Ruined Gates of Varos

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Solomoriah
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:36 am

Rosisha wrote: Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:08 am I really like that background!
Thank you! Just synthesizing together all the stuff people have offered so far, with a little seasoning of my own added.
Rosisha wrote: Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:08 am As a note for the front hall: Instead of a mural, why not a carving or even tile work?
Good, yes. I was saying not a tapestry because it needs to be more permanent. Carving or mosaic tiles are either one better ideas.

NOW... I'm an idiot for not having looked at the map closely enough. There is no tower, just a dungeon. Gah. I will rewrite my intro/background to fix that.

As to your suggestions for the entrance, overall I like it! I think we need a few changes to clarify some things and expand the descriptive text. How about this:
1. Entrance:

As you hack your way past vines and undergrowth you see the entrance. Huge double doors sunk into the rocky hillside, with broad, ancient steps leading up to them. Though partially obscured by dirt and debris you can see that the floor is figured with mosaic tile, an abstract pattern of red, orange, and white squares which form wavy lines leading toward the doors.

The doors themselves are huge and grand. The pair span a full eight feet wide and are almost ten feet tall, and are made of what appears to be planks of some strange orange wood; the joints between the planks curve strangely, even though the doors' edges appear straight and square.


The doors are made of a wood more than twice as hard as oak, and they swing inward, preventing their heavy iron hinges from being attacked. However, the door is secured from the inside with a heavy but old and rotten oaken bar, so that forcing the doors is actually no harder than usual.

Once inside:

The large wall to the right is covered in carvings which depict battles between men and trolls. One wizardly figure appears throughout, leading the fight and casting mighty spells against the trolls; the last image shows him being crowned. The care put into the carvings, still easily visible after what must be centuries of neglect, indicate their importance to the people who built this place.

The floor is covered in dusty mosaic tiles depicting the sun and the moon, and between them a constellation of eleven stars, with a background of pure black tiles.


The spear trap is activated by pressure; each character stepping on it has a 1-2 in 1d6 chance of tripping it, with 1 added to the range for each additional character in the space (so if four characters occupy the square, the chance is 1-5 on 1d6). Roll each time a character steps on or off of the space. When the trap is activated the spears spring up from the floor through small tiled panels that rotate out of the way, and each character or creature in the affected square must save vs. Death Ray or take 1d8 points of damage. The trap can be detected, but not disarmed, as the mechanism is entirely hidden. Once activated, the trap will reset itself in 2d6 rounds.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:41 am

I'll be honest, regarding the floor I wasn't sure that a temple would make sense; instead, I did a Google search for sacred architecture and found a nice sun image. The sun and moon are the showy parts, but the constellation of 11 stars could be a really interesting clue.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:16 pm

Let's also talk about monsters. "By the book," 12 of the 19 rooms in this dungeon should have monsters. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, just a guideline. Still, let's discuss the monsters we plan to have present here.

Varos, a skeletaire
Grimere, a wight, guarding the sword Dawn's Edge
A living statue (possibly) in the secret room with the magic mace

Remember that we are working with 4th to 6th level characters here. Also, I'm not sure we can reasonably put "random" encounters here, but we can have wandering minions of Varos. Skeletons or zombies perhaps, doing menial labor but ready to attack any player characters who wander in.
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Rosisha
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:41 pm

There should definitely be undead throughout.

I also think yellow mold should be included. It's always a fun challenge for players to encounter. And maybe some Shadows - while not undead they would probably be attracted to the place. Also I like insect swarms as nuisance threats - centipedes or millipedes would probably work. A Green Slime in the mushroom forest room would work as well.
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:54 pm

I kind of assumed shriekers in the mushroom forest, but more than one kind of monster would be fine. Not as big a fan of insect swarms, but in lieu of any better idea we'll do it.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:58 pm

Someone suggested the book is a transportation item, one that functions as set of magical gates. The description is almost poetry, but I'm concerned it doesn't fit with the "ruined" gates of Varos for which the adventure is titled.

So the question is, are the Ruined Gates magical or mundane?
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Rosisha
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:07 pm

I vote magical. Much like the ST:TNG episode "Contagion", and focused on finding access to mysterious locals and needed resources to further his work.
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:05 pm

Okay, so where can the book take you? If we go with definite locations, we tie it to a specific world (or multiverse).
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Dimirag
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:30 pm

The book could contain some teleportation spells just like a grimoire, or, it can be used to cast those spells like if it contains scrolls, or... those spells could be cast a couple of times per day, week or month based on spell level.
This way the book keeps the teleportation power but its not attached to any specific place.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Rosisha
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Re: Ruined Gates of Varos

Post Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:38 pm

Or maybe the locations are lost? Maybe if it focuses on "power nexuses" or some such. So 1000 years ago, the Glades of Salorvon were a major power nexus for wizards. But time passed, the stars shifted, and so with it the nexus. So not major locations but minor ones that can be inserted into any world.
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