The Shadows of Luclin was the third expansion released for the EverQuest franchise. Much like the first expansion, Ruins of Kunark, the third expansion brought content to players of all levels. Luclin is one of two moons that revolve around the world of Norrath, and this expansion opened the ability to travel to and from this satellite. Among the many additions to the game that Shadows of Luclin brought, these are the most notable:
- New World: For the first time, players could leave the world of Norrath (not including planar areas). Luclin's geography of 24 zones made it possible to travel one direction completely around the moon and arrive back at your starting point, something not possible on Norrath.
- New Playable Race: The Vah Shir, a race of noble cat men, have lived on Luclin for several centuries after being blasted here from Norrath during the great war of the Erudites on the continent of Odus.
- New Class: The Beastlord is a hybrid class combining the skills of a shaman and a monk, but with the added skill of commanding a fierce pet, much like a mage. Only large races can be beastlords.
- Alternate Advancement: Players above 51 could now have experience pooled into not just their level, but into a separate meter to earn points that could be spent for additional skills and stat bonuses. These new abilities are divided into three sections: General, for abilities available to all class types; Archetype, which are shared among classes of the same basics (fighter, priest, caster, hybrid); and Class, which is exclusive to each individual class. Some abilities cost more than one point, and some can even be leveled up several times.
- New Graphics: With the introduction of Luclin, EverQuest got an all new look. The moon of Luclin was not constructed with the same "old world" graphics that were seen in the original game and two previous expansions. Even the old world got a facelift with new textures. The most notable new addition though, was the new character models. Gone were the more polygonal looking in-game models and in were more 'realistic' models that included the ability to, at any time, alter their hairstyle, hair color, eye color, facial hair, and other features. Reception of these new models was mixed at best, and many players opted to keep the original models toggled on when playing.
- The Bazaar: For the first time ever, a zone was established in EverQuest that was devoted solely to buying, selling, and trading goods. It included designated areas (stalls) where once a player was standing there, they could activate a vendor mode in order to sell their wares without actually having to actively do anything. From within this zone, players could also pull up a search function in order to search for all kinds of items by name, stats, level, class, race, armor slot, etc.
- Horses: For the first time ever in the world of Norrath, players could purchase mounts. These horses came in various colors and levels of speed. Riding a horse offered several benefits. While riding, you cannot be encumbered by any amount of weight you carry, which is a great benefit for traders. Horses are also equipped with an innate ability of Safe Fall at 150, which is great for players who don't have this skill themselves. And most importantly, while seated on a horse, casters and priests meditate indefinitely, meaning that they are regenerating mana as though they were seated on the ground, yet they are still able to cast spells. The only drawback is that food consumption is doubled while on a horse. The horses ranged in price from around 10,000 platinum pieces to over 100,000 for the fastest breeds.
The Vah Shir are a large race of noble cat-like people. They have no written language, so their entire history is carried by their bards through songs and tales. The Vah Shir came to Luclin not by choice, by as innocent bystanders in a ferocious war between the Erudites of Odus. When the two army's magical power collided, the result was a catastrophic explosion that created what is now known as The Hole. Part of the explosion launched a massive chunk of Norrathian soil into space, carrying with it much of the Kerran population of Odus. The surviving Kerrans took refuge in small villages and islands around the continent, while those taken from them soon found themselves lost in a brand new world. Through the years they have evolved into the Vah Shir we see today, now appearing in many shades of color, not just the traditional orange and black stripes of their Kerran cousins. All adolescent Vah Shir are required to go through a rite of passage to earn their citizenship before learning a trade. As one would imagine, with their cat-like agility, they make great warriors and rogues. Many Vah Shir have a calling to nature and become beastlords. A few take a liking to alchemy and become shaman. And of course, there are the bards who carry the tradition of their people. All Vah Shir have the ability to sneak as well as land safely from great heights.
All beastlords are accompanied by a life-long companion known as a warder who will fight along side them. Each race seems to have a natural affinity to one type of animal. The Barbarians are accompanied by wolves, Trolls by alligators, ogres by bears, Iksar by scaled wolves, and Vah Shir by tigers. The beastlords themselves are a hybrid class with abilities similar to both shaman and monks. Like monks, they are often more efficient using their bare hands in combat rather than a weapon. Beastlords are limited to cloth, leather, and chainmail armor, but what they lack in defense is often overcome by the shaman-like buffs and of course the fact that their warder take some of the damage dealt by enemies. While grouped with other adventurers, beastlords can fill multiple roles, but mainly in a secondary role. They can offer healing, but not on the level of a regular priest class. They can offer buffs, but not often as strong as those from other classes. And they can tank for a short time if the need arises, but would not be a group's first choice in this role. Most often they focus on damage output through their combat skills combined with the help of their loyal warder.
The moon of Luclin has been hidden from most Norrathians for longer than anyone can remember. It is tidally locked to Norrath, so one half of the moon is always in direct sunlight, while the other side looms in an eternal darkness. The moon is named after the goddess of shadows, a sub-deity. The Maiden of Shadows is said to manifest herself as a short, thin woman with solid black skin and short silver hair. Legend states that after Veeshan scarred the continent of Velious, claiming Norrath as her own, the other gods followed and took interest in the planet as well. They began dividing up the lands, claiming regions for themselves. While the other gods bickered over Norrath, Luclin claimed the barren, ringed moon for herself. Through sheer will, she infused life into the desolate rock. Luclin then kept her world hidden from the mortals of Norrath via The Veil.
The first to make their way from Norrath to Luclin were the Shissar, a race of snake people who ruthlessly ruled the continent of Kunark. They were overthrown by their slaves, the Iksar. Rile Sathir and Haggle Baron Dalnir had crafted an ultimate weapon, known as the Greenmist, that proved to be the bane of the Shissar, driving them away in fear. Upon their arrival, the Shissar claimed an area on the light side of the moon called The Grey where, conveniently for the Shissar, air does not exist. They believed this would keep them safe from the Greenmist even if the Iksar somehow managed to reach the moon.
