Arkat's Black Pool

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Created On 25 February 2001
Last Updated On 25 February 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

Arkat summoned this when he advanced into Dorastor and it served as a shield against Nysalor's light and Gbaji's cunning. It was a great pool of darkness that stayed dark even when the sun was high in the sky. Arkat's Pool contained a great host of Dehori, Shades, Hell Hounds and other darkness demons and spirits and proved useful in the battles with Gbaji. However, when the war was over and Gbaji had been defeated Arkat left the Black Pool behind to guard Dorastor from any incursions of chaos. When Ralzakark awakened Dorastor he found Arkat's Pool and managed to slip inside using a Mask of Darkness. Nobody knows what he did there but he emerged with two shadows, one of which he later lost in a trip to Hell. From then on Arkat's Black Pool also contained Scorpion Men, Spider Men and other darkness chaotics.

Arkat's Black Pool takes the form of a permanent area of darkness that creeps along the ground like a shadow. Visitors from Shadows Dance would recognize it as a Shadow, a permanently embodied piece of Darkness or a Darkness Spirit in its own right. The Black Pool varies in size, sometimes only being 10m-20m in length, other times stretching for several kilometres. Anyone entering the Black Pool will find themselves in a place of Darkness as if in a moon less, star less cloudy night. The Black Pool is cold and damages Agimori accordingly. Torches do not illuminate the Pool and merely act as a signal light to attract the denizens. Light spells and Sunbright spells do illuminate but at reduced levels, I would say that Light spells illuminate 1 foot per point of intensity and Sunbright spells illuminate up to 50 feet only. Sound travels further and faster here and this can affect Troll darksense, acting as a 20% penalty until the troll gets used to the effect. Mistress Race Trolls are unaffected by this effect as they see the place as an extension of Hell.

Any Darkness spell used here is cast as if the caster's POW were doubled and the effects of the spell are doubled. Shades summoned here have doubled hit points and the Fear Shock effect is made one level better than normal. The Black Pool may be used as the starting point for HeroQuests and acts as a link to Hell itself, HeroQuest rituals can cause the Questors to exit the Pool in Subere's Halls. Many trolls seek out Arkat's Black Pool in order to perform HeroQuests.

The Black Pool has many denizens, some of which have been mentioned before. Since the Black Pool also touches Hell it may hold more powerful creatures or even returning HeroQuestors. There are many Chaotic creatures here, ranging from Scorpion Men, Spider Men and Harpies to Vampires, Mummies and other Undead. Any Chaotic creature that has the Darkness rune is possibly found here as well as those shamans and people coming to the Pool to gain darkness spirits or powers.

Ralzakark's cult provides a HeroQuest Station Call Black Pool (1 Point HeroQuest) that allows the HeroQuestor to call the Black Pool so that he can exit Hell through the Black Pool. This can be used in other HeroQuests in Hell and can be Invoked to summon a shadow as the Argan Argar spell. This has occasionally been obtained from the Arkat cult by troll HeroQuestors and can be obtained from Subere as a gift following success in certain Quests. Of course, not everyone wants to exit Hell via Dorastor, especially when the Questors do not know where the Black Pool is currently located in Dorastor.

The Black Pool can be found anywhere within Dorastor. It moves at a rate of Move 1 during the daytime but can reach speeds of Move 20 during the night. Sometimes it will hide beneath a rock or forest as a shadow and will not creep into the daylight, other times it will swirl through the noonday sun and envelop everything it meets in a shroud of darkness. Ralzakark claims to be able to summon the Black Pool at will but has never been seen to demonstrate this power.

I rarely used the Black Pool in my Dorastor campaign as the characters generally avoided it when the found it - nobody wanted to end up in Hell accidentally. However, when I used it before my Dorastor Campaign the PCs found the Black Pool and made camp beside it for the night. Broze Demonslayer was on guard and decided to investigate the Black Pool, so he went inside alone leaving the camp unguarded. He walked for a while and spotted a group of scorpionmen so he ran off, not wanting to fight them on his own. He was quite fast and managed to make it back to camp without being caught but did not warn the other PCs as he did not want to admit his mistake. The first they knew of the problem was when the scorpionmen burst from Arkat's Black Pool and attacked the sleeping PCs with Broze shouting "Look out - Scorpionmen" from his vantage point in the middle of the camp.