Glasyabolas was once a place of great splendor and wonders untold. It's architecture was inspired by the God of the Forge and the goddess of art and artists. Each spire was created to generate a certain emotion, or to simply inspire those who visited it. The number of spires is unknown, but they are numbered as few as seven and as many as an impropable 343, or seven by seven by seven spires.
However, there was a terrible flaw in its construction. There was a third and unnamed architect who worked in the creation of the wonder of the first age, a demon god of brass and basalt. He made the crystal spars and plinths as hard and strong as iron, and the thinnest sheets of crystal hard enough to support hundreds of pounds. There was a series of flaws engraved into the very foundations of the grand palace. Heresy was forged into the very walls. Blinded by the wonder, and the ego of their accomplishment, the wizards and builders failed to heed to irregular swirls of primal essence as it churned through the structure.
The palace stood for decades, growing in popularity, becoming a focus of wizardly and arcane training. Hundreds called it home, and thousands visited it every month. It was considered a great honor to make the pilgrimage to see the many sparkling towers of Glasyabolas. This golden era was not to last.
Gorund, whose name will live forever in infamy had been corrupted by the demon smith from the very beginning. As they are imprisoned beyond time and space, demons are able to see the fullness of things before they are full wrought, and to this they corrupt and pervert the designs of creation. Gorund entered the sixth tower, the Prime Tower from which the others emanated. From this tower, the entire palace was lit with simple spells, and the air was made fresh, and clear water flowed.
He spoke the forbidden words of power, and released his spell within the heart of the palace. Coruscating bolts of black lightning tore through the crystal structure. It echoed through the spars, and reverberated through the spires. It is said that the note of Hell that sounded there was loud enough to be heard through all of creation.
All living things within the palace perished, their life essence snuffed out like candles before the hurricane. Black mockeries of souls lifted up their corpses, and their shades rose three days after the blast, gnawed by terrible evil and robbed of all vestiges of the higher soul. Gold and green fire danced in the spires, and the metal turned to brass, and the stone foundations to darkest basalt. The demon god exulted in his glory.
The once green lands around the palace withered, and died. Even the very earth perished. Rock and soil became dry powder and bitter ash. The waters putrified, and became sour as bile. The animals fled, many perished, and many thousands died, some consumed by hellflame, others by corrupted souls overtaken by lesser demons.
A metropolis of the old world was forgotten. Its location replaced with words like blight and wasteland, or simple 'Here be evil'. Glasyabolas was forgotten. The flames guttered, and went out, and the corpses rotted into nothing, and only the hungry shades of the dead remained, stalked the ruins of the greatest wonder of their day.
Those Who Wait
There was also a flaw within the demon's plan. When the spell was cast and Gorund the Forsaken drew the essence of the demon into the heart chamber of Glasyabolas, the demon himself was drawn into the palace. Rather than serving as a conduit into creation, he was drawn from the boundless prison beyond creation to a prison so small that he found himself crushed by its human sized confines. The demon has since infested every part of the palace, and is omniscient within its confines. The secret is that the demon wants to be free of the horrid place, but cannot escape. To destroy the prison is to irrevokably destroy himself, something beyond his capability. His rage fuels the shades of the dead who still wander the ruins, as these dead worship the demon as both their jailor, and their heretic god.
The Ruin - Quite simply, the PCs stumble across the ruins on a long cross country trek that leads them into the desert of ash and reeking fume that encircles the ruins. They seek shelter for the night and must survive the horrors of the hungry dead, and escape with their wits and lives, lest they join those who wait.
The Bait - An ancient scroll tells of Glasyabolas, and its wonders. Hooked by greed for magic items and the almost certainty of spells of the old world, they embark. They must find the ruin, penetrate it, and see what treasures there are to be found. There is treasure galore, but will they be able to escape with it.
The Trap - The demon has allowed someone to escape Glasyabolas, with knowledge enough to return, or to facilitate the return of others. The demon hopes that somehow, the more flexible minds of mortals will be able to free him from his prison. THey will be inexoriably drawn in, and forced to find a way to free the demon, or suffer for the rest of eternity.
Trap 1 - The demon cannot be freed, he is in a divine inspired mobieus-esque prison. Perhaps they can trick the demon into releasing them?
Trap 2 - The demon can be freed by something as simple as removing the keystone of the heart chamber, can the PCs live with themselves if they release a demon into creation? Or, the 'key' could be something more esoteric as changing a fundamental aspect of the structure. Free choice here is important.
This was inspired by Glass Heim, but The Sorcerer's Palace is built along very similar lines.
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? Responses (5)
It's very good how you can take an 0/5 setting and turn it into something. 5/5
Yep, what the captain said. Really nothing to add. It has the usual good quality of your work, yet it does not touch me in any other way than a normal professional addition to any setting atlas would. It is professional and good, but not outstanding.
I don't know, this is really cool!
I love subs which paint a mental pictures of places, and this is one of those.
I believed in absolute truth once. This was written back then. But people do not appreciate truth, this I have learnt.
Scrasamax has tried to appreciate it though. He really did.
But in the end, peeps: Do not tell the blunt truth, for people should be spared that.
Wrap it in layers of politeness, and do not spill it like sour milk. Murometz taught me that! Not in those words, but in the essence of the words.
People want feedback, but it is no reason to pry their eyes out. They will need them later! ;)