The Sea Grottoes of Capo Caccia

North and west of the Genoese fortress town of Alguerium (Alghero), the headland of Capo Caccia is an area concentrated by supernatural auras, magical creatures and vis sources. The narrow peninsular is covered by a weak Magic aura of only 2 but contains numerous other features of interest.

A herd of mouflon goats led by a breeding pair of Goats of Virtue patrols the hilly slopes above the sea cliffs – the male specimen is of formidable size can sometimes be seen surveying the town from the vantage of the highest hilltop.

Neptune’s Grotto

This is the best known sea cave in the area. Reached either by boat or a climb from the town over the Capo Caccia peak and then down an impossibly steep goat track to a shelf a few feet above the waves, the single entrance can only be accessed when the seas are calm. The small island of Fordada across from the half-submerged entrance has an average Faerie aura of 4 and is home to a tribe of Nereides that take the form of monk seals (use statistics for seals from Realms of Power: Faerie, pages 91-92).

Within the caves are a number of unique limestone formations such as:

The Grotto of Nereus

Only a 100 or so yards north of the main cave, this concealed sea cave complex is actually the largest underwater cave in the area, a labyrinth of underwater and half-submerged tunnels and air chambers that can only be accessed by diving beneath the water’s surface and swimming into its dozen or so entrances. Claimed as the home of Nereus, elder titan of the Ocean before his dethronement by the Faerie Olympian Poseidon, the network has a strong Magic aura of 5 and leads to a complex of multiple higher level regiones.

The mundane level is the undisputed home of a huge conger Eel of Virtue (Size +4) and home to lesser eels, a plethora of crustaceans and brilliantly coloured coral, including yellow sunset coral and the more common red coral found along the nearby coastline. Perhaps somehow drawn to such a powerful elemental spirit, the area is commonly frequented by water elementals of unusually large size making it a popular destination for elementalists and magi seeking to command such powerful spirits for their own ends.

One of the higher regiones within the Grotto of Nereus contains an imprisoned Aspect of the Kosmokrator level Daimon of Nereus (see Realms of Power: Magic, page 109), chained using ancient epanakoi bindings and forced to circle furiously and continuously within its watery prison. Attempting to contact the primal spirit, known for its powers of prophecy since the time of Heracles, may prove difficult and any attempt to contact the enraged spirit may loosen its ire upon the nearby lands.

The Cala Inferna

This nearby bay deceptively appear to contain only a simple secluded sand beach, but the cliffs frame a unusually warm stretch of water that emanates an Infernal aura of 3 and is a popular meeting place for the lesser demons of the sea found in  the area. The particularly malevolently barbed red coral here can be harvested as a vis source, providing 4 pawns of vis per year but the vis obtained is Infernally tainted vis sordida (see Realms of Power: the Infernal pages 18-19).

Smaller Grottoes

Several smaller grottoes and seacaves such as the so-called Green Grotto and the Grotto di Ricami on the eastern coast provide homes for lesser supernatural creatures and elemental spirits.

Here is an annotated satellite map of the area near with the major landmarks around the modern town of Alghero and useful highly detailed description of the layout and formations of Neptune’s Grotto is available here. The intent of placing multiple grottoes and beaches, variously linked to different supernatural Realms, close together provides a suitable location for an underwater Spring Hermetic covenant, an elementalist collective, the lair of a sea aligned Makhai (Theban Muspelli variant), or perhaps even more interestingly, havens for all three groups simultaneously. Conflict over the various auras and vis sources in the area will help generate stories of cooperation or outright violence. The covenant of Aegea in the Theban Tribunal (see The Sundered Eagle, pages 81-83) may provide suitable initial inspiration for this concept. Rules for underwater movement, spellcasting , combat and statistics for large fish and sharks are presented in the section “Journeying Underwater” and accompanying insert in Legends of Hermes, pages 104-106 in the Laboratory of Hermanus Chapter.

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