The Mists

All over the Inner Sea, the infamous mists of Ustalav have inspired stories and wise warnings.  "Watch this fog, it has an evil air to it, like a Caliphas mist." "Only a fool charges headlong into fog.  You give them the Tyrant's Gift."  "Children stay in bed, or evil shadows will come born on Ustalav fog and carry you away to that dark land." Or, for those with a dry sense of humor in Ustalav: "Do you know what they say about spring in Ustalav? You know it's spring because the rain is warmer and the fog smells of flowers."

But those in Ustalav know the mist is nothing to laugh at.  It brings screams in the night that are impossible to pin-point.  Locals know that when a certain fog rolls in, it's time to lock the window shutters and bolt the doors, bring all the livestock in and hope nothing breaks in after dark.  Some fog, the kind that drifts off the ground or hangs low in the morning air, this fog is a natural and everyday part of existence when you live in the shadow of the Hungry Mountains beside Lake Prophyria or Avalon Bay. Some of it hangs naturally in the boggy valleys of Amaans or the swamps near Karcau. 

But another mist is known.  It's generally a little cooler, and seems thicker, with slowly swirling shapes.  That mist seems to crawl through cracks like spectral fingers.  It's quieter, and deadly silent within. And smells vanish mysteriously within the mist.  All together, wanderers caught in The Mists have no landmarks and few things at all to navigate their way.  Travelers caught in these unearthly mists often go missing forever.  Others turn up far later at their destination, or even, occasionally, very early.  Magical teleportation does not work within and through the mists, as does magical scrying.  Generally, this mist can be found along the borders of Ustalav and account for the Kellids' relatively undisturbed existence before the first Varisian settlements.  The Mists frequently gather around the country's many regions as well, following the rivers that trace these regions' borders, or the foothills of the mountains, or low-lying valleys.

Legends talk of outsiders from other nations or even worlds stepping through the mists.  Why these unfortunates were brought into Ustalav nobody knows.  Some say it is a test of their mettle, for Ustalav is where courage is born, just as courage can only exist when one knows fear.  Others say it is a dark reward, the darkness bringing its kin to it in a final embrace.  Yet others say it is a curse cast on those who angered the gods.  There are even tales that the Whispering Tyrant brought Shadow Plane closer to Golarion in these lands, in his effort to bring eternal darkness to the Inner Sea.  And now, they say, his touch lingers, cursing the land with an indelible print that lives on in The Mists.  Still, Ustalavans do one thing for them: remark that The Mists provide a challenging complication to expansionist designs by the River Kingdoms, Lastwall, the Hold of Belkzen, and the daemons of the Worldwound.

One may try to navigate The Mists, and even find rumored Mistways, using a Knowledge: Navigation.  The one responsible for leading the group must have a clear idea of the destination from personal experience or detailed maps.  If a description is used, but it contains inaccuracies, successful navigation may bring the group to some place reasonably close or similar to the described place. A success means the person responsible for leading the team is successful, and the no time is lost.  A failure means that the travel time is lost, and a new roll must be made.  A success with a raise means the distance was traveled in half the time.  A critical failure navigates the group to the wrong place, and often a dangerous place.

 

The Mists

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