The Dark Forest is a sphere three miles in diameter, with the Black Keep, home of the Dark Rider, at the nadir of the sphere. The air and water in the Dark Forest are constantly refreshed. It is accessible via the black menhirs under Kaer Maga, which create one-way portals to the fringe of the Dark Forest. It is possible to refocus the menhirs so they would create two-way portals to the front porch of the Black Keep, but the return trip is painful for anyone taking it, as the menhirs were never designed for travelling out of the Dark Forest.23
The origin of the Dark Forest is unknown. It is speculated that the Dark Rider is a former psychopomp, a creation of the xiomorns to cull weak workers, or a traveller from the future changing the past through assassination.4
The Dark Forest was discovered, alongside Kaer Maga itself, by Runelord Kaladurnae, the first ruler of Shalast, the Realm of Greed. When the fungi glowing on the ceiling of the Dark Forest grew dimmer, the Dark Rider approached Runelord Karzoug for assistance. Karzoug hid the Shard of Gluttony in the Black Keep and connected their magic, infesting the demiplane with undead and powering a barrier that prevents the caulborn from entering the Dark Forest. He then asked the Dark Rider to protect the Shard until he came to retrieve it, which he was unable to do before fleeing into the Eye of Avarice on the eve of Earthfall. The Dark Rider has continued to keep his bargain in the millennia since.154
The master of the Dark Forest is the Dark Rider, a legendary dullahan who has been there since before Varisia was settled by humans. Once a year, he ventures to the countryside of Varisia, Ustalav, and the Hold of Belkzen to hunt people for inscrutable purposes. If the Dark Rider is defeated, a replacement will emerge from the Dark Forest in time.14
- “The Asylum Stone” in The Asylum Stone, 7. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “The Asylum Stone” in The Asylum Stone, 42. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “The Asylum Stone” in The Asylum Stone, 40. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “NPC Gallery” in The Asylum Stone, 57. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “The Asylum Stone” in The Asylum Stone, 49. Paizo Inc., 2012 .