Excerpts 05/04/2005

Champions of Ruin Excerpt
By Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd

Explore the darker side of the realms in Champions of Ruin, a Forgotten Realms campaign supplement! With new races, feats, spells, magic items, and prestige classes, Champions of Ruin is sure to please players who seek to have their PCs to turn to villainy and Dungeon Masters alike. Also, details for evil organizations, places, and NPCs can help the DM flesh out his or her campaign. Finally, DMs have resources to help them run games that include PCs of a more vile nature. Learn more about this supplement by reading the Introduction excerpt, discover evil nodes in the Evil Places excerpt, and then get a glimpse at some of the advice the book has for running an evil game. For more excerpts from this book, check out both the April 2005 and May 2005 Previews (coming soon).

Evil Places

Dorzad ain Vereet

Magic and the energy of the planes flow freely throughout the world of Toril. Archmages wield unthinkable powers, and priests of dark gods perform rituals to concentrate evil in their unholy shrines. The direct effects of such power being directed by mortals are obvious to all -- but there are more subtle consequences as well. In the labyrinth of darkness and stone beneath the surface of the world, such energies pool to create earth nodes, where powerful magic is trapped in the stone itself. This power waits to be tapped by those sensitive to its presence, but other concentrated sources of power exist as well.

Nodes of pure evil dot the landscape where acts of unspeakable immorality have taken place. Likewise, the newly formed Shadow Weave has minor imperfections that cause its energy to leak onto the Material Plane and infuse the surrounding environment with its corrupt arcane nature. Shrines to evil deities are imbued with the essence of faith itself, translating into boons for those who follow the god and corruption for those who do not. Finally, an insidious form of corruption can be found where elder evils tread. These beings of pure evil leave behind traces of their power that can corrupt for generations those born in the area.

Evil Nodes

Certain concentrations of evil energy radiate like a beacon to magic-wielding creatures in the area. The power is not visible to the naked eye, but it can be detected by those with the appropriate knowledge and sensitivity. Evil spellcasters pay dearly for knowledge of the location of evil nodes, which increase the effectiveness of their spells and allow them to call forth powers above and beyond their normal ability. Evil outsiders and intelligent undead that can cast spells also lair around evil nodes whenever possible -- and often fight each other for control of such an area.

Many node locations are already known, especially among those who travel in evil circles, and others have yet to be discovered. Nodes manifest themselves in different ways, from a constant shadowy aura to an area of stale air that seems to assault the lungs of nonevil creatures that come near. Several example nodes and their locations are given below, although many more exist across and underneath Faerûn.

Detecting an Evil Node

The boundaries of an evil node are not visible to the naked eye unless the node itself manifests some visible effect. An evil node can be detected, however; any creature that comes within 30 feet of the outermost layer of an evil node can make a DC 20 Intelligence check, or a DC 20 Spellcraft check if it has the appropriate Node Spellcasting feat. Evil creatures gain a +2 bonus on this check. A successful check of either sort reveals the source and direction of a concentration of evil power. Characters with the appropriate Node Spellcasting feat recognize this power as an evil node, though they cannot determine its extent, shape, or class without physically mapping it.

The shape of an evil node is not determined by the surrounding geography. It might extend for some ways underground, into the side of a mountain, or through the waters of a river or lake. In some cases, most of an evil node might be hidden by such a feature, allowing creatures of an appropriate sort to take it over without much disturbance. Evil spellcasters often excavate such areas for their lairs, extending a tower into the air and a dungeon underground in order to fully benefit from the node's area of influence.

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