FR Scales of War
Sarshan’s domain is a chaotic collection of mercenary camps, training grounds, slave pens, and the marketplaces that serve this massive military enclave. Over it all, the shadowy pall of the magma shadow rift glows a dull red.
The dominion of Sarshan in the Shadowfell is a military enclave that grows larger every day in preparation for war. Two features dominate the site: Tower Umbraforge, the angular edifice that serves as the center of Sarshan’s operations, and the magma shadow rift that flows from a low, rocky ridge overlooking the area. Close to the tower stands the arcane foundry where Sarshan magically augments living creatures for combat.
1. The Black Shrine: The cavern the PCs arrive in after passing through the Shadowfell gate is a mirror-image inversion of the White Shrine. The walls, floor, and ceilings here are black stone. The teleportation portal is white stone with silver crystals inlaid, while the Shadowfell arch is black stone inset with white crystals. The fall of rubble in the northwest corner of the White Shrine is a collapsed rift in the southeast corner of the black shrine. Unlike in the mirror-image white shrine, the teleportation portal against the north wall here is functional. Touching it reveals a forest shrouded in shadow (area 9 of Umbraforge Tower), but any PC trying to enter the archway is pushed back by an unseen force. A successful DC 22 Arcana check indicates that the portal is attuned to a specific creature.
2. Magma Shadow Rift: A low black ridge dominates the landscape around which the camps of Umbraforge spread. A rift along the northeast face of the ridge vents what appears to be black-streaked lava to the air. From the road below, one can see that the lava is shot through with what appears to be liquid shadow, a magical effect that Sarshan draws on to power his foundry.
3. Mercenary Camps: These tightly packed tent villages spread across the plain between the tower and the ridge. At least twice a day, a mercenary company packs up and heads out to the east or west to a location from which they can subsequently be deployed to the world. New mercenaries trickle in along the roads at the same rate.
4. Training Grounds: These open fields of stinking mud and cast-off armor and weapons are in use day and night by the mercenary companies of the camps.
|Leena||Shadar-Kai Witch||In charge of battle mage training|
|Demoxt||Ogre||Blacksmith working in the forges near the Foundry|
|Venduul||Troll Female||Runs the Leaky Cauldron Tavern|
5. Slave Bazaar: In addition to his mercenaries and arms dealing, Sarshan has recently begun to transport slaves into and across the Shadowfell. The slaves confined here represent a host of lesser races, from dark ones and shadowgoblins, to goblins, kobolds, elves, humans, gnomes, and dwarves. A majority of these wretches are destined to become conscript troops or workers in the war effort that Sarshan’s operations support. However, the shadar-kai also uses the bazaar as a source of creatures to be transformed in the dark foundry.
6. Market Tents: With the mercenaries that pass through Umbraforge come the crafters and traders who support them. These areas are composed of virtual villages of tents and wagons. Their specific features are left up to you, but the PCs can find any goods or services here normally available in a large town.
7. Bridge: This arched stone bridge rises 40 feet above the smoking flow of the lava trench below. The heat is intense enough to be felt from the bridge, but it presents no danger. A force of dark creepers and shadowgoblins guard the bridge at all times. They keep only a nominal watch on traffic east, west, and south, but no one proceeds north to the tower without an escort by Sarshan’s house guard.
8. Forges: This collection of buildings serves as the center of Sarshan’s armaments operation. Crews of dark ones and shadowgoblins work here night and day, forging the weapons and armor on which Sarshan’s wealth is built.
9. Dark Foundry: The most recent addition to Sarshan’s war machine, this foundry produces weapons of a different sort. Fell beasts of battle are created here by dark arcane craft, as are humanoid soldier races spawned of the slaves in the bazaar. Two entrances lead into the foundry—the main gate, normally guarded by a force of dark creepers, and a break in the eastern wall caused by one of the recent tremors (Leena tells the PC’s about this). When the PCs enter this area, the regular guards have been overcome and replaced by shadowgoblins loyal to Modra.
10. Tower Umbraforge: Sarshan’s tower is a monolithic edifice of black stone set atop a rocky rise. Its squared sides are indented and planed in smooth straight lines, and four round towers stand at its corners. The tower rises 80 feet, its upper level sloping to a dome and topped with a four-pointed spire. From the outside, the PCs can move no closer to the tower than the bridge (see area 6, above). However, even from there, they can see that the open gatehouse is heavily guarded, preventing a frontal assault.