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!
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:
Zzenith (18 pts), and
Quell, Scourge of all Evil (16 pts)
The other results were:
Kieran Talbot (11 pts)
Noyarc (6 pts)
Javert, Head of the Police (6 pts)
The Sheepherder (4 pts)
Gdeon (3 pts)
Flintfoot (3 pts)
Magnate (2 pts)
Savis (1 pt)
Trissia Madyx (1 pt)
Rip Hunter (1 pt)
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:
Reunion Updates: This, the most important reason for the STR, will keep you up to date on hotel
information, transportation, players in need of roommates, etc. Anyone who remembers the
planning coup that was JohnCon will know why this is gonna be reeeeeal necessary.
Five-Year Gap History: Five years have gone by for our heroes, and the world has continued to
progress. I'll bring you up to date bit by bit as to what's gone on in Ataniel so that you can waste
more of your valuable time worrying. I'll even probably do some stories of various events in the
Who's Who Updates: Even I don't remember who everyone was, and I made it all up, so believe me, I
don't expect any of you (except Jonah) to remember either. WW Updates will remind you of
everyone important and a few other people as well.
Your Space: Hopefully, you all will feel free to use the STR as a place to let the other readers know
what's up in your life, what your character's been up to, and anything else you'd like to send me to
include in here. Not everyone's on email (Ed), so I'd like to keep the STR as a clearinghouse for all
the important discussion and updates. I've also enclosed an address list in here so that you can all
keep in touch with each other.
Neverwhere Tales: There's a lot of Ataniel plot material that never quite made it to completion. I'll let
you know all the secrets of the email game, the Null and Void stories from the post-campaign STRs,
even some stories I've written since then like "Alternate Trishas." All the non-canon stuff you can
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:
What were your character's goals five years ago? What did he/she try to do to accomplish them? Is
your character still adventuring? Did you start a business? Enter politics? Travel to distant lands or
Who was important to your character? How might those relationships have developed or changed?
Is your character still single? Still married? Who are your new friends? Are you still on good terms
with all your old friends?
How have the changes in the world affected your character? Where does your character currenty
reside? Obviously, for some of this you'll need more details about the world, so see later in this
issue for the "status quo".
What "old business" plots might your character have followed up on? What new enemies or problems
might your character be currently involved with? Feel free to make up adventures, plots, enemies,
friends, etc. that your character may have dealt with in the last five years. I'm always flexible in
terms of personal plots.
Has your character kept in touch with other characters? Get in touch with other players and see what
they've been up to... their stories might mesh very well with yours.
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.
--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.
--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
--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.
--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.
--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".
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,
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
Zzenith: An alien being, trapped on a world he never made. Zzenith is an amorphous blob with a
variety of eyes and mouths. He was first encountered in the Doomlands by Tila, who tried to kill
him. However, after it was realized that he was not only sentient, but kind and wise, Zzenith
became one of the Sway's most helpful allies. Zzenith has a variety of clerical abilities and eats
dead human flesh to survive. Zzenith hopes one day to return to his true home, the vacuum of
Quell, Scourge of all Evil: The son of Duke Ravenhill, Quell was once a priest of Tal until he found his
true calling: the extermination of demons. Not very bright, he is very dedicated to his task, his
beliefs, and his friends. When one person had to guard the rear to cover the Sewer Tour's escape
from the dimension of the Iron Tyrants, Quell sacrificed himself, and was trapped in the dimension
of the beholders. There, he was impregnated by a beholder-spawn, but his faith and force of will
purged the egg from his body. He has since escaped and returned to Ataniel with Maxwell
Silverhammer. His experience with the Sunfighter has caused him to adjust his beliefs to oppose
Evil, not simply Demons.
Kieran Talbot: One of the most talented and promiscuous of the ancient bards, Kieran Talbot was slain
by a jilted ("misunderstood, darlin'") lover, but his spirit was too irrepressible to go on to Annwn.
He survives (?) as a ghost and joined Sway when they discovered and buried his remains, freeing
him from the house where he was killed. He has been romantically linked to Tila and was last seen
as the companion of Threnody (Sunny 3). Kieran loves women, and they love him.
Noyarc: A member of the LSRIA (Lycanthropic Self-Regulatory Intelligence Agency), Noyarc is a
werewolf secret agent. He joined the Sewer Tour in a town north of Dalencia where he was
exposing the evil of the Huntsman. He travelled with them for a time helping them against Malcar.
