The Demon gates are all hidden from prying eyes, either under mountains or lost within their vast chasms. In fortresses hidden by magic, or guarded by the unknowing. A single key, if found, will open only a specific gate. However, directions to the gates location are inscribed on each key in a demonic script. Only those loyal to Caedmon, or can understand the ancient written language of the Demon’s are able to read it.
The gates are massive stone doorways standing roughly thirty feet in height and twenty feet wide and made of black granite or onyx, with scenes of a demonic horde flooding through the gate as a wave through a cistern. Horrific images of murder and unspeakable acts toward the mortal races also adorn the doors.
This setting is within my world of Hewdamia.
The dark God Caedmon came to the realm of Hewdamia with a purpose. What the purpose was, only he knew as he kept it close to him and took it to his oblivion during the War of the Gods. In his wake he left a swath of confusion that to this day holds a mystery to the knowledgable.
When the Gods argued, Caedmon began to work in secret. He slipped away and began building gates in remote places of the world, hidden from the questioning eyes of his fellow Gods, away from meddling mortals. These massive stone gates depict scenes of horror and terror beyond what anyone had seen. These gates were doorways to another place, possibly from where Caedmon originally came from.
These gates open to the world of the Demons and their kin. Caedmon had originally planned to open the gates and unleash a swath of destruction so encompassing, that the Gods would fail to stop it. The gates were dubbed the Demon Gates and they stood ready to unleash a hell on the world only Caedmon had ever seen before. He placed keys throughout the world to be used when he was ready, but before that time came, he was thrust into a war between the Gods that ended his existance.
It is thought, or rumored, that Caedmon traveled from world to world unleashing this hell on the worlds he visited. Some whisper he was a Demon God trying to usurp the power of the others. The truth, no one knows and can only be speculated by those insane enough to deeply study the dark God’s teachings.
Effects of the Gates
The Demon gates are not limited to operating only while open. A side effect that the God Caedmon had not foreseen was the amount of desire the demons force through the gates, even while closed. A few have been able to filter through over the centuries but that pales in comparison to the deadly power that flows through the closed gates.
Those who have stayed near the gates, whether aware or not, have come away changed. Even a simple evening spent in the shadow of foreboding gates changes a person forever. Thoughts and voices are often heard in the minds of those that are within 100’ of the gates. These voices are fleeting at first, but build up over exposure to the gates. At first, only a whisper of noise can barely be detected and will often be ignored as the wind or odd noise. The longer one spends around the gates however, the voices get stronger and more persistent. The voices become personalities of their own soon demanding the attention of those they infect. Silent words of death and murder filter through the mind turning into detailed visions and thoughts of death and horror, often dealing with loved ones or friends.
This is enough to make anyone crazy and desire to flee from the area. Spending a day away from the gates will clear the mind of the voices, but will never clear the thoughts that they had during their exposure.
Those sleeping near the gates for an extended period of time are not so lucky. Visions and detailed murders grasp at their subconscious, forever tainting their mind. As their exposure to the gates increases, so does the frequency and the detail of the horrible nightmares. Vivid nightmares about riding a cresting waves of Demons, surging out from the gates or towers frequent the dreams. Most often with massacres of entire kingdoms running with the blood of those murdered.
This begins to slowly change those who spend time near the doomed gates. They begin to become angry over the most mundane of things, arguing frequently with others, and coming to blows after only a short period of time has been spent near the gates. The images of murder and destruction begin to change their ideals and they begin feeling the urge to reproduce these vivid omens. No longer seen as nightmares or dreams, but omens or portents from a higher source, the fallen God Caedmon perhaps.
Eventually if not controlled by a stronger force, they will turn on anything to satisfy the bloodlust that fills their veins, and the anger and hatred that fills their soul. Any demon or being capable of withstanding the overwhelming effects would capitalize on anyone in this state in an instant, using their weakened mind to control for their own purpose.
Documents written in an old text tell a tale of physical deformation as well with extreme exposure to the gates. But the journal ends with indecipherable scribble as the scribe was obviously insane when the journal was completed.
