The Petrified Lake

Published October 2, 2013 by


Description

The Petrified Lake is a body of liquid located in the far southern reaches of The Steadfast, to the south and slightly west of Rathscor Fortress. The region, several kilometers across, contains a fluid of unknown origin. While at first glance it appears as water, closer inspection reveals that the liquid’s color is an somewhat opaque gunmetal gray. The surface itself ripples and flows as water does, but with no apparent yielding to natural external forces such as the wind. Souls brave enough to get to the very edge return reports of some kind of small creature that swims in small groups just below the surface. It’s unknown just what the “creatures” are – living or machine – or what their purpose in the lake is.

Though it looks otherwise harmless, the Petrified Lake leaves its mark around the area. All along the edges, and for hundreds of meters around, lie the stony remains of various creatures unlucky enough to mistake the lake for a natural one. Exposure to bare, organic material produces a highly exothermic reaction that consumes the unlucky target until they have been left as little more than a frightening piece of frozen statuary. Player Characters that are exposed to the lake must immediately make a Might (4) check. If they pass, they make a second check, and then a third. If they fail any check, the next one goes up in difficulty by one. This process continues until either three checks pass or fail. Passing means they get away (GM Intervention: A little worse for the wear), failing means they turn to stone.

Example:
Ordarius, a Murdering Glaive that Controls Gravity was pushed into the Petrified Lake. He immediately rolls a Might (4) check… and gets a 14! He rolls again, but this time, gets a 3. His third roll is now a Might (5) check because of the failure. He rolls and gets a 13 – another failure. Finally, he rolls an 18 and a 19 back to back against Might (6) checks, totaling 3 passes to the 2 failures, just enough to get away.

Even during the worst droughts, the Petrified Lake seems to retain its level. It doesn’t evaporate, doesn’t appear to soak into the ground, and doesn’t freeze. No matter the air temperature, the surface temperature of the lake is always exactly 2.7° warmer than the surroundings.

Note: The Petrified Lake is based on the story of Lake Natron in Tanzania, a lake with an extremely high pH that can kill, calcify, and preserve the body of animals that remain for too long.

Details

Map of The Petrified Lake
Map of The Petrified Lake
Region:
The Steadfast
The Petrified Lake Hearsay:

The Stone Assassins: Rumors continue to spread of a squad of elite assassins operating along the boundary between The Steadfast and The Beyond that use liquid from the lake on their targets. If true, they have successfully found a means of transporting the liquid without it decaying.

Torture: Perhaps more fact than simple rumor is that some less-than-scrupulous individuals in the area have been known to bring criminals, spies, or simple people that have a piece of information they need to the Petrified Lake, and use it as a means of leveraging confessions and information out of them.

Return to the Living: Enough conversation with locals near Rathscor Fortress will likely unearth veiled references to a man who wanders the region wielding an unusual artifact that is known to reverse the petrification process of living creatures, and return them to their former selves.

The Weird of The Petrified Lake:

Decaying: While some have actually attempted to remove liquid from the Petrified Lake, known attempts have universally failed. Within little more than a few minutes of extracting a sample, the gray color fades and leaves behind a container of simple – and entirely safe – water.

Synth Materials: Many have tried to extract liquid for study and testing. When such an attempt is made with a synth-based container, the liquid immediately begins dissolving it.

The Generator: People familiar with the region routinely speak of a deep, bass humming that occasionally comes from underneath the heart of the lake.