Sunday, March 01, 2009

Iron Kingdoms - Dungeon Adventure

If you are one of my players - do not read this post.  :)   (I don't think any of my players read this... but just to be sure...)

So, in about two weeks or so, I will be running another installment in our big Iron Kingdoms adventure.  I decided I wanted to run a big expansive dungeon this time around.. and I have hashed out a few ideas...and there are still a few things that need hashing out.  I have run one small dungeon in this campaign already... a small mine excursion... but not a real dungeon.

You need to understand some basic Iron Kingdoms lore to fully follow...  I will keep it brief.  A horrible race of people came from across the sea, they were called the Orgoth.  They arrived on the shores of the Iron Kingdoms, and conquered.  They were undisputed.  They were a vile people.. using dark magic, trapping the souls of their victims inside weapons to power them.. using necromancy, worshipping their foul gods.. just all around dark and evil race.  The subjugated the peoples of the Iron Kingdoms for a long time (about 300 years I think) and then the people rebelled, and overthrew them... using the advent of magic and technology.  The Orgoth fled back across the sea, never to be seen again.  They destroyed everything they could get their hands on as they fled; however, many of their cities, temples, vaults and other structures remained.  That was about 600-700 years ago.  Now there are Orgoth ruins scattered about the land.. many have been inhabited by other opportunistic creatures... others have been raided and pilfered for military purposes... but many still remain untouched and
 undiscovered.  The Orgoth are known aesthetically for their armor, weapons, architecture, art is all adorned by carved horrific faces.. usually wailing in agony.  Here is an example (see pic) ... this a Doom Reaver... his sword is Orgoth, he is not.  

Anyway.. the party (level 6) will be entering the ruins of an ancient Orgoth city called Old Korska.  They will encounter it as they travel east, as they will rescue a man (I need to introduce a new PC) who is being held captive in the ruins by a tribe of Bogrin (bogrin are kinda like dire goblins) and battle will ensure.. but just as they begin to defeat the Bogrin (who will be a not-too-tough encounter) they will face a Bullette.  The Bullette will erupt from the ground, and begin the slaughter... hehe.. but really its purpose is to weaken the ground below the party... the stone streets of the ancient city... and the trauma will be too much for the old ruins... and the ground will collapse in as a huge section as the stone streets and some of the ruins crash through the (now weakened) ground into the underground city below... the landslide will  drop them into the first level of the dungeon, and seal the passage behind and above them.. trapping them inside.  They must now face the long dark of Old Korska...

I did not create the map for this dungeon.  I was originally planning on it... but then thanks to this post at Penny Arcade I discovered the Cartographer's Guild.  And through their forum I found this thread, which was chock full of awesome dungeon maps.. included the one I will be using, an 7-8 level dungeon (which was inspired off of the Tokyo subway system).  Its a really cool and  expansive dungeon... part of the top level will be closed off due to the cave-in.. but all the other levels will be there.  So I need to fill these dungeon levels with all manner of traps, encounters, and puzzles.  The general idea is that this dungeon was under the control of a powerful and wealthy Orgoth family before the fall of their empire.  They were involved in a lot of the invasions, and this area was where they dwelt during war times, and served as a staging ground for their assaults.  It was also, on lower levels, their home and safe house, as well as "research" lab and vault.  Here is what I have so far...

The first level will be inhabited by an Iron Kingdoms race called the Dregg.  They are a horrible twisted race of creatures known to dwell in underground lairs.. (They look alot like the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, but a bit less bird-like) they often perform raids to the surface for food, supplies, weapons... and a dungeon such as this is a great "base" for them.  I am going to contain them to the top level, as the other levels are sealed (more on that later)  Anyway, they provide me with fodder to attack the party though out the first level.. after all, these Dregg may have a way out of the dungeon, or the cave in might have sealed them inside as well. At which point.. they have nothing to lose... They can make for a diverse encounter group... they can have stolen rifles (for artillery) some warriors (soldiers) and sorcerers (controllers)...  and should prove tougher than the Bogrin up above.  Basically, when I use the Iron Kingdom monsters (since they are not 4e) I just find a monster in the 4e Monster Manual that is appropriate level for what I am looking for and adapt it a little to fit the Iron Kingdoms "feel".  For these guys I am planning on adapting the Troglodyte stats to fit these Dregg monsters.  The above Bogrin will more than likely be Bugbear stats..