After returning, he was kidnapped by the Web to use against the Sewer Tour, but before he could
be broken, the Tour rescued him. He helped them find the City on the Edge of Forever, and is now
back working for the LSRIA.
Javert, Head of the Police: A man obsessed with upholding the law, he was head of the police in
Neporris until Duke Faraker summoned him to take that same position in the city of Lianth. He
accompanied the Sewer Tour to Dalencia as an envoy where he was put on trial for killing the
traitorous Dalencian Lord High Justice, Dred. He was found not guilty. Later, he gathered a group
of the Sewer Tour's friends together to rescue the Tour from Rimbor City. Afterwards, he took
control of the police force there and brought the law to Rimbor. When Cynystra took over Rimbor,
Javert left to hunt down the escaped convict Palmer Khan. Finding Sturtevant oppressed by the
reincarnated Warrior King Bloodscar, Javert became leader of the resistance and helped Sway to
defeat Bloodscar and Trillarillia Cararia. Javert returned Khan to Rimbor to face trial. Afterwards,
Javert offered Khan a pardon to join him in bringing the law to the lawless Northlands.
The Sheepherder: One of the five Deathless Eternals, the Sheepherder has only one thought on his
mind: his sheep. His immortality is as inexplicable as his ability to reincarnate beings in an
attempt (usually failed) to make them into sheep. He currently tends a miniature flock created by
Sway in the fields outside Trade.
Gdeon: The son of Shilree and a raping doppleganger posing as Ralchar, Gdeon's malleable embryonic
DNA was affected by a passage through The Wall that once surrounded Nylevia. When he was born,
he was infused with the spirit of the Ataniel Dragons who had left Ataniel for the City on the Edge of
Forever. He grew at a magically accellerated rate in the custody of Rhynwa and Maxwell
Silverhammer while he travelled with the Sewer Tour. He had a particular attachment to the
merchant Khyrisse, whose similar avatar spirit called to him. Upon finally learning his true nature,
he fled Ataniel to learn to understand his position in the universe. When Wyvern seized the City on
the Edge of Forever, Gdeon attempted to contact his foster parents to warn them of the danger. He
has since returned to space.
Flintfoot: A halfling friend of Signet who was devoured by a demon after the demon promised that he
really wouldn't do anything bad if Signet let the demon go. His spirit was later experimented on by
the Eternal Mage, Arturian, until it was freed by Signet and the Significants.
Magnate: The archetypal businessman, Magnate has risen from a mere shopkeeper to being one of
the most powerful men in all of Ataniel. Operating a trading post out of a pocket dimension of his
own, he used his influence with the Sewer Tour to lead them down the path they needed to follow
to defeat Tres and find the City on the Edge of Forever. His agent, Shilree, accompanied them and
claimed the city in his name, and he became High Tradesman of the city of Trade. He is one of the
Deathless, having traded the secrets of immortality from the very stones. His tenure as High
Tradesman ended when he was kidnapped by the renegade Space Dragon Wyvern. He has still not
Savis: A mudwoman that Max met while adventuring through space. She fell in love with his strong
and noble personality and accompanied him to Ataniel. Savis suffers from low self-image as a
result of being made of mud.
Trissia Madyx: A bard in the troubador group Death's Tender Finger, Trissia was possessed by a
demon in an attempt to refine the Sunfighter process. She travelled with Sway for a time, hoping to
find a way to exorcise her demon. She was finally freed by a staff of demon destruction designed
by Iellan Tach to use against the Sunfighter. Trissia has one daughter, Johnette, who she is
currently raising in Talaria after the Farstalker was destroyed by Kynvelyn and Fleegle.
Rip Hunter: The demigod of Time, Rip Hunter is a man from the future who designed a massive Time
Sphere that he uses to keep the timestream clear of paradox. Rip helped the Sewer Tour free Warp
from The Wall, and later assisted the future Sunfighter, Timrin Dalliar, to stabilize the Sunfighter's
existance by helping Threnody to rescue Sway from the future. He later helped Sway find the lost
city of Trade, though he lost an arm in combat with Wyvern. Reports of his death have been highly
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
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
Anyway, looking forward to all of this, and believe me... it's great to be back on Ataniel.