Home forum Help Search Login Register

Site Sections

User Info

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 03, 2022, 08:24:19 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Recent Topics

Site Tips

If you want to keep in touch with all Midnight news, subscribe to our News Forum, then every time a news item is posted you will be notified!
Pages: [1]
Send this topic Print
Author Topic: Collapsing the Kaladruns  (Read 6882 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« on: December 08, 2007, 04:07:16 AM »

My players stay out!


One of the plot arcs in my game involves a final plan implemented by the Dwarves as Jazhir shows up to finish off Calador. The history behind it goes like this.

The each the head of each dwarven clan was gifted with a Mithril Axe in the early years of the reign of the first Thane. The legend scribed on the blade describes the Last Cry of the Mountains. Should the sound of the mountain's wail ever be heard, all shall know it to be the end of teh Dwarven people. One moon after the cry, the Kaladruns will be sundered in thunder and flame. Every Clan Leader knows the legend, and knows that should they ever hear the cry, they have only a month to flee thier homes.

The Axes are a part of a plan unknown to all dwarves in this age, save one. It is the Thane's burden. A legacy that they have carried since Izrador's fall.

When Aradil was young and began having her first visions of what would come, she reached out to the first Dwarven Thane, (who had recently united the clans) in hopes of creating a lasting alliance and being able to plan for the coming apocalypse. The Dwarven Thane was shaken by what the Elven queen said, but took her words to heart. After meeting with his most powerful diviners, and counciling with the Elven queen, he decided that preparations for the end would have to begin now. He began the largest campaign of dwarven engineering that has ever existed.

Called the Last Road, it took generations to complete. In this age, it is considered to be a legend. The truth of it has been lost by the surviving clans, mostly do to the incomprehensible size of the structure.

What it is, is a horn. Or more accurately, a flute based on an elven design.

At one end is a tunnel deep beneath Badrun, and the largest most concentrated gas vein the dwarves have ever discovered. It is sealed with a huge valve-like door, long since abandoned, but still maintained in working order by it's golem guardians.

The other end is a huge air-tight chamber accessible only through a strange sealed door which opens on the ledges above a massive underground lake which rests beneath Calador. At the bottom of the lake is another valve, this one massive in size and strength, made of Mithril (which never rusts) and held shut by thousands of gallons of water. Huge chains are attached to it, and run upwards, out of the chamber, and to a door that is only opened once during the reign of any Thane. The Thane's Axe is the key to the door, and within is a colossal pully system wound into the chains, the records of the Last Road, and a letter from the First Thane to the latest, and possibly last.

Between the two locations is a tunnel more than 2,500 miles long, deep in the earth. Roughly every 20 miles is a tunnel upward to the surface with a valve-like door on either end. There are more than 500 of them. These too are maintained by ancient golems who repair collapses and kill intruders. The valve-doors on the surface are disguised with dwarven stonecunning by master stoneworkers of old. Their work is such that surface dwelling dwarves within a mile of the valves have never found them.

It is the Thane's duty to ensure that the dwarven homeland never fall into the hands of the Shadow. Every dwarf knows that they would rather destroy their home themselves than see that fate come to pass. Which is the very purpose of the Last Road.

It is a doomsday device, to be activated in the event of defeat. It works by simply activating the pulley system in the Thane's chamber. Upon activation, the chains retract, using a massive counterweight to lift the valve at the bottom of Lake Calador. The lake then begins to drain into the bowels of the earth creating a vacuum as the water is pulled downward. The counterweight itself is a powerful piece of magic. It falls along the only path leading to the Lake, completely blocking it off once it falls. Once in place it's magical effect is activated. For exactly one month, an anti-magic field 100 miles across will come into effect, hopefully stopping any attempts at aborting the doomsday device once activated.

Far to the south, the suction pulls open the valve which seals off the massive gas vein, and begins drawing the volatile gas into the colossal tunnel. As it does so, the 500 smaller valves spaced along it's length also open, but not wide. Just enough to draw in a bit of air to the central shaft. This passage of air creates a powerful echoing sound which booms along the entire mountain range. Each valve is tuned differently, so the sound is incredibly musical, like a powerful minor chord.

