My third article for the Mox Boarding House, the website for Card Kingdom’s physical stores, went live last week. The article is called The Haunting of Ironstone Pass, and it’s based on a D&D adventure I ran back in third edition. It features trolls, ghostly dwarves, and a spectral goblin horde.
I intended to write out the details of the metaplot hinted at in the article, but it got a bit convoluted once I started. Here’s the short version instead:
The evil trapped under the dwarven city was a world devouring god like creature from the Far Realm. In the ancient era of world, the first dragons defeated it when it attempted to devour the world, but being essentially immune to death (“That which can lie eternal is not truly dead” – HP Lovecraft) the victory wasn’t not final. They used their power to tear what passed for the entity’s spirit/mind from it’s physical form. The physical form they cast into the depths of the night sky (space) where it orbited as a distant comet, but the mind they cast down to earth, burying it deep where they hoped it could do no harm. That slumbering evil is the thing the dwarves found and half-awoke.
This event had other side effects in my home game. The defeat of the Elder Thing involved numerous bits being torn from it by the great dragons, and the some of those bits fell on the world, half alive. This is the source of the the Mind Flayers, Beholders, and other aberrant monsters. Many of these creatures seek their progenitor.
There were other complications as well. The hobgoblin warleader that conquered the dwarves was aided by a fallen angel, and in desperation to win his war, asked the fallen angel for three wishes: power, immortality, and loyalty from this followers. As a result, the fallen angel transformed him into the world’s first vampire. After he defeated the dwarves, the elves (at great cost of life) sealed him and most, but not all, of his kin inside a ward deep in the tunnels. The fallen angel, and his barghest rival (now known as the six fingered goblin king) were also major characters in the setting. One of my players acutely ended up possessed by the fallen angel.
Lastly, the demi-god of dreams waged a war with slumbering evil across the realm of dreams. The dream god’s greatest concern was that the nightmare creatures would conquer the city of dreams which sat atop the stairs of deeper slumber. If they could swarm down the stairs, they could devour the minds of the sleeping mortals and possess their bodies.
There were other interesting minor details woven in too. The goblin king taught a secrete forbidden martial art (which was tied into a plot line for my player of a monk PC.) The ancient dwarves had possessed the secret of creating intelligent magic items, and had cemented their pact with the elves (to battle the goblin horde) with a set of sentient magic items, most now lost… although the players had found one. A vampire lord was looking to stop anyone from awakening the first vampire trapped deep in the mines because he didn’t want to loose his autonomy. And of course there were a lot of strange things going on as a trio of mindflayers were attempting to manipulate events into gaining them access to their lost progenitor… or at least it started as a trio of mindflayers until the players beheaded one of them in a battle.
All in all, it was a really big set of stories… which probably could have benefited from some more simplicity, but it was my first real campaign as a DM, and I’m proud of a lot of the bits, even if there were too many of them.