BlackMarsh of the Bonespeakers
There lies in your campaign world a remote and dangerous southern jungle that hides a fetid swampland known as the Blackmarshes. The lizardfolk that inhabit the region are as savage and feral as anywhere, yet those that survive their spearpoint diplomacy and poison-tipped greetings may discover anomalous objects amongst the waters and bullrushes. Massive bones of great reptilian behemoths lie within the Blackmarsh, covered in runic symbols written in an primitive dialect of Draconic. The runic emblems spell out a ritual, of which the bone itself is the material component. Someone with Ritual Casting that succeeds at a DC20 Arcana check, and who knows the Draconic language can perform the ritual spelled out upon these bones.
Upon doing so, the bones begin to hiss and whisper with a voice that has instinctive power over the lizard people. Those who hear it will find their minds elevated, their awareness transformed. It will become apparent that the savage lizard folk are the degenerate remnants of a sophisticated, intelligent race of peace-loving saurians that once ruled over this part of the Middle World. When one of the rune-bones has been awakened, the grateful lizard people will lead adventurers back to their settlements, where they may rest and recover. In return, the awakened lizard folk will ask many questions about modern craftsmanship, culture, religion, and history from the outside world. Those that answer freely and honestly will be welcome guests of the ennobled saurians.
Yet there are those among the lizard folk, many times the Blackscales, that cannot hear the true voice of the rune-bones, and will react with enraged jealousy at their newly civilized kin. To date, no true civilization has emerged in the Blackmarsh, for those that cannot hear eventually succeed in stealing or destroying the rune-bone, causing the saurian people to revert to a feral, hostile state of limited intellect. All of their enlightened thoughts and civilized achievements forgotten, even should they be awakened again.
A town of strange, mindless people with little to no intelligence.( The dishsoap was quite fine , lampost). Small pockets of still intelligent people hide in buildings that are barricaded and surrounded by moats of water.
When the PC's head into the mine, they will find a brain ooze, which sucks the intelligence out of people, and effectively brainwash's them. The only way to destroy it is to get it immersed in water, in which its regeneration stops.
I have always loved ooze's and jelly's!
A merchant town split in half by a surging river. There is a market here for everything if the price can be paid. From honeyed breads freshly baked to slave labor the market has everything.
The most prominent building is town is a brothel, run by Lady Veranda Velvet, who has a secret of her own (she is a doppleganger who took the form of a little girl at age 6 who fell to her death at the fault of the doppleganger, but she is being blackmailed by the little girl's childhood friend who has figured it all out after 12 years of wondering why his friend changed a bit that day. He saw her fall with his own eyes.).
An abandoned temple of Bahamut ages vacant has recently become the nest for a band of kobolds who are converting it into a temple of Tiamat. Any adventurers will be approached by a young girl from the upper class who is being visited by the good dragon god in her sleep, pleading for help.
A man in the crafters ward is looking for a official document given to his father by the king - a grant of land - but he left it in Fallshade when it was overrun by goblins. The goblins moved on, but a necromancer has taken up residence and has 2 stables packed to doors with zombies.
Many of the merchants are troubled by two of the major trade roads being blocked. It's hurting business. One road is blocked by a band of goblins and their hexer leader. They demand a toll of 10 gold or they attack. The other is blocked by a band of human bandits who have taken up residence in an abandoned temple to the Raven Queen. If a caravan comes in contact with the bandits, it is never heard from again.
The blacksmith bought some land a year ago that had a house on it. 3 months ago, his son was recently married and asked to take a honeymoon there. The two were never seen again. The blacksmith wants them to check it out, as he is too busy minding the forge. Hopefully they are just being delayed, enjoying their new life together... or perhaps the house contains a spirit that will NEVER let you leave (great for psycho-horror)
The Balding Sheath
Along a winding trading road is the small tavern called The Balding Sheath. The bartender, Kajamen Damandar and his retired mercenary group, Damandar's Demanders, set up a tavern surronded by a wooden palasade.
The retired mercenaries' hold on the area and the protection they offered for a few gold expanded the small fortified inn into a hub of trade. Now The Balding Sheath still consists of a tavern, however now it is surronded by a twelve foot high stone wall. Around the wall is an outer ring consisting on a palasade. In between the two are caravans from all sorts of guilds and realms.
Being a flicker of candle light in the windy darkness, the light sometimes wains. Damandar and his retired soldiers are not as retired as the let others believe. Feuding merchant guilds that come in contact with one and other sometimes hire the Demanders to 'redirect' the enemy guild from The Balding Sheath and off the road. Sometimes the Demanders take more serious actions and openly kill for whatever reason they deem deserving.
The abandoned fort:
A small abandoned fort in valley, it is currently kept by some (level appropriate) monsters (mostly minions) and in bad repair. Nearby are cross roads opposite a lake and an abandoned quarry. A surprisingly large number of shepherds and hunters live in the valley and would be grateful to the PCs if they cleared out the fort. A perfect spot for mid to upper level PCs to set up their HQ.
The Devil's Graveyard
The Devil's Graveyard didn't start out as a town, but as a battlefield. Long ago, during the fall of the last Human Empire, a gate was opened to the Nine Hells and a powerful devil was released. An army was dispatched to send the creature back to Baator, lead by a knight of the church of Pelor. The soldiers battled the creature for thirty days, until all that remained of the human army was the paladin. The devil, convinced he had won the day, took the opportunity to attempt to seduce the man away from his god. As the devil bent to whisper corruption into his ear, the man saw an opening. He thrust with his sword, driving it through the devil's heart and pinning it to the earth. The creature howled and thrashed, but the knight held firm. It was only after the creature finally stopped moving that the knight knelt down by his sword and faded away.
Hundreds of years later, a group of settlers found the remains of that epic battle, the sword still sharp and unaffected by the passage of time, driven through the fossilized ribcage of some enormous, winged skeleton. The monument radiated a kind of comforting calm, and the settlers felt it would be a good place to found their town. The magic of the monument has kept the darkness at bay for nearly a century, and the town has prospered. The monument affects only a relatively small radius, however, and the tendency for evil creatures to gather around its edges has kept the town from expanding much over the years.
What the players will probably be able to assume is that the paladin bound his lifeforce into the sword, making it an intelligent magical item whose goal is to protect the surrounding area from evil. Evil creature's cannot penetrate the radius of the sword's protection (imagine the effects of the 3.5 spell antipathy centered on the sword with a radius of about a half mile), which reaches to just outside the town's limits. What they might not be able to assume is why. The truth is, when the paladin stood atop the fallen devil, he knew he lacked the power to truly kill it. So he sacrificed himself to bind the devil to its place. He has spent the last hundreds of years locked in an unending struggle to keep the beast at bay.
Just like the knight who slew him, the devil never really died. Its infernal soul was simply trapped in place, unable to break free of the paladin's binding magic. Eventually, the creature stopped trying, realizing that the trick lay not in overcoming the knight's zealous will, but in finding someone who could do it for him. Since then, the devil has been drawing creatures to it, searching for someone strong or cunning enough to break its curse and release it from its bondage. Creatures of darkness gather just outside the city walls, searching for a weakness in the knight's curse, and any who get close enough to the creature's monument will feel a nagging compulsion to pull the sword from the monster's chest and wield its glorious power to beat back the tide of darkness.
So the Devil's Graveyard trundles on, a rock against which the waves of darkness break, unaware of the sinister secret that lies at its heart...
The Town of "Trinity"
A rather quaint, if plain wooden sign reads: "Welcome To Trinity - population 999." A strange, almost deathly quite town lies nestled along a road, in the middle of a wide valley. There is only the slightest of breezes. In the town, the main road branches off into several, curving, tertiary smaller streets that eventually meander back towards the main road at the other end of town. Along each of those smaller streets are many closely lined, similar, nondescript, seemingly well-kept, dwellings. There are a few larger, only slightly more important looking buildings scattered throughout, even a decent sized temple to some obscure deity. In the center of the town, is a raised tower, topped with a large stone with strange carvings on it.
The interior of each building house all that one might expect a dwelling or shop to have - all placed as if those who lived there had just moments ago used them. Some items will have a light covering of dust, others will be clean. There will be no eatable food, however - only boxes and baskets meant obviously to hold it.
Throughout the town are various ..."people." They do not move. They are dressed in everyday, normal clothing and are posed as if frozen in the midst of normal, everyday activities. Some are poised in mid-step, as if walking along the road. Others seem to be in the midst of a heated argument, with hands frozen in demonstrative gestures. Small children seem as statues, in the act of frolic and play. An Old woman stands at the back of a dwelling, poised as if to beat a dusty rug hanging from a line. There are even mule and horse-drawn carts, their animals stuck in mid-trot, as if on the way to market. A close look at these "people" shows that they are somewhat dessicated, with pale, papery thin skin. If examined closely, each will bear evidence of a mortal wound that has been expertly stitched closed. If handled too roughly, the skin will flake and crumble away.
Once the characters have reached about mid-way through the town, one of these people (one that they were NOT looking direct at) will suddenly animate, and approach them. "Well, HELLO!" it will say. The "person" will NOT appear desicated any longer, but its skin will still be pale. "Welcome to Trinity! Look everybody! We have visitors!" It will turn, as if to wave to some other "citizen," and then it will stop moving. Its skin returns to a slightly dessicated look.
Immediately, another "citizen" will animate and approach the characters - smiling and offering greetings. "Oh we're SO glad you came by!" Then it, too will freeze - as another "citizen" animates and approaches. "Yes! We're SO glad you've come! It will be SO nice to have new members of the community!"
There is a formless, spiritual entity named "Legion" who inhabits the town. It is anchored to the carved stone in the center of town and can venture only as far from that as the boundaries of the town. It is old - very, very old. And it is very, very lonely. It can "inhabit" any of the "citizens" (who are all long dead), temporarily rejuvenating them. It CANNOT "inhabit" a living creature. It can switch between them with the speed of thought. While it "inhabits" a body - it can see and hear and speak and feel and taste through that body. Without a body to "inhabit" it has only a vague ability to sense life.
It hungers for company, companionship - but it is petulant and mercurial of mood. It wants the characters to STAY and will do all in its power to force them. However, it may fly into a rage at what it perceives as any rude or insulting remarks or behavior. As a last resort, it will try to kill the characters and make them a permanent resident.
Named in draconic "golden hole", this now prosperous city had an unusual beginning. A gold dragon had become the patron of a tribe of Kobolds, as He found trade with outsiders had become as profitable as his mining operations, He decided to open up the upper levels of the city to outsiders by strip mining. Now, the walls of the city are filled with hanging gardens and down ward paths. In the center of the city is a massive temple to Ao, which also serves to hide the entrance to the lair of the dragon, Laetissimus.
****|_........|+|++|............._|******* <-- Shrine to Bahumut
******|_____|++|____|___|********* <-Here be dragon's Lair
|____| Covered city
|+++| temple to Ao
A comical tavern made in the honor of the draconic deity of humor. Its run by a family of friendly, and often drunk, kobolds. There is always a bard, cleric or expert performing on the stage, and laughter is always in the air.
But this Tavern is most famous for its special brew, and its name sake, Hlal's hangover. The brew is rumored to be so powerful, that it will even get a dragon drunk, and they sometimes come to prove it.
1 mug, costs a gold piece and a good portion of your dignity:
Fort 20: -4 to dex, int, wis, and Cha for 6 hours. After 6 hours, fort 20: Explosive diarrhea for one hour dealing 1d4 fire damage.
1 barrel, sold to dragons, 2000 gp
The fort save is increased to 37, and the damage to 2d6
If a PC is foolish enough to drink the stuff, a cleric will be waiting for him at the door to the lavatory. He will cast Neutralize Poison or an equivalent spell for double running cost.
Once there were five eladrin cities, floating in the air like a paradise. Now there is only one left. There was a demigod watching over each of the other four cities but they have vanished from the face of the earth long ago.
Sirillon, City of the Full Moon
This is a great and busy city over a mighty forest. There live a lot of Eladrin in the city but there are other races too.
Corellon himself watches over the city.
Dorukan, city of stone
The northern city of stone has crash-landed high up in the mountains. It has been infested with drow-elves.
Atlantis, city of water
The eastern city of water has sunk to the bottom of the sea where sea-creatures make it their home.
Aereon, city of the air
The southern city of the air is still floating above a mighty desert. It is not inhabited by eladrin anymore but by vile demonlords that have corrupted the demigod overseeing the city
Cerul, city of fire
The western city of fire has crashed in a volcanic landscape where it is inhabited by fire elementals.
What could have happened to these four cities that they are destroyed like that? nobody knows.
The city of shade
Shade is unusual in many respects, for one, it was build in a great dead-magic zone. Absolutely no magic functions inside the city. Out side the city is an area nothing less than infested with harmful magic. To the north is a mountain, infested with Drow. To the east is a dragon grave yard, even the Drow aren't dumb enough to go there. To the south is the ocean, Aboleths abound in the underwater caves and black dragons infest the coastal swamps. To the west is undead... lots of them.
So people just huddle together in the dead magic area. It weakens the Drow, without their mages, clerics and magic weapons. It weakens the black dragons and stops the Aboleths' minions. The magical storms of the east and the magically animated undead of the west simply stop at the borders.
So its a city in the Shade of dead magic.
(Possible place of adventure inspired by a few things mixed around... Could be used in FR or another established setting maybe)
The Lajez Tower
The scholars theorize that the name 'Lajez' come from a people of those barely known tropical lands; gnolls, elves, humans... It is though to be the name used to designate the termites mounds.
A fitting name, for this omnious thing is akin to a termite mound.... Of incredible size. It's large as a city, tall a mountain or so... The monstruosity is made of a stoney material, pierce with some 'holes', windows at a distance, with 'towers' prongs. It juits out of the hot lands, an eerie sight....
A speculation of some learned scholars and mages pretend that there was 'creator race(s)', 'progenitors' before the ages known, times of impossible ancienity... Powerfull beings arguably, alien to us... By the look of this thing, and analogies, the builders and inhabitants of this must have been insectoids ((Thir-Kreens ancestors?)), and this may have been a sort of city-colony...
Nothing much is known, as the natives around warn adventurers from entering this place, citing 'great dangers'. It is not sure if anyone came back, but.... Curious, strange items had emerged in the years, thought linked to this and other similar places; weird orbs/marbes of a glassy material, statues, tablets holding hexagonal runes of sort ((runes-like script as in the Death Gate Cycle, the ones used by the Patrans(?) and the other magical race))...
It is rumored that something *alive* rest in there.... Or alternatively, a flying forteress/weapon... Great, alien magic forgotten by all races... who know?
Just putting my 2 cents worth in...check my sig for my homebrew city.
The obelisk of divine truth.
Its a 40' tall, perfect quartz crystal. Around it is a Magic Circle against Evil 50' in radius. Around the crystal is built a monastery dedicated to the protection of the crystal and the pilgrims that come there.
The true purpose comes into effect within 10' radius. Whoever steps within experiences every evil they have ever committed against another person. If they good, every round they make a will save or go unconscious (and are dragged out of the radius be monks), after ten rounds they puke up all their evil energies, which are purified and solidify into an Ion stone. If they are evil, they receive damage each round, will save half, that steadily increases. If they survive ten rounds, their evil energies and will power form a permanent Magic Circle against Good centered around them. No person may receive benefits from this act twice. The power of the pillar is blocked by a Magic Circle against Good.
A small town of less than 5,000 that exists in the the rolling lands of forests and plains, a beautiful land to call home. Most visitors to the area would never see the city even though they could walk to it, around it and even thru it because at its founding powerful rituals where enacted to displace the city from the world. Inside the city is a thriving community considered by many to be the most idyllic of small towns, of course it would require one to actually be able to visit the town.
Eyphka was created for one main purpose, to house the greatest masters of magic and those geniuses that would usher in a new age of enlightenment. With this exploration into both the magical and mundane have occurred and most, some would say all revolutionary advancements that have come to the world started as a dream in this small hamlet. Of course great advancement requires great risk and thus the city has always been on the hairpin of destruction if not for its amazing groups of 'fixers.' Some of the experiments that have gone wrong have actually spawned even stranger but needed positive results.
Eyphka is a town where the down home small town life problems have the tendency of becoming epic concerns that may destroy the world.
based off a show I really like Eureka.
The Emirate of Quayun
This peninsular feudal state rest by the northwest coast of the Great Western Sea. It's economy is based on trade and the fruits of the sea.... And infamously boosted, by the 'unlawfull sea activities"; the 'dark' is that the state is full of pirates, slavers, bootleggers, etc..
The country is ruled by the Emir, but his rule seems weak and coopted by the power groups worked in the shadow.... Or there is a smoke screen conspiracy at work. Words amongst the rogues, beggars and cie speak of the 'Shadow Pasha' who run the country in reality. Who know?
It is a dangerous place for sure... But if you need... unsavory trades or works, it's an *excellent* haven. Anything legal - or illegal - that could be found in the large region, can be bought here; prices are another things....
The 'light gods' are worshiped there, specialy Pelor, Erandis(?), Ioun, Bahamut and cie, but secrets cults dedicated to dark gods and other vile and unholy entities are existing, notably some Asmodean cells (he is called al-Kathi'un in the local language).
Ages ago, during a time of war, a lord commanded that a keep be built on the edge of a vast forest to watch over a nearby pass. The builders faced resistance in the form of a powerful Dryad (in 3.5 Dryad+Druid levels). However, eventually, the spirit was restrained and her tree, a great old thing, was cut down. Adding insult to injury, the trunk of the tree was used as the base for the vast table in the Great Hall. The dryad's ghost haunted the keep ever afterwards, cursing all that died there to rise again as flesh-hungry ghouls. Eventually, she was sealed away by a powerful mage, but the mage died in the attempt. Now, a band of gnolls has started to use the keep as a center of operations as they establish camps and harass local human lands nearby. So far things are undercontrol, but it is only a matter of time before the gnoll shamans starting investigating the magic that seals the ghost and she is unleashed again. Underneath the building are vast tunnels filled with ghouls, some of whom hate Merryoak as much as they hate the other living. At the center of these tunnels is a pile of acorns including one specific that will grow a new dryad's tree for a new dryad...it is the "birth" of Merryoak's daughter that will dissipate the curse, but, to get to that, the seal first has to be broken and there is no story at all about the acorn.
The Darkstar- It is whispered by starpact teiflings that there are powerful entities among the stars. On a strange plateau in the mountains, random portals open up on certin nights. These portals lead to the surface of a huge, ancient aberation. The only definite portal home lies in the creatures heart. The creature is populated by it's servants that long ago gave their souls and have mutated into strange aberant creatures. This is a great way to scare the crap out of your teiflings. It shows them what may happen at the end of their road.
World's Dawn, Bali Hai
The town of World's Dawn lies on the southern tip of the Metinan Islands. A relative paradice considering the current elysian-mysurian war. This tropical trading center rests at the foot of a dormant volcano referred to as "The Sleeping Giant". Deep within the catacombs beneath "The Giant" rests the book of Songs. It can be considered the driving force behind World's Dawn's success despite the town's size and small population. Because of this God's Book, the people can always find happiness, or at least motivation. The knowledge of the book is a close guarded secret passed down from Matron to Matron since the creation of the city. Because of their easy life the citizens of World's Dawn have lived long fruitful lives as an oasis in the sea for merchants of spices and residuum from the deserts of the Southern continent. Because it is essential to the sea trade routes and its' vulerability to attack few have attempted to take the islands and none have held it. Every so often a raiding party will attack, but the people of the island, secretly supported by the Book of Songs always seem to repulse the invaders.
However, dark clouds loom ahead. Things go bump in the night beyond their shores. The residuum rich sea route is as vulnerable as ever.
The city state of Tusin is ruled by the Planar Bureaucracy, a government controlled by Immortal creatures who act as judges. The government is ruled and acts under these Judges who rule on all laws enforcing them as they see fit. The capitol itself has become a prison-state as each citizen is confined within strict structures and forms they must go through each day.
Literally, a world swathed in endless darkness, the only light sources being settlements and old ruins/dungeons/towers.
The land of Hord is a dragonborn community in which the wealthiest family is given authority over the city. Here money is everything and lives are won and lost over the glitter of gold.
Once every ten years the combined wealth of each family is carted out to a giant scale to be weighed against the ruling family. The greatest wealth in gold is then declared de facto ruler for the next ten years. Though there are plots between the families as well as others to steal the enormous wealth.
An old city built of dark green limestone by an older reptilian race on the shore of a large lake in the middle of a marsh.
Ruled by a huge half toad/half lizard demi-god and his clerics, the merchant guilds actually run the day to day affairs of the city, collecting taxes, levying fines and punishing criminals. The priesthood is only concerned with greeting the rising sun and appeasing their god. No clerics of other religions are allowed in the city and huge, lazy lizards imported from the deserts are the beasts of burden.
Lizardfolk from the surrounding marsh come to town to trade crocodile hides, rare plants and captives for better weapons. The safest way to get to the city is by boat thanks to the carnivorous plants, lizardfolk and crocodiles.
On certain moonless nights wet flapping footsteps of things from the bottom of the lake can sometimes be heard prowling the unlit back alleys. Its also when some of the captives brought in by the lizardfolk and the occasional visitor quietly disappear.
Giant loathsome aberrations from the deep dark places of the ocean come here every few decades to fight for a mate until the sea runs black with their blood, the victors then crawl ashore to spawn. The coast is all thousand foot tall wave wracked cliffs except for a single mist shrouded cove at the mouth of a river. A log pallisade built by shipwrecked sailors is home to a dozen wretched souls.
The twisted trees in the encroaching corrupted jungle resemble a cross of wet mottled purple fungus and wood, they grow unnaturally fast and when cut, slowly writhe for a few moments leaking sickly yellow sap and releasing spores that leave irritating red whelps.
Goblin monkeys burst into masses of writhing tentacles when attacked and at night bands of foulspawn, chuul, gibbering beasts and gricks roam the island interior.
