Different people have different thoughts as to the true nature of the Unkown God. It has no name, it has no uniform dogma, it has no prescribed priesthood or rituals. But it has followers, most of whom make their homes in hidden temples and monastaries much like this one.
The only accessible entrance to this particular location is through a pair of massive stone doors carved to blend into the cliff face on the western shore of Barghest Bay. The doors open and close on a predetermined schedule, regulated by some long-forgotten magical ritual. They usually remain open just long enough for a small boat to slip in, load or unload, and slip back out. There is no dock, but only a stairway leading into the main entry chamber. This chamber has a tall vaulted ceiling, lit by magical purple flames continually burning in a chandelier.
From that central location, locked doors lead to the north and south, and an open passageway leads into the closed double doors to the temple proper. To the north are the private cells of the higher-ranking priests and monks who have taken it upon themselves to lead the enclave. There is no clearly-established order, but they seem to have organized themselves into some kind of hierarchy. Their chambers include a common kitchen/eating area as well as a library for quiet meditaion and study. The books and scrolls here are ecelctic in subject matter, covering religion, history, and mundane ephemera gathered from all over the world. A few of the most enterprising priests know of a secret door on the south wall which leads to a tunnel connecting the antechamber, the temple, and an even more secret chamber outside the western end of the temple.
The southern hallway from the entry hall connects to the common living and study areas of the lower-status monks, acolytes, and lay worshippers. The spaces are mostly open and loosely configured, combining eating, meditation, and sleeping areas with ad-hoc training dojos for the combat monks. Like the “high priests”, there is very little to indicate rank or status. Everyone seems to blend together and find their own place in the crowd without too much to guide them.
Dominating the entire structure is the Temple to the Unknown God. From the antechamber, two doors open into a massive vaulted space, with three separate tiers stepping down to an altar at the other end. Behind the altar is a towering statue of a hooded figure without a face, upon which worshippers can project their own beliefs as to what they want the god to be. This statue is embedded in a curtain wall, through which there is a secret door on the southern side which leads to a spiral staircase.
This spiral staircase, known only to a few, takes one down into the lowest, most secret and sacred chamber of all: the true temple. Here, only the most dedicated servants are brought to commune with the Unknown God in the flesh, as it rises to meet them from a pitch-black pool of unnatural dark water. Through this communion they are transformed. Before they are merely a worshipper; after they are one with their god, completely enthralled and driven with whatever true purpose their patron desires.
This was originally drawn as part of Inktober 2016, for the prompt “hidden”. It was also a re-draw of a map I had doodled in my day-to-day notebook during a meeting. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter to give me your thoughts. Follow me on Instagram for more like this, and occasional previews of upcoming work. A high-res (3600px x 2700px) version of this map is available to my patrons.
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