The Dragon of Duncaster

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Solomoriah
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The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:00 pm

EDIT: This adventure is now part of Iron Falcon Adventures, available on the Iron Falcon website.

So here's the deal. In July, I'll be running Iron Falcon at Quincon XXX in Quincy, IL. I need a short adventure, something that can be completed in a single three to four hour session (official time is different, but I know from experience if they're having a good time the players will hang around until the organizers kick me out). Here's what I'm considering:
A dragon is menacing the people of Duncaster, eating their sheep and cattle and extorting money from those traveling the trade road to the south. Its lair has been discovered, in a cavern high up on the river bluff; adventurers have tried climbing up to it, but giant spiders infesting the face of the bluff have made that approach impossible.

Atop the bluff is an ancient ruined fortress, overgrown with trees and briars. Rumor has it that the dungeon beneath that fortress connects to the dragon's lair... but who will dare to enter the dungeon and slay the dragon within?
So anyway, that's the concept. I envision a modest above-ground level, perhaps a tower or two (with the upper floors long since collapsed, and thus suitable only for the lair of an unintelligent monster or two), a proper dungeon level, and a lower level that's half dungeon, half cavern. What I'm looking for are some suggestions regarding denizens, traps, etc. I want this to be a classic dungeon, no gimmicks that wouldn't be found in the period IF focuses on.
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:26 pm

Okay, so I've drawn up the above-ground map:

Image
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The crosshatched areas are thick, thorny briars. The stairs in areas 2 and 5 both lead down to the first dungeon level; the monsters in the dungeon use area 5 as their main access, and have allowed the briars to grow up over the badly-stuck door of area 2 (so adventurers who try to enter that way will have to hack through the briars and then force the door, a time-consuming operation that will cause an extra encounter check).

The titular dragon needs to speak and cast spells; since this isn't the right sort of territory for either a white or black dragon, and I don't want to go up to a red one, I'm thinking a green dragon, adult and of average size. As it's the "final boss" monster, I need to scale the other encounters to the levels of adventurers who can reasonably defeat such a monster.

... have to sit down and do some math. Later.

I'm thinking area 2 should be the lair of something nasty, just because I'm a vindictive sort. Areas 1 and 3 aren't really encounter areas, just numbers to match to my key for descriptive purposes. I'm thinking area 4 should have a monster encounter, but not anything that would prevent the inhabitants of the dungeon from coming and going; area 5 should have an encounter with the dungeon inhabitants themselves.

Because seriously, there have to be some humanoids here. Just because. Probably something with a couple of hit dice at least, maybe bugbears.

... more to come.
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:38 pm

And I've decided the dragon's name is Sygoreth.
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:28 pm

So here's the first level below ground:

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Solomoriah
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:58 pm

Second level map is done.

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Longman
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:58 pm

Stairway 2 could have gargoyles, left over from the old magical defenses of the castle? These activate when people enter the area but are otherwise just statues.

Or at least, something that can't be hit unless by magic weapons. That's why the bugbears - or whatever the humanoids are - have long since learned to avoid that stair, because they can't deal with it.

That's assuming that the party has at least one magic weapon, or other means of dealing with the things in area 2.
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:44 pm

You might also consider that the Dragon could have used magic of some sort to raise the skeletons of those poor unfortunates that died within the dungeon long ago. They could be used by the Dragon as fodder. They might also be the remains of men who were falsely imprisoned or captured as political prisoners and who hold a grudge. Maybe they want the Dragon out of there so they can enjoy their slumber once more... Perhaps whatever living humanoids that are in the area have come here in times past to worship the tormented dead or make offerings to the Dragon in exchange for it not eating their warrens!
"...It's up to the players to make cool characters and a cool story, and work with you rather than against you to do that. If they can't or won't do that, they are not doing their job as players." - Longman
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Solomoriah
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:07 am

Longman wrote:Stairway 2 could have gargoyles, left over from the old magical defenses of the castle? These activate when people enter the area but are otherwise just statues.

Or at least, something that can't be hit unless by magic weapons. That's why the bugbears - or whatever the humanoids are - have long since learned to avoid that stair, because they can't deal with it.
Sounds good... I may just do that.
Longman wrote:That's assuming that the party has at least one magic weapon, or other means of dealing with the things in area 2.
Eh, they're high enough level to challenge a dragon, so even if I'm really stingy I'm sure they'll be adequately equipped.
Delver wrote:You might also consider that the Dragon could have used magic of some sort to raise the skeletons of those poor unfortunates that died within the dungeon long ago. They could be used by the Dragon as fodder. They might also be the remains of men who were falsely imprisoned or captured as political prisoners and who hold a grudge. Maybe they want the Dragon out of there so they can enjoy their slumber once more... Perhaps whatever living humanoids that are in the area have come here in times past to worship the tormented dead or make offerings to the Dragon in exchange for it not eating their warrens!
Sounds like you like undead... :twisted:

I do think the dragon encounter needs some sort of twist, some surprise to make it more interesting than just a dragon beat-down.
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Solomoriah
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:09 am

Oh, and I've posted the first PDF of the whole thing (not much to it yet but maps and a list of encounter areas). You can get it here:

http://ironfalconrpg.com/download.cgi/D ... ter-r1.pdf
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rredmond
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Re: The Dragon of Duncaster

Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:00 am

No key there yet, but the thing looks good together.
Especially since the maps don't view right in the forum for me. :)
--Ron--
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