This will continue for approximately one month, until Lake Calador is completely drained. Once this happens, the vacuum releases it's pressure, causing the 500 small valves to shut, ceasing the booming sound which has been tundering for a month's time. As they shut, deadfalls swing into place, further blocking the tunnels. At this point the entire Road should be filled with a volatile mixture of air and gas, and the sudden quiet will be an ominous thing indeed.

Finally, the 500 deadfalls act to drag rods of flint and magnesium across rough iron plates inside the tunnels. The resulting explosion will destroy the entire mountain range, first in a colossal fiery explosion, then in a thunderous collapse.

That's the plan, anyway. It's been a long time. Things might not work like they're supposed to...
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 12:32:03 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged

Jack Chick, Abdul Alhazred, and Aleister Crowley walk into a bar...
Dirigible
Administrator
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +14/-5
Gender: Male
Posts: 538


Oh, the humanity!


« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2007, 07:32:42 PM »

That's... really complicated Smiley

The use of engineering instead of magic certainly fits the dwarven frame of mind and capabilities, though in this case it would certainly be easier to just poke a few elder earth elementals or Dogorin itself into going on a rampage.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that sulfur doesn't give off any volatile gasses. Coal certainly does, though (firedamp).

Actually, I have a half-written adventure lying around somewhere based on a similar, though fa smaller scale premise. Rock on!
Logged
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2007, 01:50:41 AM »

Hmm. I thought that sulfur gave off a really foul smelling gas that was flammable. I may have to reword that if I'm wrong. Anyone out there know for sure?

There's actually a fer earth elementals down there lead by an elder elemental called the Keeper of Road. They basically seal any breaches in the tunnel caused by tectonic activity. The problem is that a lot of them have simply gone to "sleep" from being down there for so long. There just aren't enough of them to do upkeep on the entire thing.

The adventure hook is that the PC's are sent as muscle to protect a small team of engineers who are supposed to make sure this "ancient dwarven highway" is sealed and passable. They go in around Bodrun, and have to clear any blockages, seal any breaches, and make sure all the "lookout stations" (the valves) are operational, including their deadfall mechanisms (which they think are there to block off any compromised stations)

Along they way they will have to deal with crazed elementals, a colony of salamanders living in a lava flow that cuts right across the central shaft through breaches in the walls, broken engineering, valves that have been blocked from above (one in the middle of a Shadow supply depot) and a number of other obnoxious things. Once they get to Calador, they discover that it's under siege, go to help and are told by the Thane what they have actually done. Word arrives that Jazhir has been spotted at Low Rock, and the Dwarves prepare for the end.

The next group of characters will begin their adventure by watching the entire mountain range explode.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 12:33:53 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
arnon
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +8/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,600



« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 08:50:57 AM »

I have to agree with Dirigble... I had to read each paragraph twice, and i'm still not sure I understand how its supposed to work  neutral

What would the effects of the crumbling of a whole mountain range be?

It'll probably send shock waves all across Eredane, destroying buildings/villages/towns/cities, killing people... loosing some long trapped evil perhaps (and not necessarly one trapped in the Kaladrunes)? What will happen to the rivers a seas?

The weather pattern will change also, but I have no idea how.

The Shadow will not have to send forces to occupy the area, so more soldiers to the elven front and other occupied areas.
Logged
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2007, 01:16:20 PM »

I have to agree with Dirigble... I had to read each paragraph twice, and i'm still not sure I understand how its supposed to work  neutral

Hmm. My powers of explain-y must be failin me. lets see.

Imagine a syringe. You know how when you pull up on the plunger it pulls fluid into the tube? It's like that, except instead of fluid it's flammable gas. While it's doing that, it makes a lot of noise as air is drawn through the valves like a giant flute (closer to a harmonica, actually.) The draining of the lake creates the suction. Once there's no more suction, all the valves snap shut, making sparks in the process. Boom.

