The Cathedral Groves are ancient places of worship believed to have been created by a long extinct primal religious order called the Founders in the infancy of Dwarven civilization on Gant, following the formation of the Realm of Strife.
The concept for the Cathedral Groves was created in part by Kyle “Myzruin” Edworthy (Calgary, Alberta) as part of his ‘Knight Regular package’ backer reward from the 2014 Realm of Strife Kickstarter Campaign.
In ancient times the Cathedral Groves were gardens and resource centers for the budding civilization that would later become the Dwarves of Ralgor. In typical Dwarven fashion they would have been beautiful yet practical, displaying the Dwarves’ keen sense of craftsmanship while simultaneously providing food, timber, and essential resources to their brethren beneath the mountains. But as the Dwarves drew further and further into the mountain they came to rely upon the Founders less and less, eventually leading to their decline.
While many claim to have discovered the overgrown remains of one of the Cathedral Groves deep in the Celeros Forest, these claims usually turn out to be at best a naturally occurring grove or at worst completely baseless. A true Cathedral Grove would be identifiable by the stone fortifications set about it for protection, perhaps within each tower would be the tattered remains of the Founders once proud banners, depicting the head of a great bear upon the image of a snow capped mountain, flanked on either side by large fir trees. The fortifications would appear obviously Dwarven in design and typically crumbling from prolonged weathering or ruinous from attacks by Demons or other ancient enemies of the Founders. The original groves were well cultivated but, without the stewardship of the Founders to guide their growth, the groves would now appear quite wild. The trees that the Founders had once guarded would now tower well over their stone towers built to protect them.
Due to the gradual nature of the decline of the Founders , historians speculate that many of the Cathedral Groves would hold considerable riches in their ruins. As such many expeditions have been launched to attempt to locate them in untamed foothills of the West Gantinor mountains. Most prove fruitless, with explorers and adventures returning empty handed. However some have ended in tragedy, either never heard from again or returning broken and bloody with wild stories of twisted creatures made of wood and stone, capable of taking any shape they desire.
Some believe that these twisted guardians could be the very same creatures that legends say were constructed in the waning days of the Founders stewardship of the Cathedral groves. Information is sketchy at best, and no one seems to be able to agree on exactly what these creatures from the groves, Dhoire in the old tongue, actually look like.
Myth or reality, fact or fiction, the legend of the Cathedral Groves lives on. Drawing foolish explorers and greedy adventurers alike, eager to unlock the secrets of this lost faith and claim their riches for themselves.