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Waylin Tayloc never thought of himself as a scholar or a wizard, despite his training as an acolyte of the Goddess of Magic. While Waylin possessed an eidetic memory and a natural gift for both arcane and divine magic, he had an idle streak and a silver tongue that often combined to lead him astray. Other students spent their evenings studying ancient texts and praying to the Goddess, but Waylin spent his nights carousing in the tavern district and using minor cantrips to stack the deck in games of chance.
He left the temple before he could complete his scholarly training, his instructors finally acknowledging that the young man’s potential was destined to be wasted. Armed with a few minor cantrips, Waylin drifted from town to town as an itinerant con-man, bilking coins out of simple peasants and towns folk with his minor magical abilities and natural charm. He quickly earned enough money to maintain his comfortable lifestyle, but often found himself running from the law or a mob of angry villagers when his schemes were uncovered.
Historians occasionally suggest that Waylin may have become one of the greatest thieves of his age if he hadn’t made his way to the small town of Rayn on the edge of the Trollmist Mountains. Instead he arrived in the small settlement in the early days of spring, collapsing into one of the inn’s cheapest beds only a few hours before the trolls of the mountains made their first military foray into civilized lands in over thirty years.
Two dozen trolls charged into Rayn under the cover of darkness, led by a steel-clad shaman that showed a surprising capacity for tactics and leadership. The trolls decimated Rayn’s feeble defenses and captured the bulk of the townsfolk. The attack marked the beginning of the Trollmist War, a six-year conflict which would see the human empire joining with centaurs and dwarves in order to hold back the tide of troll soldiers that poured down from the mountain peaks.
While many of the prisoners taken from Rayn were used as livestock, sating the troll’s hunger for human flesh, Waylin survived his first year of captivity by making himself indispensable. His training at the temple of the Goddess allowed him to pick up their broken language easily and Waylin found the crude troll warriors as easy to bluff as the farmers and innkeepers of his former career.
He made sure he drifted from owner to owner, always bluffing his way into the service of a stronger or smarter troll before his current master’s hunger overcame his desire to have a useful slave nearby. As he observed the troll ranks, Waylin started to identify a pattern among the troll leaders. Most were clerics or sorcerers, and all wore the holy symbol of a demonic deity devoted to hunger and destruction.
After seeing the escape attempts of several prisoners thwarted by the troll’s keen sense of smell, Waylin realized that he was unlikely to escape by conventional means. Even if he did escape, there were precious few places to escape too – the troll forces were often celebrating their victories against the human army and their expansion beyond the mountain ranges. The troll’s losses were minimal, and their success drew hundreds of orcs and goblinoids to the troll cause.
With the possibility of a stealthy escape growing increasingly impossible, Waylin struck upon a desperate plan. After a year of avoiding the cabal of troll spellcasters that led the armies of the Trollmist, afraid that their greater intelligence would allow them to see through his lies, Waylin focused on working his way up the chain of command and into the cabal’s confidence.
Over the next five years Waylin served many members of the cabal as both slave and scribe. He bluffed his way from one troll master to the next, finding service using flattery and the promise to scribe the troll’s victory for future generations. As a slave he was permitted to listen to the troll cabal’s battle plans, often making copious notes into a thick ledger to support his pretext of recording the cabal’s victory. He observed dozens of influential battles through the scry pool of the troll clerics, and stood by the side of dozens of troll sorcerers as they used magic to bolster their allies or decimate their foes.
During the daylight hours when the troll’s slept Waylin developed his own mastery of magic away from the watchful eyes of his captors. He found himself stretching his magical abilities for the first time in years, quietly practicing memorized phrases and gestures he copied from the troll’s spellcasters in the hopes that they would one day lead to freedom.
His natural talent for magic allowed him to build upon the foundations his tutors had laid nearly a decade before, and by the time he escaped Waylin had mastered several powerful spells. He used a combination of polymorph self and the most intimidating of the troll cabal’s magic to bluff his way to the front of the troll lines before using dimension door to cover the distance between the troll and human armies without drawing attacks. Once there, he offered his knowledge of the troll’s inner workings to the leaders of the human force.
