23 February 2024

Against the Court of Urdor Campaign – Part 2

The Company of the Morningstar, Korlax’s Haven, and Blarth’s Harp

[The Cursed Lands]

February 1000 2AH (Second Age of Humanity): 1st – 4th 
(A summary of the adventure so far.)  

Our protagonistsEinar Quicksilver, the Green Elf scout of Koronande, and Kiren Hammerstone, the Dwarf animist of Grimhold (one of the Halls of Pale Steel) – meet in the great Elvish city of Tauronde. There they learn that they have overlapping goals. Einar must travel to the Taaliraani city of Tilvirin; he plans to ask the city’s sages to analyze a sample of his late aunt Yvenna’s blood and identify the poison that killed her. Kiren also must travel to Tilvirin, where he hopes to learn more about the ancient Night Elf organization, “The Court of Urdor.” Before they travel to Taaliraan, though, Einar must deliver his slain aunt’s enchanted necklace to his cousin Nuriel. She is said to be the leader of a band of Green Elves – the “Emerald Guardians” – within the region known as the Cursed Lands, which lies west of Koronande and north of Taaliraan.

En route to the Cursed Lands, the duo is captured by the Tantûraki wizard Zepheus. Einar and Kiren are coerced – by means of magical bracelets – to infiltrate the barrow of the ancient Green Elf Prince Berethil. The Prince was the traitorous younger brother of Queen Blàithnaid, the last ruler of the Green Elves of northern Taaliraan (now the Cursed Lands). Zepheus seeks the preserved brain and heart of the dead Prince, believing that magically preparing and consuming the organs will confer upon him Elvish immortality. During their investigation, though, the duo encounters the ghost of Prince Berethil. In return to helping the young elf and dwarf rid themselves of their cursed bracelets, the Prince asks the duo to return the crown of Queen Blàithnaid to her. He senses that his sister dwells somewhere in the northern region of the Cursed Lands. The ghost believes that returning the stolen crown will release him from his curse and allow him to leave the mortal realm for Faerie after almost a thousand years of undeath.

Freed from Zepheus’s control, the two adventurers leave the barrow after some further exploration, eventually returning to the trail that they previously had been following. Our tale resumes after they rest for the night.

February 1000 2AH: the 5th day

Rain starts to fall as the two adventurers break camp before dawn. The Weblands’ jungle canopy channels the rain into concentrated streams. After a few hours the downpour stops.

Around noon, Kiren senses that something is following the duo in the trees. They head off of the trail. This proves to be an imprudent move, however, as the adventurers subsequently are attacked by two giant spiders. Einar is wounded but eventually both spiders are slain. 

Shaken, the duo returns to the path. They notice that a falcon is following them from high among the trees. As the afternoon turns into the evening, the adventurers leave the jungle, finally entering the Cursed Lands. There they encounter the falcon’s master, the Kirani ranger Karos.  


The ranger greets Einar and Kiren in a friendly manner, introduces his falcon as “Bolt,” and guides them to a nearby relic from the Era of the Elves. It is a pentagonal platform of bluish granite, about thirty feet across, rising about three feet above the surrounding land. Strangely untouched by time, the platform has inlaid upon its smooth surface a five-pointed star, consisting of six pieces of a strange opaque glassy substance. The surface of the platform radiates a soft warmth and emanates a faint hum. Karos explains that the platform is warded against evil, and hence is a safe haven for all folk of good heart. 

On the platform they are met by two others: the Hathorian wizard Evrix and the Tantûraki scout Zephyr. Evrix wields a staff of white Elbrinth wood, which suggests that he is an “elf friend.” This status is confirmed by an elvish tattoo on his left hand. All three possess identical rings of remarkable design. They are five-sided, with each side a glass rectangle of a different colour: red, light blue, dark blue, green, and white. The glass sides of the rings glow dimly in the grey dusk.

[Evrix]                 [Zephyr]

The wizard explains that the three are members of the Company of the Morningstar. They are an organization based in the Tower of the Morningstar in the northern region of the Cursed Lands. The mission of the Company is to protect the various independent settlements of the Cursed Lands from significant threats, especially the forces of darkness. Currently they are seeking none other than the malevolent mage Zepheus!

