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the strategists and exPlorers of Queen Korinthia, including Ordo Magica, generally agree that the witches exaggerate. Instead they cling to the belief that the taboos echo threatening warn- ings made by elves, and that the edicts primarily are devised to keep peace with the wardens of the forest. But the strategists also call for caution. The Ambrians still know far too little about Davokar’s past – about the fallen civilization of Symbaroum and the origin of the abominations – to be able to rule out that the witches’ legends contain one or two grains of truth.
Whatever the truth may be Davokar is there, at the threshold of Ambria, the new and PromisedLand of Korintha Nightbane. It rests there with its enormous riches, in terms of natural resources and treasure- lled ruins. To leave it in peace is completely at odds with the Ambrian disposition.
Maybe that same disposition can account for the Ambrians’ obstinate attempts to explain the inexplicable? The description of Davokar found below is based on the Duality Principle, put forth by Mallioanos, a renowned Master of the Order. It is perhaps the simplest and most comprehensible description of Davokar to date. Hence, it is simplis- tic, in some cases even misleading, but in the end it will give you a hint of what awaits in the shadowy halls under Davokar’s tree tops.
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Mallianos is stationed as Master of the Order at the Yndaros chapter and is highly religious. The latter is evident in how he describes Davokar as divided into two main regions, based on whether or not the sunlight can penetrate the leaves to reach the ground. Many of his slanderers argue that he has designed the classi cation in close partnership with Father Peonio, First Theurg at the Cathedral of Martyrs in the capital.
Mallianos describes, not entirely incorrectly, the outskirts as strikingly beautiful and remarkably lush. During summer, beams of sunlight shimmer in a humid air lled with soaring seeds and dancing insects, making the moss and ground blossoms gleam. The ery splendor of the autumns is even more striking, and the virgin white of the winter calm also has its fair share of admirers.
However, Mallianos utters a word of warning: No matter how beautiful the nature may seem you can be sure that it is full of hidden dangers – fruits and berries can be lethal on ingestion, and many inexperienced wanderers have reached their end at the bottom of a marsh that was mistaken for solid ground.
As for its creatures, Mallianos describes Bright Davokar as the domain of barbarians and prey animals. Of course, that implies that it is there the predators come to hunt – packs of mare cats, jakaars and etterherds as well as solitary rage trolls and even famished abominations. Adding to that, the elves must be mentioned. The cautious spring elves apparently love nothing better than to subject human wanderers to all kinds of more or less deadly mischiefs, while the hotheaded summer elves are happy to use the same travelers as targets for their perfectly aimed arrows – not least if they are in or are traveling toward areas deemed especially sensitive by the wardens.
Finally some words about the ruins of the outskirts. The southern regions and the area sur- rounding Karvosti has already been thoroughly explored by the Queen’s Rangers, Ordo Magica’s expeditions and independent fortune-hunters, leading to the discovery of sites like Serand’s Pyramide, the Columns of Haganor and the grand aqueducts of Clearwell. But that does not mean that there is nothing more to unearth. Even today, the lucky and well-prepared may still nd untouched ruins close to the southern border. And if one dares to venture further north or to delve deeper down into the soil, the chance of interesting discoveries are multiplied.
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eyond the elusive border which Mallianos has established between bright and dark, there are regions that should not be traversed without great care, detailed preparations and a sizable company of sword-wielding companions. In contrast to the out- skirts, the deep is riddled with grave dangers and there are neither barbarians, nor Ranger patrols that can come to your rescue. In short: One never ventures into the dark deep of Davokar without being prepared to risk one’s life in hope of gaining riches, knowledge or fame.
According to Mallianos, Dark Davokar is char- acterized by a dense and wild vegetation that closes out all light. But in that the aws of the Duality Principle are revealed – the few fortune-hunters who have traveled into the dark and returned with their health and minds intact testify that the sun- beams actually do reach the ground in there. They can also tell you that it certainly does not mean that the horrors go away.
Whatever is true or false when it comes to the many postulates by Mallianos, there are reports speaking of a very devious nature in Davokar’s inner regions, a nature whose threats lurk where one would least expect it – threats in the form of bottomless streams, tiny but poisonous crea- tures, overgrown sinkholes and carnivorous or bloodthirsty vines. There is also talk of infections and parasites which make their victims insane, paralyzed, rabid or undead; of ancient curses with similar e ects; even of areas defying all reason, where it snows in the summer, where plants shim- mer from some inner glow and where nightmares inexplicably come to life. But not Mallianos, nor Lukresia, nor some other authority on the nature of Davokar can claim to actually know which of these statements correspond with reality. If any.
The truth is just as uncertain when it comes to the inhabitants of the deep. That there are raving abominations, beastly rage trolls and packs of tricklestings and hunger wolves may be concluded from the stories told by returning explorers. And maybe there is some truth to the rumors about a predatory and bloodthirsty barbarian clan, even if its dwelling is yet to be found. But when there is talk about shapeshi ing creatures of unworldly origins, bone-pale elf warriors, possessed mastodons and cunning dragons, the testimonies are far fewer and less reliable.
The same goes for the barbarian stories about shadowy beings like Lord Bog and the Hawthorn Hag, according to legend ancient creatures who are as powerful as they are wrathful. The problem is that those who come across the residents of the forest do not o en get the opportunity to return with their tales. And a majority of the lucky ones return in a state which makes it hard to believe what they have to say. What drives Ambrian explorers to defy the dangers is of course the hope of nding treasures from the days of Symbaroum. Mallianos makes no e ort to hide the fact that the further into Davokar you travel, the greater is your chance of nding well-preserved and rich ruins. But he also points out that, rst, the ruins of the Dark are o en over- grown or hard to nd since all that remains is below ground; second, that they always are inhabited by someone or something ready to protect its turf. And even if one should take this “always” with a pinch of salt, reports from both the Rangers and Ordo Magica suggests that his warnings are warranted.
On the other hand, venturing into the Dark may still be worth the risk. Judging by the fortune sal- vaged by Iasogoi Brigo during one single visit to the ruins of Odaban, one who nds the path to places like Saroklaw, Dakovak or even Symbar will hardly return empty handed. If they but return at all.
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as soon as you have acquired an explorer’s license you are free to set foot in the forest. If you keep to the charted route between Thistle Hold and Karvosti, or the one between the forest edge and the outposts established in the woods, you can feel quite safe since they are patrolled by the Queen’s Rangers. But should you divert even slightly you must be prepared for nasty surprises.
In the outskirts it is possible to travel by horse, although not at a very high speed since there are no paved roads. In the long run it is o en preferable to walk and lead the animal by the halter. If so, you can cover two to three mile a day, depending on the terrain and the density of the vegetation. You would do well to bring lots of water and dried meat on your journey, since the streams and springs of the forest sometimes are infected and since open res tend to attract unwelcome guests to your camp site. In Davokar every meal may be your last, if you are not careful and take the right precautions.
Deeper in the woods riding is rarely an option, and having the equipment tied to a pack animal can be a very bad idea – there is a signi cant risk that the animal will bolt at the first sight or whim of a rage troll, leaving you to face the horrors of Davokar empty-handed. No, to Dark Davokar you never go without a number of companions, includ- ing a skilled guide who knows to avoid dangers and who can nd clean water as well as edible plants and prey.
In the Game Master’s Guide on page 183 you will find more, and more detailed, information on travels in Davokar, but shortly put: every journey into Davokar is hazardous, and he who has not prepared himself correctly may very well find the first excursion to be his last.