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Archive for the ‘Adventure Site / Mega-dungeon’ Category

Ancient Desert Tomb

Ancient Desert Tomb

An ancient stone edifice pokes from the shifting dunes of the deep desert. In a world of magic and monsters, tomb looting is the most dangerous adventure. A tomb is a locale whose very design is to defeat the curious and greedy. The most difficult crypts are locked, hidden, trapped, and guarded vaults, and this one is no different.

This encounter area continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

The ancient desert tomb is located deep in the vast wasteland of the scorching desert near a dried up river bed. It is a low lying rectangular building of tightly fitted stone blocks, now mostly covered by sand. Only one corner and the doorway are visible. The door is inset into the wall at a slight incline so that it will always slam shut unless barred by something strong enough to hold the heavy stone door open.

Hey a tomb in the desert guys lets check it out

Hey a tomb in the desert guys lets check it out

Once inside the dim foyer, the tomb robber is greeted with a chamber with two exits. Across from one locked door is a small fountain with fresh water trickling into a basin. Across from the other locked door is a bench. On the wall opposite the entrance is written in ancient hieroglyphic script “Enter ye who find this place. Take water if thou thirst. Find rest if thou art weary. Do thou not transgress beyond this chamber. The eternal slumber of Pharaoh will be disturbed and thou will provoke his wrath.”

The water is fresh and pure but an undetectable curse befalls anyone who touches either door within twelve hours of drinking the water. It will instantly turn to poison in the gut, requiring the creature to immediately make a saving throw versus poison or die painful death.

Scorpions are like super spiders

Scorpions are like super spiders

Beyond the doors are scorpions. In the next room is a pedestal that shoots laser beams and endless piles of skeletons that rise and attack, 1-4 per round while anyone living remains in the room or util the mummy in the next chamber is slain. The final chamber houses the false pharaoh, in a sarcophagus richly adorned in gold and lapis lazuli, worth at least 500 gold intact, or half that for the stripped gold and gems. Inside is a mummy wearing royal death jewelry worth at least 1,000 gold pieces who will attack until destroyed or until no one living remains int he tomb. The floor is made of round stone tiles, and the tile under the sarcophagus is a secret door (unedetectable unless the 2,000 lb casket is moved) that leads to the lower level.

tomb04It continues on from there. Trapped hallways. Poisonous beetles shaped like gold coins and mixed within piles of real coins. Fireball flinging flaming skeletons. Royal sacrificial chamber. A magical portal chamber to who knows where. Second false tomb, and final real tomb with a mummified skull demilich in a suit of ethereal armor. Or something. You get the idea: locked, hidden, trapped, and guarded

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wizard dungeon

Beneath the enchanted Wizard Obitallo Amber’s mansion, the cellars are under assault by devils out of hell. The wizard’s apprentice children have already fallen prey and only a wizard locked cellar door holds them back.

This encounter area continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

While spending the night in Amber Mansion. A soft knocking on the door opens to reveal the old white bearded man who introduced himself as Obitello the enchanter. He held a hand written note in a shaking hand. The rays of moonlight fall across his silvery hair and white robes from the windows in the hall as he read aloud what he was planning on slipping under their door.

“I only have a moment of clarity before the darkness descends over my mind. I do not know who you are, or why you are here, but you are in danger. The magic on this island is strong, and tainted by chaos of the elemental abyss which bubbles up from below. Unless the devils who have invaded this house are destroyed, all who enter are doomed to be enslaved by them, slowly turning into devils yourself. My three apprentices, who are also my children, have succumbed to the darkness. You will be next, already it may be too late. Leave now and save yourselves, or descend into the dungeon below and eradicate the evil that is older than this house. The hearts of my children bind the demons to this land. Take them away and the demons can be destroyed.”