Kiren and Einar tell the Company about their recent ordeal involving Zepheus, and – to the best of their recollection – the location of the mage’s encampment. They decline to join the Company in their mission, however, as they suspect that they lack the experience to be anything more than a hindrance. The Company understands their decision and is grateful for the information.

Upon hearing about the duo’s quest to return the crown of white branches to its rightful owner, Evrix recalls what he knows of Queen Blàithnaid. Just over a thousand years ago, there was the final Great Battle in the northern region of what is now the Cursed Lands, between the Rylindar Imperium – as represented in Urdor by its colony Tantûrak – and the allied forces of Taaliraan, Koronande, Tuktan, and Hathor. The situation looked bleak for the allies. In desperation, Queen Blàithnaid is said to have opened a gate to Faerie. Eldritch waters from that plane flooded the Tantûraki forces, obliterating most of them. However, many soldiers of the allied forces also were destroyed in the deluge. The waters from Faerie created the Misty Lake, which remains to this day.

In sorrow over the deaths she caused, the Queen disappeared. Many of those slain in the Great Battle, especially among the Tantûraki, became ghouls, giving the region its new name: the Cursed Lands. The Green Elves of northern Taaliraan largely abandoned the realm after the Great Battle, leaving for either Koronande or Taaliraan. Only a few small independent settlements remained afterwards. Evrix concludes that if Queen Blàithnaid still lives, her location is unknown.

Kiren also informs the Company of his people’s encounter with a Night Elf mage and his quest to learn more about the ancient Court of Urdor in Tilvirin.  Troubled by this news, Evrix tells them that an associate of theirs – the ancient Blue Elf Laurre Menelrana of Taaliraan – would certainly wish to receive any information concerning the reappearance of any members of the Court. The Hathorian writes a “Letter of Introduction” for the duo, to ensure that they can obtain an audience with the Elf Lord at his manor. He also writes a “Letter of Hospitality” so that the duo will be welcome at the Tower of the Morningstar should their travels ever bring them there. 

Einar mentions his mission to return his aunt’s necklace to his cousin Nuriel in the Crystal Glade. Karos warns him that relations between the Crystal Glade and the human settlement located close to it, Dawnfell, have been very poor in recent decades. As a Green Elf, Einar may find himself unwelcome in Dawnfell. The ranger also mentions that an old friend of his, “Old” Wakkim, runs the Storm’s End Inn in Korlax’s Haven.

Karos then provides the duo with a detailed map of the Cursed Lands and information about the various settlements that are located within it. 

After their discussion, and some food and drink, the five retire for the night.

February 1000 2AH: the 6th day

The Company of the Morningstar departs eastward from the ancient elvish pentagonal platform to hunt for Zepheus. Einar and Kiren head west for Korlax’s Haven. During their journey, they perceive some wolves tracking them. Fortunately, an arrow shot by Einar scares them off.

By late afternoon the duo reaches the small settlement of Korlax’s Haven. The outpost is primarily populated by various humans but, curiously, is run by the dwarf Korlax and his band of stout followers from the Halls of Pale Steel.

The adventurers go to the Storm End’s Inn where they speak with Old Wakkim. The elderly Kirani innkeeper welcomes them warmly once he learns that they are friends of Karos. The travellers also chat with the Hathorian bard Blarth. Perceiving that Kiren and Einar are adventurers, the bard implores them to helm him recover his lost silver harp. Blarth explains that he was captured by a band of vile redcaps a week ago. Taken to their hideout in order to be consumed later, the bard discovered a secret exit from his prison, and subsequently fled to Korlax’s Haven. However, his “famous” silver harp – a family heirloom – remains in the possession of the redcaps. If the duo helps him recover his harp, Blarth promises to reward them with a magical pouch that produces a small loaf of nourishing bread every day. Unfortunately, the pouch also is in the possession of the redcaps! Worried about being delayed further on their various missions, Kiren and Einar tell the bard that they will consider his request and give him an answer the next day.

