by Denis Tetreault
First written for the Oerth Journal Volume 28
Part way up the side of a steep valley, where the winter snows from the southernmost Yatil Mountains feed the remote upper reaches of the Fals River, is a small uninteresting cave entrance. Mostly hidden by vegetation, and indistinguishable from scores of similar caves that dot the countryside, this cave is special. It conceals one of the most holy, and one of the least known, of gnomish locations in the Flanaess.
The priesthood of Segojan Earthcaller are very familiar with the cave, although most other gnomes are not. The local gnomes are aware of a legend of an indestructible stone wall somewhere in the mountains, however great pains have been taken to keep the location as low key and unnoticeable as possible. Traffic to the site is kept to a minimum, and even the name by which it is referenced is non-descript. According to the priests, the Wall was built by Segojan Earthcaller himself, gnomish god of the deep earth.
1. Entrance Tunnel
The partially concealed entrance is rather small. Individuals taller than 4 feet must stoop in order to pass through much of the entrance tunnel, and groups can only enter single file. Anyone coming through the tunnel is at a terrible tactical disadvantage. Undetectable from the entrance, there is a weak antipathy magic about 20 feet into the tunnel effectively preventing normal animals from entering any further. Intelligent interlopers will only experience a quite noticeable feeling of unease and reluctance to proceed, but are otherwise not prevented from continuing on. The small size of the entry tunnel prevents many of the more dangerous predators in the region from entering the temple.
2. Temple of Segojan Earthcaller
The temple is surprisingly quite modest, consisting of an altar composed of a single block of natural stone which does not appear to have been worked at all. Around the margins of the room are scattered eight 5-foot high pedestal-shaped stones, also appearing to be natural. The top surface of each pedestal has a slight hollow filled with a small amount of ash, indicating something was burned there. The room has 7 exits, however 3 of them are covered over by unadorned draperies composed of a coarse, earth-colored cloth.
3. Council Chamber
This room is used as a council chamber for leaders of the priesthood of Segojan. Once per year a special council is called with representatives sent from all over the western Flanaess, where business of the priesthood is conducted. At this meeting, the guardian of the temple is chosen, among other important discussions. Local priests will gather for less important events several times per year. The room has also been infrequently used as a meeting place for leaders of local clans when secrecy is needed. The only objects within the room are the familiar pedestals around the margin of the room.
4. Priest’s Quarters
This is the residence of the solitary temple priest. Currently, the temple is guarded by an elderly and experienced gnomish priest of Segojan Earthcaller.
10 Priest / 7 Illusionist
Str 11, Int 16, Wis 18, Dex 17, Con 16, Cha 10, Hp: 69
AC 4 Bracers, +2 ring of protection, Rod of Flailing, Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals
It is considered one of the greatest honors within the Church of Segojan Earthcaller to be chosen as a Guardian of the Wall, and only experienced and highly respected priests will be selected. Assignment to this post is annually reviewed, however priests often stay for more than one term. The current guardian has been here for almost 5 years. Because of the nature of this location, the priest’s Stone will summon two maximum strength earth elementals when used, and they will remain until the priest dismisses them. The Stone remains with the current guardian of the temple; however the Rod is this priest’s personal weapon.
The room itself is rather modest, with a bed, table and chair, desk, storage cabinet, and several chests. In the south east corner of the room there is an alcove with a variety of boxes and other items. Items in the room mainly consist of the priest’s personal items needed for a solitary life in the temple. Other than a small collection of very old religious texts (which could be quite valuable to some individuals) which remain with the temple, there is no treasure to speak of, with one exception. This is not a permanent residence, and the guardians have no need to keep valuables here as all of their needs are taken care of. Hidden within one of the chests is a selection of gems used for religious ceremonies of Segojan.
5. Storage Room
Boxes, casks, barrels, sacks, and baskets can be found arranged with some degree of organization within this room. A variety of supplies for isolated living can be found here, as well as supplies used for religious ceremonies and council meetings. Every few months the temple is visited by gnomes bringing supplies, and checking on the guardian to see if everything is alright.
6. Hall of the Divine Wall
Upon entering this otherwise empty space, all attention immediately focuses on the absolutely flat, featureless grey surface that forms the northern wall of the chamber. The flawlessly uniform color and texture of the material has an almost otherworldly and unnatural character. It is not hard to imagine a god being behind its creation. Nothing can stick to its surface (including Sovereign Glue). No magic can affect it, nor can it be physically scratched, chipped or dented. Divination magic reveals nothing about it. Clairsentient magic cannot penetrate beyond its surface. If one can shift into the ethereal realm, one sees that the surface exists there as well (its interdimensional nature may help explain its indestructibility). From the ethereal, one can see that the Wall is actually an impenetrable cube approximately 150 feet on each side, with no visible entrances.
The legend surrounding the Wall describes how it was constructed by Segojan Earthcaller to keep the evil and destructive gnome god Urdlen out of the area. The “why" of it is hotly debated by the priests. Some believe the wall protects something extremely valuable, such as an artifact-level item that will someday be required to save Oerth from a future threat. Others believe the wall imprisons something extremely dangerous, suggestions ranging from a powerful evil artifact, to a divine child of Urdlen. There is therefore quite a conflict within the church as to whether an entrance should even been searched for. All can agree the location needs to be monitored, hence the establishment of the temple more than a millennia ago.
How to use this location
The PC’s could be searching out the elderly Guardian of the Wall, who is a wise priest, skilled illusionist, former adventurer in his youth, and is very knowledgeable on Segojan, Urdlen, and matters of the deep Oerth. The adventurers may not even know about the Wall in such a case. They may have heard of the legend of the indestructible wall, and want to learn more about it, or may even be representatives hired by a militant faction of the priesthood that wishes to find a way through the Wall. The adventurers could stumble upon the temple after it has been attacked and occupied by followers of Urdlen, or may have been hired by the priests of Segojan to rescue Nivyn and recapture the temple. The cube (or its contents) may have some form of awareness and has called out to one of the PCs in a dream. As part of a greater quest, they may be on a mission to enter the cube and recover a powerful item necessary to combatting a great Oerth-threatening evil, or may need to fight something on the verge of escaping the cube. The incredibly ancient cube may not even have anything to do with Segojan Earthcaller at all, and his priesthood have merely usurped ownership of the legend. The ultimate truth of the cube is up to individual DMs.
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This page last modified on February 20, 2019