1-The doors open upon a clean well-lit chamber of stone blocks. The soft light is provided by two softly glowin luminescent globes hovering near the ceiling. Further in, the sound of splashing water comes from a fountain, and next to it a stand containing ever-burning torches. Next to the entry is a neat stack of cut logs. From the northeast can be heard the tinkling of bells and colored lights shine from under the door jamb.

two softly glowing globes of light that hovered fifteen feet overhead become agitated and start moving about erratically if interefered with. The will o’ wisps are not be amused. Being dual purposed guardians of the enchanters dungeons, as well as givers of light, they become angry and their lights wink out, making them practically invisible. The heroes find the best method of finding them was to rush wildly around the room and the wisps would find them, becoming visible to attack.

1a-The room has three game tables set up. Cards, a spinning wheel, dice, and other strange gambling games are flashing and ringing, while overseeing it all on a wide bench in the corner is a smiling devil reclining on a cushioned bench. In one hand he spun a beating heart encased in crystal like a basketball on his fingertip. In the other, he swung a silver chain with tiny razorblades on the links. The chain wrapped around his arm, his waist, and even around a leg. He greets them heartily and invites them to stay. A young man named Sfart in a purple velvet suit plays frantically at one of the tables. He is pale.

1b-a swmall locked closet to the south – locked – a fine piece of work from a famous locksmith in Shalazar – Party sees a large bronze bound chest in the room. There are also two rolls of canvas, and a barrel holding a pair of sledge hammers. As party moves closer to get a better look, a huge fist forms from one side of the chest and takes a swing at a chin, and notice the tools and the canvas start to tremble and shake.

1c-The door in the north wall is heavy oak, and it is round. It looks like it was not part of the original construction of the dungeon, possibly older. Written in chalk across the door are the words “Frog God” and a chain once crossed from handle through the hinges, locking the door closed, but they now hang broken and limp.

2-This area of the dungeon looks completely different than the clean square lines of the previous area. The walls seem to be widened from natural caverns, and the floor is a strange metal grating. Beneath the floor, lapping water can be heard. The area is completely dark, but the feeling of being watched makes your hair stand on end. Ahead, a large statue of a bulbous man-frog looms. It sits like Buddha on a stone bench. In its lap is a stone tablet, and its eyes are made of large unfaceted emeralds.

(reading the stone tablet grants a boon. Prying an eye away unleashes a jet of boiling water causing 10 points of damage. The gems appear to be worth 250 gold pieces apiece, but they will explode in a burst 1 for 2d12+6 whenever the hydrodemon chooses as a minor action. Owner takes the full force but those in the burst can make an Acrobatics to drop prone and take half damage.)

2a- Alters of the Frog God
The second statue is of a strange vampire fanged manta ray who stands behind a stone chair with its wings fanned out around it. It also has emerald eyes (same as above). If someone sits in it, they suffer from temporary paralysis (fortitude attack +12 to break free and slip out) as the ixitchatl bends in for a bite on the neck. The wound never heals, but opens up, and gills form underneath. The character loses a healing surge (permanently) but gains the ability to breathe water for short periods – up to 1 half hour.

2b- Fire God Alter – burning forked tongue frog devil
There is a half finished ritual scrolled in primordial. It is of unknown type, but if the ritual is completed (skill challenge) it causes a fireball to instantly ignite in the chamber (3d12+12) DC 24 acrobatics or endurance for half damage.

2c- Water God Alter
A half finished ritual will cause heavy stone doors to slam into place and a water filling chamber trap to be set off. Meanwhile, a green glow emenates from the well-like alter.

3- Library
This chamber is a library as in the Strongholds. THe room to the south opens into a capacious well furnished library. Without wasting a second, player can cast detect magic items and discover 4 scrolls amongst the miscellany. One was a deed for a duplicate magic library, the other a deed for a magic armory. The other two scrolls were recipes for alchemists fire and frost.

3a- teleportation Room
This room is dark except for the strange glowing rune inscribed in the floor. It appears to be a teleportation circle, but it is glowing a sickly red rather than the arcane blue of past circles you’ve seen. In addition, 3 small imps are cackling as they work on the circle. One is cutting himself with a night, dipping his finger in the wound and smearing his blood into the runic cracks. Another has a jar of blood he uses, and the third has a greenish leg torn from some unfortunate creature, with which he cuts off strips and gobbets to smear into the etched circle. When they notice the door open, they begin to work more furiously. You can feel an occasional gust of hot wind come from the area above the circle.

