Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Fighting Chance - Aspis by Leanne "Faelinn" Hoffman


Welcome to "A Fighting Chance".  This article series is dedicated to various threats of Realms and how you can become involved. [Editor's Note: If you are planning on attending The War of Shadows, it would be a good idea to read this.]

Threat: The Aspis/Darkvale
Plot Masters; Dave Key-Wallace and Matt Daviault
Plot Start: 2011

What are the Aspis?  The Aspis are a race of snake-like creatures that have long been seen in the Realms and are the inhabitants of the Aspis-Nor mountains.  Followers of the god Rexan, encounters with these creatures have been limited in the past but recent goings-on have seen them move into the lands of Darkvale.

The Monsters:
Which is worse; the enemy you know or the enemy you don’t know?

The Aspis might just seem like a bunch of humanoid snakes, but they have been known to show off and differentiate themselves in different ways.  Aspis (garbed with snake masks or green face paint) vary on their roles and their abilities.  Devotees of Rexan might wear robes or other priestly vestment and cast divine spells.  Warriors bring to bear a tough hide (natural armor) that is sometimes bolstered by normal armor any adventurer might wear.  They seem proficient in all types of weapon styles, though they favor melee weapons over bows and arrows.  Many Aspis display unique personalities and quirks and have a refined culture of their own in the mountains.

Aspis rely on a variety of magics such as the Veil of Shadows (a dark "bubble" preventing magics from passing into Darkvale) and are rumored to be able to poison people with alchemy (potions) or their bite.

The Aspis have been known to recruit or subvert other creatures to help them.  Trolls and goblins (brown mask and tabard or green mask and tabard) have bolstered the ranks of the Aspis while in Darkvale.  Trolls typically are slow-moving creatures with huge strength, capable of throwing boulders.  Goblins vary from lightly armored creatures to powerful shamans (goblin healers or spell casters).

Equipment:
Think you're ready to head into Aspis controlled lands...but what to bring?

Axes and maces will find much use fighting the trolls that have been subverted by the Aspis.  They tend to regenerate; a fast hand and a scalping dagger might be needed to keep them down.  Acid potions might be a quicker alternative if a friendly alchemist is around.

Healers will find themselves busy administering cure for Aspis bites (Immunity to Poison) and raising those unlucky enough to be caught unawares by an Aspis assassin.

Many Aspis are vulnerable to all weapon types.  It might be a good idea to bring along a magic sword to combat stronger Aspis.

Bring those shields and armor!  Many martial Aspis and their allies are hard to kill and will take multiple hits to go down.


Tactics:
“Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.” - Proverb

Bring someone with you if you venture into Aspis-controlled lands.  While the trolls and goblins might not kill you, a shadowy assassin might make quick work of you.  Having someone to guard your back will help you be better protected from a potential ambush.

Aspis have the advantage of numbers.  By bolstering their ranks with conscripts and unwitting servants, they are more likely to wear opponents down with their superior army.  Fighting smarter and not harder will be the key to victory.


Who to talk to:
Want to know more?  There are a few people who are at the forefront of this threat.  Good people to talk to are Lord Chan Ottokar of Darkvale, Kyomi of Chimeron and Valerie Hart of Chimeron.  The Library of Ivory also a sparse supply of information about this threat.  Any new information should be shared as it becomes available.

Do you have a threat you want to see covered?  Let me know, so we can give other people a fighting chance.

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