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In the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, two Red Brigade scouts reported a dead-magic zone in Brynwood in the Vast to their captain, Cedric Ravajar. He later disbanded the Red Brigade and reformed with a trusted few into the Vipers, a bandit gang. They returned to the dead-magic zone and began construction of their base, as an underground hideout protected by the magic-dead area. Dwarven engineers, formerly of the Red Brigade, designed and built the structure, with the aid of low-ranking bandits. It was nicknamed "the Vipers' Nest".
They were in operation by the end of the year. There were frequent attempts by rangers, bounty hunters, constables, and other groups to locate their hideout but all failed, largely due to the dead-magic environment and the Vipers concealing their tracks.
Calispar Delgorth, a priest of Talona and member of the Vipers, discovered that plant-based toxins grown within the dead-magic zone were unaffected by magic. He used the find to develop poisons immune to magic. On the 28th Eleasis in the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, Autton Shadowshroud of the Shadowkind assassins visited the Vipers's Nest with Calispar to oversee testing and development of such a poison, which Calispar had promised to give them.
The Vipers' Nest was constructed inside a hill in Brynwood. The northern side was overgrown, but the southern side was barren earth. On either side, cunningly disguised secret doors allowed entrance. Outside, there was no visible sign of habitation
Almost the entire base was located within a dead-magic zone some 160 feet (49 meters) in diameter.
InteriorEditThe base consisted of three levels. The first was within the hill itself, while the other two were entirely below ground. The third level was a natural underground cavern crossed by a subterranean river that ran south–north. Stairs allowed passage between levels.
The whole base was of dwarven construction with a number of features of dwarven design. Cleverly crafted chimneys took rising smoke through a number of filters and nooks, dispersing it and allowing it to escape the mound invisibly, leaving only a faint smell of smoke and tiny embers.
For an underground bandit hideout, it was surprisingly well appointed and equipped, more like a professional military barracks. There was an armoury, and guard rooms and guard quarters by the entrances. Their planning and meetings took place in the battle room and conference chamber, complete with a "throne" for Cedric and a scale model map of the surrounding lands. Some of their loot was displayed in a trophy room, but most was stored in the supply room along with other equipment.
There was a kitchen and mess hall, with rooms for storage of food and alcohol that were kept quite cool by dwarven engineering. There were bedrooms for senior members and a barracks for lower-ranking members. A game room entertained the troops, and a training room kept them in form. The underground river supplied fresh water for drinking and washing, as well as cleaning the latrines.Of particular note were the rooms set aside as bedroom and workshop for Calispar Delgorth. They were built across the boundary of the dead-magic zone, giving him space to conduct his magic and prayers at his shrine to Talona, and were lit by a continual light spell cast on a pebble. In his laboratory, he kept a planter box where he grew plants to produce ingredients and alchemical equipment to brew them into various toxins.
The Vipers relied on concealment for the protection of their Nest, as it was entirely hidden and underground, and the dead-magic zone blocked magical detection and provided a powerful defence against magic-users.