This is a city of religious pilgrimage built on the site of the capital or an important city of the dragonborn Arkhosian empire. It was known as Stalvek then, now it is formally Stalberg, but most refer to it as Bell Town for the plethora of bell towers at temples for all of the non-evil 4e gods. Just north of the central plaza is a fortress-like temple of Bahamut and Moradin, honoring the dragonborn and their dwarf allies who fought an epic battle here. From northeast, around the perimeter there are temples of Kord, Pelor, Melora, Sehanine, Corellon (last three in the same complex), Ioun, the Raven Queen, and finally Erathis, which is connected to the manor of Lady Mayor Elsa Victrine and the Artificer's Guild. Shrines to Avandra can be found everywhere and nowhere, hidden about the city with the only prominent one being the single empty bell tower, attached to a hostel serving poor travelers.
Tunnels following the roads of the ancient city criscross beneath the city, connecting many of the temples and housing sacred relics as well as a few lurking dangers.
The Blue Dunes of Cerdon
On the far side of a daunting expanse of blue sand is the walled city of Cerdon. Bulettes and roaming dragons discourage visitors, and those who manage the perilous trek across the dunes find it less than welcoming. There is barely enough arable land around the city to support the population, and what livelihood they can make is heavily taxed by the miserly Iron King Marlow. Prices for food, drink and supplies here are double those in other lands, with all wealth concentrated in a few landowner families dominated by the crown. This city could be a necessary stop in a difficult journey, or the PCs may wish to visit here to investigate the rumors that the Iron King has achieved immortality, as he has ruled for as long as any human residents of the city can remember.
A river composed of giant drops of water (20 by 30 feet) which flow down at the interval of ten to fifteen seconds.
OK, it's not much, but cool?
A continent-wide ocean-crater centered around a titantic, sky-touching volcano near the north or south pole of the world. Eons ago, some long-forgotten (or maybe not?) god was cast from their home realm and crashed here. A miles-deep crater formed at the edge of a vast continent, creating a vast inland sea with hundreds of islands formed by the tectonic activity that was the residual effect of such a deep wound in the flesh of the world. Constant storms sweep through the entire sea, held in by the mountain wall, making it extremely hazardous to cross.
A range of mountains borders the vast sea, cutting off most access to land except where the sea has filtered through, creating vast coastal plains and saltwater inland seas.
These seas are generally warm and pacific, flanked by jungles, which feed from the geothermal heat rising from the broken earth. Within a few hundred miles of the crater wall, however, arctic tundra breaks free of this warmth, leading gradually back south (or north, north works to) towards more median climes.
This realm gives you access to the following:
Underground invaders from the broken earth,
isolated islands with distinct population groups and plenty of excuses for dungeons due to the religious nature of the place,
access to trading communities around the warm inland seas,
jungle regions, ice regions, even desert and ash waste if you want to put one on an island.
Such an area would be metal-rich, giving you excuses for the crafting races, thus trading races, thus warlike races to try and take their stuff, and thus warrior classes.
The natural craziness and magical nature would attract the elvenkind.
You don't need any boring farmers or peasants! xD (Just fishermen, which are easily ignored)
Fun water dynamics since most of what's at sea level is in the ocean, so rivers off the mountains make good control points for regions, which makes it easier and more believable for the adventurers to rule their own realm, should they wish to.
The arcane and terrible nature of the place gives excuses for powerful spellcasters to be around.
The volcano serves as a giant lair of evil and makes a great end-story dungeon.
A Feyhaunt is a part of the world that phases between here and the Feywild.
However, it is a partial phase, an "echo", ofte twisted by Mortal world circumstances.
BarroweHome is one such Feyhaunt. A grave of a mad druid who was killed for his evil experiments, often trying to fuse innocent fey with wild animals to mimic the creatures he once saw in the Feywild. His grave was already a cursed place, but it becoming a Feyhaunt caused the dead victims to rise from death against their mad creator. Now, on every new moon night, these abominations rise up and turn the area into a killing ground.
The grave itself contains many relics and treasures that only appear on the cursed night that, if found, could be used to bolster many adventurer's abilities. However, surviving the slaughter that ensues upon entry, obtaining them are not likely.
So are these for Points of Light or some other setting? I'd like to see more info on the PoL setting myself. I know I was thinking of a hidden city or town of all Tieflings.
At first glance, the village of Hollowgrove is veiled with a strange fog. The local wisewoman/priestess has gone missing for several weeks, and an evil presence has slowly taken over, but it is unclear what. There have been sightings of strange, dark humanoid figures seen roaming the graveyard at night. If questioned, the mayor refuses to yield any pertinent information.
In reality, over 150 years ago, there was a war between necromancers and the local townsfolk. The only survivors were the mayor and the wisewoman. However, the wisewoman was a necromancer who changed sides during the war. The two have a pact - they do not speak of the past, and they get to keep their secrets. However, the wisewoman would get the itch to practice her old magic and create animated corpses as playthings.
With her gone, the undead roaming the graveyard have no master. The high walls only hinder their inevitable escape, and the carrion crawlers and otyughs guarding the graveyard can only feed on so many of them. And what roams the graveyard is only the tip of the iceburg compared to what is in the underground catacombs.
However, before being sent to the graveyard, the mayor will request a task to deem if you are powerful enough. He will send you to a house on the edge of town - the owner has been lost at sea for over a year, and the house will need to be cleaned out. The only problem is that the house has been taken over by rats... a lot of them, and they're not the typical vermin, either.
Other than that, the village is fairly normal - the townsfolk are more knowledgable than some, and you can buy nearly anything you'd want or need. The innkeeper is talkative and nostalgic, and most of the townsfolk are warm and friendly.
Hollowgrove is also a haven for refugees who have been driven out of their homeland for whatever reason - plague, drought, etc. It is a mix of races/cultures, and after being settled for so long, the townsfolk wouldn't want to leave. Except for the mayor and wisewoman, everyone is either a refugee or descendant of one.
I disagree that the PoL setting does not exist. I remember the very large maps of areas and the adventure from Keep on the Shadowfell and it mentions quite a few places so I think it could indeed exist as it's own setting but it's generic enough to also exist in other settings. That being said though I'd like to create a village of all Tieflings but I'm unsure how to go about it.
To expand on the points-of-light (and dark) , I have also added a listing of optional background nations for use in my homebrew setting. In keeping with the bonuses found in Player's Guide to Faerun, each location comes with a skill bonus for characters that originate there. The nations and cities are ill-defined in terms of dimensions, so they could be added without having to exclude anything else. Just adding to possible campaign settings without limiting future developments.
The Kingdom of the Hand of Victory
Also known as 'The Hand', this is a cozy, small domain ringed by five mountains that give the appearance of a clawed grasp. Once center of a growing Hobgoblin Empire, a slave revolt two centuries ago cast down the goblinoids and gave freedom to slaves of diverse race. Humans, Halflings, Elves, Eladrin Tieflings and Dwarves can all be found here in relative harmony, their shared history giving a sense of unity. The region is ruled by local elders who elect a monarch, called the Vox, the Voice of the People.
:Diplomacy is a Class skill - +1 to Diplomacy checks
The Orb Valley
Once the seat of a vast empire ruled by precognitive mystics, this region resembles a massive, spherical indentation in the Earth, like the bottom of a great ball. Once the seat of a collosal, arcane-constructed city built to allow the Seer-masters of the Empire of Aeon greater precognition. The Empire was cast down centuries ago, but a faint spark of power remains in the humans and half-elves that dwell in the villages in between the monster-haunted ruins of the cities.
:Insight is a Class skill - +1 to Insight checks.
The Demon Rake
A deep rift in the rocky earth, a massive chasm that drops from the surface to the depths of the Underdark, the Demon Rake has existed since primordial times. The site of many invasions by dark elves and elemental evils, the cliff-dwelling tribes are reknowned for violent independence and extreme individualism. The hostility and danger of the rift is seen as an opportunity for valor and reknown against underdark horrors and the occasional demon that rises from the pit to ravage the mortal world. Extremely stubborn dwarf-clans lair here and remain out of sheer defiance, and many Dragonborn heroes are attracted as well, eager to prove themselves. The independence and self-reliance of these people gives them a +1 bonus to Healing
:Heal is a Class skill - +1 to Heal checks.
Realm of the Crystal Clan
The Tower-city of Syllyndrylyth was one of the most remarkable achievements of the lost empire of Cendrianne. A domain composed of magical crystal that could live, and grow, on its own, expanding upwards in the sky and down below the Earth. The Epic magics that allowed its construction are long-lost, but a clan of Eladrins have populated small, outlying villages in order to reclaim this wonder.
Millenia ago, the people of Syllyndrylyth were betrayed by an Eladrin turncoat who paved the way for a Drow invasion of the city. The war that resulted devastated the Eladrins and allowed for greater dark elf incursions. Infighting among the drow doomed their Imperial ambitions, and now the great, growing city of living crystal is inhabited only by Underdark beasts and insane wizards. But a hearty clan of Eladrin is determined to beat back the chaos and reclaim this realm. A small fraction of the great Tower-kingdom is civilized, but the Eladrin have also allowed warlike humans and sturdy dwarves to share in the military burden, in exchange for settlement rights later. In addition, some elves still hold out hope of locating the hiding place of Sybaal the Deceiver, cursed with eternal torment by an Exarch of Corellon for his treachery.
:Dungeoneering is a Class skill -+1 to Dungeoneering checks.
The Nerath province of Garvenia was stable and prosperous in the last days of the Empire, but the governor in those days could not bear to release his grip on power, even his own death was not enough. Transformed into a Lich, governor Venwold denied his heirs a throne, and for this offense, the Pelor-worshipping realm fell into civil war for nearly a century. Venwold still has some human supporters, and he supplements his forces with undead legions. The living faction has put out a call for warriors and adventurers, and many Dragonborn and Tieflings have found ways to profit off the never-ending civil war. The two factions rely on trickery and espionage as much as war lately, and a glib tongue is as useful as a hidden dagger when trying to negotiate your survival in this divisive country.
:Bluff is a Class skill - +1 to Bluff checks.
It is not clear what the city's original name was, or who first built upon the site. The city stands at a continental crossroads, and also a weak point between both the Feywild and the Shadowfell, as such war has raged over this realm throughout the rise and fall of countless empires. The city has been razed and ravaged and rebuilt dozens of times over the milenia, with conquerors building over the ruins of those they displaced, until they in turn were massacred. The clan that rules here now survives not by mere force of arms, but more through magic and cunning. The Half-elf inhabitants with a few Eladrin named the place 'Tel-of-Swords' -Tel meaning 'layered city', from the wreakage of countless civilizations below them. Magical foundries for the creation of Warforged are among the secrets buried, and recently the people here have managed to revive the technique to create new Warforged to aid in defense. The current inhabitants also comb the ruined sub-layers for magical secrets and details of past battles that they might defend themselves for the next invasion.
:History is a Class skill - +1 to History checks
The Island of Harmony
This land-locked realm is not an island at all, but rather the rulers of the mountainous domain name it thus because of the rarity and wonder of the multi-racial kingdom they have created. A dynasty of sorceror-kings have created a permanent telepathic web over this land, linking the minds of all citizenry in perfect, lawful harmony. There is no crime, war, or treachery, as all individual thoughts and ideas are public thoughts and ideas. Traders are allowed occasionally, but no one born here is ever permitted to leave. When a citizen leaves the nation, it causes disruptive ripples in the psychic web that inconvenience other residents. But still, those cunning enough to hide their thoughts, and stealthy enough to navigate through the lava-tube caverns might escape the thought-police that patrol the realm to weed out deviants. Despite all precautions, determined individuals able to evade capture trickle out of the kingdom each year - and are considered traitors in violation of a sacred covenant by the Sorceror-King. These free spirits can never return home, for they are the targets of man-hunts by fanatical assassin-rangers that are willing to chase traitors across the planes to avenge their realm.
:Stealth is a Class skill - +1 to Stealth Checks.
A rarity among realms, Hullport is a kingdom built nearly by accident. It began as a ad-hoc base of operations for pirates in the Royal sea (so named for its purplish tint in deep water, similar to royal purple used to dye King's robes) from grafting together damaged ships to form a small island-like structure. Thousands of years and shipwrecks later, the number of vessels sunk in the area grew, and many of them were grafted onto the construct, forming a city-like region with an expansive interior. The structure has graduated from pirate lair, to merchant outpost, to domain in its own right. It is an ugly, assymetrical sprawl of innumerable sunken ships fused to each other through creative carpentry. Mermaids and other aquatic races dwell here, but there is significant trade with land-dwellers and a large presence of common races. There exists also a mysterious species of jellyfish that forcibly enter the mouths of land-dwellers and lodge in their lungs, these 'lungfish' enable water-breathing (but at the cost of a healing surge as long as they are present) The strain of switching from air to water breathing both within and outside the city tends to make hardier residents over the years.
:Endurance is a Class skill - +1 to Endurance checks.
These grasslands once had an important role in the rebellion of the Dwarves against the Titans, for the area is rife with colossal monoliths that once channeled enormous elemental power for destructive purposes. In recent years, Tieflings have joined humans, dwarves and elves among the massive monolith-towers jutting from the Earth, curious concerning the ancient magics they represent. Many are hollow inside, easily defensible and useful as a basis for construction of cities. Villages and towns spring up around the monoliths, which are often connected by rope-bridges and wires that the people learn to traverse with great agility. The people have taken a legendary avian creature as a symbol of national unity, and for centuries only the enduring strength of the monoliths protected the inhabitants from the vicious centaur-marauders of the grasslands.
:Acrobatics is a Class skill - +1 to Acrobatics checks.
This is a nation bent towards a definitive purpose that drives them, and imprisons them. This land once repelled an army of demons and undead led by the horrific Arch-lich Za'al. Throughout the years of Bael-Turath and Nerath, the people of this region have kept up their vigil. For the Arch-Lich was never truly defeated, he could only be contained, his great black tower is imprisoned forever by a blinding shaft of eternal sunlight that blocks his powers and destroys his servants. Yet the Arch-lich still lives, still acts and now relies on others to secure his freedom. For those willing to serve him and aid his efforts, he offers easy access to undead and demon allies useful in personal ambitions. The Humans, Halflings, and Tieflings of So'ohl are constantly maintaining and preserving a great ritual that wards the Arch-lich's tower with sunlight - this is seen as a sacred national trust. Warriors and Paladins are also welcome in So'ohl, for the alluring promises of the Arch-Lich attract Deathpriests of Orcus, as well as various psychopathic demon cults. The realm has recently received a great boon, with the rediscovery of ancient magics that allow the creation of Warforged to better resist the tide of horrific evil.
:Arcana is a Class skill - +1 to Arcana checks.
A nightmarish blot on the land, this metropolis-gone-mad was once a center of learning in the days of Bael Turath, but has since succumbed to chaos and depravity. At the borders of the Boneshadow Desert with its back to the Royal Sea, the nests of villainy and mayhem here are difficult to root out by the powers of law and justice. Gulg is a magnet for criminals, evil warlocks, and those fleeing the justice they richly deserve. The city is accessible by sea, and the population is replenished by pirates, thieves, and murderers, for few can last long in this lawless place. The fall of Bael Turath was followed by other lords and nobles who sought to reclaim the imperial glory. All failed, all betrayed the people and their trust. Although those that brave the streets at night risk gruesome fates at the hands of slavers, drow, and even man-eating bands of Far-Realms abominations, those that gather here loathe and distrust any hint of authority or central government.
The dead rot in the streets, without the benefit of a mass-grave. Those that defy the gangs, and the slavers are found publicly crucified, entrails strewn in the streets. And below those streets lurk flesh-rending horrors to devour the weak, and sinister mind-flayers to plot against all that is good, while the drow emerge from upper-underdark caverns below the city to exchange food for living slaves. But those wizards that desire a non-judgmental environment for the most abominable experiments, and those Warlocks that would invoke the most horrific entities, and those demon cultists that seek murder and sacrifice without fear of law - have found their home. For here the only true master is terror, fear, and the power to enforce it.
:Intimidate is a Class skill - +1 to Intimidate checks.
There was a province on the borders of Arkhosia that was once popular for its games and gladatorial contests, seen as a center of these activities for the vast, Dragonborn nation. Since the disintegration of Arkhosia, the small realm has become independent, but has retained this tradition. Now, the gladatorial contests have taken on religious significance. Strong in the worship of Kord, the people and governments resolve a wide variety of disputes through divine-enchanced gladiators that carry dreams and ideals along with each blade. The priests of the land have complex equations for decisions and policies based upon which champion defeated whom under which conditions following certain rituals. Every young Dragonborn, Human, and Dwarf in the land at one point dreams of the great colliseums, the great games, the magic-tinged duels to the death - but only an elite few are chosen as Gladatorial champions. But in the hopes of being selected, nearly all youths receive extensive training in physical challenges of strength and skill.
:Athletics is a Class skill - +1 to Athletics checks.
When it was clear that Bael Turath was in chaos, the Warlock-lords of the province of Zaqqara, in their desperation did the only thing that made sense; if the pacts already sworn to the powers of the Nine Hells were not enough, then new Pacts had to be agreed upon. The end result was a piece of the Hells here in the Middle World. In a perfect circle of territory, a small, insular nation exists were the devils still hold sway. Even Nerath could not break the diabolical hold on this realm of depravity. What is considered corrupt in other lands is enshrined in law, here. Bribery, embezzlement, theft, all are common, legal tools in the rotting sprawls of Pact-Zaqqara. Here, devils play depraved games with the lives of their Tiefling and human subjects, through a web of deceit, blackmail, and manipulation, they amuse themselves by the struggles of mortals. Though the devils rule here, the curse placed on them by the gods still holds, and the devils cannot roam beyond their borders, so they rule through deceit, abuse, and coercion. The only true crime here is demon-worship, stamped out quickly and efficiently by ruthless War devils. The morass and corruption of these diabolical cities results in cynical, treacherous mortals willing to sell out their own grandmothers for short-term profit.
:Thievery is a Class skill - +1 to Thievery checks.
Some sophisticated individuals do not believe that any single god should be worshipped by a kingdom, but rather than as many deities as possible should be appeased, of differing ideologies so that a variety of blessings might protect a kingdom against a variety of threats. To this end, the polytheistic ideology of Astralia came into being over the centuries. The Dwarves of old have attracted many members of other common races to help them in their grand endeavor - The construction of fabulous temples to every known deity. Every century, a temple is constructed in a way most honoring to that deity - then, in a grand ritual, the structure is transported to the Astral Sea, to be claimed by their deity - with dedicated attendant-worshippers as a tribute to the deity. The nearby mountains hold vast stockpiles of gold and precious stones, and the pure worship dedicated to each temple noticeably adds to the strength of any given deity. The capital city is now a tinder-box of intrigues between deities light and dark jostling and politicking for more temples in their Deities' honor.
:Religion is a Class skill - +1 to Religion checks.
The Witching Ranges
Not all meekly accepted the fall of Nerath. Though the kingdom was decapitated and the armies were no longer able to police the realm, some isolated villages still cling to shreds of unity and order. Though of diverse races, with the common history of Nerath, folk of the Common races inhabit these villages and see themselves as one people. The Range-men of the sprawling forested countryside known as the Witching Ranges maintain close ties through a network of scouts and rangers that try to hunt down covens of vile warlocks and psychopathic wild fey that have arisen to plague the scattered villages now that the great Legions no longer march to the defense of civilization. Elf and human intermingling make half-elves expecially common here.
:Nature is a Class skill - +1 to Nature checks.
The area was a remote, desert oasis until the great mountain from the sky fell from the Heavens and blasted into the Earth. The great rock was composed of a rare metal that allows steel to be forged far cheaper and stronger than with earthly ores. A clan of roving Tieflings was the first to settle here, and take advantage of the rare event. Traders of many other races make the long march through the Boneshadow desert to the steel-trading emporium. A thousand shady deals and cunning bargains each day, and here information is wealth, and wealth is power.
:Streetwise is a Class skill - +1 to Streetwise checks.
A remote southern region at which both Arkhosia and Nerath failed to fully civilize, these Moors are an unforgiving, marsh-strewn cesspool of feuding clans united only in their bloodthirst against each other. What passes for civilization here depends on trade from those few merchants bold enough to risk the murderous savages distinctive for the materials used in their facepaint, and the horrific predators that hunt in the mists. In addition to native goblinoids, savage humans and the occasional tribe of refugees eke out livings in these marshes, counting on the mists, monsters, and murderous reputation to defend them, but that which makes pursuit difficult also ensures that only the most cunning and wary will avoid their death at the end of a poisoned spear or predator's fang.
:Perception is a Class skill - +1 to Perception checks.
City-State of Utshepit - Minotaur kings, goblin merchants. Half-ogre slave soldiers guard the empire and gather tribute from subjugated orc tribes, ogres are used as beasts of burden and mounts for goblin knights.
Ritoru Kyojin - A race of giant halflings, well over 5 feet tall, known for their rich cuisine and shrines to demon lords such as Chairman Orcus, Chef Azazel and Oven Master Xaphan.
The green spiders of Nexwood - sentient female giant spiders, small normal intelligence males and subjugated insectile goblin tribe, select female goblins swell up to ogre size and burst into swarms of tiny spiders.
Lake of Tears - inhabited by halflings who build their houses on floating platforms of reeds.
a few stolen from Conan
Xuthal In the center of a vast desert stands the ruins of what was once a great city. It looks to have been no more than a 100 years since the city fell into ruin, most of it is still intact. Xuthal used to be a great and prosperous city filled with all sorts of magic. The people their had long ago mastered a way to make an unlimited amount and variety of food with no effort as well as other powerful magics. One of the things they created was a powerful drug which put people in a dreamlike state were they could do anything they wished. Eventually the whole city became addicted. Now the few people still alive wander in a hallucegenic daze. More then citizens populate this city though. Long ago during the height of it's power the city was attacked by an aberation of extreme power. While they were victorious they did not have the strength to kill the monster and instead trapped it under the city with powerful spells. When the city became addicted to their new drug though they stopped renewing the wards and the aberation is free once more.
