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The staves of life

Discussion in 'BoM Blogs' started by coineineagh, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    This is a story that has been fermenting in my head for a while, and it remains unfinished, even in my head.
    Finishing it would be pointless, since it involves Bioware NPCs from BG2, and Drizzt Do'Urden, used in ways their intellectual owners would undoubtedly not approve of.:o So I'll satisfy my storytelling urge by posting it in a blog.

    There are a number of separate aspects to this story, which can be incorporated in an entertaining way, to keep the story alive and kicking:
    1) The 3 quarterstaves of life, which give this blog its name. They were created by the 3 first gods (Selune, Mystra and Shar) in the earliest days, used as wands by them, and served to augment their powers by masking their weaknesses. Their power is far greater than other magic devices in existence. I'll describe them later.
    2) The BG2 NPCs on a mission of infinite importance. The NPCs of Baldur's Gate 2 seek one another out, decades after the BG2 story line. They have all become stronger, older and more distinguished. Their reunions are very nostalgic occasions. They reminisce on how difficult it was to kill the old protagonist (of the BG2 saga), who had chosen to become an evil god after defeating Melissan... Ah, memories:rolleyes:
    3) Drizzt Do'Urden is back. After being raised from the dead for the umpteenth time (this refers more to his appearances in the Baldur's Gate saga than the books), he seeks to identify and fight a great evil he senses. He joins with the party for a while, but later it is revealed that his presence is counterproductive. He ends up leaving the party of adventurers, and plays a more diplomatic role.
    4) The Abyss is spilling over. The countless tortured souls sent here by their whimsical gods, want to escape this demonic place. Consolidated under strong leadership (more about this later), hordes of the abyss and devils from the nine hells mobilize like an army, preparing to raid and occupy the prime material plane. It cannot be overemphasized how bad it is, that some demons and devils have stopped waging their Blood War, and are now focused on the prime material.
    5) Earth will be the first battlefield. The god of earth has had an antimagic sphere cast on earth since before anyone can remember, making it impossible to use any magic here. No teleportation, or ingenious spacecraft, can make it here, since they all require magic. So Earth has been isolated from the rest of the forgotten realms. But the abyssal demons intend to use planar portals to travel here, which aren't dispelled by an antimagic sphere, and use new portals to invade the rest of the realms.

    That's the story in a nutshell.
    The NPCs that eventually meet up are Keldorn, Minsc, Jaheira, Jan, Viconia and Edwin, among others. They are first approached by the Chosen of Mystra and the Harpers, who need them to travel all over the place, and unite the realms in the oncoming battle (the hordes are still amassing their unstoppable force, and are predicted to start invading Earth and the Realms after about a year). The NPCs also need to find and (learn to) use the 3 staves of life, in order to stand any chance in fighting the demonic/fiendish hordes.
    In the end, they travel to Sigil in order to find a portal to earth, which is a brilliant cue to meet up with Planescape: Torment NPCs.:D
    They arrive on earth in advance of the enslaught from the Abyss, and have very little time to prepare. The god that controls Earth still casts an antimagic shell, and all that the other gods can do, is dispel it temporarily. It will take a few days for the Earth god to raise a new antimagic sphere, so he sends his followers to occupy the intruders (that's the party). The party is tasked with a mammoth challenge, because they need to weaken the Earth god's religious base, before he can cast the sphere again. They battle hordes of fanatics, but eventually manage to convince enough people that the Earth god was lying, and keeping magic from them. A combined effort by heretics manages to disrupt the Earth god's casting of the antimagic sphere, and other gods succeed in keeping the Earth god occupied. Magic can again be used on Earth, and now the multiverse stands a chance of surviving the approaching fiendish and demonic hordes.:)
    An interesting sidestory is when contact is made with a group of tortured souls banished to the nine hells unfairly by the gods. They wish to redeem themselves by fighting the enemy hordes when they attempt to go to Earth. They wish to live on another plane of existence, anywhere other than Hell, the Abyss or the Gray Wastes. They are a relatively small group when compared to the hordes, but they still number in the hundreds of thousands.:p They are promised that arrangements will be made for any survivors.

    Drizzt Do'Urden starts off as the leader of this party, but is soon met with mysterious resistance from good-aligned opponents, and ominous warnings from fortune tellers, diviners and others in-the-know: He is warned and cursed, even blamed for the oncoming troubles. The reason for this only becomes apparent when one of the hordes' generals reveals himself to the party: He is Nedru Od'Tzzird the 13th, and has come to thank Drizzt for his creation, 'blessing' him with knowledge of his opponents in return. It appears that almost all the generals who are now leading the demonic and fiendish hordes, originated from Drizzt's soul. Everytime Drizzt died in the past, a manifestation of his Drow evilness asserts itself in the Abyss and gains its own awareness. When Drizzt is subsequently raised from the dead, his goodness rejects this evil aspect, and the evil presence remains in the Abyss. But the 'Drow evilness' also reforms in Drizzt, since his body is Drow. This process has repeated many times, and there are now over a dozen generals created, leading the combined forces they amassed in the Abyss and the Nine Hells. This revalation causes great doubt and confusion in the party, leading them to desperately try and protect Drizzt, to no avail. Nedru the 13th is a master Illusionist, and kills Drizzt before thanking everyone for their help in creating the 17th Nedru Od'Tzzird, and escaping. After a heated debate, Drizzt is raised from the dead, but it is agreed that he must stay far from harm's way. Elminster appears and takes Drizzt with him, to be protected by the Chosen of Mystra themselves.
    The generals of the fiendish and demonic hordes are mostly manifestations of Drizzt's Drow soul, all named Nedru Od'Tzzird. The early versions are more powerful and experienced than the later ones, and all have special characteristics which make them hard to predict and fight. Some have undergone transformations into demons, undead, even elementals. The spectral Nedru dual-wields flails that have no weight and pass right through him, giving him enormous freedom to wave them about. He is unkillable unless you agree to enter his special spectral dimension, and dying here means you can never be resurrected. The vampiric Nedru is also a powerful necromancer, and needs to be staked before he truly dies. The demon lord Nedru summons allies at the blink of an eye, is immensely strong, and is immune to weakly enchanted weapons. The fire elemental Nedru has an aura of fire like an elemental prince. There are many more generals, just waiting to be discovered (this part is unfinished in my mind).

