Just some behind-the-scenes notes for Lodestar. I’m really jazzed about this setting, and if you can parse the nerd-arcana, I think you guys will find it pretty cool as well.
It’s been really interesting working on opposite ends of the same story — separated by a decade of in-world time, and thousands and thousands of words. I come up with ideas in That Thing, that echo in Lodestar — or a place or character that I can’t resist sticking into That Thing. If only the Lodestar crew knew….
The underground city of the Shadow Elves is located approximately two miles below the surface of the southern part of the continent, Onis. A sprawling network of tunnels extend for miles, but finally lead to a vast cavern – and the city of Iax. The city rests on a grand disc of crystal connected to the cavern sides by various support beams, bridges and columns. The dark city is several miles across, gleaming in the faint light of thousands of crystals in a rainbow of colors.
They have been engaged in an intermittent offensive with the Illithid and the Dark Creepers since the fall of the Red Wizards of Thay.
Iax is named for the Lost God, a mysterious deity that all Tyr-Elves serve. His crypt lies at the center of the city, tended to by the priesthood and the Paladins of Iax.
A common religious saying of the Tyr-Elves is “By His Will”.
All Tyr-Elves suffer from Light Sensitivity, and cannot abide direct sunlight, or any other bright source of illumination.
The Tyr-Elves have a patriarchal society, fiercely regimented and controlled. Their leader is known as the Erl King – selected by right of combat, once very eleven years.
The paladins of Iax are known for their fierce loyalty to their race, and terrible ferocity in battle. The god, Iax, is believed to be devoted to Order. Most followers of Iax channel positive energy.
Long ago, before the coming of the Arkanics, before the birth of the dragons, and before the humanoid races of Aufero lifted themselves above base animal savagery – the High Elves ruled the entire world.
Little information survives that describes their civilization, but one thing is clear. They left.
As the High Elves passed into whatever strange fate awaited them – four families refused to leave. They loved this world so much, that they could not bear to part from it.
They traded their immortality and their grace for the chance to remain. One family loved the blue skies, the endless clouds
– and they grew wings and became the Sky-Elves [Rus-Elves]. One family loved the blue sea, the endless waves – and they grew gills, and learned to speak with their minds, and became the Sea-Elves [Nai-Elves.] One family loved the great forests, the endless life of the planet – and grew swift and cunning, learning the gift of foresight, and became the Wood-Elves [Yad-Elves.]
The last family loved the earth, the endless caverns and secrets – and grew hard and quiet, and became the Stone Elves [Tyr-Elves].
Shadow Elves is a misnomer, affixed by land dwellers – who saw the dark skin and fierce black eyes of the Tyr, and were afraid. All Tyr-Elves live in Iax , and bow to the rule of the Erl King and the god, Iax. Those encountered elsewhere are exiles.
Most Tyr-Elves can speak this tongue fluently, but view it with complete contempt. They prefer their own lilting tongue, which they refuse to teach to outsiders. Most Tyr can also speak Common.
The entire prison is actually a giant teardrop of stone, dangling beneath the southern edge of Iax. The cells are natural geodes and caverns within, while the wardens mainly operate from the top of the stalactite. The way out is up.
The cavern wall to the south – the one that opened when Simon arrived – seems to be adjacent to a tunnel. Best estimation is that the stone on that wall is the thinnest of any of the other walls – approximately 3 feet thick.
[Knowledge:Local / Perception]
The walls of the caverns surrounding the prison, and all of Iax are shot through with a unique mineral called Balestone – or Bloodrock. It has the ability to block and negate all arcane abilities, and renders all magical items inert. It has allowed Iax to remain almost impervious to attack, as their main subterranean enemies are primarily spellcasters.
The cage has resisted all attempts to at breaking it, or the chain that lowers it down. It appears to be made of adamantine.
The cage seems to operate on a simple pulley mechanism – suggesting that it is manned by an operator each time that it is lowered. There does not appear to be any mechanical device that lowers or retracts the cage. When pulled, the chain gave an extra two feet of slack, then stopped completely. The pulley only seems to have about 200 pounds of lift – when the Ghosts piled onto it and held onto the cage – the pulley simply stopped. Eventually, when they got tired of holding onto it, they let go. It sat in the cell for several hours before the operator checked again, and pulled it away.
Normally, when depositing food and water, the cage is only present for five minutes.
The crystalline moss is an plant – but it seems to be infused with a naturally occurring chemical reaction that provides the illumination. It appears flammable.
The moss could conceivably be used as an accelerant – but a large quantity of it would need to be used. Best effect would be achieved by reducing the moss to a powder.
The moss will not ignite on its own; some other form of energy would be required to ignite it.