Shanala, The Infinite Road (3.5e Location)
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Shanala, The Infinite Road
In the apex of the Aurumari Empire, the twelve giant clans sought to expand trade routes to other kingdoms throughout the world. The patron fathers of the clans traveled deep into the Nephratim Spine, where they petitioned the greatest fire giant smiths to forge a road that led to everywhere.
Thus Shanala was born, molded by the hands of eight thousand smiths. Through the road Aurumar grew, from Nephratim to Denes-Thail, to the wastes of Chormar and the fey kingdom of Cuesc'qued'llfen.
When the world shattered, Shanala resisted, stretching and bending instead. Where the shards ended, the road phased into the Plane of Shadow-creating shortcuts where one could walk from one shard to the next in just a few hours.
The Thirteen Lotru and The Two Gher-Lotru
When the road was forged, the smiths of the Nephratim discovered that any creature could blindly stumble onto Shanala. To combat this, they forged the wards known as sed-Amai, twenty seven living locks of a sort-which a creature attempting to enter the road would have to unlock using a special key.
They forged a key for each of the twelve houses of Aurumar, plus one for the Emperor Hal'avas. The lotru, as they were named, were each a large twisted circlet forged of a pitted black-green metal that sat above the thumb and just below the fourth finger. Each one was inscribed with a series of instructions in Ayrtol, (the pre-Giant alphabet of Aurumar) that showed the wearing how to activate the road and bypass the sed-Amai. There were a few limits on exactly which khymr an individual key could unlock, although the Emperor's could unlock all of them.
As a precaution against the powerful Empire, the fire giants forged in secret two other keys: gher-lotru, a pair of stone tablets that could open or seal a khymr permanently. When war broke out between Aurumar and Nephratim, these two talismans were pivotal in the destruction of the giant Empire.
Ttpedja, Footprints of the Soul
The Aurumari held a strong belief in the powers of the soul, in fact their greatest scholars studied nothing but ways to manipulate the soul at times. This belief extended to travelers of Shanala, where the scholars thought that those who had traveled the road before passed on the knowledge of it's routes to their offspring and their fuil'milu'tyr (reincarnations). While the Aurumari are long extinct now, some have learned to call upon the soul footprints of those passed for guidance.
- Gravity: Normal Gravity.
- Time: Flowing Time. A month in Shanala is only a week on the Material Plane.
- Size: Infinite. While the road may be only a few feet in width at some points, it was created to have no ending.
- Morphic: Divinely Morphic.
Shanala in entwined with both the Material Plane and the Plane of Shadow. The areas where it connects with these two planes (known as khymr in Giant), the road often appears as part of another road or path in a nondescript area, such as an ancient mountain path or a woodland cul-de-sac. Moving from a road, through a khymr, and into Shanala is often accidental; a Survival check (generally DC 35) may be allowed by the DM to identify a khymr.
In the ruins of Enumpera, a tome exists that lists the precise locations of the twenty seven khymrs made by the giants.
The Road does not really support life well enough to create its' own creatures, but it has a few long term inhabitants.
During the Stonefall War, the fire giants saw fit to halt all travel through Shanala. They had stolen back most of the lotru, but even then the Aurumari managed to enter the Road. So the same smiths who forged the plane created the roumgrym, a pack of incredibly swift, nearly indestructible hounds to hunt trespassers. To this day, millennium after the fall of the giants, the roumgrym still stalk the realm, looking for giant flesh to feast on.
Movement and Combat
Shanala functions as whatever part of the Material or Shadow plane it is near for purposes of movement.