A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

02 April 2015

[A to Z April] B is for The Barrens (locale)

Every city has a place like this. A dark hole. A place where things just seem to go wrong. A place where nothing works quite right. Your skin crawls when you simply cross a given line--real or imaginary. A place where you can be utterly alone and yet hear footsteps behind you. Where a whisper carries for blocks and a blood-curdling scream cannot be heard through a paper-thin wall.

Every city has one.

Coldtreath has The Barrens.

Coldtreath. The Barrens are highlighted by the blue shark tooth shape.

Nearly one hundred years ago, a disgraced cleric of Bil found himself hounded by a lynch mob and cornered in a maze of tiny alleyways and squatters' sheds in central Coldtreath. As the angry residents of the area closed in and began to beat the wizened cleric, the cleric--Kouphinus, the Bishop of Decay--summoned forth every ounce of divine energy available to him (albeit corrupted divine energy) and wrapped it up in one spectacular curse against Coldtreath in general and the citizens of this neighborhood in specific. An icy blue light exploded from the dying cleric, sweeping northward in a triangular shape through the streets and alleyways south of Gelyndu Boulevard, finally dying out at the Boulevard itself.

The curse created the zone now called "The Barrens." It is a zone where magic does not work correctly, whether spell, scroll, prayer, or potion. People vanish there without a trace. Loud sounds do not echo; the quietest of sounds are heard randomly throughout the area. Wood burns only with great difficulty and light does not travel far; the strongest lantern and the brightest torch cast little more than a candle's worth of illumination against the dark of night. When viewed from within The Barrens, the moon is out of phase and the constellations are strange and alien to Coldtreath. During the daylight hours, it is perpetually twilight within the neighborhood. Those who live within the neighborhood for more than a few weeks begin to feel constant despair; a few month's residence sees despair turn to dread and nameless fears. No one who lives within The Barrens for a year's time stays sane.

Many of the greatest mages and clerics in the realms have traveled to Coldtreath to examine The Barrens. Not one has been able to identify or quantify the curse. Indeed, most who have tried have been utterly unable to even sense that there is a curse on the area, although it clearly exists. The magics behind the curse shift and change, almost as if they are themselves intelligent and desire to stay concealed.

Previous "B"s:
2014: B is for Blood Stimulant (beverage)
2013: B is for Belt of Invulnerable Embrace (item)
2012: B is for Beetle, Soul (monster)
2011: B is for Bulette

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