cwslyclgh writes "The Rift Canyon, north of the Nyr Dyv, is a place that looks deceptivly small on the map, but is actually a tremendously large tear in the surface of the Oerth. A hole this large is bound to have many unique locations with in it and this article will reveal some of them.
Down in the Rift Canyon
By C. Wesley Clough
The Rift Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring locations in the flanaess, more then 180 miles long and in places thirty miles wide; this great canyon is a mile or more deep in places. A tear in the oerth this large is bound to contain an almost limitless number of unique and interesting places to visit, and listed below are five such locations.
The Lair of Phylophaks (Red Dragon):
Halfway up a mesa that juts up from the canyon floor, this dragon’s lair is only accessible to those who can fly or are willing to undertake a sheer half-mile climb (from either direction). Even finding the lair is difficult as the dragon cloaks the entrance in illusion, making it look like a normal section of mesa wall. The lair is also rumored to be guarded by bound elemental creatures of various types. Phylophaks is incredibly old, even by dragon standards, and it is said that he has learned to harness powerful magics well beyond what the typical red dragon can use.
Tales of this red dragon have been circulating in the lands now known as the bandit kingdoms and the shieldlands for a thousand years. Phylophaks has long been known to lair in the rift, although precisely where is uncertain to most. The dragon used to range to the south and west with fair regularity, however after a messy fight with a human wizard known as Cevinar of the Saffron Robes a little more then two centuries past Phylophaks has been seen less and less often in the skies away from the rift.
The Pool of Peace:
From the rift floor an eight-foot wide crack in the north wall leads back nearly a hundred yards before opening into this large (80 foot diameter) grotto. A soft carpet of sweet smelling moss covers the rocks of the cavern, and a small pool of clear fresh water sits placidly in its center. A feeling of peace and calm pervades the chamber. The pool is sacred to Rao, the god of peace, and every creature in the chamber is affected as if by a sanctuary spell for as long as they are in it.
Khudol’s Lost Mine:
Located near the city of Riftcrag this silver mine is not so much truly lost as it is inaccessible. A winding trail used to switch back down to the mine entrance less then a mile, but an earthquake about forty years ago wiped almost all trace of the trail from the rift wall. The mineshaft is still accessible to those who can fly or are very good at climbing, which rules out most of the miners that would be interested in the place. Rumors abound that the ghosts of those that died in the earthquake, or that starved in the aftermath when their path back to the rift top was cut off haunt the mine, can still be found in the mine. It is said that they can still be heard working the mine, the sounds of their picks and shovels carrying all the way to the rift top near where the mine trail ended. In truth the mine is inhabited by an avoliaka that was outcast from its society in the wormcrawl fissure, the mining sounds that can be heard are those of the animated skeletons of the miners, tunneling not for silver but ever upwards toward the sewers and cellars of Riftcrag where the avoliaka hopes to capture new, living subjects for his bizarre experimentations.
Shallow Pools and Tumbled Towers:
On the southern rim of the rift, nearly directly a crossed from the city of Riftcrag, there is a large flat field of fire blasted stone, small mounds of blackened rubble, and shallow pools of dark water. This is the ruin of the town of Riftedge, once a haven for adventurers and an economic threat to Riftcrag. Riftedge was flourishing around 400 years ago when a group of adventurers found their way into the lair of the red dragon Phylophaks. The dragon was away at the time, and the adventurers took several of his most valuable treasures and returned to Riftedge with them. A powerful spell caster in his own right, Phylophaks quickly discerned the location of that which had been plundered from his hoard, and his revenge was terrible. In one single night the town of Riftedge ceased to exist, and only a few survived to spread the tale of fire and death.
Little remains now except for burned rubble, thistle and thorny vines, the pools are nothing less then the sunken foundations of the towns once fine buildings. Straight down from the rim of the rift more evidence of the town can be found in the form of tumbled stone and toppled towers, that some how survived a plunge of nearly a mile, on their side or in some cases even upside down partially buried in the rift floor. These lower ruins once served as a sporadic base of operation for bandit groups, but lately they have come to be avoided by most rift dwellers, rumor has it that a powerful extraplanar entity (possibly a powerful Slaad) has moved into the tumbled towers and claimed them as its own.
The Worming Path:
Near the base of the rift wall on the south-eastern end, there is small cave, not more the 4 feet around, about ten feet up from the rift floor. This unassuming cavern in the mouth of an exceptionally long tunnel, that worms its way along, switch back and forth, into one huge tangled mass more then five miles long. The tunnel is always tight, never more then five feet wide, and sometimes as narrow as three, and it slopes nearly imperceptibly upward at all times, ending in a hollow beneath the roots of a huge oak tree some hundred yards from the top edge of the rift. The hollow has a large flat stone in the floor, but is otherwise unremarkable, it allows access to the outside, and this path is sometimes used as a surreptitious way to enter and leave the rift. This is not a very safe practice however, as a colony of Meenlocks dwell in a chamber at the bottom of a shaft hidden beneath the flat stone in the hollow.