We’re back from hiatus with a big mystery: literally. The Gracia Span was a massive stonework construction… when it was still standing. Its mysterious loss has created a significant impact on the economies and livelihoods throughout western Ipieros.
I like sprinkling my settings with a few open questions to be filled in by the players. This is as much a scene of ruin to create an interesting backdrop as it is an unsolved mystery for the players to investigate.
Here’s the entry:
Until recently, the Gracia Span was a massive stonework bridge that soared above the southern end of Xenix Gorge, connecting Wildermarch and Toriel to Outland. Seven years ago, the span collapsed into the canyon. This has drastically cut trade through the region, as the alternatives involve descending into and climbing back out of the canyon or a detour of many leagues to the southwest. The Gracia Span still appears on a number of older maps from the Kartos Ipieros, leading to travellers arriving at one end of the span only to be grievously disappointed.
While it stood, the span arched across half a league of empty air, using a single narrow butte in the middle of the gorge for support. The small fortress at the top of that butte—inventively referred to as Gracia Gate—was endlessly fought over for its ability to collect tolls on the lucrative trade routes that passed over the bridge. Whatever destroyed the span took the butte with it: only a jagged spear of stone stands in its place.
There were no living witnesses to the span’s collapse—the trade route had been all but abandoned during the Ogrewar—and the cause is still unknown. Theories abound, ranging from the Dread Tyrant punishing rebellious vassals to angry vine witches to rogue treewalkers to vindictive dragons to rebellious vassals crippling one of the Dread Tyrant’s primary trade routes. The span was in generally good repair, although its last custodians may not have fully understood how to maintain its structural integrity. After all, nobody knows how it was built in the first place.
As much as its collapse, the span’s origins are equally mysterious. The bridge was ancient; it stood when the elves took Tour Toriel in the Imperial Wars, and trollsong suggests it was millenia old even then. Multiple delegations from the Arcane Mysterium have attempted to date the span or identify its creators, but each round of their results contradicts all the others. The stone it was built from is similar to that quarried in nearby Toriel Highlands, and no one can conceive of how it could have been built without sophisticated construction wizardry. Beyond that, all is mere speculation.
This entry has bunches of references, and winnowing them down to four was tough. Which of these would you like to check out next week?