Root of All Evil

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Just SurvivingRoot of All EvilCopyright © 2000 by Gary L. Ray[Realm]

CharacterThis Abyssal realm is devoted to unbridled greed and the desire for wealth. It is here that special gold coins are minted for distribution throughout the planes as well as the prime worlds. These are no ordinary coins, however, being minted through a special process that extracts greed and desire from the souls of the realm's slave victims. These victims are usually enslaved on various layers of The Abyss and brought to the town of Greenspawn for sale as coin fodder to various minters of the realm.

The "soul coins," although appearing as various types of normal coins found throughout the planes and the prime, cause intense greed in those who possess them (save versus spell). Many soul coin possessors will kill to protect their horde, resist spending their coins at all costs – even their own deaths, and will often work their entire lives attempting to obtain more coins. Most are not aware of their problem. Such a depraved life often leads possessors to an appropriate afterlife in this realm, a perpetual existence of mining for gold, hunting for treasure and attempting to satisfy a gold lust that cannot be quenched.

PowerNo specific power rules The Root of All Evil, although many powers have petitioners that roam the realm. The powers Eshebala, Hiddukel, Urdlen (Gnomish) and Vaprak (Ogre) all have petitioners here searching for gold with plans to return to their powers Abyssal realms at some point in the future. Most plan to return soon, although some petitioners making such claims have been in the realm for several millennia. Other non-Abyssal powers of wealth, such as Abbathor, Hades, Lliira, Nephythys, Sera, Shinare, Vergadain, and Waukeen have lost some of their petitioners to this realm, their follower’s irrational greed and desire overcoming what was initially a simple desire to better themselves.

DescriptionThe realm is mountainous and rich in minerals. Extensive veins of gold are equally matched by veins of Iron Pyrite (Fool’s Gold), which appear indistinguishable. Quartz veins also run through the mountains, containing gold in need of caustic cracking using poisonous chemicals. The difference between real and fool’s gold is almost impossible to tell in the realm, as the lust for gold tends to overwhelm common sense.

The plane is dark, dreary and full of mud. All vegetation has been cut for fires, and landslides are common occurrences due to strip-mining techniques performed with the water of the Styx. Miners often get lost walking through regions of strip mining; the water on the ground apparently affecting their spatial memory.

Ugly iron fortresses dot the landscape. These are Tanar’ri lords who run minting operations in the realm. Each fortress is a stronghold of greed and desire in its various forms. Some strongholds even have names reflecting this, for example, the strongholds of Crave and Yearn are known to be particularly powerful. Coins are minted in various ways and using various functions. For example, some coins are meant to appear as gold coins from prime worlds. They might be distributed to followers of the Tanar’ri lord or placed into general circulation in hopes of gaining new followers. Other coins are used by Tanar’ri lords to finance the Blood War, although it’s becoming more difficult to find those willing to take them. Not all victims of soul coins end up in the layer. Sometimes greed simply acts as a gateway for other evil intentions. Unless an individual is of strong moral character, the effects of such coins could go unnoticed for many years.

The process of minting coins is unremarkable except for the soul extraction process. Each Tanar’ri lord protects his secret extraction process, but it basically involves a horribly painful process of extracting soul-energy from a living victim, a process requiring a tenderizing process in which every bone of the body is systematically broken. Details of the actual mechanisms and extraction processes used in each fortress are all different, but involve similar levels of suffering and carnage.

The River Styx winds throughout this realm, its waters used for strip-mining and transporting coinage off the realm and throughout the planes. Fetid pools of slag and corpses of soul extraction victim’s bubble and ooze next to fortresses, eventually draining into the river ways.

The atmosphere, although breathable, often contains high levels of cyanide in mining areas. The cyanide is used for "cracking" gold from quartz. Areas near such operations have an atmosphere that resembles the effects of the "Cloudkill" spell.

DenizensBesides the usual contingents of Tanar’ri and gold lusting petitioners, there are quite a few gold eating Aurumvorax (MM) in the area, as well as Shadow Fiends (MM) who are employed in the realm for their skill in appraising soul coins. It seems their knack at trapping and appraising souls in gems has some benefit in determining the quality and value of these special coins.

Special ConditionsThe Fool’s Gold spell is enhanced on this realm, as are spells that tap an individual’s desire.

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