Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Mushroom Tower (part 1)

I've been kicking around a few ideas for adventures, but I doubt I'll ever really put in the work to make them a real true "module" style adventure.  I have enough to kind of hang the whole adventure on, more than a seed, but not really enough to say it's a complete adventure. So I'm going to tag this as an "adventure skeleton" and go ahead and post something, rather than wait until I get it perfect (probably never).  Maybe I'll draw some maps, but probably not, because I see way better maps than I can draw out there every single day, and I kind of end up feeling like it's a straitjacket long before I actually get it done.  But I will do my damnedest to make it at least as playable as a one-page dungeon.


A golden comet has appeared in the sky.  At first there was just a little buzz among astrologers, sages, and the like, but at this point everyone is talking about it.  It is clearly visible with the naked eye as the sky grows dark, and everyone is certain, sovereigns to slaves, that it is the return of the Celestial Sword.

The Celestial Sword appears periodically -- the last time was about 500 years ago -- and signals a renewal of the war of the sky gods against against the wicked fae folk of the Mushroom Tower.  Stories vary from region to region, but everyone has heard some version of them growing up.

The characters roll d30 on the following table to determine what they remember hearing about the Mushroom Tower growing up.  At the Judge's option, characters with a lore-based background or class may get additional rolls.

Rumors and Tales
1 Huge creatures, fantastic's dragons that live in the Mushroom Tower.
2 Nothing alive could come back age after age. The Mushroom Tower is full of ghosts.
3 For their heresies, the inhabitants of the Mushroom Tower are cursed to disappear and reappear in time. This way, the gods can destroy them slowly and effortlessly, while giving the blasphemers no rest or recuperation.
4 No man knows what the things in the Mushroom Tower are. No man was meant to know.
5 What else would they be but giants? It's always giants defying the gods.
6-8 Don't know if it's Seelie or Unseelie, but it's definitely a fairie court in the Mushroom Tower.
9-10 The Mushroom Tower is topped by an all-seeing eye.
11-12 The Mushroom Tower is guarded by hordes of dead things armored in steel and bone.
13-14 They say the Mushroom Tower shoots giant arrows of fire at the gods. The gods must be winning; they say the Tower shoots fewer arrows each time it appears.
15-16 The Mushroom Tower spreads blights and fire on surrounding fields and forests whenever it appears.
17-18 Giant, roaring, smoke-belching beasts with many centipede legs emerge from the Mushroom Tower to denude forests and dig up rocks and dirt.
19-20 Huge dragonflies used to serve the fairies of the Mushroom Tower, but haven't been seen in ages.
21 The last time the Tower appeared, only Finngart, squire of Varrtir, returned, bringing with him a retinue of spirits of fire and smoke.
22-23 The Tower is itself alive. Not just like a mushroom is alive, but sentient and cunning.
24 There are some mushroom shaped rocks standing in the hills outside the village of Highfield. That's where the Tower appears, and that's why it's called the Mushroom Tower.
25 The Mushroom Tower is located under a fairy hill. It only looks like a tower from the inside.
26-27 When Finngart returned from the Tower, he brought enough riches to live like a king for the rest of his days. No one ever found so much as a penny of it after he died.
28 When Varrtir confronted and slew the master of the Tower, he was compelled to take his place. If the legends are true, Varrtir is the master now.
29 The Tower appears from an enchanted lake and disappears into it again when its time is up.
30 Roll twice and combine the two results imaginatively.

Travel to the vicinity of the Tower should take at least two weeks, and the old legends will be the main topic in every inn and tavern along the way.  Early on in the travel period, the party can roll 1d8 on the table to pick up more rumors.  At about a week and a half out, roll 1d8+8; at a week out, roll 1d8+15; and within three days' travel of the Tower's locale, roll 1d8+22.

The roads will be heavily traveled by other adventurers looking to loot the Tower, and by a few refugees looking to get away from the area before the wrath of the gods starts falling.  The prices of goods will shoot up due to the increased demand and decreased supply.  Parties who think to bring extra supplies to sell can rake in some money, perhaps double or triple list price.

Spoilers: More detail will be given in a future post, but the Judge should know now; the Mushroom Tower is a technological relic left over from an earlier age, a la Gus L's Fallen Empires and Land of 1000 Towers adventures.  (I guess that makes Patrick Wetmore's Anomalous Subsurface Environment the thematic grand-daddy here, but I still haven't picked that up.)  Most of the rumors on the table have a basis in truth, but have had 500 years to become entwined with fairy-tale standards to the point of being almost unrecognizable.   EDIT:  Looks like Gus has taken down his blog for some reason.  Luckily, someone saved his PDFs, or at least most of them.  Look here:

If you want to give some foreshadowing of the high-tech nature of the Tower, you can have the party find the remains of a smashed robot in some out-of-the-way niche on their journey there, or maybe there's a village with some piece of ancient technology that still works, like a spotlight or a motor they use to open and close the gate.

At any rate, I've let this blog sit too long without a post, so I'll end this now and get the next post up before two months passes by again.

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