The maddening nature of the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh is a thing of legend and myth, but quite real—the subterranean swamp is literally writhing with delusion and insanity. Many claim to know how it devolved into this dangerous state, but many of the rumors cancel one another out. Some say it was the warren of aquatic aberrations before the Great Schism, others blame the spirit of a deranged lich, and still more believe that an ancient, fell, and hysterical dragon roams the cavern.
All agree on one thing—witches are involved.
How exactly, and for what purpose, none can say for sure. The presence of a coven of some kind is undeniable if any of the gossip is true, but few travel below and are well enough in the mind to be understood when they return (if they are ever seen again). Many speak only in rhyme if they do so at all, and even then, it is almost always nonsense.
Nothing emboldens a man like the promise of gold though, and the discovery of the karz slugs—and the unique, valuable properties their treated remains possess—have led to some concerted research into the area. A scholar and anthropologist, Geðveikur Krankzinnig took a great interest in the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh. Traveling across the countryside he sought out the hunters turned mad by the subterranean swamp, studying each in turn to better understand the hysteria that gripped them.After decades of dedicated research, Geðveikur compiled his masterpiece: Dar’Spelun Objasniti. In it he expounds on the nature of the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh’s most unique properties. A number of theories are explored, but ultimately the scholar decided that the most likely source of the oddity—the original source—stemmed from one of the calamities in the Underworld. Psychic energies run rampant from the anomaly, and drew forth from the aether a creature that is kinship to madness. Lairing in the subterranean swamp, it attracted creatures and spirits likened to it to the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh, completely warping it into a place of insanity. Even items of similar ilk eventually find their way there.
The last chapter of the book explains the vast number of preparations Geðveikur undertook before traveling to the Underworld bogs in search of it, explaining the effectiveness at the ability of each to deter various forms madness and insanity. He disappeared for a decade after the obscure book published, and was assumed dead before appearing in Mohkba, dashing through the streets turning all of the horses blue while evading authorities with his magics. Eventually he was brought in by the Sanctioned Arcane Practicioners of Mohkba, who are still trying to make sense of the old man’s ramblings.
Word among the hunters does speak of the witches however, and some trackers of the occult have begun to target the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh in search of a coven. They believe their offenders to be a sort of drow unlike any other, but it is difficult to get reliable information about the Underworld swamp. Some of the tales seem too far fetched to be true—there’s talk of roving pits, disappearing and reappearing forts, and all manner of beasts driven hysterical by the land itself!
True or not, travelers best be wary of the mind-peeling AaWBlog for all of Maddening May!