What would the effects of the crumbling of a whole mountain range be?

It'll probably send shock waves all across Eredane, destroying buildings/villages/towns/cities, killing people... loosing some long trapped evil perhaps (and not necessarly one trapped in the Kaladrunes)? What will happen to the rivers a seas?

The weather pattern will change also, but I have no idea how.

The Shadow will not have to send forces to occupy the area, so more soldiers to the elven front and other occupied areas.

Yeah. That's the backdrop of the next story arc. Not as much spreading destruction as you might think, being that the area immediately around the mountains (the western plains) are mostly unpopulated. (except for freeriders and halflings, but they don't have buildings anyway) The explosion is going to be visible from the Eren river and felt as far as Sharuun. Most of the Orc forces in the area are going to die in the collapse. Jazhir is going to be trapped for a while. The forces that normally come in through the northern passes to reinforce the (now non-existant) dwarven front are instead going to have to march across Erenland to join the Elven front.

Dealing with the surge of troops is one of the big game issues. The Freeriders and the Halflings are going to have a hell of a time keeping out of sight when there's an army marching across their plains slaughtering and burning as they go.

Another game element will the rise in infighting on the elven front, as rival orc clans find themselves in the same area of the war for the first time in centuries.

I hadn't thought of awakening some ancient evil. Great idea though. Any suggestions? The Darguul is the first thing that springs to mind. Not sure if I want to do that though.

As if having a pissed off Jazhir bursting from the rubble in a few months wont be bad enough.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 01:18:46 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
castellan
Lightbearer
*

Spell Energy / Taint +0/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 51


« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 11:13:32 PM »

Sulfur does give off a nasty gas when burned (that rotten egg smell). It's also a component in gunpowder, fireworks and explosives. If you were thinking about the water disolving the sulfur, it's unfortunately not water soluble.

Now, all that being said, do you have any chemistry buffs in your gaming group? And if so, perhaps you can hand-wave the explosive gas. I'm a physicist and I strive for scientific accuracy in my games, but ultimately I want to have fun, so I'm pretty forgiving.

Frankly, your idea sounds like fun. I could see sending the players on a mission to capture or kill a turncoat who's preparing to warn Jahzir and the elite troops who would be caught in the blast. Or a mission to clear one section of the "road" of a rampaging earth elemental that has been corrupted by the Shadow.

Fun!
Logged
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2007, 12:07:27 AM »

do you have any chemistry buffs in your gaming group? And if so, perhaps you can hand-wave the explosive gas. I'm a physicist and I strive for scientific accuracy in my games, but ultimately I want to have fun, so I'm pretty forgiving.

I strive for accuracy as much as possible, too. In this case, I know that there are explosive gasses that form under ground, my mistake was trying to name it (them?) I suppose I just should have said "explosive gasses from the depths of the earth". Sometimes the more general approach is actually more accurate.

Frankly, your idea sounds like fun. I could see sending the players on a mission to capture or kill a turncoat who's preparing to warn Jahzir and the elite troops who would be caught in the blast. Or a mission to clear one section of the "road" of a rampaging earth elemental that has been corrupted by the Shadow.

Fun!

Thanks for the kudos. The "clearing the road" thing was my main take on it. I like the idea of tracking down a turncoat or a spy though. Maybe after it had been activated, but before it went off the PC's would have to find the traitor, kill them before they reached the enemy forces. It would give them something important to do rather than just waiting to be blown up.

Cool.
Logged
castellan
Lightbearer
*

Spell Energy / Taint +0/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 51


« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 10:20:20 PM »

I'm about to begin the Dwarven arc of my campaign and have been rereading this thread with some interest. I'm wondering about reversing the plot a bit, though. Here are my thoughts...

My players are on their way into the southern Kaladruns with some dwarven guides, having convinced those dwarves that they share common goals and carry with them information useful to the start of the dwarves' war campaign against the forces of shadow.