XuChotl A vast tropical jungle, far south of any civiled lands XuChotl is filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes. The only similarity between the creatures is that they are all deadly. Giant bugs, poisonous snakes, man-eating plants and other deadlier threats abound. Scatered throughout the jungle are massive temples to Set, Sehir's original name. Though most of these temples (think mayan ones) have long since been abandoned and left to ruin a few are still maintained by the original inhabitants. The temples were built long ago by the yuan-ti at the pininicale of their power. Inside these temples many horrific experiments were conducted to "improve" on the jungles most powerful creatures. These creatures were the only surviving relics from ages past before any sentient beings yet walked the earth. Of particular interest to would-be adventures is the city hidden somewhere in the jungle...
XuCholt Named after the jungle of the same name the city of XuCholt is a massive city that has fallen into direpair. The first thing that's noticed upon approaching the city is that the jungle abrubtly stops within a fifty foot radius of the city. The next thing noticed are it's high walls and lack of farms and that it's irragation system has fallen into disrepair. The only way in or out of the city is a rusted iron gate. The city of XuCholt is in reality a giant structure roofed in and with a single hallway running the length of the city but their are no other streets or open courtyards in the city. The city consists of four different tiers each with several different side-passages and chambers. The city is illuminated by the petrified eyes of a breed of magical snakes that have long become extinct. The city is inhabited by two feuding groups. If the PC's join one they will be told the history of the city. "The city was built long ago by another race that dwelt there for centuries doing little besides enjoying their leisure to the fullest. The present inhabitants arrived only half a century before, fleeing a revolution in their native land. A slave of the original rulers, Tolkemec, betrayed his masters and admitted the newcomers whom, though intellectually and technologically less advanced, nonetheless supplanted the architects of the city. Thus the new people came to rule a city they only dimly understood.The newcomers to Xuchotl were led by two brothers, Tecuhltli and Xotalanc, and by Tolkmec. They took over different areas of the city and for awhile lived in peace. However, a feud between the brothers began when Tecuhltli stole Xotalanc’s bride. Tolkemec aided and betrayed both sides for his own purposes, until hideously tortured and cast into the city’s catacombs to die. Since that time, the blood-feud has dominated all life in the city. The two remaining factions are led by Tecuhltli and Xotalanc the sons of the brothers of the same names. The two factions inhabit the second through 4 tiers on opposite sides of the city and both have access to the catacombs which, like the rest of the city are made up of several different passageways and chamber. Unlike the rest of the city though their are actually two different catacombs each with one entrance and that can only be entered from one side of the city. In the catacombs are a variety of powerful magic items that the inhabitants use in their battles. Most of these take the forms of damage dealing weapons or summoning magic. Unknown by the two factions Tolkemec has survived all these years in the catacombs by eating the corpses withing. If the PC's ask where the food comes from make the answer extremely vague as no one actually cared enough to find out. It just appears in certain areas every day.
I'm building a world history to underly the default (PoL) world, called The Forian world, or Lands of the Foriae. (Yes, it's a play on 4e).
The Foriae is an ancient race of shape-shifting primordial mortals.
The Foriae were humanoid in form and adaptive to their surroundings; in the air they became insubstantial whirlwind beings, in the sea they became aquatic torrents, in volcanic or fiery environments they burst into wilful flames, and burrowing in the earth they became much like stone golems or earth elementals. A single Forian individual could become all of these forms at will, or an intermediate form if between two realms - in arctic areas they became ice creatures, in deserts they could swirl as intelligent sandstorms. Attuned to both nature and the primordial elements, the Foriae were excellent naturalists and alchemists.
The Foriae took their name from their primordial deity, who is said to have created them after being rewarded this world as part of a wager with younger (but stronger) gods. Himself a shape-shifter and older than most deities, Forius hoped to see a world arise whose creatures were ruled by variety and adaptability rather than by the obsession with power, temporal dominance and physical solidity. (For reference to terrestrial mythologies, Forius is roughly analogous to the shape-shifting Greek god Proteus).
The Forian civilization's most developed areas were built on temperate land; most of the Foriae found they enjoyed ready access to all the elements. Their form in this environment was much like that of humans, though they would constantly flicker between their four elemental states depending on the situation, the weather and their humors.
The extreme adaptability of Forians made them unsurpassed explorers; they quickly covered all the known world. Because their lifespans were fairly short (25-50 years), they developed a flourishing information culture to carry forward and expand knowledge of their practices and their world. As worshippers of the ever-changing, they built temporary and modular dwellings and avoided monumental efforts of all kinds. In technology and artisanship they tended to innovate in flexible rather than rigid approaches. For example rather than build strong containers or mediums to preserve their artifacts, they focused on making the artifacts themselves pliable, adaptable and easy to replicate through treatment of materials. It is said that Forian parchment is as durable as leather armor against punctures and tears, but also flexible enough to be folded without creasing; it is also resistant to decay due to any known natural or elemental causes including fire. Forian Maps are sought-after relics; like the ancient race, the figures of land and terrain inscribed in them change as the land changes, so they are never out of date even after millennia of erosion, continental drift, deforestation, changing coastlines and the like.
The decline of the Foriae was brought about by cataclysmic events. A new war in other planes broke into the Lands of the Foriae as two rifts: one an opening to the magical Feywild, and another a rift to the dark Shadowfell. Forius was powerless to maintain the isolation of his world from these onslaughts, and he was driven to a distant corner of the universe and some say destroyed, though the last of the Foriae prophesied of his eventual return.
As for the race themselves, they either all perished or have gone into hiding; there has been no credible report of a Forian being known to other races for thousands of years. Some suggest that the Forians learned to interbreed with the less balanced invasive races of beings, and even that they became the ancestors of the first humans by interbreeding equally with races from the Feywild and Shadowfell. (Human alchemists devoutly ascribe to and promote this theory). Many cultures throughout the Lands of the Foriae associate their midsummer festival with the ancient race and wear symbols of the four elements on that day as hommage. The age of Forius is looked back on as a golden age before the world knew conflict, toil, and evil.
The Mirrored Halls of Abeondant
Abeondant was once home to an order of doppelgangers which served as spies and assassins for the old kingdom. Now it lies in ruins, home to the remnants of doppelganger civilization. Small towns dot the area around it, and look like normal humanoid settlements. They constantly war over the Halls, seeking to regain the power of pure, shapeless form. The halls themselves are home to the Novomalu, dark and twisted doppelgangers that worship unknowable gods. The Novomalu become twisted reflections of those they encounter, applying their own strategy against them. The Novomalu like to make use of mimics as traps, and many glamors and illusions fill the place.
Hello friends! I've been slowly mapping my way around the Nentir Vale.
Stop by my blog, won't you? There you'll find all sorts of goodies, such as:
Hope to see you there!
point of light
The Trade Republic of Hawkhaven
Hawkhaven is a massive sprawling city it's unique trading position has brought it wealth and prosperity. The city has always been ruled by the High Governor (descended from the old kingdom post) and some have been better than others.
Now however when the former office holder died a Soulforged (advanced and enhanced warforged) ascended to the post, under the rule of Knight* the city has flourished and expanded pushing back the darkness with magic and sword. This has ruffled a great many feathers among the other kingdoms, but so far no force has been able to stop Hawkhaven's relentless expansion, establishing new fortified towns and connecting old ones, the local Adventurer's guild has a lot of work for new arrivals.
it is ruled by the High Governor and the city parliament, each town also sends a representative.
*High Governor Knight is actually a developed NPC from an old adventuring party with a lot of history. When the paladin William Mordaint (PC) lost his mount to the fireball of an evil warlock (it was a crit, bloody chunks everywhere) he could not exactly raise it from the dead. But the player loved his mount and went and researched other alternative methods. When he came across stories of golems that housed souls in an earlier edition, he asked to do that. I used that as an adventure hook for many fun adventures. He eventually succeeded. The result was something similar to a warforged, and so he now had a unique hireling, he named it Knight.
I needed villains for the new campaign with new players and the former adventuring party fit the bill. Along with William came Knight, Knight assisted the heroes against his former master in an attempt to redeem him.
William is dead, Knight took over as interm governor until a new one could be elected. Knight did such a good job he actually got the post for life.
Knight went from mount to the high governor of Hawkhaven, the second party also founded an adventurer's guild.
Knight is served by an army of advisers, and the city parliament. He hires both guild and freelance adventurers for problems military force cannot solve. All in all he is a fair ruler with a passion for the good things in life (things he never used to have, nor could even contemplate)
heh You have my heartfelt apologies for the length of my last post. :embarrass
I get carried away sometimes when I am enthusiastic about something. :embarrass
~~~I hope this isnt to long and I hope you enjoy it~~~CRATER BAY
~~~Based (very loosely) on a short lived campaign of mine back in the late
Some say that after a war between the gods a fallen, defeated deity fell to the earth here. Others claim that a mountain fell here from the stars. whatever the truth is the fact is that in this spot a large, nearly circular bay exists. One end of the bay is shattered into dozens of small islands - called The Teeth by the locals.
The northern and southern reaches of the bay are dominated by jagged ridges and titanic mountains with narrow beaches on the inner and outer sides. The mountains do not, however encircle the bay entirely. A shallow plain, descending from the plateaus above sweeps down to the bay from the west. A large river, nearly a mile wide follows this descent, flowing from unknown regions to the north and west.
Along the bay - both inside and outside - are numerous small, scattered villages. For the most part the rustic folk of the region make their livings by the sea. Fishing is their most obvious livelihood though forestry is important as well. They are renowned for the quality of their small boats and for the skill of their navigators.
Due to the mountains and the so called Teeth the bay is largely protected from inclement weather. Occassionally a storm will blow in but for the most part the region is tranquil. The mountains (also confusingly referred to as The Teeth by the natives) prevent overland travel between the outer and inner coasts of the bay.
Along the river is a small town, quickly growing into a thriving city. They trade with the fishermen and foresters of the bay and then in turn trade these goods with the cities of the Shining South.
The communities along the outer shores of the bay are largely similar to the ones inside its comforting arms. However some of them have turned to piracy to make their way. Thus the Town has established for the first time a small navy of sorts - three ships so far but more are coming.
The teeth also make navigating the entrance to the bay a challenge that is best attempted in daylight. The Outer Ocean is roiled by the numerous Teeth and their close proximity to one another. Therefore the Town makes available to all ships entering the bay experienced native navigators.
The bay is roughly 70 miles wide at its widest and its true depths have never been plumbed. The mountains are inhabited not only Dwarves but by other, fouler folk and occasional problems have been had with creatures that dwell in the labyrinths beneath the peaks. To the south of the town, about five days travel, is a dense, inhospitable (read: Hostile) jungle that blocks overland travel. Rumours claim that the rain forest is full of ruins from a bygone and forgotten age...
Barbarian nomads wander the plateau freely, unbeholden to the town but generally peaceful.
The town is defended by a small but well trained, motivated and led professional military as well as its tiny navy. Just ten years ago the town guard defeated the last barbarian warlord who tried to take it decisivley in a pitched battle where it was outnumbered three to one.
It may sound ideal but any Light casts a Shadow and this is no exception...
But that part is up to you to determine!
Called "the City of Snakes", Anoch'tiroch is a mysterious and near-legendary city of dark and dangerous aspect. It is a port located some three months southerly sailing from the port city best known by the PC's, along the coast of the equally mysterious jungle known as the Emerald Forest.
It is rumored that the city is ruled by the priests of an unknown and terrible snake god, to whom virgins are sacrificed on a daily basis. Little of the truth is actually known about this place, but rumors, legends, and bard-tales abound in the hundreds. If something mysterious and foreign suddenly appears in the PC's home base, its a good bet that Anoch'tiroch will be claimed as its point of origin.
The Hill of Sorrow
Once long ago, this hill was an active volcano, but the passage of thousands of years rendered it extinct and softened its high peak to only a tall hill with a cup-like peak. Its sides are covered with soft, shiny grass, and only the occasional outcropping of hardened lava or a scattering of obsidian chips advertises its true origin.
During the battle in the nearby Valley of Bones, the grassy slopes of the hill were the basecamp of the allied human armies. Standards were raised and the wounded were tended to here. In recent times, the peak has been used as a meeting-place for men of dark purpose coming out of the nearby towns to the west. For the most part, though, the hill has been abandoned to the wilderness, save by the spirits of fallen men and tribes of goblin races.
Somewhere on the Hill of Sorrow is the tomb of King Thelarn, who was slain during the battle against the Battle of the Valley and buried on the field where he was slain. The tomb has not been uncovered, and many groups of adventurers have been killed questing to find and recover it's treasures.
The Valley of Bones
The Valley of Bones lies astride the Trade Road at the midpoint between the EasterSea Coast and the Heartlands, just west of The Hill of Sorrow. Travelers along the road know they have entered the valley when the land acquires a withered look, with a few stunted scrub trees. The soil has a dusty, chalky pallor. Everywhere along the valley, outcroppings of bone jut from the soil, until eventually the scattered bones outnumber the rocks themselves and the traveler is moving through a wasteland of remains.
Most travelers try to get through this region as quickly as possible because of the great numbers of undead creatures said to haunt it.
I have to finish coming up with the details before I post the whole thing. oh well
Baa'ka Suul: Mystery in the Desert
After days travel through the Searing Desert, as the damage from the Sun begins to wear down your defenses and your water supplies are running low, after battling or avoiding basilisks and blue dragons, the temperature, rising with every step, suddenly plummets to a frosty winter's chill. You gaze upon Baa'ka Suul, a trading community here in the middle of the desert. Everyone wears bulky coats and pelts, you can see your own breath, and water is available and refreshingly chilled. Coats and blankets are for sale here at the edge of town, but they all seem to be priced at least fifty times what they are worth. No one is sure why the temperature here is so low, but everyone has their theories.
There is a large structure at Baa'ka Suul's center, a temple to some forgotten God that was riven in twain by some shift in the World's structure. A massive chasm extends deep into the World. The traders and businesses only get more concentrated as you move deeper into the chasm, and the temperature begins to rise as well. Any good or service imaginable is available here. As you delve deeper, humans and elven merchants give way to dwarven craftsmen and dragonborn artisans, and then tiefling mages and more unusual species of businessmen, and even deeper...
Rumor has it that Baa'ka Suul is built directly above a similar market in the Underdark, and if you ask the right people, traders are always looking to hire adventurers to protect them on their frequent trips into the depths.
Naturally, as one moves deeper into the chasm, the sort of goods and service one may purchase trend towards the unusual. Drugs are the most popular commodity, often used in place of gold for many types of transactions. Slaves, however, are the most valuable asset traded in Baa'ka Suul. Of course, the slavers take great pains to keep their business practice hidden from outsiders. Slaves are brought from the surface into the Underdark to be traded for drowmade weapons and armor and strange magical devices. Slaves are brought from the Underdark to be traded to wealthy surface merchants for platinum and gems.
Note on Temperature Show
The reason for the temperature difference can be anything the DM wishes, but I used a powerful merchant who has a penchant for collecting magical beats is holding a white dragon captive in a secret hidden chamber below his business and has a wizard companion / lacky who has magically lowered the temperature of the surrounding area. If the PCs free the white dragon, he spits out a massive ruby he has concealed in his mouth as a reward, and then lays waste to the city. If the PCs find the dragon but do not free him, the merchant is willing to pay handsomely to keep them quiet. If they refuse to accpet payment, he is also willing to hire hundreds of assassins to kill them.
I just wanted to put in a plug for Plumes & Parchments, my campaign that fits ideally into a Points of Light campaign, even though as I run it, it starts off in the Forgotten Realms. The campaign revolves around the Planarversity, a multiplanar academy for heroes.
Below is an excerpt, regarding the [url=http://esper.tiddlyspot.com/#[[Forest%20of%20Knowledge]]]Forest of Knowledge[/url], an enchanted wood surrounding the main campus of the Sigil branch of the Planarversity.
The Eye of Alethernea
Located deep in the Feywild, this enormous cave flowing with life and pulsing with magic gives birth to the Waterfall of Alethernea, the magical flow intertwined with the water to make it travel upwards, launching the liquid to the sky of the forest around it.
Permanent rain (called Alethernea's Cry by the locals) makes travel difficult, and the strange vegetation has changed to make the most of its weather. A traveler can easily encounter various new species there, who happen to emerge spontaneously from the Eye. Very few travelers would suspect they're standing in a place who exists both in the Far Realm and the Feywild, mixing the endless madness of the first with the infinite spark of life from the other, and giving birth to all kinds of creatures both beautiful and dangerous. Whether the planar juxtaposition happened naturally or was created by some unfathomable power is a question that no sage has answered yet, but from time to time a strange shadow can be seen lurking in the water...
*Sorry if i made grammar mistakes (not english-speaker), i'd be very grateful if you could point them to me, so i can correct those and learn proper grammar*
Sure, I'll offer one up. This is more a point of dark in my world than light, but it is where the big bad for my next campaign originates from.
Yethlyreom - The Dead City
-Population: Unknown. The city is comprised of well over 40,000 undead already, with new rising every day to add to the lands already booming population. Only a handful of living creatures are permitted to live in the Dead City, and those that do are either minions to the Vile Master, or slaves to the cities populous.
-Government: The Vile Master Tiberius commands the capital of the Black Lands, and controls their forces in name, but the Black Lands as a whole is lead by a far more powerful entity, who's name and goals have been forgotten by time. This being is simple called the Black Benefactor.
-Defense: Being a nation of undeath, the Dead City has no shortage of bodies to add to it's ever growing supply of soldiers.
-Inns: The Crypt; Soil Yard; Nezurd's Inn. Nezurd's Inn caters to those of the living persuasion, far and few between they may be in the Black Lands.
-Taverns: Blood Bank; Maggot Pit; Lich's Throat; Dying Liver's.
-Temples: The Temple of Orlloc; Virgin's Chapel (Spica); House of Cthon (Tyrania). Darker gods of Death, Evil and Necrotic energy are worshiped in Yethlyreom. Any sects of worship that pay homage to the gods of good are done so only by the Resistance, and are done so in secret.
Called the Necropolis by some, the Black Capital by others, Yethlyreom is a city of terror, pain and the foul stench of the crypt. It's walls were once home to an illustrious history. But when the Ancient Plague came eons ago, the city and it's people feared that their end was near. This is when the Black Benefactor came to Yethlyreom for the first time. With a promise of a means to survive the plague, he offered to give them immortality until they could find a cure for the plague. Like fools, the people of Yethlyreom took the offer. Since then, the city has been little more than an open wound, rotting more and more with every passing generation, while it's inhabitants descend deeper into madness as their Benefactor's cure continues even today to strip them of their humanity more and more.
Today, the Dead City is only one piece of a massive kingdom known as the Black Lands. The neighboring countries have been at war with the Black Lands for centuries, but no efforts in all those years have been able to encroach the forces of the White Kingdom into the Black Capital.
Yethlyreom is not just home to many dangerous creatures, but many groups operate for the Vile Master and his undead army from the Black Capital.
-Servants of the Rotting God: While there is no temple to the Demon King Cernunnos, the Rotting Servants serves the dark entities' wishes from the Black Capital. Often working to undermine the House of Cthon (being followers of Tyrania and the other Archdevils), the group is still under the command of Tiberius first and foremost. The Rotting God recognizes the power Tiberius and the Black Benefactor have in the mortal world, and commands the Rotting Servants to bow to all of their wishes in hopes that they will lend their might to Cernunnos on the Natural Realm.
-The Vile Ones: These undead have been personally "blessed" by Tiberius, and given the gift of Vile magics to improve their already terrible powers against the living. The Vile Ones serve as Tiberius' personal guard, but have also been known to lead the armies of the Black Lands against the White Kingdom's forces. Few have ever encountered one of the Vile Ones and lived to tell the tale. Even those that did were never the same.
-The Necromancer's Guild: Before the change, Yethlyreom once had a grand academy for the study and practice of many forms of magic. Now, the building is the home of the Necromancer's Guild, a group of powerful Vampires, Liches and other undead fiends that seek to raise their own powers by controlling smaller armies themselves. The head of the Necromancer's Guild use to be Tiberius, but his powers became so great that the Black Benefactor removed him from the position and placed him at the head of the Black Lands themselves. The current head is a powerful Alhoon named G'zlm'ch, who controls an army of Vampiric Mind Flayers.
-The Slavers Guild: Many Undead still require a form of sustenance in order to continue their terrible unlives. This often requires living people. Because of this, the Slavers Guild was adopted into the Black Lands. In exchange for protection and power, the Slaver's Guild would offer up live bodies to those that need them. While some human slaves are made into work horses for any menial tasks the city needs to be done, others are eaten out right following their purchase, with not a hint of discretion about the act. The Slaver's Guild is run by the Neogi, who have increased threefold in power since allying themselves with the Black Lands.
Hmmm, a lot of pages and info to go through to check for duplication, so I'm just gonna cross my fingers and hope no one has posted something like this.
The Dread Caverns: Local communities steer clear of the forest near their walls. Horrible things lurk in their, according to rumors. The animals all flee from the forests heart. The outskirts are overpopulated with all manner of animals, from harmless birds to viscious beasts, all afraid to venture deeper in. Rumor has it that deeper in are horrible monsters that defy description. Where even the plants covering the forest floor rise up to kill those who tread on them.
In truth what lies at the heart of the forest is a cave. The cave is home to a malicious, evil presence, so strong it warps the environment around, and turns it into an abomination of what it once was. Close to the cave the forest becomes a fetid swamp. People and animals alike become unsettled. Driven mad.
Inside the cave the true power is evident. That of fear and deception. The cave plays of the fears of those that enter it. Spawning viscious beasts that frighten those who enter it to their very core. But the true fear of the cave is the unknown. Never being sure which threats are real, and which are imaginary. The cave creates illusions of things which aren't really there. Passages that went one way now go another so that those who enter become hopelessly lost. Harmless animals turn out to be deadly beasts. The deadliest threats sometimes don't exist at all, concealing either nothing at all, or deadly traps. But sometimes, the threats are real. How does one ever know what to fear and what not to fear.
