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The Shadow Swamp was an area of swampland in the Plane of Shadow. It was the shadow counterpart of the Vast Swamp in Cormyr in the Material Plane.[2][3][1]

DescriptionEdit

Being in the Plane of Shadow, it was an even more dark and sinister version of the Vast Swamp, under eternal night. It was a wide black swamp, a flooded forest heavily wooded with stands of black cypress and blueleafs bedecked with moss and low hummocks grown over with dense foliage.[2][3][1]

The Whispermere was the name given to the main watercourse that wound through the Shadow Swamp. It comprised many creeks and winding waterways and sloughs, as well as areas of open water and reedy marshes forming bayous averaging 200 feet (60 meters) wide and 25 feet (7.6 meters) deep. Only some were navigable. The water was cold and sluggish, almost still, and very quiet, hence its name. It was also murky with peaty detritus, with visibility underwater limited to no more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) and could be choked with stumps, snags, and the floating trunks of cypresses. The bayous were 10 feet (3 meters) deep on average, with bogs laying between the water and the firmer land.[2][3][1]

A row of low hills and steep-sided bluffs ran north–south through the swamp, bisecting it. These were wrapped in briars, copses, and dense groves of trees.[1][4] Extensive, unexplored flooded forest lay to the east.[1]

Trails and paths looped around the swampland, traversing the hummocks that rose above the water and linking various locales or points of no clear interest. They were relatively safe, but often muddy and slippery. Crudely fashioned wooden footbridges and even just fallen logs led over the creeks. Small skiffs were left to cross wider bodies of water. Off the trails, low branches, marshes, and thickets impeded travel.[3][1] Lesser-used trails were more overgrown.[5]

However, the quickest way to cross the Shadow Swamp was over the water, with a vessel such as the Necreme.[3] To get around, the Sharrans installed some thirty-five beacons as channel markers between the Shadow Citadel and the Monastery of the Ebon Dome. These beacons were large bullseye lanterns burning shadowlight oil that glowed dimly but far in the dark swamp. One travelling the water could see only the next lantern in the darkness and the one behind. Not following the lit channel meant slowing to a crawl as one groped for a safe path through.[3][1]

Notable LocationsEdit

In the west lay the so-called Shadow Citadel, in fact a dismal ruin and dark reflection of the Lost Refuge found in the Vast Swamp.[2][3][1]

Not far from it, to the southeast, stood the Shadowscale Warren, the fortified mound of Shadowscale tribe of undead lizardfolk.[2][6] It stood south of a dark lake that joined the Whispermere via a number of winding channels. Flooded tunnels led from the bottom of the lake to beneath the mound.[7]

To the eastern edge, a landing on the Whispermere met a path that led up into the hills that bisected the swamp. Here, overlooking the swamp, was the Monastery of the Ebon Dome. Beyond it, a short trail led to the Black Rift.[2][4] This was a deep canyon that the whole swamp poured endlessly into, yet it never filled and the swamp was never drained.[8]

A quite unremarkable point on the Whispermere and the beacon-lit path was known as Black Tree Bend, but all the trees were black and the waterways bendy, so it was known only to experienced travelers like Sithierel. Here the Whispermere guardian lurked to obstruct those not part of the church of Shar's activities.[1]

HistoryEdit

The Shadow Swamp came to prominence in the early 1370s DR when members of the church of Shar and their shadar-kai and Shadowscale allies made their base here.[2][3][1] The shadar-kai sorcerer Thieraven reopened the Dusk Lord's Passage, a portal from the Lost Refuge to the Shadow Citadel, and the Sithierel led the black dragon Despayr to the Black Rift,[9] which became the center of the rite to tear a hole in the Weave of magic.[8] The cultists and their allies occupied by the Shadow Citadel and the Monastery of the Ebon Dome,[2][4] while the Shadowscales constructed a warren and other settlements throughout the swamp.[6][5] The group also installed beacons marking a route over the Whispermere, and built the Necreme to ferry their captives and agents.[1]

Finally, in early Eleint of the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, adventurers in service to Mystra arrived through the Dusk Lord's Passage and uncovered and thwarted the cult's activities.[2]

InhabitantsEdit

The Shadow Swamp was potentially inhabited by such things as cloakers, dark nagas, giant crocodiles, metalmasters, ochre jellies, and will-o'-wisps. There were also natives of the Shadow Plane, such as dusk beasts, shadow mastiffs, the undead shadows, and the so-called "dark" versions of ahuitzols, giant octopuses, hydrae (up to nine heads), and trolls. Some of the more aggressive vegetation included assassin vines and dark trees.[1]

However, around 1374 DR, when the Shadow Swamp was occupied by members of the church of Shar and their allies, such beings were not likely to be found on or near the trails and waterways they used. The shadar-kai and the Shadowscale tribe of undead lizardfolk taught the denizens of the swamp, one way or another, not to interfere with them or their activities.[1] The Shadowscales had dens, settlements, and outposts all over the swamp, with the greatest being the mound-fort of the Shadowscale Warren.[6] With the defeat of their war-chief there, they were left as a handful of disunited and desperate bands.[5]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 78–79. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 4,72,73. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 76–77. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 80–83. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  7. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 81,100. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–113. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  9. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50,56. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.

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