Tendrils of Darkness
Barrowdale is not a place where the dead rest easily. In fact, most of them do not rest at all.
For centuries, the humongous cemetery in the middle of this city has been the place to bring your dead. Sarcophagi and mausoleums abound on the hill that forms the center of Barrowdale. It was only a matter of time before this giant city of dead became a city of the undead.
Now, Barrowdale is actually two different cities; the “ring” comprises the city proper, filled with living humanoid races trying to live normally, and the giant walled cemetery known collectively as “Sarcopha”. Here, not only do zombies and skeletons wander through the tombs and graves, but vampires and liches have settled here and thrive with their own type of government.
The two cities do commerce, of a sort. Some merchants use undead servants, imbued with special binding spells provided by lich slave-masters. Ritualists, beggars, and some enthralled with the mystery of unlife sell their blood to sell as food at market stalls just within the cemetery walls. Wizards and knowledge-seekers from across Olora come to bargain with liches for magical secrets.
Once a year, the gates of the cemetery open wide, and the dead and living mingle for the celebration of Barrow’s Eve. The liches sell their magical potions to the desparate. Gladiators wage combat against the ghouls and other mindless undead. Vampire Lords take living brides – young and naive women believing that the promise of eternal unlife will save them from their misery.
Worship of the Raven Queen is forbidden in Barrowdale, for she is seen as offensive to the government of Sarcopha. The living inhabitants of Barrowdale incinerate their dead, not wishing them to rise as undead the next night and wander into Sarcopha.
Many dark cults live and worship in Barrowdale, including those of Vecna and Orcus. They often wage war in the streets against one another in an eternal struggle for power. The council of Barrowdale thwarts these street wars when they erupt, but mostly tolerate the existence of these dark organizations as part of live in Barrowdale.
A strange city with a bizarre compromise between life and death, adventure in Barrowdale is never far away… it is as close as the smell of the risen dead.