So the name neads work, but basically, the idea with this is to scare the wits out of the players and make sure they can't guess what they're up against from one moment to the next. Pit them against things they're afraid of to know end. If your players are especially afraid of vampires or black dragons, put them in there. Or don't and make them think you did. Vary encounters between having imaginary threats, real threats, weak monsters that are actually powerful monsters in disguize, powerful monsters that are actually weak monsters in disguize. A variety of illusions. When the party thinks they know what to expect, throw something new at them. Make them wander into every encounter unsure of what they face and what tactics they should use. An encounter with a mindflayer and it's minions is scary, but what's worse is not knowing which is the minion, and which is the mindflayer until it's too late.
I'm planning on runing my players through this dungeon when they get close to paragon level. Have the challenge of it mark their passage into a new level of fame and power. I love the idea and can't wait to see how it goes in practice. I had the players fill out questionaires about their characters and included a question about fears specifically so I could plan encounters in this place. If anyone else uses it in their campaign, at any level, I would dearly love to hear how it went and whether or not it proved as frightening and unsettling to the players as I'm hoping it will.
Siege of Torog's Court
Torog's Court is a fortress built long ago by followers of the Deity of Jailers, which fell to ruin and was restored by lawful good humans as a maximum-security death row prison. The kingdom has been overthrown in a revolution and the new government is insisting all convicts be released for fair trials. The prison warden is a righteous and traditional man, and refuses to hand over the prisoners in his charge to such an unstable government. The government has sent a militia which is stationed in the nearest town, two days' march from the prison. The warden decrees that if the militia marches, he'll execute every prisoner. The livelihood of the townsfolk consists largely of providing travel accommodations to the prison personnel and the many citizens who visit the prison to claim stolen belongings taken from the inmates and, if the courts permit, execute the prisoner who wronged them. Since the militia arrived, visitors who were at the prison have no way of returning, as all routes have been cut off. Tensions rise as the militia grows restless and the jailers brace themselves for a one-sided fight to the death.
Choose your side:
1) The jailers
The Shield: A tall range of jagged and rocky mountains that cuts across the land forming a natural barrier between the Goblinlands and the lands of men. Dwarvish legend holds that the mountains were raised by their deity as a shield to protect the young race but they were not enough. As treacherous as the mountains are the goblins are so numerous that some inevitably make it through, so their deity created the dwarves to stand guard against them.
The mountains are inhabited primarily by dwarves and dragonborn, the dragonborn living above ground and the dwarves living below. The dwarves and dragonborn are very active trading partners to the point where the dwarves live off of food primarily grown (goats, yak, grains) or hunted (mountain boar, bear, deer) by the dragonborn while the dragonborn receive nearly all of their mineral resources (metal, quarried stone, gems) from the dwarves. Many of the dragonborn fortifications have been built with dwarvish assistance.
Although there is a great deal of trade and support between the two groups there is almost no intermingling to speak of. The only dragonborn found in a dwarven city are travelers and about the only time you see dwarves in dragonborn villages are when they are there to trade or work.
Dol Kuzuhnd: One side of a great lake terminates against the mountains of the Shield. Cut into the side of the mountain is a massive tunnel big enough for a large ship to sail through. The tunnel is constructed like a medieval gatehouse with massive doors at either end. Guard towers carved from the living rock flank the doorway from elevated positions so that invaders would find themselves at a serious disadvantage and within the tunnel there are numerous openings to allow defenders to rain down crossbow bolts, rocks, and flaming oil on anyone inside.
Once through the second gate the tunnel immediately widens into a vast underground chamber containing the docks of Dol Kazund. This is where most trade between dwarves and men occur. Primarily the humans bring textiles and barley for dwarven ale which is easier to grow on the broader lands of the humans while the dwarves trade primarily weapons, refined metals, gems and jewelry and quarried stone.
Ok, this is a glorious thread, and I'm going to challenge myself to write up a few of my ideas so I can add to it.
I'm aiming for three points of light and three points of darkness, one each of village, town/city, and county scale; and three ways to use each one as the core of an adventure setting.
We'll start with the village-sized Point of Light.
The concept of the village in the shadow of the wizard's tower is a common one. Sometimes the village got there first, and the wizard moved in later; sometimes the village grew up around the tower. Gallowdell is one such village, a tiny point of light and safety in the midst of Hobgoblin-ruined wilds where every other village suffers constant raids and the threat of destruction. Gallowdell alone is safe in this blighted land, the hobgoblin marauders too afraid of arcane devastation to approach. Gallowdell is a little different, though...
The tower is mortared with blood and ground bones, decorated with flayed Hobgoblin skins, and topped with a perpetual corona of greenish-black necrotic energy. Gallowdell's resident wizard is a master of the Necromantic arts, a pallid, sunken-eyed Eladrin who has lived long beyond even his species' normal lifespan. The hobgoblins do not fear fire from the sky, but grasping claws from the earth; and Gallowdell's fighting men are not protected with arcane defences but by the innumerable walking dead who battle by their side. For all the evil associations of necromancy, though, Gallowdell's patron seems to have a heart of good under his deathly-pale skin. This is the village he grew up in, before the hobgoblin raids began, and he'll never let it fall to the raiders until the day he dies - and maybe not even then.
Gallowdell is protected by the usual palisade wall and a few archer towers, but the true defences lie under the many patches of disturbed soil in and around the village. The undead can rise up at a moment's notice to swiftly dispatch any intruder before politely burying themselves again. The necromancer is not a regular visitor to the village - he's far too busy with his studies - but when he does visit (twice a month or so), he is met by a mixture of fear and reverence. He's been around for so long, and is so instrumental to the village's safety, that he is accorded respect more in keeping with a minor god than a mortal Eladrin. Most don't know his name, and just refer to him as the Old Man.
Plot hooks involving Gallowdell:
The obvious threat:
The Old Man is dying. Constant exposure to necrotic energy and the chill winds of the Shadowfell have led him to contract a disease far beyond his powers to cure. He has never taken an apprentice, and it's far too late for that now - he has barely a month, by his best estimates. And with him dead, his undead servants will exanimate and crumble to dust or brittle bones. The village will fall to Hobgoblin raids within weeks. He seeks to escape the threat of death forever by achieving Lichdom, but he lacks the vital components of the ritual. He has precious little time and needs to conserve what strength he has, so he's looking to hire adventurers to retrieve what he needs. Do the PCs help him, knowing that aiding a necromancer become a Lich has potentially devastating repercussions should he prove less benevolent than he seems, and that the mind of the Undead is a strange thing that might quickly lose interest in the once-beloved village? Do they seek instead to cure his illness, knowing that with the Old Man's advanced age, this might only buy the village a few years? Or do they try to find another way to protect Gallowdell without the necromancer's aid, and leave him to die of the disease he brought upon himself?
The subtle threat:
The Old Man has taken on an apprentice, a young Eladrin lady from a nearby village who travelled the dangerous road on foot to see him. The people rejoiced at first, glad that their patron would have someone to keep him company, and happy that their protection was assured even after he had passed away. But then he began to visit the village less and less, and seemed more distant. New and more powerful types of undead have been sighted around his tower, and rumour has it that the Old Man has learned as much magic from his "apprentice" as she has from him. His attitude - once kindly if aloof - has become more cold and distant, even arrogant, and he seems more and more obsessed with his studies than with protecting Gallowdell.
The truth is that the Old Man's apprentice isn't mortal at all, but a Devil (most likely a succubus) assuming human form, steadily persuading him to abandon his duties in care of the village. The Devils plan to provoke the Hobgoblins into attacking when the Old Man is far to wrapped up in his work to protect the village, leaving every last man, woman and child slaughtered or enslaved. Then, with the Old Man mourning the village's destruction as his own fault, the infernal host will finally be able to tempt him to fall to Evil - in exchange for the power he needs to desecreate and reanimate the entire village and seek revenge on the Hobgoblins.
The threat from within:
The Church of Pelor has been steadily expanding throughout the land, and several years ago the message of Pelor arrived in Gallowdell. At first tolerant of the undead as the only thing keeping the village alive, the village's local priest has begun stirring up trouble. The relationship between the Peloric faithful and the more pragmatic villagers has grown horribly tense, and although the Old Man has chosen to distance himself from the whole thing, it's only a matter of time before tensions boil over. And when that happens, an awful lot of people are going to die. If the Old Man's faithful followers wipe out the local followers of Pelor, it's likely that word will reach the large temple in the capital - and news of a village protected by the undead turning on and murdering a harmless priest and his congregation will not go down well with the order of Paladins, who may organise a Crusade to wipe Gallowdell off the map. Conversely, if the Pelor-worshippers turn on the other villagers, the Old Man will be forced to send in the undead hordes to intervene - with the same inevitable result. Even if Pelor's faithful somehow triumph over the Old Man and topple his tower, who will be left to protect Gallowdell from the rapacious hobgoblin hordes?
Gallowdell and the Old Man give you a good opportunity to explore the morality of Necromancy - it lets you show that not all Necromancers are evil madmen who want to conquer the world or kill everyone they meet, and that Necromancy is dangerous but not inherently evil and corrupting. Depending on your take on Necromancy and the general tone of your campaign, the Old Man can be presented however you like: maybe he's a kind-hearted soul who is friendly towards the players but happens to study a much-maligned school of magic; or maybe he's really quite creepy, more comfortable around the dead than the living, but still cares about his village deep down. The Gallowdell adventures probabl work best at Heroic level - they have the right "save the village" feel to them. The hobgoblin hordes can be replaced by any generic threat of appropriate level. Happily, there are mindless undead available at every tier and level, so the Old Man's servants can be tuned to suit. He's probably best represented by an NPC than a monster if the PCs decide to fight him, but it's your call. The Succubus could be any level-appropriate Devil in human form.
This one assumes an Earthlike planet.
Fortress of the Midnight Sun
On an island near a continent in the cold north lies a well guarded fortress. This fortress is in reality a monastery dedicated to Pelor the sun god. The only inhabitants are the fortress guards and a large group of monks wich only stay here for three months each summer but then leave with some of the guards on some sort of pilgrimage to the south, only returning again nine months later.
Though the monks talk to no outsiders some guards have contact with the outside world and come to nearby towns to trade. The monks grow vegtables and brew beer on the island but the island seems to be the only fertile place in the cold north. The guards claim the monks like to stay here over the summer months to stay close to their god Pelor but the sun here shines longer during the summer months.
Rumors however claim that the monks are guarding some sort of an artifact, a prisoned demon that Pelor himself lcoked in this big golden box, but it needs a huge amount of sunrays for power to keep it locked. The monks supposedly travel a far way to another fortress monastery on the southern hemispheres during the winter to follow the longer sunny days there.
Small point of darkness:
For all that magic can heal the most grevious of diseases or wounds, there is still very little that can be done for illnesses of the mind. Often, all that can be done for the insane is to lock them away, to keep them safe - and to keep others safe from them. The sanatorium at Elmsgrove was one such place, a hospital for the sick of mind, run by an order of monks who had pledged to help those that magic could not cure. The chief Abbot of the order, in between his tireless work to help the invalids in his care, would study ancient books of lore and magic in the hope of finding a way to cure the inhabitants of the Sanatorium. After some years, he became aware of the connection between the behaviour of lunatics and the alignment of the stars, and grew convinced that the answer to his questions lay somewhere in the night skies. He purchased the finest telescope that the Sanatorium's funds would allow, and began to study the heavens.
Late one May Eve, after tirelessly tending to the insane from dawn to dusk, then working at his telescope until well past midnight, he trained the great magnifying lens on the green corpse-light of the star Gibbeth, and then fell fast asleep. When he awoke the next morning, his mind was not his own, and the sickly green light of Gibbeth burned like a grim lantern in his eyes. He took the rusty iron ring of keys, and unlocked each and every cell. The inmates of the sanatorium knelt down and worshipped the being that wore the Abbot's body, and they slaughtered the monks in a violent frenzy, and nailed their rotting corpses to the outside of the Sanatorium's clock-tower.
Elmsgrove Sanatorium is a place blighted by the influence of the Far Realm and the vile glare of Gibbeth. During the night, that malign star shines down as bright as the moon on Elmsgrove. It shines through the clouds. It shines through the stone walls, and the halls of the sanatorium are lit by a ghastly green light. After so many decades, the land is hideously twisted by the Far Realm's influence, but the former inmates still live there, their madness beginning to show outside their minds, warping their bodies and the world around them. Rumour has it that the Abbot still lives, with Gibbeth's eldritch tentacles burrowed into his tormented brain.
Adventure hooks to Elmsgrove Sanatorium:
For the avaricious:
Although the monastic order at Elmsgrove were far from wealthy, their Abbot spent years studying the stars. His notebooks would be of incredible value to a Star-pact warlock, or to anyone interested in the Far Realm. And after all these years, that telescope might have become a powerful tool in the hands of the right mage.
For the virtuous:
Nobody deserves the torment that the Sanatorium's inmates have been put through. Putting them all to the sword, and burning the building itself to the ground, could only be a mercy. Besides, the blighted land is growing slowly, year after year, and for miles around Gibbeth is the brightest star in the sky.
For the curious:
The corruption about Elmsgrove is legendary, but nobody really knows the original cause. The connection between the Far Realm and madness is well known, but poorly understood: everyone knows that contact with the Far Realm drives people mad, but Elmsgrove seems to be living proof that the connection works in reverse as well, and that a concentration of madness can attract the energies of the Far Realm. Is it all a terrible coincidence, or did the monks really bring Gibbeth's baleful gaze down upon themselves by amassing so many lunatics under one roof? And how have the insane survived for so long in a completely uninhabitable area?
Elmsgrove makes a good one-shot, or it can tie in with a wider plot arc concerning the Far Realm. It's particularly good if you have a star-pact warlock in your character party! It can work at any level and tier, although it's probably best in late Heroic or early Paragon. I'd favour late Heroic, since Foulspawn are an ideal representation of the asylum's occupants - but there are Far Realm related entities at a wide range of levels, and if nothing else, plenty of other monsters can be re-skinned as mutants and Far Realm aberrations. At Paragon tier, the Abbot could be perfectly represented by a Scion of Gibbeth (from the MM 2).
A large point of light for your use:
Sometimes, when a chromatic dragon dies, it leaves a permanent mark on the world - an area of land perpetually distorted to that dragon's nature. Black dragons leave corrosive swamps, white dragons leave frozen wastes. And the older the dragon, the larger the warped area. In most cases, this makes the area dangerous and all but uninhabitable. There are exceptions...
Cykraskar was a truly ancient Blue dragon, who in his long life inspired many legends and made a great many enemies. He was ultimately slain by other dragons - a pack of them who, contrary to their nature, worked together to take down the ancient Blue. At the moment of Cykraskar's death, a great thunderstorm erupted, rapidly spanning to cover thousands of square miles. This area, wracked by constant wind, rain, and hail and blasted by massive thunderbolts every few seconds, was considered a dead loss - the farmland was rapidly flooded, the roads turned to slush under constant rainfall. But a dragon as old as Cykraskar is bound to have a horde, and the rumours that it had not yet been found began to attract adventurers. One of them was the gnome artificer Jenson Abernathy, who - although he failed to locate the horde - saw great potential in the storm-wracked lands where others had seen only ruin. His shrewd mind calculated the tremendous magical energy that must be present in every one of the frequent lightning bolts, and when he left the land it was not because he had given up the search for the horde as so many others had done, but because he had found a new mission, and needed reinforcements.
When Jenson returned with a cartel of Gnomes well-studied in the arcane arts, and a veritable convoy of craftsmen, survival experts, warriors, and builders, he had all but forgotten about the horde. He had far grander designs on his mind, visions of great copper-tipped towers to catch and channel the lightning. The first tower built was the smallest, but it served as proof of principle - every thunderbolt for half a mile around was drawn unerringly to the spire, and there charged the great magical batteries that Jenson had designed and built. Before long, the stored magic was being put to good use, and the tent-village that had grown up around the tower was being replaced with a more permenent settlement. Abernathy and his clan were now convinced: Cykraskar's death-throes were the dragon's last, accidental gift to the world.
The land now known as Cykraskar's Blessing is a city-state in its own right. Though the land is useless for farming and all food has to be imported, the governors are wealthy beyond imagining, for the entire land is dotted with great copper-tipped towers that gather and store the constant lightning, where it is used to manufacture magical artefacts which can be sold at a high profit. The land only has a few small towns apart from the central city of Drakespire, and the main employment is in magical crafting, building and maintaining the great towers, and work in Drakespire's large standing army. The houses have to be of solid and water-tight construction to withstand the near-constant rain and wind, and need deep foundations to stand in the muddy ground, so the architecture tends towards the functional rather than the beautiful. Lights in the towns are kept on constantly, for the thick layer of cloud above all Cykraskar's lands blots out the sun.
The horde has still not been found, although most have stopped looking, assuming that by now somebody must have looted it and kept quiet about it.
Plot ideas for Cykraskar's Blessing:
The obvious threat:
A blue dragon, rumoured to be one of Cykraskar's descendants, has arrived, and has set up lair atop one of the region's mountain peaks just within sight of Drakespire. Rather than fight to clear a territory for itself, the newly-arrived dragon seems to be busy creating magically-fuelled servants for itself, using the thunderstorm as a source of power just as the Gnomes have done. The local Kobold tribes, who once served and worshipped Cykraskar, have rallied to the new arrival in the hope that it will protect them from the Gnomes, who would love to see the vicious little bastards wiped out. Many of the Kobold tribe leaders are proclaiming that the dragon will level Drakespire and set up a new Kobold utopia in the ruins, and that the tribes should prepare for war with the Gnomes.
Although the Kobolds aren't a threat except in huge numbers, the Gnomes' defences mostly rely on lightning-based weaponry and magic, and will be precious little use against the dragon if it does decide to attack. As yet, it hasn't shown any interest in communicating, and people are speculating wildly about what it really wants, and if it really a descendant of the great Cykraskar.
The hidden threat:
Years and years of continuous rain have done more than just turn most of Cykraskar's Blessing into a quagmire. They've also flooded large parts of the Underdark. The inhabitants have been driven ever closer to the surface by the rising water, and a few of them have broken through into the lower tunnels of the iron mines around Drakespire. The nameless hordes of the Underdark, displaced by the rising waters are disordered and with no unifying force behind them and would only pose a threat to Drakenspire by sheer numbers and the element of surprise, but one creature in particular is more dangerous. The floods have allowed an Aboleth, usually confined to the very deepest subterranean lakes, to swim almost to the surface and begin sending out minions to investigate the surrounding lands. At the moment, it merely lurks and studies with alien curiosity and cold, passionless detachment. Whatever its ultimate plans, its servants will begin infiltrating the towns, the research stations around the lightning-towers, and the great city of Drakespire, in preparation for... what? An attack? A covert takeover? Or an attempt to expand the storm, flooding more of the Underdark and expanding the Aboleth's watery domain?
The threat from within:
One of the Gnomish mages has been studying the perpetual storm closely, and has discovered something incredible - within the heart of the storm, Cykraskar's soul still lives! The storm is, and always has been, sentient, still fuelled by the incredible force of the ancient dragon's undying willpower. It allowed Drakespire to grow in the hope that one day, it would find a suitable disciple to carry out its wishes - and now, it has found that disciple. This gnome, swayed by the dragon's charisma and promises of the secret location of the horde, has begun an ambitious project of engineering. In his workshop, an artificial dragon takes shape, crafted of steel and brass, with great glass lenses for eyes and a colossal battery for a heart. Armoured and articulated, with blades for claws and teeth, waiting to be hooked up directly to the greatest of the lightning spires, and the ritual to be completed so that Cykraskar's immortal soul can flood down into its new body in a titanic bolt of lightning. Then the dragon will live again, with metal where once it had bones and scales, lightning where once flowed blood, raw magic holding it aloft where great wings once beat.
Maybe the inhabitants of Cykraskar's Blessing would fall to their knees in worship of the reborn dragon, eager to pay tribute to the being that their entire society is founded around and named after. And maybe the ancient being might even let them live.
The land of Cykraskar's Blessing only makes sense if some level of "magitech" is present in your campaign - Eberron is probably the perfect place for it, for example. The adventure hooks work at a range of levels: the new dragon's Kobold servants can be run as either a credible threat at early Heroic tier or a trifling nuisance at later levels. The mechanical dragon, on the other hand, is a reanimated ancient blue dragon powered with the very best of Gnomish magitech, and although it could be used as an opponent at any level, it would feel odd for it to be a lower than epic-level threat. It's probably best represented by a custom-designed Solo monster, although if you don't want to go that far, you could use a slightly modified Blue dragon, or a Dracolich with all the damage types changed to Lightning and Thunder. The underdark threat is designed very much with an Aboleth in mind, which is a good Paragon-tier threat, but this could be replaced with something more or less nasty at other levels.
A large (country-sized) point of darkness for you all:
The Wounded Lands
While some areas have been scarred or rendered desolate and lifeless by magical warfare, the vast stretch of land now known as the Wounded Lands have suffered a far stranger fate than most. The magical fallout in this area has permanently warped reality, and now the Wounded Lands have a singular and unpleasent property: Anything from this area will bleed when wounded. Anything.
It can be extremely unsettling when biting into a freshly-picked apple fills your mouth with hot, salty blood. Chopping down trees, digging in the soil, breaking stone with a pickaxe - any damage inflicted on the fabric of the Wounded Lands will produce a seeping wound, which will scab over and eventually heal, leaving a scar-like pattern in its place. Magically sharpened weapons can even cut the air itself and make it bleed, so if not kept sheathed will constantly flow red.
