As a final dénouement of the articles on Wondrous Locations, I am offering a collection of wondrous places, all of which have been created just for this article (none are from my past campaigns). These aren’t quite as polished as I might have liked (I ran out of time), especially in terms of the descriptions of the settings; they aren’t much more than well-developed ideas at this point. But, in many ways, that’s an advantage; they might not be ready to drop into an existing campaign without a little more work, but they can be better integrated into different settings.
1. The Broken Man
Legend holds that once there was a race of Giants who were as incredible in size relative to modern-day giants as those are ordinary men. Legend also holds that they fought a terrible war for supremacy amongst themselves, weakening their numbers to the point that the race was overthrown and wiped out by the other megafauna of the world – dragons, beholders, elementals, and the like – when the Megagiants turned against the Gods. All but one of the corpses vanished without a trace beneath the waves when their island home sunk at the height of the cataclysm, an object lesson in Hubris. That last survivor worked a vile spell to preserve his life indefinitely, and survived being dismembered, torn apart by the enemies that assaulted him, and the pieces strewn over the landscape; and survives in this wretched state still, the flesh and bones becoming slowly encrusted with soil and earth and forming the rather distinctive group of hills now known as strong>The Broken Man.
Strange things are said to happen in those hills. Those with broken bones and diseased limbs are healed in body, according to legend, but suffer the equivalent in grievous wounds to their minds and spirits. Those who camp near the Head sometimes hear it whispering its’ story to them at night. Undead, Demons, and Devils draw strength from the region, becoming incredibly more dangerous, while Clerical spells are weakened and prone to failure.
But this is a perilous journey, for the region seems to be a favorite amongst the species of Dragons, who suffer none to intrude on their domain (however temporary); they do not lair here, but do spend a part of their lives keeping outsiders away from the Broken Man. Some do so with gentility and firm insistence, others with violence and mayhem. This seems to be neutral ground to Dragonkind, another of the strange attributes of the place.
There are frequent minor tremors and shakings of the ground.
The problem, according to myth, is that there is a maximum amount of life energy that a body can contain, and the Broken Man used all of it to sustain his life despite the trauma he endured. There is no capacity left within him to actually heal his wounds, and even if there were, the broken fragments are covered in tons of earth and rock (said to be the death grip of the huge elemental who ultimately defeated him). Leakage of life emerge from the ends of the severed limbs is what heals the wounded, while terrible spells woven into the tattoos that adorn the living flesh hidden beneath the surface bolster, boost, and protect the undead and unholy. And this, it is said, is the final, eternal, hope of the Broken Man: that sufficient of the healing energy within him will be stolen by the wounded, or cancelled out by the presence of the unholy, that he will become ever-so-slightly mortal once again – either ending his suffering or enabling some sympathetic soul to finally heal his wounds and restore him to once again challenge the Gods.
There are some who say that in fact this has already occurred, and the Broken Man finally died when not healed in time, and that this is the origin of the ‘leakage’ of life energy. No-one knows for sure.
Only one thing is certain: no-one goes there by accident, and few survive going there deliberately. Everyone with any sense goes around The Broken Man.
Scale has been left vague. The smaller the Broken Man is, the more easily it will be recognized as unnatural and the less wondrous; normal giants (all races) range from 10½ feet (hill) to 21 feet (storm) in height. Relative to a 6′ human, that’s a factor of anywhere from x1.75 to x3.5. Applying those ratios to the low and high respectively gives the height of an intact Broken Man as 18′+ to 73.5′. Neither of those seem big enough to me, to be honest; I would put the minimum to result in a credible geological phenomenon at 100′ and if you want to preserve doubt that there’s anything to the story, at least 250′. These are the sorts of sizes usually attributed to the Giant in cartoon adaptions of Jack-and-the-beanstalk. I say again, these are very much a minimum. My personal choice would be to go with something like 600′. Human calf muscles are perhaps 3″ across, or 1/24th of the height; giving the colossus that results from a 600′ height makes the height of a severed limb 25′ tall, definitely high enough to form a hill in it’s own right.
In terms of layout, I keep imagining a crime-scene outline where the parts more-or-less line up in correct positions, but this is only obvious on a map or overhead view – and with dragons infesting the neighborhood, that’s not likely to have happened.