Meanwhile, in the north, the battle for Calador goes poorly. The mithril axe's inscriptions aren't just written in Dwarven, or Old Dwarven, but are instead in code. A Calador scholar has interpreted the inscriptions, but part of the translation is incorrect. This scholar believes that only Calador and the surrounding environs will be consumed -- hopefully killing Jahzir and the vast orc army arrayed against them. Sure, it'll wipe those dwarves out, but it will deny the Shadow his victory and will deal a crushing blow to his strength in the region, thereby saving the dwarves to the south.

The remaining dwarves in the north agree to one last battle designed to draw as many orcs, legates, and shadowspawn into the area as possible. The mechanism is activated and the great Horn of the Deep is sounded.

Back in the south, the haunting melody arises from the deep earth, sounding the funeral dirge for the dwarven race. Here, the dwarves remember the legends of old and know that their brethren have doomed them all. They also know that they have time to stop the process, though this will mean the fall of Calador...

The players, along with a small contingent of elite dwarves, are tasked with stopping the machine from completing its process. They must travel north through the deep channel carved for the singular purpose of destroying the dwarven holds throughout the Kaladruns. Along the way, they must fight the golems or earth elementals tasked with protecting the channel from the ravages of time as well as invaders. Every dwarven creation is arrayed against the heroes as they make their way to Calador by a route unknown to the Shadow. With limited resources and even less time, they must make their way to Calador to stop the destruction of the dwarves.

I'm not sure how to modify the nature of the design to allow the travelers to proceed without suffocating, but I imagine that perhaps each section of the passage has its own pocket of explosives that is designed to release under precise timing to allow an optimal mixture of gases for proper combustion (think of it like a huge engine and the PCs have to travel through the various cylinders). At the head of the channel is a door to the mechanism itself that the PCs must bypass in order to disable or destroy it.

This seems like a great path that has unfortunate consequences regardless of the outcome: on the one hand all the underground dwarves are destroyed, and on the other the dwarves of Calador suffer the ultimate fate as their doomsday plan fails.

I can see the possibility of resetting the mechanism, encouraging as many northern dwarves as possible to flee south via the deep passage, and then disabling several of the "pistons" somewhere north of the southern Kaladruns. This has the effect of bolstering the dwarves' ranks in the south while (hopefully) destroying many of the orc tribes in the north.

I'm not sure how to populate the channel so that passage through it is interesting enough to keep the players from going through one golem-bashafter another, but it could be a lot of fun if I could figure out how to get around that little problem.

Any thoughts on fleshing this out a bit?
Logged
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2009, 02:50:25 AM »

I'm glad you like the premise. It sounds like a good take on the idea.

Here's a list of the things that I've been tossing in the player's way as they've been traveling through the horn (most are right out of the monstrous manual. I'm sure you'll come up with ways to change them to suit your version of Midnight):

Destrachen coming up through a crack into the deeps.

Harpoon Spider living in one of the valves to the surface.(Monstrous Manual 2 or 3)

air elemental made of sulferic fumes

Salamanders living in a lava flow that has breached the tunnel and cuts accross their path

The "song of the Daargul" coming up through a breach, like a siren song.

Shadow-corrupted Delvers (monstrous manual)

Xorn

Thoqqua

Animated traps in the tunnel.

Repair Golems

Earth Elementals bound to care for the tunnel

the undead bodies of dwarves that died digging the tunnel, maybe in a cloud of poison gas venting from below.



when they have to go to the surface occasionally to hunt for food or supplies there is a lot of great opportunity to have them surface right in the middle of the most interesting and terrible places in the kaladruns. Hammer and Shadow has a whole lot of good scenarios to push them into. Even if they don't get involved it's still good flavor and will give them a sense of what's happening in the world while they are below.
Logged
castellan
Lightbearer
*

Spell Energy / Taint +0/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 51


« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2009, 04:38:00 PM »

air elemental made of sulferic fumes

Ahh, very good idea. I might try to come up with three or four variations on the air elemental to keep the players guessing. Add a couple of gas-specific special abilities and we're all set!

