carvings and inlaid with precious stones. When he waves it, sparks fly out of the top, and the air around him seems to crackle with energy.
- Blyris used his staff to destroy Cord Stomrock, who was actually a Wight who took on the appearance of Cord.
- The draw of the Tarot by Moody led our party to seek out a sorcerer who would aide them. This turned out to be Eldon Marrowwind/Alaric Bledstone.
- Odyn is first introduced as a sinister figure with dark robes adorned with skulls and other ominous symbols when he appeared when Morn, Thenelis and Ulmog were hiding while on their way to Athesa. His eyes are dark and piercing, his skin is pallid and almost translucent. His voice echoes with an otherworldly power. A magical energy surrounds him.
- Eldon/Alaric has been in Athesa for a time and has somehow become the cities trusted leader.
And here are some key takeaways from this:
- I think the Rune should be tied to the sorcerer brothers as well.
- The Rune belonged to Odyn, and it was taken from him by the goblins.
- The Umbral Sphere was taken from the carnival by Odyn during the attack in which he placed the curse on Mara. Something happened however, which caused it to wind up in the tomb in the haunted woods. Certainly, Odyn’s goal is to obtain the Umbral Sphere once again.
- It is the Umbral Sphere that ultimately corrupted Odyn.
- Blyris’ staff is powerful indeed. We’ll have to put some limitations on how and when it can be used. And, against what.
- I don’t believe Moody actually knew who they would find in Athesa, but fate did. With Mara’s heart, and the courage of the party Fate knew it was time to bring the eldest brother home.
- Eldon seemed quite eager to help the party. It seems he read between the lines and the curse to understand his brother Odyn was up to no good once again.
- It has actually been several decades since Mara and her Husband were at the carnival and the curse was placed on Mara by Odyn. Time sort of stood still for her, thus why she has not seemed to age that much.
- Alaric set out west looking for clues to Odyn’s whereabouts. A large city like Athesa was a central point to be at considering it was along the trade routes and was a busy city. Surely word of a sinister sorcerer would come to the city in time. Therefore, he worked his way to become the leader of the city, where rumors and activity within the city would certainly and ultimately be reported.
Now, how did they all become sorcerers? Maybe we don’t even need to answer that right now? Perhaps we leave that to some of the mystery moving forward. The only things we truly need to know right now is the following:
- Why did Odyn attack the carnival? Was it solely to obtain the Umbral Sphere? Or was his taking of the sphere just a side thing that happened during the attack.
- Why is Odyn after the party now?
- What was the reason that Alaric and Blyris didn’t deal with Odyn when the attack happened?
- Blyris’ staff seems to be a primary spell focus for him. What about the other two brothers? We need some key attribute for both of them.
- How did the Umbral Sphere wind up in the tomb in the haunted forest?
- Where did the Umbral Sphere come from in the first place?
Literally everything I’ve listed could be a plot hook for a future adventure, so I want to keep some things a mystery for now.
Let’s focus on why Odyn attacked the carnival. I say it was jealousy. Jealousy of his older brothers. He envies their powers and wants to be the most powerful of them all.
Odyn’s attack on the carnival was indeed fueled by a volatile mix of jealousy and ambition. Ever the youngest, he constantly lived in the shadows of his older brothers, Alaric and Blyris, both of whom were gifted and accomplished sorcerers in their own right. Odyn’s envy of their powers and status transformed into a dark obsession over the years.
When the Umbral Sphere, an artifact of immense power, came into the possession of the carnival, Odyn saw it as his chance to surpass his brothers. He attacked the carnival, seeking to claim the sphere. His actions during the attack were impulsive and chaotic, a reflection of his unraveled state of mind, and it was during this frenzy that he cursed Mara and claimed the sphere. We can address the build up to that at a later time.
Let’s say that the Rune now held by Mara, a powerful magical artifact, was actually the property of Odyn and it was his primary spell focus at the time. Despite his fixation on surpassing his brothers, Odyn had his own unique magical strength, and his skills were amplified manifold by the Rune.
Being the youngest of the Bledstone brothers, he always felt a sense of inadequacy in comparison to Alaric and Blyris. He was not satisfied with only the power that the Rune provided him, and his thirst for power grew insatiable.