How much of the legends are true? That’s up to you, but I suggest retaining the “neutrality amongst dragonkind”, the draconic defenders, and the boost undead get, at the very least, with alternative explanations if necessary. The “hubris” element of the legend has been deliberately included because it gives a reason for clerics to retell the story to their flocks, building the legend with each retelling. But that might just be clever spin of a natural formation.
There are several possibilities for Story Use in adventures.
- The PCs might be hired to escort and protect a wealthy person with a defective or withered limb seeking healing through the Wonder, at its simplest.
- I can’t imagine that there are no cults who would take an interest in attempting to heal the Broken Man – the defenders would chase away some, and human authorities would go after them whenever they showed themselves, just in case.
- Perhaps the expansion of human civilization is now encroaching on the Broken Man and have chased the dragons away.
- Or perhaps it has become a summit point where dragons and humans can interact in (relative) peace.
- The quest for eternal life is an old favorite quest. And, according to legend, The Broken Man hides the secret. That’s never going to attract any interest.
- Perhaps the legends are half-right (as is so often the case) and the Broken Man is actually the pieces of a colossal Golem.
- Given all of the above, the Broken Man would be a key military objective and the region would be the focus of all sorts of political intrigue. Temples would be erected around the site, perhaps an Order Of Paladins would be based there to chase away evil cults and curious magi, and so on. There would be several prospering settlements in the shadow of the Broken Man.
- If the legends are true, the ultimate plotline would be the restoration of The Broken Man.
2. The Pool Of Reflection
The pool of reflection is a small lake that lies in a natural garden in the middle of a great plain, fed by a natural spring and with a river flowing from it. When viewed from the west, it sometimes reflects the image of a mountain range that is no longer there.
Legend holds that the spirit of the Lake looked out at the mountains and became so enthralled by their snow-capped magnificence that she began an illicit romance with the spirit of the mountains. Union between Elementals of different kinds is forbidden by the Gods, and when this romance was discovered, steps were taken to separate the pair; the mountain range was moved to the heart of a desert, where no water-being could go, and the mountains replaced by the eastern half of the present Great Plain. The spirit of the lake still pines for her lost love, but she was permitted to hold onto her reflection of him. The climate in the vicinity reflects the mood of the Spirit of the Lake; while sometimes it is happy and cheerful, more often it is cold, clammy, and mournful, and even in midsummer, strange glooms can sweep over the region. When it rains, the rain always has a teary quality, no matter what the weather over the rest of the plain might be.
Scale has been left to the GM. My own impression is that the pool should be deep at its heart and shallow at the edges and no more than 100′ across, but this can be varied to suit. The larger the lake, the less fantastic it seems in many respects (it’s more likely to have its own microclimate, for example), but the more impressive will be the reflected image. The smaller it is, the harder it is to explain the climatic phenomena naturally, but the more easily the reflection can be dismissed as an optical illusion or a trick of the light reflecting on the water. I would suggest that the Pool Of Reflection be emplaced in a region of low hills – which used to foothills, according to the legend.
The observant may notice that many craters have raised formations in their centers – refer to the diagram. What you make of this information is up to you.
Further Legends should exist. Perhaps marriages conducted here are considered blessed by the spirit of True Love, or cursed to end in separation and misery. Or both, by different groups. Perhaps the spirits in question were mortals punished by the gods (very Greco-Roman Mythos). Or perhaps people think they can catch a glimpse of their own True Love in the reflected waters. Or maybe the region is prone to inducing romantic flings between total strangers, the result of the Spirit within the Lake attempting to play out her doomed romance. Perhaps there’s a legend that if the love of a couple united by the Lake survives for long enough, the Gods will relent and reunite the lovers. There are lots of possibilities, but many of them are mutually exclusive – which is why I didn’t include them in the overall description above.
If it’s real, Mages would be naturally interested in how the effect works. Clerics would consider it proof of the power of the Gods. The two would be sure to clash. Throw in Druids, who are likely to consider the garden a Holy Place of their own, and you have the makings of fun on a regular basis – and that in turn would keep the civil authorities interested in what would undoubtedly be a powder-keg. But there is an implication that the Terrain is fertile land, and that means that more secular leaders would occasionally want to exploit it; so the location would be a focal point for all sorts of political games, and can be used as a metaphor for the eternal dispute between conservatism and progressives. Most of those seem to come down on the side of Progress, but not this one, so it can also serve as a balancing point for those influences within the campaign world.