[Blarth the Bard]

The duo then takes their custom to various establishments in the village: Verro’s Trading Post – where Kiren purchases some parchment with which to record his notes concerning herbs, as well as a superior light mace – and Aethelia’s Herbarium. The latter establishment is run by the beautiful Blue Elf animist Lady Aethelia


Aethelia is quite impressed by Kiren’s herblore and helps the dwarf prepare some “Amerke” paste (in this form, when applied to any wound, the shrub roots can stop bleeding). She then listens to the duo’s tale. She tells them that she knows of Zepheus and the Company of the Morning Star – and confirms the villainy of the former and the honour of the latter. She also conveys some additional information about redcaps. Apparently, they are degenerate fey – creatures cursed and exiled from Faerie countless eons ago – and are vile, treacherous creatures. Aethelia feels sorry for Blarth and urges the duo to accept the bard’s request. She mentions that ridding the region of redcap raiders also would help improve everyone’s safety.

Kiren and Einar return to the Storm’s End Inn. There the find a number of Korlax’s dwarf followers grumbling over pints of ale. The dwarves eye Kiren with suspicion and have a tense interaction with him. The animist is puzzled by this but decides to brush off his kinsfolk’s antagonism.

February 1000 2AH: the 7th day

Following some deliberation over breakfast, the duo agrees to help Blarth. The trio journeys southeast from Korlax’s Haven into the hills of the Cursed Lands. After eight hours travelling through difficult, wild terrain, they reach the hideout of the redcaps. Blarth shows Kiren and Einar where the secret exit is located. The bard stands guard at the exit while the elf and dwarf delve into the damp underground complex.

While investigating the redcaps’ hideout, the duo free two prisoners: the half-orc Krumm and a small elvish-looking girl named Neriss. The latter has been suffering from the iron manacles in which she was imprisoned. Einar recognizes her as a pixie – a rare faerie people who look like diminutive elves, have an aversion to iron, and can sprout ephemeral wings for short periods of time. In gratitude for being freed, both Krumm and Neriss help the adventurers recover Blarth’s silver harp and magical pouch from the redcaps. Also recovered are some ancient gold Tantûraki helmets, a pouch of intriguing mushrooms, a pouch of jade coins, and various other minor items.
[Krumm]                [Neriss]

Over the course of their infiltration, the group manages to kill seven redcaps, one of whom seemed to be capable of casting spells – albeit largely unsuccessfully, to the benefit of the heroes. Tragically, while standing guard alone outside of the warren, Blarth is slain – and partially consumed – by a ghoul. With some critical help from Krumm, though, the ghoul is destroyed. The group constructs a crude cairn for the poor bard.

The party recovers some beer and food from the redcaps’ lair, which Kiren cleanses of any taint using his animist magic. Alas, this use of magic seems to send out a tremor into the ethereal winds, and the dwarf worries that he may have notified the forces of the Darkmaster of his presence. That unfortunate development aside, the four eat and talk. Krumm explains that he is from the village of Thraz and was ambushed by the redcaps while travelling to Korlax’s Haven. Neriss reveals that she was curious about the mortal lands and wanted to see what they were like – only to be captured by the redcaps while she was resting in the hills. She now wishes to return to her hidden fey enclave, which is located – by happy coincidence – quite close to the Crystal Glade. She insists on travelling with the two adventurers to the Crystal Glade and plans to pass herself off as a young elf when in human lands in order to avoid suspicion. 


For more information about this campaign (the setting, characters, etc.), check out the Master Page.

The map of the Cursed Lands is a modified version of Pete Fenlon's map of Ardor from the ICE module, The Court of Ardor (by Terry Amthor).

The pictures of Karos and Zephyr are from the CRPG Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition

The picture of Aethelia is by Stephanie Brown (found on the web).

The other pictures are from the Baldur's Gate EE mod "Portraits, Portraits, Everywhere."


  1. Good to see ICE's great work reskinned. It may not have been strictly according to Tolkien but it had a life of its own.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).