Continued from Part 01.
Once again, let us plumb the depths of the archives of the Suppressed Transmissions Community, and let us see what kind of inspiration we can find - in particular, for my Urbis Campaign Setting.
April 3, 2013 by +Mikkel Liljegren: This one is a delightful story about a site in Turkey called "Pluto's Gate" - a basin that filled with noxious carbon dioxide fumes and which was as a cult site by the ancient Greeks. Birds that flew into it - or the sparrows that were thrown in as part of rituals - died almost instantly, and humans who came too close suffered from hallucinations - excepting the eunuchs of the fertility deity Cybele (which was often mentioned by +Kenneth Hite in his original columns), who presumably held their breaths.
For Urbis, the appropriate deity of Death and the Underworld would be the goddess Cryelis. The equivalent of the Mediterranean would be the Lake of Dreams region, so let's put the "Gates of Cryelis" there - let's say, somewhere in the protectorate of Ascenon, my take on Plato's Republic. This location does not only have the toxic vapors, but anyone who dies from them is guaranteed to become a ghost and directly descend into the Plane of Shadows (the "Underworld" of Cryelis) - a highly desirable situation for her followers!
Furthermore, many of the lesser cult sites of Cryelis copy these Gates on a smaller scale, and create their own toxic fumes for this purpose. This is especially popular with the Discendenti - my own take on the Sicilian Mafia who also happen to be ancestor worshipers and followers of Cryelis. One of their rituals involves binding those who have displeased them and throwing them into their Cryelian Gate - so that when they die they become slaves to their ghostly relatives.
But that's not all! Back when this was first posted, I also created an Arcana Wiki entry for this story. Then another contributor to the wiki appended the entry with a link to another wiki entry describing a portal to the Mayan underworld found in Mexico! This immediately led me to the Far Coast, my South America analogue (where all the natives have seemingly vanished and which is now being settled by along the coast by different cultures), for which I wrote up the "Ghost Gates" - ritual locations found scattered across the continent which seem disturbingly similar to the Cryelian Gates and which are haunted by angry ghosts and have extensive Underworld locations anchored to them. Was Cryelis also worshiped in this land in an alternate guise, or was a different deity responsible? In either case, quite a few priests of Cryelis have made the journey to this new land to reconsecrate those sites to their own deity...
See how this works? The Suppressed Transmissions have always about finding the right connections, and the inspiration from a single article provided several - and the Arcana Wiki is all about finding and establishing such connections. I would not have thought about the Mayan connection of my own, and thus would not have come up with a cool mystery for an entirely different continent - but the work of others at the Arcana Wiki allowed me to see the bigger picture.
So look at the Arcana Wiki and then read this article on how you can contribute to the wiki and make your own connections. Help us all see the bigger picture - and expand your own!