Overview of Paineel
Paineel is the city of the Cazicites, the powerful necromancers who once lived among the High Men of Erudin but were outcast due to their unfailing interest in the dark arts. Referred to as “Heretics” by the Erudites the Cazicites relocated to one of the most powerful and naturally magical areas in all of Norrath.
Buried deep into the sides of The Hole, the dark city of Paineel is seldom visited by outsiders. Most die on the journey down before ever seeing the black spires of the stone that marks the entrance to the city; either from being attacked due to mistrust or from the fall into the pit known as The Hole due to not watching their step. Strangers are never welcomed unless they have something desirable to offer. Regardless of the nature of the visit, a sacrifice of blood is required to gain entry.
The city of Paineel offers a sloping, grassy yard where pupils may hone the first of their fledgling skills. Undead guardsmen stand watch at the outer gates, insuring that those in duress can flee back to the city without their would-be killers following them.
Those who graduate from the slopes and ready for a stiffer challenge may enter the caverns of the warrens which lay wedged into the rocky cliffs that encase the yard.
The Erudites had a problem. Some of their people were beginning to practice the dark, corrupt art of Necromancy. The Erudites labeled these misguided mages as Heretics and drove them forth from the city of Erudin.
In the ensuing battle magic clashed at a titanic level. At the climax of the battle the earth itself was ripped asunder blasting a series of craters deep into the wounded earth. The greatest of these was called The Hole.
Both sides were dismayed and frightened by the devastation they had unleashed. Separated by the crater and weary beyond belief both sides retired from the field. The Erudites returned to their home and the Heretics retreated into the caverns uncovered during the creation of The Hole. The Heretics, decimated in the battle, practiced the ways of secrecy and slowly faded from the memory of the Erudites.
They may have been forgotten, but the Heretics were not inactive. Deep in The Hole they built the hidden city of Paineel.
For many years they practiced their dark art, perfecting their mastery. They explored the underground passages of The Hole. It was during these explorations that they came across the Vault of Living Stone. This artifact was created by Brell Serilis to seal the passageway he had opened from the Plane of Underfoot to Norrath. It was through this passageway that he had brought his creations to Norrath. Once he had finished his seeding he had put the Vault of Living Stone in place. The Vault was a magical construct which would perpetually repair itself and keep Norrath safe from the more vicious denizens of the Plane of Underfoot.
Once they had found the Vault the Heretics began to experiment with ways to harness its power. Inevitably they made a mistake and the Vault was damaged. It began to decline and creatures from the Plane of Underfoot began to pass through to Norrath. At first the incursions were minor, but eventually they became overwhelming. A great force of earth elementals lead by the Earthen Lord Yael swarmed through the vault and attacked hidden Paineel.
The Heretics were outmatched. As their city was besieged, the majority of citizens retreated to the surface pulling down the passageway behind them. A small group, lead by Dartain of the Dark Truth, had chosen to remain behind and attempt to repair the vault. These heroes managed to create The Hatch. This device when attached to the Vault would repair the damage the Heretics had caused and keep the passageway to the Plane of Underfoot closed.
So the band set out into the depths of The Hole. Relying on their magical prowess the group made its way stealthily to the Vault.
While placing the Hatch the band was beset by the forces of Yael. Those on the Norrathian side of the passageway quickly fell. Only Dartain survived the attack by fleeing into the Underfoot. Yael and his minions could not remove the Hatch, but there was one connection yet to be made.
Dartain hid until all was clear then returned to make the final connection. He was lucky in that the connection could be made from the Underfoot side of the passage. Yael’s forces not fearing attack from their home guarded the Norrathian side. Dartain’s luck was at an end. While he could finish the installation, he could not go back to Norrath to perform the final ritual. It was from the Plane of Underfoot that he cast his incantations and in doing so he trapped himself in that place. Nothing more is known of Dartain’s fate.
Yael’s forces, not truly interested in things above the ground, settled into the ruins of Paineel and the surrounding areas of The Hole. To this day they vigorously protect their new kingdom.
