Here's the third post for my A to Z Challenge series describing 26 different locations in the World of Samardan campaign setting, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today, C is for the Cursed Caverns of Morasorat.
(Hex) Cursed Caverns of MorasoratAmbiance: The fairly extensive Caverns of Morasorat are adorned with common cave formations such as flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, soda straws and columns. Remnants of old campsites and a small military settlement, such as rope bridges and makeshift ladders, are common in the upper reaches of the cave system. Occasionally, explorers will encounter veins of a strangely glowing ore that cast a dim yellow light into the darkness.
History: Carved by the passage of time and water, the Cursed Caverns of Morasorat has long used as infrequent shelter for wanderers, and more than one attempt has been made to establish a settlement. Most long-term inhabitants die of a plague brought on by the curse of the "deadly gold", the hidden treasure referred to in legend as the Morasorat. Purportedly the treasure trove of an ancient mercenary, the caverns became cursed when the mercenary died of starvation for refusing to leave his wealth behind.
Encounters: Twisted abominations are all that seem to thrive here for long, mutations brought about by exposure to the radiation of the glowing ore found in the depths of the caves. Lawless brigands occupy some of the upper levels, using the caverns as a base of operations, while dudathulkati (gargantuan vermicular predators that can swallow man-sized creatures whole and are perpetually hungry) lair in the lower reaches. Other common encounters and hazards include other cave creatures that have survived the predations of the dudathulkati and small mutant vermin.
Treasure: The morasorat is a highly radioactive isotope useful for powering certain larger mechanisms of the Ancient Ones, although only the most knowledgable of scholars is likely to recognize that without a physical sample to examine. For characters looking for additional power in the form of mutations, this site provides Referees with an excuse to allow such elements into their campaign.
Adventure Hooks: Adventure hooks for this site could include the following:
- Merchants of Valdren have posted a reward for the head of the Morasorat brigands' leader, Ganan Bulusavir.
- Sen Logomit, a master scholar of Mermak, seeks adventurers to recover a sample of the morasorat, as he suspects its radioactive nature.
- The brigands of the Cursed Caverns of Morasorat have captured Ragahena Virakan, the eldest daughter of a Doganu (high noble) from Deval. Doganu Virakan would pay mightily for her return.
- The latest get-rich-quick venture for Virasanan Haran, a ne'er-do-well from Pordel, is to recover the lost treasure of the Cursed Caverns of Morasorat. He's looking for "partners" willing to travel with him to explore the site in search of "deadly gold".
- Word on the street is that the Cultists of Grandud (the Great Worm) seek a healthy dudathulkat egg to raise in their shrine as an avatar of their god.
The inspiration for this particular site came from a desire to provide a "curse" that fit within the context of a Planetary Romance setting, particularly since magic is not prominent. With the adventure hooks, I tried to lean toward some of the classic tropes for the genre, but I couldn't resist introducing a cult dedicated to a worm god. Snake cults are a classic element of Sword and Sorcery stories, and this was intended to be a rather subtle homage to that related genre.
Standard Disclaimer: As I have not yet decided where to set this particular location on the map as yet, I've left a placeholder to remind me to come back to this in the future. Later on, I'll replace (Hex) with the actual hex location, when I put all of this together into a single document.