Behold, for I present unto thee my tenth post for my A to Z Challenge series, in which I describe 26 different locations in the World of Samardan campaign setting, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today is brought to you by the letter J. J is for the Justiciar's Vault.
(Hex) Justiciar's VaultAmbiance: Standing alone on the wastelands of the Torafeldan, the Darmangumbad, or Justiciar's Vault, resembles a great stone dome with numerous slanted shafts about its base leading into the depths of the ruins. Many of the shaft openings are decorated by the symbols of various tribes, as well as the skulls of numerous creatures. Very little grows within an hour's walk of the structure, making it feel very desolate, indeed.
History: The Justiciar's Vault, so the stories have been passed from generation to generation, been used as a site where Husrani tribes would dispense judgment on those who have performed great offenses against their people. Offenders are dropped down the shafts into the depths of the Vault, where the accused generally met their doom. Should they survive and escape, however, the accused were considered innocent by virtue of Trial by Ordeal. Sadly, very few have ever been found innocent by the ordeals of the Darmangumbad.
Encounters: Convict-gangs made up of sentenced offenders can be found in the desolate halls of the Vault, each struggling to control various regions of the underground complex where water can be found. On the lower levels of this ancient medical complex, cyborgs, little more than animated corpses powered by crystalline technology, protect and serve an artificially intelligent medical hologram. Common encounters and hazards include man-traps, security systems and vermin.
Treasure: If one can make a bargain with the holographic healer, one could receive any of a number of mostly-functional cybernetic enhancements. However, given the computer's lack of compassion for its test subjects, the moral and ethical costs of meeting its needs may be too high. Ancient lore on biotechnology can be found in the depths of the complex, as well.
Adventure Hooks: Adventure hooks for this site could include the following:
- A dying man stumbles through the wastelands toward the Granbalem. His strange mumblings speak of the ghost of an Ancient One, and a treasure trove of power crystals under an Ancient dome.
- Pansanu Damo Damkara, Husran chieftain of the Damkara Tribe, will cast all humans he captures into the Justiciar's Vault unless they can provide him with a warbird or an airship of his own.
- Sen Kada Balsanan, a Rakran healer, is curious about the depths of the Justiciar's Vault, after she performed an autopsy on an escapee with a number of cybernetic modifications. Of course, she's willing to pay for protection.
- The Raganu Sumataro Mudakusan of Nobium seeks a band of mercenaries to retrieve his eldest son, who was captured by a Husrani tribe. The Raganu feels that it is likely that his son, Semahen, has been sentenced to the Justiciar's Vault for "crimes" the Nobium army has performed against the tribesmen.
- The renowned mystic Sen Nadano Devika seeks to enter the Justiciar's Vault, claiming to seek a spiritual secret bound within the Justiciar's Vault. His friends, however, feel he's actually seeking death, and are hiring bodyguards to protect him as much from himself as from the dangers of the Darmangumbad.
While you generally can't have undead in a Planetary Romance setting, you can certainly come up with alternatives that do fit. Zombies can be replaced with cyborgs, and ghosts become holograms. I'm sure that, by the time I get to run this site for players, I'll have even more surprises inspired by classic fantasy creatures of that particular ilk. Thus, the Darmangumbad has become my not-so-subtle homage to the classic dungeon of undead.
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.