The imps are 4 minor actions from opening a portal to hell. Characters can undue any of their work as a standard action. With 8 successes, the teleportation circle is fixed. If the imps are successful, an evil demon steps forth to give them battle.

3b- Hidden Shrine
This small chamber is lit by candles placed in an arc in front of the silver statue dominating one coner of the room. The staue depicts a white gowned man with eagles wings in plate armor and a great sword over the shoulder. He holds his hands palms up and out, as though expecting something. At his feet is an empty bowl.

The statue is a puzzle – This room is quiet and illuminated by a pair of ever-burning candles at the base of a statue in silver. The statue depicts a maiden with swans wings folded over her back pouring water into a basin at her feet. The gleam of coin sparkles from the basin. There are 45 gold coins in the basin. If a character drops a coin in, they will have a feeling of well-being, and 5 minutes later will be granted a boon.

Additionally, there is a fragment of black bone under the edge of the fountain (DC 26) from the finger of a kua toa a pushed a cursed emerald under the statue. If it is removed from underneath, a golden scroll will appear in Erathis hand, it is a deed to a Chapel to Erathis, and will instantly convert any suitable area into a magic embued chapel to the fey lord of magic

4- Electric Floor Room
This room is large and empty. The floor is made up of tight fitting metal plates of alternating light and dark gray.
When anyone steps on a square, the door slams shut and becomes electrified (15 damage if touched) (the door can be disabled with a skill trap challenge – 4 successes before 2 failures. The floor can as well, but only if one of the metal plates is pried open.)
The floor also becomes electrified, doing 2d10+6 and ongoing 10 damage and stunning/slowing anyone in the room (except for the two squares by the doors, which stay un-electrified.) Save ends stun, causing the PC to be dazed/slowed until out of the room or until the electricity is no more. Levitating higher than 5 ft off the floor will deactivate the electricity, as will wearing thick rubber soled boots)

5- There are three denizens in the chamber, as well as a hypnotizing mirror. In front of the mirror is a deep spiked pit, and the mirror was such that it drew the will of those who strayed to near. If party disturb a coating of ice that covers one statue, it turns into a large fist of ice hovering abo0ve the statue it once covered. Meanwhile, the flames that coated the other statue like a blanket slowly pull upwards into a ball of flame that rested atop the statues head.

Like many of the enchanters creations, these were living spells. The enchanter had been casting the spells with a type of sentience that gave them a life – and will – of their own. These were two such spells. The first was a ball of flame-fireball, and the other was a Bigby Icy grasp-blizzard storm.

Hidden in one corner of the room was a silver lizard, standing on its hind legs. It held a ball of silvery energy that it formed into a large round shield of force. It wore a belt and tucked into the belt was a wand, which for the cat-sized lizard was a walking staff.

6- Refuse Chamber
In the center of the room is a marble pedestal upon which rests a softly glowing book, surrounded in a nimbus of light..It will take 4 rounds of mental combat with the spell book to wrest control of the book and not suffer madness. Each round, the victim must make a check, and if they fail, they suffer the attack, but if they succeed, they direct the attack at the otyugh,

7-the enchanters laboratory.
In the chamber stood a blazing angry Pit Fiend. He had only one wing, the other had been savagely hacked of, leaving an oozing stump. In one hand he held a silver sword, a fabled silver sword of the githyankee. In the pit fiends other hand he held a pair of silver chains. One ended hooked into Shalazar Shackleton who stood like a puppet on a rope, and the other chain led to the third apprentice wizard, Isolda, whose chest was an open and gaping wound. Standing next to the pit fiend on the wizards oaken experiment table so they were eye level with each other stood the succubus they had slain earlier. She looked as healthy and alive as ever, only she had a golden cage rising from her ample bosom, and inside that gilded cage the heart of Isolda beat fluttering and frantic. The succubus let out a long and low chuckle.

If victorious the wizard is awake at the door to meet his saved children, and promises the heroes anything and everything he had. He mentioned he was a great enchanter, and could magically enchant any item they had.