Quote
The "song of the Daargul" coming up through a breach, like a siren song.

I'm not familiar with this. Is it in one of the books, or in the Tome of Sorrows releases? Can you provide more detail?

Quote
Animated traps in the tunnel.

Repair Golems

Earth Elementals bound to care for the tunnel

Any specific animated traps that you've used with good success? I'm definitely considering the golem/earth elemental idea as well.

Quote
the undead bodies of dwarves that died digging the tunnel, maybe in a cloud of poison gas venting from below.

I've actually had a thought regarding some of those dwarves having chosen their undead form -- the better to defend the tunnel and keep it in proper repair. The Forgotten Realms had the Baelnorn -- powerful elves who embraced lichdom to keep the knowledge and defenses of their clans intact -- and I might try a similar concept... with the proper Midnight twist, of course.

Quote
when they have to go to the surface occasionally to hunt for food or supplies there is a lot of great opportunity to have them surface right in the middle of the most interesting and terrible places in the kaladruns. Hammer and Shadow has a whole lot of good scenarios to push them into. Even if they don't get involved it's still good flavor and will give them a sense of what's happening in the world while they are below.

Any good selections that you and your players have particularly enjoyed?

Thanks for the great ideas!
Logged
Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen
*****

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907



« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 12:55:34 AM »

I'm not familiar with this. Is it in one of the books, or in the Tome of Sorrows releases? Can you provide more detail?


There's nothing in any book about it, it's just one of the things I tossed in for flavor. There was a hole to one of the lost "deep places" in the earth (sort of like a midnight version of the Underdark) where the Darguul are said to live. I described it as a strange thrumming bass and a shrill quiet keening. It required a Will save to avoid falling under a compulsion effect to try to go towards the sound. If they were restrained or otherwise kept from trying to go toward the source of the sound they would start taking wisdom damage and becoming violent.

Think like the Siren's Song from the Odyssey and you'll have the right idea.

Any good selections that you and your players have particularly enjoyed?

I basically had all of the valves open up at or near major points along the mountain range. Some above ground, some below. I've used most of the major points described in Hammer and Shadow, and in the Kaladrun's section of the main book. There was a few points that worked particularly well.

I took them back to Pardruum Holdfast (from Crown of Shadows, which we started with) and put them right in the middle of the fighting there.

another valve opened up overlooking a battle against a dragon, which got away badly wounded. The players had the choice of going to help the survivors of the attempted trap, tracking down the wounded dragon to try to finish it off, or leaving (this fight is described more in Hammer and Shadow.

I had another open at the Pass of the Eagles and the party scout got to watch Jazhir's army mobilizing into the pass and up the winding roads to the north.

and the best so far-

At one point I had a valve that went all the way to the top of one of the highest peaks, above the cloud line, where a short, squat, abandoned dwarven tower was. it turned out to be a church-like observatory for the worship of the sun and the moon. Inside were undead dwarven priests and on the top was a Roc's nest. (this was a pretty amazing encounter) I described it in such a way that it took the players a long time to figure out what they were looking at when they got to the top, and then they found a 50 foot feather. Then they heard the sound of huge wings coming from below the cloud line. They couldn't get out fast enough and hid *in* the nest. they dug through all they way to the old stone at the bottom (the roof of the observatory) and tried to sneak out by opening the broken and wedged trap door while the Roc above started in on it's meal (a whale from the ocean to the east). While they pried and chiseled they got whale blood and goo pouring down on them. As they made it out of the tower the Roc dropped the whale carcass out of the nest. Right on top of them. The best part was that they never really even got a good look at the bird. They only ever got a sense of scale from the things that it did.
Logged
Pages: [1]
Send this topic Print
Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  GM's Corner (Moderators: Bleak Knight, Glacialis)  |  Topic: Collapsing the Kaladruns
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
AtS Dark Mercury design by Nifelhein, based on the Mercury theme by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.107 seconds with 28 queries.
TinyPortal © 2005-2011