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The Lexinby Joseph Setorius from Threshold Magazine issue 5
No. Appearing: 1
Frequency: Very Rare
Activity Cycle: Any
Intelligence: Genius (18+)
Size: S (1’-3’)
Armour Class: 8 Until assuming mien
Hit Dice: d10 per century lived
Movement: As per mien
No. of Attacks: As per mien or weapon
Damage per Attack: As per mien or weapon
Special Attacks: Nil
Special Defenses: See below (Affect Destiny)
Save as: See below
Magic Resistance: Nil
Treasure Type: H,V
XP Value: HD**
Beyond the political borders of men and demi-folk, a hidden mosaic of intricate alliances exists among fantastical beasts. Mysterious though they might be, solitary individuals moving outside the network of civilization are familiar with their existence. Amidst these veiled societies, yet uninvolved in their politics, a race of beings endure on the periphery. Their participation is relegated to documenting historical events, without direct involvement in them. These diminutive creatures, among those aware of their presence, are styled Lexin. Lexin being the correct term for both singular and plural forms.
Sidebar 1: Lexin as Avatars
I realize Aaron Allston was trying to be amusing with Khoronus’ history, and he was, but I assert Khoronus became Immortal at the first spark of life, though he existed in another form before this (WOTI—Book 1: Codex of the Immortals, Pages 25-26). As did Ixion, Odin, Thanatos, Hel, and Valerias. The verdict is still out whether Korotiku was indeed a planar spider! Lexin were originally conceived by Khoronus, as a way for the Sphere of Time to monitor and record activity taking place around the globe. With lexin tomes existing out-of-time, it allows Khoronus to peruse their contents at his leisure, keeping tabs of plots hatched by rival Immortals. This explains why lexin have an instinctual drive to spread themselves round the globe. Intensity of events happening in an area forewarns the Sphere of Time to position a lexin in one of these locations. Geography and the geopolitical state of affairs define the scope of territory a lexin observes, or how many lexin might exist in a vicinity. Though Khoronus originally created lexin as avatars unknowingly tasked with conveying history to the Sphere of Time, in the aftermath of the Great Rain of Fire, Khoronus; strangely enough, forgot all about them. Ssu-Ma the “Father of Written Knowledge” is now their caretaker, maintaining the magical power it takes to sustain them. Of course lexin are unaware of where their instinctual instructions originate. Nor do they understand the draw towards a particular locale. At times, more than one lexin could conceivably be wandering the globe; however, there is no rhyme or reason to which lexin is attached to any given location.
Alluded to in ancient and rare texts, little is understood about lexin behavior. Despite scarcity of evidence, certain details regarding their nature are infrequently reiterated in rare manuscripts. It is believed lexin were originally created by Khoronus as avatars of his power. Wandering Mystara far and wide, lexin restlessly seek to satiate an instinctual spiritual craving. Lexin eventually become attuned to a particular geographical locale, rooting down for the remainder of their lifespan, this communion with the land satisfying their intense metaphysical craving.
Sidebar 2: Lexin Asexuality
If two lexin encounter one another, one may simply assume a sex in order to fulfill mating rituals, yet that lexin may not truly relate with its chosen sex. Therefore after a mated pair separates, either lexin may find it no longer associates with its assumed sexual orientation. In these very rare cases, a lexin reverts to its asexual form, perhaps possessing a procreant quality comparable to species such as starfish. It is more usual for a roaming lexin to return to its asexual form until finding a perch of its own, as a sense of belonging helps most species find their place in the world, how they associate with their neighbors, and form their own identity. However; once a sex is regained, it remains set for life. There is no explanation for these exceptional circumstances; however in a world of magic, much is unexplained. It is possible to explain, lexin breed in the manner of the animalistic mien they have assumed. There is also the slightest possibility a lexin will mate more than once in a lifetime. Once as the traveler, once as the “rooster.” Though no lexin is known to have assumed more than two orientations, many are known to have never taken a sex at all, hence the slow decline of this long-lived species...
In the off-chance they encounter another lexin during their travels, lexin are bound by physical laws and nature to reproduce. After concluding procreation rituals, however, the roaming lexin moves on. Asexual until mating, a lexin’s sex is determined to accommodate its mate. If a wandering lexin stumbles upon an unmated lexin, meaning both are asexual, time and the nature of their relationship will determine sex. It is even possible for both to remain asexual! Once a lexin’s sex has been determined; however, it is set for life. Still every lexin, before breeding or taking a mien, resembles a large hairless rodent, reminiscent of beaver or nutria. Afterwards, lexin maintain this form, yet retain their sexual orientation. Though most lexin encountered are male, female lexin are known to exist.
Sidebar 3: Lexin Young
“After birth, reaching an age where they are able to strike out on their own, lexin start out with a blank tome, given it by the parent raising him.”…
Though incredibly unusual, a few lexin mates remain to help raise their young. An exceptional experience indeed, should one happen upon an entire family of lexin! Lexin are neither predominantly raised by male or female parents, whichever parent having roosted typically raising the young. Lexin develop physically to a height of approximately a kubitt around fifty years, and by roughly a century old achieve their full stature of three feet. Intellectually lexin young mature at a somewhat accelerated rate, reaching an adult mentality around age twelve.