Inexplicably, Luclin decided to let a certain mortal peer through The Veil. This mortal was Lcea Katta, the wife of the Combine Empire's leader Tsaph Katta. Her husband's life was in danger as a result of a dissenting faction within the Combine. The members who remained loyal to Tsaph, joined the legendary geomancer, Grieg Veneficus, on journey to the moon. He was able to use the enormous spires built on each continent to teleport himself and many others to the shadow mistress' world in what would become known as The Exodus. It was immediately obvious that his calculations were off, as the entire party was deposited near the core of the moon, now known as The Nexus. To make matters worse, it was soon discovered that they had no means of traveling back to Norrath.
And then there was the arrival of the Kerrans, later known as the Vah Shir. These cat-like people were blasted here against their will by the great war between the Erudites in which The Hole was created. The Vah Shir rode a massive chunk of Norrathian soil through space, and those that survived the impact had no choice but to begin a new life in the crater on the dark side of Luclin.
All of these arrivals have angered the mistress of shadows and her children as well. Luclin herself has attempted many times to halt the advancement of other races on her land. And now, powerful wizards known as scions have discovered not only the long lost secrets of teleportation to Luclin's moon, but have secured a means of traveling back as well. This now allows any and all races to travel freely back and forth, a fact that only infuriates the goddess of shadow even further.
Acrylia Caverns is a locale that is constantly fought over. Its entrance lies along the western edge of the Grimling Forest on the dark side of the moon. The marble-like, phosphorescent rock discovered here, known as acrylia, by the Vah Shir allowed them to build their elaborate home city of Shar Vahl. Not long after their arrival on the moon, some shaman discovered several veins of the beautiful ore and commissioned a dig site. Whether it was greed or necessity, the search for acrylia led to the unearthing of a primitive, ferocious race of people known as Grimlings. The Grimlings had lived underground presumably since Luclin first touched the moon with life, and the Vah Shir had inadvertently introduced them to the outside world. The Grimlings drove the Vah Shir from the mines, but the acrylia found here is too valuable to ignore, and the Vah Shir often send expeditions to gather more. A great secret is also kept here, unbeknownst to the Vah Shir. For one of the original settlers of Shar Vahl, a hero named Khati Sha, was one of the first to set out and explore Luclin. On one such expedition, he was captured by the Shissar, who then took him prisoner and performed vile experiments on him. The Shissar planned to create a god-like master to govern the daft Grimlings, who were becoming a nuisance to the Shissar. Well, the experiments went horribly wrong, yet still got the job done. Khati Sha the Twisted now reigns over the Grimlings from deep within the caverns. Many Vah Shir have openly wondered why the architecture of the fortress found in the caverns so closely resembles that of Shar Vahl, and this is why. The beastlords of Shar Vahl have named their guild in honor of the lost explorer.
Akheva Ruins lies within the cliffs on the southern edge of the Maiden's Eye. It was once a great city for the shadows of Luclin, a race of malevolent, androgynous, four-armed beings known as the Akheva, who were granted life by the Maiden of Shadow. The city was called Ka Vethan and was built of gleaming white marble. Constructed in the twilight region of the moon, the once great city now lies in ruins following a civil war held between warring factions of the Akheva. When the Combine Empire arrived on the moon, they quickly began expanding and built various structures in all regions of Luclin. The reigning priestess of the Akheva, Akel Ha Ra, advised her subjects to not interfere in the affairs of these newcomers, and some even met with the Norrathians. Speaking the Common Tongue language of Norrath was thought to be below them. This caused dissension among some of the Akhevan people. It is said that a powerful Akhevan priestess named Aten Ha Ra rose to lead this faction in effort to dethrone Akel Ha Ra. Aten Ha Ra summoned a storm referred to as the Maiden's Scar, which demolished much of the area including the city itself. The storm ended the war, but there are those who still remain loyal to the now deceased Akel Ha Ra. The most notable of these devotees is Shei Vinitras. Some say those loyal to Akel Ha Ra hide here in fear of the new ruler, but many believe that they are simply biding their time to amass an army strong enough to seek vengeance on the storm caller. Aten Ha Ra now resides in the new citadel, Vex Thal, where she commands a legion of countless shadows more powerful that anything seen on the moon of Luclin.
The Bazaar was built by the citizens of Shadow Haven in an attempt to cater to the needs of the influx of adventurers coming to the moon of Luclin. The bazaar consists primarily of one massive hall with six long rows of canopied stalls which can be utilized by anyone to set up shop to buy and sell goods of all kinds. It is conveniently connected to both The Nexus and Shadow Haven, and there are several bankers near the each entrance allowing quick access to funds to purchase new wares. An enchantment has been placed on the bazaar that negates any form of encumberance, allowing even a gnome magician to carry millions of platinum from the bank to a seller. In the center of the bazaar is a building full of vendors employed by the city of Shadow Haven to sell general goods, making this a one stop shop for any need. Along the west wall is a stable where the city sells horses of varying quality. Scattered throughout the stalls are countless tradeskill kiosks including forges, kilns, pottery wheels, and more. At the far north end of the bazaar is a relatively small arena known as the Palaestra. Unlike the Arena of Antonica, the Palaestra is more about display and demonstration rather than fights to the death. It offers salesman a chance to show off their armors, weapons, and other various items in action to entice buyers. The Bazaar is easily the most trafficked area on the moon.
Dawnshroud Peaks is often the place where newcomers to Luclin first see sunlight after emerging from the city of Shadow Haven through the Netherbian Lair. The rolling hills of Dawnshroud are covered in bright green grass and scattered with with swaying trees and an occasional pond of crystal clear water. To the west lies Sanctus Seru, the Inquisitor's fortress. Several groups of citizens have set up camps around Dawnshroud finding trade with the new influx of people quite lucrative. To the east lies The Maiden's Eye, leading into the heart of the Akhevan lands. And to the south lies an entrance to Grieg's End where few ever return. Many strange creatures roam the hills as well, including giant centipedes known as lightcrawlers, fungus covered mushroom men, and wolves. In a cave system to the northeast, Galorians, a race of red-skinned cavemen, have been evicted from their home by a vicious pack of bipedal reptiles known as rockhoppers. The Galorians offer modest rewards to those who help win their home back. Only then will they once again refer to themselves under their tribal name, the Sambata. In the southwest is a stone building seemingly out of place for this region. It is here that a dwarf named Kanthek Ogrebane has set up shop crafting weapons and armor only a master smith of Kaladim could create. He has forsaken the busy and profitable streets of Shadow Haven, for he has discovered the strength of lightcrawler carapaces. Overall, Dawnshroud Peaks offers a lot for midseasoned adventurers.