Other possible Plot Uses include an expedition to find the mountain range that is reflected (moved, according to legend, to the heart of a desert); or perhaps studying the reflection to figure out how to gain entrance to a Dungeon on the mountain surface. And then there’s the question of the “ban” on elemental intermarriage – why? What happens? And surely at least one mage has tried to make it happen? If some sort of monstrosity results, the PCs might have a quest to discover where they are coming from, and who’s doing it, with the Wonder providing the central clues. And that all completely ignores the potential for Romantic plotlines and entanglements.
Still more possibilities stem from the emotional state of the Spirits in question. While “grief” and “sorrow” are the dominant characteristics, there can easily be flashes of other emotional states – rage, jealousy, malice. Perhaps the spirit within the lake seeks to orchestrate a reunion of the forbidden lovers, and has started manipulating people to achieve this.
Finally, throw in the potential for Divine politics – the God or Goddess (usually the latter) of Love probably feels sympathy for the pair, and there could be festering resentment of the forced separation of the couple. If that ever came to a head, there would be plenty of plot potential for mortals (like the PCs) caught in the crossfire.
3. The Palace Of Winter
In the frozen lands to the north there is a magnificent palace carved from a single giant chunk of ice by the King Of Winter from which he sends forth his emissaries of cold each year. On midsummer’s day, when he is at his weakest, he is unable to refuse entry to those who come calling; at such times, he is a munificent and gracious host; but woe betide any who linger too long, for when his power returns with the passing of days, he will throw off this ‘weakness of spirit’ and turn cruel and hostile, and enslave the unwanted guests to serve him forever. In the meantime, he will do everything in his power to persuade guests to stay within his walls for just one more day…
I keep thinking of the wild hunt whenever I attempt to visualize the “emissaries” but you might have other ideas, perhaps modeled on the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
A variation would be to have the King confine the power during summer; you could recast the whole thing as an act of self-sacrifice on his part. This would add a new layer of mythic quality.
Perhaps the whole “King Of Winter” story is myth, constructed to explain the palace – with no-one knowing for certain who built the place, which was found abandoned and empty – and in which no-one can bear to live for very long.
Or perhaps Hell is a frigid waste in this campaign world (despite what theology and planar travelers would have people believe), where only beings of fire can maintain enough warmth to survive – and The Palace Of Winter is a gatehouse.
Use In Adventures very much depends on which variation you choose. If the original, perhaps the PCs have to rescue someone famous or politically-significant who has been imprisoned/enslaved by the King Of Winter. Perhaps someone gets to confront the emissaries each winter, with the battle being symbolic of the severity of the ensuing winter – and this time around it’s the PCs turn. If you go with the “tragic figure” version of the King, perhaps he has hatched a plot to trick a PC into taking his place, or a PC’s loved one. If the Palace has been abandoned, perhaps the PCs are sent by an ambitious Noble to claim it on his behalf. If you choose the “Palace as Gateway to Frigid Hell” option, perhaps the King is growing old and decrepit, and letting things through that he should be stopping – but he has no heir. The PCs either have to rejuvenate him, or solve his infertility problem, or whatever.
4. The Citadel Of Secrets
Long ago, a weak Kingdom stood at the intersection point of four great Empires. By playing one against the other, and serving as neutral arbiter in their regular border disputes, the Kingdom managed to sustain an independence for itself, and even to prosper. Eventually, an ambitious King came to the throne, and devised a scheme to discover the vulnerabilities of each of his neighbors which he then intended to take advantage of. On the edge of his capital city, he had constructed a magnificent citadel, draping it with fineries and luxury; no expense was spared.
Great stone blocks, twelve feet to a side, were layed in interlocking manner, and each magically bonded to the adjacent stones. The outer surfaces were covered with ceramic tile inlayed with gold, silver, and precious gems which, in aggregate, depcited a magnificent sunset scene. He named it “The Guardian Of Dawn”, and it is still sometimes known by that name. The construction almost beggared his Kingdom, but eventually was complete, and he decreed that it was to be available to each of his neighbors when they came to bargain, to keep them safe from hostile forces.