Besides learning the rudiments necessary for any sentient race to survive, lexin are educated on subjects of local interest. Native flora and fauna, regional history, and indigenous dining habits. This naturally teaches lexin which plant and animal species are safe for consumption, which to avoid, as well as how to prepare them. This knowledge is woven into the area’s history, and how the resident societies came about their customs. All this leads lexin to understand what is imperative when recording history! Of course, as is frequently common in most human and demi-human cultures, despite having fully-grown mentally by age twelve, teen aged lexin develop certain bad habits. Pipe smoking among them!
Lexin young have only a hit point or two, and save at minus two, until their “hemi-centennial” anniversary. After reaching kubitt stature; however, they achieve ½ hit die and save at minus one. Gradually a lexin senses the instinctual pull that will eventually lead it out into the world. Initially a lexin of this age scours the surrounding countryside, learning the ways of wilderness and travel. Finally the day will arrive when the progeny is ready to set forth on its own spiritual journey.
As lexin record little if anything about themselves or their personal lives, it is unknown if roosted lexin leave to seek out their young, or journey to exchange information with neighboring lexin, though ultimately returning to resume their epics.
Lexin young lodge with their parent an undisclosed length of time before travelling forth into the world. Whereupon, the parent lexin provides adequate items for their progeny’s upcoming quest. Yet lacking specified length, it is impossible to provide everything essential during a lexin’s journey. Nevertheless, elder lexin provide the most important article necessary for a roosting lexin to begin its chronicles—an empty tome. This blank slate, along with an ampoule of ink and quill of the finest quality, is carefully hidden within a lexin’s belongings. If this volume is lost or destroyed during its voyages, the book will reappear among the lexin’s effects once settled. The same cannot be said of quill and ink, and these items will be first acquired before a lexin nestles within its quarters. Should a wandering lexin be killed or taken captive, kept from completing its spiritual passage1, a similar fate applies as though capturing a rooted lexin. Time is aware of all inconvenient loopholes!
Sidebar 4: Lexin Mien & Stature
Living incredibly long lives, yet remaining in the same location, an accelerated evolutionary process allows lexin physiology to change over time in order to adapt to the changing environment in which it makes its home. As an example, Lexin Sivthn Theevthn [Pronounced (Siv∙Then Thēve∙Thin)—meaning “times past” in ancient Fiaer. The language of the pure Neather people living in the city of Fiaer Giamond. A city laying on the Southern Shores of The Cradle on Brun] has inhabited the Great Waste since it was a Glorious Forest [Faldagorium is the author’s name for the forest which once stood where The Great Waste now lies. It is a combination of the words Falda (meaning forest) and gorium (meaning glorious, or great)]. He therefore has retained the features of a lynx, its coat and coloration as well as almost all physical features, yet since the transformation of the great forest into the Great Waste he has “grown” the legs of a jackrabbit to cover the long distances of the desert. His coat also transforming to one more suitable to warmer climes, yet retaining its pigmentation. This change is a slow manifestation, taking months or possibly even years to complete. Consequently is not unprecedented to find a lexin in an in-between stage of taking its mien. Either from its bare nascent form, or transfiguring itself from one mien into another frame more suitable to its changed environment.
All lexin are around three feet, though all races have some range. It would not be inconceivable to find a lexin anywhere between two and four feet tall. Yet these would probably be the racial extremes. Even taking the form of a creature larger or smaller than its size a lexin would remain somewhere between two and four feet. Accordingly, a lexin taking the form of a mouse could wind up being four feet, while another could assume the form of an elk and stand three feet tall. Customarily a lexin’s height and weight are determined from its parents’ genes, not after its assumed mien, yet as with any race there is a chance for unexplained divergences.
Although diverse in form, certain similarities exist among lexin. All lexin are petite, standing no higher than three feet, taking form and features of small animals inhabiting the ecosystem to which they’ve become attached. Most lexin have different modes of mobility depending on environment and aspects of their mien. Though their method of movement does not always match the physical limitations of the frame they have adapted. A lexin taking the form of a mouse, for instance, might move through the trees with a prehensile tail. However; a lexin’s physique is a real physical body, unlike the shell of a doppelgänger or changeling.
Sidebar 5: Lexin Dwellings
A lexin residence isn't constructed immediately, and many lexin live in quite primitive conditions during their first years in a location. It is only after they are discovered, those wishing their favor offer to construct their homes. Originally fashioned from native materials by indigenous races, later additions are often designed by distant visitors, from quite foreign materials.
Despite stature, given as their homes are constructed by fervent followers, most lexin dwellings are built to larger dimensions, often human or elf sized. Lexin, being clever creatures, craft contraptions scattered about their homes to overcome this obstacle. In addition to ordinary objects of technological design, several features within a lexin’s home may confound present company, a few lexin having lived before the age of Blackmoor.
