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Postfest II: Spikerift
Posted on Tue, April 06, 2004 by Farcluun
abysslin writes "Rumors abound throughout the Grandwood Forest of Spikerift although a very small percentage if more than a handful of its population has ever laid eyes upon it. Not even Gwydiesin himself can discern truth from tale among the myriad of stories of this foul locale. The better part of the forest’s populace including the humanoids avoids the area entirely and only Fiorena Goldhand and her companion, Auruma, patrol the territory surrounding Spikerift.

SPIKERIFT
By: Terrance "Abysslin" Hunt
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

SPIKERIFT


NOTE: THIS ENTRY IS EXEMPT FROM POSTFEST VOTING AS IT PERTAINS TO PRIZES. SUBMITER IS A MEMBER OF THE CANONFIRE STAFF AND COUNCIL TO THE THURSDAY GROUP (TM)

Location: Grandwood Forest, Darlene Hex V: 73, Hunt Grandwood Hex T: 32

Spikerift is a large crevasse pried into the forest’s surface itself. Roughly 150 feet deep before hitting water and perhaps twice that wide and long, the cavity is filled with deep, murky, black water. Plantlife is all but non-existent in the area save swamp mosses, thorned bush, and razorleaf. A putrid and foul air lingers near the crevasse causing anyone in the area severe nausea. (Resulting in penalties as a Stinking Cloud spell with an infinite duration.)

A labyrinth of caves and inlets litter the embankments where water meets rocky land. Large reptilian creatures can sometimes be spotted navigating the water’s surface. Insects by the swarm can be seen swirling through the air much like tornadoes. Occasionally large bubbles will emerge from the center of the water body indicating some very monstrous denizen inhabits its depths.

Rumors abound throughout the Grandwood Forest of Spikerift although a very small percentage if more than a handful of its population has ever laid eyes upon it. Not even Gwydiesin himself can discern truth from tale among the myriad of stories of this foul locale. The better part of the forest’s populace including the humanoids avoids the area entirely and only Fiorena Goldhand and her companion, Auruma, patrol the territory surrounding Spikerift.

The various tales regarding Spikerift vary dependant upon where one hears it. The northern chain of Grandwood cities, primarily consisting of Oeridian refugees, haven’t even heard of Spikerift for the most part and any conversation striken up about the fabled locale is quickly dismissed with the words being drowned out by laughs.

The primary tale amongst the central (eastern and western) cities and the demihumans is that there once stood a mighty oak, kin to the Timeless Tree and Oakvein, in Spikerift’s stead. When Garolian, founder of Rel Astra, marched his Aerdy troops through the Grandwood (in roughly CY –349) they came upon this mighty tree and the elves living amongst the tree fell on this presence with a premptive strike. In retaliation, Garolian unleashed the fury of his battle seasoned Aerdy legion upon the elves and their mighty oak. The result caused the ancient magics seeded deep within the tree’s creation itself, to unravel and tear at the very fabric and seams of time that was the foundation of the tree’s life. The earth at the mighty oak’s base split causing a rift and a catasrophic shockwave of magic released as the tree’s life came to an end, sending Aerdy troops and forest wildlife alike hurling through the sky. Time passed and the land never healed. Spikerift will forever be a place of desolation.

The Southern cities, already living in supression from the humanoid raids from within the Grandwood itself and the undead raids from the House of Darmen, simply do not care to speculate on any more evil. Presently, life amongst the south is very disheartening and the woodsman folk there are on a collective border of a socialistic breakdown. Many don’t have room for thoughts outside of their immediate realm, as it is more important to them just to get through the day, alive.

The general consensus among the humanoids and slowly gaining favor with the rangers and moonmages of the Grandwood, is that long ago, when the Adri and the Grandwood were still one, forces of good created the rift to contain a very powerful priest of the Reaper, Nerull. This evil one is contained in a Temporal Stasis, forever condemned to the depths of Spikerift. Furthermore, as every cage has a key, there is a way for the dark one to be released. Most tales tell of an artifact of somekind, that once taken from it’s ancient holding, will break the barrier of time imprisoning this foul being.

