Saturday, July 09, 2011

World Weaving: Zatok Mountain

I'm working on incorporating the Elthos Tarot into the Campaign Setting over time.  That involves in some ways creating stories that will draw the Tarot Deck into play.

Zatok is an old name that goes back a long ways in Elthos.  And the mountain has retained that name, even beyond the vast span of time that separates the two civilizations of that place.  Some ask how it is that the new comers would have named it after it's old name, and how they might have discovered that name.  Some few guess that there must be some remnant from the olden time, someone who knows the ancient names.  Indeed there may well be some such lurking about in the shadows beneath the township on the hill, perhaps.

Zatok Mountain - Cavern Map
There are rumors, hardly believed, of a race of olden times living in caverns far beneath the surface world, deep within Zatok Mountain.  Few from the town venture forth into the wilderness below the plateau on which the town was built.  Seldom do such as go on hunting expeditions into the forests come back without some blood soaked tail to go with it, half of which are scarcely to be believed.

The boldest tale of late has been that some hunting party returned with but one of its members still living, though gravely wounded was he.  He told an impossible story of deep forest terror, where his party was picked off one by one, and of a "great cave bear made of iron". And then he died of his injuries.   Most folk don't believe the tale, but then they wonder anyway, and no one ventures toward that area of the forest these days, if they dare go outside at all.   Some things, the townsfolk believe, are just best left alone.  And besides, hunting and gathering are hard work, and not well enough paid as it is.  Though truth be told, hunters who return with meat get rewarded handsomely with wealth and fame.

There are also rumors, even less to be believed, of caves in the mountain that are occupied by the fair folk, or demons, or even dragons some say.  The most well known of these alleged caves is The Grey Mist Cave, in which everyone "knows" there lives a cohort of demons, or goblins, or some such.  The superstitious of the town can be seen throwing bread over the edge of the town wall into the forest below, hoping the assuage the menace that might lurk in the Grey Mist Cave.   Most folk, sensible folk, think the whole of idea of monsters living in caves on the mountain absurd.  But don't ask them to go on an expedition to explore any caves on the mountain that can be found, because they'll be disinclined to join you.

One mighty beer swiller in the Rat's Den Pub claimed once that there are even caverns beneath the town, and each one is magically enhanced in some way, and are mystically linked by secret undercurrents of correspondence to the Celestial Elkron.   However, most sensible folk in town have no interest in such stories, and take no time to consider what the implications might be were such a thing true.   So the mighty swiller sat until the wee hours over his mug and took to brooding.  And while he brooded, into the wooden board of the table he carved the above map of the Caves of Zatok Mountain.  How he may have come by such an idea, no one knew, except it be that they heard him mumble to himself on occasion that he'd heard the tale from a crazed monk living out in the wild on Zatok Mountain.

When he saw the engraving on the table the bartender nodded and remarked to himself that his old friend the poor swiller had lost his marbles some time ago, and there was simply no easy way for him to find them again. With a shrug and an indifferent tone he asked payment for the beers, received the exact amount, and went back to tending his other customers.  Later someone actually cut the table plank off with a saw, and made off with the map, for some reason.   But the bartender had made a rubbing of it before hand, and he kept a copy, just in case it turned out to be valuable after all.

The idea of this adventure is to introduce various potential links to the Elthos Tarot, and the Ekron, and the myriad of their corresponding manifestations, with an eye towards considering the current ideas for it's use, and exploring possibilities for additional uses.
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