The Lost Temple
Set beneath a crumbling ruin of a temple to Aduivo, the quiet halls of a forgotten temple rest undisturbed. Cobwebs and dust are it's only inhabitants for the last few centuries. The temple above having long ago been built and crumbled into history in the open view to the stars, while beneath it, the preserved hallways of a diabolic temple continued on. Waiting.
The temple was originally built by Caedmon and his first few followers. Having long anticipated the creation of the Demon Gates, the prepared a special place for them to rest. Deep below, a raging storm of energy constantly battled as the worlds life blood flowed freely, warming the temple unaturally. While above, the suns and the moon shone down on the earth where the temple rested, in full view of Caedmon, ever watchful.
It was simple, the temple was. A chamber for a priest and followers with a room set aside for holding slaves for sacrifice. The temple had a singular purpose, the opening of the Demon Gate. But due to the War of the Gods, Caedmon fell and was not able to see his vision through with the opening of the gates. And that is where they sit today, devoid of life, waiting to be found, waiting to be opened.
The Demon Gates
A set of double doors block the hallway. A large relief sits in the middle of the doors barring passage. The doors are a silvery metal that seem to reflect any light as would a large mirror. Runes inscribed into the door confound the eye as if they move on their own.
The doors radiate warmth but are cold to the touch, and while they are not locked only someone knowing the ancient script of the Demons can decipher the runic script to open the door.
The room inside is a mental nightmare that will haunt the dreams of even the most stout of mind. A cold wind blows in the hot room, flickering torches to life. No direction can be determined from where it comes from however.
The floor is black stone polished to a near mirror shine with three two foot steps leading up to the main dias. The room is also noticably devoid of dust, dirt, or spider webs. As if the room has been taken care of through the centuries.
The steps lead to a central dias where a five foot long block of obsidian rests, the top having a slight curvature that holds the body of those to be sacrificed. behind the alter is a most terrible sight.
Two huge double doors take up the entire west wall of the room. They are carved with images of a mass of horrific beings pouring forth from a gaping maw of some unknown caricature to lay waste to defeated mortals whose sculpted expressions plead for aid and mercy. At the head of the tide there is a single being who stands above the roaring army of demons, cloaked in a deep-hooded cape, with a smiling mask. The whole is made from some sort of dark, slick stone that appears oily or wet in the lights, yet rough and dry to the touch.
The same runic script on the main doors also line these huge doors, detailing the glory of Caedmon and the mass he brings to the unworthy and supposed righteous. The single key made for each gate, enters into the gaping maw and opens wide to show a wall of fire and nightmare.
What comes through... open the gate and see.
The Gate of Forlorn Hopes
The Gate of Forlorn Hopes is a huge black gate, over 30 feet high, carved with images of a mass of horrific beings pouring forth from a gaping dragon's mouth and laying waste to mortals whose sculpted expressions plead for aid and mercy. At the head of the tide there is a single being who stands above the roaring army of demons, cloaked in a deep-hooded cape, with a smiling mask. The whole is made from some sort of dark, slick stone that appears oily or wet in certain lights.
It is set into the wall of a large vaulted cavern high in mountains. The stone around it is buckled, torn, and cracked, and the cavern's walls and floor frequently shake and groan, as if the rock were attempting to free itself of this black chancre. In some places, the cracks and wrinkles in the stone knot together and form mocking faces which stare demonically from the walls, laughing silently at mortals who come to look.
There is a large scored dent in the gate's left door. Usually, nothing can be seen through the hole at its center but darkness, but on certain intersections of time and chance, a baleful red glow blazes in a bloody beam through the score, shooting like a lance through the cavern's mouth and onto the mountainside beyond. When this happens, small things, bits of demonic elements and vitriolic little masses of the Demon World's essence leak through eddying about the cavern invisibly on the hot currents of air that blow through the gap, and give the cavern a distinctly alien feel and a latent atmosphere of menace.