    The staves of life are what I consider the best part of the story yet. They can be only wielded by Good, Neutral and Evil characters respectively, and bestow god-like abilities to the wielder.
    The first Staff of Life was devised by Selune, and was intended to give this goddess some necromantic powers, which is a weakness of the goddess of light and life. When used by a Good character, it starts a transformation of the wielder into a 'righteous undead', giving him seemingly total control over life and death. As a zombie-like undead, his movements become slow, and he seems vulnerable to attack, and he may even take hits and damage. But he will never die, and has the ability to snuff out the life force of enemies in a huge radius around him without failure. His wounds will magically heal after a while too. The first staff was broken in two, in an epic battle between two staff wielders long ago. The two parts are weakened, giving the staff's 'Wail of the Banshee'-like ability a smaller radius. It is now like that of a regular Wail, and can be saved against by powerful creatures, although a touch by the staff or its wielder is still lethal without fail. It's possible that the staff parts don't make their wielders completely protected from death anymore, but this isn't known.
    The second staff of life was created by Mystra, and was meant to augment her pure magical powers with some nature magic. This staff is also referred to as the Staff of Nature. It starts a transformation of the Neutral wielder into a 'life elemental', and even rubs off on them, so if they lose the staff, they still have some of the abilities. Its user becomes overflowing with life force, gets a huge regenerative ability, and the ability to manipulate himself and his living surroundings to his will, through transmutation. Any feature that could possibly be created by a living creature (whether it exists or not) can be mimicked by the wielder, like reflexes at speeds beyond what the eye can see, terrible strength, accuracy, instincts, etc. The only downside, is that it all costs energy, which can fortunately be gained by any form of metabolism possible, even that of bacteria if necessary. The power of this staff can help the wielder to survive a momentary touch by the pieces of the good Staff of Life created by Selune.
    The third and final staff of life was created by Shar. Originally, Shar was opposed to the idea of the creation of life, and this made her turn against her sister Selune, which led Selune to create a 3rd goddess, Mystra, who helped Selune fight Shar. Shar, being used to total darkness and entropy, needed to protect herself from the forces of life, light and nature which were threatening her realm. She used this staff to cast abjurations to protect her. The Evil wielder of this staff undergoes a transformation best described as becoming as an 'evil celestial'. It allows him to cast boundless protections, and create impervious objects, which can also be used in offense. In essence, the wielder controls the laws of nature, and this is why the staff is also referred to as the Staff of Law. He can influence time, gravity, and other laws of physics too. Basically, the staff is limited only by the wielder's imagination, and it is surprising how limiting one's imagination and personal flaws can be: The reason that a wielder hasn't just stopped time and systematically destroyed all of creation with this staff, is the Evil wielder's desire for gratification, and fear of boredom.

    A bizarre twist in the story, is that the staves have side-effects (which was the reason why they were discarded by the gods), leading to changes in the wielders that cannot be undone.
    When Keldorn wielded a part of the Good Staff of Life, his transformation into 'righteous undead' initially caused him to lose his paladin status. But it didn't stop there: His aura started turning evil, and his personality changed with it. He was partially transformed into some sort of Lawful Evil lich, but lost the ability to use the Good quarterstaff when he became Neutral. Minsc was in possession of the second piece of the Good Staff of Life, but didn't seem to undergo any change; he even kept his ranger status. So far, the sages believe that his low intelligence and wisdom:nuts: prevent the staff from influencing him. He currently dual-wields the two pieces.
    Jaheira initially used the Neutral Staff of Nature. When she started transforming, some of the transmutation started to become permanent, as she was gradually changing into a 'life elemental', some form of Outsider creature with a different consciousness. She chose to stop using the staff before she would lose her identity entirely, but she has become an Outsider all the same. Jan Jansen then chose to hold the Neutral staff (actually he stole it despite warnings), and he has kept it ever since. It is unclear whether the staff affects him, because his constant illusions make it hard to tell what is real and what is illusionary. He concludes that Jaheira's stubborn and haughty personality left her open to the side-effects of the staff, while his chaotic nature protects him. Whether this story has any merit is unknown, but the party is just glad that Jan is still full of tall tales, and annoying and confusing the hell out of everybody.:D
    When the Evil Staff of Law was aquired, the only party member trusted with the staff was Viconia, but she soon started showing signs of a celestial transformation, and she was unable to wield it any longer after she turned neutral. With this transformation in mind, the party decided to take a risk, and offer Edwin a try at wielding it. Edwin was eager to try out the staff, even in light of the potential side-effects. Having undergone two unintentional transformations into a woman in the past, he still didn't consider the risks of a failed transformation, and gladly accepted the Staff of Law. It turned out that Edwin wanted to become a celestial, to gain their powers, and he was bitterly disappointed when he didn't start transforming. He now still carries the staff with him, but somehow he isn't being allowed to transform. Either the celestials won't let him in, just like the Red Wizards shunned him, or the transformation backfired, like the Nether Scrolls.:lol:
     
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