Campaign Idea/Adivce?

3 posts / 0 new
Last post

Hello all!
I Stumbled upon this 'Dwarf Fortress' story:
and began hatching an idea for a campaign..

Essentially this will take place centuries after the fall of the fortress, long enough for legends about it's demise to sink in and give the the fortress a real sense of peril. (fleshed out with tales of other parties/expeditions disappearances)

Our unlikely group of heroes will be swept up into a quest to retrieve an artefact from the fortress, the axe Lor used to slaughter the inhabitants of the fortress. This is to stop the axe being used as the centrepiece of some horribly dark ritual.

I've got a few ideas for some plot twists along the way, I'm really hoping for some advice on the villain though. A Necromancer is the obvious choice to me, but that's kind of my go to guy for baddies..

Any and all advice/critique's are welcome :D

I'm currently working on the history and background of a world in which seafaring Dwarves are the standard race instead of humans.  In the current timeline, the world is emerging from a very long dark age and is experience a renaissance of trade and art in some of the more developed areas.  Magic exists but is not openly practiced.  The known history is that the world was once a great landmass that was ruled by Frost Giants and Dwarves only existed to serve their masters.  Through some ancient cataclysmic event, the world was shattered into hundreds of islands of varying sizes, the Frost Giants were destroyed and scattered, and the Dwarves were left to fend for themselves.  After many millenia they have created for themselves a thriving civilization.


Of course the real truth about the world and its origins are far more dark and sinister.  The characters that enter the world will do so accidently through a planar rift so they will become strangers in a strange land with no idea where they are.

There are many ways you can go about a villan for this setting, but i like the idea of the axe being sought after as a foul focus for a dark ritual, so let's run with that idea for a bit.

  • What causes the PC's to enter the realm? Did some other-worldy entity do it with the intent on loosing them on the keep to aquire it?
  • What's the hook? What would make the party look for the Axe in the first place?
  • Does the party inevitably get access to the weapon in question? Maybe they spend the first act of the campaign questing to get it, then spend the rest of the game dealing with the stigma of weilding such a legendary item - such as thieves who want it, people terrified of it, the party fighting for it, becoming corrupted by it, having the Axe whisper in the ear of the wielder, assassins trying to take it, cults trying to cover it all up, the Knight who had quested to the keep just after you in vain for it, etc.
  • Who sends the PC's to retrieve the Axe? Does the local ruler want it? Does he wish to give it to his champion knight? Do they want to destroy it? (They don't have to tell the party the truth of the matter, anyways)
  • What would this ritual do? Does it summon a satanic entity from the far realm which has been feeding off of the death and fear from the keep? Does it acomplish the goals of an arch-devil who plans on using the keep as a stepping stone into the mortal world? Is it some kind of grand retaliation from the Gods of the Goblins, who have secretly been feeding off of the madness of Lor? Does it bring Lor back into this world as a horrible nightmare of death, twisted by angush and madness?


As for a core villan, it could litterally be anything or anyone, but here are some ideas:

  • Dwarven Bard - A fanatic of the old stories, he became obsessed with the legend of Lor and has a hared for goblins. Wishes to obtain the axe and spill a dirge of woe across the land so that all may feel the pain Lor felt that day (for bloodlust or in anguish over his actions, either way bad news). Throw in some Words of Power for added flair, or allow him to use his voice to gain fanatic thralls. A charismatic enemy is a pain for any group!
  • Cleric of [insert approptiate diety here] - This could go many ways, and as is a very solid combatabt alone or with help. If Neutral aligned, perhapse he is opposed to the PC's interest in the Keep and the Legend of the axe and tries to keep them out, growing more and more impatient as the party gets close. If Good aligned, maybe he helps the party with their quest, but due to some unforseen connection is drawn to the axe and driven mad. If evil, then he's playing the party for chumps or fighting against them tooth and nail to get to the axe for power and glory to his evil gods.
  • Paladin - This goes with the cleric thing, but has more dramatic flair if the paladin later becomes an Anti-Paladin or Deathknight. Assuming we're not going all Lich King on this, maybe instead of being compelled for evil he somehow ends up forsaken by his gods, who are angered that he's disturbed such a hollowed site for personal glory, or for whatever reason the PC's are there for.
  • A powerful arch-fiend - pick a devil/demon appropriate for the theme and when the time comes bump up his CR so he's a threat to the party. Add in some personal tweaks and give him a name. Throw a few templetes on him, maybe even some class levels. Since they go back to their home plain when they die, this particular one might be able to retain his rank/powers upon returning to the abyssal/infernal plain, and can possibly be brought back to fight the party. The axe could be used 2 ways here - as a focus to summon the demon into the real so he can be killed perminately, or as the tool needed to banish him forever.
  • A barbarian - This is almost too easy, so throw some awesome story fluff in there to juice it up a bit
  • Dwarven Defender - Maybe the same as the Bard idea, or maybe something along the lines of him being a decendant of Lor and wants the axe because it's his birthright, and ultimately wages a war for conquest to obtain it, and if in possession of the axe, he tries to slaughter all the goblins he can. If you aren't helping him, he wages war on you. Or, possibly, is infected as well, except instead of murdering all the people in the keep, he wishes to bring this death dealing outside to everyone (all are goblins!)






Sign In to post comments