The surviving Heretics caught between Yael below and Erudin above searched the upper reaches of the Hole. Finding a suitably hidden location they built a new home. This they named Paineel in memory of what was lost. Old Paineel, now a place of violent, elemental rage they were shunned but never forgot. The odd adventuresome Seeker of the Dark Truth, as the Heretics refer to themselves, will still make an occasional foray into the depths seeking to find some bit of old knowledge that lies hidden in Old Paineel.
Paineel has a guild master for each class that is available to Erudite followers of Cazic-Thule. Spell and tome merchants are also available for those classes. Here is a list of the main guildmasters:
Sern Adolia – (Cleric)
Coriante Verisue – (Necromancer)
Mandaril Dark Knife – (Shadow Knight)
Paineel provides the basic necessities of adventuring: Bankers, a Soulbinder, Task Masters, augmentation needs, and merchants that sell backpacks, ale, bandages, food, drink, and fishing gear.
You’ll also find a Priest of Discord, Tradeskill Quest Masters, tradeskill crafting objects, and supply merchants for alchemy, baking, brewing jewelcrafting, pottery, tailoring, and blacksmithing.
Paineel connects to Toxxulia Forest, the Warrens, and there are two entrances to The Hole although one brings instant death.
Places of Interest
Paineel hosts a number of different buildings including several shops, taverns and guildhalls.
To protect themselves the Seekers have constructed a hidden lift that is the only access point to Paineel. Guards are stationed only on the hidden side of the lift to further conceal its location. In order to operate the lift each Seeker possesses a glowing key. If the key is lost a Seeker may ask one of the guards at the guardhouse for a replacement.
This is the only evidence that Paineel is located in the environs of The Hole. Its only purpose is to protect the young Seekers as they strive to increase their martial skills.
The Grand Staircase
Upon descending the Hidden Lift the first sight to greet a Seeker is the Grand Staircase. This area is often visited by the citizens of Paineel and is home to an ever-changing bazaar. Many goods and services not found elsewhere in the city can be found here.
The columns and pool at the foot of the Grand Staircase honor the memory of the hero Dartain. Many of the notables of Paineel can be found here contemplating the Dark Truth.
The Fell Blade
The Fell Blade is the name of both the Paineel militia and the Shadowknights who follow the teachings of Cazic-Thule. The leader of the Fell Blade, Mandaril Dark Knife, can usually be found in the main hall of the Fell Blade, but sometimes he will be at the Tabernacle of Terror conferring with the leadership of the Harbingers of Fear.
The great smith, Faratain, has his shop within the confines of the militia house. Faratain and his brother Darton, descended from Dartain, often work in concert to create weapons of great power. Darton is a necromancer, member of the Seekers of the Dark Truth, and he uses his art to imbue power in the weapons and heavy armor created by Faratain. Faratain also offers various smithing supplies and the use of a Erudite forge and a regular forge.
Good Iva’s Tasty Treats
This bakery is the place to find all the goodies you will ever need. Iva Tersala, the proprietor, is a fine good-hearted lass. She pretends to be a follower of the Dark Truth, but in her heart she is a follower of Tunare. Iva has contacts throughout Norrath and feeds information on the doings of the Heretics to them.
Pardas Nalue, the owner, advertises that “You can get everything you need to be as handsome as Pardas Nalue except his devastating good looks at Sinfully Handsome.” Obviously he is quite enchanted with himself. He offers cloth armor and various tailoring supplies in his shop.
Pardas is not totally without merit, he does keep in close contact with Mordant Tather, the proprietor of the Silk Underground in Neriak. The valuable information he has about the Teir’Dal is the only reason most people in Paineel put up with his giant-sized ego.
The Final Reckoning
“Can’t take it with you? Then leave it here.” Never worry about your valuables if they are in the hands of Marsa Folor and her capable staff at this bank in Paineel.
Once a sister of the Harbingers of Fear, Taria Clayspinner now offers up a selection of statues and symbols depicting all the gods of Norrath. No one knows the true reason behind Taria’s departure from service to Cazic, but rumor has it that a sordid affair with Prenton Nael, the leader of the Harbingers, is what caused her disillusionment with the faith. Visit this shop to purchase pottery supplies and to make use of the kiln.
