Cursed by hags
Tepest is one of the Domains of Dread of Ravenloft and is ruled over by the Darklord, Mother Lorinda. On the face of things, Viktal, the last remaining community in Tepest, appears to be a joyful place where children laugh and sing, harvests are bountiful and the people are protected by the nurturing hand of Mother Lorinda. But look a little deeper and you’ll find desperation in the eyes of its inhabitants. Lorinda masquerades as a god, going by the name “Mother” and while she protects the inhabitants of Viktal, this is only to raise them like cattle to feed her beloved daughters. She is the lesser of 2 evils however, as mischievous and evil fey lurk just beyond the borders of Viktal, ready to deceive any that stray too far from the village.
Outsiders provide some little hope to the villagers of Viktal. Hope of someone that might rescue them, or, at the very least, be a victim of Mother Lorinda’s next sacrifice so that a villager needn’t be the next to suffer.
Information About Tepest
|Domain Characteristic||Domain of Nature’s Cruel Secret|
|Hallmarks||Fey bargains, nature worship, rural festivals, secret sacrifices|
|Races||Mostly humans and fey such as elves, goblins and similar creatures|
Characteristics of Tepest
Tepest is a rural domain filled with mountains with steep peaks. Between these mountains are forests, rivers and lakes, while within the mountains are complex systems of caverns that connect many parts of Tepest to one another. Within the caves lurk evil fey creatures that seek to harm and maim the innocents of the land; or so the stories say.
Tepest is a land riddled with fey creatures that threaten the lives of those that dwell there. That is all except those that live in Viktal, a village protected by Mother, a self-proclaimed deity who provides protection and fertile crops, but at a cost of sacrifices given to feed her accursed children.
One other safe haven does exist in Tepest, the Nobody Inn keeps the fey far from its doorways. Of course, this might have something to do with Bryonna, the Inn’s skeletal innkeeper.
In Tepest, inhabitants are forced to choose between the relative safety of Viktal, but with Mother demanding sacrifices and manipulating its people in other ways. It’s that, or to brave the wilds of Tepest and the evil fey creatures that exist out there. Most choose the relative safety of Viktal, though some have struck out on their own, or in small groups and have even survived, but at great risk, an dwho knows what might be lurking around the next corner!
Darklord: Mother Lorinda
Lorinda’s mother was a kind woman that was married to a brutish man who had raised sons in his own brutish ways. She desired only to have daughters to share in her affections and one day, this was granted by faeries. Lorinda’s mother was “blessed with 3 daughters, Lorinda, Laveeda and Leticia. Lorinda’s brothers and father resented the daughters and the affection they received from their mother and were abusive towards them. This abuse only became worse when their mother died.
Affected by their unfortunate home circumstances and desiring a better, wealthier life for themselves, Lorinda and her sisters began robbing wealthy travellers and eventually murdering them, disposing of their bodies in their family stew pot. One particular traveller caught the eyes of the sisters who all fancied the man, but arguing ensued and they eventually end up killing the man so that none of them could have him. This led to the family discovering what the sisters had been doing leading to the sisters killing their father and brothers. It was at this point that the mists of Ravenloft took the sisters, dragging them into Tepest.
In Tepest, the true nature of the sisters was revealed, as that of abhorrent green hags! They learnt magic from the local fey of the land and began preying upon the humans of the land. They eventually became known as fickle sages and weavers of doom, but despite this, desperate individuals would come to them begging for miracles such as a healthy harvest, a potent medicine or children that fate had denied them. The 3 hags loved to sow misery by bringing hope to forlorn souls, only to have their hopes smashed by despair when the miracle they thought they’d received, turns into some kind of a curse.
Eventually, Lorinda desired a child of her own, as she’d granted to other couples seeking children. She petitioned her sisters to help her create a child but they loathed the idea of sharing their magic with Lorinda. Lorinda punished her sisters for their refusal, capturing them in their own cauldrons and taking their magic to help her create her own children. But these children were flawed beings and always hungry. For this reason, Mother Lorinda uses the people of Tepest to provide sacrifices that form the meals upon which her children feed.