The Deep is a system of treacherous caves leading into the heart of Luclin. The only entrance into the Deep is from the Echo Caverns that neighbor Shadow Haven. Much of this dungeon is inhabited by grotesque and ferocious creatures known as thought horrors. They are as intelligent as they are deadly, and often carry powerful spell scrolls that casters and priests seek. A ways into The Deep, the cramped tunnels open up into a massive cavern with a seemingly bottomless pit that those who have seen it refer to as the abyss. A magnificent bridge spans across the abyss, but it is simply an illusion. Many unwary adventurers have run full speed in an attempt to escape the thought horrors, only to fall through the bridge on their first step and plummet to their doom. The only way across the abyss is over an invisible bridge just north of the illusion. The first time making it across the abyss is a feat that no explorer will ever forget. But on the other side await even deadlier foes. The path to the right leads to a large cavern full of tiny burrowers. Slaughtering these worms will only lead to larger waves, in number and in size of worm, of them until, finally the burrower beast will enter the fray. The burrower beast is a worm of mammoth proportions, easily swallowing even an ogre in one strike. It is the beast that created these tunnels, and he is now trapped here, unable to escape the abyss. The path to the left leads to the Den of the Thought Horrors, where their master resides. The Thought Horror Overfiend is a powerful sorcerer who has secretly been investigating the Shissar Empire, learning all he can in preparation for an assault on the great pyramid. How can he do this? In his chamber, there is a secret, one-way passage through the rocks into the slave mines beneath the Ssraeshza Temple.
Echo Caverns is unique in the fact that there are two distinct sections which are divided from one another with no passage to get from one side to the other without first returning to Shadow Haven and entering from the other side. From Shadow Haven, there are two ways to enter the Echo Caverns. The obvious way is through the district run by the dwarves, halflings, and gnomes, which is found in the southwest part of town. Not far into the caverns is where many a band of religiously disillusioned gnomes have made their homes. Two brothers battle furiously over whether or not they are ruling the Kingdom of Below, as in below ground, or the Kingdom of Above, as in above Norrath. Further in, there is a group of undead Iksar who still serve a Shissar slaver known as Taskmaster Torkazh. The truth is that the taskmaster has long since died, and is now controlled by a thought horror from The Deep. From here, it won't take long to reach the end of cave system, which then leads to the much more dangerous area known simply as The Deep. The other entrance to Echo Caverns is only accessible through a secret passage near the soulbinder. This passage is hidden because it is the den of thieves, necromancers, and shadowknights who find themselves unwanted in the otherwise all inclusive Shadow Haven. Here, adventurers who hail the dark gods can find refuge, training, and goods much like the underground societies found beneath Freeport and Qeynos. Further into the caverns, beyond a steel door guarded by the Shadow Haven guards is a more swamp-like region, which is inhabited by a strange race of short humanoids known as Boglings. They do not welcome trespassers, but it is quite simple to outrun them to the outpost of Fungus Grove nearby. That is unless one of the tentacle-like plants in the bog roots you to the murky, wet ground.
Fungus Grove is a cesspool of towering mushrooms, murky waters, and a moldy smell that lingers with adventurers even after they leave. The temperature here is more like a tropical region, with humidity that is suffocating to some. Most adventurers reach the Fungus Grove through the nearby Echo Caverns, but there is also a transporter going to and from the Twilight Sea, which is directly above the grove. Near the Echo Caverns is a sizable outpost built by the citizens of Shadow Haven. The convenience of a bank and supplies is paramount for the highly experienced adventurers who come here to hunt. The grove is full of sentient plants, not just the mushrooms, that will wreak havoc on any passers by. The mushrooms have the ability to transform their attackers into mushrooms themselves, forcing them to be rooted to the ground for short periods of time. They also attack in packs, causing frustration for those without the aid of an experienced enchanter or bard. On the eastern side of the main cavern is a village of Galorians known as the Tarmok tribe. The Tarmoks are generally friendly, or at least apathetic, and will invite groups of adventurers to take part in their rituals, which consist of tests of endurance. On the west side of the main cavern is a pond surrounded by mutant dregs. Their strength should not be underestimated, and it would be wise to avoid the pond if at all possible. Deeper into the grove is a second cavern, this one with a large mountain in the center. Within this mountain, and all over it, are a race of semi-intelligent, large insects called the Shik'Nar. Their innate properties allow them to filter the otherwise poisonous water of the grove, making them immune to the mutations it causes. While large, the Shik'Nar are still insects, and as such, are a popular choice of food for much of the sentient plant life in the grove. They have learned to defend themselves by forming a small military with weapons and novice magic abilities. Atop the Shik'Nar's mountain is a natural bridge to a small cave where a circular red transporter will take adventurers to the Twilight Sea above.
The Grey is a vacuum created by the Shissar's magic. It was once part of the Scarlet Desert, which lies to the east, but was claimed by the Shissar when they arrived here hundreds of years ago. With their powerful magic they turned the region into a lifeless void, with no breathable air. They did this to ensure that they would be safe from the Greenmist even if the Iksar ever found their way to Luclin, and it also keeps wanderers away from their home, as they will often suffocate before getting anywhere near the massive pyramid. Shissar stalkers roam the dunes of gray sand keeping an eye out for adventurers who employ druids, magicians, or magical items granting them the ability to breathe here. Most of the area seems devoid of life, but the truth is that the sand and rocks themselves are alive just beneath the feet of unwary explorers. Constructs of stone will often spring to life, attacking those who pass through. Far to the northwest is a small lake guarded by sun revenants who worship Ro, for the sun is always high in the sky here. In the center of The Grey is an enormous pyramid built from a unique blue alloy and marble. As large as it seems from the outside, it is even larger from within, as it delves deep into the soil of the moon. This pyramid is the Ssraeshza Temple, home to the Shissar people. It is easily one of the most dangerous places in all of Luclin, which means that many highly experienced adventurers make the trek here seeking fortune in the eyes of almost certain death.