It is possible nonetheless, for diminutive lexin dwellings to exist. Hidden among the undergrowth of the forest these more primitive styled dwellings could well be the home of youthful lexin. Built to their proportions, a lexin’s library could prove problematic to access, as well as the lexin itself
With near-immortal life spans and a metaphysical attachment to the land, in addition to principle duties as historians, it is no wonder a lexin’s domicile is a place of extraordinary comfort. Once connecting to a place, lexin seek sites bearing some defensive merit, a presentiment ability able to reveal positions of some prominence. Conceivably, it could consist of a gigantic stump striking their fancy, or massive sarsen outcropping. Whatever geographical feature is chosen, lexin gather the barest necessities for habitation and roost. Thus begins an unbiased account of regional history. Eventually the bulk of its residence is crafted by individuals or groups looking for lexin favour2. Of course, destiny is beyond the province of lexin, but this needn’t be disclosed to concerned parties. Most lexin dwellings are initially constructed with native materials. Yet ultimately, lexin accommodations take on a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Embroidered cushions and silken pillows embellish ornately carved settees, while Ochalea tea cups decorate mahogany lacquered end tables. Nonetheless, central to every lexin’s residence are its historical archives and utilitarian drafting table, behind which sits an elevated armchair of exceptional luxuriance, for indeed lexin spend most hours here. Besides missing the comforts of home, no ill-effects befall lexin leaving their dominion, yet they bear a powerful desire to return. Any mortal forcibly removing a lexin from its domicile suffers the same fate as though slaying it, until escorting or allowing the lexin to return home.
A lexin’s modest library, on local history of course, is an intriguing compilation to behold. Shelves crowded with volumes of elaborately illuminated parchment line walls of its home. Many lexin covet unique local inks, to give their texts another level of distinction, tapping native populations for the latest dyes and pigments. Although lexin take pride in their creations, they are unburdened by pressures of achievement. Lexin tomes may be destroyed, but like artifacts, require a specific series of actions to annihilate them. Lexin tomes destroyed without the proper procedures taking place merely reappear upon a lexin’s shelves after unspecified time elapses, usually rematerializing once needed. Of course a lexin and its tomes may be destroyed by catastrophes altering the entire realm it inhabits. An obliterated lexin tome may be read only by means of a read magic/wish spell combination.
Sidebar 6: Lexin Tomes
Although lexin tomes record linear history, the books exist out of time. In order to destroy a volume, it must be taken to the very location where the chronicle began. In this way, the book becomes “pinned”, or fixed to its appropriate place in time, causing it to exist as a real object in the Prime Plane. If the tome in question starts by describing the Golden Age of Josta, then an example of how that tome might be destroyed could thus read:
“The tenth book of the 3rd Millennia BC chronicling the Golden Age of Josta must be taken to a bookstand resting in the precise center of the Grande Reading Room of the Basilican Library, and there soaked in the sap of the rare Jarna Tree. After which, a garland of Desert Lupine must be placed upon the volume and set aflame with magical fire.”
Oddly, and inexplicably, an explanation providing means to destroy a book often lays at the very location where the book must be taken. Unlike lesser or greater artifacts; however, precise objects (such as a specific weapon) are not required, with all components spelling the book’s demise being found within the lexin’s dominion. Concerning the bookstand, generally no particular lectern will be mentioned by name. Therefore, any podium or like object would suffice, so long as it is placed in the center of the Grande Reading Room. Assuming the reading room is destroyed, only the location need be ascertained. The conceptual space of the library itself is not necessary in order to complete the task. If all else fails, a divination or wish spell could certainly reveal the means!
Lexin tomes “reappear” because lexin are able to mentally or instinctually “reach” for them in a non-linear space, out of the time-space continuum. If a lexin tome is burned, disintegrated, or otherwise destroyed without adhering to the proper procedures, the book is transported to this timeless dimension. The opening volume of a lexin’s accounts, denoting the book given by its parent prior to departing on its spiritual journey, rematerializes at the location where the lexin has roosted, and indeed this is the place an initial manuscript must be destroyed. Of course, ironically, in order to complete this task, the lexin itself must be eliminated. Woe toward those attempting such a task!
Despite near-immortality, lexin suffer all disadvantages being a carbon-based lifeform. Omnivorous, lexin typically become accustomed to the ethnic food and drink of their indigenous neighbors. Few lexin are discontent with local fare; nevertheless, many lexin develop a yen for exotic cuisine. Though not pertinent to a lexin’s diet, they have predilection towards tea, often going to ridiculous lengths to obtain it! Many lexin are prone to enjoy pipe smoking as well, a soothing habit to accompany the daily routine of inscription.
Characteristic of their race, or perhaps their origins, all lexin are bestowed with incredible sight and recollection. Though similar to eidetic memory, their ability to recall past events, down to the most precise details, stems from an instinctual aptitude, not a genetic anomaly. The essence of lexin sagas narrate significant episodes seeming to play into the greater scheme of history, not what the emperor had for breakfast! A lexin’s small stature and superlative eyesight, besides having an ability to turn invisible at will, allow them to function covertly. Unnoticed and overlooked amid the rush of events, lexin dedicate themselves to the arduous task of chronicling history, while remaining apart from it.
Lexin do not fear fate, or if they will fail to fulfill the task of recording history. As a result a lexin’s subconscious has few fears to feed off. Without these aspirations of accomplishment to be destroyed during unconscious hours of the day, lexin have no nightmares. Indeed their dreams are merely actual events taking place while they sleep.