The Wounded Lands are barely inhabited, since crops grown there are inedible to all but the strongest-stomached people (and certainly not to cattle or other farm animals), and any holes dug in the ground - mine-shafts or house foundations, for example - will quickly flood, clot, and impossibly heal over before work can be completed. Most water supplies are undrinkable, as the rivers constantly wash away the scabs that form on their banks and open up fresh, seeping wounds. Those who do live in this place are mostly drawn by the magical potential, either to study it or to make use of it.
Although digging new mines and tunnels is all but impossible, ones which existed before the lands changed are sure to still remain, although they may be long-lost. Who knows what could be found in such ancient places?
The liquid in question is very similar to blood, although not exactly like it - it cannot give sustenance to anything, even blood-drinking creatures. But it looks, tastes and smells exactly like blood, clots like blood, and - worst of all - attracts mosquitos and other such unpleasantries. Since even walking on soft ground in the Wounded Lands will quickly coat your boots in thick, slowly-clotting blood, travellers are sure to be plagued by swarms of biting, stinging insects.
Possibly the most unpleasent feature of the Wounded Lands is the result of burying a corpse there - the rotting flesh of the cadaver infects the "wound" in the ground, and it heals imperfectly, the ground swelling up like a massive abcess. Eventually, the discoloured earth above the blister splits open, and amidst a tidal wave of pus, the reanimated corpse crawls out - wracked with magical mutations, muscles swollen to hideous proportions, bones now studded with blade-like spikes that punch through the skin from beneath. These undead are utterly mindless, and are a danger to anyone they encounter.
Plot hooks involving the Wounded Lands:
For the avaricious:
There are no end of tales of treasure lost in the Wounded Lands, particularly since treasure or lost vaults buried in the area before the catastrophe are now so hard to dig up. It's even rumoured that the artefact that caused the catastrophe in the first place is out there somewhere, the focus of the corruption. For those who want knowledge and power, the Wounded Lands ability to heal damage done to them would be incredibly useful if it could be replicated - there are no end of barons who would pay good money for self-repairing castles or armour that heals itself.
For the virtuous:
The Wounded Lands' ability to restore corpses to ghastly, malformed unlife is a potent attracting force for evildoers who seek to raise an army. Although none have yet worked out how to control the horrors, sooner or later one might succeed - and even before then, they are killing innocents to acquire corpses on which to experiment, and the rampaging monsters cause more carnage and death. They must be stopped!
For the curious:
There are many unanswered questions about the Wounded Lands. What caused the devastation in the first place? A mere magical catastrophe is unlikely to have caused such a specific effect, rather than simply blasting an enormous crater in the landscape. An artefact could be responsible, but how has it gone unfound for so long, and why would it not have been documented beforehand? Perhaps the power of a God or Primordial is responsible, or perhaps some other mighty being set out to create such a perverted landscape. One of the more persistant rumours is that the Wounded Lands contain a permanent portal to an outer plane of some kind, but nobody knows which one. People have suggested that only the taint of the the Abyss could have created somewhere so vile, but others have pointed out that the Abyss rarely has restorative power, and the land's ability to heal itself is utterly at odds with the mindlessly destructive nature of the Abyss. Just what caused the Wounded Lands to be the way they are - and can such power be harnessed for good? And what of the hideous resurrection ability of the Wounded Lands? What causes that, and could it be used to restore true life rather than horrible undeath?
The Wounded Lands would fit right in to 4e Forgotten Realms, as they're the kind of thing that could easily be created by a particularly nasty bit of the Spellplague. If none of the adventure hooks above are suitable, the Wounded Lands makes an excellent base of operations for a recurring villain - perhaps a mage who tries to harness their strange power, or a Vampire Lord who loves the idea of an entire country that bleeds (even if the blood won't sustain him, it's still stylish as hell). In terms of game tier, the Wounded Lands can be used at any level of play.
In game terms, the Wounded Lands can provide plenty of unusual terrain or hazards. Just as a simple example, any burst or blast powers are likely to create temporary areas of difficult terrain as the scorched ground becomes slick with blood, which then clots and scabs over. Furthermore, being covered in blood - as player characters are sure to end up - can attract predators who hunt by scent, and is unlikely to cause a good impression on anyone they meet. Characters finding a large cluster of swollen, ready-to-erupt graves might either blunder unknowingly into the danger, or succeed on a History/Arcana check to remember or work out that each mound of earth is likely to hold a gestating undead.
Another Point of Light for your use - or rather, two inextricably linked points.
Ataram and Kharovsk, the Twin Cities of Riftstride
Cities grow for a reason. Maybe a mining town over a rich seam of minerals, or a citadel at a defensible location, or a port-city at a natural harbour. Ataram and Kharvosk have grown around the two ends of a natural portal linking the two locations across thousands of miles, and without the portal, neither city could exist: Ataram sprawls in the centre of a vast and trackless desert, dry as dust and hot as hell, without an oasis for miles. Kharovsk is situated in a chill polar tundra, too cold for normal human habitation.
But clever use of the portal has allowed the cities to survive - Hot desert air is blown through from Ataram to Kharovsk, where it heats houses and melts ice to cold, fresh water, which can be piped back through to sustain Ataram's people and irrigate their farms - and then the crops can be sent back to Kharovsk to help feed the people. Likewise, the merchants can trade goods between the two cities easily - and since both cities exist with no other civilisation for miles around, trade routes have grown to pass through them, allowing travellers a welcome rest-stop and a chance to reprovision.
Although inanimate matter can pass through the portal easily, living things cannot without a substantial expenditure of magical energy. The mages of the two cities can provide this service for a suitable price, but since most cannot afford to make regular journeys, the people of the two cities remain mutually dependant but isolated from each other. Still, the governments of the two cities rarely make laws or decisions without consulting each other, and the Emir of Ataram and the Boyar of Kharovsk meet regularly to discuss such things.
Riftstride, as the cities are known collectively, acts as a hub of trade and a popular place for adventurers to visit. The permanent portal can shorten transcontinental journeys dramatically (for the right price), and a large Magicians' guild has grown in both cities to study the portal and take advantage of it.
Adventure hooks in Riftstride:
The obvious threat:
In the frozen wastes north of Kharovsk, a great army is gathering to attack the Twin Cities. Ordinarily, no-one would dare, since the wizards of the Riftstride guild would be perfectly capable of opening the portal to supply magically-summoned reinforcements, war machines, and weapons from Ataram, and Kharovsk's walls are high and sturdy. But the attackers have been cunning - Doppelganger mercenaries infiltrated the cities weeks ago, and sabotaged the portals by redirecting them to the Nine Hells, where a second group of hired mercenaries - this time a band of devils - wait to intercept travellers. Ataram cannot even confirm for sure that Kharovsk is under attack: people and messages sent through the portal do not return, so they only know that something has gone horribly wrong. Worse still, one of the Emir's Viziers has been assassinated and replaced with a Doppelganger, who is doing everything he can to delay the sending of proper reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Boyar of Kharovsk is panicking - without reinforcements from Ataram, he cannot win an open conflict, and with the food supplies from the portal cut off, his city will never withstand a prolonged siege. One of his trusted advisors suggests surrender - but unknown to him, this is another Doppelganger agent.
The only hope for Riftstride is an adventuring party - small enough to travel through the portal as a group, but skilled enough to take down the waiting devils on the other side, and with the magical expertise to reconnect the portals and restore communications. But even with that done, the doppelgangers need to be rooted out, and then there's a battle to be won!
(Note: Depending on which city the PCs arrive in first, and what would better suit your campaign, it can instead be the Ataram that comes under attack and Kharovsk trying to send aid. The attacking army is deliberately left non-specific.)
The hidden threat:
A dispute breaks out between the merchant guilds of Riftstride. The Kharovsk guild claim that a potent magic artefact purchased from Ataram was a forgery, while the Ataram guild claim that they verified the item's authenticity before sending it through the portal, and that the merchants of Kharovsk are slandering their good reputation.
The truth is far more worrying. A renegade wizard has found a way to intercept things sent through the portal, and has been taking the opportunity to steal small items from the packages traded back and forth by the guild. Un-noticed up until now thanks to only taking trivial things (which were blamed on mundane thieves, accounting errors, or minor merchat duplicity), the artefact was too much to resist. Once he recieved word that it was to be sent through the portal, he hastily crafted a fake, and swapped the two in transit.
This goes beyond mere theft, though. If one person can find a back-door into the portal system, surely other people might exploit it? A truly evil - rather than just greedy - wizard could poison Ataram's water supply, or the food being sent to Kharovsk. A well-prepared assassin could take the opportunity to eliminate the Emir or the Boyar on their way between cities. With enough magical power, a small group of deadly monsters could be unleashed into the heart of one of the cities, inside the defensive walls where they could cause the most carnage.
The threat from within:
The portal has a critical flaw. It's touched by the influence of the Far Realm, which in turn influences anyone who travels through it. Although this effect is too small to notice for those who only travel through once or twice, frequent portal-goers will eventually suffer the effects of repeated exposure to the Far Realm.
The people who use the portal most of all are the Emir of Ataram and the Boyar of Kharovsk - they need to meet in person to discuss the running of the two cities, and the only way to do so is to travel via the portal. Since Far Realm influence makes people highly sensitive to the alignment of the stars, and Ataram and Kharovsk are in different parts of the world with different constellations in the sky at any one time, the Boyar and the Emir are slowly going mad in subtly different ways. As highly intelligent people who consider each other equals, each has noticed the gradually developing insanity of the other - and each, driven paranoid by the Far Realm's power is making secret and diabolical plans in case their counterpart needs to be removed. The Boyar of Kharovsk, convinced that all of Ataram's populace must be suffering from the same madness as the Emir, intends to poison the water supply and wipe out the entirety of the desert city should the Emir go completely mad. The Emir, on the other hand, feels a deep but misguided compassion for his friend and ally and is determined to cure him by any means necessary - in this case, he has managed to contact one of the powerful Fae, a Coure of Mischief and Strife, confident that the creature's understanding of the human mind is what he needs to cure the Boyar of his insanity.
(Note: As above, the cities can be swapped around for this adventure if you prefer)
The Twin Cities work best fairly early in the game where long overland journeys are still a major obstacle to character parties, and the portal can be a real point of interest. If intending to use Riftstride at Epic tier, place the two cities on different planes altogether, or in two far-flung parts of the Elemental Chaos.
The Coure of Mischief and Strife mentioned in "the threat from within" can, of course, be replaced by any suitable creature of appropriate level. An Illithid would do nicely, providing one of Riftstride's cities has the means to contact such a creature.
The Mysterious Ruins
These large ruins with numerous runes across them are a complete mystery. A few people are camped outside of it, dragonborn, tieflings, humans all want whats inside claiming them their heritage of their ancient empires, meanwhile there are dwarves and halfling treasure-hunters who want the valuable stuff inside for themselves, while scholars, wizards and historians try to learn what they can about to them to see if they gain any knowledge from the past.
However, none of these groups can go inside, some forces are keeping them out. These forces are optional; they could be ancient golems that are somehow activated because they touched the wrong thing, the dead rising from their grave, some wild animals who have moved in there, or a tribe of ogres or trolls- or maybe some shady organization has got there first and is looting the ruins. Whatever the forces put there, the adventurers will have to get rid of them for any interested parties wanting to go inside.
I purposefully made it so that which NPC the players can have as a plot hook can be decided by themselves having multiple guys to choose from, as well as the DM being able to decide which enemies they face.
Over an unbelievably deep chasm sits a seemingly floating tower descending as deep into the chasm as it towers over the earth the only access point is about halfway along this ancient and marvelous marble bridge. The true power that is held in the tower is a complete mystery and many have died trying to solve it.
This is an open ended adventure site that can be completed by the DM I just had thought for the history of this adventure site that i was wanting to use in forgotten realms the Magic node functions smiler to an earth node. I hope people like it :P
DC 15: A half-elf wizard known as Tiaque Yadeth discovered a arcane node that held ancient magic that had been forgotten. He was intrigued by the ancient power that was hidden in this chasm and set up a research post, and began a study of the magic that was held in the depths.
As the years went by Tiaque found out more an more about the magic potential the site held. The research post attracted many of the magically inclined and curious sages. They worked long and hard and learned the heart of the node and erected a tower that was set astride the chasm and constructed as deep as it was tall.
DC 20: The sight became a secret school of the arcane arts teaching any that was willing to learn. The Professors of the school became corrupt and Tiaque himself fell into the darkness that had overwhelmed the school. For years the school was teaching dark wizards and an evil side of magic and tainting the magic that flowed through it.
DC 30: Tiaque set up his study and his laboratory deep in the lowest levels of the tower, which was conveniently in the heart of the magical node. He hid the entrance with the same magic that was bound the the node and flowing trough the tower. This is where he hid all his magical discoveries both good and evil. To protect his secrets he set many magical and mundane traps in the lower levels of the tower and forbid anyone entrance.
Kawa: A vampire family rules this City-State with an iron fist. They have banned everything arcane, and the people are done with this a tyrannical rule.
The names of almost everything was done with a random generator!
This is a description of the main city of Kawa and three of the surrounding villages ruled by Kawa.
Kawa: Population 22000, primarily human, some other civilized races. The city sits on the southern banks of a great river, spanned by many bridges. On the other side of the city are the Adamant Mountains, known for their rich deposits of adamantite. It is governed by a tyrannical human vampire warlord, Dini Lavenon, though his evil vampire family rules the small villages surrounding the city. There is a corrupt ban on the practice of arcane magic, though there is an underground school for wizards operating on the outskirts of the city. Slavers thrive in the city, selling slaves from around the world to passing caravans and the Lavenon family. There is a grand marketplace in the center of the city, which is overlooked by the towering palace of the Lavenon family. Travelling Merchants from all over the world have come to sell their merchandise to the citizens of Kawa. The city is on the brink of rebellion against the overlord.
DC 15: The Lavenon family came to power when Dini and his siblings overthrew the previous dynasty by assassinating the entire family.
DC 20: Dini Lavenon is an ancient vampire, aging almost 500 years. He used to be a general in the Kawan military.
DC 25: The members of the Lavenon family are devoted worshipers of Tiamat, the evil god of wealth and greed. There is a legend that Tiamat herself ordered Dini to overthrow the Gronan dynasty.
DC 20: There is an underground school of the arcane arts devoted to overthrowing the Lavenon family. They will accept support, and they are known to repay favors very lavishly.
DC 25: The rebellion is led by a half-elf warlock named Pelo Harg and a human wizard name Torn Mark. Pelo runs an inn in one of the surrounding villages. Torn Mark owns a large mining corporation. They are also supporters and co-founders of the underground arcane school.
Matsuka: Population 760, primarily human, some other civilized races. The village is a tangle of alleys and row buildings. It is governed by Dini Lavenon’s sister, Sute Lavenon. Matsuka is a small mining village located right next to the Adamant Mountains. It is known for the craftsmanship of its smiths. There is a small market on the southern end of the village. The market is an open plaza surrounded by buildings. One of these buildings is the Rogue’s Inn, a prestigious inn run by a gregarious half-elf named Pelo Harg. The governor’s house is located on the northern end of the village. In between is the large residential area, which is ruled by a large estate, owned by Torn Mark, the founder of the village’s largest mining corporation.
DC 20: Matsuka is the center of the rebellion against the Levanon dynasty.
Nohima: Population 640, mostly human, some elf and half-elf. The tree village sits on an island in the middle of a lake in the foothills of the Adamant Mountains. It is ruled by Acham Levanon, Dini Levanon’s son. The city is known for its animal hide-based economy, living off the game in the dense forests surrounding the lake. They hunt common game such as deer and bear, and sometimes even young black dragons in the mountain caverns. There are several inns in the village, but the highlight is the Inn of the Mountains. The inn is owned by an elf name Elemuel Rostin.
DC 25: Elemuel Rostin is a high-ranking military leader of the rebellion. He is actually a shaman dedicated to the preservation of the lake and the surrounding forests.
Idoriokyo: Population 590, mixed human and half-orc. A major road runs through the center of the village. It is the only village that sits on the other side of the Great River. It is governed by Yiadon Levanon, Dini Levanon’s brother. The village was attacked by monsters recently, and many buildings are empty or in ruins. It is recovering from the attack, yet its fishing economy is thriving. Yiadon is one the only member of the Levanon family that is not evil. He holds sympathy for his citizens. He is also a powerful member in the rebellion. He hopes to contribute to the rebellion with his wisdom. Idoriokyo is the newest village under the influence of Kawa.
Secret Knowledge: Yiadon is a wizard, but he has hidden that from his family in fear of punishment.
Kharovsk would ideally be situated on the Para-elemental plane of Ice (between the Plane of Water and the Plane of Air, in 3.5 cosmology). In this setting, it's not a city built on top of the ice sheet - it's built into a network of tunnels and caverns, deep under the ice. The whole place is lit by an eerie blue-white glow as light filters through the vast glacial expanse surrounding the city. Some places are low, narrow, winding tunnels, with doorways on either side leading into networks of rooms rather than stand-alone buildings. Others are more like conventional towns, built on the floor of a huge cavern. Off the commonly-used paved roads, the floor is a rough ice-sheet, with enough friction to grip and walk comfortably - until it gets wet, or warm enough to melt. When the city needs to grow, new tunnels and caverns are carved out by massive heated drilling machines, powered by mighty magics.
Ataram would, of course, be well-suited to the Elemental Plane of Fire, but I think that's a little obvious (and besides, it steps on the toes of the City of Brass). Instead, you could place it in the machine-plane of Mechanus, situated directly over a fifty-mile-wide heat vent from some unearthly engine. Or on Phlegethos in the Nine Hells, where the sand is crushed bone and the only rain that falls is of hot ash and cinders. Or in the Outlands, far away from Sigil and the great spire, far away from any trade route or any land anyone cares about, far away from such comforts as the occasional drop of rain or a moment's respite from the searing, callous glare of the white sun that hangs motionless in the sky.
(Wow, I'd totally forgotten about this thread until I was emailed about your post, RoboKomodo. Thanks for the reminder! I must actually write up Pinion and the other places I've thought up since.)
Pinion started small. A mad wizard's dwelling, a black iron castle in the shape of a neat cube, walls made of complex overlapping plates that would twist, grind, and shift to expose ranks of baleful cannon or a dark opening to the keep's gloomy metal halls. Populated only by the mage and a small army of Iron Golems that acted as his servants and private army, Pinion was sinister and impregnable, but little threat to anyone who did not seek it out - the wizard kept to himself, not seeking company, wrapped up in his research until the day he died. And if only it had ended there, the world would be a far better place.
The golems did not die with their master. They were driven - perhaps by the dead wizard's last command, perhaps by some sentience that he had managed to grant to the unliving things - to endure, to build, to strengthen the structure of Pinion, to make it larger, more complex, more mechanical, more and more like a living thing. They marched in their dozens to the nearest down and smashed it to splinters, and carried off every last scrap of metal they could find, back to the great black cube, whose walls slid aside to let them enter. And they built. And come morning, it was a fraction larger, and a little more complex, and with one more golem to guard it.
They have been building for hundreds of years. Pinion is the size of a city. Ugly, forbidding rectilinear blocks of iron and steel, without ornamentation. On hidden gears and wheels they move, grinding past one another, the whole city of iron rearranging itself slowly, with a hideous noise of metal on metal. Pinion moves. The whole city crawls, slowly, across the landscape like some titanic slug. Ranks of cannon and spinning blades line its outer walls; catapults, lightning spires, and steam-powered gatling guns cover its upper surface, and hundreds of golems trudge tirelessly through the iron city's corridors and chambers.
This is not a place fit for human habitation. Rain that falls on Pinion is channeled and drained swiftly away into the churning mud beneath the city, for the golems do not need it. Nothing grows here. Nothing lives here. Any living thing that finds its way into Pinion is found and crushed to pulp by the golems, for they guard their great machine well. They do not seek out lives to end: the iron fotress crushes cities under its treads not out of hate, but simply so that the golems can acquire more building materials. And so Pinion grows larger, and the golems add another soulless warrior to their ranks.
If a particularly stealthy adventurer invaded Pinion, they would find a perplexing place. There are no torches, no windows, for the golems do not need light to see. Rooms and buildings shift arrangement slowly, according to some vast and complex pattern. Corridors convert themselves into slopes, then stairways, then vertical elevator shafts. Smaller rooms move about on rails inside larger ones. Vast cathedral-like chambers serve as factories for the creation of more and more golems, or weapons, or vital components. As the interloper draws closer to the centre of the living machine, the noise grows louder - the older parts of Pinion are rusted and decayed, and the sound of metal grinding against metal becomes intolerable. The original structure is still there, at Pinion's hideous heart, and somewhere within it is the withered corpse of the wizard who made this place his home and - ultimately - his mausoleum.
Plot hooks involving Pinion:
For the avaricious:
Pinion began life as a wizard's workshop, and anyone capable of building something like this must have had some cool toys lying about, right? And if that's not enough, well, it's been marauding around the countryside for hundreds of years, crushed dozens of towns and cities under its tread, including a rather nice palace, and left nothing behind. No buildings. No treasuries. No enormous piles of precious gold and jewels, which therefore must still be in there.
For the virtuous:
Pinion is, normally, little threat to mortal life. The golems won't actively try to destroy you unless you attack them, try to keep something metal away from them, or try to enter the city. If Pinion is heading for your home city, you'll have plenty of warning - you can see it coming from miles away - and you'll have plenty of time to evacuate. Nobody likes to flee their homes, but it's better than being crushed to unrecognisable red paste beneath a million tonnes of iron.
But this time things are different. The Yellow Skull Fever struck the city two months ago, and though the death toll was low, a full third of the population were infected at some point. Recovery from Yellow Skull Fever is slow. It takes lots of sleep and bed rest, and no exposure to the cold. If the people of this city flee, thousands of them will die. The only alternative is to make Pinion stop or change course.
For the curious:
This should not be possible. Golems are mindless automata, which follow their master's commands unthinkingly. They can't learn. They can't extrapolate a command like "guard me forever" into "turn my home into a giant mobile fortress and crush cities to powder for more iron". They can't innovate, and couldn't build something like Pinion unless someone had already drawn up the plans for it in intricate detail. And they sure as hell can't work the magic needed to build more golems.
