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Cenotaph of Drowned Souls

The Cenotaph of Drowned Souls was erected to commemorate all those killed when Nylemouth was destroyed by flooding

Beautifully carved into the shape of a cresting wave, this 20-foot-tall chunk of stone stands on a hillside overlooking Bleakhaven’s harbour.

Originally erected to honour those killed during the flooding of Nylemouth 70 years ago, this cenotaph has gradually gained a wider purpose and now serves as the marker for all those lost at sea.

The Cenotaph of Drowned Souls stands on a low hill with views over Bleakhaven Harbour and the ruin of Nylemouth. Worn paths from the town proper lead up the hill through the wildflowers growing about the monument. Folk come here to remember their lost loved ones. Every year on the anniversary of Nylemouth's destruction, many of the townsfolk gather here for a service of quiet reflection. Led jointly by the priests of Conn and Serat, this rare multi-denominational service is a quiet, dignified affair. The townsfolk treat this day as a day of rest; all businesses are closed, and the town’s taverns and inns provide only quiet and sombre entertainments.

What the Characters Know: Through personal knowledge, chatting with locals or research, the characters know something about the Cenotaph of Drowned Souls:

  • The Cenotaph of Drowned Souls was erected to commemorate all those killed when Nylemouth was destroyed by flooding 70 years ago.
  • Over time, the cenotaph’s purpose has changed; now, it is a place of remembrance for all those lost at sea.
  • The townsfolk hold an annual service of remembrance at the cenotaph on the anniversary of Nylemouth’s destruction.

What’s Going On?

While the characters are at the Cenotaph of Drowned Souls, one or more things from the list below may occur.

  1. Quiet: There is no one else at the Cenotaph when the characters arrive; they have the place to themselves except for the seagulls riding the winds blowing in from the ocean.
  2. Mourner: A townsfolk quietly stands before the cenotaph, remembering their lost loved one. They are not in the mood for conversation.
  3. Ship on the Horizon: A ship in full sail slips over the horizon and makes for Bleakhaven’s harbour.
  4. Evil-Eyed Seagull: A monstrously fat seagull perches atop the cenotaph. It fixes the characters with a steady, malign stare.
  5. Muttered Colloquy: Two townsfolk have chosen this place for a private meeting. They are not best pleased with the characters’ arrival and leave soon afterwards.
  6. Rain: Just as the characters reach the cenotaph, it begins to rain.

Opportunities & Complications

Lucky adventurers find opportunities almost anywhere. Unlucky adventurers find complications almost anywhere.

  1. Planning to Dig: An adventurer (roll on “Other Adventurers”) newly arrived in Bleakhaven has got it into their head that treasure may lie below the cenotaph. If it is daytime, they are merely investigating the site. If the characters are here at night, the adventurer is digging a hole at the cenotaph’s base.
  2. Salme Remembers: High Priestess Salme Kuura (location B3 “Notable Folk”) is here praying for the souls of all those lost at sea. Once she has finished her prayers, she is happy to chat with the characters.
  3. Angry Mourner: Maunu Hopea (N middle-aged male human) is angry at the loss of his beloved son. If the characters do not show the proper amount of respect in the cenotaph’s environs, he harangues them. If they do not apologise, he badmouths them around town.
  4. Curious Children: Two children, Albin (CN young male human) and Elina (CN young female human), are curious about what the characters are doing at the cenotaph and some to have a look. If the characters appear friendly, they ask incessant questions.
  5. Dark Rumours: A local gossip sees the characters poking about the cenotaph and thinks they are up to no good. They tell their friends, and slowly the “news” makes its way around town.
  6. Ghostly Figure: As the characters climb the hill toward the cenotaph, one of the group thinks they see a translucent figure standing by the monument. By the time the characters reach the cenotaph, the translucent figure has disappeared.

The Cenotaph of Drowned Souls is a location in the town of Bleakhaven which is part of my Citadel on the Wilderlands design.

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This location is part of my design for Citadel on the Wilderlands. Citadel on the Wilderlands is my love letter to B2 Keep on the Borderlands and B5 Horror on the Hill. I'm writing 500 words every weekday for a year.