Upon waking, lexin record these tales along with other notable events occurring that day. A lexin’s view of the land to which it is attached is similar to scrying, yet with unspecified time delay. Lexin cannot describe events currently happening, nor events having immediately taken place3. That being said, lexin have excellent facility for predicting what events may transpire from affairs recorded in their tomes. Thus an individual looking at weather patterns over the next few years, or perhaps where a particular Urduk tribe might be at any given time, more specifically what events might befall them, they’re in luck. A lexin; however, cannot predict who might win the lists at The Golden Dagger Tournament, held in the County of Garette.
Sidebar 7: Lexin Truesight
“Lexin ability to see the true nature of things allows them to see all mortal, or immortal beings on the prime plane, for what they are.” If a lexin were to observe Dolores Hillsbury, it would at once know she was dragon. Yet this ability does not extend to knowledge a lexin might not have being rooted/attached to a particular planet. They would recognize all forms of life in their true form, yet might not recognize what creature they are observing. Especially those from off-world locations. Though for Mystaran Lexin, creatures from Mystara’s moons would be within their realm of comprehension. Like any species; however, familiarity breeds understanding. Moreover, lexin do not have the ability to know or understand knowledge privy to the Immortals. A lexin does not understand the nature of Blackballs, Draeden, and Old Ones. They are as mystifying to it as they would be to any mortal creature. Perhaps if a Lexin were to view an Outer Being the experience might drive the Lexin mad!
If a Lexin were used in a White Wolf campaign, a lexin would observe all entities in their truest forms—vampires, werewolves, changelings and the like—even a True Fey would be observed for what is was…even if the lexin could not fully comprehend what it was observing!
Truesight is not Second sight! Though a lexin’s truesight works like a fairies extrasensory perception, they have no prophetic visions of future events that might take place. Nor is their ability a “intuition involving time”, but an instinctual aptitude held being creatures of time. This perception does extend into the ultraviolet, and includes use of infravision, but all of these abilities work within the linear timeframe of the universe. The only presentiment ability lexin possess is the ability to discern a suitable location for habitation.
Lexin have the gift of truesight, a paramount ability when recording history’s proceedings. Lexin ability to see the true nature of things allows them to view all mortal, and immortal beings on the prime plane for what they are. Additionally, lexin are able to identify all shapeshifters’ true form. This ability also extends to spells capable of producing similar effects, including invisibility. Lexin are immune to all forms of sleep and charm, and illusionary effects seeking to change observed reality. They are further immune from psionic abilities and scrying of any kind. Factual record occurs outside the realm of observable intervention! Unfortunately, Lexin haven’t any defensive mechanism to ward off martial magics. Yet their best defense may lay in the indirect facility to shape the destiny of entities wishing them harm.
Sidebar 8: Lexin Solitary Nature (And how they may be encountered)
Just because lexin are solitary, does not mean they are reclusive. Like a lion amongst the herds of the savannah, or an eccentric mage lurking among the populace, lexin coexist amidst their contemporaries. They remain independent, yet not detached and isolated.
It is important to note, though most all lexin live in wilderness areas surrounding the nations or localities they are recording, some lexin live right in the midst of it all. One of the oldest, or perhaps the oldest living lexin, resides in Giamond Diep, the Great Library in the shining city of Fiaer Giamond, resting upon the Southern Shores of the Cradle on the continent of Brun. This doesn’t; however advocate the acquaintance of their existence. In a world filled with unusual anthropomorphic species, it is easy to overlook the unexplained. A lexin living on the Savage Coast could just as well be mistaken for a stunted or diminutive Mugumba Mud-Dweller! (The Mugumba Mud-Dweller is described in Champions of Mystara: Explorer’s Manual by Ann Dupuis, Page 57).
Lexin were more common and well known throughout the world in ancient times, especially before the Rain of Fire. Yet after the catastrophe many fell in the fires that followed. Because numerous populaces believed lexin were prophets of future events, many in fact blamed them partially for the Rain of Fire! Countless lexin were sought out and destroyed. Afterwards general populaces ceased to have knowledge about lexin, only the learned races and literate humans remained aware of their presence. As time progressed, less and less was transcribed concerning lexin. Today probably less than two thousand lexin remain, and knowledge of them is scarce. Besides spoken of in musty tomes, in reference to holding knowledge of Immortals and artifacts long gone missing, knowledge of lexin could be acquired by several means.
The Lighthouse of the Hollow World, not only has many documents describing their presence, but in fact has at least one lexin known to reside there. Unfortunately few know of The Lighthouse to begin with. Easier means available in a campaign might be provided through a local scholar or hermit considered foolish by the local inhabitants, and even the characters, until of course a lexin is discovered. Of course the easiest method is to have a party stumble upon one, not realizing what they have encountered. Slowly revealing more of its nature as time goes on…
Carefully concealed from the surrounding world, it is unusual for lexin to entertain guests, yet wizards and patriarchs often travel great distances seeking lexin knowledge or advice. Perhaps inquiring after obscure magical components or inimitable artifacts, even idiosyncrasies of individual Immortals. Rulers and crusaders desire lexin favor on similar grounds, hopeful lexin blessings will grant triumphant conclusions. Mysterious creatures known as Adaptors4 travel and observe civilization throughout the planes, having their own network of accumulated knowledge, and occasionally call upon lexin to expand this knowledge base. Nonetheless, they are aware any wisdom gleaned from lexin accounts must be matched quid pro quo.
