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Author Topic: A Ruined Clanhold  (Read 5274 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +1/-0
Posts: 35

« on: April 28, 2011, 12:22:29 AM »

The players in my game are going to be taking up residence in the ruins of a dwarven clanhold. They are leading a bunch of refugee dwarves. The clan hold was broken and ruined a while back. The orc armies have moved on. They have not set up there.

Aside from "the Lost", what kind of threats and thing would you think would await? In the lower fungus gardens I am going to have a headhanger lurk. I am going to have orc patrols and supply caravans pass through. They are going to have to find a way to deal with that.

What other kind of stuff would you put there?

Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen

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

« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 01:07:38 AM »

Dwarves build their clanholds in circular patterns (check Crown of hadows for a reference pic). In my games the reasons for this are so they can keep falling back further and further down the spiral. Dwarves are essentially playing a game of Tower Defense, trying to kill the hordes of enemies before they reach the heart of the fort. That means that all the junctions of the spiral are going to be built to collapse or seal to cut off pursuit, and the entire hold is going to be filled with traps. In my games I have them on clockwork timers to auto-set themselves if more than a day passes without someone doing something to reset their countdown (think of it like a dwarf that goes around and winds the mechanisms with some kind of special tool). What that means is that when a chunk of the hold falls, within the next day all the awful deathtraps built into the dwarven streets and buildings arm themselves.

If the hold is in two levels, you could have the orcs have taken up residence in the top one but have basically given up the bottom as a lost cause. They might have poisoned or starved the dwarves below them to death and then just left the lower levels alone rather than deal with all the traps and stuff. That gives the PC's the choice of going into the orcish garrison above or the basement full of lost spirits, fell monsters, traps and scavengers. Do they try to clear out the bottom so they can attack the garrison from within, or do they try to clear the garrison so they can bypass the horrors below and get straight to the heart of the clanhold?

Other ideas:

If the ghosts of the lost inside the city were partially visible and completely unaware of the presence of mortals then the PC's could watch the ghosts go thorough their endless daily routine, including watching the "winder" reset the traps and stuff, maybe giving the PC's some clue as to where they were and how to get past them. (also great for feeding them knowledge of dwarven culture)

Fell dwarves, locked underground with no way out, still wearing all their old armor and stuff, long since driven mad by hunger.

A Salamander (or other fire-based outsider) who had a pact with the dwarves that lived there who basically lived in their central forge and helped with smelting in return for protection and a constantly warm place to live. Trapped for some time. Wary, but not neccisarily hostile, probably unsure as to what happened.

Carrion Crawlers, or other nasty scavengers, feeding on the remains.

A group of 50 or so dwarves that was trapped by a collapse when the enemy breached the walls. There used to be a lot more of them, but they've been forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. They had two channelers with them who could create water and purify food, but they still needed to eat. They have been tunneling at the walls with their weapons for who knows how long and are almost through. The PC's hear scratching behind the walls, and maybe even low rumbling voices that sound like moans (from the distortion). When the trapped dwarves come through the wall (whether they are helped by the PC's or not) they look and smell like Fell, but arent. Do the PC's notice that the dwarves are still alive?


Jack Chick, Abdul Alhazred, and Aleister Crowley walk into a bar...
Insurgent Commander

Spell Energy / Taint +18/-2
Gender: Male
Posts: 331

« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 05:12:22 AM »

I've done some artworks of dwarfs cities. Have a look there: http://www.againsttheshadow.org/index.php?topic=1422.15

I would also add disease, area affected by legate poisonous magic, shadow minions living in sealed spaces, to make sure dwarfs won't come back. Anything that isn't direct threat but rely on long term damage.
If your stronghold is close to Highwood (middle east) there can also be spiders who have settled in, coming from the wood.

You can also add orc renegades who don't want to be found. They may have found mushroom caves and try to start a new life away from the whip and suffering.

Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 03:36:58 PM »

I've used feral dwarves to good effect. Players have no problem fighting fell or orcs, but fighting other, living dwarves who should be their allies is always a shock. Showing the players how far the dwarves have fallen is a dark look into the future of the dwarves once Calador falls.


Spell Energy / Taint +1/-0
Posts: 35

« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 11:51:41 PM »

Thanks heaps guys. Inspirational as always. You have given me plenty of options.
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