“The high peaks and low valleys of the mountains had always touched me in a way I cannot possibly describe. And everyone in my family thought I was crazy when I started my journey, ha!”
– From the journal of Zorlax Muggyam, gnome explorer
“The druids of the place are a cautious folk indeed. It took them quite a few lightning bolts and thrown boulders until they noticed our rain-sodden and weather-torn white flag…”
This ancient extinguished volcano towers above the surrounding peaks, his summit always shrouded in clouds of differing moods.
The mountain is a sacred place for stone giants, dwarves, and goliaths. Centuries ago, after ages of warfare, the stone peoples of the mountains met in the stone circle at the center of the caldera and talked peace. They decided to ally to evade the growing hostilities of orc hordes, goblin warbands, and encroaching empires of humankind and their wizards, which threatened the mountain folk from all sides.
A group of druids and shamans have always guarded the place, and keep intruders away by controlling the weather around the mountain. Only in times of war and external threat the shamans lower their wards and the clouds around the summit disperse. The tribe leaders of the surrounding mountains then gather to discuss peace or their strategies against intruders.
If you ask the keepers of Pact Mountain about the stone circle in the caldera, you can only expect silence and stern looks. The menhirs rise right out of the cold volcanic stone, but the way they are arranged suggests elemental power at work. Stone folk pilgrims who reach the mountain top are allowed to walk into the circle, but touching the stone columns is considered taboo.
Ancient goliath songs tell of a ‘cold fire moutain’ that holds a terrible secret, and dwarf historians note that the shamans have been living on Pact Mountain since before the treaty of the moutain folk.
- You are a foundling raised by the druids and shamans of Pact Mountain.
- A hooded figure in a bar tells of an artifact of great power that is hidden in pieces in the stones of the druid circle. Who is the hooded figure? What is the nature of the artifact?
- War is brewing on the horizon, and the tribes of stone giants, dwarves and goliaths meet. Their last meeting was decades ago, will their remember their duties to the Pact?
- Fire giants live in the still-active magma chambers far below Pact Mountain. After thousands of years, they want to reactivate the volcano with their allies from the elemental chaos. Why?
- An imprisoned devil (PACT mountain…), demon, primordial (volcano), or far realm horror (primal druids vs. far realm) was banished with the magic of the stone circle. Who banished the creature? Why? When?
“When I came by in summer and slept in the Goliath shepherd’s tent he warned me of the lake’s magic. Had I listened, two of my companions would probably still be alive. – Never will I forget the horrific and splendid sight of Icemoon Castle…”
During Spring and Summer, Highlake, located in a wide valley surrounded by nearly impassable mountains, lies among gentle meadows used by goliath shepherds and their goats. The goliaths of the region regard the lake as a place of creation and renewal. Every year they gather here to feast, while their dawncallers sing praises to the coming of spring. In winter or late autumn, however, old goliaths warn their young to stay clear of the place.
When the frozen north wind parts the clouds and the moon casts his cold light onto the lake, a smooth, flawless mirror of ice, travelers gaze upon the ghostly reflection of Icemoon Castle, a luxurious hunting lodge of the Winter Court Fey on and hidden beneath the lake’s ice. Every year, another member of the extended Winter Court resides in Icemoon Castle, which alters the intensity of winter in this region.
- It is a sunny and warm late autumn and you come across the last goliath camp on Highlake. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, heavy snowfalls start. As soon as the goliaths notice, they hastily try to pack up camp and get away as soon as possible. Can you escape the remorhaz riders of Icemoon Castle or will you end up imprisoned in the ice until next spring?
- You seek something hidden deep within the icy vaults of Icemoon castle: an artifact of the Frost Prince (Sharea’s betrothal amulet, Dragon 374) or the Raven Queen (generic setting) or Auril (Forgotten Realms); an imprisoned friend or enemy who has powers over sun, warmth, fire, or love; or you need Icemoon Castle as a location for a complex ritual.
“Unlike the sullen drunk woodcutters I met in the cities of the plains, those of the Mountainfar people who stay in their ruff home environment seem to be happy.”
In the recent decade, people from secluded human villages in the mountains, who have lived there for generations, (called the ‘Mountainfar’) started leaving their home towns and single farms or hunter lodges to go to the cities to find their fortune. The mountains are too dangerous in these days, monsters and rough weather threaten them, and their youth dreams of wealth and fortune.
Strangely however, a deep melancholy and sometimes rightout depression befalls many Mountainfar people when they stay away from their homes for a longer period. Other psychic disorders are also common, and every family has at least one crazy uncle or mad sister. Lunaticism, sleepwalking, and suicidal thoughts are common among those people.
- Where does this depression madness come from?
- Is it just homesickness for the beautiful mountains?
- Is it drugs sold to the unsuspecting newcomers by the local crime council?
- A pact with a fey mountain power?
- The influence of an elder evil that sleeps in a deep valley of the region? (Aboleth lake? Illithid base? Quori incursion? [from Eberron])
- Maybe the Mountainfar are especially gifted psionics wielders, but do not know how to use their powers?
- Are you, a friend, or an enemy from the Mountainfar?
“I stood at the perch of Silverwing’s nest. ‘Look.’, the magnificent avian said, and what – no, where I saw was unbelievable. I knew that my travels were just beginning!”
Far to the north, or some say, far to the south, in the greatest mountain range, on the highest peak possible, lies a giant eagle’s nest. Unmolested by wind and weather, the story goes that from this highest point in the world, you can see anything and anywhere you want
A mythic sentient giant eagle guards the nest and judges if visitors to this extreme place are worthy of the power that the place holds.
- You want look to planes beyond, find a hidden or far away place, or scan enemy movement before a great battle.
- The guardian looked ‘too far’ and was corrupted by a power from beyond the world that uses him/her as a tool.
- The guardian looks for a mate, but as he/she can’t use the powers of Eagle’s Perch at all or is somehow restricted in its use. Someone else has to go look for a suitable partner.
- If you eat the eagle nest’s eggs during a special ritual, you can use the place’s powers anywhere. So you want to steal it for yourself or someone else stole an egg and the eagle guardian wants it returned!