And yet, Pinion exists. Their master can't possibly still be alive - humans don't live that long, and he had no access to life-extending magic. So, who or what is driving Pinion's continued growth? There's only one way to find out...
Your average Heroic-tier adventuring party will, faced with something like Pinion, decide to give it a wide berth until they're higher level. And they'll be right. There's no way you can make something like this feel like a fair challenge before level 8, and that's pushing it. Pinion is very definitely a paragon and up level adventure. It can work nicely at Epic level too, if you simply transplant it into another plane and have it go raiding for something more exotic than scrap iron.
Gameplay wise, Pinion offers plenty of opportunities. Rooms that shift and rearrange themselves make for excellent combat scenes. The corridors can be protected by just about any trap your devious mind can conjure up. Between encounters, Pinion is a deeply hostile place - there's no food, no water, it's too noisy to get a good night's sleep, and anywhere you choose to make camp is at risk of being crushed by a cube of iron the size of a city block any moment. The golems don't need time to sleep, air to breathe, or light to see by - they will pursue you wherever you might go, at all times of the day or night, and they know the city's layout perfectly.
Smart PCs will realise quite quickly that the golems don't attack unless provoked, and if you don't look like an invading army you can actually get quite close to Pinion without being at risk. Approaching from the air is suicide, however - the lightning spires and gatling guns will shred anything less tough than an Ancient Dragon. The correct way in is to get into it's path and wait patiently until it's about to crush you, then dodge between the churning treads and find a way up from below.
Next: Titansfort, a city built into the corpse of a warrior-giant crafted from the elements by an arrogant god. Because this thread needs more epic-tier stuff.
When the smith-god of the Dwarves sought to destroy the world-spanning nation of Avandhar, he built a titan to do his work for him. Never one to start small, he began with twin mountains. From these he wrought the giant's legs, that it might stand as fast as the mountains, lay as much weight upon the earth with each step, be as sure-footed as the hills themselves. He took desert sand for its skin, ever-shifting, able to repair any wound or hide any weakness in minutes. Its bones were black iron stolen from the roots of the world, its teeth were the swords and spear-tips of an army. He tamed a hurricane to be its breath. He pulled a skein of mist from the sea-coast to weave a cloak for the giant, to hide it from mortal sight as it drew near. He cracked a volcano in two and pulled out its molten heart to beat in the chest of his creation, its chthonic rhythm driving the march of ten thousand golems of molten rock through its cavernous veins. Into its muscles he wove the strength of the seas, that eat away at impregnable cliffs and crush them down to powder, and from the sky he called down lightning to flash through its brain. When he came to arm his creation, he caught the Jokulhaups - a cascade of water and ice and steam and mud and fire, that can wipe cities off the face of the world and leave nothing but a scar in the earth - in the palm of his hand, and wrought its destructive power into a sword, and poisoned it with every plague that had ever been. When he saw that his giant needed an eye, he reached up and plucked a star out of the night sky, leaving a hideous black void where the sting of the Scorpion constellation had been. And when he realised that his giant drew breath without purpose, that it saw without understanding, that it moved without life, he sent his faithful servant to sneak into the Garden of Life's Origin, and carry away a seedling of original Life. This he set upon a ring, and set the ring upon his giant's finger, and it had life and understanding and purpose, and knew that its purpose was to be the death of a nation.
The gates of the smith-god's forge swung open, and the giant stooped to step out. It marched on Avandhar, and their city-walls crumbled at its tread. It marched, and their legions were pulverised beneath the edge of that terrible howling sword, and those who fled sickened and died. It marched, and their army of zeppelins and dragons were cast aside by its breath. It marched, and where their magic and heroes and war-machines scratched its skin, beasts of molten stone stepped forth from the wound and struck a deadly blow in retaliation, and slunk back into the giant's flesh before the wound healed over. Their magic faltered, their war-machines fell silent, their armies retreated, and the giant strode towards the capital, the palace, and the still-defiant queen.
Avandhar's mages were not yet beaten, though. In their desperation, they cast about for any weapon that might bring down the gods' giant. They found it, in a book charred by fire, bound shut with iron chains, and stamped with HERESY in bold letters. They studied the rituals within, and found a weapon that could bring down the giant. With a hangman's noose, and a bloodstained knife, and two locks of hair from a killer and his victim, and with blood and salt and a chant without words, they called up from the pitch-black labyrinth below the world a thing that should not be.
It is not recorded what the Thing from the labyrinth demanded in payment for the death of the giant. Some things are best left forgotten. None of the mages would speak of what was done in that chamber, and all of the records have been erased. But a cloud of grey and black boiled up from the palace's cellars and flowed like oil across the city, and all it touched were gripped for a brief moment with uncontrollable fear, a fear of the unknown, of the things that lurk in dark places and never ought to see the light of day. It moved as if blown by a terrible gale across the plains, and it touched the feet of the giant and surged into its skin, and a moment later the slow beat of that volcanic heart simply stopped, and the giant fell.
Though Avandhar's legions were broken and many of its cities toppled, the body of the giant held great power. From its corpse they built a new capital, a citadel with foundations as strong as the mountains, braced by iron from the roots of the world, with buildings formed of solid sand that repaired at once any harm they suffered, and walls tipped by countless blood-thirsty spear points. From the giant's chest, the king carried forth a great stone, glowing red and warm to the touch, with which he commanded ten thousand golems of molten rock. His mages retrieved a golden device like an oversized cloak-clasp, forever shrouded in clouds and fog; and a blueish-white crystal that crackled with caged lightning; and a grey-swirled sphere that commanded the winds themselves; and a green jade staff that could exert the force of the waves; and a tiny gem that shone like a star; and a ring of green wood set with a tiny seed; and an unseen and unwholesome thing that they carried away under armed guard in the dead of night. But where the giant's sword fell was useless land, charred and blackened and washed away by mud, and infected with a thousand plagues.
Though Avandhar is long-gone and the Titan's Relics scattered far and wide, Titansfort still endures. The proud inhabitants claim to trace their lineage back to the great kings of Avandhar, and boast that no army on the Plane could challenge them. They may be right - Titansfort's defences have only been strengthened over the years. If ever there was a mortal city that could withstand any invading army, this is it.
The obvious threat:
From the top of the citadel's tallest tower, the fallen sword of the great titan can be seen in the distance, stuck point-first into the ground and surrounded by a great crater of blasted, ruined land. Nothing grows there. The earth is thick, sucking mud, in which great fissures vent scalding-hot steam. The earth and water are tainted with supernaturally potent disease, able to bring a strong man to his knees in an hour. Nobody goes there, and nobody has any reason to.
But it's growing. Slowly, the mud-slick ground creeping outwards at a snail's pace, but surely. Nobody knows why, or how to stop it. Eventually, though, it will engulf Titansfort and reduce it to a ghost town.
The hidden threat:
The Arch-Devil Mephistopheles, Prince of Hellfire and Duke of the Eighth, has a great many vices. He's famed for it. He cultures vice. He takes a sick kind of pride in his evil, his corruption, his depth of iniquity. But of all his sins, the greatest is called Envy. It is said that Mephistopheles has such jealousy in his mind that it stained his eyes green where once they were red. And the chief object of Mephistopheles' envy is the one Devil superiour to him: Asmodeus, Duke of the Ninth, whose influence extends like black tentacles over the whole of the Nine Hells of Baator from his fortress Malsheem. Mephistopheles envies his power, his reputation, his disciples, his wealth, and his lair.
It is this last that is relevant here. Malsheem is a keep unrivalled in all the planes - except, of course, for Titansfort. Mephistopheles wishes to go one better than Asmodeus, and become the ruler of Titansfort. Knowing perfectly well that he cannot conquer it in war without bringing the whole of his diabolical armies to the Prime (and leaving his position in Baator distinctly precarious), he intends to claim the citadel by subterfuge. The walls are impregnable - but the mortals are weak and power-hungry, and Mephistopheles is nothing if not a master manipulator. He has spent centuries insinuating his own agents into positions of power, and unless his trickery is revealed, when the elected ruler of Titansfort is slain, his replacement is certain to be Mephistopheles' pawn.
And, should the conspiracy be revealed, he has a back-up plan. The Titan was a living thing, once, and it had a true name. Mephistopheles has learned that name, and plans to use it to summon the Titan's body - citadel and all - into Baator, there to beseige and conquer it.
The threat from within:
Within the great palace atop Titansfort, there are many passageways leading deep into the body of the giant. One, a well-kept secret, winds its way down through the gigantic corpse down into the vast, hollow chamber that was once the giant's heart. The heartstone was taken long ago, but this place still pulses with magical power. The only person who ever comes down here is the High Mage of the city - it is a good place from which to scry on the rest of the city, and he finds the gentle thrum of long-since-stilled magic to be oddly comforting.
This time, the wall bears a message, in meter-high runes that seem to have grown from the very rock.
I AM ALIVE.
The Bleak Temple
Torog is a foul god and a god of foul things. His children are the scuttling vermin of the earth, the worms that gnaw at the root, the beetles that crawl from bloated cadavers. Every oubliette and prison is holy ground to him. Imprisonment is a sacrament to him, torture a vile communion; every gaol-warden and torturer his beloved servants. And yet, without the King that Crawls, the Lord of the Oubliette, the Conquerer Worm, the world would be a darker place. Torog imprisons. It is in his nature - he cannot release his wards, for no matter how they beg or what they might offer him, he loves them in his own twisted way, loves that they are held fast in his own black vaults, dependant utterly on him for what food and sanitation they receive, that without his care they would wither and die in their own filth. Torog imprisons things far worse than himself. Demons as mighty as gods, that once sought to plunge the world into eternal pain and chaos. Devils that commanded countless armies, that if left unchained would rule all of the worlds and the spaces between them. Things from the Far Realm, that corrupted everything they touched and everything they beheld. All of these abominations, locked away forever, screaming without end in the darkness of Torog's cells.
Each temple of Torog contains a wonder, a thing sacred to the King that Crawls. A bottomless pit, a chasm that plunges away deeper than the deepest ocean trenches, deeper than the lowest reaches of the Underdark, deeper than the world is wide, deeper than the Celestial Mountain is high. It is a terrible thing, to stand on the edge of that pit and look down, to know that you are staring into an eternity of darkness, and that if you fell, you would die not from hitting the bottom, but from thirst or starvation.
To Sir Marcus Avonstock the Bold, Knight Errant and Hero of the Realm, it seemed like an excellent way to dispose of a cursed sword. He'd found it on a battlefield, clutched in the withered hand of one leader's corpse and plunged into the chest of his counterpart. The blade was broad and tapered, elegantly made, and it shone like something angel-wrought, with a small eye-shaped hole near the hilt. An odd feature of a sword, but he thought nothing of it until he happened to glance though it, and saw only death and horror on the other side. Through the eye of that blade, every fair mortal was shown as a walking corpse, rot and ruin supplanting strength and beauty. Every building seemed a derelict ruin, every work of art a foul and debased thing. Even the sun looked dark and red, a hateful orb in the sky.
Sir Marcus was, happily, an intelligent man and took the time to make inquiries as to the provenance of his newly acquired sword. What he heard chilled him to the bone. This weapon dated back to the dying days of glorious Avandhar, when the Titan's corpse had been stripped down for parts. Amongst the wonderous items - the Titan's Heart that commanded an army of ten thousand magma golems, the Titan's Eye that saw though every guise - was found a power that had never been meant as a part of the Titan. The smith-god had given it strength, and breath, and life, but it was the Thing from the Labyrinth that had given it death. The last of the artefacts, the Titan's Death, was carried away to the Mages' keep and forged into a sword, in the hope it might make a potent weapon. And it did, but it was too hungry for death. There is no goodness in its purpose, no use it can be put to that it will not pervert. It delights in bringing death and destruction, in defiling that which is pure, in scarring what is beautiful. It seethes with rot and ruin, and it cleaves to the grip of the cruel, the callous, those as monstrous as the thing that killed the Titan. Should it find itself in the hands of the righteous, though, it will corrupt them - and those it cannot corrupt, it will kill.
By the time Sir Marcus learned of this, it was, he knew, too late for him. He could not cast the blade away. And so he journeyed to a foul place, a temple that squatted in a tyrant's city like a toad in a stone, and with the baleful blade in hand he slaughtered all in his path. And in the temple to Torog, with the blood of the priests soaking his robes and glistening on the sword's steel, he stood on the lip of the bottomless pit, and whispered a prayer to a god he despised, and cast himself in.
Torog is a foul god and a god of foul things, and loathes nothing so much as freedom, and it is in his nature to imprison. His divine will closed about the thing like the body of a great coiling worm, and clutched it tight, and drew it down, down into the endless screaming dark. But the Titan's Death endures, at the bottom of a bottomless pit, its entropic stain seeping out into the world, drawing people towards it to seek its power. They all die, of course, but the Titan's Death does not care. The great city around the Bleak Temple is empty and forsaken. A hundred thousand corpses fall, slowly, down into the pit, rotting as they fall. And Torog laughs, as his worms and maggots devour their putrefying flesh. Beneath it all, a blade that shines like the glory of angels is still held fast by the death-grip of a corpse that has not rotted at all, for even the maggots die in that blade's glow.
Plot hooks involving the Bleak Temple:
For the avaricious:
Abandoned city. Do I need to say more? Those who cast themselves into the bottomless pit didn't stop to pack their valuables. The place must be FULL of gold. Especially the palace - the tyrant who once ruled here was infamous for confiscating wealth from the populace and hoarding it. Hopefully, if you can endure the pull of the Titan's Death for long enough to find the treasury, you'll simply be able to carry off whatever you like without any resistance. After all, who would be living in such a place?
And this would be a fantastic plan, if someone hadn't already thought of it about ten years ago, and if that someone hadn't been an immortal Dracolich who now makes her lair in the throne-room of the abandoned palace, waited upon by undead servants, occasionally making an idle study of the Bleak Temple and its terrible pit, wondering if the Titan's Death might one day be retrieved and put to use.
For the virtuous:
Although destroying the Titan's Death is beyond even the power of the gods, it can be sealed away. The bottomless pit is a good start - but the influence of the Titan's Death pervades out. If the pit could be somehow sealed, cut off from the world and left to drift in the Astral Sea, a great blight could be removed from the earth, and a city could be reclaimed. It won't be easy - the Titan's Death is horribly dangerous to approach, and Torog will not take kindly to unbelievers entering his temple and working magic to despoil the sacred pit.
For the curious:
Torog is widely reviled, an evil being whose works - it is said - beget nothing but evil. Under the watchful eye of the sun-god Pelor, a great crusade assembles to strike at Torog's blackened heart, raze his temples, slay his avatars, and hopefully scour the King that Crawls from the face of the earth. However, the Titan's Death is well-contained in his grasp, the Lord of the Oubliette acting as the perfect custodian for a thing that can and would bring about the fall of other gods. Torog has other wards too, terrible things that would wreak untold havoc if released - as they would be if he fell. The warriors of Pelor think they are doing good - but they may be about to unleash countless horrors upon the world, should they succeed.
The matter must be investigated more closely. Is Torog ultimately a force for good in the world, despite his malign nature? Can the nightmares he imprisoned maybe be kept locked away even without the Conqueror Worm's watchful gaze? If not, what can be done to convince Pelor's Crusade that they are about to make a terrible mistake?
Keep of the Oathbreakers (inspired by Of Life, Death, and Delight which in turn was inspired by Adams Family)
Swearing themselves to a forgotten goddess of War and Plague, the Seven Harvesters were the sworn defenders of a once proud empire. The Harvesters rode upon the backs of nightmares, bringing death and disease to all who would dare to take up arms against the people they had been blessed by their Lady to defend.
Their goddess was not an evil deity, but neither was she kind. To her the relationship between god and worshiper was a binding contract, where the sacrifice of blood and joy on the part of mortals was rewarded with that which was in her express power to grant - strength in war and freedom from disease. The Harvesters were her husbands and brides on the mortal plane, never to take up lovers lest they be punished for being unfaithful.
Therein lay the tragedy of the Seven, for though they loved their empire and honored their goddess they had been but boys and girls when they first began the necessary training and transformations that would see them reborn into vessels capable of housing the fell magics of violence and sickness. It was only natural that two of them would come to love each other, though which two committed this betrayal is lost to time.
And then one day the primordials rose up, and the goddess was caught up by a new war in the silver skies of the Astral heavens. It was then the two lovers used the distraction to flee, killing one of their own number in the process. The four loyal Harvesters purused them but the surprise of the betrayal had caught them unawares and they were too wounded to give much chase. It was then that the empire's enemies, made aware of the sudden weakness by their own gods, quickly united to invade the theocracy built on blood sacrfice and violence.
Within their mountain keep, a place far from the ruins of that shattered empire, the lovers remain, undead warrior mages finally together but unable to express their emotions through the nearly fleshless bones that reamin to them. Wounded by their fellows to edge of death, only by turning themselves into liches could they keep their souls from entering the domain of the goddess they had betrayed. They fear true death, and seek out any means they can to unravel their ties to the goddess.
Where once they were great warriors, they are now scholars though they retain their power over war and plague. They use these weapons to keep the lands around themselves in constant strife, ensuring the surrounding forests and grasslands are overrun by petty warlords who are easily manipulated into doing the lovers' bidding. Those few times when peace seems unavoidable plague strikes, but since none are aware of the keep in the mountains none know what the cause of their continued misfortune.'
There's also a great illithid planar metropoli by RipVanWormer here.
Here's one adapted from one of my organizations based around parallel multiverse sliding (see sig) -
The Mirrored Halls of Infinite Recurrence are a massive, living maze that shows you ways you might have been better and ways the world might be better without you. The Maze is a cruel being, though it is questionable whether it is evil or a harsh teacher. Remember the girl or boy that got away? Well, you actually are happily married...in another possible timeline. Remember the time you wished you were brave? The time that you look back on where you know you should have been kinder, where you didn't think far enough ahead to the consequences? Other versions of you did better when the same trials were presented to them, other versions lived better lives for different reasons. Perhaps they received that kindness you only wish you had been given as a child...
The maze will also show you places that people that are different because you were never born, and they all seem better for it. You see places where maybe someone you care about is happier because they are with someone else, or a student excels because they had a better teacher than you. You see, in essence, the benefit of your absence. Imagine your spouse decided to leave you and then having an amazing life. Imagine your children running away from home and not missing you or deciding that even though they miss you it's better this way...
The trick to defeating the Mirrored Halls is realizing that you can change, that you can understand why you are the way you are and then transform yourself. That the maze is refusing to show you the ways in which your experiences until now can be used to help or at least warn others, that you may not be perfect but there are many that have been touched positively by you. The Mirrored Halls ultimately show illusions, because no one else is you and so no else can judge you so completely...especially not an immovable sentient construct! As one wanderer through the maze puts it:
"If I can understand myself, I can forgive myself. And if I can forgive myself, I can transform myself..."
The Observatory of Invitation
The Observatory is built on a mountain, separated from civlization. Fungi of various sorts (including bioluminescent ones) grows all over the place, but beyond that there is sparse vegetation and the animals are all sickly if not outright deformed. There is a massive telescope that radiates magic, and extensive well cared for libraries. However, every other structure in the place is dilapidated and crumbling, though the resident astronomers - all healthy if not blessed attractive physiques - don't seem to mind.
Those who stay here for an extended period of time as guests come to find that the astronomers are all gnomish warlocks who have made pacts with the aberrant lords that dwell on the other side of the night sky. They are fundamentally changed inside, as spilling the sickly sweet black molasses that now passes for their blood will show. These lunatics are alienists seeking to open a way between the stars and the world, allowing their masters passageway into the world.
Surpisingly, when confronted they are rather honest about their endeavors and will ask the PCs to join them in their efforts to terraform reality into something presumably more "free" and thus "better". Those who refuse are likely to end up as fodder for the unnatural beings the warlocks' masters have sent to oversee their lesser, once-natural children.
The City of Circles and Stars
This city appears after a choking sandstorm sweeps over the desert, a fabled acropolis unanchored from Time so that its inhabitants could survive the onslaught of gods, fey, shadows, and primordials. Besieged by the followers of these beings, and unable to find succor in the Planes Above and Below, they fled into Time as the one avenue that remained to them. The city is a wealthy place of summoners who have bound angels, elementals, and other planar beings - even a titan of water serves to provide a close approximation of modern plumping. The residents have designed magical collars to subdue their charges, and drag them around on thin, enchanted leashes made near gossamer links crafted from precious metals.
The city consists of a great many alabaster towers and summoning circles and pentacles. The conjurers of this city, when returning into normal time for a span, always attempt to cage new servants from the planes. The citizens subject these slaves to all manner of competitions and tasks ranging from labor to prostitution and the selfish magic users are always craving novelty in their thralls.
The residents, due to their long exposure to the effects of temporal displacement, live each day with little understanding of their own fates. Every now and then they will become aware of what they have done to themselves and at that point they will extract as much information from the PCs as they can. They wish to return to the world but are terrified that their divine, shadowed, fey, and primordial enemies will exact terrible retribution if they do so.
The City that Awaits Us: This city seems to exist in both the Shadowfell and the Feywild but has no counterpart in the mortal sphere. In Shadowfell the undead and shadar-kai show us that this ruined city is a place with breeding pens and nightmarish cetacean livestock in the city's pitch water canals. In the Feywild, the eldarin city is a place of bright and aromatic water gardens, where the flowers offer much magic to the aspiring alchemist. In both place the residents are confused by the lack of a mortal mirror, and continually tell the PCs of events on the mortal plane that presumably haven't happened yet.
The Beekeeper Hag: In the forest an old woman, presumably an evil hag, keeps bees. Many of the surrounding villages are convinced the woman is somehow connected to demons or devils or some other fell power in the planes, though for some reason this doesn't stop them from buying her honey and putting it on just about everything. The honey is always traded via the intermediary of forest tribesfolk whose ancient pride was broken long ago by slaughter and subsequent introduction to varied drugs. These tribesfolk say the woman is actually the proxy of a gentle earth goddess whose name they have sadly lost the right to speak.
