Otherplaces – Zand, Gold Stream of (A to Z Challenge, Z)

26 April, 2012

Yes, it is true, it is out there.  I have seen it.  It is a river of liquid gold, but not burning hot, not like molten gold should be.  More like water for tea hot, you can burn yourself but you can avoid it if you are careful.  But taking gold from the steam, an art and a challenge, it does not give up its bounty easily.

Gold Stream of Zand

Among the jagged hills, sheer cliff and blasted valleys that make up the land known as Higher Zand, there is one thing -and one thing along- that draws people up into them, the gold stream.  At dawn it appears, running a new course through the sharp stones, cutting through loose rock and pouring into pools, and then vanishing back into the earth, as the entire stream does as duck before reemerging again the next day.  When it vanishes at night, it leaves almost nothing behind, a few nuggets might be found where it passed but that is rare.  If you want the gold, you must pluck it from the stream while it is flowing.

Gathering the gold is challenging, while it is liquid while in the stream, it is not molten and will not set wood alight or warp metal, but it is very dense and very swift.  Those pulled into the stream and quickly pulled under and never seen again.  Some who hunt the stream are happy dipping a staff tip in and gathering a small amount of gold at little risk but most seek ways to gather more gold more quickly using ropes and buckets, shovels and other tools.  The greedy sometimes succeed but as often, loose their tools and -more often than not- their limbs or life as well.

The risks of retrieving the gold are not the only ones in the area, there are predators: human -in the form of bandits- and supernatural -strange creature attracted by the gold- which must be avoided, bought off or defeated.  The gold stream has attracted -or spawned- a number of dangerous and unusual creatures most of whom come out at night.

The outer rim of the hills of Zand are heavily patrolled and those gold fishers caught are expected to contribute to the upkeep of the patrols, if not the neighboring lands.  There is an uneasy agreement between the kingdoms that border on the highlands of Zand that none of them will move in and try and control the stream, as such a move would lead to a brutal and costly war, but all sides weigh the costs and benefits of such a move.


  1. Interesting. It makes me wonder what strange creatures are attracted/spawned by the gold.

  2. While I was looking at that, I remembered that the auromvorax was updated in the Tome of Magic (Revised 3.5) as well.

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