EvilCoy's Scarred Lands
Stygia is the 5th layer of the Iron Hells, a huge cavernous layer containing a great frozen sea with icebergs frozen in place like mountains; The bitter cold is ever present, with great blizzards frequently blowing about that can bury those exposed or winds carrying icy particles that can scour flesh from bones. Devils and other diabolical creatures that can ignore the cold frequent this layer as due a few hardy merchants willing to brave the cold and ice to trade at the city of Tantlin, one of the few trading ports where outsiders are tolerated in the Iron Hells. Travellers of Stygia rapidly find shelter during the nights not only for safety from the elements but also the creatures that hunt the expanses when dark.
For those travelling atop the frozen sea, the bleak icy expanse of Stygia confronts travellers even as the cold wind makes them shiver. Far off in the distance above the rolling snow dunes and eddies can be seen one of the great icebergs looking like a singular mountain even as a few natural stone pillars that support the ceiling of this vast cavernous underground lake rise up into the clouded vault where they are lost to site. Occassionally, a tremor strikes the frozen top of the sea caused by tectonic shifts or perhaps a monstrous creature living in the cold water beneath the ice pack. Occasionally, the ice gives way or is broken up by these mechanisms until it refreezes creating yet another danger for the unwary; a plunge into the icy waters beneath the surface.
Travel to Stygia is somewhat more risky for those of goodly alignment in that the plane has some diabolical sentience and inevitably points the devils residing on it towards offending presences for their removal, much like a man who has a splinter in an area he can’t see or reach might point a nurse. For this reason, it is recommended to confuse or hide their true natures rather than begin to draw the attention of Stygia itself.
Few portals are known to exist to Stygia and are usually carefully guarded by the Devil’s as a security measure. There is a known portal from the Sigil, the City of Doors, that exits onto the frozen sea of Stygia about two days travel from Tantlin that is used by merchants lucky enough to know its secrets. It is rumored that portal passes are required to open the gateway from either side. The portal gateway on the Stygian side is found in a gigantic set of rib bones appearing to come from some collossal fish that have frozen together and been covered with ice and snow.
Tantlin is a city carved into one of those great icebergs as are many of the fortresses and lairs of the devils populating the unforgiving and terrible level of the Iron Hells. Inside the great icebergs the conditions are frequently slightly above freezing creating a moist, dripping environment with Ice Devils and Ice Mephits frequently going about refreezing or rebuilding areas to ensure structure is maintained.
Traveling towards the iceberg from the portal, their is a rough and winding roadway carved into the ice of the iceberg where travellers eventually reach the gates of Tantlin gate devils challenge and intimidate those visiting this city. Entry is by no means certain and sometimes requires bribes or knowledge of a city inhabitant to pass.
Tantlin is a town within the hollowed out interior of the iceberg. Many of the abodes are just carved out of the ice with the inhabitants either not affected by the cold or just used to its embrace. Most structures are built of ice or stone, with a few being built of wood.
One establishment constructed all of imported wood is a finely built woodent structure, painted in alternating stripes of black and white, with a sign with a yin-yang symbol above the words “Polar Opposites”. This is a well known inn and resting stop for planar merchants and travellers who frequent Tantlin for trade or other nefarious pursuits.