Rumors in port cities Edit
Record of a conversation, overheard in a seedy tavern, somewhere in a town with an old port along the [Western Seas], as found in the journal of Howard Phillips, the Bard of fantasm and morbidity:
"Listen, Olmstead, I don't care what you MAY have heard or THOUGHT you heard. It's all lies, nothing but, and made up by drunken sailors who seek paying their way out of too large a bill with too tall a tale! Such fabrications are a copper a dozen along the coasts of the [Western Seas], and they are no more true than the dreams from Kadath or the color that descended from the stars. No, Olmstead, all there is to it is that in these here port towns, people will listen to the rats in the walls all night, and it's slowly turning them into mad fools. And this is why I'm leaving tomorrow -- stop laughing at me, I caution you! -- the only reason I am getting out of here is that I won't allow for you to make me into one more gullible idiot!
As for the tale you asked me about, Olmstead -- the one about the lake and the stone and the moon -- fine, you shall have me admit that I have known it before you mentioned it to me. In truth, it is hardly to avoid these days, just walk by any rotting or pirate-infested or harlot-infected booze den, and some frothing lunatic will holler it at you. The legend is, in fact, told in every port along these Western shores, which is already proof that it must me fabricated. So, one dark and stormy night, out of the black rain, will come the terrible old man, walking into a tavern. Sometimes he has fish scales for hair, or the nose of a snake, or a dragon horn where the sun don't shine -- the nonsense is as beautiful as the liars who make it up. I've been told every single bloody variant, and I'm sick of all of them alike. Then, once the old man has had his drink, he will start rambling madly about the grey rock, and he will yell of the rising tide, and all about what some forsaken priest may have written on an altar once. And he'll utter that terrible name, that forbidden name. The city name which was hammered with fury out of every bas-relief on any building and temple in all of the eastern continent ten thousand years ago -- no, I will not utter it now!
So by the gods, as I have told you before, my poor superstitious Olmstead: just like every little rat that follows us around cannot be proof that Kezia the hag is coming to take us away, so it cannot mean that any old geezer who pays with a gold coin that no one ever saw before should be be believed to be anything than blabbering lunatic! NO, I WILL SWEAR ALOUD, THERE NEVER WAS A LAND OF MNAR, AND THERE IS NOT NOW!"
Forgotten legends Edit
In ancient times, eons before the advent of recorded history, there existed a mythical land called Mnar. It might have been an empire, or just a kingdom, or maybe it just means 'home' and was a word used to describe the area around the river Ai that flows, or flowed, in this region, and where people built their cities back then.
Mnar is said to have birthed a capital that was the envy of all creatures, people or not, even then, and even as an envy to the gods. Perhaps this is why it stands no more, but chances are that the truth is far more sinister.
How to learn about this place Edit
Charachters with a low intelligence score have likely heard about this place. If they are also unwise, they very likely believe in its existence also. In contrast, rather intelligent characters will likely dismiss any tale about a capital as nonsense. If they are intelligent and wise, they will never even admit they've heard of it.
One way to first hear about the land Mnar is to overhear somebody tell the creepy tale of the terrible old man, or to meet him yourself. Howard Phillips, the Bard of fantastic morbidity, will tell you the story enthusiastically. Otherwise, you must do research: ancient, crumbling maps will likely feature a large swath of land titled 'Mnar' around the lost river Ai. You can find them in any old library, or perhaps on a world map painted into the dome of a desecrated temple anywhere in the world.
Description of the area Edit
Today, the lands of Mnar are soggy and marshy in the low points, where little streams ripple through the landscape. The higher points are overgrown with thick, plague-infested jungles that stand dark and menacing.
At the core of this region you will likely find a vast still lake, fed by no stream and from which no stream is fed. Look out for a large, grey rock near the water to confirm you're standing at the heart of the lands of Mnar.
You should be looking at a vast, ruined landscape, surrounded by crumbling, abandoned palaces and temples. Most of these locales will be half swallowed by the ground, and overgrown with thick jungle foliage, and will likely be unaccessible. Examining any bas-reliefs on the walls will show you the depiction of a legandary, strictly monolithic society with an abhorrent degree of vanity. Any locale at the heart of the land of Mnar is recommended to be treated like a Lost Tomb or a Death Trap, or even worse.
What you will likely encounter Edit
Places to avoid Edit
There really is no reason to seek out the lost capital, but particularly foolish adventurers might be tempted by its mythical treasure. Mnar, after all, is said to have been a land of spectacular riches. All of these, from shiny gold coin of ancient, to magical artifacts of great power, should have been, in theory, left behind, since barely anyone lived to tell the story of what happend to the place.