Surcease is one of those places that fiends like to talk about when they talk about the Upper Planes. It dulls the wits, they say, and the vital force. It takes away pain, but it doesn't solve anything, just replacing real sadness with pablum and scripture. And of course, the reason they're so quick to make these charges is that to some extent, they're true.
In Elysium, upon the first layer, Amoria, there is a secluded forest distant from all the usual settlements. It is still, save for the sound of a spring burbling out of a cleft rock into a wide, calm pool, from which a rivulet flows into Oceanus. Within this pool is a shifting portal to the Prime.
If someone is suffering from inconsolable sadness, a grief which has become more of a burden than they can bear, or a gnawing hate or anger, the portal may bring them from waters where they swim on the Prime, or the traveler's way may bring them across Elysium. Upon the rock of the spring is carved the pool's power:
Offer your salt tears into this spring,
drink of the fresh waters here.
Offer the frothy spittle of your hatred,
bathe in the waters clear.
See here the stories of those who came before.
Unburden yourself, and build this stock of lore.
A character who sits by the pool, or swims in it, and is willing to tell his story, finds the memories of his woe rushing past him, the emotions intensifying. If he weeps, or spews his hatred, or otherwise adds to the waters of the pool, his story becomes part of the memories the pool keeps. If he is willing to surrender to the pool's power, his memories of the pain fade, leaving only the sketchy outlines of the events that occurred in his life, a cool factual narrative rather than the immediacy of experience. The price for this is a permanent -2 penalty to Wisdom, from abandoning such crucial life experiences. A few Elysian natives live nearby and can sense when Surcease is used; if the character stays with them for a while, adjusting and being counseled, this fades to a -1. The pool can also cure lycanthropy and magical alignment change; other effects are story-driven.
In a somewhat different vein, a barbarian who wishes to attain discipline can give up the power of his rage to the pool. With a great cry, the beast in his soul is domesticated, the wildness of his spirit retreating. He loses all rage abilities, and any abilities that require the rage ability from feats or prestige classes. He becomes lawful, and, depending on the number of levels he has as a barbarian, gains monk feats of the appropriate level from still mind (level 3), purity of body (level 5), wholeness of body (7), diamond body (11), diamond soul (13), timeless body (17), tongue of the sun and moon (17), empty body (19), and perfect self (20). If he further advances as a monk, nothing is added at the levels where these would have been provided, though he may qualify earlier for useful feats.
The emotions and stories given up at the pool remain there indefinitely, and those who swim in the waters, or drink of them, are surrounded by them. Non-bard characters can make a bardic knowledge check while in the pool; bard characters can do so with a +10 to their roll. The pool also allows vision spells to be cast without an XP cost.
The true purpose of Surcease is hidden from most users. Very few people, and most of them natives of Elysium, know that with care, the waters left behind can be harvested, removing particular memories from the pool. The harvest takes days, and is performed by someone swimming in the pool with a tiny spoon and vial, catching fleeting memories. It is not a fact likely to be stumbled across by accident or casual experimentation.
The guardians of Surcease use the water gathered there, only a few memories at a time so that the pool loses none of its native utility. While one user's worth acts as a splash weapon that casts crushing despair or confusion with a save DC of 20, this is by no means their intended purpose. The tears are taken on a very long journey indeed, across the Outlands to the Gray Waste.
Here, too, there is a still pool, tucked in an uninhabited corner of Oinos. There is no forest here, only bare rock surrounding a brick well lined with stairs, dark water barely visible below. Instead of the traveler's way guiding planewalkers here, only those people come here who have completely lost their emotions to the Waste.
Carved into the side of the well away from the stair entrance is its name, Dolor. Graven upon the top stair is the well's purpose:
WEEP ONCE MORE
One who descends the stairs into Dolor and bathes in the freezing water at the bottom finds the experience of the tears or rage taken away by Surcease, as last harvested and brought to Dolor. Slowly at first, the images and emotions come to a crashing intensity. The sufferer finds that some of his own lost emotion has been restored, though only in a most limited fashion: a deep and terrible sadness, or a fervent and boiling rage, at the inequities or offenses they have seen.
It is not an entirely healthy state of mind, and the bather loses 1 point of Charisma in the experience due to their newly dour or angry personality, but it is sufficient to restore them to motivation and activity. The Elysian guardians of the place (who rotate often, to avoid the effects of the Waste themselves) then swiftly escort the bather to a nearby portal to the Outlands or the Astral, or simply plane shift them away, depending on their current resources. The bather is offered employment in some organization or other which is at least nominally dedicated to a cause that the bather might now feel inspired to join, so that they might learn some control and channel their new emotions to productive ends.
The Elysian troops who maintain Dolor must act with great caution, often unable to seek out targets, only passively wait for opportunities. It is frustrating, but if the major forces on the Waste knew of even one site like this outside of the realms of the local powers, they would surely move swiftly to crush it. Nevertheless, for the chance to save even a few souls, the guardians of Surcease and Dolor continue their risky venture.