Waylin’s knowledge of the cabal’s inner workings was invaluable in allowing the allied force of dwarves, centaurs and humans to defeat the combined troll horde, but even more valuable was the ledger filled with troll battle plans he carried beneath his arm as he escaped. While generals poured over the book, Waylin met with dozens of human wizards, centaur druids and dwarven battle-priests to explain the nature of the troll’s magic, allowing them to reliably counter-spell the troll’s magic and panic the troll troops.
After the war was over, Waylin returned to the church where he had received his acolytes training as a youth and took his vows as a servant of the goddess. With his abilities as a theurgist honed by his years of imprisonment, he chose to take on the more respectable role of a scholar and remained one of the foremost sources of troll-lore among humankind.
He spent much of his time expanding on the ledger he had brought with him from the cabal’s lair, adding new spells and annotations about the war where he felt they were necessary.
Although Waylin never named the spellbook, the church referred to it as the Light in the Trollmist, a reference to the ray of hope that was offered when Waylin found his way to the human forces. It remained in Waylin’s possession for nearly twenty years before it was stolen, although no-one knows whether the thief was a rival or a troll trying to protect the magic of his people.
BARDIC KNOWLEDGE & KNOWLEDGE (ARCANA)
Characters with Bardic Knowledge or Knowledge (arcana) may be familiar with Waylin and his book. The first time a character with either skill hears about the Light in the Trollmist, have them make a check and consult the following table.
DC 15: This book was written during the time of the Trollmist War and the spells contained within were instrumental in the defeat of the shaman and sorcerers that led the troll forces.
DC 20: The first copy of the Light in the Trollmist was scribed by Waylin Tayloc, a theurgist who worshipped the goddess of magic. He mastered troll magic while he was captured in the early days of the war. The majority of the spells contained within the book were learned directly from troll spellcasters.
DC 25: The book was stolen from Waylin’s tower twenty years after the war finished. Rumors suggest that the thief was either a jealous rival or a troll cleric desperate to recover lore that was stolen from his people during the war.
DC 30: Although he was trained by the clerics of the goddess in his youth, Waylin spent more time as an itinerant con man than a devout cleric before his capture by the trolls. He used his talent for subterfuge to keep himself alive while practicing the spells used by the trolls in secret, eventually escaping due to a number of powerful spells he learned from troll sorcerers and shaman.
The Light in the Trollmist has plain, dull-green leather covers that are highly resistant to damage. The covers bear no marking, but the thick metal spine of the book contains a small symbol similar to those used as a holy symbol by the goddess of magic. The interior pages are thicker than normal parchment, with a fleshy texture that resists tearing or marking.
The first seventy pages of the Light are completely filled with a combination of spells and annotations regarding the society and warfare of the trolls. While many of the spells are written in arcane script, two are common translations of powerful divine magic used by the trolls.
The ink used in the Light has a sharp, musty smell that often reminds people of acid. The final thirty are clean and untouched.
Value: 4,600 gp (4,200 gp for spells, 200 gp for troll lore, 200 gp for regeneration)
Hit Points: 12
Weight:* 4 lbs.
Special: The leather cover and pages of the book is made from flayed troll flesh, alchemically treated so it retains some of its regenerative properties. The book regenerates 2 hit points per round when damaged, although it cannot regenerate damage sustained from fire or acid.
Because of this property marking the book becomes extraordinarily difficulty. Writing on the book with standard ink is impossible, as the page returns to its original blank state. Scribing new spells into the Light in the Trollmist requires carefully prepared ink that is mixed with acid, raising the cost of putting new spells into the book to 120 gp per page.
Due to the extensive notes on troll culture and the Trollmist War, the Light gives the reader a +2 circumstance bonus to all Knowledge (nature) and Knowledge (history) checks made regarding trolls and the war.