Anyone hoping to uncover a lexin, accessing the vast knowledge contained within their archives is liable to be disappointed. When opened, a lexin’s tome is merely a blank slate. Only upon offer of tribute and protection do words appear upon the pages. Yet this is the instance when most potentates gaze an objectionable past or impending outcome of their present efforts, spelling doom for many a lexin. Consequently, despite promises of tribute, it remains rare for a lexin to reveal the ancient texts of its memory!
Those pursuing harm upon lexin should well heed history. A precedent passed down from antiquity, hints at the punishment for harming a lexin or its scrivenings. In times past, rulers holding disinclination towards a lexin’s account of regional history, and endeavoring to revise historical description to a version more to their liking, suffered a fate more than fatal. The rulers not merely absolutely destroyed by their adversaries; but their kingdoms, monuments, and people met a common end. Wholly and entirely erased and eradicated from the memory of Mystara as it were5…
After the Rain of Fire, one crusade to exterminate a Lexin is known to have taken place6. Transpiring in exceedingly unsuccessful fashion for the crusaders. It is also said a Lexin once occupied the region now known as the Plain of Skulls near the Great Hollow7. Whether stemming from an established principle of the universe, or wrath of the Hierarch of Time remains unclear. Yet such is the fortune of those willing to hazard a lexin!
Important aspects for creating a lexin: Sex, mien, mobility, domicile, dietary peculiarities, unusual habits, location, age, magical items, rare or unique possessions, appearance, personality.
It should be noted, not all lexin mate. Many wander the earth in solitude, discovering their idyllic setting without ever encountering another lexin. Due to their passivity and solitary nature, the lexin race has been in constant decline since the first days of Evergrun. Lexin still take a mien, and develop their own mobility, but remain asexual until mated.
It should be obvious lexin acquire foreign tastes and possessions from foreigners coming to seek their knowledge. How they came to enjoy tea or pipe smoking; however, is anyone’s guess! If lexin leave home, whether by force or to attain desired or needed supplies, they dream of events missed while away upon their return. Yet in most instances these items are gained through charity of local inhabitants. Lexin do not take on apprentices, but it is conceivable a creature might cohabitate with lexin for various reasons. The most plausible being knowledge contained within its library. This lends excellent motive for some being to begin an adventuring career, as the lexin will assuredly send this colleague on missions for provisions.
Although lexin are truly neutral, this does not preclude them from saving their home or friends from disaster, the same actions any neutral Druid would take to ensure protection of their domain. In fact, Druids establishing a woodland home, and meditating the required four months, often become aware of lexin within their territory. Lexin create variances within a forests life force allowing Druids, Woodland Creatures, and Fair Folk to ascertain their presence. Lexin do make friends among their natural and magical woodland friends, just as any creature would; however, they recuse themselves from providing opinions or becoming involved in local politics!
Lexin provide an excellent plot hook, conveying knowledge otherwise impossible to obtain, or the final mystery of an epic quest. Perhaps being the facilitator of the final stage of an heroic journey, providing the hidden location of sites to petition an Immortal, or specific location of a rare magical component or unique magical beast. Used as a more mundane aspect, a lexin is the strangely anthropomorphic inhabitant of an ecosystem that is far more than it appears.
Lexin have one HD per century lived. Unfortunately most lexin have inadequate armour class to protect them. Lexin may wear any manner of armour, yet the greatest obstacle may simply lay in acquiring a set modeled toward someone of such small stature and unique form. Though lexin are immune to charms, a hold person spell will affect them, yet the duration is limited to ½ normal; ¼ with a save vs. spells. For every five hundred years lived, lexin save as an elf of the appropriate tier. Hence a mature lexin, a century old, saves as a first level elf. A six hundred year old lexin saves as a fourth level elf, and lexin aged sixteen hundred years save as tenth level elves. There is; however, one additional tier for lexin living beyond two thousand years! At this level lexin only fail saves, minus any modifiers, on a natural one.
Some may think a lexin’s HD excessive. Yet putting it into perspective, one is not merely destroying the flagship of the royal navy, or a gargantuan troll, but the entire history of a region…and that takes time!
Characters or creatures killed or dying fifty years after slaying a lexin will be erased from memory upon funeral proceedings. If a particular Immortal is actually watching over a lexin within a geographical location of interest, and the lexin is killed by a character, the Immortal will refuse to arrive or “answer” that character’s petition. As well as initiating one Immortal plot to destroy the character!
Of course when creating the domicile, dietary peculiarities, unusual habits, location, age, magical items, possessions, appearance, and personality of lexin; imagination might be the only obstacle! Appearance is meant to describe sartorial styles and accoutrements worn by lexin, rather than its physical being, which should already be covered in describing its mien. Having lived eons, many lexin wear outdated apparel of unusual design, or possess ordinary objects of technological design absent from the present world!
