Gloamhold: The Shard

Standing alone upon the highest point of the Mottled Spire, far above the ruins of Greystone, the Shard was once a lighthouse built to warn of the treacherous rocks and shoals lurking in the surrounding waters. However, its history is much older than that of Greystone or even of wall-girdled Languard standing proudly across the bay.



To even the most casual observer it is obvious the Shard’s architecture has two distinct styles. The lower — and undeniably older — portions are built in a time-worn cyclopean style. Such architecture is familiar to those who have gazed upon the gloam-filled precincts of the Twilight City. Oddly laid out for a watchtower or lighthouse the design suggests either the original structure was impossibly high — hence the wide, strangely-shaped base — or that two towers once abutted and supported one another. Blasted by wind and rain for centuries, the tower’s huge stone blocks are worn. In sheltered places, faint suggestions of unwholesome and strangely disturbing carvings have survived nature’s remorseless assault. What they represented or depicted remains a mystery.

On the surviving upper levels, the stonework is more modern and broadly in keeping with that found on the mainland or among the ruins of Greystone. Above the older portions of the ruin, the tower narrows abruptly. In bad repair and riven with great cracks, the upper levels become progressively unsafer the higher one dares to climb.

Crudely constructed cellars, that roughly follow the path of a meandering natural cavern, lie under the Shard. Filled with sagging support pillars of once prodigious strength, they are of an elder design not conceived by human minds. Here, among the dust and shadows lurked carvings as sharp and detailed as the day they were cut out of the living rock. Something about the carvings so terrified Greystone’s settlers that they destroyed all they could find before walling up the cellars so that none may stumble across what they had discovered. Of what they found within, there is no record; it is as if the community decided that what they had discovered was too terrible to commit to paper.

In the deepest part of the cellars, a sinkhole girdled by an ancient, timeworn and precipitous set of steps, descends into the darkness. Some explorers theorise the sinkhole is the mouth of the Splintered Stair. Far below lie Rivengate’s upper halls. And on some stormy nights, the translucent image of a ghostly tower can be seen rising from the Shard’s shattered ruin…

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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