The entire library (including its contents) is designed to allow for the discovery of the lost legend of Evelyne Fayrell and to give the players the opportunity to put her spirit to rest. Each item is intended to either act as a reflection of her obsession with fame (driven by the effects of the artifact "Roster Of The Legends") or as an insight into her personal history... in several cases, the item shows both.
The key item, of course, is the artifact, which not only was a major factor in Fayrell's success, but it also unhealthily heightened her desire for fame, causing her to 1) exaggerate and embellish the truth in her book ("The Words And Deeds..."), 2) ignore a powerful magic item ("Mastering The Art Of Sound") in order to work on said book, 3) take credit for things she didn't even do ("The Words And Deeds...", Fayrell's Lute), and 4) most importantly, carry on existing as a ghost until her fame can be properly established once and for all.
Someone who does take the time to re-establish the legend of Fayrell will have all of the material necessary to do so. The combination of her book ("The Words And Deeds..."), a significant item from her life and time (Fayrell's Lute), her portrait (Portrait Of Fayrell), and her saved personal effects (Memory Box) make for an excellent historical record. Using the materials other than the book, plus the stone tablet ("Tabula Encyclopedia"), a diligent researcher could separate out the true story from the embellishments and inventions, and establish a more objective history of Evelyne Fayrell, which would still be enough to satisfy her spirit.
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Evelyne Fayrell, an epic-level bard, perished over 800 years ago due to the effects of a volcanic eruption near her estate. Most of the estate was completely ruined -- the initial earthquake rumbles caused much structural damage and started fires; but the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, was the immense amount of ash that fell on the estate and the surrounding area, covering it up and making it all inaccessible.
By a remarkable set of coincidences, one part of the estate survived relatively unscathed: Fayrell's conservatory and library. The fires on the level above sucked all of the oxygen out of the air, and between the collapsing structure and the layers of ash, the library has existed, for all this time, in a vacuum, perfectly preserving its contents.
Fayrell herself, let alone her estate, has been completely forgotten (Knowledge check against DC 30 to know anything; Bardic Knowledge checks get a +5 bonus to the roll) -- how the estate may be found, and under what circumstances, is left to the DM's imagination. Some minor digging or mining will be necessary to open the library chamber, at which point a heavy inrush of air will be noted.
Once inside, the key artifacts in Fayrell's life will be found, along with a restless spirit who will be quite eager for, and yet likely to be annoyed with, the company...
Very little survived the combination of earthquake, fire, and volcanic ash. The rest of the estate is essentially entirely buried in solid rock, caused by the ash, pressure, and time. Items such as Fayrell's body, weaponry, armor, and the like are essentially completely unrecoverable without a major mining expedition. The only truly intact portion of the estate is the conservatory.
You enter a small room, remarkably well-preserved sepite the ravages to the rest of the estate.
The first thing that catches your eye is a pedestal on the far wall, directly in front of you. On the pedestal is a large book with ornate bindings done in gold filigree, showing an ivy pattern. The pedestal itself is made of wood and has a similar ivy pattern carved into it. Behind the pedestal is the portrait of a beautiful young woman with red hair.
[If Fayrell's ghost has a chance to "set the scene" prior to the party's entrance, add:]
The pedestal is surrounded by faint, glowing lights that move in a lazy pattern around the book, and soft music, as if played by a lute, seems to emanate from the book itself.
To the left is a cluttered shelf filled with books, scrolls, and other papers of various sizes and types. A large chair sits near the wall, with a single scroll laid out on a small table next to it.
To the right, a far more orderly set of selves display, among other things, a finely crafted lute, a decorative wooden box, and a stone tablet.
The room is not very large; it was, after all, just a small study for Fayrell to read, write, and practice playing her lute.
The book on the pedestal is Fayrell's autobiography, which of course is her prized (if not necessarily most important) possession. She will use her arts of illusion and enchantment to encourage anyone who finds the library to read her book.
The varied scrolls and papers are little more than they appear, if searched thoroughly, they include among them magical scrolls (6 random 1st level spells, 3 random second level spells, 1 random third level spell, and 1 random 5th level spell). Most of the books are worthless, but one volume is the magical text "Mastering The Art Of Sound".
