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Emerald Spire

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Map of the Emerald Spire.

The Emerald Spire is a strange ruin in the northwestern River Kingdoms. Located in a large clearing in the Echo Wood near the Crusader Road, six miles northeast of the Hellknight-ruled settlement of Fort Inevitable, the spire is well known to locals and travellers in the region.[1]

Believed to be an Azlanti ruin from the era before Earthfall, most think the Emerald Spire refers to the ruins of large tower of green glass that rises above the clearing. However, the spire itself is far more ancient, a needle of magical crystal that reaches two miles into the earth, into the very vaults of Orv.[1]

History

Dating back to the Age of Legend, much of the history of the Emerald Spire has been lost to the ages, leading the ruin to be cloaked in myth and legend.

Creation

During the primordial war between the empire of the aboleths and the xiomorn, the Vault Keeper Iluchtewhar, driven mad by the powers of the aboleths, attempted to use a stolen vault seed to create a vault where he would build an army to wage war against the aboleths. However, as a Vault Keeper, Iluchtewhar could not control the power of the vault seed, and instead of creating a vault it instead generated an enormous spire of magical crystal that erupted towards the surface, becoming the Emerald Spire.[2]

The Azlanti

In the Age of Legend, sometime around -6300 AR, the exiled Azlanti wizard-prince Nhur Athemon discovered the Emerald Spire and became fascinated by the crystal's magical properties. While he ruled the lands around the spire from his palace on Brokenhelm Hill, Nhur Athemon also created the glass tower over the spire's crown, and formed the dungeons and laboratories beneath the tower to facilitate his access to the spire and his experiments on the spire's planar resonance.[3]

Three decades later, agents of the Azlanti Emperor, divined Nhur Athemon's location, and the Knights of the Ioun Stone launched an assault on the wizard-prince. The knights, aided by Nhur Athemon's treacherous apprentices, completely destroyed the exile's palace and shattered the tower above the Emerald Spire. The knights also raided Nhur Athemon's secret dungeons and slew the wizard in his lair, not knowing he had already become a lich.[3]

After Nhur Athemon reincorporated, he spent centuries rebuilding his ruined lair and attempting to break past the wards the knights had placed around the dungeons. Serpentfolk scholars from the Circle of Vissk-Thar settled in the dungeon, as did goblins from the Kingdom of Zog, who used the spire as a place of execution for captured prisoners. After the collapse of Zog, humans resettled the region, building towns such as Thornkeep, Mosswater, and Southwood, now known as Fort Inevitable. The increase in human population also lead to an increase in the Spire's fame, and parties of adventurers travelled to the spire to unearth the treasures within.[3]

Recent history

Several years before 4714 AR, the Numerian wizard Klarkosh travelled to the Emerald Spire to conduct an ambitious program of exploration. Unlike many other explorers, Klarkosh not only survived but established himself as ruler of the uppermost levels of the spire's dungeons. Since 4713 AR, the Numerian has protected his holdings by constructing clockwork automatons and forming alliances with the monstrous denizens of the upper dungeons.[3]

Description

The Emerald Spire forms the heart of the dungeons beneath the tower, reaching all sixteen known levels within. These levels sprawl off in their own directions and are not usually adjacent to one another. Instead, the levels are connected by staircases, passageways, and shafts hundreds — some even thousands — of feet in length.[4]

Tower Ruins

The ruins of the old Azlanti tower built by Nhur Athemon and destroyed by the Knights of the Ioun Stone comprise the surface levels of the Emerald Spire, which are ruled by goblin descendants of the Kingdom of Zog and ruled over by the bugbear Grulk.[4]

The Cellars

The uppermost level of the Emerald Spire's dungeon, and foundation of Nhur Athemon's tower, is controlled by Klarkosh through the Bone Priest Gorloth.[4]

Splinterden

Formerly the lair of a would-be necromancer, the second level of the dungeons has been transformed by Tarrin Dars, a priestess of Norgorber, into a stronghold for a guild of outlaws and bandits known as the Splinters of Echo Woods.[4]

Godhome

The third level of dungeons is inhabited by two clans of troglodytes who worship a magically-warped extraterrestrial probe they refer to as the Godbox.[4]