Taralani Rahnta, a retired necromancer, had too much power and nothing to do with it so he opened Shackled Spirits, a tavern. The unique thing about this establishment is that Taralani is the only employee, well living employee that is. Using his necromantic powers, Taralani has enslaved the souls of several Erudite men and women. These poor souls now tirelessly toil to fulfill the needs of Taralani and his guests. A brew barrel can be found inside this tavern and merchants here offer a variety of ales, wine, and other types of alcohol.
Screams and shrieks are the only greeting that most people will receive as they enter the grounds of the Abattoir, the home of the Seekers of the Dark Truth. The loud noises are an unavoidable by-product of the research conducted therein.
The Seekers are a guild of necromancers who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of what lies behind the veil of death, that Dark Truth which they have glimpsed but not yet fully comprehended. While all citizens of Paineel describe themselves Seekers of the Dark Truth, only official members are fully vested with the knowledge and power of the guild.
Coriante Verisue: The Speaker of the Dark Truth, leader of the Seekers, is Coriante Verisue. She is the first woman to assume the mantle of the Speaker. Plotting for power is the name of the game in the Abattoir and Coriante is a master of that art in addition to her unrivalled necromantic powers. Coriante can often be found in the Hall of the Speaker sharing her insights into the Dark Truth with the younger initiates. If not in the hall, she might be in the ritual chamber delving deep beyond the veil.
Darton: A descendent of Dartain, Darton is Coriante’s chief rival and chief researcher of the guild. So far, Coriante has deflected all of Darton’s plots, but he is nothing if not persistent. Darton is usually found in the laboratory or ritual chamber.
This shop offers all the basic needs of the bold and arrogant adventurer. Geomar and Rallia Hapera have long helped prepare those daring Seekers who were planning a trip to Old Paineel.
The Poisoned Petal
Yvonne Ani, mistress of the green thumb, offers ervery plant or herb to anyone. She is beloved by the Seekers of the Dark Truth as many of her potions and herbs have enabled them to prolong the length of their experiments. Merchants here offer alchemy supplies.
Dannis Faleet is the only jeweler in Paineel. This is the only reason that he is alive today. A myriad of accusations have been made against him by his customers, i.e. gems have been replaced with glass, coins given as change in his shop seem to be both thinner and lighter than other coins, etc. However, each time a charge is brought against him there is never enough evidence and the authorities have been extremely lenient. The Seekers need his wares, the Harbingers need his wares, and Darkglow palace needs his wares.
The importance of research into the Dark Truth would lead one to believe that a library specializing in necromantic knowledge would be of major importance in Paineel. To the contrary, necromancy is only a by-product of the knowledge of the Dark Truth. To the Seekers it is the Dark Truth that is important, not necromantic powers.
Despite a lack of respect from the Seekers, Talloth Vara, the chief librarian, is a dedicated supporter of Coriante. Books and scrolls line most of the walls in the library, but the truly remarkable works are in the personal care of Talloth.
The Erudites would refer to this building as the heart of evil, but to the Seekers the palace is home of the Hand which Shields. Paineel has long been ruled by the triumvirate of Palace, the Seekers, and the Harbingers. It is the duty of Overlord Virate Manaar to protect the Seekers from harm so that they may work undisturbed.
The Tabernacle of Terror
Cazic-Thule has long played a part in the society of the Seekers. It is through the fear of their dying experiments that the majority of the knowledge of the Dark Truth has been uncovered. For this reason is Cazic-Thule revered above all gods.
The Tabernacle houses the Harbingers of Fear, the priests of Paineel. The leader of the Harbingers is Sern Adolia. He has ruled the Harbingers for many, many years. Members of the Harbingers only approach Sern if they have to, otherwise their fear keeps them at bay. The Fell Blade guild is subservient to the Harbingers of Fear.
Before the fall of Old Paineel these pavilions were used in rituals which required the stars, moon, or sun. Now they are nothing but ruins that mark the entrance to the underground areas of The Hole.