The single scroll on the table by the chair is the artifact "Roster of the Legends". The items on the other shelves are Fayrell's Lute, the Tabula Encyclopedia, and Fayrell's memory box.
Evelyne Fayrell was a very accomplished Bard, who, not uncommonly for her profession, greatly desired fame and renown. Through much of her life, she was well on her way to achieving her goals, though generally as a member of a group, and not so much as an individual.
A beautiful woman, she had no lack of suitors, though early in her career she had not the time for them, and later on she fancied herself too good for those who sought her.
The great turning point of her life was the discovery of a powerful artifact. Through its power, she had the ability to take on the form and abilities of legendary heroes, giving her a great amount of flexibility in being able to approach problems. However, the artifact also affected her personality, at first just amplifying her ambitions, but eventually driving her away from her long-time friends and companions, as she sought to claim fame and glory for herself.
She had many rivals as well, who were jealous of her successes. They used the fact that many of her great feats were, to the accounts of witnesses, apparently performed by someone else (through the artifact's power) to spread rumors that Fayrell was simply an opportunist, taking credit for the deeds of others. Needless to say, this drove her to even greater depths of desire to prove herself, and estrangement from others.
When she perished in the volcanic eruption that buried her estate, there was no one left who would speak for her, and eventually, the rumor-mongers won out. Those few who even remembered Fayrell, or who heard stories of her, in a few decades thought of her as little more than a good teller of tales.
Her adopted symbol is the ivy plant, for reasons not remembered, and she used it on as many of her possessions as she could manage.
The ghostly form of a strikingly beautiful woman, apparently in her late 30's, appears before you. She seems to have medium colored, curly hair and is attired in a fine-looking chain shirt which is adorned with an intricate pattern of ivy. At her side is sheathed a short sword and in her hands is a lute, whose strings she softly strums as you look at her.
Fayrell still haunts her library, hoping beyond all hope that it will be discovered and that the tale of her glorious (if slightly fictitious) deeds will eventually make it out to the world at large, so that she can achieve the fame, even in death, that she feels she has earned. Despite her tendencies to over-exaggerate her own accomplishments, she was an extremely talented and experienced Bard prior to her death... just not as famous as she would have liked to have been. Given that her "time" was over 800 years ago, what little fame she had has bled away from the general consciousness; only true scholars of history and/or music would have heard of her, and even those mostly only know her in passing.
She is quite vain, arrogant, and self-indulgent, with those traits having gotten worse through the long years of isolation. She will attempt to steer any topic of conversation that does not put her in a good light back to the areas on which she is able to boast. As an example, anyone who poses the fact that she was either ignorant or unwise to build her estate so close to a volcano will find the topic of conversation shifted very rapidly.
Anyone who manages to find her conservatory will be watched closely, but not interacted or interfered with, unless they do something provocative, such as attempt to remove any of her possessions. Given her reasons for staying on as a ghost, though, it will be quite possible to flatter her (though not particularly easily done) and appease her by promises to spread her story, especially if the "intruder" has taken the time to read her book before attempting to loot her library. She may agree, under exceptional circumstances, to give or loan her possessions to someone who earns her trust.
She once had a good heart, but her long isolation and desire for fame have made her more self-serving and less charitable (originally Chaotic Good, now Chaotic Neutral). It might be possible to appeal to her better nature, if she has some sense that the petitioner is sincere and is of good spirit.
Her spirit is bound to the library until she can find someone who will restore her legendary status and that she can be thoroughly convinced that she is revered as much as she believes she ought to be; at that time, her soul will depart for its afterlife destination, and her ghostly form will be gone forever. Otherwise, if any of her prize possessions are removed and she is unable to stop the perpetrator, she will be able to leave the library for the purpose of tracking the items down, and punishing those who took and/or possess them. If she is destroyed, her ghostly rejuvenation ability will allow her to reform in her library in 2d4 days.
