Dark or Light

The Lore Behind v1.3 Q&A

William Murphy Posted:
Interviews 0


Hammerknell is looking amazing from everything we’ve seen thus far. Can you give us some background on the dungeon and what it means to the greater world of Telara?

Morgan Lockhart & Nicholas McDowell:

The great dwarven delves were once grand and impressive city-states, the pinnacle of civilization in modern Telara. When the mad Tyrant Aedraxis shattered the Ward and let in the rifts, the dwarven city of Hammerknell should have been a bulwark against the invasions of the planes, instead it fell quickly because of a secret sin of the rulers of Hammerknell.

Dwarves have always prided themselves on their craftsmanship. The magic items that they have created were considered the best in the world, and the creations of Hammerknell were considered the best among the dwarves. Rune King Molinar of Hammerknell ushered in a golden age of magic and runecraft. The delve produced miracles to rival the brilliant Eth, and was spared the horrors of the Shade, only to suffer the consequences of an ancient lie. For Hammerknell owed its miracles not to craftsmanship, but to binding the spirits from the Plane of Death to fuel the machines. Freed by proximity to planar energies, these spirits rose up in vengeance. The doors of Hammerknell were sealed, not to protect the city from the world, but the world from the horrors of the city.


There are ten bosses in the place. We asked Mr. Hanlin what his favorites were, but can you detail a few of the others and how they relate to Hammerknell?

Morgan Lockhart & Nicholas McDowell:

There are three bosses in particular that have a strong tie to the story of Hammerknell aside from the horror that has been imprisoned in the great city for over a thousand years.

Rune King Molinar was the leader of the Hammerknell dwarves. It was his family's techniques of runebinding that used the spirits of the dead as a means of creating the miracles of the city, and kept his clan in control for hundreds of years. It was this technique that filled the Grey Gardens and Runic Descent with the cursed relics too dangerous to remain. When the rifts came, the planar energies allowed the death spirits to escape and seek revenge against the dwarves that imprisoned them. The rifts do have a sense of justice however, as Molinar has been possessed by the demon Estrode, and it has corrupted and broken his form.

Estrode is a character that we have only seen as a shadowy, umbral form in Moonshade Highlands and we get to see more of in Hammerknell. She's a powerful death demon brought into Telara centuries ago by the dwarves. She can only partially manifest and must have a host body. In the story of Moonshade Highlands you see her possess the satyr Gorvaht and Tidelord Brenin, but after you stab them she must retreat into Hammerknell. She's one of the puppet masters that had been manipulating the mortals of Telara to lead up to this event.

Jornaru is the most successful of all the Abyssal cultists, who succeeds where the other tidelords have failed. His pursuit of power has led him from the peak of the Abyssal Precipice to the depths of Hammerknell. Aside from Estrode, he is one of the main players that brought about the events plaguing the world, and the villain who has gotten the closest to his goal of achieving power. Luckily, the Ascended are on their way to stop him. If they fail, Telara will be drowned by the tides of the Plane of Water and all that we know smothered by the crushing depths.


But it’s Akylios that’s the real big baddy: the Water Dragon. He seems… kind of ticked at us Telarans. What role do all of these dragons play in the greater events happening in the world?

Morgan Lockhart & Nicholas McDowell:

The greater events in the world have everything to do with the dragons. The Ward was put in place around Telara after Akylios and the rest of the Blood Storm very nearly destroyed Telara fifteen-hundred years ago. Akylios was imprisoned by a group of heroes that included the original Bladedancer, Estrael; the Void Knight, Rasmolov; the Druid, Asphodel; the Dominator, Nyx; and the Nightblade, Acacia. When the Ward broke, the dragon prisons began to crack as well, and their minions have been pouring in through the planes trying to release them.

The cults that Ascended are at odds with have been working toward these moments where the dragons are to be released, drawing in more and more of their followers from their respective planes (in the case of Akylios, Plane of Water) through the rifts and amassing powerful resources for their ultimate takeover. People familiar with our content have encountered the most significant steps the Abyssal took toward releasing Akylios in Moonshade Highlands, Iron Pine Peak, and the Abyssal Precipice dungeon.


What’s the story behind the actual Waves of Madness Event? Is it just the Death plane and Water planes trying to zerg-rush us all again, or is there more to it from a story point of view?

Morgan Lockhart & Nicholas McDowell:

The Waves of Madness revolves around both the Planes of Water and Death trying to get into Hammerknell before the Ascended. For the Abyssal, the reasons are quite clear: they want to release Akylios, who was imprisoned below Hammerknell and guarded by the dwarves. For the Endless Court, the reasons are a little less obvious. They want to release the powerful death demons that were released in Hammerknell when the runebindings broke (and subsequently trapped when the doors sealed); however, they would also like to get to Akylios first while he is still weak and corrupt him. Regulos is no more an ally to the other dragons than he is the Telarans, as they are rivals in their quest to bring their own flavor of ruin to the people of Telara. That’s a broad summary of what’s going on, and you’ll have to play the event to see more of the details of the story!


Of all the things you’ve written and guided for the world of Telara so far, what remains as your favorite creation and why?

Morgan Lockhart:

I was very happy with how the Defiant cast of characters rounded out. I have a hard time saying which of them is my favorite, because they all have elements to them I really enjoy. The Faceless Man’s dark origins and ambiguous moral code; Asha’s reluctant leadership; Uriel and Kira’s unlikely and often strained relationship; Sylver’s quirky brilliance; Rahn’s deep commitment to his people’s traditions; Orphiel’s mysterious past and even more mysterious future. I’m excited about some of the other characters we’re going to be featuring more in the future as well – Anthousa Mona, the leader of the Kelari, in particular.

Nicholas McDowell:

I really liked defining the various cults that work for the dragons and do their bidding. The cultists act as the proxy for the dragons, they're the foot-soldiers that you end up fighting, and often the mouthpiece for the goals of the dragon. The Abyssal were a lot of fun because you ended up with this ranting bad guys that hid behind really creepy masks. Their bid for personal power above all else was a nice combination of our modern definitions of insanity, and the ancients views where it was caused by the possession of demonic forces. Plus it was a nice challenge making fish terrifying. I like defining the views of the villains since in RPGs many players are protective over the motives of their character. But the villains exist in our playgrounds and we can assign them motivation that the players need to react to. And at some point the player needs to get into combat with a villain, often to get something they greatly desire, so villains are part of the story that most players will pay attention to.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.