A final note: It is thought lexin “arrived” on Mystara sometime briefly before elves, as the elves came into possession of a lexin tome describing these events. Whether the original of this tome, or its validity, is still in existence is a source of much heated debate amongst scholars.
Hopefully this lexin entry in Threshold will provide plenty of ideas on where one might exist! Most importantly, with some inspiration it may add an interesting element to your game.
Further Ecology of the Lexin, and Other Questions
Lexin & Their Forest Neighbors
Though lexin have almost no direct involvement with their woodland neighbors’ political affairs, it is important to relate their passing interactions with these denizens. In general lexin live amongst their woodland friends yet seldom interrelate with them. Nevertheless, from time to time lexin form lasting friendships with woodland residents, often lasting the lifetime of the forest creature. Here are some of the particularities and anomalies between lexin and their woodland cohabitants.
Dryads occasionally reside temporarily with lexin, in order to learn the nature and history of a forest before permanently setting down roots8. The charms of dryad; however, are lost on lexin, as is the impetuous music of fauns. Given a lively enough tune, a lexin might draw on its pipe a little quicker, possibly write faster, but history has its own impulses…most of them quite unnatural! In fact, given the impulsiveness of fauns, it is improbable one would enter a lexin’s sagas9. Of all woodland creatures and fairies only shargugh are brash enough to steal from lexin, but are cautious never to pilfer objects of historical value. Wood Imps conversely, completely shun the immediate environs of lexin abodes. In addition to enjoying their homebrew, treants are a valuable source of information for lexin, imparting their knowledge of times past before a lexin became attached to a particular forest. Given their impulsive nature, centaurs have little time for either, finding treants and lexin too laborious to tolerate. Though given a common threat…
Though lexin live long lives, fairy presence on Mystara has been much longer. Lexin are unaware the Little People once existed as something much different than what they are today. Good People, not being true Immortals and existing on the Prime Plane; however, are always visible to lexin. Lexin are also immune to the curses of Fair Folk, yet there has never been need to sanction one. Given lexin intelligence and wisdom, astute sidhe royalty may seek lexin for their advice, but prudent gentry never ask lexin political opinions concerning woodland society10. Brownies are known to occasionally reside with lexin, but given their opposite schedules seldom interact. Lexin being fairly finicky eaters, food and drink left out is always considered satisfactory, and the household chores a brownie completes greatly helps a lexin concentrate on its transcription. As most lexin do not sew, it is remarkable should a brownie ever leave a lexin’s abode11. Most likely brownies become attached to a lexin household in a manner similar to a lexin rooting in a particular place. Given the nearly endless life of lexin is it more likely a brownie would tire of its mortal form before finding reason to leave. Though given the introverted nature of both species their cohabitation makes for an agreeable symbiotic relationship. Redcaps on the other hand are somewhat repelled by lexin residences. As lexin have no need of treasure, they pose no impairment on a leprechaun’s existence. Thus, leprechauns are known to manufacture finely crafted magical tomes as thanks for a lexin’s presence, which somehow repels the undead12. Naturally these tomes remain blank until lexin scrawl history’s course upon the sheets. The fantastic abilities of pooka are most ineffectual in the presence of lexin. Lexin being creatures of time, pooka ability to warp time or age objects is wholly nullified in lexin presence13. Moreover nightmares are irrelevant concerning lexin. Despite these debunks, lexin are most likely to be mistaken for pooka among all fairies and woodland races, for indeed pooka are able to assume many anthropomorphic shapes. Only a pooka’s greater stature might set them apart from lexin. Yet their appearance is the only similarity they share. Lexin cannot shapeshift, and pooka do not possess true sight. Nor do they have the aptitude for recording history, just as a lexin would be unlikely to participate in mischievous adventures. If there is truly one species with a similar rational function it is the hsiao, and their similarities and differences with lexin are described below.
Lexin & Hsiao
Having related focusses, some may wonder at the similarities and differences between these analogous species. Many similarities do exist between the two species. Both lexin and hsiao mate seldom, or but once in a lifetime, though this urge strikes hsiao much later in life. Though long lived, both are mortal, and must seek sustenance. Both seldom entertain guests, though hsiao are probably more likely to do so, after all, hsiao are known to most races, lexin are not! Both have trouble obtaining armour, yet lexin have an easier time of this being anthropomorphic. They mutually loath violence, and equally prefer to avoid contact with younger races, choosing to live in peaceful wilderness areas far afield from civilization. Yet the similarities end there, and many differences exist to illustrate the distinctions of these two species.
Lexin are, for the most part, anthropomorphic, while hsiao are actual avians. Hsiao participate in local economies, exchanging spell-casting for services, while lexin rely on the abundance of the forest and the generosity of its denizens. It is said Hsiao uphold collaborative connections with most non-chaotic woodland races. Cooperative relationships are maintained with lexin as well, yet often conflicting philosophical differences create friction between these two species. While hsiao are the ultimate warrior-priests, living Spartan lives of study, contemplation and prayer; lexin prefer comfortable accommodations, and relaxing recreations. Aside from documenting history, lexin enjoy cuisine and smoking, gathering new recipes for both; in contrast hsiao devote themselves as passionate crusaders for the cause of law. Hsiao study to divine the secrets of the multiverse’s hidden order, whereas lexin just don’t give a hoot.