+Does not apply on the ethereal plane *Only applies on the ethereal plane ^Attacks in manifested form (not on ethereal plane) have a 50% miss chance
You see a ghostly image of a beautiful woman, strumming a lute. She appears to be clad in a chain shirt and has a short sword sheathed at her side.
Fayrell's ghost is not interest in combat in general; her only objective is to get her story read and disseminated so that her legend can be established. As such, actual combat with those on the material plane will be used as a last resort only.
If pressed into conflict, she will start by using her bardic music, spells, and ghost abilities to enchant or incapacitate her opponents. On the whole, she would much rather resolve the conflict in a non-lethal fashion, for dead men and women won't be able to tell her tale. On the other hand, she is very experienced and will adapt her tactics to her enemies -- attacking the will of the weak-willed and hindering the abilities of spellcasters to cast.
While she does have her sword, she will prefer to use her touch attacks to drain away her opponents key abilities.
Corrupting Touch (su) As the ghost ability, save DC is 30 (CHA based)
Draining Touch (su) As the ghost ability
Frightful Moan (su) As the ghost ability, save DC is 30 (CHA based)
Manifestation (su) As the ghost ability
Spellcasting(su) Fayrell can still cast spells as a 25th-level Bard; save DC is 18 + spell level (CHA based); 20 + spell level (CHA-based) for Enchantment spells.
Spells Per Day 0th: 4, 1st: 6, 2nd: 6, 3rd: 6, 4th: 6, 5th: 5, 6th: 5 Spells Known
This heavy volume is bound in leather with a gold leaf design of ivy on the covers. Opening it up and reading, you see what appears to be a biography of an adventuring minstrel. About halfway through the pages, the story abruptly ends, as if the story was interrupted before it could be completed.
This large, ornate book tells the story of Evelyne Fayrell (the Magnificent) as told by Evelyne Fayrell (the Magnificent).
The book is a somewhat accurate chronicle of Fayrell's life, though blank pages about midway through show that the chronicle was ended abruptly. The further one reads, the more fantastic and unbelievable the stories become, as Fayrell's ego caused her to embellish and exaggerate her accomplishments. Still, every tale in the book has a kernel of truth.
The heavy volume has no innate worth, its value lies only as a historical record of Fayrell's life, assuming her legend is ever established.
This stone tablet is covered with odd markings that seem to shift as you study them
One of the secrets of Fayrell's success was this stone tablet with very unusual markings. The tablet seems to be an endless source of information about any subject, even current events, within its home plane. It is not useful for instant answers, but anyone who spends time studying the tablet with an objective in mind will find that answers come easier to them.
This stone tablet can only be read through the use of a read magic spell. To use the tablet, the user must have a specific subject to research in mind. For each consecutive hour that the tablet is studied, the user may answer one question about the subject with a +20 competence bonus to the associated Knowledge or Bardic Knowledge check; to a maximum of four questions for four hours of study. For Knowledge checks, the user must have a minimum of one rank in the field of Knowledge being researched. The tablet may be used in this manner up to a total of eight hours per day, and may be used to retry any Knowledge or Bardic Knowledge check that had previously failed, unless the failed check had already been attempted using the tablet.
EXCEPTION: The knowledge gained from the tablet must be inherent to its home plane; knowledge of other planes and their inhabitants can only be imparted as very general answers based on how the planes and creatures interact with the tablet's plane of origin. Additionally, the tablet only works on its plane of origin.
This book seems to be a discourse on how to use and recognize sounds and to apply these skills to a variety of situations.
Fayrell always intended on finishing this epic work, to improve her abilities to even higher levels, but was always distracted by the compulsion to record (and embellish) her own story to further her legend. As a ghost, she is unable to complete reading the book, so it still retains all of its power for someone to read and benefit from.
Mastering The Art Of Sound
This oversized tome discusses the ability to harness the power of sound to make the reader a more effective listener and communicator. If anyone reads this book, which takes a total of 48 hours over a minimum of six days, she gains an inherent bonus of +2 to her Charisma score, an inherent +5 bonus to any Spellcraft check that requires to ability to hear (e.g., identifying a spell by hearing its verbal component), an inherent +5 bonus to any Perform check where sound is part of the performance (i.e., no pantomime or similar), and is able to select the feat "Reverberate" (see below) as a general or bonus feat, provided she meets all other prerequisites. Once the book is read, the magic disappears from the pages and it becomes a normal book.