The Weeping Skull: Somehow a skull has grown into the wood of a maple tree, only part of its face juts out of the bark. Sap runs down its cheeks. To taste the sap is to be granted strange visions offered up by Primal Spirits who dance and enjoy other pleasures around tree invisible to the sight of mortals. Those who sleep under the tree have dreams of the skull talking to them, telling them of its dark and storied history when it existed in the head of a living being...and while its been a long time since you heard the tales, you swear you know who this legendary figure actually is...
The City that Sustains Us: In the Winterlands the mines were drying up, the elk and mammoth were dwindling in number with every migration. A way of life that existed for centuries, that had risen on the backs of the proud and the strong in the wasteland left after the Titanomachy, seemed to be coming to an end. Then the new city came, the city of tents and travelers that had somehow walked across the frozen ocean. They have wonders to trade along with necessities, and with their arcana they allow hunters to track game longer in the snow, to venture out further into forest and ice floes in search for game and fish.
They are a boon, but I don't think they are a godsend...because every so often they don't have the shadows of men - too many limbs writhing in the wind...
The City that Holds the Sleepers: This city is a somnucropolis, where everyone is asleep a la Sleeping Beauty. The city is in the middle of a pan-dimensional lake, which means trying to get to it invariably results in crossing paths with creatures from the Feywild and Shadowfell if not higher/deeper realities. The city is on an island that is a giant cinder, though the city itself is a beautiful argent place with delicated filigree overwriting the surface of every single building.
For some reason all the sleepers are children, dressed in the clothes of the city's varied professions.
Our City is a Gift from the Wolves: In the dark forests there is a city that enjoys a steady supply of game and healthy crops. Everyone here worships the wolf packs that seem to inexplicably leave them alone. Everything from the temple altars to clothes to the serving bowls are decorated with lupine sculpture, stained glass, etches, embroidery and paintings.
Is it just a matter of simple respect? Is there some benevolent primal spirit or god? Or is there some dark sacrifice at work here?
Also love RipVanWormer's fiendish gate cities -> Void's Edge where wereravens compete with fiends and Abattoir in Hell.
The City that Fell from the Sky: This city comes from beyond the circle of the world, and apparently one it danced in the Void among the stars. The city is a collection of spiraling towers that have pierced the earth, creating deep wells where once they extended to great heights. The inverted city invites many explorers into its strange alien confines, not the least of whom are the drow and the illithids that seen their Underdark gutted by the crash of this sidereal metropolis.
Within the city one finds the glowing green metal thrums with a possibly organic heart beat, and the denizens have all placed themselves into some kind of suspended animation pods resembling transulcent violet fruit. Apparently well aware of their city's violent descent, they have left several of their own undead and aberrations to guard them.
The Invisible Ocean: Deep within a bone dry canyon the world phases with another, creating a place where ghostly images of undersea life swim through stone and over dusty bleached bones of aquatic life long dead from drought. Every so often, the worlds align just enough so that these creatures can touch, sting, or bite those trekking through the canyon.
On both worlds there are cultists who are seeking to open the way completely between the two worlds, believing in some prophecy about the tanar'ri Demogorgon and obyrith Dagon that requires the conjunction.
The Ant March: Upon the distant mountains that stretch across the horizon there are bonfires burning, and the wind carries the sweet scent of smoke over miles. The taste of it has even gotten into the rain. For some reason ants of all shapes and sizes and being called to those fires, and this creeping tide is overrunning villages that the ants devour to sustain themselves as they continue on their pilgrimage.
There are reported sightings across the lands of hooded beings that seem like a cross between these insects and elves, but many feel like these are rumors just out to make a bad situation even worse, or explain something whose answer cannot be found anywhere else but on those distant mountains. What is known, because you can see them from a distance, are the larger ants, the ones the size of horses, that seem to be leading these expeditions.
The Horse Cutter: Somewhere in the woods is a sadistic freak preying not on men but on horses. It steals them, and possibly lures them away with the use of enchantments. Days later people find the equines' mutilated forms on the edge of the forest. What are the strange symbols cut into the horseflesh? Why do no flies or other vermin dare to touch the bodies? Why does the plant life around the corpses die off as though each murdered horse bore some blight filled aura?
And perhaps most troubling of all, why does this monster need their eyes and their teeth?
The Well of Karrud: The Well of Karrud is a well filled with water that tastes like rotted meat in the mortal world. In the Shadowfell, the well is at the center of a city of concentric circles. Each circle is a community that becomes more and more monastic as one gets to the center. So in the outer circle you have a metropolis and at the center you have a monastic community that is a nigh-necropolis as in the last circle all that is left to do is make the final preparations before one jumps in the well.
Each circle takes one further toward the life of an ascetic, specificlaly the legendary kind of guru fable in the East for being able to subsist on little more than dew and light. Each circle is also less capricious and evil than the ones before, as if the gloomy effects of the Shadowfell are being countermanded. This leads one to ask what is at the center of the well?
The monks in the inner circle would say the god Karrud awaits, the god who is the darkness of the subconcious. Cleansed of hate, fear, and even despair, the monks who enter the well are meeting with the god who is themselves - the darkest part they buried like all mortals do. Of course, to see these fabled monks in the center requires entrance through the circles, something not easily granted by Karrud's ogre mage militias that prevent fraternizing between circles as well as allow traffic to flow toward the center. Only these oni are given leave to determine who is worthy to enter each successive circle.
The city is incredibly diverse, drawing members of all races fom all walks of life. Apparently the city manages to draw in people not from your world...
Note: Loosely based on the god Kud from Korea, who I was told watched over the negative, darker aspects of human nature. A god of evil who isn't evil himself essentially. Liked the idea a lot!
The Locust Graveyard: At some point, perhaps to prevent famine or to stop some dark ritual, millions of Abyssal locusts were magically drawn to this chasm to suffocate on the poisons that seep out of the earth. The vapors are both a hallucinogen and capable of draining the body of vitality in a matter of hours. It is unknown who provided the glyphs on the walls of the chasm, magic apparently strong enough to lure thunderheads of demonic insects to this place and keep them here until they finally passed away.
What is left is a chemically preserved pile of insects that, due to their demonic heritage, retain glimmers of life. In fact, after their deaths they should have vanished back to their homeland, but some interaction between the misty poison and the magic of the glyphs prevented that. Their collective ghost haunts this area as a ethereal titan known as The Goetia, a spectral swarm that attacks anything around it as it cannot return to the Abyss until it is destroyed of fulfills its original purpose to destroy some nation or family. To attempt this in the present would mean killing some lineage that perhaps one of the PCs is either a part of or the sworn enemy of.
Note: Sorry, should have given credit where it was due, but was trying to find the correct reference. The Goetia means "The Howling", as of right now I can say I got it from Alan Moore's Promthea as it reference that buzzing home of the demons. Where he got it from I can't say.
The House of Horns and Hides: There is a ruined, lifeless town that carries the smell of a menagerie. Though no animals can be seen, the smell of wet fur and the sounds of many beasts are carried faintly through the fog that prevades this place. While walking through the fog, at some point you will hear the crunch of bones. Looking down to see what you have stepped on, it becomes clear to you that the bones are those of a human or demihuman.
The center of the town is a manor, with quarters for servants, a stable, and many many trophies of animals. These remnants are from animals are mundane and magical, various bones, horns, hides, and other body parts that are preserved in jars and some kind of light pink amber. Whole bodies have seen the touch of the taxidermist, but you do not recognize these specimens.
What happened here? Does it have anything to do with the pilfered religious relics that are hidden in the manor's vault? Where are those relics from, and what primal spirits are they beholden to?
The PCs had better work fast through the notes left in the manor, the bloodspattered journals must hold some clue. The fog is rising, and the sounds and smells of the beasts are getting closer and closer...
The Mercantile Willow: A giant willow tree grows in an otherwise forsaken woodland. It radiates a sense of safety and the various monstrous creatures that prevade the land cannot come near it. However, once the PCs seek its shelter they will find that the willow itself is drawing more of the creatures to the very edge of its protective boundary.
It wants something from the PCs in exchange for safe passage - the defeat of a rival tree deep in the swamps, a tree with its own ability to command the reptiles of that dismal place. Now the PCs must lead the beasts that hunted them, serving as the willow's champion. But what happens once the war is done? Will the willow honor its bargain?
Also, Todd Stewart's Blind Clockmaker's fortress on the Plane of Time.
The Fairy Sisters' House:
"In Darkness our world in stupor lies,
Yet dotted everywhere,
Ironic Points of Light flash out wherever the Just exchange their messages..."
-Auden, 'September 1st 1939'
A manor that appears to traveling heroes in the far and dark places of the world, an inn radiating warmth and light in the wastelands of the frozen north and a respite from the insects and jungle's humid sweat in the wildlands near the equator. The Fairy Sisters' House is a boon to those who seem to have been forsaken by both Fate and the gods.
Within one finds a place that is short on visitors, or at best its spacious common room is moderately packed, but the inn is always teeming with orphans of various races and various ages. The Sisters seem, suprisingly, like mortal women who work long and hard to tend to their charges and to offer respite to those who fight to make the world a better place. They are not the flawless ethereal beauties of the Feywild, and yet the very strength of their seeming humanity makes them all the more beautiful and all the more heart breaking.
Yet anyone who approaches them romantically is politely rebuffed, in a way that brooks no argument. No reason is usually given, though sometimes they tell a particularly kind visitor that they are pledged to Another.
Who are the Sisters? Some say they are the nuns of a benevolent god, one who loves the world and so provides a House a gift, an ever moving candleflame of the Light in the benighted world. Others say they are fey daughters who forsook Paradise because one of their sisters knew the love of a mortal, a love that does not end when wrinkles begin to show and frailty overtakes the form. Yet when they departed their archfey parents cursed them, saying the very thing they sought, this so called "higher love", must be denied to them for a mortal who loves them with such purity is cursed to know darkness and despair. Still others say they are all succubi who have risen, and now pledge themselves to some god of light in exchange for redemption.
The Gloom Boxes: The Gloom Boxes are a collective term for the jails, asylums, and most unfortunately orphanages and refugee camps that simultaneously exist in the world and in the emotionally draining glooms of the Shadowfell. Designed to make the charges within their confines more tractable, many of these facilities are now haunted ruins left in disrepair. They might simply apper abandoned during the day, but one quickly realizes the anger when the sun goes down and the undead reclaim the places of their cruel deaths.
Those Gloom Boxes that are still intact are places where the charges seem drained and docile, and while heroes should be quick to free the innocent and the youthful, there is some truth that incredibly dangerous prisoners are controlled by keeping them in these arcane jails. Of course, why some of these dangerous criminals need to be kept alive is another question - for some communities it is done because they cannot bear to their loved ones a death sentence. For others it is because there are family connections, or perhaps some noble or wizard hopes to draw out secrets of buried treasure or lost magic from the killer or thief.
The Windswept Tower of Roses: This Tower seems pristine but abandoned, surrounded by briars bearing rose blossoms. It is always a border season here, Spring on the edge of Summer, or Summer leaning into Fall. The area around the Tower switches between these two climates randomly, but the shift always occurs at night. Winds continually sweep into the area, carrying the scent of the flowers and resulting in a whirling cyclone of rose petals surrounding the Tower.
Both the wind and the animated, regenerative briars will act to keep anyone from getting too close to the Tower and none of the village folk have dared in a long time, though there is always a pack of young fools that end up meeting their deaths here - you can see their bones and rags pinioned on the great thorns of the briars.
When the moon is full and visible in the sky, adventurers have heard the most beautiful voice singing from the Tower, though the exact nature of the voice - a man? a woman? a child? and what they want - rescue? a queen at their side? - is never something those who hear the singing agree on.
Crossroads House - A house that in truth is an almagation of different buildings across reality.
"...The one place Architects have managed to create, in a sense, is the Crossroads House. Originally thought to be a Multiverse of its own, it was later found the House is made partially from overlapping parallels for which it serves as a nexus while sections of it seem to exist as an independent, albeit finite and small, Multiverse..."
The Iridescent Messiah: In the hinterlands of the FeyWild, in a place where the starry night never gives way to a sun and is never encumbered by a moon, there is a massive tangle of trees, briars, and vines all covered with fungi releasing choking spores.
The plants themselves have blossoms whose scents bring hysteria, despair, and mad visions. There are hundreds upon hundreds of hags, eladrin, gnomes, goblins, fairie dragons, lycantrhopes, formians, cyclopses and sentient animals that are hacking away at this regenerative tangle. There seems to be some kind of glinting, multi-faceted crystal whose radius equals the height of the mortal world's tallest mountain, a crystal that this growth has completely covered.
While you can't see clearly through the deep-azure quartz, there is some kind of argent light piercing through. The light carries with it the sense of power and authority, and the longer you look the more you are likely to swear that this place, so removed from the courts of formian and fey alike, is the Center of the Feywild. There is, you become convinced, a silver girl-child sleeping inside the faceted dome. She is sleeping on an altar, on her back, and she has four beautiful dragonfly wings...
Those seeking to break through the crystal claim that the One to unite all fey is within the aboreal prison, the true heir of Fey. The Summer Queen, as of yet, seems undisturbed and even laughs off any mention of the place.
It should be pointed out that Time is very strange around this place, and mortals especially risk returning to a world that has passed time by centuries. The first visit can shift you by a day, the second by a month, the third by decades, and by the fourth at least one druid claimed to have come from millennia long past...
The Purged Lands
Long ago a foreign enemy invaded and cut a bloody swathe across the land. In desperation, the defending alliance gathered up the foulest practicioners of black and infernal magics. As a last line of defense, the defenders opened a gate to a foul and unknowable plane and the destruction destroyed both the invading army and much of the land they had occupied. Now the land is a scorched desert of glass and blood red dust, where creatures twisted by the ancient destruction still roam and hunt those foolish enough to enter the lands purged by abyssal fire.
(Basically I used Dark Sun campaign themes and creatures within my own more traditional campaign).
That's a cool take on Dark Sun!
The Maze of Golden Roses: A hedge maze in the Fey Wild made of organic golden roses. Incredibly soft, the pure gold is easily cut through but the walls of the maze are thick enough that trying to slice through the regenerative maze leaves many trapped within the confines of the twisting plants. The gold roses also exude a powerful narcotic that leaves many addicts in the shifting paths of the ever changing structure, who starve themselves to death while smelling the roses that they claim aid them in the hatching of dream worlds seeded in their skulls and blossoming in the distant reaches of the Astral.
In the center of the maze is a half-dragon, half-eladrin city made of gold. The city contains many portals to important locations in the Fey Wild.
The Dawn Spear: A spear as large as a tower stuck into the earth. The spear leans at an angle, and its head is stained in a yellow-brown ichor. The land around the spear is a blighted forest that extends for miles, the swollen soft fleshed trees bearing beautiful flowers that bear the yellow and brown spots of overripe bananas. The blossoms smell like dust, a smell that grows stronger as one approaches the spearhead. The ichor of the spearhead shares this dust smell, but also exudes a strong smell of embalming chemcials. A tribe of gnolls has taken residence in the wooden shaft of the spear, and their eyes and teeth now bear the silvery nacre cast of the spearhead.
The gnolls are disturbingly friendly, intelligent, and charismatic. They've built a religion around their transformation, though even they have no idea whose spear this is. They've found themselves raised up by the spear and seek to know both the god or primordial who hurled it and the god or primordial whose blood stains it. They have some clues from the filigree on the spearhead, depicting flocks of sparrows, and the runes that spiral around the shaft that they made a point not to damage when they hollowed out the inside.
Adventurers willing to aid the gnolls by scouring the planes for more information are handsomely paid.
The Crystal Flock: A flock of green crystals whirls around the Elemental Chaos, entrapping varied creatures such as slaad and githzerai. The actions of the flock seem random but magic and psionics have both detected a definite sentience and possible hivemind at work.
Ashen Field: Cataclysmic events involving fire (Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, red dragon swarm) can leave entire areas bereft of almost anything but layers of ash interspersed with broken, charred ruins. Within these places there is sometimes a new connection to the Shadowfell (due to the mass death) and a prior, now tainted connection to the Fey Wild. These Ashen Fields attract undead fey who have been banished to the Shadowfell, spectral creatures who can now form bodies from the ash and prey on the living. These fey hate mortals, though the exact reason is unclear. They seem to only want to drain the life of mortals after they'v gotten them to betray and harm each other, and cannot seem to hurt any mortal until this has occurred no matter how threatening they may appear...though I will say that usually their appearance catches at the heart but not the sake of any ugliness...
The Grinning Trees: This forest contains rail thin, incredibly tall swaying trees that have sets of perfect whtie teeth smiling rictus grins held in the pale grey-white of their bark. Any who enter will find the trees moving, rearranging themselves to ensure visitors are lost and stumbling into bogs and pits if not running into the dire predators of this place. As night falls, it seems the forest is much thicker than it was in the day time, and the trees seem to be thicker and breathing, if not panting, through the clamped teeth. The trees never attack anyone until they are completely separated from all their companions, and are aided in this by all the animals that dwell amongst their trunks and branches. There is a single seven story cottage wherein lives an gnarled half-orc druid who has been appointed the keeper of this place and thus prevents it from spreading. Around the cottage the trees are stunted and have no grins. The druid sadly has gone a bit insane while using the bulk of his power to prevent these trees from expanding.
The Pile of Rot: Cultists determined to incarnate Jubliex the Faceless Lord have worked to make a body worthy of the Abyssal Lord. As such, they have taken to murdering all sorts of living things and throwing them into a pile that is now as big as a decent sized hill that could overlook a forest of middle-aged oak trees. They have made circles of glyphs around their altar-idol, and shoved various magic items into it as well. The nights are filled with estatic chanting as they dance around the revolting thing they hope will serve as their god's vessel. The days of many cultists consist of pouring libations of blood and other bodily fluids onto the thing to keep it from drying out. There is a siege tower next to the pile with a bronze cauldron for this very purpose. Having convinced themselves that the body has reached some kind of measure of quality, they now seek to afix eyes to it, preferably those of beholders, medusae, and other creatures known for their magical gazes.
Also, Jem's Surcease and Dolor
The Fallen Arcanum: Amidst the ruins of a magical university from the days of antiquity, a collection of chaos imps are dormant until they sense the presence of sentients. At that point they begin to animate the shattered stonework of the place, or jump into the items of the PCs. Somewhere in the ruins is a portal to a swirling vortex of chaos matter, a planet swallowing hurricane that borders the Abyss. One might find demons wandering the ruins as well, seeking some artifact hidden from their eyes in these ruins.
The Iron Heart: A heart made of iron sits in a fountain in a courtyard abandoned to the ravages of time, the buildings around it ground down to their foundations. Some kind of black liquid dribbles from the varied holes, and the plantlife around the fountain is twisted and grotesque, trees whose bark resembles blistered flesh and grass that makes one think of eyelashes. The soil under one's feet seems to be a thin layer of dirt over a membrane but digging reveals nothing but soil soaked with the black liquid. The heart, in truth, is possessed by a sibirex obyrith who escaped the ancient war between the Queen of Chaos and the Wind Dukes of Aquaa.
Rip's Lucidity Cages
The Cerulean Lake: A massive, miles-wide lake in a temperate climate that is perpetualy frozen and shrouded with mist. Someone has chipped grooves, lines, and indented regions into the ice which glow faintly with cerulean light. Under the surface of the lake one sees frozen aboleths staring up at you, some part of their consciousness free from their imprisonment. If one were to clear away the mist and see the lake from above, one would see a massive etching of the Cerulean Sign (from the 3.5 book Lords of Madness).
The Needle Storm: A forest smelling gaggingly strong of pine, where the branches are almost bare because the needles are flailing in a perpetual hurricane. Once the needles dry out they fall to the ground, but any full grown needle on a branch takes to the air and quickly replaces the dead ones. The trees are cracked and leaking, making the ground a sticky mess of dead pine needles. It is said that there is a fey child of great power driven mad with rage and grief in the center of the forest, but to examine the veracity of this claim means entering the needle swarm that is so thick it blocks the vision within a foot from your person. Not to mention that the trees, having absorbed so much hate from the soil, will strike out when you are not looking, or subtly herd those creatures strong enough to survive in this mad place toward your location. The last adventuring group to brave the forest, for example, was overrun by a herd of rhino skinned dire elks...
Storm Plinths: From the floating thunderheads above, apparently caught perpetually in a doldrum of wind, bolts of lightning struck the ground and now thunderously crackle in place as electric plinths. There are patches of vegetation and trees between the bolts, though the radius around each pillar of wild blue-white energy is charred and rent from the storm's power conducting through moisture in the soil - these currents flow through the ground whenver the downpour begins again.
Here and there are the bones and rusted, charred, and/or melted armor of storm giants and the spirit of a powerful storm titan is actually split between the pillars. The ghosts of storm giants have soaked into the water that cycles from cloud to ground. In the sky above, Tiamat has appointed blue dragon wyrms to watch over this place from spiraling towers of cloud. Her reasoning for this is unknown to all but a few ancient liches and the eldest of the blue dragon wardens.
One of the points of light from my campaign, a world where imperial nations from a renaissance styled continent were kicked off a fantasy styled americas continent by rebels, native tribes, and elemental magic.
The Port of White Haven
History-A young spirited bustling port town on the tropic coasts of the New World, White Haven stands a hopeful beacon of the adventuring spirit that the New World is known for. Majestic knights in gold, white and blue armor ride forth into bright rainforests fight tribal championships as adventurers spread the name of White Haven as far as they can with great feats and heroics. A New World awaits! Make a name for yourself!