This dungeon was recounted in a series of game night posts in early 2011, starting here.

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amber mansion

There is an island in the mysterious southern seas called the Isle of Dread. And on this island is a lake, which we will call the Lake of Dread. In this lake is a small islet, and on that islet is the House of the Amber Wizard.

This encounter area continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

The arch wizard Obitello Amber built the mansion in the most remote location he could find, and moved there with his daughters Isolda and Ismelda and his son Sfart, the perennial apprentice. For many years the wizard worked hard to create his masterpiece, the Crown of Enlightenment. However, he was rendered feeble-minded when the crown was stolen from him.

IOD-Ambermaze

To get to the house, one must cross a small by VERY deep lake, which may or may not harbor the fearsome Lake Kraken. Once the waters have been navigated, the islet is a small grassy hillock, with a few copses of trees. The outdoor areas under the trees look like a messy encampment has been set up, but no campers are visible. This is because they are all invisible.

Ripped from the CS Lewis novel the Dawn Treader, these creatures, who are invisible Halflings, have stolen the crown, and given it to their hero Freedom the Halfling, for it has special properties for them. The Halflings were once known as chibi-fanaton, cuddly but savage little creatures who were like furry Halflings with prehensile tails and no culture or even language other than a few grunts and squeals. The wizard loved these creatures and kept them around as pets and servants, until making a startling discovery one day.

His favorite little Halfling put the crown on one day while the wizard was napping and a terrible transformation took place. His hair fell out and his tail blackened and fell off, and thus the first halfling sprang into being. More soon followed until all the chibi fanaton on the islet were transformed. Eventually Freedom stole the crown and ran off with it to “liberate” his people on the mainland. Obitello has been in a semi-conscious state ever since. The Halflings who were loyal to the wizard stayed, but convinced the spell caster to turn them invisible because they were embarrassed about their nakedness.

Amber Mansion

Amber Mansion

The house itself is surrounded by a Hedge Maze. The inhabitants of the maze are unicorn-rabbits, also known as al-miraj. There are hundreds of them but they will only be a nuisance, running between legs, unless the hedge itself is damaged, whereupon 4 al miraj will direct savage ankle-goring charge attacks against any arboreal aggressor. They can be tamed and kept as a pet under the right circumstances.

The house is typical of an arch wizard – anything and everything that can have a spell cast on it DOES have spells cast upon them. The entry chamber has suits of armor ready to attack, living furniture etc. The dining room is served by ghosts of servants long gone. The downstairs is fully of crazy wizard stuff, and the upstairs holds the bedrooms including the bedroom of the sleeping wizard, who only wakes up for one hour per day. His daughters are missing (in the basement?) and the nly other inhabitant is a world explorer named Shackleton who has spent the past decade searching for his lost love Isolda. The explorer is mad with grief and also possibly possessed by whatever (demons?) is in the basement.

The next Ancient Encounter might be called Devils in the Basement of the Amber Wizard.

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Ninarrens Cabin in the Woods

Ninarrens Cabin in the Woods

An elven serial killer’s secret hide-out in the woods.

This encounter area continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

This would be about the point my last major campaign went “off the rails” due to my inability to follow my own self-imposed stricture to play a campaign by the book with store-bought adventures. Apparently my mind doesn’t work that way. The night of adventure inspired by this encounter has remained one of my favorite, and in some ways was instrumental in getting this blog started. For the encounter is described in the third ever post on this site, from Feb 12th, 2010:

…The game commenced with the party awakening in their garret apartment of Dame Gilroy’s Tenement, the morning after solving the Mystery of the Black Skull.

First order of business was breakfast, followed by shopping and information gathering. Valthrun the wise gave a history lesson that revealed three things: the downfall of the Keep was a rift in the Shadowfell caused by Orcus, that Orcus is imprisoned in the Abyss, and that Lord Padraig’s ancestor commanded that doomed garrison.

The dwarf Bronzebottom Brothers revealed that they received the crate with the black skull from men in the woods, and had some items to sell.

