A dark and eerie forest stretches between the town of Bomarzo and Viterbo, famed for its healing springs. An ample supply of volcanic rock, suitable for construction and carving can be found here. Modern and ancient people alike have used the forest and earths material to construct monuments. Some of these have been reclaimed by the forest since.
On the slopes of a deep canyon, the enormous peperino rock protrudes. Grey lichen has conquered it, yet it is unmistakably a human construction. Easily recognized as such by the steps which have been cut into the rock. The first flight of stairs leads to a pair of intermediate altars. The intermediate level shows evidence of once having supported wooden posts and supports. Creating a stage. Beyond these altars is another flight of stairs, which leads to the top of the rock, where there seems to have been another grander altar. All of the altars are positioned toward the northwest, where the Ecrustian believed the underworld lied. Most unnerving is the rocks gutters and channel, to facilitate the flow of blood of sacrificed animals and other creatures. Black figs and red cornel have been planted around the pyramid.
This was once a Etruscan religious centre where they worshipped chthonic deities, known to the Romans as Dii Inferi. Dii inferi were often invoked in binding spells and hexes, indeed a few defixiones can be found around the pyramid. Cult of Pluto is the most common of these. The defixiones are notable as they are unusual due to the site not being a proper necropolis. The pyramid has a magical aura of 3, yet at nights this Aura is overpowered by an Infernal Aura of 4.
There are two other similar sites in the same forest. One whole roman Ara Cubica, which is a simple though anonymous sepulchral memorial stone. Selva di Malano is more like the pyramid, with a cut out stone staircase and altar. Yet it is smaller and dont have the same sinister undertone.
Story Seed: Sacro Bosco
Moschino of Merenita is a member of the Shadow-Masters society. It has fallen upon him to host the upcoming Great Play. Moschino has created a vast park of the illusionary monsters outside Bomarzo. He has decided upon the theme of chthonic deities and monsters, especially Orcus. After a hint from his friend Ligorio of Tytalus, Moschino has discovered the pyramid and was delighted when it turned out to be a vis source. Yet the vim vis in the form of sacrificed animal blood is in reality Vis sordida, and harvesting only strengthens it only strengthens the site's Infernal Aura. PCs might be drawn by the Great Play, only to experience the aftermath of a nasty botch by Moschino. Could Ligorio have known about the infernal nature of the vis? If so, what does he gain by deceiving his friend?