I am also excited to use the "classic" Otyugh garbage room encounter.. (this could be one route to the next level, down the pit into the garbage pile).. or it can be a room on the same level.. a place where the Dregg throw their used-up stuff and victims.  I was planning on making the encounter include some Gelatinous Cubes as well.. (making for a very thorough garbage disposal).  A large room with two corridors leading out, a pile of junk in the center (otyugh).. when they run for the corridors... they discover they are both full of gelatin... (not the kind that has pears cut up inside, the bad kind).  One otyugh doesn't seem enough of an encounter; hence, the reason I am adding some G. Cubes.  I guess I could advance the otyugh some as well... I guess if its a very old otyugh... or anyone suggest a good template?

The Orgoth are also known for their evil experimentation, in regards to constructs and undead.  So I am planning on having one level be the "workshop/lab" level where the would have conducted these experiments...this level could have numerous undead creatures.  There a couple Iron Kingdoms specifics.. a creature called a Excrutiator.. an ancient undead master of torture.. he can be adapted to be a "mini boss" and they are often known to use lesser undead for protection.  (cue undead encounter here).  There is also a construct called a Dread.. basically what the Orgoth did was take a warrior, perform a horrible ritual over him, then pour molten metal down his throat.  the metal eventually hardened, and you now have an  undead warrior, retaining his previous abilities, but now made of metal on the inside.  This will be another "horror" of the "lab" level... (I told you these Orgoth were nasty...)

I also want to use lots of traps.. I haven't used many traps so far.. so it'll be a new experience.  Privateer Press's No Quarter Magazine actually did an article on Orgoth dungeons and mentioned some of the types of traps they used.  "The Orgoth favored mechanical traps, many whose purpose is to main and disfigure those intruders who are not killed outright.  Traps encountered include poisoned arrows, darts and spears, wall blades, falling blocks, tripping chains send unwary into spiked pits, sprays of acid, or fogs of poison gas..." (No Quarter No.5, pg. 55) So I have lots of options there.  >:)  There is even a mention of the Orgoth coating the walls and ceilings of the rooms/passages with a poison. When the intruders enter, the heat from their torches causes the coating to dissolve into an odorless gas, causing hallucinations and paranoia.

I also want to utilize some puzzles...and I am planning on having the main entrance to each level of the dungeon (there will undoubtedly be other entrances, secret doors, holes etc) be a sort of puzzle door.  (no, there will be no kicking chickens into them, and they don't speak in old wizened voices)  The Orgoth always carve faces into things.. so the faces will be tied into the puzzles. Perhaps one door leads to the crypt and burial chambers of the family.. so maybe finding the one face that is "weeping" is the key to opening it.  On another I was going to have all the faces have their eyes closed.  In order to find the right face to "activate" they will need to extinguish all light sources in the room, and the appropriate face will glow slightly...  I still need to come up with a few more of these doors... and some more encounters.  

OK... so I trap them down there... but I need to find a way for them to escape.  I am not planning on this being completed in one session (though our sessions usually run all day).. so I am thinking of maybe having a way out about halfway down... perhaps a natural cavern that broke into the constructed one.  This would give them a way out of the dungeon to rest/resupply, would provide a good stopping point (if we get that far) and allow them to return and continue the search later.  Though I really hope they go all the way down.  >:)  [that's an evil DM face btw...]


lokipan said...

Sounds pretty cool, Karl. Thanks for the cartography links, btw

Dalanor DeMyse said...

Sounds awesome