In The Midst of Black Seas
Overview: A small village plagued by magic gone wrong.
Location and Geography
Mosshead is located in a clearing in the middle of a small forest in the [INSERT KINGDOM HERE] region. The land is fertile and a river runs through it. Surrounding the town are pitch black magic obelisks that were created to protect the village from hostile monsters and bandits. While the village was once much bigger, many of the structures have been torn down and leveled, leaving only the bare minimum of houses at the center of it.
Mosshead was once a small logging village of 2,500. It was very peaceful until monsters and barbarians started showing up. The people of the village could fend them off, but the beast began increasing in number as the villagers started decreasing. To combat this, the village elders commissioned a sorcerer to create a way of defending the village. This sorcerer created the Black Heart, a large diamond filled with the soul of a warrior. This gem sent a signal out to specially constructed 20’ obelisks all around the village that were covered in a unique “physical” shadow. These obelisks were designed to “scan” anyone who entered the settlement, determine if that person was hostile or not, and kill any hostiles.
At first, this magic worked incredibly well. The villagers and any merchants that happened by passed through the ring of towers could come and go as they pleased, while all bandits and evil creatures were killed on the spot without the villagers having to react at all. This went on for years without fail.
Then, without warning, the Black Heart seemed to change. The obelisks would be seen killing squirrels, birds, and other innocent creatures, shadows in town would often be at odd angles, “shadowmen” being spotted looking in through windows at night, etc. It was all very strange, but most of the villagers wrote it off as a side effect of the gem.
The shadow’s first murder happened 8 years after they were built, a small boy who had gone too far to the edge of the village. The settlers were shocked and disgusted with this display and moved for the immediate removal of the pillars. However, when workers went to destroy the obelisks, they were ripped apart by their own shadows. The villagers tried destroying the Black Heart itself then, but found they couldn’t. This apparently angered the gem.
Two nights later, every shadow in the village began slaughtering the residents. Very few of the villagers survived. When day broke, several ran to exit the village only to be killed instantly at the edge. The rest moved the Black Heart to a safe location and began destroying houses.
Today, Mosshead is much smaller and maintained not by income from logging but by specially designed farms and the river that runs through it. Ironically, despite the hostile shadows, the population of Mosshead generally increases over time due to the shadows apparently letting unknowing passerbys in.
Black Heart and The Living Shadows
The pitch black gem placed at the center of the village has apparently gained sentience. The shadows it controls all around the village are all malicious, smart, and definitely goal oriented. Its objective seems to be getting the shadows to the gem. As such, the villagers have placed the gem in a small room that is covered in Light cantrips weekly.
It is unknown why the Black Heart seems to be seeking itself. Some have suggested that, once it has the physical shadows, it can form a sort of makeshift body it can use to travel. Another theory suggests that the gem’s involvement is coincidental and that the shadows simply have a bloodlust. This second theory is supported by the Black Heart’s tendency to let travelers enter the village without problem.
The shadows have shown the ability to “infect” other shadows, essentially making any shadow around dangerous. Due to this, the villagers have taken to lighting torches, casting Light, and other things to create light sources, even during the day. Some go so far as casting Light on all of their clothes so that it is impossible for them to even cast a shadow.
The Black Heart can only control physical shadow within a certain range, about a mile into the forest surrounding the village. This area is covered in the dead bodies of animals. There is no real reason for the Black Heart to kill these creatures that anyone can see other than boredom.
A recent tactic the Black Heart has employed are “shadowmen” the silhouettes of people that stand at the edge of the village’s light at night, staring at the residents. They seem to serve no purpose other than to unnerve, suggesting that the Black Heart has intelligence.
There is no way to defeat the shadows other than with light, and even then it has to be a powerful light applied directly to the shadow. The shadows are quick, making hitting one with a cantrip very hard.
People of Note
- Taron Ironside- Human, 43. A very talented blacksmith who became the unofficial leader of the village after the elders died. Many attribute the town’s survival to his level head and snap decisions under stress.
- Bart the Bard- Half-elf, 24. A performer who got trapped after entering the village. Helps with cantrips and morale.
- Veline Altro- Human, 61. An apothecary who is now one of the oldest members of the town. She has created a rudimentary Splash Potion of Light to combat the shadows. Helps with defense and healing.
- Merlock Aventi Pouhre- Elf, 213. A wizard who was caught as he was searching the forest for spell components. Has taken it upon himself to disenchant the Black Heart. Helps with magical defenses.
- Park- Halfling, 19. A mischievous young man who was caught when he was goofing around in the forest. A very versatile worker. Helps with the general upkeep of the village.
- Berimir of Rognigrad- Dwarf, 56. An adventurer who heard the stories of the “haunted village” Mosshead and simply had to investigate. Helps with defense.
- Thomas Piret- Human, 38. A cleric of Pelor who grew up in the village. Has a large amount of light-based spells in his repertoire. Helps with defense and morale.