The party left town and went to the farmhouse where Jib Booter the woodsman agreed to help them navigate the wood. They followed the trail of Delphina along a secret path that ran parallel to the Kings Road, until it met two other sets of tracks in a clearing and turned north just before reaching Ninaren’s cabin.

The cabin was made of living branches pruned from the tops of four living trees, which were the four cornices of the cabin. It had a door, two shuttered windows, and thick thatched roof.

The cabin held a trap, a “Living Cloud of Daggers” that attacked when the door was touched. Inside was Delphina, tied up ad bleeding from a stab in her bosom. The room contained many hidden items, some of them magic: cat tabi boots, bloodstinger poison, an arrow of firesorm +1 and another of feezing +2.

Delphina was near unconcious, but before she slipped into a Snow White like slumber she told the following tale:

In the beginning, when the first elves awoke, even before the sun rose for the first time, they chose among them a king and queen. Thus the royal line of elves began, and a prophecy said that as the first royal elf brought the rest of the elves into the world with him, so the last royal elf to leave the world, would take the elves with her.

In the Undead war of 100 years ago, the elf lads were invaded and decimated, the royal house slaughtered when the capital fell to ruin. Only one young princess survived, and she was whisked away into hiding. Delphina is that princess,and if she dies, so must every elf alive.

However, the full prophecy was thwarted when Ninaren stoul her soul with a spirit knife and then cast an eternal slumber upon her before she perished forever. Why Ninaren, a fellow elf, would do this is unknown, but her tracks lead to the Keep on the Shadowfell.

Jib weeps as Delphina drifts into slumber, and vows to protect her. The party sets off for the Keep. ..

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Behold the power of the lava lamps

Behold the power of the lava lamps

Even though one person had to cancel for work, even though we didn’t get started until way late and had to scramble for an ultimateley awesome meal of appetizers, even though we are still working our way through understanding the rules this iteration it was still a great night of gaming. The party bulldozed though almost half of the first level of the dungeon.

The night started where we left off. The party had just slain a pack of kobolds and were questioning the lone survivor. Its face and arms were painted with blue lightning bolts, and it spoke of its god who dwelt in the top of the ruined tower. The kobold agreed to tell them where the stairs leading up were in exchange for letting it live. The party agreed and the kobold pointed to a door in the north wall and mumbled something about being through there. He then pushed the door open which revealed a room epty except for a few coins and a chunk of questionable meat in the center of the room. The paladin and barbarian each rushed in of course, eager to grab the booty.

A perternatural sense of danger cause Glory the paladin to stop in place, while the barbarian, sensing victory rushed forward and fell through a trap-door covered pit. It was dark down there, and he took some falling damage, but sprang to his feet just in time to hear two shambling forms moving towards him from the shadows. The fightress was the first to arrive on the scene, shining her torch down into the pit to allow the barbarian to duke it out with the pair of famished zombies. A few arrows were launched from above, but they were ineffectual, and it was the barbarian’s orcish battle ax that quickly slew the monstrosities.

During this time, the kobold prisoner took the opportunity to escape, sticking his tongue out at his captor the wizardess, as he ran off laughing.

Doc piled the bodies to aid his climb to the surface, and while doing so, he noticed the skeleton of an elf, concealed by a grey cloak. The cloak turned out to be a Cloak of Elvenkind, which he lovingly draped over his crush, the wizard Reya’s shoulders.

Old school dungeon crawling at its finest

Old school dungeon crawling at its finest

Moving on, they came to a long hallway with windows at the far eastern end, showing the afternoon sky. The drop was over five hundred feet to the valley floor below, and they could hear vultures screeching above. There were two passages and two sets of double doors out of this room, so they chose the nearest set of double doors and pushed through. The room was empty except for a pair of doors and an old tapestry on the wall. The ranger detected the tracks from many creatures in the chamber and bent down for closer inspection.

