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    Postfest II: The Fane of Wings
    Posted on Tue, April 06, 2004 by Farcluun
    Oerthman writes "Knowledge is discovered, lost through centuries, found again. What do we know of those who built the Five Cities in the Great Kingdom? Or who worshipped once in the Fane of Wings? Do not men ever search for the treasures of these forgotten people? - Quag Keep by Andre Norton

    The Fane of Wings
    By: Oerthman
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    The Fane of Wings

    The Fane of Wings stands on the edge of the Great Rift, west across the Rift from the bandit town of Riftcrag. Built on on a natural outcropping of stone, the Fane soars into the air from the edge of the Rift as if it were a bird about to take flight into the rising sun. In fact, when viewed from the east (only possible by flying), it is obvious that the stone on which the Fane sits has been worked to resemble a giant bird. The outcropping provides the body and head of the bird, while the edge of the Rift is carved to resemble wings. The carvings are faint and shallow after eons of weathering. Rumors of the Fane may be heard in many taverns in the Bandit Kingdoms, telling of vast treasures found there, as well as much left to be found. No one will admit to actually having found treasure there, however. Darker stories are also told of those who visit the Fane. Many never return. One legend dating back to the rise of the Bandit Kingdoms tells of a group of adventurers who spent the night inside the stone ring of the lower Fane. The next morning they were gone, vanished without a trace. The only clue was a single black feather left by one bedroll. Another tale tells of one who was so foolish as to lay down on the stone altar of the upper Fane. Immediately a great wind sprang up. His companions heard a great cry like the voice of an eagle, only many times louder. When it sounded again, an invisible hand or claw snatched the man from the stone and carried him into the sky. Outside of the Lands of the Free Lords, generally only sages will have heard of the Fane of Wings. Some with an interest in ancient ruins might sponsor a party to investigate the Fane.

    The Stone Ring

    Approaching the Fane, travellers first come to a group of standing stones. The stones are arranged in a half circle around the lower Fane, running from Rift edge to Rift edge. Any druid will recognize the stones as being druidic in origin, similar to other (complete) rings around the Flanaess. Examining the stones will reveal faint scorings and carving, unusual for druidic stones. The only markings that can still be read are large runes of warning on the two stones to either side of the path leading to the lower Fane. Inside the stone ring, a path of cracked and shifted flagstones leads to the lower Fane. On either side of the path are many holes and piles of dirt, evidence of previous bands of treasure-seekers.

    The Lower Fane

    The lower Fane has mostly fallen into ruin. The worn path leads to another ring of stones. This ring is tumbled and broken, although at one time it must have formed a ring of arches. Only a few arches remain relatively intact, including those at the front and rear entrances. These stones also bear evidence of being carved - here and there, a wing or claw that has escaped the ravages of time may still be seen. The ring surrounds an open area about 100 feet across. This area also shows signs of treasure seekers - pits and mounds of debris fill the ring. In the exact center stands a large monolith, with two notches at the top. Through the arch at the rear of the lower Fane the Stair leading to the upper Fane can be seen.

    The Stair

    The ancient flagstone path continues from the rear of the lower Fane to a narrow stair rising almost a hundred feet from the edge of the Rift to the upper Fane. Carved into the top of a rising ridge of stone , the stair is narrow, about eighteen inches wide. The proportions are odd (at least for human and demihuman climbers) - each step is shallow and tall, about six inches deep and twelve high. There is no rail. On either side, the stone quickly drops away. When the floor of the Rift is shrouded in mist, there is a sensation of floating above the clouds. On those rare days when the mists clear, climbing the Stair reveals a dizzying glimpse of the Rift floor below. Close examination of the steps will reveal worn carvings of snakes, so that at each step the climber steps on the head of the snake.

    The Upper Fane

    Those who brave the Stair find themselves standing on the small stone platform of the upper Fane. A hundred feet above the edge of the Rift, and more than a mile above the floor, the wind blows fiercely. In the center of the Fane is a stone altar. The altar seems to be made of obsidian and is weathered and cracked. The top has an indentation that is roughly man-shaped, albeit too tall and thin for most humans. Flanking the altar are two stone pillars, covered with ornate carvings. Not as worn as the rest of the stonework, these carvings show birdlike beings battling with snakes and snake-men.

    DM Notes

    Dwarves examining the outer ring of stones and then the stonework of the Fane will be able to tell that they date from different time periods and are of different workmanship. The stones are far more recent than the Fane, although still ancient.

    Adventure Ideas

    • The Fane is just a bunch of old stones and carvings, and the tales are just rumors. Use the Fane as a pull to get your players into the area for adventures in the Rift or in White Plume Mountain.
    • The Fane is an ancient astronomical observatory and temple, predating the Flan. The notches in the monolith in the lower Fane allow determination of the summer and winter solstices. Several small items used in temple services were found long ago, setting off the mad rush for treasure, but nothing has been found for many years. A sage or foppish scholar might be interested and pay the party to accompany him (keeping him from falling off the Stair might be an adventure in itself). The outer half-ring of stones was erected by later druids, who used the Fane for the same purpose.
    • The Fane is a ruined temple of pre-human birdfolk. They were involved in a bitter struggle with the ancestors of the yuan-ti. In the final stages of the war, the shamans of the birdfolk called forth a spirit of the air, sacrificing themselves to bind it to the Fane. This spirit still protects the Fane, transforming visitors who linger after dark into birds and carrying off those who desecrate the altar. The outer Stone Ring is a later addition by druids to ensure that the spirit stays bound. If somehow freed, the spirit will reveal that the altar hides the entrance to the catacombs lying under the lower Fane.
    The Fane of Wings is located in hex Q3-66 on the Greyhawk map. "
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    Re: The Fane of Wings (Score: 1)
    by Abysslin ( on Wed, April 07, 2004
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    I had a little trouble envisioning the appearance of this locale at first, but after a re-read I think it all came together.

    I really like how the locale isn't glorified to some degree of magnificence. I'm a big fan of mundane places with an ancient story.

    Your adventure ideas are just the kind of innovation I need sometimes. I'm horrible with hooking my players.

    Re: The Fane of Wings (Score: 1)
    by cwslyclgh on Wed, April 07, 2004
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    I love the way you give the adventure ideas at the end.

    Re: The Fane of Wings (Score: 1)
    by donimator on Mon, April 19, 2004
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    A good, vivid description that gives the place the feel of a locale that predates any known civilization. It is a very open-ended locale that could be used for in many ways in addition to those you suggested. Well done.

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