The Lithoform Core is a powerful and dangerous artifact created by the founders of the Makindi empire on Zendikar. It is a multifaceted purple gemstone the size of a small melon, and it’s the last one of its kind in existence. Both the Core and its key are compared to stars in terms of brilliance. The power coming from the artifact causes a dark effect that withers leaves, branches, and bark, transforming them into something rigid and unmovable. This is known as the lithoform blight.
By the start of the Zendikar Rising storyline, Nahiri believes that the power of the core can stop Zendikar’s Roil forever. She expects to heal Zendikar of all its scars with it, wanting to make the world a safe and prosperous place again, just like it was before the Eldrazi arrived. Jace Beleren theorizes that it is channeling Zendikar’s power itself, and Nissa Revane sees it as a threat to Zendikar’s current-day plants, animals and elementals.
“Zendikar has suffered enough. It is time, at last, for my home to know peace.”
Nahiri asked for Nissa’s assistance in searching for the core in the Skyclave of Akoum. When they entered the skyclave’s heart, they found ancient kor runes covering every surface, every inch of the stone walls, floors, and ceiling. On the dais in the very center of the room stood a small tile, glowing like a star. This wasn’t the core she was looking for, but merely a key. The runes told her to search for the core itself in the Murasa skyclave.
Using the little bit of the core’s power stored in the key, Nahiri was able to partially restore the skyclave and to stop the Roil’s influences for a while. However, the effect apparently absorbed life from organic matter. When it killed an elemental summoned by Nissa, Nahiri thought it was worth the cost. For this, Nissa broke up their partnership.
Nahiri hired Akiri, Zareth San, Kaza and Orah to accompany her to Murasa. When they finally found the Core in the Murasa skyclave, the remaining party-members were set upon by aggressive elementals. Using the artifact to defend herself, Nahiri killed Zareth in the process. Realizing the danger of the core, Akiri threatened to drop the artifact over a cliff. Applying her lithomancy, Nahiri used a hedron to petrify Akiri, take back the artifact, and push Akiri over the edge. Her lithoforming powers enhanced by the Core, Nahiri started to reshape the world according to her will and to still the chaotic effects of the Roil. In this way, she was unconsciously emulating the Eldrazi.
The Skyclave runes guided Nahiri to the Singing City. In the center of this old Kor structure there was a magical focal point from where she could channel the Core’s energy all over Zendikar through the leylines, making the transformation of Zendikar universal. Upon her arrival, she and Jace found that Nissa had got there earlier and had destroyed it with help from Ashaya and her other elementals. Even if they tried, they couldn’t stop Nissa from taking the Core. As she held it, she found that it actually was an ancient piece of Zendikar’s soul and spoke to her, arguing that she could use it to restore Zendikar to power, so she activated it. The dull roar became a screaming bellow. The light became blinding. The air rushed away. And then there was nothing at all and the Core went quiet and dull in her hands. The Singing City was gone, flattened into dust.
Feeling desperate for a moment, she next felt the Elementals recovering. And so did the soil around her, sprouting new life in increasing abundance. Nissa realized that the Core had served its purpose. It had undone damage. Zendikar was healing, turning into something healthier, stronger than it was before the battle with the Eldrazi.
After Nissa left towards Bala Ged, her home, Jace picked up the Lithoform Core, which seemed to be powerless.
In Dungeons & Dragons
Back in the days of 3.5 edition, the Eberron Campaign Setting introduced the eldritch machine, mainly as a narrative tool for DMs to create McGuffins when needed. Technologies and arcane devices of forgotten civilization and unfettered power, the eldritch machines of Eberron are a source of adventure and intrigue for even the most jaded heroes.
Constructed by the most ambitious crafters and destructive villains, eldritch machines are devices of terrible power and singular purpose. An eldritch machine can be the stuff of grand adventures as characters race against time to prevent its construction or to find some means of destroying it before it can be completed or used. Creating one is much more difficult than making more mundane magic items. It might require ancient secrets known only to demons, dragons, quori or even daelkyr. The components might be unique in the modern age, requiring ambient magic or the proper alignment of moons or planes. The process requires a long and complex ritual that might take weeks or even years to complete.
In this case, the Lithoform engine is really a location in which, along with the Core and the Key, an effect can be placed upon somewhere else. Beyond working together for this, those three elements don’t have properties on their own.
When a handful of soil is put into the Lithoform Engine and it is activated, the place where the soil comes from is subject to the effects of an Abi-Dalzim’s horrid wilting spell, but the effect’s radio grows by 5 feet every round until the Engine is deactivated or the soil sample is removed from it. The land affected gets covered in a white, coral skeleton-like substance with some formations that closely resemble colorful bismuth crystals among yellow dust.
When picturing the effects of the Lithoform Engine, the Mournland comes to our minds almost immediately. The Day of Mourning was the event in which the nation of Cyre was destroyed in a magical holocaust of unknown origins on 20 Olarune, 994 YK. This event marked the beginning of the end of the Last War. Over a million Cyrans perished, including Cyre’s Queen Dannel ir’Wynarn, along with military personnel from Breland, Thrane, and Karrnath within the nation’s borders.
Canonically speaking, the cause and origin of the Mourning is unknown. There are conflicting eyewitness accounts that include a blinding light on the Saerun Road, or mists originating from the capitol of Metrol. However, by the end of the day the mists had advanced to form a wall around what once was Cyre. The land was subsequently named the Mournland.
How are you planning to incorporate the Lithoform Engine into your game? Do you think a powerful eldritch machine could have been the cause of the Mourning? Share your theories in the comments below!