Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Its been a while since I took out my notes and maps on the Forsaken Halls, but that bug has bitten me yet again, so I'm thinking of introducing the players from my Omegea campaign to it. Given that the 1st level of this mega has been redone about five times, I thought I'd restructure and reorganize the map yet again ;) , and that process has brought up some interesting ideas.
Entry Points - In the past, the Forsaken Halls have had only two entry points for the first level: the obvious main gateway, and a secret passage from the one of the enormous stone faces that flank the ramp leading down to those gates (for those who don't know, the Forsaken Halls is beneath a black hill atop which squats a ruined, 100' tall hexagonal tower/fortress, roughly the width of the Pentagon, but much taller. A wide "valley" has been cut into the side of the hill, and is flanked with great stone faces of vaguely alien aspect).
As the upper levels are quite expansive, I've decided there should be many more entry points. The Forsaken Halls is an "active" adventuring site, something of a local attraction and a magnet for adventurers, as opposed to a site that has lain untouched for centuries. Due to this, it seems logical that the hungrier of the monstrous inhabitants within would have figured out where the easiest meals are coming from - in or near the main entrance - making it difficult for inexperienced characters to get their foot in the door, without having it chewed off!
Now, there have always been a couple of hidden side entrances, but they have been discoverable only from the inside. I'm going to say that by now, rumors of these secret entrances have started to make the rounds in the taverns of the nearby base-town of Tome. Hopefully, this will give players a chance to gain entry to the Halls a bit more surreptitiously and get a bit of exploring in before the powers that be take notice (yes, there is still a dragon on the first level!).
Some of these entry points include, a drainage culvert on the side of the hill not too far south of the stone faces, a tunnel from one of the six ruined guard towers that flank the bowl-shaped depression the hexagonal tower squats within (these abandoned towers themselves are intended to serve as brief adventuring locales for lower level parties), a flooded underground passage leading from the cold river that runs along the eastern side of the area, and of course, via the sealed upper levels of the great tower itself.
I also think there should be a couple of access points, from outside, directly to the lower levels of the dungeon.
Who can suggest some cool access points to implement, or things that have worked well for them in the past?
Rival Adventuring Parties - This is something i've wanted to do for awhile, but have yet to implement. There are quite a range of options here - random groups the party might encounter in the dungeon, fully detailed and fleshed out parties that act as friendly competition to the party, or groups that are downright inimical to the party, perhaps acting as agents for some dark power or looking to prey on the party when it is loaded up with treasure but weakened from the struggle of getting hold of it.
Plus I always liked the combat example in the 1E DMG between the rival groups.
Has anyone run rival/competitive parties of NPCs, and can impart some ideas or advice?
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