While searching the chamber, he oticed a large rack in the wall and heard the scurrying of a multitude of tiny clawed feet. A swarm of rats were about to charge from the hole. Thinking fast, he cast Expeditious retreat on himself, and ran towards the wall hanging, intending to stuff it in the crack. When he pulled down the hanging, it revealed a concealed door. In his hurry he did not notice the small hole drilled through the center of the room before a lightning bolt lanced out from it.

The bolt hit the far wall, and rebounded through the room, injuring the ranger, the fightress, and knocking out the wizardess Reya. Soon after, the party heard the “HAROOOO” of a horn blast from the other side of the door and beat a hasty retreat.

They paused to catch their breath in the long hall, while the cleric healed Reya, and once they were sure no one was coming after them from the recently vacated room, chose to explore in a different direction. The entered a chamber with a large black desk and some overturned cupboards. The ranger sent his ferret familiar into the chamber, which discovered a poisonous centipede just before it was bitten and died from he poison. The ferret, being magical, disappeared, and the centipede reared up, angry at being denied a meal. Its faceted eyes centered on the paladin Glory in the doorway, who glared back and charged. She was unlucky though, trying to charge through the obstacles, and when she brought down her orcish battle axe, it bit into her own foot instead of the vermin. It struck her, but the paladin shook off the affects of the poison and went on to slay the foul beast. The party spent the next ten minutes sacking the chamber but discovered nothing of interest.

A door led through the next chamber, and the paladin led the way, but was lucky for the second time, as she stopped in the middle of the chamber just before stepping onto another covered pit trap. This one opened to reveal a pool of green slime at its bottom.

They soon came to a door that seemed stuck, but the wizard showed a surprising amount of strength. The sleeves of her robe stretched as her muscled bulged, and she pushed open the door, pushing rubble aside to reveal a room whose north end was a collapsed heap of rubble, letting light of the early evening shine through cracks. They heard the rustling of bats in the ceiling, but quietly searched the chamber. The barbarian saw a severed skeletal wrist poking from the rubble, and uncovered an ancient human warrior. Most of his arms and armor were long rusted away except for a gold insignia ring and a ruby encrusted sword sheath which appeared to be magical. The fightress hung the empty sheath from her belt in hopes of soon filling it with something better than the looted orcish battle axes which she and most of the party were forced to wield. They managed to leave the room without waking the bats.

Soon they came to a bend in the hallway, which had a door on one side, and they discovered a secret door on the other. No amount of force they mustered could open the secret door, so they turned their attention to the other one which opened easily enough. It revealed an old cloak room with nothing of interest.

They were just deciding where to go next, and had re-entered the long hall, when a patrol of 7 orcs rounded a corner. Everyone was surprised, but the party recovered first, unleashing a hail of arrows and daggers and charging warriors at the orcs, before the wizardess strode forward with palms held outward. She unleashed a cone of fire that burnt 6 of the 7 orcs to a crisp. The last orc, turned tail and ran, but was unable to push open the door he sought to escape through. He was cut down from behind, and the session ended there.

Whew, we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. The orc battle began when we were fifteen minutes over our regular end time, and was over less than five minutes later, thanks to the Burning Hands of Reya. Great game.

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GiantBee2

There is a lot going on this week, what with trying to get my store front set up, and trying to finish up the next four installments of the Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord, so I am going to have to make this recap brief. Let me start by recounting the meal, which was made up of incredibly delicious grilled burgers and curly fries. I had two burgers, one with grilled onion, and the other california-style with guacamole. Oh yum it was good.

Last week saw the beginning of a new campaign, where the palyers were forced to play zero-level characters enslaved by orcs, forced to escape from a dungeon the night before their harvest. They survived, well some of them did, and made it to the nearest town, Deadrock, though half-starved wearing the bloody armor of their erstwhile captors. Along with this odiferous bunch were a pair of wood elves also on their way to infamous Deadrock, there to see their fortunes made. Greetings were held under the glare of the city guard preparing to open the town gates for another day of business in Deadrock.

A rough and tumble pioneer town, the party did not have much time to explore the sights. They rented rooms, bathed, and went out to by a set of clothes with the meager coin they had scavenged from the slave pens. The next day they were politely asked by representatives of the town concil to exit the town until such time as they could afford their own upkeep. This was mainly done because I wanted to get to the dungeon, and having a bunch of thugs wandering around without a copper to their name was bound to get ugly. Let’s fight monsters.