Grieg's End is a castle built by an ancient geomancer named Grieg Veneficus who served Tsaph Katta, the leader of the Combine Loyalists. It was his research for the Combine Loyalists that opened the passage to Luclin using the spires found on continents of Norrath. The plan was to escape the assassination attempts on Katta by running to the moon. Grieg was successful on his first attempt in transporting himself and many of the Empire's finest to the moon of Luclin. His calculations were quite a bit off though, for they did not land on the surface of the moon, but near it's core. This is where Shadow Haven was built. It was not long before the people realized that Grieg had not found a way to travel back to Norrath. Many people stayed to establish Shadow Haven as a welcome mat for any others that unwittingly came to Luclin. The Combine Loyalists went to the surface and eventually established Katta Castellum on the dark side of the moon. Grieg remained in Shadow Haven along with some of the Combine's best mages, building The Nexus in an attempt to discover a way back. After many failed attempts, the mages became divided in their strategies. The two factions argued over what should be done until Grieg and his followers left Shadow Haven and settled in the rolling hills north of the Scarlet Desert. His experiments began to prove promising, and they set forth with building an incredible quadrolith resembling the spires found in the Dreadlands. Construction began in the region known as Mons Letalis, which is when the Maiden of Shadows, Luclin herself began to notice him. For if Grieg discovered a way back, it would create a virtual road to and from her world, and a massive influx of unwanted visitors. When the moon of Luclin was at its closest to Norrath, Grieg and his mages began a chant, just as they did in the Exodus that brought them to Luclin. The spires began to glow and just when they thought they had succeeded, hundreds of shadows and demons began pouring into the quadrolith. Luclin had divinely intervened in their plan. Grieg and a few others were able to escape back to their compound in the hills, but it was not long before Luclin's minions descended upon them as well. She began to haunt his thoughts and dreams, driving him to madness. Her shadows have held him prisoner for centuries, turning him into a tormented spirit. Eventually, Katta Castellum sent people to investigate what had happened to the mages. Upon reaching Grieg's quarters, they were swarmed and destroyed. A demented Grieg would use their bodies to create his own legions, known as the sun revenants. Many abominations inhabit Grieg's End to this day, as well as Grieg himself, or at least what's left of him.
Grimling Forest consists of a dense population of towering mushrooms at the base of the Tenebrous Mountains on the dark side of the moon. A large river pours in from the mountains to the north, flowing south across the Grimling Forest and into the Hollowshade Moor to the south. On the western edge of the forest is a cave system which used to be controlled by the Vah Shir. It is here where they first discovered acrylia, a metal they would come to use in the creation of a great many things. Their greed led them to dig too deep, which revealed an underground society of a primitive, nasty race of people known as the Grimlings. The Grimlings quickly poured out of the caves, never knowing of the land that was above them. It was not long before they inhabited almost every inch of the forest. The Vah Shir still hold an outpost in the southeast. It is from here that they send warriors into the hordes of Grimlings to gather much needed acrylia. The Grimlings may seem scrawny and weak, but they attack in packs. There are also other strange creatures to contend with in the forest. Owlbears lurk throughout the region, as do the sonic wolves more commonly seen in the Tenebrous Mountains. There are even a few bands of smugglers who will often take adventage of those lost in the forest, or simply prey on those who narrowly avoid the Grimling and wolf attacks.
Hollowshade Moor is a hotly contested wetland just south of the Grimling Forest. The river that comes in from the forest empties out into a large, shallow lake full of beaches and sandbars. The entire region is under constant battle between the owlbears from the northwest, the sonic wolves from the east, and the Grimlings from the lake to the south. And that's not even counting the Vah Shir who defend the eastern entrance to Shar Vahl from all three factions. To the southwest is a small cave leading to the Paludal Caverns, the quickest trade route to Shadow Haven. A road of acrylia was built long ago by the Vah Shir showing the way from Shar Vahl to the Grimling Forest, though it is not often used by its citizens anymore. Much like in the Grimling Forest, smugglers often attack traders on their way between the Vah Shir city and Shadow Haven. WIth the moor being on the dark side of the moon, it offers the best look at Norrath available from Luclin. The massive planet floating in the eternal night sky is a sight all adventurers will remember. Just don't stargaze too long, for an owlbear, sonic wolf, or Grimling will soon sneak up behind you.
Katta Castellum was the first city established by the Combine Loyalists on Luclin. While its appearance is quite gothic and it resides on the dark side of the moon, its people are good-natured and despise those who hail gods such as Innoruuk or Cazic-Thule. It is an irony that much discussed by the newcomers to Luclin. The city is built on the cliffs of the Tenebrous Mountains high above the Twilight Sea, making it easily defendable from their many enemies. The Loyalists followed Tsaph Katta to Luclin to escape the attempts on his life from the Inquisition faction of the Combine Empire. The Loyalists believe in the ideals of the original Combine Empire, that being that all races and cultures be tolerated and respected, save for those who only seek to spread hate and fear. They established a government consisting of several tiers. The top tier are the Concilium Universus, nine officials on an elected council who rule through interpreting the wills of their leader from long ago, Tsaph Katta. Below the Concilium Universus are eighteen governors who carry out the councils orders within the city itself. Then there is the militia, known as Validus Custodus, who keep the city secure from any of Seru's spies or vampires from the nearby mountains. Lcea Katta, Tsaph Katta's wife (or widow depending on who tells the tale), still resides here. Adventurers allowed within the city will find a multitude of goods and services including class trainers, tradeskill secrets, taverns, and shops with exotic wares found nowhere else.
