In the skies above the remains of the isle of Valear, there is a continuous storm raging. Immense volcanic heat, high pressure steam, the life-energies of the Jav-Sabok, and the disrupted magical energies of the world all seek a new point of balance – and may well be doing so for decades to come after Fredronon’s catastrophic ritual.
The tornado winds, heated positive-energy rain, and wild discharges of elemental energies are mere side effects – even if they have fueled the monstrous growth of the once-benign life of the wilds, in places turning simple grass into towering forests and common animals into terrible monsters. What is left of the island is a playground for Tempest spirits.
Beneath the ground, the energies are muted, buffered by the mighty masses of earth, stone, ore, and metal which make up the structure of the Twilight Isles. There are still great forces flowing through the earth – but the insanity of the storm is muffled, despite the occasional earthquake and various minor magical disturbances.
There, beneath the chaos of Fredronon’s Folly, Tarlin has elected to carve out a solitary temple to his god – Haerun, god of shadows and secrecy. In his service, a hidden fane seems appropriate, and a Thunder Dwarf turned Magma Elemental seems like just the one to burrow out a massive underground temple and bring the message of Haerun to the elemental spirits of nature.
Despite the intrusions of enormous tree roots, bored and disruptive elementals, assorted giant animals and insects, ongoing earthquakes, and the fact that one of the greatest of the Kaiju Gods – Anok-Mithan the Stormwalker – has taken to wandering about the island, Tarlin has continued his great work – even recruiting other elementals and attempting to convert them to the faith.
The Great Fane of Haerun
As befits a system tunneled out by a lava elemental, the Fane is a three-dimensional network of tunnels lined with alloyed iron – smelted out of the local ores and metal layers by Tarlin’s own volcanic heat and elemental energies. There are eight hidden entrances to the maze – one for each of the eight elemental magical forces (or “Thunders”) of the Twilight Isles, all leading (eventually) to the sacred shrine of Haerun at the center.
With the assistance of a mystical architect of considerable skill, Tarlin’s original enthusiastic (if relatively unskilled) design has been upgraded to take advantage of the vast amounts of magical energy running wild around the island, and thus incorporates a low-level Ward Major (from The Practical Enchanter).
The Great Fane is a Rank Five Ward:
Attributes: Intelligence 20, Wisdom 17, Charisma 8
Skill Points: 36. Knowledge/Theology +12, Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering +12, Rune Mastery/Earth +12, Rune Casting/Earth +12, Rune Mastery/Darkness, Healing, Fire, and Illusion +6, Rune Casting/Darkness, Healing, Fire, and Illusion +6.
Feats: Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Mana (5).
Minor Powers (4):
Residents receive the Mystic Artist (Craft/Metal Casting) ability. This is Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect; it can only be used by resident Clerics of Haerun, can only be used to make religious symbols and artwork with appropriate abilities, requires a wide variety of religious rituals (and a good deal of extra time) to use, and requires at least modest quantities of precious metals and gems to use. The available abilities depend on the user’s total level of skill as usual, but the sequence of abilities is limited to 3:Emotion , 4: Fascinate, 5: Block, 6: Competence, 9: Greatness, 12: Excellence, 15: Mass Greatness, 18: Mass Excellence, 21: Hold Audience, 24: Suggestion, 30: Heroism, 36: Mass Heroism, 48: Double, and 60: Freedom.
Unfortunately, while this does allow residents to make portable works of art, they need access to this feat to activate them – which greatly limits their utility. For the most part, this ability is being used to produce monumental works of art which, not being portable, are permanently active. As the various rooms of the Fane are slowly ornamented with mystic artworks, the residents will find the shrine becoming a powerful aide for a wide variety of tasks.
Hallowed. The entire Fane is permanently Hallowed, and any priest may attach one of the usual secondary spells to the effect.
Forgotten. The Fane is difficult to find – and would be even if it wasn’t buried under a distant island full of monsters – and tends to fade from the memory of non-residents.
Residents receive a +6 bonus to their Craft/Metal Casting skill (Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect/+18, as per the Mystic Artist granted ability above) and a +6 Bonus on Knowledge / Theology.
Major Powers (1)
Priests of Haerun receive +2 bonus levels of Clerical Spellcasting while resident at the Fane.
One of the most powerful applications of mystic artistry is in the central shrine, where the great Mask of Haerun gazes down upon his worshipers and provides the officiating priest with +6 Positive Levels (triple effect heroism. Sadly, even when Tarlin becomes skilled enough to access the “Doubled” ability, and upgrades the Great Mask, this will only become +8 positive levels – thanks to d20’s basic rules on adding multipliers). Still, this work of art provides the officiating priest with +6 to his BAB, Saves, and AC and +36 CP – spent as follows:
The Granted Strength of Haerun: +3 1/3 levels of Clerical Spellcasting (33 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (+10 Clerical caster levels)/gaining this bonus requires lengthy ritual spellcasting, offering regular sacrifices to Haerun, and a worshipful audience.
The Inspiring Gaze of God: A +2 Bonus on Knowledge/Religion (2 CP) and a +3 Speciality in Knowledge/Religion/Haerun (1 CP).
While the officiating priest must pray for his or her spells, and cast them, within the central shrine, this does provide him or her with a genuinely massive bonus. Within the central shrine, even a minor priest may produce remarkable effects – and answer religious questions as guided by Haerun.
Overall, The Great Fane is a powerful religious center – filled with inspiring artwork, a source of religious art which will display the quality and strength of the faith, and a focus of divine power which will allow it’s presiding priest to produce major miracles – at least as long as he or she has the support of a community of the faithful.
Finally, I have gratuitously ruled that anyone who spends months, and enormous resources, erecting a great temple to their god gets the “Sanctum” ability there for free – effectively a +1 Level or 24 CP bonus while they’re there – and can even buy it again if they like.
Tarlin is spending those points on:
Strengths of the Righteous: +2 levels of Clerical Spellcasting (20 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (+6 Clerical Caster Levels)/gaining this bonus requires lengthy ritual spellcasting, offering regular sacrifices to Haerun, and a worshipful audience.
This gets Tarlin’s clerical spellcasting within the Fane up to a minimum of eighteenth level – albeit only with an audience and rituals. That’s still useful for quite a few things though.
Augmented Bonus: Adds [Dex Mod] to [Int Mod] for skill bases, Specialized and Corrupted for double effect and two-thirds cost/only for Craft Skills, only for Metalworking Crafts (4 CP).
Tarlin was planning to buy Sanctum himself, and thus make himself even more powerful within his shrine – but where those points will go hasn’t been entirely settled yet.