THE GREAT STAIR
Carved directly into the face of the mountain, The Great Stair leads from the town of Spandrel to the summit of the Sarel mesa, more than 1,300 feet above. The stairs are wide enough for three to walk abreast and take a winding path to Wellspring.
According to the faithful of Ioun there are 2,557 steps in The Great Stair, although few visitors to Spandrel see more than the 577 steps that lead to the Pillar of Mother Cassian. Truly dedicated pilgrims may tread the 1,279 steps that lead to the fortified tower of the Sage Knights, known locally as the Overlook, but this is very rare.
Contrary to popular opinion, there are natural approaches to the summit, but they are few and extremely dangerous. These approaches are controlled by goblin and orc tribes and are not patrolled by the Sage Knights. Pilgrims are cautioned to avoid these and use The Great Stair.
Although The Great Stair is the safest approach, it doesn’t mean that the journey is completely safe. During the holy season, the Sage Knights manage to keep the stairs clean of most dangers but even they cannot protect travelers from every threat.
Pillar of Mother Cassian This is a remarkably lifelike statue that lies on the path to the summit and serves as an important destination for the faithful of Ioun.
According to religious texts, Mother Cassian was a teacher of noble children centuries ago. She taught the children that the sun was not a god, as taught by the Pagan Kings of Sarel, but a celestial body placed by the gods. When the rulers heard of her heresy, she was condemned to death. According to legend, she was turned to stone – facing east so she could greet the god she denied each morning. And so she has remained here, untouched by the centuries.
The faithful of Ioun see her as a martyred saint and many, particularly teachers and other academics, journey to Spandrel and leave a stone with their name carved on it at her feet.
Overlook This ancient keep has stood for centuries and serves as base of operations for the Sage Knights. The tower seems to be carved from a natural outcropping and has a commanding view of The Great Stair and the village of Spandrel below. Many visitors report that the Sage Knight fortification extends deep into the side of the mountain.
There are few buildings outside of the tower, but the largest is a temple dedicated to Ioun, Bahamut and Pelor. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the temple, which is open to any who wish to enter.
Although not a village, Overlook does have the ability to support two dozen “lances”, consisting of a Sage Knight and his entourage. This not only includes barracks, stable and temple, but there is a general provisioner, a competent weaponsmith and a bowyer on site.
After the party’s introduction to Overlook by Brother Sergeant Lucan, the players are able to avail themselves of the vendors for normal prices.