Though most interactions are cordial and productive, hsiao just cannot comprehend the noninterventionist metaphysical rationale of most lexin. This occasionally leads to courteous attempts at conversion, though a few notable occurrences are known when a lexin extricated a hsiao from his habitation with a standing instruction never to return! One can only tolerate clergy at the door in controlled doses.
For the most part; however, these two species find common ground among intellectual pursuits. Hsiao’s gathering and recording of knowledge, is of intense interest to lexin, as are a lexin’s historical accounts to hsiao. Of course, the rare dissident neutral hsiao would find a companion of simpatico temperament in lexin. Even chaotic hsiao are tolerated, assuming they still possess the desire and value they once attached to knowledge. Residing in the forests and woods of the world, both maintain relationships with local druids, coming to aid these defenders of the forest14. Together these races pursue enlightenment through knowledge, even if the conclusions lead them down different paths.
On a side note…some opinions concerning hsiao. Hsiao colonies are still led by the eldest of a mated pair, despite references to the contrary. The urge to mate every fifty to one hundred years still produces one to four eggs, not a single golden one. It is dubious any Immortal would stoop to consorting with mortals, no matter their intelligence and wisdom. This would seem to disregard the credo of “Direct Action Against Mortals is Forbidden.”15 Though no age is listed in any hsiao entry, four to six hundred years seems plausible for a hsiao’s life expectancy, yet perhaps a millennia is more appropriate?16
Lexin & the Undead
The Sphere of Time encompasses change. As time moves forward; or perhaps better said, as events take place on the Prime Material Plane; change happens. Lexin are creatures of time, in contrast to creatures of life and matter, and they were fashioned to withstand it; however, even lexin change. Yet not all change is chaotic. The, some would say, lawful nature of the order in the universe progresses along predictable lines, as do the governments of nations and civilized lands; offset by the chaotic occurrences of irrational sentient behavior, and the natural world. What random chance will cause the “stupid brutality of crowds” or the forces of nature to act?17 A volcano erupts, floods or insect plagues devastate the land, extremist philosophies overtake the populace, natural catastrophes and foreign armies lay waste to civilizations. Sometimes even the Immortals are perplexed by the seeming randomness of the cosmos. Yet all events bring change, which perchance lies within the scope of Time. Many of these events also bring death and suffering, which lies within the province of “Entropy.”18 In fact the process of change might just be one area of philosophy where Time and Entropy “agree.” Then again, maybe not.
For the undead, creatures of that Sphere, are impervious from the effects of time. Their motives, assuming they could be said to have any, are not harried by the progress of time and the change it brings. They haunt areas undeterred by natural progression. Lexin abhor the undead because of their senseless unending nonexistence. Despite lexin divergences from life and matter, undead still present significant problems for lexin. Primarily the undead’s absence of existing in living memory, which discourages most living beings from eliminating a lexin. Having a metaphysical attachment to the land, lexin will generally not root themselves to an area already haunted by undead, given their lack of protective abilities towards them, as well as the moribund nature the undead instill in an area.
However; if a lexin first establishes itself in an area, undead are equally repulsed by lexin presence. History being a living thing, weaving itself into the lives and events of the lands denizens, undead are repulsed by this outpouring of recorded life. Lexin dwellings therefore, act as a repellent to those forms of undead and compelled to haunt a location. For this reason druids, woodland creatures, and Fair Folk feel fortunate to have a lexin settle within their woods. It is not uncommon for a Druid and Lexin to work together to oppose an undead threat!
Lesser mindless undead (skeletons, zombies, and ghouls)19, do not haunt areas and therefore are not repelled by this effect, but are more easily dealt with than more powerful forms of undead. Wights, wraiths, and spectres on the other hand are not powerful enough to repel this turning effect, and must remain twenty-four miles from a lexin dwelling. Phantoms and haunts20 may save versus spells at -4 to enter the territory of a lexin, and at -2 at twelve miles.21 Yet the chance to further approach at six and three miles leads respectively to a save at +2 and +4. Once overcoming these obstacles, they may advance unhindered. Liches, nosferatu, and vampires cannot really be said to haunt a location, having physical form, nonetheless must save with twice the chance of success of phantoms and haunts to progress towards lexin homes.22 True undead dragons, beholders,23 and other special forms of undead may approach as per liches, yet all undead constructs are destroyed upon entering lexin territory.24
Nightshades are among the most feared of all undead confronting lexin. As they seek to spread death rather than imbue an area or location with malevolence, they are completely unaffected by lexin life force barriers. Spirits, being travelers, also share an immunity from lexin barricades, though due to their powerless state during daylight hours may only approach lexin abodes from dusk ‘til dawn. Mummies, despite being lesser undead, may evade lexin life wards if seeking trespassers of once guarded tombs, yet after eliminating the intruders are induced to leave. Lexin greatly fear the rotting disease of mummies, for aside from a wish, no healing (magical or otherwise) seems to arrest the disease. Yet instead of affecting a lexin’s ability to heal, it ostensibly erodes a lexin’s memory, eventually leaving it in a vegetated state until wished away. Yet during this comatose period a lexin has no memory of events that transpired. Perhaps amnesia25 being the cause of the only apprehension a lexin might experience.