Over 200 years ago an imperialistic Old World Nation built a single tower on a cliff overlooking a white sand bay. After that it was taken over by a new power every 5-10 year, being steadily fortified over the years until when it was the small castle the young Lord of White Haven came with his elvish wife to act as Lord Governer for the Starry Realm of Bretton, the Old World Nation he represented. His respectful treatment of the natives and the eagerness of Lord White Haven and his knights to help the natives with any problem they might have quickly opened the way for exploration deeper in the jungles and increased trade.
White Haven's prosperity brought greater taxes and a greater control from the Old World with all it's bigotry and cruelty towards both native and colonists. Unwilling to accept or obey the demands coming from Bretton Lord White Haven was forced to flee the castle with his knights in the night when Bretton sent a military expedition to siege the castle. Within weeks several of the local tribes allied themselves with Lord White Haven and helped him retake the port.
In a momentic battle Lord White Haven laid siege to his own castle, rescued his wife, and killed the new Lord Governor. The next morning the sun rose over the newly forged Kingdom of White Haven!
This kingdom would be comprised of both freed colonists and local tribes of shifters, humans, and elves. Roads were established, schooles opened, and a general period of trade and growth was enjoyed until the beggining of what later became known as the Great Rebellion or the Old World's Shame. White Haven sided with the other rebels and natives in their fight to overthrow the rulership of the Old World Empires and came out of the war as one of the few settlements left standing after the war.
But in the ensuing chaos as the empires were forced to withdraw their forces from the New World pirates and marauding hordes of lizardfolk, goliaths (olmec and aztec style) and humans forced the newly kingdom into an all out war of defense. Village after village was burned, whole tribes lost as they fled into the jungle until the horde's siege of White Haven Castle itself was broken when the teacher/monk Von Lichten killed the human warlord with his bare hands.
White Haven Now-Years later White Haven is still struggling to re-establish itself. Many of the tribes fled, hopelessly lost in the rainforests, and while efforts are being made to resettle the villages burnt out in the raids there simply aren't enough settlers to fill them all.
Now White Haven sends bards and messengers to every port city in the New and Old World calling for settlers. Those with neccesary trades or who can pay their way recieve lands on their arrival, while the best, the most adventerous, and the most honest of the poverty stricken refugee families (from the great Sundering or the subsequent wars) have their passage paid for them but receive no lands. The message to all? WORK! AND MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF!
While the work of resettlement is underway White Haven has called all ambitious and chivalrous adventurers. Their task? To spread the name of White Haven abroad as they win tournaments, retake towns, and improve the relationships with the local tribes by performing any heroic deed presented to them. White Haven will be known again, first in the rainforest mountains of their coast and then the world!
The Monastery of Saint Caerthmndh (a point of light)
This Trappist monastery is located in the midst of the Enchanted Forest ( which connects to the Feywild) beside a narrow but deep river which flows towards civilization. Nota bene that when I refer to monks here, I mean mediaeval European monks, not Oriental martial artists.
The monastery is a moderately large complex of buildings surrounded by a stout wall. There is a church, a watchtower, a gatehouse, a library, a dormitory, an office, a storehouse, a barn, a stable, a cellar, and various other smaller buildings and rooms all connected by cloisters and tunnels. The monks pray, heal, lodge travelers, brew beer and write manuscripts.
There are also outlying buildings and the dwellings of ordinary folk. There is an orchard, a graveyard, a mill, a smaller watchtower and some sheds. There are several fields for crops and livestock.
There is an aged and wise abbot, an ancient hermit in the woods, a pragmatic and brusque cellarer, a learned and cautious librarian, an evil magic-dabbling Brother, a ghost from olden days, a huge and strong former soldier and now penitent monk, an idiot, a half-insane mystic, a simple craftsman Brother, a fanatically pious and suspicious Brother, and many others.
Travelers and merchants on the single relatively safe road through the Enchanted Forest can rest and provision here. Adventurers can find much useful information and receive errands and quests from the various more motivated monks.
Astu Fides (point of light)
Lying at the head of a valley sheltered by two rivers, it stands in the only opening to the Aurean Vale, at the edge of what is known as Where Angels Fear to Tread. Three hundred years ago when a King sought a deal with The Dark God Orcus for immortality, he beckoned the Nine Hells themselves into what had been a land united under a Kingdom ordained by Bahamut himself. When the god saw his Kingdom on Earth burn in the fires of the Nine Hells, he withdrew his blessing, in wait of a worthier Heir to the throne he had made.
Astu Fides is a part of the 'Kingdom' which survives in the North, along the river Des where the advance of the armies of the Nine Hells was finally stopped. It is more a collection of states forced together than an actual Kingdom, and Astu Fides is one of the few cities actually bordering the River. From afar it's walls seem to emerge from the mighty cliff face that serves to seal off most of the veil, geography which has allowed Astu Fides to survive the darkness which lashes out from the Blasted Heath that it looks over. Its white stonework serves as a mighty bullwhark to seal off the opening at the top of the steep ascent in the opening of the cliff face, and from outside the city walls is visible not a palace, but the Luminary, a Temple of Bahamut.
When the former line of Kings failed, Bahamut did not entirely abandon Caelum. At Astu Fides and other places, those who would raise a sword against evil still wield true power. The city is governed by The Lunarch, and as servants of Bahamut, they seek to not merely survive, but to strike back, and scar the darkness. The Aureum Crusaders is the name of the military force, and clad in gilded armor, broad shields, and keen blades, they are symbols of what Caelum once was; and hope for what it will be again. They are often joined in battle by Angels of Valor, proof of fact that no matter the darkness, the Heavens have not abandoned them.
Here, the word of the Lunarch is law. Adventurers are allowed to pass through, so long as they do not bear the symbols of Evil Gods or have earned notoriety as an evil-doer. For all their Divine Purpose and military prowess by grace of the gods, they stand on the brink of an all consuming darkness. Beyond the cities walls lies every dark machination it is possible to imagine, and though the adventurers will not be treated as equals to the Crusaders, all manner of quests can be obtained in order to ease the pressure on the already over-extended crusaders.
Very nice of those posted so far and I'll start compiling them to a word doc later for use while disconnected.
As a first time DM by a spark of what may have been creativity or insanity, I decided to fabricate my own world. So with this, Astu Fides, and other cities and locales I hope to post, it's all pretty heavily flavored with the world I've created. So in every likelihood you'll want to reflavor things a bit.
The Bleached Hills (Point of Darkness)
South of the river Des in Where Angels Fear to Tread lies the sight of the battle which finally turned the tide of the onslaught of the Nine Hells, known as The Bleached Hills. The area is a lifeless, bleach white expanse; earning its name and appearance from the bones of fallen warriors that stretch for miles. The bones of men, elves, and dragonborn lie amongst the skeletons of devils and other abominations. Tattered banners, dulled swords, and lusterless breast plates lie amongst the bones.
Yet there is a darker side to this place. Although the ancient bones have not stirred for centuries, a necromancer might look upon this place and see endless opportunity...
In a tower just north of the expanse is a tower that once housed the sister organization of the Wizards College in Des Nekketh. Opposed to the building in the Eastern part of the city, this is similar in size, yet it's stonework is much more bold, and it possesses a moat, arrow slits, and reventments. Through any menagerie of sources, it can be discerned that this was a group that, although annihalated in the battle of the Bleached Hills, was concerned with some of magics... practical applications. The direction I've taken with this tower contains three combat encounters. Several Des Nekketh soldiers turned to wights and possessing the tell tale signs of being harvested by a cadaver collector, guard the tower outside, and serve as a first line, expendable defense. Inside is the aforementioned cadaver collector, swayed to serve the evil that now inhabits the tower. At the top is a stone golem, controlled by a minion of one of Orcus' servants. The Nine Hells still hold sway in Caelum, and this evidencing itself at the battle that so long ago turned the tide is cause for alarm.
Goblins also scavenge among the bones, arming themselves with daggers, shortswords, and axes found amongst the dead. Though ill fitting, they will also take helmets and greaves in order to armor themselves. Though in their most grisly act, they will wear the bones. With leather strips they will tie leg bones to serve as greaves, skulls of larger creatures become helmets, their rib cages breatplates. These goblins are not particularly organized, though one abnormally large goblin identified by his 'armor' fashioned from the skeleton of a dragonborn does maintain a loose grip on a band of goblins. Yet, ultimately, even this group is small. It is not so much the threat they pose to Des Nekketh and Astu Fides, but that they so defile this holy place.
Necromancy seems to me an almost too good to pass up opportunity with something like this. More than a mile wide expanse of bones that is hallowed ground to nearby cities? The possibility for a necromancer to reanimate a massive army? Groups that would be outraged at this unholy act? That's almost D&D 101.
In 'Threats to the Nentir Vale' I found the Cadaver Collector and the daggerburg goblins (a good template for the goblins mentioned earlier). With regards to the possessed stone golem, effectively this minion has now power beyond what it can command the stone it inhabits to do; and destroying the golem will destroy this minion. I essentially took the Stone Golem found in the monster vault, made appropriate adjustments to AC, health, etc., added ongoing 5 necortic to any physical attack, and a few other powers that played off the fact that it is bound to the tower it inhabits.
I would like to stress that this is the direction I took, and I post this in hopes you can get ideas and inspiration. I post the location itself, however, with the intention that it might spark your own creativity and serve as an encounter area for your own campaigns.
A location meant for heroic tier, or to start off a campaign.
Forest's Edge: A small village inside the start of a large forest which borders wide open plains to the west. Hills and then mountains lie north of these plains, and the rocky cliffs of the ocean are far south. South of the forest is swampland, and nobody knows just how far east it goes.
A portal lies in the plains area which brings PC's and NPC's into this world from other realms like clockwork each day at noon, which is how everyone arrived to this strange new world.
Due north of Forest's Edge, a similar portal spits out vile and nasty monsters each night at midnight, so many so that the village has already started a cemetery not far south.
A ways south of the PC portal lies a circle of standing stones with a ritual altar in the center, a meeting place of druids long-past.
Far to the southeast, in a clearing in the woods, there was found by an adventuring party the ruins of an ages-old temple. Two vampires named Glim and Loyola skulk among its broken stone walls and an adult black dragon lives nearby in a marshy area to the southwest of it.
Upon making it inside, the PC's found that the furniture was topsy-turvy, with the floor and ceiling reversed. Searching the rooms after killing many strange monsters, miniature handheld devices were found, along with a book near a statue of an elven druid named Valanthe Stacialo, who will one day build this very temple in the future-past, before it is defiled by evil and taken over by the sands of time. The funny thing is that "Valan" is back at Forest's Edge, a young druid who is studying the standing stones and learning about this new world along with the rest of the PC's.
Having one of these devices will allow a single PC to enter the stargate portals, and only 5 or so were found. The book further explained that key devices could be found in special locations throughout many worlds, and that each key added to a handheld activator would further allow a PC to more specifically direct when and where the portal would take him or her next.
Time and planar travel have never been so easy, hopping between worlds and settings, but the only problem is that no keys were found here, but at least they can jump into a portal and end up in some random location to start with. Maybe they'll find a key in another world if none are found in this one! And with these devices, one might eventually find his way back home! Another such portal was found 2 levels below the surface after killing the ogre mage who was holed up nearby. Nobody jumped in just yet, but instead found a secret underground passage which ended up bringing them to the surface due south of the circle of standing stones. Too bad some of them were bitten and scratched by werewolves before their return, but at least they managed to kill the mummies-torches are a good thing to have!
As the days go by and more people arrive from other worlds, the village grows, but so do the threats from the monsters. The local seers have suggested that some of the townfolk leave and go settle elsewhere to make it safer to live in Forest's Edge.
Many dwarves and halflings did just that, heading north to settle the hills and mountains if they can make it that far. Little do they know that upon their arrival, similar portals will appear nearby their new settlements as well.
Notable PC's in this game world my friends and I played who can be your NPC's are
Ferrick Vennadho, half fighter 1/rogue 2/wizard 1/vampire 2/werewolf 1 (chaotic and indecisive, flips a coin or rolls a die to make even the most important decisions)
We used the templates that allow for gaining abilities and powers of a vampire or werewolf by split levels, a variant I found online, and I allowed both templates to be applied because I wanted to be a vampire AND a werewolf!
Former mayor of Forest's Edge, elven ranger Heavianal Myloric a.k.a. Loric, who turned evil and skulked off into the woods to the east, where he is amassing an army of whatever humanoids he can persuade to join him which come through the monster portal and aren't killed but wander off into the woods instead.
Jonas Windler a.k.a. Jonah Swindler, the first banker of Forest's Edge, who accepted deposits of all the village's valuables and then promptly ran off with them into the woods to the north.
Above-mentioned monsters which weren't killed, such as Glim and Loyola, who are now befriended by the new PC's they turned, as well as the adult black dragon, which of course didn't get killed yet.
Forest's Edge Mayor's Amulet-Necklace worn by the former mayor, and before that, by Ferrick, the former leader of the inhabitants. This necklace grants +1 to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Gather Information checks when used locally, due to the esteem associated with wearing the moniker of power.
A glowing sword was seen in the hands of an undead warrior heading into the woods to the north of the monster portal one night. No one has tracked it down and killed it yet to see what it actually is.
Used-up Necklace of Fireballs, used to obliterate an army of ettins and orcs. A reminder of a good story to tell around a campfire.
And of course the handful of handheld stargate activators, 5 or 6 at the most. Getting them from the vampires who plan to use them soon would prove quite a feat!
The townfolk have completed digging a 30 ft. pit in front of the monster portal and armed it with spikes, making the area much safer.
There is a captured otyugh in a makeshift cage due east of the village, and it is well-fed, eating all of the town's garbage.
It should be winter in the region as well, as only a few weeks have gone by and the world started on 1/1/00.
Re this note from above: Due north of Forest's Edge, a similar portal spits out vile and nasty monsters each night at midnight, so many so that the village has already started a cemetery not far south.
This is a cemetery south of the village for the people who have been killed from the few monster raids on the town that overwhelmed the hunters at the portal on some nights. Instead of heading off into the woods, they headed south and slaughtered folks in the village. Many peasants and a few other lower-level NPC's like warriors and such were killed. I always use the mass combat generator by Farland found online to run these and it's AMAZING!
The Concealing Mists
This is a unique location. Want to present your party with a magical item, but they keep wanting to do their own thing? This is perfect for that. The Mists are formed around a powerful magic item, and they devour anyone who enter, never letting them leave. The terrain within the Mists are twisted from their original forms, and dangerous monsters of all kinds find their way here. The only way to disperse the Mist is to find the item in the center that the Mists have formed around, and to claim it.
The Mists are not unique to each item. It is a sort of entity that forms around objects of great power, and brings anything that is within it to that item. Because of this, the terrain is warped and twisted when the Mist comes and goes. However, sometimes in deposites things it has within it when it leaves, anything from monsters trapped within the Mists to hidden treasures. Anyone not within the general vicinity of the item when it is removed is claimed by the Mists and lost to them forever, forced to serve as its guardian until they are slain in combat.
As a Plot Device:
This can be used to introduce new villains, a new breed of monster, ancient treasures, new PCs that have been within the Mists for eons or years, the possiblities are endless. Anything near the item is also brought into the real world when the Mists disappear, and random spots all through the Mists manifest. Also, you can use this to alter familiar terrain, turning mountains into fields and decimating towns, or bringing a lake into existance, and because of the Mists unique qualities, it changes every time you enter it, so it can be incredibly different from one encounter to another. It can also sometimes move people, and players, to another part of the world.
As the Armies of the Nine Hells cut down Caelum's sons by the thousands, it was a losing battle. Where the Hells were met in pitched combat, it was most often a delay tactic to give those retreating North time to reach and cross the Des. The Great Exodus, thousands perished as sick, injured, or dying though many were, Hell was not far behind them, and husbands and fathers were laying down their lives to give them precious time. Though their pursuers were finally stopped at what are now the Bleached Hills, the thousands newly displaced had to make their home a new. Some settled near Des Nekketh, some sought refuge beyond the cliffs and walls of Astu Fides, but a great many continued Northward to the Citadel of Fastigium.
Once the Northernmost Citadel of the Great Kingdom of Caelum, it is now the largest human city of the Surviving Kingdoms. When the mass of refugees came to the gates from the Great Exodus, no home was left to returned to. In the coming years, the massive open fields that surrounded the hill of the Citadel gave way to at first wooden buildings, but as the years wore on streets, markets, and solid stone homes encompassed the entirety of the great stone edifice. Now, so many centuries later, the Citadel dominates the center of the city and serves as the seat of the government and the Army.
Given its existing military strength, the city naturally became new sort of capitol. While no one true kingdom exists any longer, the other human cities do respect the word of the High King, if not in any official way. The Armies of Fastigium also journey beyond the Citadel and the green fields visible from its walls, offering protection to those far from Des Nekketh and Astu Fides, but providing support to these cities as well. Of late, however, there have been skirmishes with the Dragonborn and there is talk of war with Dythan's Legion.
A city carved from the basaltic rock of a dormant volcano, it stands at the edge of the Great Arkhosian Desert. Once the seat of power for the Kingdom of the warrior-like Dragonborn, for centuries it was the gem of the Tiefling Empire of Bael Turath before its fall. Now it serves as the home of Dythan’s Legion as he seeks to restore the Dragonborn race to what he sees as their birthright.
The eternal stone of the city has seen many ambitious men, Dythan not the first. His Legions have tattooed upon their arm the Turathi slave symbol as a reminder of the indignation their race suffered for so long. From the hub of Incendium they search the ruins long lost to the sands for relics of an Empire that was in hopes of rebuilding it. Siege Engines and other machinations of war are taken from the rubble along with ancient and powerful relics that have waited patiently in the oceans of sand, and cities begin to again rise from the desert. His Army, too, every day more and more resembles the lost glory of the Arkhosian Empire. Each soldier is a tower of steel, great siege engines are dotted amongst the legions, and the elite of the army ride upon Drakes from the far reaches of the Arkhosian Desert, and it would seem that Dythan is not simply rebuilding an Empire, but preparing for War. Already skirmishes have occurred with the legions of Fastigium, and tension grows every day. While all out war has not yet occurred, one must wonder how one as ambitious as Dythan will play his hand.
It is a military society; every aspect of daily life is fixated upon the military machine that every day seems to grow larger. The small city states that lie to the South between the desert and the Des have become fiefdoms. Not by conquest, but by necessity; being so scattered and so far from Fastigium, the Lords of the various city states have turned to Dythan for protection from Where Angels Fear to Tread, and in return they provide food to the Desert Kingdom so as to feed the Legion.
Incendium is the only true city, as it is the only one that has been fully rebuilt. The government is a small Senate formed from the top ranking in the military, and so of course Dythan holds the greatest sway. With the exception of emissaries, none are allowed passage, so to safely reach the city one must obtain permission or use deception. Any who are caught, however, are taken and put to work restoring the ruins of the ancient cities in the vastness of the desert. So while Dythan’s Legion fights in Where Angels Fear to Tread for the sake of the Southern Fiefdoms, the possible war with Fastigium makes aid in the coming conflict from the Dragonborn seem a near impossibility.
My own homebrew campaign centers around the resurgence of the powers of the Nine Hells trying to conquer what remains of a world called Caelum. And these two cities in the Surviving Kingdoms will of course be a major feature. I certainly hope others are able to adapt them for use in their own campaigns.
P.S. Dythan's Legion is from Threats to the Nentir Vale, yet the city is something of my own design.
The Wretched Tower
There was once a small circle of wizards who wished to study the arcane and occult, away from the troubles of civilized lands. So they picked a clearing in a seemingly forgotten forest and built a tower where they would pursue their research. All was well for many months - the wizards could study in peace and quiet, and even experiment their theories of new spells without fear of hurting people.
However, with the passing of time, eventually a lone merchant caravan passed the tower by chance, and ended up making a business with the owners: the merchants would bring the wizards much needed supplies from a city, and in exchange the wizards would protect the caravans that passed by their tower. What started with one caravan eventually grew to many others who began hearing about the wizards' tower, and sought their protection in the wild as they made their journeys by the lone tower.
Even though the wizards' had desired solitude, slowly but surely they allowed more and more merchants to stay a night or two by the tower's area, as a mutual agreement from both parties. In time, the caravans went from nomadic to sedentary, and formed a little village of sorts with the arcane tower at its center. By this point the wizards didn't mind, used as they were by the merchants' company.
A peaceful year passed until the bandits arrived. These were the armed and dangerous type, not easily threatened even by masters of the arcane. Still, they were cunning as they were deadly, and began asking for a "protection tax" from the people of the hamlet. The wizards couldn't well start fighting them, for there were too many, and they feared harming the people of the village by accident with their powerful magics.
And so the wizards allowed the bandits to stay around, but secretly planning to dispose of them quietly. They gathered their resources and minds into crafting a spell that would kill the bandits, silent like death itself, and no one else. But as the bandits' grew confident in their presence, they began injuring villagers, taking the women on "trips", and "borrowing" items they wanted. The wizards hastened their research, unwilling to let the travesty continue any longer, and managed to hurriedly finish their spell in a month, unleashing it on the bandits.
On that fateful night a violet mist spread from the tower and into the surrounding village. One by one the bandits began to scream, then choke, convulse, and finally fall down to the ground. But it didn't stop there; the villagers were halfway through their victory cries when they, too, began to fall to the mist. The wizards stared from the top of their tower, unable to believe how foolish they had been in releasing an unfinished magic upon the village. And then they fell to the mist as well.
Unfortunately, that's not where the story ends. The next night the bodies of everyone in the tower's area, villagers, bandits, and even the wizards, rose, animated by the violet mist, which returned to the area under the cover of the night. Not dead, but not truly alive either, they regained different amounts of their minds, and stayed where they had been turned. Some attacked each other. Others did nothing. And yet another group regained enough sanity to organize themselves and begin attacking the caravans that were inevitably coming their way. During daytime they would hide, but at night, when the mist returned, so would they, the Wretched.
This is the story of the Wretched Tower.
Whew! That took longer than I thought. I realized that it was 90% story/background and 10% actual stuff that's in the point of dark, but oh well, there you have it, the whole thing.
I hope you like it.
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