The Maiden's Eye
The Maiden's Eye lies in the thin twilight region of the moon directly between the Dawnshroud Peaks and the Umbral Plains. It is here that the immortal Akheva, the original inhabitants of the moon, still rule part of Luclin. The region consists of miles rolling hills of weeds and dead grass with scattered ruins of the old Akhevan Empire. Along the mountain range to the south lies the Akheva Ruins, formerly the great citadel known as Ka Vethan. It was destroyed by the Akheva themselves, or at least the ones following the rebel priestess named Aten Ha Ra. She unleashed an almighty storm on this region, not only destroying Ka Vethan, but also seemingly forever removing the land's fertility. To the north is a massive barracks where the Akheva once kept their military, and just east of there is Firegard Lake. Hundreds of Akheva still linger in this area. In the center of the lake is a small building with an eternal flame guarded by mages who forever worship the Maiden of Shadows. To the southwest is a cemetery where the Akheva would bury their mortal servants. Now the burial grounds are full of the undead thanks to the Coterie, vampires from the Tenebrous Mountains. Throughout the Eye are also several camps of Galorians much like the ones in Dawnshroud and Fungus Grove. This tribe is known as the Goranga, and they are much more intelligent than their cousins. Near the center of the region is a massive four pronged torch, the relic of the old Akhevan Empire that appears to have no sign of damage from the storm. The Maiden's Eye is quite dangerous for an outdoor area. Highly experienced adventurers often come here to hunt for the many relics that have been found here.
Marus Seru is barren wasteland of hardened white sand that is blasted by the sun eternally on the light side of the moon. Most adventurers first get blinded by this region after emerging from the Netherbian Lair from the east. From here, far to the south lies an entrance to Sanctus Seru, stronghold of the Inquisition Combine. Throughout Marus Seru are camps of bandits known as The Recuso, who are actually outcasts from Sanctus Seru deemed not worthy of execution. Most of them will attack travelers on site in an act of survival, but there are a few who will converse about the maniacal ways of Seru. The climate here is harsh and honestly, there isn't much else to see. It is mainly just part of the road highly experienced adventurers must travel from Shadow Haven to their raids on the Ssraeshza Temple.
Mons Letalis lies just north of Marus Seru and is one of the most difficult regions of Luclin to traverse. Its name translates to "lethal mountain" and it's quite obvious why. Mons Letalis consists of endless peaks and valleys making travelling in a straight line impossible. Getting lost in the trenches becomes quite easy when the Shik'Nars and rockhoppers are chasing behind. The deep valleys seem to indicate that water once ran through this area, but the extreme heat of direct sunlight makes that impossible today. A massive sphere rests on the southern edge of Letalis, serving as the passage to Marus Seru to the south. The origins of this enormous granite sphere are completely unknown. Near the center of the mountain range is a gigantic set of spires of Combine Empire design, but they are all but destroyed. It is here where Grieg Veneficus and his followers built this quadrolith in an attempt to secure passage back to Norrath. Luclin, the goddess of shadows, thwarted this plan by summoning powerful demons of shadow just moments before Grieg redeemed himself. The shadows destroyed all but a few of the mages and many of the powerful demons still reside here, ensuring that no one else attempts to use the spires. Now, with the power of The Nexus, it appears to be a moot point, but they remain here regardless. Those who are able to make it to the northern end of the mountains may be lucky enough to find the tunnel allowing them to escape to The Grey, only to be met with the airless void of the Shissar.
Netherbian Lair was the first expansion that the Combine Empire in an effort to escape from the core of the moon. Today, it is mainly one large corridor supported with elaborate columns and arches. The ground is still rubble, but it is kept safe by Inquisition guards from Sanctus Seru as well as Shadow Haven officers. Taking the main corridor south will lead adventurers to Dawnshroud Peaks while turning down the western hall will result in emerging from below into Marus Seru's scorching sands. But the region gets its name due to the alien creatures that lived here long before the arrival of Norrathians. Many have survived, but not nearly at the same levels as when the Combine Empire first arrived. They hide in cave systems off the beat path and generally leave travellers alone unless they are intruded upon. Some tunnels closer to Dawnshroud Peaks are inhabited by Galorians of the most primitive variety known as troglodytes. There is also a substantial population of fungoids who can be exceptionally dangerous for young travelers. For the most part, the Netherbian Lair is a highway for adventurers travelling from Shadow Haven and The Nexus to the rest of Luclin.
The Nexus is not very large, but probably has the highest concentration of arcane energy found anywhere in Norrath or Luclin. Built by Combine Empire design, the Nexus is a hub for travel to and from the moon. It rests deep near the core of Norrath's second moon on top of a mysterious black sphere, and the main chamber is circular with a high arcing domed ceiling. In the center is a raised platform surrounded by four spires similar to those found in North Karana, Greater Faydark, Toxxulia Forest, The Dreadlands, and The Great Divide. Any travelers coming from Norrath via any one of the five Nexus Scions will land here on this platform. The floors are and stairs are made of the finest marble and inlaid with beautiful onyx, silver, and gold, which make The Nexus even more wondrous. Four tunnels lead away from the main chamber, each leading to different Luclin destinations but also containing means to travel back to Norrath. To the west, the tunnel has collapsed and a dwarf works feverishly to clear the way to an unknown area of Luclin. Not far from the dwarf is a small set spires monitored by two wizards. These spires are set to automatically transport adventurers back to Norrath. Unlike the other three sets of spires, this one alternates between Odus and Velious. Listening closely to the scions is definitely more important here than the others. To the south is a tunnel leading to The Bazaar as well as the Kunark Scion. To the east is a transporter, essentially a shortcut, to Shadow Haven and the Antonica Scion. And lastly, to the north is the path to surface of Luclin through the Netherbian Lair, as well as the Faydwer Scion. The Nexus is obviously a hub for travel and it has also become a meeting place for many adventurers to plan their expeditions.
Paludal Caverns is a marsh of fungus and mold that lie directly below the Hollowshade Moor. While some will become nauseous from the musty smell of the place, many younger adventurers find it a great place to hunt. An entrance to the caverns can be found on the south end of town in Shadow Haven, making it highly convenient for many newcomers to Luclin. The dripping water that seeps in from the moor above has carved dozens of caverns and tunnels over the passed centuries. The largest body of water in Paludal is found close to Shadow Haven and is known as Lake Recondite. It is named after the bandits who have established a village here. Many of the tunnels are teeming with fungus men and mutants known as phlarg fiends. The Shik'Nar insects also have a home here. For reasons unknown, they seem to be guarding a massive fungus man known simply as The Reishicyben. Vah Shir bards will tell tales of the Reishicyben, citing that he is able to see through flesh and bone straight to the soul of any who come before him. Some believe the Shik'Nar worship him. Pushing north through the tunnels will eventually lead to the surface in the Hollowshade Moor, while heading southbound will also lead to the surface, but in Shadeweaver's Thicket. While the tunnel system may be quite confusing to newcomers, the dozens of tradesmen making their way back and forth between Shar Vahl and Shadow Haven should make the ways in and out fairly obvious.
