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    Canonfire :: View topic - Dark Istvin 576 CY
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    Dark Istvin 576 CY
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:57 am  
    Dark Istvin 576 CY

    Has anyone used the Black Hemisphere of Istvin for the background of their 576 CY Giants-Depths-Demonweb Campaign or games taking place later in the timeline? How have you described what the city was like during the Darkness? I can’t seem to find any info for what it was like in any of the canon (the modules and Dragon 117-119) other than you could enter, but no one ever came out...

    Kwint
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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:20 am  

    From The Eyes Have It by Rose Estes, page 8:

    "Lolth's methods for gathering a world to her cause began with spinning a web, weaving a bridge between her abysmal plane and a point on Oerth—in this case, the unfortunate city of Istivin, the capital city of the kingdom of Sterich.

    "The web took on the appearance of a giant black bubble, which completely enveloped the city and opened a gateway between the two worlds, allowing the servants of Lolth—spiders, drows, bugbears, orcs, goblins, giants, vampires, and other undead—to move freely. The native population vanished completely, enslaved by Lolth's forces and removed to the Abyss or given to loyal factions of the drow.

    "The land beneath the black bubble was a burned, blasted land, sterile and poisoned by the evil forces who crawled over its surface searching for plunder. The bubble continued to grow at the rate of a league per week, until after a year's time, the bubble had grown to a radius of more than one hundred leagues in all directions, with Istivin at its center.

    "Istivin did not die willingly. Opposition was mounted from within, but it was hopeless from the start, for the occupants of the city were totally unprepared for war of any sort, much less a war waged by an army of monsters. The defenders of Istivin were either slain or enslaved, and from that point on, there was little resistance to the spread of the black bubble. Those in its path either fled or died."
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:35 am  

    From GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders, page 121:

    "The black bubble that has engulfed Istivin becomes transparent 1-10 days after Lolth weaves the gateway between the worlds. Individuals may move freely between the inside and outside of the bubble.

    "The interior of the bubble is lit by a dim, violet light, regardless of day and time. Creatures affected by sunlight are then able to come and go without ill effect.

    "The native populace of Istivin is gone, enslaved by Lolth’s forces and either moved to another world or the Abyss, or given as gifts to those houses in the Vault of the Drow loyal to Lolth.

    "A silvery gateway, similar to those that link Lolth’s Demonweb with the other planes, appears in the audience chambers of the Earl’s citadel. This silvery gateway only allows those to pass through that have previously passed out of the Demonweb, keeping invaders out. The portal’s location on the Demonweb is just to the right of the portal to Lolth’s spider-ship. The only way to Lolth’s plane is through the gate in the Fane of Lolth.

    "Lolth’s spider-ship returns to her plane, filled with the swag looted from Istivin, including the nation’s ruler (His Magnitude, Earl Querchard) kept as a personal minstral.

    "Those entering the dark bubble that surrounds Sterich find a blasted land filled with servants of Lolth—spiders, drow, bugbears, driders, shadows, vampires, and undead. These forces suffer no disadvantage under the dome, and in addition, the lack of light makes the area a haven for evil human and humanoid troops (including orcs, goblins, and of course the giants), who flock down into Sterich is search of plunder. Only a heavily armed force would be able to reach the Citadel of Istivin."
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:29 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    From The Eyes Have It by Rose Estes, page 8 and From GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders, page 121


    This assumes the heroes fail in Demonweb Pits, yes? Or did the entire population of Istvin disappear at the beginning of the modules and the city left empty once the adventurers defeat Lolth?

    Kwint
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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:57 am  

    Yeah, the above quote is from the worst case ending.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:14 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Yeah, the above quote is from the worst case ending.


    From my reading, and the basis for my query is that the heroes are hired at the beginning of Steading, IIRC, by a group of Merchants outside Istvin instead of by the Earl because the city had been simultaneously engulfed in a Black Hemisphere of unknown origin which could only be breached from the outside, yes?

    My question is, if that previous statement is correct, what was Istvin like while the heroes were traipsing from giant lair to giant lair to giant lair through the UnderOerth to the Shrine and then the Vault ultimately traveling to the Abyss to upset Lolth’s machinations and subsequently shut down the Black Bubble, a fact they only learn about (minus divination) upon their return to Sterich or wherever they are to go for their reward?...

    Kwint
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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:22 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    From my reading, and the basis for my query is that the heroes are hired at the beginning of Steading, IIRC, by a group of Merchants outside Istvin instead of by the Earl because the city had been simultaneously engulfed in a Black Hemisphere of unknown origin which could only be breached from the outside, yes?


    Basically. A Keoish patrol brings them to the wizard Lashton. The sphere can only be entered by those who are native to the area, not the PCs. The module specifies that the PCs can't enter because Lolth has other plans for them, so I assume even if a PC is native to Istivin they should be kept out.

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    My question is, if that previous statement is correct, what was Istvin like while the heroes were traipsing from giant lair to giant lair to giant lair


    I think we can assume that much of the above descriptions apply, except that the portal to Lolth's web isn't open yet (page 15 says the bubble is a prelude to opening the portal), so it won't yet be full of demons, humanoids, undead, etc. The population shouldn't be enslaved yet; they're just trapped inside and can't escape.

    Their biggest problems at this point will be food and water shortages. The portal opens if the player characters die in their battle with Lolth. Besides food and water, it's possible some sort of abyssal taint is contaminating the area. The third edition accessory Heroes of Horror had rules for the effects of evil supernatural taint and the various ways it can corrupt characters, physically and mentally. Those who die in an evil-suffused area might rise as bodaks. Abyssal diseases might be a danger, as well as mundane illnesses spread by people trapped in close quarters without access to fresh water and sanitation.

    Probably the city isn't yet in ruins, but it's lit by a "dim, violet light," as mentioned above.
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    Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:58 am  

    Thanks, Rip for all the information...My primary use for it is whatwould people who survived the Black Bubble tell of their nearly year long ordeal 18 yrs later in 594 CY...

    Kwint
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    Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:03 am  

    kwint wrote:
    Thanks, Rip for all the information...My primary use for it is whatwould people who survived the Black Bubble tell of their nearly year long ordeal 18 yrs later in 594 CY...

    Kwint

    I think that many people who survived the strange time of violet light would generally not speak of it, particularly if any of them were compelled to survive by cannibalism.

    Assuming that Istivin's wells never ran dry—which seems less likely unless the sphere encompassed enough of the aquifer—if it really lasts a year, rasgon's points about starvation and disease would likely mean that biologically and socially vulnerable people did not survive: infants whose mothers could not eat adequately, children and the elderly who were not of a wealthy or powerful family, etc.

    Even if the sphere encompassed some nearby farmlands, plants would die or be stunted, so the city's domestic animals would need to rely on stored feed. Without extraordinary leadership and adequate solidarity (or social control), it's hard to imagine how the populace survived the necessary rationing without riots and other forms of violence (unless clerics within the city could create food and water?).

    Add madness too to the mix, as people break down from the unrelenting horror of another day without a dawn. It's godawful to imagine, particularly in light of the pandemic.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:43 pm  

    Theoretically, foodstuffs could be sent into the Bubble from the outside, I think...

    Kwint
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