In Eberron, information can be a more valuable commodity than gold. Disaster befalls this most unusual of expeditions as our delegation of Sarlonan emissaries attempts to escape the clutches of Riedra and deliver their message to the nations of Khorvaire.
Wir, 3 Vult, 998 YK
From: Clovis Forlaine
archival reference code 1656-A: transcribed from message via augmented speaking stone, magically sealed and encoded
We arrived late this morning at the Riedran crossroads town of Dar Paneth and were quickly escorted to safety by Shiaali's associates among the Dream Merchants. The smugglers passed into our custody the final two members of our emissary party -- the Adaran kalashtar monk Jharee and her companion, the Syrk druid Kaxen. Our 'delegation' complete, we shall rest here tonight, and then attempt to make haste in our departure back to the coast.
There is much excitement and optimism now. If all goes well, this delegation of true Sarlonans will bring their stories and evidence to the people of Khorvaire. Fate willing, their testimony will persuade others of the grave threat that is Riedra. We need only escape detection to the borders of the Tashana and pray for good fortune on our subsequent journey across the Sea of Rage.
Zor, 5 Vult, 998 YK
Disaster has befallen our expedition! At dawn, Shiaali and myself, posing as Riedran gaolers, presented our forged papers to the local authorities at the checkpoint leading out of Dar Paneth. The other emissaries, posing as our prisoners, feigned sleep in the filth and rags of the slave cart. This time, however, our ruse did not hold. Perhaps it was some simple detail we overlooked or a mind trick of these powerful psions. Perhaps it was simple bad luck. In any case, an alarm was raised and a pitched battle ensued. The dromite Pak'tokl was lost in the chaos; we do not know his fate. Our shifter companion Tel-Marq was felled by some psionic attack and has not yet awoken.
Full details will have to wait; suffice to say we left a dozen dead in our wake and are now fleeing afoot to the Tashana border, pursued by a relentless band of Riedran hunters. The Syrk druid has so far managed to conceal our passage through these foothills, and we are aided by a steady, cold rain blowing from the north. The Akiak fighter Dens, familiar with the northern border forces, advises that we are likely set against both the standard military of the Harmonious Shield and the stealthy death squads of the Thousand Eyes. Shiaali speaks darkly of even deadlier foes on our trail -- Quorbound creatures, minions of the Inspired, powered by the energies of the Region of Dreams.
We must now resume our desperate flight. I can only hope this missive finds you in a position to send aid.
Sarlonan Nation: Adar
(Secrets of Sarlona, page 19)
Adar is as a land plucked from some other realm. Among the mountains that spring from southern Sarlona, manifestations of other worlds and the natural results of such interference conspire to produce a forbidding environment. Yet, amid unforgiving peaks and between terrible storms, life thrives and evolves. The word Adar means "refuge" in an ancient Riedran dialect. This etymology shows that Adar was named from without. Its people have never been unified -- clashes among its mountainfolk continue intermittently, and rancorous debates arise among its mystics. Still, Adar has long been a place of peace and introspection on a continent known for its terrible wars. Only when Adar accepted the strangest refugees of all -- renegade quori -- did it become a realm beset on all sides by immortal enemies. Adarans must now work together or become an instrument of the Inspired.
Sarlonan Nation: Syrkarn
(Secrets of Sarlona, page 83)
Five thousand years before the arrival of the Inspired and the present age, the nations now known collectively as Syrkarn were the jewels in the imperial crown of old Sarlona. Today, only ancient stonework and half-forgotten legends mark the fall, passing, and rebirth of this land. To those who inherited this seemingly inhospitable kingdom, Syrkarn offers a gift denied to both the warring nations of the past and the Inspired-dominated lands of the present. To its people, Syrkarn is the promise of freedom.
Sarlonan Monster: Quorbound Creature
(Secrets of Sarlona, page 150)
The wolf is barely visible as it follows you -- its coat blends with the dark of the forest. But as a gleam of gold light flashes in its dark eyes, a telltale shiver informs you that the creature is inside your mind, already transmit¬ting your location and thoughts to its unseen masters.
Though the energy of the Region of Dreams pervades Sarlona, the creatures of Dal Quor cannot cross over to the material realm. Their plane is forever remote. Even so, the Inspired have devised methods to augment animals and magical beasts with a hint of Dal Quor's power. These quorbound creatures serve as guard animals, mounts, and spies. Quorbound creatures breed true, and any that escape captivity and mate with mundane members of their species sometimes pass their otherworldly abilities onto their offspring.
Those who fear the Inspired are quick to see the taint of evil in the quorbound. Those aware of the legend of the Quor Tarai, however, know that the potential for good still lingers in the dark heart of Dal Quor. Quorbound creatures can be any lawful alignment but are most often lawful good (touched by the Path of Light) or lawful evil (born of the Dreaming Dark).
This sample quorbound creature uses a wolf as the base creature.
Quorbound Wolf Spy, CR 3
LE Medium magical beast (augmented animal, psionic)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Quori, Riedran (can't speak)
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12
(+3 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 32 (5 HD)
Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2
Speed 50 ft. (10 squares)
Melee bite +6 (1d6+2) and
2 claws +0 (1d4+1)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +3; Grp +5
Special Atk Trip
Psi-Like Abilities (ML 5th):
3/day -- chameleon, mindlink
2/day -- read thoughts (DC 12)
Abilities Str 15, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 10
Feats Mind Mask*, Track, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Autohypnosis +4, Concentration +5, Hide +3, Listen +3, Move Silently +4, Psicraft +1, Spot +3, Survival +1 (+5 tracking by scent)
Trip (Ex) A wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent (+1 check modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking attacks of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the wolf.
Tricks This quorbound wolf knows all twelve tricks described under the Handle Animal skill (PH 74).
Skills Wolves have a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent. A quorbound creature receives a +2 racial bonus on Autohypnosis, Concentration, and Psicraft checks.
* feat described in Secrets of Sarlona
About the Author
Glenn McDonald is a freelance writer and game designer in lovely Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He writes about games, film, technology, pop culture, shady characters, conflicted heroes, strange and terrible magic, and shadowy fantasy noir intrigue. Not all at the same time.