In movies, television, and novels there are often story elements or plot points of which the main characters are not aware.  But, these plot points add depth, interest, description, and even irony to the story.  They are a necessary part of storytelling, in most cases.

Role-Playing Games tend to focus on the story immediately surrounding the main characters...the player characters.  But, for a truly dramatic and interesting story, sometimes you have to know about the movements, emotions, goals, and adventures of characters other than the main characters.

These stories do not directly affect or involve the main characters, but the events and characters depicted in these side-stories will play a role in the overall storyline.  They contain player-knowledge and not character-knowledge.

For Story Depth... 

"Javair in a Painting"    

The Bard sat across the heavy table from the old bearded Sage.  He was laughing, and it was clear the two of them were talking about old times.  Shared stories that no one else would probably understand.  They were in a large Hall, and the lack of flagging or joints in the stone walls and floor suggested it was carved out of solid rock.  The fireplace at the far end of the room was dark and cold, and nothing stirred except the two men...and all was silence except their conversation and laughter.  There were tapestries hanging here and there, and a few large paintings as well.  One painting was of a round stone room with many large paintings depicted as hanging on the walls of the room.  One painting was of a well-outfitted cabin on a sailing vessel, with many maps and charts depicted spread across a large table.  One painting was odd, in that it seemed to depict the inside of a large tent, the floors covered in furs and many weapons.
The Bard held an ancient harp, and occasionally ran his hand across its strings absent-mindedly making beautiful sounds.  The old sage spoke.  “That’s Dutton Hobb’s harp you’ve got with you.  Where’s the other harp...the one that causes so much trouble?”
Javair seemed hesitant to answer, but then thought better of it and shrugged.  “The other harp is in a safe place.  It is a dangerous thing.  Too dangerous.  I prefer this old harp.  It fits me.  It feels at home in my hands.  It was made for me.”
Molene shook his head, causing his beard to swing back and forth.  “No, it wasn’t Javair.  It was made for Dutton Hobbs.  You are simply the latest to possess it and play it.”
Javair had a surprised look on his face, like he had caught Molene being foolish.  “You know better, old man.  It was made for me...just as much as it was made for Dutton.  Almost 600 years old, and just as good as the first day it was played.”
Molene smiled.  “True.  True.  Tell me whatever happened to that Vikos fellow you used to get into trouble with.  Vikos Stormbringer.  What ever happened to him?”
Javair shook his head, and laughed so hard his eyes watered.  “Oh, man...why do you have to bring him up?  I haven’t seen him in decades.  Whatever made me hang out that crazy half-elf?  Absolute crazy, through and through.”  Now both of them laughed.  “After he and I closed the Storm Gates...he spent a few days here at the Azure Keep, and then he was gone.  Left the volunteer orc army he had built to fight the war against the Giants...left his friends...left the world of men, I’m afraid.  I checked up on him of course over the years...and he spends most of his time protecting the Forest of the Ancients.  The good-hearted pass through that forest unharmed...the rest never come out the other side.  I’m sure the years as a hermit have only made him less stable, I’m afraid.”
Molene nodded.  “At least he didn’t go the way of Bala the Butcher.  Vikos wielded that magical axe, and escaped its curse.  He found another way.  We can admire him for that.  And the role he played in fighting the Frost Giants back from the Gate.”
Javair nodded.  “He was absolutely the most difficult man I’ve ever dealt with.  And he was my friend.  As horrible as it was at times to adventure with him, if he showed up here tonight with some crazy plan to raid a lich’s tomb...or to kidnap SHE herself...I would go.  May the Gods damn me, I would strap on my bracers, oil up the Sword of Dorlinon Fi, and crawl through some horrid dungeon with him.  He was my friend.”
Molene looked off into the darkness as Javair spoke, feeling the emotion in his voice.  “ would have made a very good king.  You were for a time.  You should have stayed a very good king.  The Azure Kingdom needed a man in charge like you.  A man with heart...and fairness at his core.  Galen Green does a passing job at it in your stead.  But, this Keep is yours...this land is yours...these people are yours.”
Javair was a bit surprised at Molene’s words, and didn’t try to hid the expression on his face.  “Galen Green does a fine job.  And the Kingdom doesn’t really need me anymore.  There is peace, and with the closing of the Storm Gates there has been warmth, and life, and plenty.  If the Kingdom ever needs me again...I’ll return.  But for now...I have other things that I need to attend to.  Important things.”
Molene scoffed.  “Bah!  Your search for Jack Skull?  Look at you...a damned pirate these days.  Traveling around with a motley group of criminals seaching for a skull-headed socio-path.  That is important to you?”