Sanctus Seru is the city established by the Inquisition Combine after they chased the Loyalist Combine to the moon of Luclin. The Combine Empire had a rich history on Norrath, but there were those within the Empire that did not agree with many things that their emperor, Tsaph Katta, had done. For one, he allowed dark elves to become members of the Combine. One night, Katta had invited ambassadors of every race to a large banquet. It was here that a human named Seru attempted to assassinate Katta via poison. When Katta fell during dinner, the banquet was evacuated and a handful of druids rushed to put him under a spell of stasis to keep him alive long enough to devise a cure. The wood elves secured Katta in a safe place while Katta's wife, Lcea, tried to maintain what was left of the Empire. News of Katta's "death" spread like wildfire throughout Norrath, and the Combine Empire fell apart. For unknown reasons, the goddess of shadows, Luclin, came to Lcea and allowed her to see through The Veil that kept Norrath's second moon invisible to the planet's people. Lcea knew that Seru's Inquisition would be coming for them, so she decided that the moon of Luclin would be their refuge. Through the knowledge of a powerful geomancer named Grieg Veneficus, the Combine Loyalists were able to escape to Luclin, never to be seen again. It was not long until Seru learned of what had been done. His desire to slaughter those who, in his eyes, had ruined the Combine Empire led him to find a way to Luclin as well. WIthin a year, Seru's mages had discovered the means of teleportation to Luclin. This was the last that Norrath would ever see or hear from the once great Combine Empire.
Seru and his Inquisition followers were just as surprised as the Loyalists were when they arrived at the core of Luclin to find that they had no means of returning. Seru ordered many of his mages to remain in what would become known as The Nexus along with the Loyalists mages who were already there to work on finding a way back. This would be the only joint venture between the two factions. Seru and his people emerged on the light side of the moon and began building their city between the desert and mountains. Sanctus Seru, named after their leader of course, is a police state with a strict code of ethics and rules. Even the architecture of the city appears perfect with its straight lines, symmetry, and organization. They do not tolerate the presence of any races or religions of the dark persuasion, yet not many would consider Seru's people as good-natured. Seru himself resides in a fortress in the center of the city known as Arx Seru, but he has not been seen in many years. Seru, knowing that he would not likely live to see the end of the Loyalists, had a magical chamber built that slows time itself for its occupants. It is said that months outside are equivalent to just seconds inside. No one is allowed to enter Arx Seru. The city is run by the Praesertum Inquisitors, each of equal rank, who meet in council and are divided into four groups including military, civil, commerce, and a fourth that keeps watch over the other three. Every adult citizen of the city must submit to what is known as The Questions every two years. This consists of what is essentially torture that can last hours or even days that allows the Praesertum to keep order and maintain power. The heightened sense of suspicion and paranoia within the city leads to many thefts, spies, and assassination attempts. Although being within the walls of Sanctus Seru can be an uneasy experience, many adventurers stop here to buy, sell, and trade wares with the various vendors. The residential district lies near the back of the city, along with a massive arena more spectacular than any seen on Norrath.
The Scarlet Desert appears to have once been the site of a large river running to the Twilight Sea, but now it is a wasteland of red rocks and sand that rests in the twilight region of Luclin between the sea and The Grey. The dried up riverbed was once known as the Ripflow River, but now it is inhabited by various sentient plants, lightcrawler insects, and several tribes of alien humanoids known as Tegi. The Tegi come in various types including water, mud, rock, fire, magma; all of which work together for the greater good of the tribe. Each variant is led by one powerful shaman. A passage through the cliffs to the west leads to the airless void of The Grey, while a passage to the east leads back to the more hospitable Twilight Sea. Along the northern cliffs is an all but hidden entrance to Grieg's End, which rests high in the mountains between here and Dawnshroud Peaks. The only water left here is a small oasis in the southeast. The most notable feature of the Scarlet Desert though is a towering plateau in the northeast called the Shining Mesa. Atop this plateau is a tribe of undead sun revenants, believed to be one of Grieg's horrific creations. Only highly skilled adventurers should venture here, for the sun revenants on the Shining Mesa are significantly more powerful than anything else found in the desert.
Shadeweaver's Thicket is primarily a training ground for young Vah Shir. The entrance to their great city of Shar Vahl lies in the southeastern part of the thicket. The region is divided diagonally from northeast to southwest by a mountain ridge, which keeps the southeastern area relatively safe for the young Vah Shir who learn their first skills. Just outside the city gates is a rather large number of tents where older Vah Shir offer training, goods, and banking for their younger citizens. A road running north from these tents leads to the Paludal Caverns being the trade route to Shadow Haven. Along the ridge that divides the region, there are several openings to the cave system below it. From under the mountains it is possible to emerge on the northwestern side, which is where the region gets its name as a thicket. The vegetation is much thicker on this side, and so are the dangers. Two tribes of alien humanoids called the Gor Taku and the Shak Dratha are constantly at war here and even in the cave system. A bandit clan known as the Loda'Kai have also set up camps here, and have also been slowly encroaching on the Vah Shir city. Away to the north is a mysterious cavern of fire and lava. A powerful fire elemental named Jynhadar resides here, guarding what appears to be a passage to another part of Luclin, but none have dared to swim through the lava and survive to tell what they found.