Unbeknownst to those neighbors, there were greater magics involved in the construction of The Guardian Of Dawn than the ambitious King let on; if one stood still, and listened very hard, the secrets of whoever resided within would be whispered by the walls in a hidden chamber within the citadel. By orchestrating a series of minor crises, he would bring, in succession, each of the rulers and generals of his neighbors, and begin to plot against them. Unbeknownst to the ambitious monarch, the mages he employed were led by an even more unscrupulous and ambitious leader, who had sabotaged the construction. Not only would the walls throughout the structure whisper the secrets of all within, two in three whispers would be abject falsehoods, and the spell made no distinction between wishful thinking, speculation, ambition, and intent, and would broadcast the secrets of anyone within the hidden chamber as readily as those of anyone else. One by one, each of his neighbors learned of the ambitious monarch’s true intent in constructing “The Guardian Of Dawn”, and of ‘secret alliances’ between that monarch and their enemies, and what they thought were the vulnerabilities of each. The fires of conquest were lit within the hearts of each monarch, and soon led to general war and then anarchy. Stripped of their defensive neutrality, the ambitious monarch was the first to fall, and his Kingdom was razed – all but the citadel, which proved impervious to all attack. Then the order of Magi who had constructed the Guardian – now granted its more popular title – attempted to occupy the structure and bring all four empires under their own rule, only to discover that in their ambition, they too had overreached; the walls whispered not only the secrets of those now in residence, but the secrets of any who ever had, or ever would, abide within them, however briefly. Most of these were servants gossip and trivia, and most of what remained was mendacity, and most of what remained was irrelevant; but if one waited long enough, a single gem of insight might be revealed, shorn of its context and explanation. Worst of all, the whispers were incessant and could not be silenced; not even cutting off one’s ears sufficed. Linger too long, and – it is now said – the voices would follow you, whispering in your ears eternally, distracting you in combat, and driving you incurably insane.
All four empires are long-gone, as is the Kingdom, and even the city; only the citadel remains, as breathtaking and enticing as ever. Many make pilgrimages to the site and linger until learning something they find personally profound, risking their lives and minds for the promise of enlightenment. Others come in desperation, in need of answers or insights that may or may not be forthcoming.
Near to the Citadel, an order of Monks has established a cloister, and from it – in relays – they take it in turns to record the whispered words, one hour each at a time. The rest of their waking time (that not spent seeing to the needs of survival) is spent indexing and correlating the secrets they have learned, and attempting to discern what was from what will be from what never was. To support themselves, from time to time, they issue a limited number of small booklets of prophecies, which sell for exorbitant sums.
Every now and then, an ambitious noble seeks to take advantage – either forcibly or through intrigue – of the discoveries of the Order, only to discover that the Monks have recognized the true intent and advised his enemies accordingly. They perpetuate, politically and socially, the neutral power broking of the original Kingdom, their way of honoring the sacrifices made to construct the Citadel.
The above is so compelling that I had to read it through three times before realizing that there was not a hint as to the size and layout of the Citadel itself. That seems almost trivial in importance. My own thinking is something fairly big and impressive, with thick walls. It’s worth noting that “Rock to mud”, its reverse, and the use of moulds, makes it very easy to construct stone blocks of any required size and shape – if you can afford the mage to cast the spells – so “Big and impressive” is easier to achieve in a D&D world, and a lot faster. Employing the same principle and an elementary pump makes it easy to fill shaped hollows within each block with more mud which can be rendered into rock. Steel was still too expensive and hard to make in quantity for it to be used as a reinforcing material, but if it were not, this approach would make reinforced concrete as easy to use as it is modern times, with even more flexibility – both things to keep in mind, especially when thinking about a “no expense spared” structure like this one.
Nor is anything much said about the local geography. My mind’s eye sees a valley with passes to the four original Empires, but that’s up to you.
As for adventure potential, if all sorts of plotlines aren’t suggesting themselves to you right away, you aren’t trying hard enough. Lies, truth, fantasy, speculation, deliberate plans, wisdom, insight, prophecy, politics, and secrets all wrapped up in a neat little bow – with a wickedly malicious and subversive intent built into the basic programme? What more could you want?
Of course, if all that seems too overwhelming, have the PCs be the first to discover the long-forgotten Citadel, and have the rest of the developments described – the pilgrims and monks – take place in the background of the campaign. But that means there would be no-one to warn the PCs about the dangers of lingering too long…
5. The Spire of Contention
The community of Shar is the most peaceful in existence. There is no internal dissent, there are no disputes between neighbors, and no arguments. Placidity and tranquility and a sense of unchanging inexorability seem to linger in the very air. And that is because the Spire Of Contention casts its shadow over the community of Shar every day.
