Sithicus (Pronounced: SITH-uh-cuss), known as the Land of Spectres in elvish, was a domain in the Southwestern Core that formed from a shattered Elven kingdom.
Sithicus was a withdrawn realm of thick, tangled forests and jagged, rugged mountains. As Lord Soth's prison, it was a place that perverted and twisted history and memory; under Inza Kulchevich's rule, that property was reversed, causing the Guilt of Sithicus.
The Guilt of Sithicus was a domain-wide, preternatural effect that caused guilt in everyone who entered Sithicus, as no one there could forget their their misdeeds, causing the Sithicans to endlessly dwell upon their sins and flaws, and paranoia and paralyzing distrust were common in the inhabitants.
Sithicus was located in the southwestern region of the Core, bordered by Valachan to the east, Kartakass to the northeast, Barovia, Invidia, and Verbrek to the north. Its southern borders were along the mist that enclosed Ravenloft.
Sithicus had three major mountain ranges, the Disappearing Mountains in the southwest, the Misttop Mountains in the southeast, and the Border Edge Mountains and the Iron Hills in the northeast. There were five major rivers that ran through the domain, the Little Arden River, the Widow's Tears, the Krellin River, the Endless River, and the Musarde River. The Krellin, Endless, and Musarde rivers flowed into one another by Har-Thelen, in the middle of the domain. There were at least three major forests that sprawled across most of the domain: the Giant's Cloak forest in the west, the Viper Nest in the center, and the tangled Fumewood that covered the east. The Giant's Cloak forest was full of nonlethal traps, and took its name from the stone giant and his allies who used the place to hide from Azrael Dak and Inza' soldiers after those two took over the domain.
Perhaps one of the most prominent features of the domain was the Great Chasm that stretched in the central west region of the domain. It ran dozens of miles from northwest to southeast, and was as much as five miles across at its widest point. Some sections were said to be bottomless, and fearsome creatures lurked within, some of which came out after the sun set. Inza Kulchevich made her lair in its depths. Despite the danger, explorers were known to travel there.
Flora & Fauna
Later, it was jointedly ruled by King Azrael and the darklord Inza, who kept control by way of a secret police called the Politskarae.
Despite the secret police and soldiers, there was a growing resistance against King Azrael's rule among the elves, with rebels carrying out hit-and-run attacks. The center of the unrest was in Mal-Erek. Only the infighting between the three elven villages prevented any organization of a larger revolt.
When Lord Soth wished to close the borders of Sithicus, he did so by repeating a dismal ballad that recalled his sins. While he did so, other voices joined his and rose along the border, creating a song so horrid it could induce madness in any who persisted trying to cross.
In 752 BC, plots concocted by Lord Soth's seneschal, Azrael Dak, and a Vistani woman named Inza Magdova Kulchevich entertwined with more supernatural events that led to Lord Soth's redemption and departure from Ravenloft during a event known as the Hour of Screaming Shadows, although it was debated whether he escaped or was expelled by the Dark Powers. Azrael and Inza subsequently became the king and new darklord of Sithicus, which changed to reflect the new darklord.
Rumors & Legends
It was rumored that the memory mirror used by Lord Soth, which shattered when he left, held the key to defeating Inza, and that even a piece of it could alleviate the Guilt of Sithicus.
There were several notable locations in Sithicus.
- Iron Warden
- Little more than a trading post, the Iron Warden was frequently used by merchants traveling through the domain, as well as by explorers planning to head to the Great Chasm.
- A village of some 500 elves, Har-Thelen was largely accepted as the capital of Sithicus. Trade from the Musarde River and the Merchant's Slash trade route that bordered it made it nominally more tolerant of outsiders than the other settlements.
- The largest community in Sithicus, being home to nearly 1,000 people. However, it was located near a boggy region in which terrible things were said to crawl and slither.
- A town hidden deep within the Fumewood, inhabited by kender. Unlike their kin in other planes, these kender were violent and bitter, and many were afflicted with vampirism.
- A xenophobic community of some 500 elves. The Library of Mal-Erek was a place of ruined, forgotten lore and secrets.
- Nedragaard Keep
- The castle of Lord Soth, located on a spire in the Great Chasm, where a stone bridge arched over the rift. After his redemption, it fell into ruins and the bridge collapsed.
- An internment camp established by Azrael and Inza to hold prisoners, it became the de facto political center of the domain under their rule. It was constructed of stone mined from the nearby Misttop Mountains by the prisoners. The name of the place came from the sobriquet the elves gave Azrael: the Sorrow of Sithicus. Any breach of the law could land a person in Sorrow, and outsiders were frequently conscripted as guards. At least 100 Sithicans were imprisoned there.
- A salt-mining town in the Misttop Mountains. It was said that sinister whispers sometimes murmured within the corrosive pits.
Other inhabitants of the domain included banshees and other undead, as well as some lycanthropes.
Its most notable inhabitants were:
- Lord Soth - the first darklord of the domain, a human death knight who eventually found redemption.
- Inza Kulchevich - a Vistani women who became darklord after Lord Soth, she hated all nobility and innocence and sought to destroy it.
- Azrael Dak - a dwarven werebadger who was first the seneschal under Lord Soth, and later the king of Sithicus during Inza's reign.
- The Blessed Knight - a supernatural double of Lord Soth formed in the memory mirrors that once lined the halls of Nedragaard Keep, he was released when the mirrors shattered. A manifestation of redemption, he roamed the domain doing good deeds and protecting the innocent.
- Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). Ravenloft Campaign Setting. (TSR, Inc.), p. Cannot cite page numbers from this product. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- James Lowder (January 2007). “Shadows of Sithicus”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #351 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 54–58.
- Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 30–31. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Realm of Terror”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), p. 13. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.