The Umbral Sphere, an artifact of immense magic and the means by which the Menagerie of Curiosities was able to travel, seemed like a promising tool for Odyn to elevate his power. The Sphere represented a step towards becoming the most potent sorcerer, and Odyn desired it greatly.
So, when the opportunity presented itself during his attack on the carnival, Odyn seized the Umbral Sphere, believing it to be a fast track to surpassing his brothers in magical prowess. However, as events unfolded, he lost the Sphere, setting the stage for the current quest.
However, a group of cunning goblins from the west, who were attracted to the Rune’s power, managed to steal it from Odyn. They hid it away in their cave, unaware of the full extent of its abilities or its true owner.
When the party stumbled upon the Rune in the goblin cave, it was a stroke of fate that led to Mara possessing it. Given that the Rune originally belonged to the very sorcerer who cursed her, it adds to the power within her, to help defeat Odyn.
The loss of both the Umbral Sphere and the Rune, the two key sources of his power, are a severe blow to Odyn. He had staked his identity, ambitions, and efforts on their acquisition and use. Their loss feels like a personal affront, igniting a profound sense of rage, desperation, and madness within him.
His obsession with power, coupled with his jealousy towards his brothers, has transformed into a deep-seated resentment and desire for revenge. He is no longer just seeking power, but he’s also out to prove his superiority, exact revenge, and perhaps even destroy his brothers and anyone else who stands in his way.
Odyn’s actions are now driven by this madness and fixation on reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his. He is hell-bent on recovering the Umbral Sphere and the Rune, and this obsession has led him to relentlessly pursue the party, seeing them as a means to regain his lost power. His appearance as a dark, ominous figure is a physical manifestation of his inner turmoil, making him a truly formidable and unpredictable adversary for the party.
As noted above, Alaric set out west looking for clues to Odyn’s whereabouts. A large city like Athesa was a central point to be at considering it was along the trade routes and was a busy city. Surely word of a sinister sorcerer would come to the city in time. Therefore, he worked his way to become the leader of the city, where rumors and activity within the city would certainly and ultimately be reported.
We need just a tad bit more info for Alaric, and why he kept his true name secret. So I feed this into ChatGPT to come up with some ideas.
Alaric adopted the pseudonym “Eldon Marrowwind” as a protective measure. After the incident at the carnival, he had seen firsthand the destructive capabilities of Odyn. His primary concern was ensuring Odyn could not easily trace him or use his true name as leverage in any dark rituals or spells, as naming often holds powerful significance in arcane matters.
Furthermore, Alaric was wary of attracting unwanted attention from those who may have been harmed or wronged by Odyn in the past. If his true identity were revealed, he could become a target for revenge or retribution due to his familial ties.
Choosing to establish himself in Athesa under a new name allowed him a fresh start and a strategic position. As the leader of the city, he could keep his ears open for any news or rumors of a rogue sorcerer or strange happenings in the wider region that could point towards Odyn’s activities. He was well aware that he was playing a waiting game, but he believed that, eventually, Odyn would reveal himself.
Lastly, Alaric also wanted to preserve his younger brother Blyris’s reputation. If it were known that the leader of the popular Menagerie of Curiosities had a brother who was a rogue, power-hungry sorcerer, it could harm Blyris’s standing and livelihood. By assuming a new identity, Alaric could protect both himself and his remaining family.
Blyris’ Motivation and his Staff
Blyris is a charismatic and affable character, and his carnival is his life’s work and passion. He treats all those who work for him with respect and kindness, often going out of his way to ensure they are safe and well cared for. His carnival is like a family to him, and he would do anything to protect them.
In terms of his magical abilities, Blyris’s staff is indeed a potent artifact. It is crafted from a rare darkwood, said to be imbued with ancient magic. The staff can channel powerful spells, as demonstrated when Blyris used it to destroy the wight masquerading as Cord Stomrock.
However, its use is not without limitations. For one, the staff can only channel a certain amount of magical energy before needing to recharge – a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the strength of the spell cast. Moreover, while the staff can be used to cast a variety of spells, its true power lies in spells of protection, detection, and illusion – fitting for a carnival magician.