The spire is a long finger of rock stabbing into the sky, jutting from a level plain without explanation. There is no evidence that it was moved to its present location from elsewhere, and its geology is completely unlike that which is native to the region. The story is that one day the sky tore open and the spire crashed to the ground from nowhere, crushing two donkeys and a stable, and burying itself a full third of its length. There is endless speculation as to its ultimate place of origin, and even more speculation as to the how and why of the profound effect it has on any who climb it. No explanation of any substance whatsoever has ever come to light. The most popular is that this is a cornerstone of heaven, and that part of its otherworldly nature clings to it, but there is no proof.
Once a year, and whenever a dispute arises, those in contention climb its narrow, winding staircase carved of stone. With each step, they relive in full intensity and with heightened passion, one source of dissension or ill-feeling within their lives, past or present. Minor irritations become sources of towering rage and frustration. Most climbers are so infuriated that (even though they know better) they attempt to turn and act on their feelings, only to find that they are held firmly in place when they seek to travel in any direction but higher up. Immediately they take another step, the inflated anger and fury vanish, and the climber becomes aware of how disproportionate their response was to the cause, which in turn makes the cause seem less vital and urgent than it did; effectively, they are cleansed, purged of the negative emotions vested in the object of emotional disquiet. Apon reaching the summit, their angers and irritations have been washed away, leaving a calmness and dispassion that enables a peaceful resolution of whatever domestic irritants they might experience. Only anger and its possible causes are removed; the locals remain as capable of happiness and celebration and love as those anywhere.
No matter how many people are ascending the spire at the same time, they can never make contact with each other, never stand on the same step at the same time, not even reach out to a climber they know is just ahead of them and touch him. No matter how slow a climber the person ahead may be, a faster climber can never catch up with them. No-one understands how or why this happens, either. Speculation is that subjective perception of time AND objective measurement of time are both manipulated in the course of the passage, but that doesn’t explain how or why.
At the summit, the climber can see the entire community as a whole, an image that stays with them as they descend, for once at the peak, they can turn around and descend freely, with none of the emotional manipulation experienced on the ascent. It feels so good to be relieved of the anger that if one climb was insufficient, a climber will usually be so strongly desirous of peace within his spirit that he will turn and ascend again. The spire’s influence does not change the people, though it transforms their lives; they are still every bit as capable of anger and rage as the next man, they simply have a way of relieving those emotions. However, the locals have learned that when the passion is removed from a dispute, they can often see solutions that were not evident previously. Should they leave the vicinity, they are as people anywhere – other than being, perhaps, a little wiser and harder to agitate. This is why it does no good forcing an entire population to ascend.
It follows that all attempts to employ the Spire to force peace between warring nations or factions fails if the conflict is sincere. Only if both sides are ready to make peace can the spire strip away the encrustations resulting from the conduct of the war. However, many military leaders and political leaders faced with difficult decisions will make a pilgrimage to the Spire for the clarity of perspective that it offers; while an equal number will refuse to do so, aware that if their followers are more passionate about the cause than they are, they may lose control of the battlefield.
Some claim that if you climb the spire backwards, you will retain the anger and fury and passion generated at each step; inevitably, each time someone attempts this, impatience leads them to make a careless misstep and fall from a great height. This is usually fatal and since it can only be a deliberate act, survivors garner neither sympathy nor support from the locals.
What is the spire? Where does it come from? How did it come to be where it now is? How does it do what it does? Why? Who built it? Why? All the fundamental questions are enshrouded in mystery. Its effects are both subtle and profound. It could settle into the landscape of any campaign without a ripple, and become part of the landscape; but from the moment of its arrival, it would begin exerting a subtle influence over the campaign world.
My (admittedly incomplete) thoughts are that it exemplifies the difference between Drow and Elves so perfectly that this should be the cornerstone to the story. But even then: is it a tower from Corallen’s Palace? Is it the creation of some high elf Master? Is it a creation of the Drow, storing the negative emotions of which it cleanses the locals until it reaches some “critical mass” – and does something nasty?
Where is supposed to be, and what are the consequences of it not being there? All these questions hold potential plotlines…
6. The Library Of Shelves
I have a personal hatred of book-burning and censorship in general. It’s too easy for knowledge and wisdom to be suppressed for ideological and dogmatic reasons. (At the same time, I accept that there are perfectly valid reasons for classifying information and not making it publicly available – but rarely trust those making the choices – but that’s not relevant here). It was that personal trait that led my thoughts to the idea of The Library Of Shelves.
