Omnipresent, usually unseen, the miasma is sometimes visible as a heavy, cloying fog that brings with it near overwhelming feelings of dread and despair.


The Druj miasma, or shroud of dread, was first encountered by Imperial troops crossing into Reikos during the Winter 378YE counter offensive against the orcs, but has since been encountered throughout the Mallum, and in the attempt to liberate Zenith. Described as an almost physical pall of dread and despair, it infested the air, the water, and the soil. It was described by those exposed to it in fanciful terms; “clawing at the spirit”, “slowly grinding away every positive emotion”, and “threatening to undermine every virtuous thought”.

At night, the effects of the miasma intensified. It seemed to take advantage of the long hours of darkness to play upon the natural fears, doubts, and uncertainties that come naturally to mortal minds. Some exposed to the miasma describe hallucinations, especially of deceased loved ones. There is no suggestion, however, that this effect is actually producing images of the dead – several soldiers reported catching sight of loved ones they knew were alive and safe at home, but seemingly murdered and weeping. The shroud of dread significantly impacts Imperial efforts to liberate territories claimed by the Druj, slowing the advance of armies, and making it harder for them to claim territory from the eastern orcs..

Study of the Miasma

The Druj Miasma is not fully understood by Imperial scholars. It does not appear to have been created with conventional ritual magic. Rather, it bears more similarity to a massive consecration associated with the malign spiritual presence of fear or dread. Yet the existence of a magical method to deal with the aura (coupled with orc inability to use liao ceremonies) points to it being more than a purely spiritual effect.

Of particular interest is the fact that the miasma appears to have little or no effect on the Druj orcs themselves. Whether this is due to some property of the miasma, or because the Druj are "desensitized" to the fearsome effects of the shroud of dread, is not clear. It is notable that the Druj's subject septs are not inured to its influence - even those who have lived their entire lives under its effects still feel the clawing dread.

There is significant speculation that the aura is useful to the Druj for more than simply slowing the advance of the Imperial forces. It also contributes to the atmosphere of terror and despair the orcs create among both their human prisoners and conquered septs - making it harder for their slaves to rebel against their authority.

Miasma Pillars

While the aura spreads across an entire territory it is "anchored" by misshaped stone monoliths dubbed "miasma pillars". Each region of the territory will contain at least one such pillar, and often holds several. The pillars appear to reinforce or supplement one another when they were in close proximity, and in this case removing the power of a single pillar proves ineffective if there are other pillars nearby. All nearby pillars needed to be deactivated simultaneously. If a single pillar is deactivated, there is little noticeable effect on the local miasma. Once all the pillars in a location are deactivated, however, the miasma quickly fades from the region. Unsurprisingly, the Druj often take pains to ensure that the pillars in a region are well defended. When they were first encountered, destroying miasma pillars presented a significant challenge for both those engaged in breaking their power, and the soldiers protecting them.

While the miasma is unpleasant in the wider territory, the miasma pillars themselves are surrounded by the aura of dread in its most primal form. Even approaching a miasma pillar can prove extremely difficult without significant precautions such as ceremonial anointing; the use of a ritual protection such as Crystal Clarity of the Rational Soul; or the use of magic items such as a Circlet of Falling Snow.

In early 380YE, a combination of captains fighting to protect the legacy of Highguard, survivors motivated by the power of Courage, and the rampant power of the eternal Llofir, most of the Druj miasma pillars in Reikos were located and destroyed. After the conquest of Ossium, the miasma pillars were quickly identified and destroyed by Imperial Scouts and agents of the Vigilance assembly. They proved more durable in Zenith, where they were commonly protected by tormented souls - former Imperial champions twisted to the service of the Druj by foul magic - eventually requiring the intervention of both the Imperial Senate, the Granite Pillar, and the Highborn Assembly before the last one could be removed and the territory freed.

There is evidence that both Sarangrave and Forest of Ulnak have miasma pillars, and it is assumed they are also present in the Salt Flats of Sanath. It seems to take a little time for the Druj to spread their miasma over a territory - and there are no signs of them starting to do so before conquering the entire area. The one place they have controlled for extended periods of time without any sign of miasma is the Barrens, but it's not clear why. Some scholars theorise that the territory is too large, but that is purely speculation. As with so much else about the miasma, and the Druj themselves, it remains a mystery.

In each of the territories where the miasma has been cleared, a handful of lesser pillars still exist. Their influence is extremely limited - no more than a mile at most around an active pillar.

Destroying Pillars

Initially, the only way to destroy a miasma pillar was to use the consecration ceremony, and a significant amount of liao (and priests capable of wielding it). In Summer 379YE, the Chimes of Annulment ritual was developed and codified at the Halls of Knowledge in Zenith, specifically to aid in destroying Miasma Pillars. Some have speculated that the Druj invasion of the territory, and their subsequent foray into Morrow that saw the Halls destroyed, were a reaction to the creation of the ritual. This seems unlikely - the Druj are petty but to launch an entire military campaign to "punish" the Urizen for creating a single ritual seems to be an extreme response even for them. There is also the question of how they would even know it existed. Either way, the ritual was added to the body of Imperial lore by declaration of the Imperial Conclave in 379YE.

A second ritual, Dreadful Ending, was added to Imperial lore in Spring 385YE. This Winter ritual is much less subtle than Chimes of Annulment, using "brute force" to shatter and tear at whatever force it is that empowers the pillars. It is harder to use, but particularly effective at dealing with situations where there are multiple pillars in close proximity.

The eternals Zakalwe and Janon are known to despise the miasma, and the pillars that anchor it. Zakalwe offered assistance during a major conjunction of the Sentinel Gate during the liberation of Zenith, for example. Janon is known to have created some boons specifically to empower rituals intended to destroy the pillars even though they are not part of the lore of Night magic.

The Miasma in Play

  • The miasma weakens anyone exposed to it who does not have the ability to overcome it

The primary effect of the miasma is that it weakens anyone exposed to it who does not have the ability to overcome it. The easiest method to overcome the miasma is to receive an anointing, but particularly heroic individuals, or those in possession of certain enchantments or magic items may also be able to counteract the effect. In particular, those of the changeling lineage are able to fight the effects of the miasma, but at the expense of becoming extremely angry - which can cause problems all its own.

In addition to the rituals mentioned already, its also possible to unmake a miasma pillar with a powerful consecration: a ceremony strength of 15 is commonly needed, requiring the cooperation of several characters and large amounts of liao.

Even when the miasma is removed from a territory. it may still be encountered during quests, skirmishes, or player events taking place in the former Druj dominion.

The poisonous quality
The forests of Utterlund and Misericorde gained the poisonous quality shortly before the Summer solstice 380YE as a result of Druj activity. Each campaign army that moved through, or fought in, one of these regions would have suffered 250 casualties during that season of campaigning. The effect was removed in 382YE, but the Druj attempted to establish a similar effect during their occupation of Zenith. Imperial heroes stopped them, but it is possible that it may be encountered in the Mallum or created in other parts of the Empire.