In the world of Aventyr, HEL is the destination of souls with owners foolish enough to trade them for power in life or whom worshipped dark and evil powers, a realm concealed deep below the surface. Many find refuge in other planes when their mortal coil shuffles off, but those ill of heart or who deny the existence of the gods make their way beneath the chasms of the Underworld. Their corpses feed the eternal fires beneath Aventyr, building more layers to the realm of the dead or fueling the slow, unyielding movements of tectonic plates.
Powerful dwarves forever tied to HEL oversee it all, stewards of the creatures that dwell in the realm of the dead. Gitwerc are not the only means to fall beneath to this concealed place of eternal struggle, and HEL’s draw for souls proves inescapable for most mortals. The stout but incredibly powerful kings of the Underworld live in conclaves surrounded by lava, and below their settlements flows a vast riverway of weapons—axes, spears, and swords from countless battles throughout history. Crossing this barrier is the last step for most of Aventyr’s souls, and the tales of what lay beyond are too few and far between to be a reliable source of information, and what the gitwerc reveal is never known long enough to be shared with others.
There are other ways to HEL, however, and a gateway to Aventyr’s realm of the dead exists in Uklonjen. The portal has been open for time immemorial, bleeding out dangerous effects into the demiplane. These psionic effects float across space, reaching out to any mind able to grasp upon them, warping wayward travelers to eventually fall into an early afterlife. All other transition points to HEL—including the Amber and Rhizomorph Roads—share these anomalies, which continue until the dimensional passage to the place of the dead is closed. How commonly creatures are subjected to the anomalies and the power of their effects are determined by where the passage to HEL is connected to.
HEL’s Psionic Influence in Uklonjen
In Uklonjen, the touch of Aventyr’s afterworld bleeds out as psionic energy, touching upon any mind that comes within 20 miles of the gateway.
- All sleeping creatures within this sphere of influence must make a DC 20 Will save or be compelled unknowingly with a curiosity about what lay in the direction of the gateway.
- The influence of the mysterious entities in HEL cast foreboding illusions that fill those who see them and fail a DC 22 Will save with dread, giving them the shaken condition for 1d4 hours if the travel towards them (encouraging travelers to head toward the gateway).
- Whenever a creature begins to feel doubt, they are reminded of childhood memories that reinforce the need to show caution—recollections of broken limbs, scalded fingers, and stubbed appendages fill the mind of anything that fails a DC 24 Will save.
- The center of the sphere is obscured from view, appearing to be a warm, radiant orange glow that fills souls that gaze upon it with encouragement. Only a DC 45 Perception check (reduced by 1 for every 2 miles closer to the gateway a creature is) can pierce this misleading veil.