One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tharzad-Dul: Level 1 Room Key Part 1

The Mountain Door

The Mountain Door was built as a fortress to defend the city of Tharzad-Dul from attack. It was also used as a border control. Goods, and people could be checked for disease and merchants goods could be verified and taxed. Today it serves as one of the most well known entrances into the dungeon.

There are three main factions on this level. A tribe of goblins, the enigmatic Cult of Mem'Dathou, and the Serpent-men. Rooms 7 to 15 are claimed by the goblins. Rooms 23 to 26 belong to the cult, and rooms 22 to 33 are claimed by the serpent-men. Rooms 1 to 6 and 16 to 19 are high traffic routes used by creatures entering or leaving the dungeon and are claimed by no one. Currently there is a moderate peace between all three factions. However minor skirmishes occur from time to time.

The Factions

The Bloody Paw Goblin Tribe
The goblin tribe uses this level as the main entrance to the orc and goblin warrens below on level two. The worgs and their riders are the main occupants that can be found on this level. The goblins main goal here is to make sure they can hold this level for easy access to their warrens below. They hate the other factions but are being forced to maintain the uneasy truce. It probably wouldn’t take much to incite them to attack the others.

Cult of Mem'Dathou
The cult has come to the dungeon from the nearby City of Kossuth. The short term mission of the cult in the dungeon is to explore and plunder whatever valuables and magic they can. In the long term they want to gain control of the Vrillium mines deep below. In the City of Kossuth the cult is well known and feared. Those who cross the cult here can expect brutal reprisals. The priests have been animating skeletons to act as servants and shock troops against the other factions and monsters of the dungeon. It was the cult that was the main arbitrator of the current truce, however they would be more than happy if an outside group unaccountable to the cult were to clear the level of some of their enemies.

The Serpent-Men
Hydra Mountain once belonged to the serpent-men long ago. Today they seek to reclaim their lost land and glory. Currently they are out matched by the two other forces for a head on confrontation. In particular, the goblins numbers are too high and are too ferocious. Fortunately the goblins have an irrational fear of snakes and the ancient serpent-men magics. The serpent-men are also patient and cunning. They have spies everywhere. They have used this current truce to slip shape changed imposters as spies into the ranks of both the cult and the goblins on this level. Currently the actual victims are being held in the serpent-men prison and tortured for information before they will be ritually sacrificed to Father Hydra.

illustration by Marie and John Severin for "The Shadow Kingdom."

Random Encounters

There is a 1 in 6 chance for a random encounter. Roll once for each hour the characters are in the dungeon. Roll each time the group makes excessive noise. This includes combat, breaking down doors etc. Roll every time the characters enter an empty room, or enters one of the high traffic rooms (1 to 6) and (16 to 19).

Roll 1d10
  1. Goblin Raiders
  2. Worg Patrol
  3. Cultists
  4. Vipers
  5. Dire Rats
  6. Cult Patrol
  7. Were-Rat
  8. Orcs
  9. Serpent-men
  10. Bandits/Explorers

1. Goblin Raiders: 2d6 goblins preparing to raid one of the other factions for food, booze and treasure. They're more interested in eating, drinking and general mayhem than fighting and will flee as soon as the tide of battle turns against them.

2. Goblins and Worgs: 1d3 worgs and 2d6 goblins are on patrol. They will question anyone before they attack not wanting to upset the current peace. If they realize that the group is not affiliated with a faction they will attack.

3. Cultists: 2d6 cultists on some kind of mission for the priests. They worship Mem'Dathou a local God in these lands. Little more than thugs they will want to bring anyone they find to their leaders for questioning, but not before they have a little fun themselves first.

4. Vipers: 1d3 Diamond backed pit vipers. The serpent-men presence on this level has attracted snakes of all kinds to this level. In particular have been the most common. They have a habit of hiding and then attacking. Favourite hiding places include prime treasure hiding spots, back packs, under rocks, cracks in floors and walls. Trap and treasure searchers beware!

5. Giant Rats: 1d6 giant rats. Friends of the were-rat Botho, they will attack if threatened, otherwise they spy and report whatever they happen to learn.

6. Cult Patrol: This group of 1d6 skeletons and a cult priest is on patrol. They question anyone they meet and will not attack anyone allied to one of the other groups unless first provoked. They will attempt to bring adventurers to their base for further questioning. Resistance is met with violence.

7. Were-Rat: Botho is a were-rat from the city Kossuth. He works for the Thieves Guild in the city. Initially his mission was spying on the cult of Mem'Dathou, but has expanded to gathering info on all the groups. He can speak with rats of all kinds and has pressed them into his service. He really hates the serpent-men because they seem to particularly enjoy eating rats. He avoids getting into a fight if he can and may help the group if he thinks they can help him. If they betray him he will make sure his friends in the thieves guild run into them.

8. Orcs: 1d6 orcs, either on the way out of the dungeon to raid, or on some kind of diplomatic mission with one of the other groups. They come from level two. They boss the goblins around.

9. Serpent-Men: 1d6 serpent-men, either on patrol or on some kind of mission for the “Hooded One” their leader. They will avoid a fight if possible. They will lie and tell half truths if they think it will help them gain an advantage. They will try to lead groups into an ambush if they have to fight or spy on the party if they have not been noticed yet.

10. Bandits/Explorers: Theres a 50% chance that this is a group ( 1d6 + 3) of explorers, in which case they might not try to out right kill the characters and take their stuff. This group might be Dwarves seeking to reclaim a lost heirloom from the city, or a standard group of adventurers. Bandits might be searching out a new base of operations or making a deal with one of the other factions. Either way they don’t play nice with others.

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