Mar 14, 2012

The Cauldron and the Tomb of Thranisphane

This map is to the immediate south of the map of the Orthocracy of Kaddish and its hinterland.

I know I've been blasting you folks with a lot of anthropology and other high-level stuff lately, and people who haven't read theRPGsite thread are probably asking "What is there for PCs to do in this setting exactly?" This map, containing the tomb of Thranisphane, is a good opportunity for me to give you a taste of that.

The Tomb of Thranisphane the Twice-Killed

Thranisphane was an ancient king of High Kaddish, one renowned for his wickedness and evil. Even death was not enough to stop Thranisphane, for he returned as an undead monster, slew his own children, and reigned over High Kaddish for ten years before he was slain once more while fighting the Black Eagle tribe of the Hill People. The Black Eagles took him within a circle of binding stones and sat him atop a throne made of red glass, with unbreakable pins through his wrists and ankles to hold him in place. Thranisphane still sits there, dead and yet not passed from this world, waiting for the end of time when he will break free and stride over the dead earth as its lord. Thranisphane knows many things, and though it is death to come too close, brave men may stand at the bottom of the hill and shout questions to him, which he will answer or not as he pleases, though his answers are not always truthful.

The twelve stones are arranged as four trilithon gates. Walking between gates kills the one who attempts it, but the gates are comparatively safe. Walking through a gate transports one to another point in time. All four gates were originally in the future of the Black Eagles, but as time has passed, the end point of one has passed into history. All people who will ever travel through the gate arrive within about an hour of the same point in time, with just enough displacement between petitioners to prevent jams. This means that the hill at each endpoint save one is relatively crowded.

The northern gate leads to the end of the world, to a few minutes before Thranisphane is released. This gate is no longer safe, as the number of petitioners present has become large enough that they cannot all petition Thranisphane before he is released, whereupon he kills anyone still remaining and strides forth as Lord of the Dead. The land from the hill is flat, level and grey, a featureless waste in all directions. Overhead, the sun is red and swollen, and the heat is unbearable.

The eastern gate leads to what is estimated to be millions of years in the future. The hill is underwater, and those who cannot breathe water will quickly drown. Hive-intelligences composed of schools of small fish have built a city of black stone around the hill, using enslaved cephalopod gnostics as labourers. They will not cross the barrier, and know nothing of the times of Kaddish save what Thranisphane and other travellers tell them.

The southern gate leads to tens of thousands of years in the future. The hill is surrounded by a blue glowing dome of force, and in the distant horizon, a city of red glass blocks looms. The people who live in this time do not approach the hill. The skeleton of a great serpent lays around the base of the hill, just inside the perimeter of the gates.

The western gate leads to shortly after the revolution in Kaddish (about two hundred years ago). This is the most commonly used gate, but at this time, a great serpent lives here. Anyone entering will arrive at the same time as the serpent, and be forced to fight it.