To her devoted followers, Mother Lorinda appears in the guise of a motherly woman in a cloak and moth wings and carrying a burning branch. During the tithe each season, during the solstices, she’ll appear before the villagers with Mother’s favoured bearing a meal for her. In reality, the favoured is a meal for Lorinda’s latest abomination of a child that she’s created (always named Laoirse). Whatever child she’s created will feast upon the favoured, allowing their blood to spread across the fields and bring fertility to the soil. Whichever of Mother’s children happens to consume this sacrifice
These celebrations will be organised primarily by Mother’s most faithful; individuals that avoid being the sacrifice of the tithe, but who are utterly devoted to Mother, often removing their own left eye as a symbol of their devotion. These devoted servants are known as Mother’s minders and gift her with vision through their empty eye socket and she is able to even teleport from out of the eye socket, literally crawling out of their eye.
Locations in Tepest
Viktal is the only inhabited settlement in Tepest. It’s a rural village that relies very much on farming for its resources. It is protected from the evil fey of Tepest by Mother Lorinda, the domain’s Darklord at the cost of sacrifices. Visitors are welcomed to the village joyfully so that the villagers can hear stories of other lands, but also because a visitor may make a good sacrifice instead of one of the villagers.
Besides the sacrifices that must be offered, Viktal is a peaceful and a happy place. The people lead simple and carefree lives and Mother Lorinda ensures a good harvest is always accrued. They celebrate fertility festivals every season and generally appear happy. Beneath the surface though, the people fear for their lives, worried about whether they’ll be the next sacrifice. Babies are rarely born in the village as well, unless a particularly determined couple are willing to make a deal with Mother Lorinda to ensure their fertility; but these deals often end in some heartbreak or another.
While beneath the joyful facade, the people in the village struggle, most still choose to stay anyway, fearing the evils of the land above the evils presented by Mother Lorinda.
The Gurgyl is a towering, walking fortress built of misshapen bones, thorns and wicker that lumbers around the forests of Tepest at night. Inside, live Mother Lorinda and her daughter Laoirse. Inside this tower-like structure, Mother Lorinda works in her kitchen-laboratory and has space for Laoirse’s nursery as well as the Old Cauldron where Mother Lorinda has imprisoned her former coven sisters, left to rot.
The Gurgyl might appear anywhere in Tepest on dark nights. The people of Viktal recognise that it’s somehow related to their so-called deity “Mother”, but do not know its purpose and fear seeing it believing that seeing the Gurgyl is bad luck (as well it might be depending on what Mother Lorinda decides to do to you if you spot her lumbering home.
Kellee is the only other settlement in Tepest but its homes have all been abandoned. It was once an occupied village and Mother Lorinda intended to spread her influence here to gain the adoration of more worshippers, but something went terribly wrong. No-one knows what went wrong, but now, one of Mother Lorinda’s terrifying creations walks the streets and houses of this village and no-one dares enter, not even Mother Lorinda.
The Lost Court
The Lost Court is a valley that lies at the foot of Mount Arak. During the day, animals graze and gather happily, but at night, the valley is transformed. Undead rise from the ground amid mud and brambles. At the edge of the valley though is what appears to be a refuge. On the shores of Lake Lenore is the Nobody’s Inn. It’s strong walls and warm hearth appear enticing to travelers. But be warned, even the fey avoid this inn at all costs, perhaps it’s because of the skeletal innkeeper Bryonna, but who knows whether she is worse than the things that walk lurk in the night.
Beneath the mountains of Tepest are a vast network of caverns that all eventually lead to Mount Arak. It is here that the fey have built their kingdom, in a realm of glowing crystals and misty fissures. It is home to many different species of fey and is ruled over by Queen Maeve of the Seelie Court and Prince Loht of the Unseelie Court. The 2 siblings rule in relative amicability, though their relationship is strained.
The fey of Mount Arak resent the surface inhabitants for ancient slights but are also wary of encroaching on Mother Lorinda’s territory and suffering her wrath. For this reason, Queen Maeve and Prince Loht instruct the fey to steer clear of Viktal despite the obvious strength in numbers of the fey. Of course, this doesn’t stop them causing mischief for mortals walking the lands beyond Viktal.
There is a belief held among the fey of Mount Arak that Mother Lorinda has a weapon capable of causing incredible devastation upon anyone she takes umbrage with. They believe that the weapon is locked away beneath a 3 peaked mountain known as Gwydion’s Claw.