The last in entry in the four part Guide to Salinmoor, this article looks at three adventure locales within the Viscounty of Salinmoor.
A Guide to the Viscounty of Salinmoor - Places of Mystery
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
The Viscounty of Salinmoor is not without its places of mystery. Generally left alone by the superstitious inhabitants of the Viscounty, these sites brood quietly, rarely disturbed and rarely disturbing any but those who would linger over long in their vicinity.
Just off the coast of the Viscounty of Salinmoor, almost presicely halfway between Seaton and Saltmarsh, broods Brinestone Keep. Connected to the mainland by a causeway that rises above the waters of the Azure Sea at low tide, Brinestone Keep is an ancient pile of seaweed covered wet stone. Rising to several levels, the Keep is oddly shaped, a ziggurat where each successive tier is canted, off center from the tiers immediately above and below, forming a series of unsupported balconies jutting from the central core. Unstable, Brinestone Keep regularly sinks partially or fully below the surface of the sea, only to rise again, partially or wholly, before once more retreating from the surface world. No pattern to this cycle of sinking and rising has ever been discovered.
Ancient beyond the recorded history of the area, it is unknown who built Brinestone Keep. Explorations into its dark maze of dank halls have been brief and have revealed nothing. The Keep is empty and uninhabited. Interestingly, even the sahuagin do not appear to have ever taken up residence. Locals give Brinestone Keep an equally wide berth. Those who venture too close report feelings of unease. Too long a time spent within the shadow of the dripping ramparts is said to occasion nightmares. Of course, the superstitious locals attribute any number of disappearances to the Keep. Nothing, however, has ever affirmatively linked Brinestone Keep with any fell activity. It simply broods, storm lashed amidst the crashing waves.
The City in the Swamp
Swampers tales tell of a city of flecked green stone situated somewhere in the Hool Marshes east of the Javan River. In some recitations, it is all that remains of a once great empire of lizard folk. In others, it has merely been appropriated by them. Still other stories claim it is feared and avoided by all the swamp’s inhabitants. What is known is that the abandoned beacon tower of the wizard Baltron lies some distance nearby. This is the only known landmark that might guide one to the City in the Swamp, although the beacon presents its own mysteries. If there is any other connection between the two, it is not known.
Explorations of the City in the Swamp have revealed it to be of considerable extent. This has prompted some to opine that it must have been built before the surrounding terrain was inundated by the runoff or overflow of the Javan River. This would make the City old indeed but it is well agreed that this is the case. The City exudes a palpable air of great age. While some portions of the City are reported to remain largely intact, as much if not more lays in ruined or partly ruined condition, while still more has been swallowed by the marsh. Most of the city is certainly choked by plants, vines and creepers or all sorts, making locating the City doubly difficult. The reward for finding the City is uncertain.
Odd treasures, no less than precious stones and metals, have been recovered from the City in the Swamp. At least so sellers of such treasures have said. Most of these have been encountered in Saltmarsh, which appears to live up to its reputation as a market for more than the usual custom. The authenticity of these claims is harder to ascertain. Many have set out looking for the City in the Swamp only to return convinced it does not exist. Others have not returned at all. Should one then believe those claiming to peddle its salvaged wares?
The Pit of Logh Duran
Fabled in Flannish folklore, from wence its name comes, and repeated in the spook tales of the Southdown halflings, the Pit of Logh Duran is very real. On most maps of Salinmoor it is unmarked, but laying just off the track between Seaton and Burle, it may be encountered with no great difficulty. Most, however, do not willingly speak of it and almost all who know of it avoid it. It holds nothing but death, and the faintest hope of treasure, surely not enough to be worth a man’s life.
Those who would court disaster by seeking out the Pit of Logh Duran may be saved from their own folly by its outward appearance which is that of a simple, nearly featureless, square keep. The Pit lays beneath the keep and may only be reached by traversing its stark, basalt halls. It is below the underhalls that the pit yawns. Whether the keep was knowing built over the pit, perhaps to protect or guard it, or not is unknown. Who built the keep and when it was constructed is unknown. The old stories almost all fail to mention the keep, being more concerned about the Pit that waits below.
The precise nature of the Pit is that of a natural opening into the earth expanded upon by the hand of man, or at least it is supposed the stonework is of human origin. Deep, deep, deep, it turns into the ground, forming a labyrinth of interconnected passages, rooms, caverns and tunnels. While some exploration of the Pit has certainly occurred, more remains unexplored. The Pit has a reputation for claiming the lives of those who would dare its deepest recesses. Only the occasional treasures pried from its grasp, would prompt any to venture into the ground.
Those treasures have, however, proven more than intriguing. Flan artifacts have been perhaps the most commonly recovered. Those of obviously Suel origin are identifiably of great age, suggesting early arrivals from the Suloise Imperium. Still other artifacts appear Olman in origin. The most intriguing, recovered from the deepest levels of the Pit, are of no known culture. No exploration has been sufficiently thorough to identify the nature or purpose of the Pit. Most speculation runs to it being a foul passage into the Under Realms of Oerth that has been traversed by many over the centuries, perhaps millennium. Thankfully, the keep atop the Pit, by it stark appearance if naught else, has prevented passage up from below, as far as is known.