From ‘neath the Loam

depths-of-DavokarDavokar is one of those places where anything becomes possible because it’s like the worst sort of Magic Wood or Faerie Glen you could care to think of. You can likely raid a book of fairytales and get something viable from it without much effort – or, as I tend to do, to make a parallel with radiation, you might try something from the modern world and give it a twist.

The recent output from Järnringen, covering The Throne of Thorns and beyond, also holds some interesting ideas. You should fear the possibilities because if you create a treasure trove, for example, that turns out to favour the characters too much, just sink it back into the earth or have the forest overwhelm it.

Hook

Treasure-seekers return from a trip into Bright Davokar with a story of new ruins two days journey to the north-east. Only half of the ‘seekers have returned. The other disappeared. The ruin offered virgin territory, apparently freshly risen from ‘neath the loam.

Patrons

1. Ordo Magica wishes to mount an expedition immediately, as two of those who did not return were students of the order. Practitioners protect their own, or at least want a solid explanation as why they would not return from a simple trip into the Bright.
2. The Church militant – the Templars – plan to travel to the site as one of the ‘seekers came back with a piece of treasure, gleaming and lustrous, bearing the symbol of the Sun. If a new Sun Temple has been uncovered, the Church must set the flag.
3. As treasure-seekers, greed drives curiosity without recourse to any other motivation.
4. Mayor Nightpitch seeks willing and discreet assistance in securing the new site in the name of Thistle Hold, particularly given the rumours he has heard about the Church mobilising to take it. He speaks somewhat freely about his reasons because he plans to either blackmail them or (more likely) do away with them upon their return.

Rumours

1. Members of the Ordo Magica who accompanied the treasure hunt turned into ravening monsters because the instruments they carried didn’t detect the danger of the place. Old Eldus says someone from the Church tampered with the equipment.
2. The members of the Ordo who didn’t return found their freedom. Did you see the morsels of the gold that the so-called survivors came back with? Well, they came back with that because they escaped with it – fearing their lives at the hands of the damned greedy magicians.
3. If you had this Kefle branch you could find your way into the ruin without following the trail. See, the Kefle branch saps turns red like blood when close to gold, so you can get in for the treasure direct by digging down from directly above it ‘stead of going through the hard way.
4. The goblins don’t seem much pleased with the recent news about the treasure. Something to do with ancient rights or some such, though given they don’t live longer than a song bird I don’t see how they can know ancient from their scrawny elbows.

And where attraction arose,
the wild thrived and multiplied …

The Site

The uncovered site has a strong aura of Wyrhta, a pure sliver of Creation. Those who travelled became ‘exposed’ from their moment of their arrival. Those untouched by corruption or the knowledge of magic didn’t really feel any different, but the members of the Ordo Magica found themselves feeling renewed, as if washed clean. They had something close to an epiphany, a revelation of the sordid nature of their purpose and the need to embrace the power of the site.

The location has the reverse effects of a corrupted site and seems to cleanse the soul. Anyone spending at least 24-hours at the location will have one point of permanent Corruption removed. Anyone else will simply feel refreshed and clean, like they’ve been through a rejuvnating spa treatment for the body, mind and soul.

After 24-hours, anyone who remains needs to make a [Resolute<–current temporary or permanent Corruption — whichever is greater] test. If they had Corruption and have benefited from the ‘treatment’ the test rolls with Disadvantage – the individual feels the pull, the draw. For them the place feels like paradise.

Alas, that paradise is not eternal and 36-hours after the characters arrive onsite they ground will start to quake and stones will tumble. The sensation will not fade and anyone forced to leave will fight tooth and claw to stay. The Ordo Magica at the site used their magic to force their comrades away.

Why would the other have wanted to leave? Well, that would be down to The Iron Pact. The Winter Elves foretold the dungenesis of the site and they have knowledge that it will subside, though they cannot pin it down to a specific point in time. They have issued Summer Elves to secure the site and prevent entry.

Anyone coming to the location will have a meeting with the Elves unless particularly circumspect in their approach. Oddly, the Kefle branch does do what the old man says and will take the party to a ‘back door’ that avoids direct contact immediately.

Cause

What’s the cause of the powers at the site?

1. An ancient shrine to Wyrhta as the all-mother of creation. The shrine has long been destroyed but elements, fragments of it, have been pushed up through the earth along with the other ruins and permeate the site with her presence and power. The collapse of the site will take the shards back beneath the ground – but just a splinter would be worth a pretty penny and any of a dozen would pay a handsome price (or kill without question) to secure it.
2. The burial place of a proto-Elven being, that might well have walked the lands in times truly ancient in the shadow of Wyrhta. The Winter Elves sensed her return and have sent the Summer Elves to not only protect the site but also seek out any remains. The presence of the Elves around the boundaries will actually be a bit patchy and some Discreet tests or good planning might make it possible to get close without conflict. It will be clear that the Elves are searching for something.
3. A war engine intended to fight the Symbaroum Empire, possibly with a connection to the Ogres or the Trolls. The goblins near Thistle Hold have had terrible nightmares since the ‘thing’ rose out of the ground and they fear that it might be something like a stopper holding back a genie. Trouble is whatever the stopper holds won’t be granting any wishes because the ancestors never did care for the Symbaroum. Characters might chance a glimpse they’re being followed, or a goblin guide might offer to take them to the site – and then lead them astray.

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