Sunday, May 20, 2012

Secret Temple

The Old City of Turev stands on a high hill above the modern habitation, but an ancient Necropolis lies buried underneath. Before the city became a confluence of commerce, a steady trade in eldritch artefacts and esoteric lore fueled the town's economy; even if a relic had not originated in Turev, our sages could often ferret out its origins, purpose, and powers. Intrepid delvers from throughout the world would come to the city to excavate its ruins in hopes of unearthing an exemplar of enduring Khrisaati magic.

One day, more than two centuries past, explorers awakened something best left undisturbed.

When night fell, the Dead of millenia interrupted their long slumber to exact vengeance on an oblivious city. The wordless rage of the Dead Who Walk deluged our streets, bearing away any soul unfortunate enough to be caught in its wrath. Those who survived in body often fell in mind to its terrors. The Old City was so badly ravaged, and its inhabitants so struck with fear, that new dwellings and markets began to spring up at the base of the hill, and thus the New City began. To this day, the Turevi celebrate the Night of the Dead in remembrance and in warning.

Some however, reveled in the power manifest in the Dead Who Walk and commenced to offer obeisance to them. The Cult of the Dead was born, and perversely, thrived. Today, the Cult still exists, meeting in hidden places and conducting bizarre, secret rituals. This map exhibits one such furtive nest secreted beneath a ruined barracks in the Old City. I surmise the original structure dates to Khrisaati times, but I could not say so of a certes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tyumesch's Laboratory

Your world boasts numerous languages, and of the few I have had the good fortune to scrutinize in detail, I find English one of the most challenging and engaging. However, Othic names sometimes prove far more accessible to your Slavic tongues. Tyumesch the Mad possessed just such a cognomen.

Despite ubiquitous divine activity, Tyumesch vehemently maintained that there could be no gods. Indubitably, this belief must have influenced the assignment of the banal but accurate moniker now universally appended to his forename. Tyumesch insisted that given enough breeding stock, time, and virgin sacrifices, he could cross hybrid monsters like chimaerae with any other strain to achieve a unique new species.  (Incidentally, the mad wizard held that such a transformation could take place naturally, given innumerable generations. But being mortal, he decided that it were better to direct events personally.) Now the astute reader may wonder how selection by--ahem--intelligent agency could prove the natuarlistic conjecture, but I remind such an observer that Tyumesch was in fact a few silver short of a gold piece, as the saying goes. More indecorous readers may stumble rather upon the logistical details of the scheme, but presumably such an inquiring mind is further equipped with suitable powers of imagination such that further elaboration becomes unnecessary.

Today's selection constituted a sub-level of a larger subterranean complex, isolated from the rest of the "dungeon" by a few carefully arranged spell traps. The exterior sections, those shaped by men, contained laboratories and nurseries for adolescent abominations. The lower chambers composed a sort of arena, where adult instars of various breeds could be pitted together in mortal struggle for hereditary supremacy. The results proved quite disorderly, I can assure you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Short Adventure

When the village of Lyzansk fell under the shadow of Challim oppression, they dispatched delegates to Turev and Hamlad supplicating aid. Although politically, the town belongs to the Hamladi Empire, it lies far closer to Turev than any of the Imperial cities.

House Marquet, espying opportunity to expand the influence of the City of Night, and its own fortunes, contracted with me to discommode the halflings. (Do not mock. In my world, our halflings--called Challim--epitomize the arts martial. Their wiry strength and razor-edged katana frequently suffice to hew through the legs of foes, just above the knee.)

We arrived in this area from the south, prepared for any eventuality save the one that faced us. The complex was empty. Bare stone walls and floors awaited us in the first two chambers, and when we entered the third, we were almost relieved by the noisome miasma that pervaded the room. The insalutary cloud rendered the obscurant gloom impenetrable. As we descended the gangway, we perceived a portcullis rising along the far wall, but had little moment to comprehend the development before a slavering beast hurtled through the portal to assault our group. At the same instant, Challim marauders burst roiling from the passage behind us in perfect ambuscade!

Challim Outpost

After the combat, in which two of my companions were severely injured and a third slain, we redoubled our course and discovered the hidden door we had formerly overlooked. Within was a diminutive barracks where the ambushers had concealed themselves. Thence, we rooted out the rest of the unwelcome lodgers and returned to Lyansk in triumph. Despite our conquest, the halfings later returned in great numbers and resumed their tenancy, sparking the celebrated Second Challim War.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Subterranean Pond

Soon after acquiring the techniques of Mr. Logos, I determined to experiment with small cards measuring 3 of this realm's inches by 5.  These were printed with a regular square grid in a light shade of blue that does not in fact disappear when transcribed by your extraordinary scribal dweomers.  Lengthy rituals involving the GIMP spell enabled me to achieve the desired effect.

This piece details a section of caverns near the village of Ognya in the demense of Boyar Patra Ogonovich Ustilar.  We were engaged in a running battle with Wampyr nymphs who had absconded with Lords Patra's daughter, Yelena Patrovna.  My companions and I had ambushed the Wampyri by the ford in the upper level, but a vindictive nymph felt it necessary to toss the lady into the river.  I raced to retrace our steps, leapt off the cliff, and hastened to the bridge where I redeemed the saturated noblewoman.  Alas, the girl did not survive the fall over the rushing cataract into the craggy mere.  She arose a Wampyr and we found it necessary to swiftly retire Ustilari lands.

Caverns of Sorrow

Very well,

I must admit some displeasure with the uninspired toponymy of this cavern complex. However, the ogre who claimed these limestone grottoes for his domain (and who consequently exercised naming rights with all the questionable panache of an over-remunerated guildmaster) certainly qualified as one of the more luminous exemplars of his species.

And I thought it better not to mention my distaste for his nomenclature whilst being suspended by my ears over the dank sinkhole in the upper level.

Cavern of Sorrows

The Legacy

While probing the singular magics of this Web of Wide Worlds, I, Manterakus of Turev, discovered Dyson's Dodecahedron, an eldritch repository of Labyrinthine secrets. Inspired and informed by that worthy's most diligent efforts to divulge the mysteries of many underdelvings, I besought to undertake a catalogue of multitudinous dark places personally assayed with the  incidental assistance of comrades-in-arms.

Herein, shall you find an exhaustive epic of enigmatic excavations that seem to breed in the regions adjacent to and including bygone Othic domains. I endeavor to provide insight into the riddles of those forgotten locales, and seek to entertain with poise, wit, and the infrequent humorous anecdote.

Welcome, devotee of donjons drear, and may you always find before you are found!

I hereby grant all comers permission to use my maps for non-commercial, personal endeavors.