Another limitation lies in the toll it takes on Blyris himself. While the staff can channel great magical power, using such power is physically and mentally draining for Blyris. Overuse of the staff can lead to exhaustion, or in extreme cases, temporary loss of his magical abilities.
Furthermore, Blyris is acutely aware of the potential for misuse of such a powerful artifact, and therefore is very cautious and measured in its use. He understands that true power is not in the staff itself, but in the heart and mind of the one wielding it. And so, Blyris ensures that the staff’s power is used responsibly, and never for selfish or harmful ends.
Why didn’t Alaric and Blyris deal with Odyn during the attack?
When Odyn launched his attack on the carnival, Alaric and Blyris were taken by surprise. Odyn’s descent into darkness and ambition for more power had been gradual, and his brothers hadn’t realized the full extent of his transformation until it was too late. Furthermore, the Umbral Sphere’s sudden activation created a chaotic environment, making it nearly impossible for Alaric and Blyris to directly confront Odyn.
In the chaos of the attack, the primary concern for both Alaric and Blyris was to protect the carnival and its people. Their focus shifted to limiting the damage, evacuating the attendees, and saving as many lives as possible.
Moreover, the unexpected power that Odyn had gained, possibly due to his temporary possession of the Umbral Sphere, made it difficult for Alaric and Blyris to effectively counter him during the attack.
By the time they were prepared to confront Odyn, he had disappeared. Filled with guilt and regret, Alaric decided to go after Odyn himself, intending to bring him to justice and fix the damage he caused. He took on the name Eldon Marrowwind to avoid attracting unwanted attention and to protect the carnival from further harm, distancing his new identity from the past and the carnage Odyn caused.
Blyris, on the other hand, stayed behind to keep the carnival going. Despite the tragedy, he knew the Menagerie of Curiosities was a symbol of joy and wonder for many, and he refused to let Odyn’s actions destroy it. Blyris focused on rebuilding, healing, and protecting the carnival and its people, waiting for the day when Alaric would return with news of Odyn’s fate.
Should Alaric have an object that is a spell focus like his brothers?
For this answer, I’m going to leave it to fate. At the time of this writing, the chaos factor within the story is 5. I’m also going to say that it’s Unlikely that Alaric has an object that is a spell focus. He is an elder and wiser sibling and probably doesn’t need an object of spell focus. I roll 1d100 for a result of 43. In this case, to achieve a Yes answer I would have needed to roll 35 or under. So no, Alaric does not need a spell focus object.
As Alaric Bledstone/Eldon Marrowwind has grown in power and experience as a sorcerer, he has learned to channel his magic through sheer will and his innate connection to the arcane, negating the need for a spell focus object. This is an ability that is quite rare, even among seasoned magic users, and speaks to the depth of Alaric’s knowledge and skill.
Alaric believes that true power comes from within, not from an object or artifact, no matter how powerful it might be. This belief and his abilities also allowed him to maintain a lower profile while leading Athesa, as he did not possess an object that would make him stand out or be identifiable as a magic user to the common eye. This further helped him in his goal to keep his true identity and origins hidden from the public.
Do we need to know more about the Umbral Sphere?
For this one, I’m just going to say no at this point. We’re going to leave that for further mystery and motivation for our party to gain answers through adventures later. As for how it was lost in the haunted forest after Odyn stole it, we’ll save that one for later as well.
I think this is all we really need at this point to move forward. As for the statistics of Blyris, Alaric and Odyn, we’ll flesh those out at a later date or when needed.
Now that I’ve taken care of the super-secret stuff, it’s time to return to the public story in Session 18. I tried to limit my use of ChatGPT for generating some of this backstory, but hey it’s a tool. I did skim through The Tome of Adventure Design Revised and The Game Masters’ Book of Astonishing Random Tables for inspiration, however.
Till next time!
- Dungeons & Dragons Core Rule Books
- Players Handbook (PHB)
- Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG)
- Monster Manual (MM)
- Mythic Game Master Emulator Second Edition (MGME2E)
- ChatGPT for a few LIMITED answers to the questions I had in mind.
- Tome of Adventure Design Revised
- The Game Masters’ Book of Astonishing Random Tables
- 50 Magical Baby Names.