Reverberate [Epic] You have the knack of capturing the echoes of magic and using them to produce similar effects. Prerequisites: Spellcraft 25 ranks, must have read (and benefited from) "Mastering The Art Of Sound" Benefits: Up to 3x/day, as a standard action, you may attempt to copy any spell or spell-like ability that has a verbal component (and was not cast using Silent Spell) you were able to hear, providing such spell was cast within the last round. To successfully copy the spell or spell-like ability, you must succeed on a Spellcraft check of DC 30 + spell level. If the spell has a somatic component, you must be free to move to use this ability. You may ignore any material component requirements if the material components are valued at less than 1,000 GP. You may use this ability to copy spells that would otherwise normally be prohibited to you, such from a prohibited spell school. You may not copy spells that require an expenditure of experience points. You may not use this ability to copy a spell or spell-like ability performed by you. Copied spells are cast using your caster level, and are subject to normal requirements for verbal components and arcane spell failure. All copied spells and spell-like abilities are treated as arcane spells, regardless of their original type (i.e., divine spells or extraordinary abilities), for the purposes of your copied version.
"Roster Of The Legends"
This scroll appears to contain a brief story regarding the abilities and exploits of a legendary hero.
While knowledge was certainly a useful weapon for Fayrell, this artifact provided her with the means to perform many of her great deeds. At the same time, it is responsible for many of her personality failings as well, as constant study of the legends contained within has led to a complete corruption of her mind, at least in respect to an obsession over fame and notoriety.
If Fayrell's ghost can ever be persuaded to allow her soul to finally rest, Fayrell may appear (minus her ghostly template) as one of the legends in the roster.
Roster Of The Legends
This seemingly normal appearing scroll contains a brief story regarding an epic hero or villain. However, the scroll is far more than it appears. The possessor of the scroll, if she spends one hour studying it, will gain the ability to temporarily transform into the legendary personage; this transformation must occur before dawn the next day and may last for up to one hour, at which time the user will be fatigued. If the legend's ECL is higher than her character level, the user of the transformation ability must attempt a Will save with a DC equal to the difference between the effective character level of the legend that she transformed into and her own character level; on a failed save, the transformation fails, and her personality is instead taken over by the personality of the legend for one hour. Otherwise, the transformation will be complete; the user will gain all of the abilities, skills, feats, and even favored equipment of the legendary person, in place of her own -- only the personality of the user remains.
Should dawn occur before the hour is up, the transformation ends at dawn, with no difference in the fatigued effect. At dawn, the scroll erases itself and is rewritten with a story about a random different legend. Legends may repeat eventually, but it will never be the same hero or villain two days in a row.
Any time the transformation ability is used, the user must attempt an additional Will save, with the DC of the save being the effective character level of the legend that she transformed into. If the save is unsuccessful, the user is compelled to read the scroll the next day -- to the point of total distraction if she is unable to do so.
Each day the scroll is read, either by choice or by being compelled as above, the reader must make a Will save against DC 15 plus the number of consecutive days the scroll has been read. On each failed save, the user becomes slightly more obsessed with the idea of becoming legendary enough to be worthy of inclusion in the roster and the DC resets to 15 for the next day. At first, this will just result in an exaggeration of her personality, for example, a incautious character may start to become reckless or an ambitious character may demand more and more acknowledgment and accolades for her contributions. Over time, this could result in significant personality changes.
After having studied the scroll for the first time, the possessor will never willingly part with it. Immunity to mind-affecting spells and abilities provides no benefit in resisting any of this item's properties.
Fayrell's Lute Fayrell did not make this Lute, but of course claims that she did. As such, the original maker is forgotten, and the instrument bears Evelyne's name. However, the lute was made for her, and so it does possess her trademark ivy design.