Every book has an existence as real as that of any person. Any author will tell you that books take on a life if their own as they are written, edited, and revised; like a sculptor trimming away the stone that is not part of the sculpture to reveal the form that lay in potentiality within the original block, the process of writing is as much about what to leave out as it is about inclusion. It is as though they develop a soul, a spirit of their own – one that can be infinitely subdivided and distributed equally amongst every copy. The lineage of ideas can be traced, with sufficient care, in exactly the same way as a human family tree – though with an oddly variable number of forebears, and differing relative strengths of contribution. And if books possess something akin to a soul, they can also leave behind a ghost of what was. And that’s where The Library Of Shelves comes in.
Constructed by a shy retiring scholar who just happened to be born into a family with more wealth than they knew what to do with. When construction was complete, the family were impoverished, their fortune a thing of memory – but they left a legacy that cannot be undervalued. The Library was blessed by the God Of Knowledge (after very generous donations to his temples), making it is a remarkable place, and Holy if for no other reason. From the outside, it is an unassuming place of timber and stone, vast without being overwhelming, poetic in line and form but without decoration, austerity raised to the level of art form. Only the most outward of its surfaces lies within the Prime Material Plane; most of its structure lies elsewhere, no-one is completely sure where, but the result leaves it impervious to wholly material weapons. It may well be eternal. But that is the least of the Wonders it encompasses.
It is bigger within than without, something possible only because it is built through the walls that confine existence. But this is not its most awesome attribute, either.
Within, shelf apon empty shelf may be found. Indeed, the library expands internally every time a book is published, a letter written, or a map or chart drawn. And on those shelves are held the ghosts of every book ever written.
Where a book is in wide circulation, these are ephemeral, for the Library holds only one Nth of the ghost. As copies wear out or are destroyed, through age, wear, accident, or malice, the spirit of the words is redistributed and the ghost of the book becomes more substantial, through it remains intangible. When only one physical copy remains, the ghost achieves its greatest substantiality.
The library is attended by scholars and curators of innumerable species. These monitor the health of the collection, and when only one copy of a work remains, the Library staff dispatch a party to obtain that last copy, tracing it to its current possessor by means of the connection between ghost and source tome. If they can, they will buy it. If the price is beyond measure, they will steal it. If it cannot be stolen, they will copy it, and leave those copies in the collections of bibliophiles who may never know what treasure they possess. If it is too dangerous to have the entire book in one location, they will split it up and hide one part here and another there. The ultimate goal is to reunite the last copy of the book with its ghost (or ensure that it is not the last copy, for in doing so, they confer a bibliological form of immortality apon the printed words, preserving them for all eternity within the Library of shelves.
The only books that can be touched within the Library are the last copies in existence of that book.
This time, location has been left to the individual GMs, but it should be somewhere with a history of scholarship.
Plot potential: It would be easy to use the Library as a framing device for an entire campaign, with the PCs being sent to find and retrieve books, but even without going to that extreme, there is information there that people with power want (some of whom will do anything to attain it), and information there that people with power want suppressed (ditto re the ‘do anything’). Wars would be fought to claim this particular real estate. If you don’t want that, have the location become “lost” and the Library a “Legend” and have the PCs find it – or simply come across someone else who is searching for it. The Library is one of those rare Wonders that never has to be found to become central to a campaign.
And then, of course, there’s the potential for some bright spark to embark on a rampage of book burning to ensure that his copies are the last ones in existence – and then to offer to give them to the Library if their retrieval team does “one little favor” for them – a precedent that the Library staff cannot permit, but above all the books must be preserved. Anything that would endanger them must be forbidden.
Finally: if books have souls, then book-burning can be used to power necromantic magic. And perhaps to resurrect or restore a book of forbidden knowledge. If you can’t get a plot out of that…
The Origin Story: Frankly, I’m only half-satisfied by this. It seems a little too mundane, and the dues-ex-machina is too obvious. If I were to use it in a campaign, I would be tempted to junk the origin and have it be a “nobody knows” situation.
I have five more to go, maybe six. Some of the remainder are natural wonders, and at least one is from a non-human race. But for this article at least, I’m out of time. Fortunately, there’s room for one more article before the Blog Carnival for the month comes to an end…