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Places of Interest on Oerth, Part Two
Posted on Sat, May 25, 2002 by Dogadmin
tamerlain writes "The continued descriptions of interesting places on Oerth, by Finnobhar Aodhin, bard and owner of the Star of Celene in Greyhawk. This installment looks at some places of interest in Old Keoland and one from the Baklunish Lands of the West.

Author: tamerlain


Author's Note: These entries and others were originally scheduled to appear in the never published Greyhawk Hardback, a work of in progress during the tenure of Team Greyhawk. These were all composed by Steve Wilson and may not be reproduced or posted without his permission. All of the sites in this and the previous post are property of Wizards of the Coast. Note that many of these sites are explained in other products, and were included in this section as part of a travelogue of the Flanaess.

Old Keoland

by tamerlain. Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Passage of Slerotin---Originally created by the last mage of power of the Suloise Empire, this passage served as the road for most of the Suel noble houses into the Sheldomar valley. This vast tunnel, carved into the living rock of the Hellfurnace Mountains, is one of the mightiest displays of magical power in the history of the Flanaess after the Twin Cataclysms. One house attempting the passage, the Lerara, found itself trapped beneath the mountains. The others groups met many trials, but eventually helped form the Kingdom of Keoland, even as other bands of Suloise moved further east.

In 577 CY, Theodain Eriason and his expedition rediscovered this passage. Strange stories of a bizarre goddess, and an equally strange and disconcerting people, the Lerara, have trickled back to the civilized world. Major expeditions of the area were cancelled because of the Greyhawk War, but the situation has changed. Exploration of the tunnel and its offshoots would bring glory to any adventurer willing to take up the challenge. (World of Greyhawk: Glossography, Dragon 241)

Mines of Dumathoin (Fading Land)---Of all of the places on Oerth, surely none are as peculiar as these mines. It is as if some design of Zagig's had sprung to life, and some say that is why this place exists. However, the truth of the matter is that the gnomes of the Stark Mounds burrowed and dug, until they made these mines by joining a series of natural, small cave complexes. In his fine text on gems, Cireus Bundercot, relates that an elderly gnome cleric/illusionist, Byrn Brightjewel , discovered a portal leading from the Elemental Plane of Earth to the lowest cave of the caverns. The gnome dedicated the site to Garl Glittergold, but named it in for Dumathoin, the dwarven god of mining who is also called "The Keeper of Secrets Under the Mountain". Byrn decided that the portal was one of the biggest secrets he'd under a mountain he'd ever heard about. Dwarves to this day aren't sure whether this was meant as an honor, or a joke. It turned out that the portal created the odd side effect of transferring life energies from native flora and fauna in the mines to the inanimate material, and passed the static state of rocks and minerals to the living creatures.

In addition to this confusion, native beings from the Plane of Earth find their way through the portal occasionally. The result is that loose rocks and minerals are, for lack of a better word, alive. They talk, sing, joke and cajole each other, passing the hours away in odd conversation. Gasses and support beams are sentient, while cave lizards, crickets, and even monsters like cave fishers are unmoving and hard. Gems tumble freely across the floor, while fish in underground pools lie along the bottom of their ponds and streams like chunks of granite. It is said that many of the mining tools that have been left in this area gather become as proficient at underground skills and knowledge as a dwarf or gnome, and that they can pass this knowledge to those that carry them.

The mines are not without danger, though. Many of the larger boulders and rock formations have a decidedly feudal outlook, and have determined they rule certain sections of the caverns. Earth elementals of all types also roam the tunnels freely. The gnomes who worked here abandoned the mines shortly after they discovered the side effects of the portal for fear of becoming stone-like themselves. (Source FtA: Atlas)

DM Note: For each week that a character spends in the Mines, there is a 10% cumulative chance that he will be affected be petrified (Fortitude negates: DC 20). Items pertaining to mining and any stone or gem material, however, have a 15% per week of becoming sentient (figure as for Intelligent magic item w/ all special powers/abillities obtained relating to mining or underground travel/ detection).

Vault of the Drow---Ages ago, not long after the branches of elvendom were sundered, the drow elves founded a city whose name has inspired terror and dread through the ages, Erelhei-Cinlu. The alliance of the drow House Eilservs with the giants of the region was laid to both increase the slave traffic for the drow house, and extend its reach into the sunlit world. This alliance was, for a time, designed to spread the worship of the Elder Elemental God among drow and giantkind alike. With the defeat of those plans (some say by internal house warfare, others say by the efforts of erstwhile adventurers), the drow retreated. With the loss of Eclavdra from the House Eilservs, a balance of sorts has been restored to the drow city. Although the plans of the drow and their giantish allies of the 560's and 570's CY did not come to fruition, the alliance did lay the groundwork for the later giant conquests of Sterich and Geoff during the Greyhawk Wars.


Erelhei-Cinlu remains one of the most eerily, decadently beautiful cities above or below the Flanaess. The multi-faceted twilight hue of purples, mauves, violets and roses of the city brought about by the strange rock formations of its cavern, shimmer as ever before. The Black Tower still dominates the entry to the city. The struggle among the eight major noble houses (Eilservs, Tormeter, Godeep, Aleval, Kilsek, Despana, Noquar, and Everhate) and the sixteen merchant clans, and the priestesshood of Lolth still occurs, as it has for centuries. With Eclavdra's departure to serve Iuz, though, the House Kilsek and its ruler Gaussra have risen to primacy. However, she has been unable to capitalize on the situation beyond this because most traditional alliances have weakened somewhat, because since Eclavdra's bid to be Queen; Houses trust each other even less than before. This suits Tlulithra, the current High Priestess of Lolth, just fine.