Shadow Haven is the first city almost every new visitor of Luclin comes to after arriving. When the followers of Tsaph Katta realized that they were trapped on the moon, they set forth to establish their city, known as Katta Castellum, on the dark side of the moon. They left behind a few hundred people including many of their best wizards to research a way to travel back to Norrath. When Seru's inquisition arrived about a year later in search of the loyalists, they too were shocked that they were now trapped here. The commanders of Seru's army met with the people who had been living here at the core, where the people advised that they cared not for the wars of the two factions of the Combine Empire any longer, but only for a way home. The inquisition set a course for the light side of the moon and established Sanctus Seru, but they too left a sizable amount of people behind in an effort to secure a passage back to Norrath. Those left behind established a city of their own, elected officials, and assembled a police force to ensure safety. They named their city Fordel Midst. Part of the name was taken from a family who died in the early months of excavation, survived only by one woman. The word Midst was added in honor of a family with a long line of mages who dedicated their lives to researching the black sphere in The Nexus. Many people began referring to the city as a haven from the shadows of Luclin that roamed the moon on the surface, and hence the city became commonly referred to as Shadow Haven.
Most people arrive in the city via the transporter in The Nexus, which drops travelers off on a platform above a pool in the western part of town. On the same platform is a transporter back to The Nexus. Immediately south of this pool is a large district run by the shorter races of Norrath; halflings, dwarves, and gnomes. They offer all types of tradeskill goods to adventurers as well as a bank. Beyond their district is a passage to Echo Caverns. Directly east of the pool is a large building full of vegetation including a tree that, when touched, will teleport one to a hidden grove where guildmasters offer training to druids, rangers, shaman, and beastlords. Continuing down the street east there is a popular casino called Shandling's Roost. Just a bit further east is a staircase leading down to The Bazaar, which is also owned and operated by the citizens of Shadow Haven. Continuing east past the Bazaar is the main part of the city. Large homes and taverns have been built in line with the streets. At the far end is the House of Fordel where clerics and paladins can employ training and purchase new spells and supplies. Just outside of the House of Fordel is the Fordel Hold, offering to keep adventurers prized goods safe while they explore the moon. To the south is the city barracks for the Haven Defenders that police not just the city, but also The Bazaar, The Nexus, and parts of the Netherbian Lair. Beyond the barracks is a large bridge leading to the Paludal Caverns and the trade route to the Vah Shir city of Shar Vahl. North of the House of Fordel is a bridge to the House of Midst, where monks, enchanters, wizards, and magicians can purchase spells, gear, and training. The citizens of the city, just as they were when Seru's forces arrived, care not for the wars of the world. They are often suspicious of newcomers, but will offer tasks to earn their trust. Simply put, Shadow Haven is a city that offers anything an adventurer could possibly need.
Shar Vahl is the home city of the Vah Shir. The city sits in the center of the massive crater created by the chunk of Norrathian soil that the Vah Shir's ancestors rode in on. Many years ago, there was a great war between the Erudites and a rebel faction of their own people they referred to as the Heretics. The Heretics had chosen to study necromancy, which was forbidden by the teachings of Erud. The two armies entered battle in the darkness of Toxxulia Forest, and when their magical energies collided, an enormous explosion occurred. This explosion created what is now known as The Hole, but it also blasted a large portion of Kerra Isle clear off the face of the planet. The Kerra are a race of cat people who were simply innocent by standers in the Erudite war. The Vah Shir were nobles of the Kerran society, and some of them survived after crashing into the moon of Luclin. Some believe this was by the grace of the Maiden of Shadows herself. The Vah Shir have no written language, for they believe that the cataclysm that led to them being blasted here was in part due to the Erudites' constant study of books and the arcane magics within them. Their history is passed down by word and song by the community's bards and shaman. The crater itself works quite well as a wall of defense between Shadeweaver's Thicket and Hollowshade Moor. Only two bridges lead to the city itself, one on each side. The Vah Shir are quite happy with the influx of new people to Luclin, as it brings new goods to their city as well as stories from adventurers that not only explain what happened on Odus between the Erudites, but other history as well. The city is built almost entirely out of acrylia, a metal ore found in the Grimling Forest. It gives the city a unique look. On the east side of town is a large arena as well several shops for tradeskills and a bank. On the west side of town is an elaborate castle where King Raja Kerrath resides. For decades now, he has guided his people through relative peace and prosperity.
Ssraeshza Temple is a pyramid built by the race of snake people called Shissar. Long ago, the Shissar ruthlessly ruled the entire continent of Kunark. Their capital city of Chelsith was located in what is now known as The Overthere. It is there that they enslaved the Iksar and explored forgotten evils and dark arts in servitude of Cazic-Thule, the god of fear. The Shissar rose to power quickly, and drew the attention of the dragons. They learned much from the dragons and used it to their adventage immediately. The Shissar combined the dragons' knowledge with their own love of necromancy to create the world's first liches and blood golems through brutal experiments on the Iksar. They also found ways to extend their own lives through the dark arts. The Shissar advanced so quickly that their might pushed back even the dragons until there was nothing left of Kunark to conquer. They made their way north to the continents of Faydwer, Tunaria (now Antonica), and Odus. It is here they met resistance in the form of the Rallosian Empire led by the mighty ogre, Murdunk. Murdunk met with Emperor Ssraeshza to form a truce. Murdunk convinced the emperor that war amongst each other was not the answer. The Rallosian army had conquered all of the northern continents and the Shissar the southern continent, so the next step was the astral planes of the gods themselves. Ssraeshza agreed. But rather than work together, they attacked on different fronts. The Rallosian Army immediately attacked the elemental Plane of Earth, which ended unsuccessfully and led to the curse of Zek's children leaving them primitive and unintelligent.
