There is a place where only the foolhardy and the greedy dare to go. Why do I say foolhardy, because of all of the poor souls who have entered that dark place...none have yet to return.
Satur Nox is an ancient place. It was not always filled with gloom and despair, it was once a vibrant swamp. The sun would filter between the branches of the soaring swamp cypress trees, illuminating pools of standing brachen and bright colored reeds. Myriads of insects flitted from pond to pond, dragonflies the size of an outstretch hand and there was no end to the number or colors of birds to be found.
Yet, this buccolic scene was not to last. Recorded in the epic 'Lay of Kasmir' the swamp was the unlikely sight of a massive battle between two no defunct kingdoms. On the western side was the sorcerous might of Kasmir and it's potent Sorcerer King. On the east side was the desperate, yet stoic Army of the Veldt. The King had scryed the location of the Army and had moved his troops to confront them. He trusted in his magic power to support him and his men despite the unfavorable conditions.
This should have worked...but it didnt. The Lay of Kasmir records that the powers of the sorcerors failed on the eve of battle, but for no known reason. When battle was joined the next morning it was a bloodbath.
The pools were defiled with the blood of mercenaries and soldiers, and the birds were shot from the air to use their feathers for arrow fletching. Even the insects were crushed into soup for food pots, or arcane potions to heal the wounded and fuel the soldiers on to victory. Yet that victory never seemed to come. Each day, the conditions grew worse, there was less food, and all of the water had been fouled by the fighting and death.
In some places, the dead were struggling back to the feet and attacking whomever was closest, tearing at their flesh with numb fingers and hungry teeth. Thousands upon thousands died, taking their weapons and armor, their amulets and tokens of power to their final graves. The power of Kasmir was broken in the battle, with the Sorcerer King slain in battle, and the High King of the Veldt succumbing to infected injuries.
Yet, the swamp had already been poisoned. The magic in that place was wild and unstable. It was what made the insects so large, and the birds so colorful. It was still a primordial place, untracked and unmapped. Now it was seeped in blood and death and suffering. The very essense of the place was forever changed. The trees grew in close, to hedge out the sun, and pools became rank and black. Even the soil only produced noxious fungi and poisonous plants.
On the maps it was named Satur Nox, Deep Dark in the old tongue. Still the greedy will think of the lost spoils of war, they think of the swords, and the gold hilted daggers, and the wands of power and rings of might that might be found in the dark meres of the swamp. What really lies in the swamp, no one knows. You see, no one who has ever entered the darkest reaches has ever returned. Only the alchemist and his apprentices have even dared the fringes and then only to gather nightshade and hortensewort. Take my word, you might not wish to try that place, not if you value your life...and your soul.
Into the Dark - The swamp is indeed the resting place of great heaps of burial loot. It's in heaps now because the swamp is inhabited by ogres most foul. They in turn are under the guidance of a risen corpse that retains it's will and knowledge after death. It seeks to protect the unmarked and desecrated graves of the dead, and the ogres are content with the stinky king who tells them smart things to do.
Bump in the Night - The Dead never forget, and Satur Nox has ghosts and risen dead the way a roadside corpse has maggots and blowflies. To enter the swamp is to invite the curiosity, and hunger of the dead. To stay or to try and steal from the pools is to invite their cold and ancient wrath.
McGuffin - The PC's have to recover item X, it's last known location was in the personal van of the sorcerer King. The PC's have to enter the forest, overcome it's monsterous, or dead defenders, and grab the item and escape.
Final Rest - As an epic quest, the PC's must find a way to placate the rabble of undead who infest the swamp before the necrotic energy of the swamp spreads and infects the rest of the magic places around it. Alternately, they need to find a way to discover the ogres, and then to destroy them before their raids out of the swamp turn into a full-blown war.
Sins of My Father - The PC's must find one specific ghost among the thousands who live in the swamp. This one ghost has a specific bit of knowledge needed by someone, and it cannot be 'beaten' out of him. The PC's must find a way to get the ghost to speak...coherently. A variant of the McGuffin.
We're Lost, Again - The PC's wander into the swamp and are hard pressed to survive one night, but their path takes them straight through the swamp...
Cool Effects, Man - When the dead rise from the swamp (presumably at night) the water ices over, and the temperature drops very noticably. The dead will try to either lure the PC's into falling into an icy pool, or may resort to more...violent means.
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? Responses (5)-5
A tip of the Hat to Sentinel*'s deleted Swamp of the East
Nice work as always Scrasamax!
Now this is a really beleveable place-where the fantasy world equivilant of the Battle of the Somme took place.
A nice, evocative hidden treasure brought to light by Random Links!
This is going into the 'use' pile...
Could use some refreshing, but yeah, it's pretty good! And it wants to be used indeed.