In actuallity, the humanoids are correct with the exception of an artifact existing as a key of sorts. The dark one held below Spikerift’s depths is a one Sabbastith, a black dragon, one of the eldest of all dragons in existance. The manner of how an elder black dragon came into service of the Reaper is unknown. Sabbastith was near becoming a deity himself when he met his fate at the hands of a sizeable force of moonmages. The moonmages couldn’t subdue, nor slay Sabbastith so in a final attempt, before battle exhaustion set in, an elder moonmage created a rift in the earth and set Sebbastith into an enduring stasis.

Many moonmages and treants fell in the battle and the real truth of Spikerift is known only to the oldest of the Grandwood’s treants. They don’t dare recount this truth to any mortals, as they know all mortal men, even those of the greatest goodness, can be overcome with visions of heroics, which would ofcourse fail as the treants well know.

Presently the stasis contaning Sabbastith is fading. Slowly, Sabbastith is gathering his senses and readying to awake from his long slumber. With each passing of the sun and moons Sabbastith becomes more aware of his surroundings as the statis breaks down.

Occasional instinctive pulses of his magic penetrate time’s stillness and flood out into Spikerift, contaminating the area. (See black dragon power: Corrupt Water)

Sabbastith escaping his stasis is an event the Grandwood (and most of the surrounding countries) can not endure at this time. The sheer volume of evil a powerful (nearly a quasi-deity) hand of the Reaper such as Sabbastith would unleash upon the forest would surely cause a falter in the forest’s cycle of life. The stasis must be reinforced at all costs, but simply no creature realizes the eminent threat at the Grandwood’s doorstep. The myriad of other problems and events plagueing the forest overshadow any veiled danger.

Fiorena Goldhand and her ranger companion, Auruma, feign visits to Spikerift as merely routine patrols to ensure safety in the area, although they are both well aware of what lurks beneath. Auruma is actually a gold dragon sent (to the Grandwood) to investigate Spikerift by his parents to determine whether their intervention is needed or not to keep Sabbastith in his current state. If any adventurers were to become involved in endeavors regarding Spikerift, these two would most likely be their first point of contact should adventurers make any kind of correlation between Spikerift and the secrets it holds.

Look for more on the Grandwood in a later edition of the CFA Project.

Reference: Ivid the Undying (Allman layout) Page. 105 The Grandwood and the Lone Heath

Map of The Grandwood by Terrance "Abysslin" Hunt

"
 
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Postfest II: Spikerift

 
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Re: SPIKERIFT (Score: 1)
by Abysslin (abyss@canonfire.com) on Wed, April 07, 2004
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Well, I can't really comment on my own article, but I just wanted to reiterate that my submission is exempt from prize voting since I'm on the Canonfire Staff.

Also, I'm aware the map is somewhat hard to read. I lowered the resolution quite abit to accomadate for dial-up users since I wanted the postfest submissions to be quickies so to speak )



Re: SPIKERIFT (Score: 1)
by cwslyclgh on Wed, April 07, 2004
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I like the captured dragon motiff.

My question is: Does the tale of the great oak have any truth to it... perhaps transferred to the location of Spikerift from someplace else?



Re: SPIKERIFT (Score: 1)
by Valkaun_Dain on Thu, April 08, 2004
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This is just the sort of thing my group would end up FUBARing. Nice map.



Re: SPIKERIFT (Score: 1)
by mortellan on Sun, April 11, 2004
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good map, reminds me of the mystara maps, very practical for game use. i also like the black dragon, i'm always looking to use them IMC.



Re: SPIKERIFT (Score: 1)
by donimator on Mon, April 19, 2004
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Great article. I can imagine it as a wonderfully layered adventure as the players slowly uncover the truth and the increasing sense of doom. The task of shoring up the stasis could be the basis for a truly heroic quest.

...got some work to do!!




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