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 A Veiled History of the Auld Wurms

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KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:39:17
The following is written as a legend only. While it is obviously not an "official" source, it should also be noted that even within a given campaign this material should most likely be used as a legend, not as definitive fact, to give the monster in question (linnorms) a bit of backstory specific to the Realms.

Linnorms may very well have a different "true" history, but some speicies in Toril might have heard the following collection of lore about them, and thus this information can be used as a possible explanation of the history of this creature.

Inspiration for this work is drawn from Richard Lee Byer's Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy, as well as the recent "Ecology of the Linnorn," (by Jacob Frazier) in Dragon Magazine 356.
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KnightErrantJR Posted - 18 May 2007 : 03:53:04
Well according to The Ruin there was a Corpse Tearer in the Narfell region, though I couldn't say for sure if there is or isn't more "official" linnorm lairs in the Realms. Taking what I wrote above into account, its not too hard to see a fairly wide disperal after Braulaustreglor's death, if you take all of that as litteral and not just a fanciful tale.

I should have also pointed out that I did draw a bit from Brian R James' excellent work on the pre history of the Realms that he included in the Candlekeep Compendium IV and the introduction to the (pre publication) Grand History of the Realms, mainly the allusion to the Tarrasque and the proliferation of "land wurms."
Darkmeer Posted - 18 May 2007 : 03:43:43
Oh, come on, every party needs a moral center. They're creamy and taste like caramel. Err, umm...

Back on track here.

Linnorms seem like they would be primarily in the South, along the Chultan Peninsula, through primarily rocky jungle areas. I don't see any further east than, say, Halruaa. That's pretty simple. And the number of Linnorms actually ACTIVE in the realms is probably fairly small, while those that are dormant/sleeping could be fairly large. This might prove especially dangerous at the end of times.

That poses the question:
How many Linnorms have gone into long-term hibernation? Or would they have gone into that to begin with?
I think perhaps before the ToT this is unlikely, but the despair some feel might prompt them to go into a form of hibernation. This could prove especially dangerous for the remaining Sarukh...
KnightErrantJR Posted - 18 May 2007 : 03:24:23
Eeep . . . I loved the scene in The Ruin where the characters more or less are seeking out a linnorm because its an ancient knowledgable creature, even if its a vile and powerful beastie, so that was very much in mind when I wrote this.

As to the nearby linnorm . . . let's just hope that Hamar and Dorian don't get it in their heads that they should feed it a snack . . . I have a feeling that I know who would be first on the list of appetizers.
Darkmeer Posted - 18 May 2007 : 03:08:56

Great work here. Despite the relative lack of information in 3.x (the MM entry & the Dragon Article), this expands upon it in Faerun quite a bit. This bit of history makes it much easier to both place a linnorm's lair, and it fixed the lack of FR specific information. Linnorms are truly horrific creatures, and giving them a measure of hope in cooperation, however unlikely, is going to be a frightful proposition for any race of Faerun.

I've had the chance to DM a Linnorm merely once, and it was great fun for my players and me (lots of seat of the pants fleeing).

Just to make YOU cringe Knight: A linnorm's lair could be very near our current campaign in the Black Jungles...

KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:43:10
The Doom of the Linnorm

Eventually the linnorms small holdings were challenged by the much more mobile and ambitious chromatic and metallic dragons. The linnorms were killed or driven into hiding, and the landwurms and drakes taken as servants to the flying dragon lords.

The linnorm hid in the far corners of the world from the dragons for centuries, waiting for a time when they would rise again, unite, and destroy their kin, taking Toril for themselves. Despite this belief, far too many of the linnorm were only interested in selfish pursuits and petty plays at gaining power. While they often accumulated massive stores of wealth and knowledge, none could abide its kin long enough to truly ally in any notable way, and most linnorn could only keep from killing each other long enough to mate. Collectively many of them believed that their grandfather, the god Kalzareinad, would come and unify them and allow them to take their rightful place as rulers of Toril. As linnorm became scarcer, this hope became thinner, and eventually it died in almost all of the linnorn when Kalzareinad was killed by Kereska during the Time of Troubles.

Many linnorm have given up on the belief that they will ever unite and rule Toril, and many have settled on a new goal, creating as many nightmares as they can so that their mother Dendar will have the strength to batter her way through the portal to the Region of Dreams, back into Toril itself, and thus bring about the end of the world. Most linnorn that have embraced this goal have given up on ever mating or creating a new generation of linnorm, and focus solely on nihilism.

Linnorm that derive divine power often gain power either from Kereska (who accepts the worship of linnorn that are less inclined to bring about the end of the world, though she cares not for their morals otherwise) or from the veneration of the rotting power of Kalzareinad (through the Servant of the Fallen feat).
KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:42:32
The Fall of the Master of Dreams

Braulaustreglor continued to meddle from time to time in the affairs of the sarukh. Eventually a sarukh whose name is lost to time made a great sacrifice. By sacrificing his very existence, the sarukh managed to purge the Region of Dreams of any living being, leaving only the dreams (and Braulaustreglor's Fortress) within it.