This lute is a finely crafted instrument that despite its age, shows no signs of wear or decay. The wood is polished, and has an inlay of a delicate ivy pattern along its sides and edges.
To anyone without the bardic music ability, this item simply functions as a masterwork lute.
For anyone with the bardic music ability, when using the lute to perform the verbal component of an arcane spell (that comes from a class granting bardic music ability), the caster may elect to use her bardic music ability to attempt to either empower, as if cast with Empower Spell, or extend, as if cast with Extend Spell, the spell being cast. Attempting to empower a spell requires two usages of bardic music ability; an attempt to extend a spell requires a single usage. The caster must succeed on a DC 15 + spell level Perform (string instrument) check to gain the extra benefits. If the Perform check fails, the spell is cast as normal, subject to normal arcane spell failure, but the bardic music usages are still expended; a successful Perform check allows the spell to be cast with the extra benefits, but at its original spell level and without any additional casting time.
(Note: In order to be empowered or extended, the original spell must meet the normal critera for such metamagic enhancement; however this will allow, for example, empowering 5th or 6th level Bard spells and extending 6th level Bard spells even though such spells would normally not be able to due to the lack of higher-level spell slots.)
Portrait of Fayrell
(artwork shamelessly stolen from web sources)
You see a portrait of a lovely young woman with curly red hair hanging over the wall near the pedestal. The heavy frame around the painting has, like much else in the room, an ivy pattern embedded into its design.
Fayrell had this portrait commissioned while she was still quite young. While she was quite pretty at the time, she actually became somewhat more beautiful, although she frequently commented that she would gladly have traded that to be young once more. Little did she know that her mortality would have nothing to do with the ravages of time.
The portrait hangs on the wall so that it is in the middle of the field of vision for someone who enters the conservatory and looks at the pedestal containing "The Words And Deeds Of Fayrell The Magnificent".
The artist (uncredited) was quite good, and the picture and frame would fetch roughly 500 GP as a piece of artwork. Establishing the history of Fayrell and getting acceptance of the portrait as a genuine likeness would raise the value considerably (perhaps 5,000 to 15,000 GP, depending on various factors)
This is a finely crafted box made of dark wood with a gold inlay of an ivy pattern. Inside the box are a collection of various pieces of parchment and trinkets and tokens of various types, apparently collected by the box's owner.
Most of the parchment pieces are letters of various type -- general thanks from a merchant for her assistance in dealing with some bandits, a piece of poor poetry from an apparently unsuccessful suitor, and so forth.
A few of the documents appear to be more formal. One, as an example, reads "LET IT BE KNOWN THAT THE CITY ELDERS OF TALYRA GRANT THE HONORARY TITLE OF COUNSELOR TO THE THAIN TO LADY EVELYNE FAYRELL, IN HONOR OF HER SERVICES TO THE CITY."
The various trinkets appear to be of little worth, and seem to be mementos, or perhaps even crude attempts at payment for her services by those without much means.
Inside the box is a collection of memorabilia from Fayrell's career, such as official documents expressing thanks for services rendered, trinkets and letters from private individuals whom she aided, and not a few plaintive letters from potential suitors.
While none of the items in the box has any intrinsic value, the collection as a whole has significant worth in historical value, and can be used to verify many of the more-or-less true portions of Fayrell's autobiography.
This is a very good entry! I like the extreme egotism of the central character; makes for a little more believable bard than the "lutes and prancing" ones we're used to.
Might I make a suggestion though? If the only thing you need to finish up is the description of the library, why not just do a little of that, and then post it in the entry thread? You don't need a super detailed description of the library; heck, in the first post you get a lot of the atmosphere in, and the other posts help complete the picture. Plus if you decide you do need more exposition, you can just add it in without penalty. That way you don't have to worry about forgetting to put your entry in the proper thread before it's too late.
Special thanks to Mr. Saturn for Silly-Hat Healslime Avie.
Guycott's a polygot who flew aeroflot to farm his plot and pray a lot for sunlight(hot!) to warm his cot and avoid getting shot by a man with a smoking pot and a pen that won't blot and a dog named spot.