The Sundering of Vaul
Adventuring in Vaul
The World Of Vaul
This article is a stub. It will be improved later, and a map added.
Luara is a quiet world, as magical realms go. Although there are magic and monsters, it tends to be strength of arms and industrious commonfolk who shape the world. Powerful spellcasters are rare, and powerful and strange magic items even rarer. The wizard colleges of Pridia or the Elven Wizards of Firrien are a support and defense for their people, and have only slowly accrued the spell knowledge they have today.
Although some powerful, and in some cases more magical, empires have risen and fallen in the past, their relics are almost entirely lost, and their knowledge no longer exists except in whispered tales. Such arcane and ancient secrets as have been unearthed have proven incomprehensible, non-functional, or flawed. Although they are studied still, it seems there is no easy path to power here.
Anybody familiar with Oerth or the Forgotten Realms will recognize the core regions. Warriors, rangers, and rogues, with the occasional magic user, make up the adventuring population – Kung Fu, gunpowder, and the Aztec gods are quite unknown.
All that is beginning to change however. In the year 875 of the Pridian Reckoning, a great pain swept upon the people of Luara, a sudden sharp headache and a searing light in the eyes. Some people reported cryptic and disturbing visions during this event. For a time, nobody knew what it meant. Then reports began to arrive in every corner of civilization about a majestic walled city, magically sealed and protected, which had appeared in the midst of the barren plains, seemingly overnight. Barbarian tribesmen had named Vaul because of a passing resemblance to some words in a cryptic prophesy. Delegations were sent to investigate, and await contact from the inhabitants… and there they waited.
Nothing came out of the city, and nothing could breach the walls or gates, until a crack was discovered between wall and warding, allowing some few daring souls to enter in. What they found was a vista of abandonment and destruction – many portions of the city are intact, but others lie in ruins, and the urban landscape stretches as far as the eye can see. None of the inhabitants are anywhere to be found, but early explorers returned with tales of wealth, mystery, and danger.
Adventurers from all over Luara have begun traveling to Dogtown, the rough and tumble mercenary and adventurers camp which has sprung up beside “the Gap” to plunder the wealth of this city, and master its secrets. Already fragments of items and a few choice spells have been unearthed which push the boundaries of magical knowledge in the Collegium Arcanum, and only the surface has been scratched. Meanwhile, there must surely be other entrances and exits from the city as yet undiscovered, for… things… have begun to seep out. Things no sane man would bring with him.
Adventuring in Luara
Characters in Luara will have an Origin Region, where they are from, and a Home Region, where they live and typically adventure. Regardless of region, adventures in the city of Vaul are open to all comers.
Each of the home regions has a storyline, regularly occurring non-player characters, and a certain continuity. Characters may adventure anywhere, although it takes less Time Units (see PGREF) to adventure in your home region, you will only be eligible to join organizations (the local wizards college for example) from your home or origin region. Adventuring in the city itself is more abstract. Characters may choose to go on a specific adventure if one is listed, or may also simply choose to explore, wandering the city in search of treasures, secrets, or challenges. Once things in the city are discovered, they may be revisited, if you know where to find them.
What is known about the City
It is nearly impermeable to both divination effects and teleportation. The walls are unbreachable and the city appears to be enclosed in a hemispherical dome of magical warding, preventing entrance by flight. Nobody has made an extreme effort to tunnel in from underneath, but some lackluster efforts have revealed that the walls seem to continue at least 5 yards beneath ground level. The only access point to the city identified at this point is a ruined section of the outer wall (“the Gap”, which can be reached by “the scaffold”, an elevator system which reaches that ruined section. Outside of the scaffold is Dogtown, where adventurers and scholars who wish to penetrate the mysteries/pillage the wonders of Vaul congregate.
Some magical effect makes finding your way in Vaul extremely vexing. Once you have been to a place, you can almost always find your way back – but that place may not be as near or far as you thought, or next to what you expected. Seeing a landmark on the horizon and heading that way rarely seems to work.
The architecture is not a match for any current or historical style, but is familiar in the sense that it seems to be designed primarily for medium bipedal creatures, and has buildings of identifiable function – such as houses, shops, public gathering places. Many buildings function is still unclear, but not generally incomprehensible.
The script occasionally encountered within the city is at this time indecipherable. It does not yield to comprehend lan-guages or other magical interpretation, probably because it shares no linguistic roots with the languages upon which those spells were based.
Various areas of the city seem to have their own version of the greater warding, so that what can be accessed from the scaffold is only a small part of the city, at least for now. Adventurers hope that if a gap can be found here, others may eventually be discovered leading to even more profitable and dangerous parts of the city.
Portals are common in Vaul – there are some identified public squares which seem to have a number of portals… some of these appear operational, but nobody has yet found out how to open them. There are also a number of portals which seem to not have been part of the original architecture – wandering through the city, appearing and then disappearing, or occasionally static but in locations that don’t seem like the sort of place you would intentionally locate a portal. These portals lead either to different parts of the city (at the moment, only to those parts which could be accessed by walking from the scaffold, but who knows what may later be discovered) – or to places of potential adventure. Why this should be the case is a subject of much debate. Many of these temporary portals seem to function like a Gate spell, sucking creatures from other locations, many quite strange, into the city and depositing them there.
After nightfall a strange fog rolls though the city. Many of the denizens seem unaffected, but no adventurer who has stayed overnight has ever been seen again.