Epic Dungeon in the Playground
The Dread Castle Taravar
The Dread Castle Taravar
The Castle Taravar has been in ruins for centuries. They were once the stronghold of a great and powerful duke, whose armies were rivalled only by the king’s own. He led his people well, and lived a comfortable life. However, he wanted more. He wanted more riches, he wanted more people, and most of all, he wanted power. He wanted to rule over the kingdom himself, and so, he began the great war against his own king, and great destruction and slaughter ensued. Thousands of soldier’s lives were lost, and nobody knows how many civilians were caught up in the crossfire. The duke’s men were greatly outnumbered by the king’s, but somehow they managed to fight as equals in combat. But this did not last. The battling lasted for a decade, before the duke was finally pushed back to his last stand, Taravar.
There, as the king’s forces marched upon him, ready to destroy him once and for all, they noticed a strange silence coming from the castle. Nobody shouting orders over the walls, no marching squads, nothing. They broke through the locked gates, encountering no resistance. And soon after they entered they discovered why. Blood smeared the walls, hundreds of men lay, their bodies ripped apart and mangled in gruesome ways. As they searched, they found not a single living creature in the castle, or any sign of what had killed them. The final mystery, however was that they never did find the Duke’s body. The place was left forever, and nobody dared set foot in it, or go anywhere near it, for fear that they would share the fate of the duke’s men.
However, there was a greater influence at work. And he had no intention of letting the war he had started stop. And so, he wrought up his greatest magics, and, utilizing the primal forces that connected the planes, tore open a hole to the Negative Energy Planes beneath the castle. The flow of power began to fill the castle, turning it into a focal point for darkness. Great necromancers, liches, vampires, and other dark creatures were drawn there. Though there were many battles fought between them, eventually the few remaining decided to work together. Necromancers attempted to control the gateway, and in doing so, they greatly magnified their power, allowing the dead to be brought back to fight once more. The armies of Taravar Castle grow every day, and soon they will be strong enough to launch a direct assault on all of <insert name=”true”> itself.
Levels 1-5 will be exploring the outskirts of the castle, on the moors, unable to travel directly to the castle. Forests have grown up all around the castle, a dark mist is falling, and creatures of the night lurk in search of victims. This will have a lot of combat, although it is going to be very dangerous in the dark mist, where the monsters can use advanced tactics; this is their home ground.
6-10 will be spent fighting throughout the castle, where the stronger creatures lay. Vampires, Giant Skeletal Spiders, and maybe the occasional Lich or Necromancer will be the main opponents. There will mostly, however, be traps here. The monsters up here are the (Unaware) guardians for the lower areas, and so traps have been placed to assist them in their (Unwilling) guard duties. The enemies here actually think they’re the bosses. They could not be more wrong.
11-15 will be finding the lower lair, which has been dug underneath the castle by the powerful spellcasters, in an attempt to reach the planar breach itself. Sadly, these attempts have been successful. They will face many hordes of undead, who are all ready for the attack, and have prepared accordingly. This will be tough, but it will be more about winning than not losing.
16-20 will be the deep lower areas, where only the most powerful creatures are. Personal bodyguards of the Lich-lords who have declared themselves rulers. And this will culminate with face-offs against said Lich-lords. The “having each other as Phylacteries” is optional, I won’t make a decision here.
21-23 will involve travelling through the Planar Gate to confront the entity who is behind all of this, who tempted the duke, who gave his soldiers unnatural aid in combat, who took the duke to hell and slaughtered his men when they failed, who opened the planar gate, and who now seeks to destroy the PCs for unravelling his schemes. A great and terrible Demon Lord, come from below to cause destruction and terror on <insert name=”true”> like never seen before.
Levels 1-5 will be very much horror, being focused on unseen terrors that will feast on your flesh. They players should never feel safe here, and try to include some fear elements too (Roll the dice. A natural 1? Ok, you’re dead; and now roleplay an evil doppelganger who has killed you and taken your place to assassinate your allies). Ambient music would work well at a table.
6-10 will be still scary, but in a different way. The players should feel isolation, with nothing to surround them but the darkness, which could turn on them at any minute. The area should have a very large number of traps, getting the players paranoid. Feel free to play with this paranoia any way you wish.
11-15 will not be as scary or creepy as the others. This bit should feel more like a standard dungeon crawl, albeit with powerful opponents who use clever strategies. Elements here should require the players to be quick on their feet, creative, and use strategy. There will not be very many traps; the few there are will likely be mindbenders.
16-20 should be mostly combat. This is the point where they are piercing the heart of the lair, and so there is little that can be done. All sorts of interesting things could come from the bosses though (I haven’t said how many Lich-lords there are). There are millions of possibilities.
21-23 is the proverbial it. The finale. The end. After this, the players can go home. The Demon Lord himself will confront them at the end of this point, and he is pissed. This will be almost entirely hack and slash, although there still won’t be much of it. The Demon Lord will have a number of tricks up his sleeve though, use these to whatever effect you feel like.