Friday, September 4, 2020

The Monastery of St. Gaxyg-at-Urheim

Map by FrDave of Blood of Prokopius
The monks of St. Gaxyg (popularly called “the Gray Monks,” after the color of their habits) were a Lawful order committed to sanctity, good works, and scholarship in equal measure, thereby winning them the esteem and affection of folk throughout the realm. So ardent were the monks in defending against the depredations of Chaos that they established a monastery upon the crags of Urheim, beneath which festered subterranean cavities that not only spawned foul aberrations but whose supernatural taint drew monsters and evil men alike to itself.

The Gray Monks valiantly embarked on a generations-long project of cleansing Urheim of its contagion by venturing deep into its subterranean recesses to confront its denizens with holiness, magic, and steel. Further, they worked the very stone of Urheim itself, endowing it with a Lawful pattern and sanctifying it in the name of St. Gaxyg. Slowly but surely, despite the cost to themselves, the monks did more than contain Chaos; they pushed it back, defeating it in its very lair and, in the process, amassing items of mysterious origins and magical potency, along with other treasures, all of which they either put to good use or stored away, lest they fall into the wrong hands.

While the monastery stood strong, it was a beacon of light and Law in a darkened world. Pilgrims flocked to it to venerate the memory of the saint in whose name the monks labored and to gain spiritual edification from their example. Novices regularly entered the monastery, swelling their ranks and ensuring that Law carried the day in the battle beneath Urheim. Many warriors pledged themselves to the monks and joined them in their great task, further strengthening their cause and leading some to believe that Chaos might finally be defeated for all time.

Alas, Chaos can twist and corrupt all things – including the human heart. In time, the Gray Monks grew indulgent, preferring wealth and influence to wisdom and piety. A succession of weak and worldly abbots accelerated this shameful decline. Slowly, the blasphemous spawn of Urheim reclaimed the caves as their own, pushing the monks out and reversing the hard-won victories of the centuries. Rather than fight them, as had their predecessors, the monks simply warded the entrance to the underworld and settled into comfortable laxity. No longer exemplars of Law and goodness, the wealth of the monastery aroused the envy of local lords, who sacked the place, putting the remaining monks to the sword before seizing their treasures. Greedy though they were, these lords knew better than to disturb Urheim, leaving it safely warded by the holy magic of St. Gaxyg.

Chaos still issues its siren call, drawing evil beings, human and otherwise, to Urheim. Rumors have spread that someone–or something–has found a way to enter the hidden caves once more, seeking both the wealth and evil power they reputedly hold. If true, the darkness the Gray Monks once fought could escape its prison and pour out across the land, heralding a terrible future ...


  1. This sounds familiar. Did you post it on MeWe?

  2. Fantastic - when I ran St.Gaxyg-at-Urheim for my Dwimmermount campaign it was much smaller, in time-loop and guarded a portal to the plane of shadow with it's attendant shadow dragon. It's not a million miles from your master vision, which makes me very happy.

    1. Your version sounds rather intriguing! I'm always fascinated when I hear about the different directions people took things I've created. Thanks for sharing this.

    2. We've been in and around Dwimmermount now for 5 years, so there a great deal of story there. Coronavirus paused our playing, but I'm very much looking forward to getting back to it.

    3. This makes me very happy. Thanks again for sharing it.

  3. What I like about this is the brevity. One doesn't need several hundred pages of backstory (looking at you Arden Vul) to set up a mega-dungeon.

  4. I ran "The Ruined Monastery" out of Fight ON! no.1 for the introductory adventure of my Dwimmermount campaign a couple of years back. This appears to be much more substantial. Hope to see it in print or pdf someday.