The Flooded Level

Originally a series of storerooms and guardrooms, it was inhabited some two centuries ago by a clan of derro who attempted to experiment on the Emerald Spire's planar resonance. These experiments backfired drastically, multiplying the natural portals to the Elemental Plane of Water and ultimately drowning the level. It is currently the lair of a family of undine summoners aligned with Klarkosh.[4]

The Clockwork Maze

Constructed by the same clan of derro who flooded the level above it, the fifth level of the dungeon was intended to be a location for the construction of golems, homunculi, and other constructs. When Klarkosh discovered this level, the Numerian wizard made it his lair, repaired the clockwork devices, and used the Spire's magic to forge an army of clockwork automatons.[4]

Shrine of the Awakener

The Shrine of the Awakener is the upper level of a serpentfolk temple dedicated to Ydersius called Vissk-Thar, and once served as home to the society of serpentfolk mages and priests known as the Circle of Vissk-Thar. Recently, the serpentfolk priest Sartoss took control of the upper level and seeks to reconsecrate the temple into a new stronghold for the worship of the nascent demon lord Kro'akoth.[4]

The Circle of Vissk-Thar

The lower level of the secret serpentfolk temple of Vissk-Thar has remained in the hands of the Circle of Vissk-Thar, though the mutant serpentfolk Uzar-Kus recently seized control of the Circle from the high priest of Ydersius, Ziszkaa, and plans war against the heretic Sartoss who rules the temple's upper level.[4]

The Spire Axis

Formerly a workshop created by Nhur Athemon to focus the power of the Emerald Spire, the Knights of the Ioun Stone destroyed the Spire Axis when they laid siege to the Spire. The Axis remained abandoned for thousands of years until the barbed devil known as the Mistress of Thorns claimed the level with the help of a tribe of morlocks.[4]

Magma Vault

The planar resonance of the Emerald Spire opened many portals to the Elemental Plane of Fire on this level, and the extreme heat and magma has since attracted two magma dragons, Ghalodz and Vrainheis. This level also attracted the attentions of the Hellknight signifer Chaid DiViri, who led an expedition of the Order of the Gate from Citadel Enferac into the depths of the spire on behalf of Fort Inevitable.[4]

Tomb of Yarrix

This level was once the lair of the dark priestess Yarrix, a disciple of the Great Old One Hastur and master of the Cult of Shadowed Fire who could corrupt elemental fire into shadowfire, and is now her tomb. It has been trapped in warped space for centuries by the magic of Carsolis, a champion of Sarenrae.[4]

The Automaton Forge

Tapping into the power of the Emerald Spire, Nhur Athemon created the Iron Crèche, a self-aware forge designed to create an invincible army of warrior constructs. Beside the Iron Crèche, the exiled prince also created a sanctum where he could live the life of luxury he was accustomed to back in Azlant, waited upon by servant constructs. Both of these regions were damaged by the Knights of the Ioun Stone in their attack on the Spire, and abandoned by Nhur Athemon when his attentions turned from creating lifelike constructs to recreating life itself.[4]

The Pleasure Gardens

A secret refuge built by Nhur Athemon during his life, the Pleasure Gardens are constructed around a vast natural cavern pierced by the Emerald Spire which allowed plants to grow without sunlight. Nhur Athemon filled the cavern with strange flowers, otherworldly creatures, and other curiosities and wonders.[4]

The Throne of Azlant

The lair of Nhur Athemon himself, the Black Prince of Azlant still claims his throne and continues his experiments toward creating life on the bodies of the Knights of the Ioun Stone who sought to slay him.[4]

Order and Chaos

Shortly after the Emerald Spire was created, the axiomites and inevitables of Axis sent a band of investigators to discern its effects on the planes. These investigators discovered the powers held by the Vault Keeper Iluchtewhar could be used to tip the balance of the planes in favour of chaos, and so warded the roots of the spire with powerful magic. Nhur Athemon, seeking a way through the wards, discovered the ties to Axis in the wards and summoned a chorus of proteans to disrupt them, resulting in a battle between the forces of law and chaos through the lower levels of the spire that has lingered to the present day.[4]

The Emerald Root

Freed from his imprisonment within the Emerald Spire by Klarkosh's experiments, the ancient Vault Keeper Iluchtewhar broods within his vault deep in Orv while gathering forces and power to cleanse the region above of life and restart his experiments.[4]

References

Paizo published a massive sourcebook titled The Emerald Spire Superdungeon.