The Warlord Octavius first discovered his door during his younger, adventurous days. It now forms the surface of the upper floor of his tower, from which he unleashes his bandit hordes.
The stone is far stronger than what it should be, and holds up the strain of the walls & roof quite well. However, it is still very heavy, and those mercenary bandits that live within the floor beneath it worry about the supports collapsing down upon them. If only they knew that not all of the creaking & soft moans late at night were from material stress alone...
For the past few years, Warlord Octavius has had vivid nightmares about riding a cresting wave of Demons, surging out from his tower. He considers this only to be inspired by his unique decorative floor of his throne room & personal chambers, and caused by too much spicy food before bed-time. However, unbeknownst to him, most of the other inhabitants have also been having these same nightmares for the past few months.
Though he is a capable and charismatic leader, not all of the new additions to Warlord Octavius's army may be the result of his leadership and fame. Lately, the numbers have swelled, with ever more vile and depraved rogues.
Just last week, Warlord Octavius noticed a scaly rash on the backs of his shoulders. This he associates to the increasingly crowded tower, and increasingly dirty new troops, bringing in new diseases and vermin. He also considers the pain in his shoulders to be either an early sign of age, or difficulty sleeping properly because of the rash.
Are these signs innocent, as the Warlord and his men are not? Do they bode ill for the surrounding countryside? What if the rash spreads, becoming true armoured scales, or even sprouts wings... as they did in Octavius's most recent dream? What happens when the other bandits also start exhibiting signs that their close proximity to a gateway to Hell is affecting them physically?
Perhaps death and destruction will be unleashed from the door afterall, but perhaps not in the way Caedmon originally envisioned.
In a similar vein, almost exactly the same in fact, I have read a children's novel that had something of this nature within it. 'twas a Christan novelization of a passage in Revelations about the Bottomless Pit, and the story was quite good.
It started off with a door being found, and then a rumor was heard of a family that since time forgotten were guardians of a key that could open The Door. No-one knew where the Door was, so the family was dismissed as nutcases. The main characters, however, made the connection. As did the MBG (Main Bad Guy), who promptly stole the key, then took it to the Door and was driven insane by unlocking it. The climax of the story was where the main characters had to push the Door closed and lock it, while demons on the other side pushed against it to try and break loose.
Very action filled, very scary. That is how these Gates should be used and portrayed. The thought of what might get out should scare the living crap out of the PCs, and make them try to keep it closed at all costs. *cue heroic actions of a player sacrificing himself to lock the door from the inside or something*
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? Responses (7)-7
Thank you to CaptainPenguin and Kinslayer for their assistance on this.
I think this is quite good!
The gate of forlorn hopes description made me build the start of a campaign around it. The beam that shoots from the caverns mouth like a lance or a lighthouses beam sweeps over an unsuspecting mountain town on the adjacent mountain at midnight each night anyone exposed to the beam undergoes drastic changes akin to demonic possession / transformation. From the towns point of view there are missing person reports and violence from these 'outsiders' (everyone caught outside at midnight is changed so speculation runs rampant) this is the pitch that draws the party from the capitol out to the mountain to investigate where as they encounter 'demons' and 'save' the villagers , until the dead villagers revert form back to the innocents they were meant to save. upon entering the cavern I use a paraphrased description of the door and tell of the faint glow from the hole. If and when the party decides to peek through the gate my campaign begins with them being pulled into hell itself.
It became the inspiration to the cover of the Hewdamia manual...
hmmm, actually scratch that , the exposure needs to be cumulative , keep the midnight part for cliché purposes. The villagers speak of a midnight moon that shines bright red illuminating the entirety of the town. It is said that if you tend to you crops at such times they grow far faster as if coaxed to growth. (the moon descends behind the mountain at midnight and then the beam happens) not without dangers - que speech of missing persons and violent attacks that tend to coincide with strange occurrence. (the farmers are the first affected) ~ I got a week to polish it up my point is thank you for the idea the gates are a good one and I may add more to the world setting if I make up an original one ill come back and add it.