Pacts of Blood
The Black Pit
The Black Pit was discovered by miners by accident during a mining operation deep into the mountain. A wall suddenly collapsed outward and revealed a clearly man-made structure of some kind built deep within the mountain. The miners began a small excursion into the structure. However, their exploration was short lived. According to the remaining survivor, they were attacked by “some sort of demon or something” and his comrades were killed. The man could not provide a description of the monster, however. The bodies of his comrades were found with clear puncture wounds. A search for the monster by more capable people began, but no monster could be found in the area of the killings. As a result, the survivor was charged and convicted of murdering his comrades. The alleged motivation was a nearby chest which contained a small fortune of gold (approximately 500 gold pieces from an unknown civilization). The survivor was hung in the town center.
Later, the Pit became something of a tourist attraction for adventurers. Tons of them came from miles around to probe The Black Pit for its secrets and treasure. While some returned triumphant, many returned empty handed, and many more did not return at all. Eventually, the influx of adventurers became something of a problem for Interitus. As the council was considering banning exploration of the Pit, a group of prominent adventurers formed a group they called the Explorer’s League to organize the adventurers and their efforts. The city allowed the group to try, and so organized exploration of The Black Pit began in earnest. The exploration by the League continues to this day.
It is obvious that The Black Pit was created by an intelligent civilization. However, no purpose has yet been found behind its construction. Records of encounters in the dungeon suggest that a variety of treasures and magic items and artifacts reside within The Pit. However, the dungeon is also crawling with a variety of monsters. Many are natives of underground caverns who have found ways into the area, but there have been verified reports of devils roaming the halls as well. This is particularly disturbing as devils require a maintained summoning spell to persist on the Material Plane, suggesting that something (or someone) is maintaining the magic necessary to keep the evil outsiders here.
A particularly talented Elementalist mage in recently years did a study of the safer, more thoroughly explored areas of the Pit. He developed a theory that there is a larger magical construct to the whole structure. He suggested that the lines and design of the structure itself seemed to mimic some basic ideas behind spell circles. However, data needed to verify this is much deeper in the dungeon and is (at the moment) too dangerous to attempt to verify. The theory is not given a great deal of serious attention as even if there appeared to be some sort of spell-like design to the construction it is unclear if it serves any practical purpose or if it is merely aesthetic.
While the Explorer’s League maintains a map of the explored areas of The Black Pit, there are a few areas that have garnered nicknames from adventurers due to some defining features:
- The Underdark – This area is bathed in some sort of unnatural darkness. No light, natural or magical, has yet to penetrate this area of the dungeon. Darkvision still operates within the area and a few select groups have attempted to explore the area. None have yet returned.
- Heart of The Shadow – This area, nicknamed from a folk legend that lava is the blood of The Shadow, is integrated with an underground flow of magma, culminating in a large pool deeper in the structure. This area is unbearably hot and so is rarely explored.
- The Vault – The Vault is somewhat of a misnomer as it isn’t clear that the area is a vault at all. Wild speculations abound about what is behind this pair of massive adamantine doors guarded by two iron statues. Few have dared to try to break into The Vault to uncover its mystery, and the dried blood on the hands of the living golems guarding the door are a testament to their efforts and a warning to those who seek to replicate them.
- Rune Grid – This section of the dungeon is relatively normal. However on one rather conspicuous and large wall, there sits a 10×10 grid of mysterious runes which have confounded historical, arcane, and divine scholars alike. The purpose of this wall is unknown but the wall hums with a strong magic. No one (at least no one still alive) has summoned the will to attempt to manipulate this magical energy.
- Dream Prison – This area generate the wildest rumors of any other region by far. The Dream Prison is an area that looks like someone constructed a rim around a massive sinkhole. Simply walking around in the area makes almost everyone feel very light headed. Anyone who has attempted to probe the area magically has fallen into a magical slumber from which no one has awakened. Most of the rumors about the area suggest that there is something kept sleeping at the bottom of the well, and so the area has become known as the Dream Prison. A few people have reported hearing a deep, rumbling breath from the hole, but generally people think they are letting the magical aura get to them.
These are only a few notable subsections of The Black Pit. The full dungeon is extremely large and contains many more oddities and mysteries. These are simply some of the more prominent fascinations.