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The Skull Staff was a landmark and territorial marker on the western fringe of the Vast Swamp in Cormyr.[1]

DescriptionEdit

It was a massive broken log, up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) thick and standing 30 feet (9 meters) high, jutting out of the ground at a steep angle. Its base was surrounded by a many and varied number of skulls heaped about it, and more lined its sides, held in place by iron spikes and wooden stakes. Smaller hunks of wood held lone skulls further away from the main mass. There were skulls of beings such as orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, trolls, lizardfolk, and ogres; monsters like hydras; and animals like crocodiles and dire boars.[1]

GeographyEdit

It stood just within the swamp on its south-western shore,[2] beyond a waterlogged thicket and a stand of weeping willow trees. A muddy path wended around the Skull Staff and ran between bogs and deeper into the Vast Swamp, with felled trees bridging the water.[1] The path led to the Lost Refuge, some ten miles (16 kilometers) away.[3]

HistoryEdit

The Skull Staff was constructed sometime around the 1270s DR by an orc tribe as a territorial marker, hoping the ghastly sight would warn other creatures away from their territory. They put the skulls of defeated enemies around it.[1]

When they were chased from that land, its new occupants used it for the same purpose, adding the orcs' skulls to the collection. After a hundred years of changing hands, it was adorned with the skulls of many local creatures.[1]

In the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, it was under the control of the Shadowscale lizardfolk tribe and their Sharran allies. They used the path from the Skull Staff to the Lost Refuge frequently, so others stayed well away. The Skull Staff was also one of the landmarks used by ensorcelled magic-users from the false Temple of Mystra when traveling to the Lost Refuge.[1]

In early Eleint, a war-party of Sharptooth, Blackscale, and Poison Dusk lizardfolk—all victims of a war with the Shadowscales—ventured into the territory and laid an ambush at the Skull Staff in efforts to kill their enemies or capture "dream walkers", whom they recognized as being mentally dominated. In fact, the next group to pass that way were actually adventurers in service to Mystra investigating activities at the temple. This unfortunate misunderstanding was eventually resolved in parlay with Kessessek, chieftain of the Sharptooths.[1]

ReputationEdit

The Skull Staff was completely unknown to most people outside the Vast Swamp.[4] Even the Sharrans at the false temple thought "skull staff" merely referred to a single skull mounted on a stake.[3]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 39–40, 46–47. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  2. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  4. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.

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