Javair took a scolding tone.  “You know more than your words would witness to, Molene.  Jack Skull is not a socio-path.”  Javair paused.  “Well, he is a socio-path...that part is true.  But, he is more than that.  He was also my friend.  He was the Captain of my guard.  He was the head of my armies during the war against the Frost Giants.  I’ve known him for most of my life.  And despite all his faults...where ever...and whenever I have needed him...he’s been there for me.  The first time I saw him, he the Captain of a ship that was attacking us on the high seas.  Then he stole the treasure of a lich right out from under us.  But, ever since Vikos and I saved him from the dungeons of Sir James the Mad...he has shown a loyalty to me that has known no bounds.”
Molene attempted to interrupt, but Javair continued right over the top of his words.  “What sort of man would I be, if I did not return that loyalty?  What sort of king could I be, if I cared so little for one of my closest friends?  When I say that I am attending to important business, you would do best not to question my judgement, Sage.”
Molene softened his approach.  “My apologies.  I am your friend as well, and I worry about you.  We both have the wisdom of years and experience, but I’ve committed the most grievous sin a wise man can commit.  I believed myself wiser than I am.  I stand corrected...and defer to your judgement.  It is your life, and your honor.  You tend to your honor as you feel is best, and I support you.  Find that skull-faced bastard, whatever it takes.”
Javair’s anger faded.  “Fair enough, Molene.  This is something I must do.  Trust me.  I have this nagging feeling that everything rides on me finding him.  I don’t know why...but there is a gravity to this situation that goes beyond my personal loyalty and honor.”
“I do trust you.  I’ve trusted you from the start.”
Javair smiled.  “Good.”
Molene leaned forward a bit, putting his hands on the table to support himself.  There were paint speckles and splatters upon his old wrinkled hands.  “Tell me more of this young group of adventurers you ran into.  You admired them, didn’t you?”
Javair leaned back in his chair.  “Admired them?  Yes.  And I’m jealous of them as well!  You should have seen how young they were.  There is one among them that is half-dragon.  Half-dragon...can you believe such a thing. And on top of it all, he is a bard.  He has this spirit about him.  A joyous spirit.  We will see great things from him over the coming years.  He will tell great tales, and play a role in the making of history.  You mark my words and remember his name, Sage.  They call him Valatude.”
“Then there’s the girl.  A wild girl...reportedly raised by bears.  She has long curly dirty blond hair that is always in tangles, and for someone who claims to be distrustful of others...she has this amazing way with people.  There is a strength there...and a warmth, that wins people over to her side.  She worships nature, and nature gives her powers in return.  She too will play a role in events to come that will not soon be forgotten.  They call her Valabraun.”
“And the last of the small party...Amon.  He’s a roguish figure if you ever saw one.  Cocky, and greedy, and fearless.  He tried to steal my ship single-handedly!  I suppose I deserved it.  He interrupted one of my stories in the Placid Waters tavern and tried to pick-pocket me, so I used my Ring to influence him and made him stand in a corner like a petulant child for an hour.  From that point on he decided he would have his revenge upon me, and I’ve had quite a bit of fun foiling his plans against me.  Perhaps one of these days I’ll win him over...but I’m not counting on it.”
Molene was looking a bit tired, but he seemed to enjoy Javair’s description of the young party of adventurers.  “I met this Amon...right after he tried to steal your ship!”
Javair looked suspicious.  “You didn’t mention this before?”
Molene smiled.  “I have my secrets.  Plus, the boy was very injured...and barely managed to swim to my lighthouse in the bay there at Wather.  I patched him up, fed him, and gave him a bit of advice.  He has the potential to be a good man.  But, I’m afraid he has a long way to go.  His greed and arrogance runs deep.”
The Bard ran his hand across his harp thoughtlessly again, making a beautiful sound.  “Well, hopefully he’ll mature a bit, before the world swallows him up.”
“I hope so as well.  Javair...I appreciate our time together now and again. I must go though my friend.  I’m old...and I’m weary.  I must get back to my work.”
Javair stood and escorted Molene by the arm to the painting of the round room with all the paintings depicted on it walls.  “Until the next time, old friend.”
“Until the next time,” and with that Molene stepped through and into the painting.  Instead of being an empty round room lined with paintings, the painting now featured an old bearded sage in the room.  The paint that depicted the Sage was fluid and moving, and one could watch the painting change as the Sage moved across the room and stepped into one of the paintings depicted there.
Javair took one last look around his empty Hall, and stood next to the large painting of the ship’s cabin.  “I’ll be back when it is time.  I’ll be back when my work is done.  There will be feasts here again...and politics...and deal-making.”  Javair smiled and stepped into the painting, returning to his cabin on the White Queen.
Behind him on the cabin’s wall was a large painting of stone hall, with a long sturdy table, and a dark cold fireplace.  “Meepo!  Where are you?  Bring me some brandy, would you?”


Remember, these stories are to add depth to the storyline.  They represent player-knowledge, not character-knowledge.  This story was written to add depth to the Crimson Coast campain.


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