Travel in the realms of Erelhei-Cinlu is still extremely perilous. All manner of undead, demons, devils, and other denizens of the UnderOerth still ply their trade in the ancient city. Evil still emanates from the Egg and Fane of Lolth. And the drow still plan. (D3, Vault of the Drow, 9021)

Porpherio's Garden (A Fading Realm)--- This interesting garden is situated on the island of Sybarate at the south end of the island opposite of the township of Sybar. Porpherio Profoundeus built this garden for the half-elven princess, Caerwyn, as a retreat and a symbol of their love. The garden was a place of great serenity and beauty, where the perfumed scent of flowers mixed with the song of birds, and the drone of bees. However, because even half-elves do not reach the span of lives of powerful mages, Caerwyn died before Porpherio. And Porpherio, heartbroken, built her a marble tomb in a fabulously crafted place called the "Palace of Spires" in the middle of the garden. He then sealed the Garden to the outside. Before doing so, however, he asked a demi-power from another place, to keep watch over his beloved. Porpherio's spells maintain a peace and serenity, and the guardian godling likewise helps keep the place in a stasis.


The place can only be entered into through a special Crystal Cave which lies at the end of a series of other caves, including a set of caverns which amplifies sounds above whispers to the point of deafening anyone in them for 1-8 rounds. The Crystal Cave is a beautiful cavern, with a large waterfall through which one must pass to enter the garden. The water however, flows outside of normal time, and this must be negotiated before the waterfall curtain may be passed. In the past several years, the Scarlet Brotherhood has sent many monks to try to determine the secret of this entry, but only lately has a group succeeded. They have not returned yet to Sybar, but their superiors hope that they are learning the forces Porpherio used to make the garden, so these same forces may be used to benefit the Brotherhood. The garden is inhabited by many good woodland creatures and faeries, so it is difficult to know what became of these agents.

DM's Note: Porpherio laid five great enchantments on the garden, all of which still function: 1. Time inside the Garden passes 700 times slower than outside (for each day spent in the garden, 2 years passes outside); 2. No fire, magical or mundane will burn in the garden; 3. Magical and Psionic modes of flight do not work in the garden; 4. Regardless of the season outside the garden, it is always summer inside; 5. The Cave of Echoes provides minor assistance to Good or Neutral aligned 0-level peasants by acting as a local oracle. This will never help an adventuring party. Other interesting effects include the raising of druids by one level while they are in the garden, and the keeping of plant and animal spells from directly hurting the garden. There may be other odd occurrences in the garden whether caused by Porpherio's spells, or by the presence of The Green Man, the nature demi-god, and son of Beory who watches over the place. (UK1, Beyond the Crystal Cavern, 9062)

The Baklunish West

The Wandering Oasis of Geshtai (Fading Land)---Storytellers in Tusmit and Zeif tell of a supernatural event that occurred shortly after the Invoked Devastation turned the Baklunish Empire into the stuff of legend. It is said that during this desperate time, when the Bakluni tribes fled the disaster, that a priestess of Geshtai asked her patroness to bring a surcease to the suffering of the remaining peoples. Geshtai heard the cries of the suffering folk and provided for them a wondrous Oasis, or so the story goes. It is said that the oasis moved with the tribes, north and eastward all the way to Zeif, and then into the lands of the nomads. However, the legend also relates that one member of any party finding the Oasis receives a geas to stay and tend the Oasis, until another party arrives. This care taking duty might be days, months or even years. The caretaker ages more slowly than those outside, aging so that ten years seems but a year.

After the migrations caused by the Invoked Devastation, the oasis disappeared. Occasionally, the paradise reappeared to those in great need. To this day, many Bakluni believe that when travelling on a journey, and falling into dire need, all the travelers must do is recognize the divinity of Geshtai, the Oasis will appear. However, the price has not changed.

The Oasis reportedly glides across the land, appearing at first as a mirage, but then becomes more solid to those meeting its requirements. It is a veritable paradise with lush palms and citrus trees, and a large pool with a bubbling fountain in its center. The Oasis physically moves across the plains and dunes, across the dry dusty steppes, in any Baklunish land. Many have seen the Oasis from a distance, but it will not stop except for those beseeching Geshtai for aid. Recently, travelers have reported that a niece of a powerful sheik in Tusmit has disappeared. Her caravan guards, evidently, returned home after being caught in a violent sirocco. The niece, sad to say, did not. The report says the guards claim to have received a special blessing of Geshtai, but they claim it from jail, awaiting their executions.

DM's Note: When a party leaves, one random party member must save vs. spells (DC 25 for 3E) or be placed under a geas to care for the Oasis. If the character saves, she is free to leave, if she fails, she must remain, and the previous caretaker is released in her place. The departing party and the previous caretaker are affected by a very strong version of Modify Memory that erases all memory of their time in the Oasis except for a serene certainty that they have been blessed by Geshtai. (Will negates, DC 25). The Oasis, in either case, then glides away at a pace faster than a running horse.


Note: Fading Lands, demiplane"
 
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