Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[D20] R is for the Real Story on Bugbear Longswords

File:Tricephale Carnavalet.jpg
Few sages of the Ashford Valley know the real reason Bugbears make such wonderful longswords, often falling back on the more common telling (see the letter B).

The real story is this one:

In the long, long ago, in the time before time, the gods had created the world and peopled it with peoples, living among their creation. One tribe of humans, however, had little to do with the gods, so Angwish the Just called the other gods together to discuss this tribe.

Angwish, Lucky Tor and Lamiel the Crafty met and talked long. Angwish thought to directly confront them and find out why they weren't worshipping the gods. Tor wanted to make war upon them. Lamiel thought trickery to find the reasons. In the end, Lamiel won the argument (by trickery, of course), and set off to meet this tribe.

He disguised himself as a lowly human, which the gods can do easily, but a clever one at that. The human tribe welcomed him and fed him, asking about news of the world. This Lamiel did, expounding the virtues of the gods.

The tribe, however, dismissed his talk of the gods, haughtily explaining that they had found knowledges even the gods knew nothing about from a local spirit name Azrael. Knowing that Azrael would recognize him, Lamiel eschewed meeting him (and thereby perhaps falling under his sway).

Lamiel spent many months with the tribe, learning from them all the knowledges they had gained from the wily spirit, realizing that Azrael was planning an overthrow of the gods, with the tribe as willing dupes. So, using his trickery, he bargained and gained all the knowledge of the tribe, bit by bit, from their greatest skilled practitioners. Always he gave something else in exchange, something worth less but with the appearance of something greater.

After Lamiel gained all that he could, but not everything, Azrael came among his people asking about his knowledge and where it was. Time and again, the tribe pointed to Lamiel and at that point Azrael recognized the god. In anger, he smote Lamiel and the facade of a simple human fell off of Lamiel. With all the spirit's knowledge taken by trickery from the tribe, Lamiel rose up into the air and cast a curse upon the tribe and Azrael. For their disobedience, they were surely damned.

Azrael was cast into the place where demons dwell, there to become a prince, nay, a king of them. The tribe of humans was twisted by their haughty behavior in rebellion against the gods and became the Bugbears.

Lamiel departed and returned to the gods, thinking he had all the knowledges (which, in addition to his own, increased his standing) not realizing, until too late, that Azrael had come upon him too early. One final knowledge, the skill to craft fine longswords, had been left behind. Bugbears, then, from that time on, retained that knowledge and the world has been a warlike place ever since.


  1. I like this idea quite a bit. I'm stealing this concept along with In Places Deep's version of Orcs and Grognardia's Dwarves.

    Your entire Ashford Valley mini-setting is what I'm going to be using for a little game to be played with my son and fiance, so I just wanted to take the time out to say thanks and just to let you know. I hope to see more!

  2. Please, please, please let me know how it works out! And check out my 'zine, Switching to Guns ( for more Ashford Valley stuff.

  3. I've already downloaded a handful of the issues, mostly the ones with the towns in them. Adventures are being kept to dungeons at the moment, until all of us get a better feel for the game (I haven't DM'ed since the early 90's and my son and fiance are both newbies). I actually have a question about the size of the valley: How big is it? I don't need actual milage or whatever, but in your head, how long should it take for a person to walk from, say, Ashford to Sooton? I like to think that the Deep Forest is somewhat sinister, so most folks won't want to spend the night there.


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