The party did not resist the nudge toward adventure and before you knew it they were walking the pillaged demesne of the evil overlord. Forgoing the ancient roads, the party struck a path straight across the valley towards the dark speck that was the ruined fortress. With incredible luck they managed to avoid any detection or random encounters along the way, ntil they arrived at the foot of the long stair that leads up the mountainside to the entrance of the ruins. Here they heard a loud buzzing, one might say a GIANT buzzing, and proceeded to build a ring of burning, smoking vegetation, into which they prepared to defend themselves against the rapidly approaching giant bees.

giantbeeNearly a dozen bees attacked, and even though the bees were disadvanteaged due to the smoke and fire, one of our new wood elves, a rogue, was struck with a deadly stinger and perished almost instantly from the poison. (I felt bad for the new player, being killed without having a chance, but I let him return the next round with the brother of the slain, who had been running after the party for two days and finally caught up just in time to witnsess his dead brother being carried away by giant bees.)

The party was able to kill or drive off the rest of the bees without further casualties, and made their way up the steps of the ruined fortress, with openings like eye sockets watching their approach. Scouting around the top, they opened a few doors, checked out the flag chamber, an empty office, then made their way to another chamber full of kobolds. Another battle broke out, and this time two characters went down, but were healed by the cleric. The other wood elf turned into a bear and mauled the kobolds savagely, while the human fightress waded through the chamber, and laid waste all around her.

They took one kobold catpive, searchd the room and found a lock box with 55 gold and two 50 gold piece pears, which one of the rogues tried to secretly pocket, but was discovered by the bear, who let out a warning growl. Don’t mess with the bear.

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The Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord

The Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord

This has been my project since the beginning of the new year and it is finally starting to spread its wings and fly. The concept is simple: a huge dungeon complex (of up to 99 levels) that can be plopped anywhere or used as a stand-alone campaign. The booklets contain one or more levels apiece, and can be used in conjunction, with plot hooks and other links between levels, or they can be used alone and placed practically anywhere.

The goal with these adventure modules is to create a lovingly hand-crafted printed product with usefulness at the gaming table being the paramount concern. To that end, the booklets are crafted using the finest paper with a thick detachable cover that contains the main maps (other maps will be included as a middle spread) and designed with a “generic d&d” ruleset intended to easily translate into most fantasy game systems. All dungeoneers should be able to find use for the Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord series, regardless of which edition or game system they use.

Just look at that hand drawn map!

Just look at that hand drawn map!

I hope to offer these booklets for sale once I perfect the printing and publishing, and get a few more levels done. Pricing is still up in the air but with the time, effort, and high cost of quality paper, it is settling into the 5-8 dollar range, printed and shipped. I do not foresee making these available as pdf, since my main goal is to produce a hand crafted booklet for table use. (I also need to learn how to set up a storefront on worpress which might be the biggest hurdle.)

Check out the snazzy interior design, with custom artwork, text boxes, and all the extras.

Snazzy interior design, with custom artwork, text boxes, and all the extras.

The first booklet weighs in at 28 pages, and is designed to be an introductory level for new or inexperienced characters. The booklet features new monsters and new magic items, wandering monster tables, and a complete dungeon with plot and story hooks, bosses both mini and mega, traps, hazards, and tons of opportunity for exploration, discovery, interaction, and epic battles in iconic locations. My philosophy is to remove the boring, and keep the awesome. The dungeons follow what some call Gygaxian naturalism, and are an attempt to make a funhouse gonzo dungeon that makes sense and could exist in a fantasy realm.

I am looking for volunteers who would like to playtest and review the product on their blog, message board, or website. If anyone is interested in doing that, I will be happy to send a complimentary copy for your perusal. Please drop me a line or make a comment. The next couple of weeks will be spent turning the prototype into a final draft, organizing the next three modules: level 0, level 1a, and 1b, and playtesting.

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