In the final days of the battle against Magori, popular legend says he opened a gate to the underworld to unleash demons and angry spirits upon his enemies. This was not to secure his victory, but rather a destructive act of rage. There was no way for him to control what he released, he did it to sow chaos.
The west of Yunshan was over run with terrible things. Most of these demonic spirits Magori unleashed were powerless and invisible in the day, but at night, hellish shadowy things drifted through the walls of Yunshan’s towns, and roamed the wilderness spreading terror. It was not like an army of spirits which descended like a wave, it happened more slowly, as if the gate Magori opened was a steady trickle of evil into the world. It took some time for those who stood against him to realize what he had done, and by then, thousands of spirits were already unleashed, and the number grew every day. People in the North west fled to Barter Town, and their the Temple of the Mists would make a years long stand against Magori’s forces. The warrior monks and demon hunters of the Temple of the Mists protected those in Barter Town as best as they could. It was a long, massive siege, with battles often spilling into the streets as sections of the town would fall to assaults one day, only to be liberated by warrior monks the next.
Finally these spirit became such a problem that someone made a deal with a specific set of underworld spirits to gain help, The Collectors. The Collectors were unleashed upon the west of Yunshan, wreaking havoc upon Magori’s forces, stealing the souls from his massive army by day, and hunting down the rogue spirits of the underworld by night. In just a few days these Collectors routed Magori’s massive bandit army, who had no interest in losing their mortal souls. It ended the siege of Barter Town, and saved western Yunshan. The problem is, the Collectors never left.
Little is known about what deal was struck to bring them into the realm of mortals, but some say the collectors tricked whoever made the deal. Now, they wander the mortal realms as if they belong, fearsome things that not even the demon hunters of Yunshan care to challenge. Thankfully, the Collectors do not seem interested in destruction or chaos. They concern themselves with hunting down anything in Yunshan which belongs in the underworld. Unfortunately, this includes anyone who does not have soul coins. People of Yunshan who have fallen out of favor with the gods completely, and foreigners are the ones who really have something to fear from collectors. Their is a wall that separates western Barter Town from Eastern Barter Town, and Foreign merchants know if they go beyond that wall, their spirits are in jeopardy.
Collectors are very rare. It is not uncommon for people to sneak into Yunshan for some reason and make it out without every coming near one. Collectors hunt their prey in a methodical, almost relaxed way, taking their time. If a target does not stay in one place, he can often avoid the collectors for quite some time. Collectors appear as humans, and no magic, even True Seeing can reveal them as anything more. They always appear as tall, thin men who dress in drab or dark clothing, and never blink, perhaps the only way to know a collector.
Oddly enough, for underworld spirits, collectors don’t do much harm to Yunshan, and many reasonable people argue their presence has been good. Afterall, these collectors put an end to Magori’s army, and because of the fearsome legend that grew up around that event, foreign invaders consider Yunshan a place that would be hopeless to invade. By night, they often wander the wilderness, slowly hunting the evil spirits that Magori unleashed long ago. In this way, demon hunters see them as the cleaners of the spirit world, helping to remove that which does not belong, and the only long term answer to Magori’s Legacy
Dark thing roam the wilderness of Yunshan at night, spirits which belong in the underworld, but were unleashed by Magori in the thousands many decades ago. Yunshan’s towns have found a way to keep them out with their watch skulls, copper sigils, and with the help of their night watchmen, but out in the wilderness or on the road, all bets are off. You would have to seek out an exert for a complete list of the kinds of spirits and what they do, but the variety is said to be huge. People of Yunshan are superstitious about travel, and especially travel at night. Those in Western Yunshan have a completely practical reason to fear being out at night. This phenomenon, the presence of evil spirits roaming the night, is sometimes refereed to as Magori’s Legacy
For now, the people of Yunshan have learned to live with this affliction. They are safe in their towns at night. Intruders from the other side rarely get through, and when they do, the local night watchman or demon hunter is more than willing to face them down. People say many of these spirits have been rounded up over the years by demon hunters and collectors, but many still remain. Some say they hide in the deep mountain valleys, and in ruins in great numbers, lurking where their judges cannot find them, but still eager to feed on any who blunder into their territory.
Spirits and magical suppression
Powerful spirits, sometimes referred to as “Place gods”, have the ability to suppress magic in their domains. The Howling Winds were able to shut down everything besides 1st level spells when they were angry. Fang Quiang, the guardian spirit of Fanlu demands that anyone casting a spell first prey to him for permission. Those who do not follow this rule have been known to have their magic suppressed in a similar fashion. Spirits which have had their focus desecrated are no longer able to do this, as they have been severed from their domains. Spirits in good standing however seem to be able to shut down magic at will, making them exceptionally powerful in their own domains. Imagine a being which can simply shut down the spell casting powers of its enemies, such is the power of the greater place gods in Yunshan
Not all spirits can suppress magic as mentioned above, but many can “eat” spells cast directly at them. These spirits simply seem to suck up the magical energies of spells cast at them, rendering them completely harmless. Typically spells of a high enough level cannot be eaten, and it’s also said there is a limit to how many spells such a spirt can eat at once. In theory, if many spell casters bombarded a spirit with the spell eating ability, some of the spells might make it through.
