Sage of Shadowdale has something to say about pretty much everything.
Despite having pages in Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Adventures, and Polyhedron
Newszine, the Old Mage still has more to speak of the Realms. Not wanting
to anger an archmage, we decided it would be best to give him a weekly
column from which to discuss the finer points.
well, young one...
Dark God Reformed
spire of this black stone temple of Cyric is by the far the tallest structure
in Voonlar, and it towers over the populace in more ways than one. Reached
by lanes converging from both the Northride and Runstals Ride, the
temple stands northeast of the meeting of those two roads, within its
own walled grounds.
grounds are oval, and enclosed by two concentric stone walls topped with
irregularly-tilted black metal spikes (to discourage climbing) and spaced
only about six feet apart; the space between is prowled by four hungry
war-dogs, each kept to its own arc of the wall by internal doors
of close-spaced metal bars that can be raised (via levers, from inside
the walls) to allow all the dogs into one section if intruders are detected.
Tales abound in Voonlar of so-and-so who was devoured by one of these
dogs while trying to play a prank involving entering or leaving the temple--and
of folk who just disappeared, and are widely believed to have been fed
to the "Mad Black Hounds."
pierce the walls: a sally-port opening north onto the Blackrukth, a long
and narrow southeast-northwest-aligned field tilled by temple servants
and the larger, grander main gate (made of black basalt, shaped into the
likeness of a gigantic fanged mouth that one must pass through, and customarily
blocked by black metal gates that bristle with spikes and cross-chains,
and that have spear-ports to allow defenders within to slide open small
metal plates and thrust out spears at peddlers, warriors of rival faiths,
and other unwanted visitors) that faces to the southwest, opening into
the temple lane.
temple ground within the walls is cobbled, with nary a bush, weed, or
blade of grass to be seen--disgraced priests or lay temple staff are kept
busy on their knees, or even crawling on their stomachs, plucking out
anything that dares to grow--and is almost entirely filled with the temple
God Reformed is a large, poorly-built building whose leaning and bulging
walls have had to be reinforced by many buttresses (angled stone props)
to prevent their collapse. It takes the shape of a stoutly-built entry
tower, which rises straight up for three levels like a keep turret and
only then begins to narrow (for another eighty feet) to the needle-sharp,
oft-lightning-struck spire. This opens into the Hallowed Hall, a drafty,
echoing, always cold central hall of worship, which has a leaky ceiling
some seventy feet up (spouts of rain fall here and there within it, during
storms), a tilting and uneven flagstone floor more appropriate to a ruin
than to an occupied structure, and balcony galleries down both sides that
bristle with doors opening into priests rooms, shared robing rooms,
retirements (bathing and privy chambers), guest apartments, stairs down
to storage cellars and dungeons beneath, waiting and audience chambers,
side-chapels for visiting faithful, and offices.
entering the Hallowed Hall will see rows of plain benches flanking a wide
central aisle that leads up between support pillars (added after the roof
twice collapsed under heavy snows, and graven with prayers to Cyric) to
a raised rear sanctum dominated by an altar and a carved Dark Sun hanging
rather precariously over it by means of several massive chains depending
from a roof-beam.
Hit Dice: 2d8+4
Initiative: +2 (Dex)
Speed: 40 ft.
AC: 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural)
Attacks: Bite +3 melee
Damage: Bite 1d8+3
Face/ Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities: Scent
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Listen +5, Spot +5, Swim +5
Alignment: Always neutral