The armies of the Abyss are vast. While not nearly as disciplined as the great regimented legions which tromp the planes of Hell, the Abyssal forces are many times their equal in sheer numbers, and their chaotic, swarming, might can overwhelm the rank and file of any foe. But where do these demonic shock troops get their weapons, their armor, their vile machines of war? That question will be answered in the future; for now, we go to the question which must precede it: Where do they get the raw materials?
It does not quite stretch to infinity, but its borders are unknown. Beneath a sky of blood red and pyresmoke black, glowing an unchanging dim orange, bathing all the land in dull crimson hues, lies a vast array of lands, all burned, blasted, marked, and pitted. Here is an ocean, as large as any on a mortal world, choked to grey sludge with ash and ruin; there is a forest, or the remains of one, burned and blackened until nothing can be found but sticks. And everywhere, there are the pits, the holes, the caverns.
These are the Mines. Long ago, these were the Mines Of Atharashi, a powerful demon princeling who stumbled on what was once a rich node of raw materials, a collection of valuable metals and other substances which had congealed out of the Elemental Chaos, perhaps at the command of some dead god or primordial. He claimed it, and made it his own, and bargained with the greater powers of the Abyss. The greater powers soon wearied of honoring his claims, and formed a brief alliance to unseat him. When those milennia of war ended, Atharasai was cast into the swirling Formlessness, the miasma between the Elemental Chaos and the Abyssal Planes, presumably never to be seen again. Presumably. The Alliance, having achieved its own goal, fell to predictable battle among itself, and now the Mines — claimed by a dozen greater lords and at least twice that many minor, none with the power to make it stick — are a place of warring workgangs and ever-increasing devastation.
Twisted and touched by the Abyss, the raw material here is often tainted and filled with dark and forbidden energies. The vast majority of what can be hauled up is normal matter — iron, copper, rare veins of adamantium and mithral. Some, though, is rarer — and the discover of a rich lode of one of these exotic metals sets the simmering war to a vicious boil.
The center of the land is a mostly empty wasteland, filled with nothing but abandoned mines and deep craters where huge sections of the ground were torn to pieces in the search for wealth. The shattered remains of great machines, ranging from primitive wood and rope constructions to hideous abominations of gears, pistons, and cables — now turned to rusted hulks and twisted mountains of mangled metal — fill this place. Beyond it are the regions of the plane still open to exploitation, a random scattering of hundreds of small camps and a few massive fortress-mines where an exarch or trusted lieutenant of the demon lord commands the operations of his master (all the while plotting treachery, of course!) Uncounted captured souls are sent here to labor eternally, though "eternity" can be brief… the nature of this place is to drain the weak into itself, infusing more of the metal here with the energy of a soul lost forever.
While, in theory, all that is mined here must flow onwards to the planes of the demon lords, there is almost no overseer, from the petty to the grand, who will not stoop to some petty larceny if the price is high enough. Those who seek the metals of the Abyss, especially in quantities small enough not to be noticed by careless, lazy, and corrupt demonic accountants, are sometimes tempted to take prilgrimages here, to visit some fortress or another wish sufficient power to compel respect and sufficient wealth to bargain with.
The Mines are a hideous, choking, place, filled with ash and smoke. Without a DC 30 Nature check, any Extended Rests taken without some sort of magical protection will result in the loss of one Healing Surge. (So two total on the second rest, three total on the third, and so on.) If someone has lost all of their surges, they begin to take 5 points of damage at the end of each rest.
The Metals Of The Mines
Oozesteel: How can metal be both slimy and solid? Oozesteel can be. Tainted by assorted foul emanations from other parts of the Abyss, Oozesteel perennially drips with foul and disgusting acids. Oozesteel can be used to make Masterwork Plate which is unusually light and flexible, and which absorbs acidic attacks into itself. See below.
Paindrawn Wire: As noted above, damned souls are often literally sucked into the metals they are working with. This can be used to make Screaming Blades (see below), but if the metal is drawn thin, folded back, and drawn thin again and again, the soul is stretched and twisted and torn but never quite destroyed. This agony works itself into the armor, and chain mail with some… unique… properties can be made from it. The anguish of the metal draws pain and torment out of the wearer, allowing him to more easily shrug off effects which prey on his mind.
|Chain Armor (Heavy)
|| Armor Bonus
|| Minimum Enhancement Bonus
||+8||+3||-1||-1||Special||40 lb||+2 on saves vs. any condition imposed by a power with the Psychic keyword.|
|Plate Armor (Heavy)
|| Armor Bonus
|| Minimum Enhancement Bonus
||+8||+2||-1||-1||Special||50 lb|| Resist Acid 3
Screaming Blade (Level 12+)
This blade howls in torment when it is pulled, and the shrieks of the damned and lost echo throughout the battlefield.
Level 14: +3 21,000 GP
Level 19: +4 105,000 GP
Level 24: +5 525,000
Level 29: +6 2,125,000
Weapon:Heavy Blade, Light Blade
Enhancement: Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage per plus
Property: Add an Item bonus equal to this weapon’s enhancement bonus to any Intimidate checks you make when it is drawn, and subtract its enhancement bonus from any Diplomacy checks you make when wielding it or carrying it on your person.
Power (Encounter): Immediate Reaction. Trigger: When you drop a foe to 0 hit points with this weapon. You may choose to spend a healing surge. If you do, you gain no hit points, but the weapon’s bonus increases by one for the remainder of the encounter. Nothing can increase this bonus, including powers which may allow you to use an encounter power twice per encounter.