Regardless of certain weaknesses, this barrier against the undead makes lexin a boon to any ecology. Moreover, in order to permanently reside in any lexin dwelling, undead must destroy the heart of this welling of recorded life…a lexin’s library. In order to accomplish this, each tome must be destroyed according to its instructions.26
It should be further noted, lexin cannot be brought back from the dead. Once history has been written it cannot be unwritten!27 This is unfortunate for those accidentally dispatching a lexin, and striving to rectify the error. Additionally; history being a living thing, lexin cannot be made into undead. Lexin dread death just as any living creature would; death and what transpires in the afterlife residing within the realm of the unknown; thankfully, lexin at least do not fear unending continuation in an undead state.
Lexin, Druids, and Foresters
As stated in the previous article, Druids establishing a woodland home and meditating the required four months, often become aware of lexin within their territory, through lexin creating variances within a forests life force.28 As previously mentioned, it is not uncommon for a Druid and Lexin to work together to oppose a threat! Their similar alignments making them likely allies. Often both petitioning actaeon heroes to join the fray! If catastrophe threatens their home and friends, lexin will work to ensure preservation of the forest. Lexin are not resigned to just suffer their fate! However; they understand the transitory and cyclical nature of the universe, accepting the aftermath of inevitable tragedy. Laying in a place of prominence a lexin residence may serve well as a rallying point for forest folk.
At this time (1000 AC) the Foresters’ Guild is unaware of lexin presence on Mystara, and no lexin currently exists within the Known World.[?] Still this may soon change…
1 This refers to a lexin’s spiritual journey, not its future role as a historian.
2 Many lexin live in quite primitive conditions during their first years in a location. It is only after they are discovered those wishing their favor offer to construct their homes.
3 The time delay associated with Lexin scrying ability, exists in order that events pass beyond present intervention, thus becoming history—“concluded” and “affected” by time—and preserved as such by Lexin.
5 Yet Lexin may have recorded history of facts now lost to anyone else, like in the case of Nithia, which memory was erased in the outer world by the Immortals (as explained in Gaz2, the Emirates of Ylauruam, The Hollow World boxed set and HWR2 Kingdom of Nithia). Lexin and their tomes perhaps are the only source left about ancient Nithian history on the outer world! Yet the Spell of Oblivion may have affected lexin as well, depending on DM’s decision.
6 Some may wonder how it remains known a campaign took place to destroy a lexin after the lexin perished, as these men and their entourage were surely removed from collective memory. Populaces are aware the crusade took place because another lexin recorded the events! The crusade crossed this lexin’s dominion, thankfully unaware of its existence!
8 Sorry about the pun!
9 Author is unaware of any legendary Satyrs. Does one exist?
10 Lexin are unable to provide complex opinions because of their unbiased nature. They have no estimation as whether something might turn out good or bad, because in the long run, the nature of the universe balances all. The wise, perhaps, do not seek outcomes of the future, because to do so would possibly tempt fate to change them!
11 See PC1 by Jon Nephew for the particularities of Brownies and Redcaps.
12 Explained in the section Lexin and the Undead.
13 This is due to lexin truesight ability, their nature as creatures of time, and this from the original lexin entry: “This ability also extends to spells capable of producing similar effects.” Including “illusionary effects seeking to change observed reality.” Though the nature of time, or the spells ability to alter it may not be considered “illusionary,” our observation of it is certainly subjective! This is further explained in the Truesight sidebar.
14 Explained in the section Lexin, Druids, and Foresters.
15 WOTI—Book 1: Codex of the Immortals, Page 5 Column 2.
16 See PC1 by Jon Nephew concerning the nature of Hsiao.
17 Quoted passage taken from final paragraph of Chapter 7, Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.
18 The author postulates that Entropy has always been a poor name for this sphere.
19 Includes these undead creatures: elder ghouls, topis, and lesser wyrds.
20 Includes these undead & enchanted creatures: lesser banshee, darkhood (rorphyr), ghostly horde, and greater wyrds.
21 A lexin territory refers to the twenty four mile (thirty six kilometer) hex in which the lexin’s home appears.
22 Correspondingly: -8 at 24miles, -4 at 12miles, +1 at six miles, +2 at three miles topi
23 Though most forms of undead dragons and beholders are constructs or spirits inhabiting them, true undead dragons and beholders are rumored to exist. Brought into being either by powerful liches, clerics, or necromancers.
24 This is supposedly because constructs are in effect magical illusions of a sort. This is also why supernatural/enchanted beings haunting an area are repulsed by lexin presence.
25 I forgot what I was going to put here…but seriously, another wish could conceivably restore this loss of memory.
26 Explained in Lexin Tomes sidebar.
27 Perhaps only a wish could alter this outcome.
28 See also Note 1: Lexin Attachment to the Land