Wizards are often a cagey and independant lot, concerned with their own experiments and goals. It is rare, but sometimes these learned men and women take up less personal goals in favor of another cause, another calling. So it was when two factions of wizards squared off against one another, split along national lines, each supporting a claimant to the Throne of Leng, what was once a prosperous and vital kingdom.
The war that followed was a bitter one, as swords were crossed, and thousands of lives were lost. Blades were bared in the dark, and the elite found their graves in poisoned goblets, and tainted meat. It was a terrible time, and the magi were roused to act.
Spells were cast, but the encounter quickly turned into a stalemate. There was not a spell that one side could formulate that the other could not dispell, no summoned beast that the others could not banish. The stalemate was ended, but the records do not tell who cast the terrible spell, but history remembers that none survived that cataclysmic event.
One faction created an essence vortex, a storm of unrefined magical power. The vortex grew as was planned, draining the power from ambient stores, tapping into the arterial flows of the great leys lines of the region. Very quickly, the vortex was of a magnitude that was impossible for a single mage to banish, or dispell. The vortex grew, wrapping itself in clouds of darkness, lashing at the ground with howling winds, and hailstorms of pea and gravel sized hail. Attempts to dispell the vortex drew it down on the mages, the storm devoured them, drawing first their ability to cast magic from them, followed by their lifeforce.
Whomever the winners were, their celebration was shortlived. The storm was powerful, and was beyond their capacity to control, let alone disperse. It had taken on a will of its own and would not be undone. Efforts to eliminate it were thwarted in the manner of their enemies, and the mages who raised the dark storm were also drawn into it, trapped within its monsoon winds and rain.
Shrouded in perpetual darkness, the crops of the kingdom failed, half destroyed by wind, and drowned by the heavy downpours of rain that struck every two to five days. Mages fled from the area, those who sought to use magic to escape were never seen again, their essential forms stolen by the storm as they tried to escape it. The magi discovered their level of success when the storm devoured not only mages trying to dispell it, but any mage who sought to cast a spell in its vicinity.
That was long ago, and two centuries later, the storm continues. It is stationary, driving storms from its edges, and consuming others that draw in too close. From above it resembles a hurricane, with the winds rotating around a stable eye. What lies in the eye is unknown since no one has ever reached it alive. The storm grows progressivly stronger the closer one gets to the center. At the far reaching edges, the sky is streaked with cloud bands, light winds and rain, and near the eye, all is black save for jagged lightning, and tornado force winds.
Any use of magic draws the storm down on the mage, attacking him with black lightning that devoures stored spells and spell abilities, not stopping until the mage is dead. Those unable to cast spells, innate or otherwise suffer no ill effect other than that of the storm. On the bordermarches, warriors and clerics have a distinct advantage over arcane magiuc users, but in the deeper reaches of the storm, even clerical magic users are not safe from the black lightning. Near the very heart of the storm, innately magical creatures such as elves, dwarves, and other races with semi-magical abilities are struck by the lightning.
Seasons of the Storm
Spring - often a time of natural storms and strong rainfall, in the Stormshroud it is a time of more intense wind, with windspeeds increasing along the edges of the storm, and greatly increased amounts of rain.
Summer - while the winds are moderately reduced to their normal levels, rainfall is signifigant, with low lying area innundated with water that the winds whip into frothy waves.
Fall - The winds remain strong, but the rainfall slacks off and stops. This is the season that most explorers choose to invade the Stormshroud.
Winter - the winds become slashingly cold, drawing in air from the northern, or southern pole, as to your hemispherical preference, crating driving sleet storms, and blizzards that blot out visibility for hundreds of miles of the stormshroud.
To players, the eye is a great enigma. No spell of scrying can discern what is within its borders, and it is protected by walls of wind reaching upwards of 350 miles per hour, or force equivalent to an F5 tornado. What is in the center is not horribly important, unless it is central to a story. Some ideas…
The Heap - The winds of the storm draw things into it, tearing most of them into pieces, and lifitng the lighter pieces into the upper levels of the storm where it is deposited hundreds of miles away by the upper atmospheric winds. The rest has formed a mountain in the center, boulders, smashed trees, the ruins of houses and castles devoured by the storm, along with the bodies and treasures held by those who perished. It is a mix of cemetary, treasure trove, and landfill
The Shining Hill - Some of the mages survived, creating a repository of long last magic and artifacts of that terrible war. They are sustained by the magic devoured by the storm, and live an idyllic life comparable to the gods of the Elysian Fields or Mount Olympus. Perhaps they are oracles of great wisdom, or hold the McGuffin that the heros must recover.
Field of Dreams - The storm has created a rift in the space time continuum that can only be repaired if we modify the navigational array to emit a tachyon burst…wait, wrong thread. The eye of the storm has created a gateway between the material world and another, such as the realm of Arcadia (faeries), or a primal world of Dinosaurs, Phyrexian horrors, or any other place that the PCs could concievably be stranded.
All That Glitters - ripped from a movie that kinda sucked, the storm draws in the super cold air of the atmosphere, creating an ambient temperature of -150 degrees F. Anything not protected from the cold by heavy clothing, or some other means is near instantly frozen.