While dimension door, and short range teleportation powers that rely on line of sight such as dimensional swap seem to work normally in Yunshan, Teleport, and Teleport without error do not. For whatever reason, these magics have been forbidden by the God of Magic, Tsai Shen.
Secret Gates and the spirit world
There is said to be a spirit realm connected to Yunshan, which is a mirror image of the land. Time passes differently in this world, and there are many tales of wizards and heroes using this phenomenon to their advantage. If one were to enter the spirit world at the western edge of Yunshan, and travel for 4 weeks across the mirror image spirit world version of Yunshan, they would experience those 4 weeks of travel normally and age appropriately. Here’s where it gets weird. When they re-enter the mortal realm of Yunshan at some point 4 weeks’ worth of travel away, only 1 day would have passed on the mortal realm! This is because time moves about 30 times faster in the spirit realm. The net effect is that mortals who have dare to travel through the spirit realm and have a way to do so can appear to travel great distances in small amounts of time. The traveler experiences the time normally, 4 weeks of travel, but to those on the mortal realm, they would disappear through a portal, and the next day reappear hundreds of miles away!
There are said to be many known and hidden gateways which connect the Mortal Yunshan to its spirt realm mirror image. Most are protected by powerful guardians, and the price of entry could not possibly be cheap. Furthermore, there are forces in the Spirit realm that do not take kindly to mortals entering where they do not belong. Chief among these is Tsai Shen, the god of magic, who is also the protector of sacred places and the heavens. The legends say any mortals who pass into the spirit realm without his blessing, will find his agents hot on their tail.
There are legends of areas where epic battles were fought and terrible tragedies unfolded. These places are forever scared by the memory of the suffering that unfolded in their midst. Yunshan’s very essence is sensitive to psychic impressions and prone to paranormal activity. Every part of the world has it’s haunted battlefields, but in Yunshan, the lasting effects of a terrible event, and the psychic scars such events can leave on the land are a real concern. A Wartorn is an entire area that is haunted by the memory of war. It’s unclear how they were created, but it is clear most were formed in the epic rebellion against Leoki. Most sages say Wartorns are created when mortals defile a sacred place in nature with the act of mass battle. This alone is not enough. There must be powerful magic unleashed in the battle. Also, there must be massive sudden death or slaughter, the energy of many lives being smothered quickly. The final ingredient is tragedy…a battle that never needed to be fought, or that could have been prevented.
A wartorn might haunt an entire valley or ruin. The largest and most well-known Wartorn is the Valley of Wailing Lanterns, though there are many unknown Wartorns as well…frequently those who stumble into them do not live to tell the tale.
You know little about what happens to one who is caught in a wartorn. Some say the hapless victims are sucked back in time to the battle that created them. Others maintain those who wander into one are caught up in a hallucination of sorts, as they experience the waking nightmare of what happened in the tragic battle. Those who are weak willed fall dead from this hallucination, their very will to live ripped from them by the tragedy they are shown!
An area plagued by a wartorn is not always dangerous. Wartorns are only active at special times; the anniversary of the event, the full moon or new moon, or at night. These are all examples of times a wartorn haunted area might be dangerous. Because some wartorns appear only once a year, and lay in remote areas, they may go for decades before they are actually marked on a map as dangerous! Coupled with the fact they are usually lethal, means there are probably many out there that no one knows about.
Scholars argue whether Wartorns are caused by restless spirits, or are some kind of psychic scar on an area itself…They may simply be an area haunted by a mass of restless spirits, or they may be the memory of something so painful it is burned into the consciousness of the land itself, an event so potent that it lives on and projects itself into the minds of any who come near. The fact no preists seems to be able to exorcise a Wartorn seems to point to the later theory.
According to the Wizard Porter, long ago the god unlcoked the secret of traveling between planes, although this kind of travel is not accurate, even to this day, and the traveler going from one plane to another can litterally be hundereds of miles off target. The gods also built massive arcane gates, that allowed them to travel back and fourth between specific places on the same plane with perfect reliance.
It was not long until the mortal races began to use magic to build their own gates. The first were the elves and the druids, though it is argued who came first. The elves built elaborate spell gates of graceful archetecture, while the druids built crudly shaped circles of stone in powerfully charged points on the planet, that allowed them to jump from one place to another.
Eventually as human wizards began to appear and organize into brotherhoods, they too learned how to build gates to travel from one point to another.