Braulaustreglor was expelled into Toril, and he and the few linnorms that were directly with him were slain by the powerful creature known as the Tarrasque. A few linnorm traveled through the portal in the Land of Nightmares, into Dendar's caves, where they lived until they were purged from the Fugue Plain by the servants of the God of the Dead. Most of the linnorm carved out small holdings across Toril, served by the various landwurms that inhabited the world at that time, taking slaves of nearby lesser beings, and delighting in their terror. A few linnorn also took to the seas, being born of the dreams that Dendar devoured concerning drowning and the dark terrors of the deep
KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:41:49
The Birth of the Linnorm

Braulaustreglor was saddened at the defeat of his “daughter,” but at the same time, he had grown enamored of her and was pleased that she was with him in the Region of Dreams. She would feed on any dreams, but only nightmares truly satisfied her. Braulaustreglor and Dendar mated, over and over, and their offspring did likewise, and thus were born a species both draconic and serpentine, a species that would eventually be known as the linnorm.

Braulaustreglor loved Dendar, but she was slowly devouring his entire kingdom of dreams, and eventually he banished her as well, creating a portal between the Land of Nightmares and the Fugue Plain. The portal only worked one way, and while the nightmares of Toril's dreamers wandered into Dendar's caves, she was not strong enough to break out of the gate herself. Again she vowed to shatter the gate when she became powerful enough, and that she would eventually devour her way through both the Region of Dreams and Toril itself.
KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:41:13
Of Ancient Times

While the dragon lords of Faerun ruled in times thought ancient even in the minds of elves, there are time hinted at in many historical records that go back even further than the rule of the dragon lords. While the dragons had not yet reached their ascendancy, it is thought that they still had a presence in Toril in this early age (while giant records seem to indicate their belief that dragons were more recent inhabitants of Faerun than they themselves were, upon further reading the legends the giants recount, and given recent events and how some draconic clergy interpret them, it is entirely possible that dragons were simple “seeded” at this later point in history).

A singular draconic entity, a mortal dragon known as Braulaustreglor, believed to the the offspring of the draconic deity Kalzareinad. Braulaustreglor was a wanderer, and not native to Toril. He was a dabbler in all forms of magic, and was particularly fascinated by the school of oneiromancy, the magic of dreams. Upon arriving in Toril, Braulaustreglor was drawn to the strange and powerful dreams of the sarukh, one of the most ancient races to inhabit Toril.

In these days of raw magic, from time to time the dreams of beings would actually manifest and cause a degree of mischief or delight before fading away. Not a common occurrence, these dream manifestations were much more common when a powerful mage would fall into dreams. Some of these dreams were a delight, some a mere nuisance, but from time to time, a mage's nightmare was disastrous occurrence.

As a traveler and a practitioner of oneiromancy, Braulaustreglor knew that other worlds were tied to a place known as the Region of Dreams. Records disagree on weather the Region of Dreams of Toril was created by Braulaustreglor, or if Braulaustreglor merely worked magics that allowed the dreams of Toril to enter into the Region of Dreams. Whatever the case, Braulaustreglor created a fortress in the Region of Dreams and was served by the dreams of many of the sarukh, and used them to learn their greatest secrets.

Braulaustreglor sought to use the secrets of the sarukh to bind them to him as servants, and the sarukh resisted his efforts. The sarukh managed to travel to the Region of Dreams themselves and proceeded to learn some of the dragon's secrets. Eventually the sarukh began to trap and harness their own nightmares as soldiers against Braulaustreglor. The sarukh nightmares would sneak into the Region of Dreams, mass in the Land of Nightmares, and then attack Braulaustreglor's fortress en mass.

Fed up with the lesser beings, Braulaustreglor worked a powerful magic, calling upon the aid of his deific father. He took an image of perfection from the dreams of the sarukh and imbued it with as many captured nightmares that he could. Finally, he borrowed the breath of the gods from his father, and brought the image to life. Thus was born Dendar, the Night Serpent, bred to feed off of the nightmares of the sarukh.

Braulaustreglor loosed Dendar on the sarukh, and she managed to devour the entire nightmare army of the sarukh. More than that, all nightmares that were born near Dendar took on form in the real world, and served to feed her more. The sarukh worked mighty magics to try and drive Dendar away, and eventually they forced the Night Serpent through a portal that would banish her to the Region of Dreams. Before she was banished though, Dendar swore that she would some day become too powerful to bar. When she had consumed enough nightmares, she would batter down the gate that the sarukh had created, and devour the entire world.
KnightErrantJR Posted - 17 May 2007 : 00:40:14
Linnorms in the Forgotten Realms

“Ever since my companions and I met with the great linnorn called the Hermit, I have been struck with a certain curiosity about some of his comments. While I know that dragons and linnorms have a degree of blood in common, I had never much thought about them as anything but less fortunate cousins before our meeting.

Once conditions in Faerun became a bit more stable, I took it upon myself to retrace the steps that my companions and I trod to see if I could satiate my curiosity. While I could find little that was definite, I did managed to find a few legends, legends that I had even heard before, that were cast in a new light after the Hermit's words to us.

The most frustrating part of all of this is that I heard most of the Hermit's words by second hand account, and I could not (and would not) risk a trip back to the Hermit's territory to see if I could coax another audience out of him. I suspect that even if such an audience was granted, the corpse tearer would not have willingly contributed to my work.

What I have compiled is a relatively cohesive amalgamation of the various legends in stories that I could pull together from draconic, elven, and human records from various empires and epochs. My ultimate goal is to find a way to make the whole a bit more ascetically pleasing and interesting, so as to make for a compelling performance, but given that I know there are scholars in attendance to you, I thought the the rough overview of my work would be of some interest.

If Larendrammagar or any of his colleagues are interested in the work, I will send along a list of my sources and their locations that they might do their own research into the matter. I only ask that if they find anything interesting, that they, in turn, pass the information back to me.”

--A missive from the song dragon Karasendrieth to the King of Justice Tamarand; Nightal, The Year of Lightning Storms

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