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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Sewer Tour Reviewer

Slouching Towards Reunion

The Ataniel Five-Year Reunion Newsletter
Issue One - June 1996

(apologies to Joan Didion)

How are you going to bridge the five year gap? Look inside for Character Update Info, a first Five Year Timeline, NPC biographies, and much much more!

In the next Who's Who: Ataniel's Most Wanted!

Vote for your five favorite villains from the three years of the Ataniel Campaign and send them/phone them/email them to me... results in the next STR!

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Reunion RSVP Results In!

Well, I finally tracked down all of you guys to get your RSVPs for the reunion, and I was tremendously pleased by the number of y'all who would be able to attend. Thus, without further ado, I present the roll call for the Five Year Campaign Reunion adventure!

The only absences are Alyssa, who said that she would be unable to commit due to expected financial and geographical problems and Liz, who no one was able to find. Oethnar is still in a forest.

This leaves us with an interesting balance of characters... no clerics, a lot of thief and mage types, two husbands without their wives, two-and- a-half Significants , four-and-a-half Sewer Tourists, and four-and-a-half Sway members, as well as one character no one's ever met before. I'd like to thank you all for making this so very easy on me.

NPC Contest Results

When I wrote up the RSVP forms with the NPC contest, I told Kay who I suspected the winning NPCs would be. Would that I had offered myself a prize of some sort, as I was completely and totally right. Who says a DM can't predict his players? There were three forerunners, of which only two would be accompanying y'all, so I wasn't certain until the last vote (Ed's, natch) came in, but the final results were:

The other results were:

Some good attempts amongst you all to get some all-powerful beings, demigods, mysteriously absent or dead friends, reincarnators and bimbos included, but the wisdom of Zzenith and the stupidity/nobility of Quell won your hearts in the end. Just like I predicted.

I will try to make certain that everyone who got votes will at least have a cameo somewhere in the game, though, so don't worry if your favorite NPC didn't win... we'll catch up with everyone!

What to Expect in your Slouching Towards Reunion

The actual purpose of this newsletter (besides giving me my first real forum since the late, not-quite-lamented Ultra-News) is to prepare us all for the four-day AD&D bacchanalia that will be the Five Year Reunion Game (FYRG). Here are some of the useful articles you'll find in here over the next year:

How To Prepare for the Five Year Reunion Game

Obviously, we're not going to be picking up exactly where we left off. Five years is a long time for the characters (let alone for us) and most likely, they've all been up to something. In some cases, you may have decided to settle down, others may have decided to travel the depths of the world in exploration. Over the next year (our time, not theirs), I'll be calling on each one of you to help me plot out the last five years of your character's life. This is something that will have a significant effect on the state of your character come the FYRG. Shortly before the game, we'll work up a revised character sheet, on which your character will have gained somewhere from three to seven levels since last playing (more, if the character was not a third-year character, natch). How many levels gained will be up to you... so fill those five years with a lot of story and plot (adventure will not necessarily be more experiential than dramatic content... five years of raising a kid can be worth seven levels, while five years of dungeon hacking may only be worth three levels if the dungeon isn't very interesting).

Here are some guidelines to begin thinking about what your character may have been up to:

The Status Quo

The world of Ataniel in the year 813 T.Y. is somewhat different than the way you remember. A lot of the details touched on herein will be expanded on in future issues, but this general overview will help to keep things clear for the purposes of character updating.

808
--Trade disappears, along with Magnate, due to the plots of Wyvern. It reappears, sans Magnate and Wyvern. Knighthawke takes charge of Trade.
--Cynystra completes their invasion of Western Diaria. Eastern Diaria cuts off all contact with the ouside world, preferring to hide behind the newly-completed Great Diarian Wall.
--Sway disbands.

809
--The Trade Heroes Guild is disbanded in favor of independent heroic representation of countries. Trade instead musters an army to protect its member states.
--Under continued attacks from Cynystra, Brytannwch disappears completely from Ataniel. They are not heard from again.
--The Mithril Dagger hero once known as Torin, thought dead, crawls down from the Plateau, quite mad.

810
--Rumors of a new nation of monsters within the Doomlands are confirmed when an illithid named V'Nos, representing the sovereign nation of New Gila, petitions for Trade status. He is accepted onto the Trade Council.
--The Elves of Dyved leave from the world.
--Magnate sightings continue, the latest one in a tavern in Sturtevant.

811
--Nylevia signs an agreement with Cynystra to become a protectorate of the Cynystran Empire. Duke Sturoster abdicates his position. They are quickly followed by the Land of the Little Folk, who renounce Trade status to join the Empire.
--Attacks throughout Trade by a group of bandits known as the Soulless Riders continue. A band of Significants sent to stop them is found massacred.
--Part of the Ansalia Expedition returns, claiming to have reached the other side of the world.

812
--Trade contact with the spelljamming port of South Diaria (discovered by Maxwell Silverhammer) is cut off. An expedition to the Southern Edge reports that the port has been completely destroyed.
--Cynystra signs a non-aggression pact with New Gila. They decline further protection from Trade but maintain a Council member as an ambassador.
--On November 14th, all magic ceases to work for a period of nine hours. The chaos is eventually brought under control. The only strange thing that remains afterwards is a third moon that has come to be named "Bane".

813
--The present.

Trade consists of most of the northern countries. These states remain independent but have the protection of the Trade Army and maintain Trade Gates. These include: Dalencia, the Meadowlands, Salagia, the Seven Princehoods (including Javin), Sturtevant, Talaria, Tobrinel and, of course, Trade itself.

The Cynystran Empire controls Cynystra, Nylevia, the Land of the Little Folk, Rimbor and Eastern Diaria. Emperor Eric's army and the Wild Pack protect these states.

Independent states include: Eastern Diaria ("True Diaria"), Kaltr, Kyoko-ra, the Montas Archipelago, the Northlands, Riklandir and Shikintu. The current status of Brytannwch, Liratyn, Cynosure, the Shadowlands and Ansalia are unknown.

More details about the five year gap will be made available as they become clear. Remember, you all have a responsibility to include the events of your characters' lives into the timeline, so keep in touch with me about how y'all interact with the world of Ataniel!

Who's Who Update #1

This time, I'll just give you a quick Who's Who update on the twelve characters who made the "resident NPC" grade. You voted for them, but you might need a quick refresher on who they are.

Upcoming Events

Well, that's the first issue of the all-new STR... hope you found it enjoyable and all that whatnot. Even though there's a year before the actual game, there's a lot to do to get there, and I'll need your help to do it. Please please please please reply to all the important questions that come up, ranging from character stuff to reservation stuff. If I'm going to plan this well, I'll need to hear back from people quickly on matters. Remember, I can only do STR updates when I've heard from everyone!

Also, if you've got any documentation from the Ataniel Campaign, please send me a copy. I'm trying to work up a universal archive of the game, so if you've got stuff, whether it be stories, notes, pictures, whatever... please let me at it!

I'm enclosing an address list so that everyone can get in contact with everyone else. Send all character/NPC/villain/plot song suggestions to Jonah, who has volunteered to do a Three Years of Ataniel soundtrack.

Next time out, I'll have a big article on Dexy LaRue and the Email Game. If you've got any of those mails archived, I'd love a copy! Also, the Villains Who's Who and (hopefully) all of the hotel information. Remember... plan around the weekend now so that nothing comes up when it gets closer!

Anyway, looking forward to all of this, and believe me... it's great to be back on Ataniel.

Doug

Get in touch with me at:

Douglass Barr / blackflak@aol.com

'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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