The Shissar attacked lesser planes, those of now unknown demigods. Emperor Ssraeshza was successful in his escapades, earning the title of godslayer. This angered Cazic-Thule, for the Shissar were his creation, and they had turned their backs on him and assaulted the gods. The Faceless granted the Iksar, whom he had created as well, with an ultimate weapon that would become known as Greenmist, which they unleashed on the Shissar upon their return to Chelsith. The mist disintegrate all the Shissar who breathed it, tearing their souls into the Plane of Fear to be tortured for eternity. The Iksar were unaffected. As the mist approached the heart of the city, the great pyramid of Emperor Ssraeshza rose out of the ground and floated away either to safety or doom depending on who tells the story. Now, upon Norrathians' arrival on the moon of Luclin, that it was the Maiden of Shadows, Luclin herself, that saved the Shissar from certain doom. For now the pyramid rests in safety in The Grey, a region of Luclin void of air at all, therefore immune to the mist should it find them here. An uprising soon presented itself, led by Vzyh'dra, a powerful wizard who spearheaded the assault on the planes. She and her followers blamed Ssraeshza for their current situation. Ssraeshza, who had been meditating in silence since their arrival on Luclin, put an end to this uprising before it had a chance to get serious. He slaughtered her followers, then raised them in undeath to patrol The Grey for intruders. As for Vzyh'dra, he sealed her with a plane of existence not known to any mortal and built a temple in the basement of the pyramid to seal her there forever. Ssraeshza took credit for the great escape, and his people believed him. He continues to rule the Shissar even to this day, still stronger than even some gods.
The Tenebrous Mountains is a range of peaks in the darkest region of the moon. That being said, most of the inhabitants of this area use sound rather than sight to find their prey, which means that invisibility and sneaking is almost useless here. The mountains can be reached from the Grimling Forest to the south or from the city of Katta Castellum to the west. The southern cliffs have several caves where the Grimlings have moved into the area. The real threat here is the vampyres, outcasts from Katta, that have multiple outposts and one towering castle in the northeast. They are led by a powerful winged vampyre named Valdanov Zevfeer. The winged vampyre curse has been a problem for the Combine Loyalists ever since settling in this region. The curse does not affect just people though, as evident of the wolves in the area. Some blame the curse on Valdanov due to the belief that in his alchemic experiments, he used the blood of an Akhevan. After escaping Katta Castellum before the guards could discover what he had become, Valdanov established several coteries through the mountains where he can safely continue his experiments using the blood of Luclin's native inhabitants.
The Twilight Sea is the largest body of water found on Luclin. It lies directly between the Scarlet Desert to the west and the towering walls of Katta Castellum to the east. Within the sea itself are five islands. The largest island has become known as Elemental Island, for a citizen of Katta Castellum named Vornol Transon was given permission to conduct his summoning research here. He eventually learned the ability to tap into the elemental planes and summon very powerful servants. He has since enlisted the help of four apprentices and constructed a three story tower where they work. At the top of the tower is a portal to the Fungus Grove, which is located directly beneath the sea. Vornol and his apprentices are friendly to most visitors and even offer quests to fellow casters. The two islands to the northwest are known as the Alien Islands, for they are inhabited by a tribe of humanoid aliens similar to those found in the Scarlet Desert. The southernmost island is known as Shadow Island, for several shadow demons roam back and forth across it keeping a watchful eye on the tower across the way. The final island lies closer to Katta Castellum and consists of several supply vendors and a small dock. Unbeknownst to most, there is a hidden valley north of the sea. A small underwater tunnel along the northern cliffs will take curious adventurers there. The Hidden Glade is home to another tribe of alien people called the Vas Ren. In the northwest corner of the glade is a beautiful waterfall. Behind it is a small camp where the leader of the Vas Ren, Aqualan Deepwater, resides.
Umbral Plains is a hilly grassland shrouded in eternal darkness on the southern hemisphere of Luclin. The only way to get here is from The Maiden's Eye to the west. It is said that many battles have been fought here throughout the moon's history. To the south is the entrance to the most dangerous place in all of Luclin, Vex Thal. It is there where what remains of the Akheva Empire make their home. The entrance is guarded by extremely powerful earth elementals including one larger and stronger than the rest; Rumblecrush. In the forest of the Umbral Plains, some have said to have found the remains of Vah Kerrath, a Vah Shir hero and king. The Vah Shir were once lured here by the Whisperlings in an attempt to keep the Akhevans from rising to their former power. Most of the Vah Shir that came to help, including Vah Kerrath, were slaughtered. Aten Ha Ra, the priestess leader of the Akhevans, reanimated most of the dead, just as she had done with many of Seru's forces before them, to wander the plains in torment. Many powerful undead and shadows roam throughout this region, many with an amazing ability to spot intruders from great distances, making this a dangerous place for even the most seasoned of adventurers. Not seen by many, there is alos a system of caves to the east, which are inhabited by Tegi aliens. Their leader, Radir Fireshower, carries a key used to travel between the Umbral Plains and Shadeweaver's Thicket, though none have found the door that makes this possible.
Vex Thal is the ultimate test for the strongest guilds of adventurers. The entrance is locked and the key to open it requires an extremely extensive search for many lucid shards carried by numerous rare and powerful creatures throughout the moon. Defeating Emperor Ssraeshza is also required, so obviously Vex Thal is not for the inexperienced. Within the citadel of Vex Thal are the most ancient and powerful beings in all of Luclin, the Akheva. After civil war, Aten Ha Ra and her followers made their home here in the holy temple dedicated to the Maiden of Shadows, Luclin. Hundreds of the most dangerous creatures seen anywhere, Luclin or otherwise, still reside here, for the Akheva are immortal creations of Luclin herself. The Akhevans speak a language that they refer to as the Fleshless Tongue, the language of Luclin herself. Vex Thal itself is a beautiful structure. The first sight to behold is the courtyard and it's large pool and fountain. Once inside, the wonders don't stop. The floors are fashioned out of the finest marble, while the walls are inlaid with the rarest gems and metals. The citadel is so large that it would be impossible for even the greatest adventurers to clear it out in one attempt, for there are multiple paths to take and often there is no way to return to a previous floor, hall, or room without progressing forward. In fact, once a group is deep into the citadel, the only way to escape the citadel is a shadowy statue that will teleport one back to the entrance. Of course, this statue is in High Priestess Aten Ha Ra's chamber. While hundreds of shadow warriors and priests patrol the citadel, Aten Ha Ra has no less than ten captains, for lack of a better description, stationed throughout the citadel, each with distinct abilities suited for destroying even the most capable Norrathian heroes and villains. Aten Ha Ra has even set a decoy of herself just before a false wall that leads to the real High Priestess' chamber. A successful run on Vex Thal could take a raid of sixty adventurers many hours to complete, but the rewards are well worth the risk. The treasures found here are unmatched.