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D&D 3E
The Sightseeing Tour - The Finale 
14th-Jan-2005 10:32 am
The Standard
The PCs in my group (a trio of good-aligned PCs in the Silver Marches of the Forgotten Realms) have decided to go on a major sightseeing tour - they want to travel to the Endless Ice Sea, a huge glacier to the north of a major mountain chain filled with orcs. Why? "Because the view must be great!"

Anyway, if they should manage to get out of their current troubles (accidentally stumbling into Menzoberranzan - you can read about it here) and actually reach their goal, I want to present them with the following scene:

"You stare from the mountains across the glacier and are dazzled by the light of the reflecting sun. The snow and ice seem to go on forever - to the End of the World."

"Suddenly, the earth shakes! Rubble comes loose, and you see that the ice fields in front of you twist and break. As you try to remain standing, you suddenly notice that in the distance, a large tower - a small fortress, even - seems to emerging from the ice sheet below. After a while, the earthquake stops, and you can see the complex in all its glory..."

Naturally, the PCs will investigate - if I have learned anything about this bunch of PCs, it is that they never learn when it might be a good idea not to go further. So now all I have to do is figure out what this tower actually is.

Who built it, and what for? Is it still inhabited by some manner of creatures, and if so, are they the original inhabitants of the tower? And why did the tower emerge now, after all this time?

Any suggestions are appreciated!

(Crossposted to gmworkshop)
14th-Jan-2005 10:08 am (UTC)
How about it is the home of a creature of ultimate evil, a home that never spends a day in the same place twice. He's an evil shape changing beast guarded by an army of almost robotic warriors armed with spears that shoot lightening bolts.

A beast so terrible that he can only be destroyed by the love of the heirs of two kingdoms and their marriage. A ceremony which involves, frankly showing a dangerous disregard for health and safety, shooting mystical flames from their hands.

I think a cyclops is involved somewhere in there too...

(sorry - bored at work)
14th-Jan-2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
14th-Jan-2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
I love that old movie....Krull!
16th-Jan-2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
Somebody blended The Thing and AVP?
17th-Jan-2005 10:02 am (UTC)
Ahh the innocence of youth...

And to think you claim 80s Movies as an interest. I'm referencing the pure brilliance that is Krull.
17th-Jan-2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Don't worry, I know about Krull. And I could just as easily read any other post in that thread. The Thing predates Krull anyhow. My comment is what is formally called 'making a joke'.
17th-Jan-2005 11:10 am (UTC)
Humour? :p

Remake or original? I wouldn't reference the remake because it scares me. So does AVP but for different reasons...
17th-Jan-2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
Both The Things predate Krull, the remake by only a year.
14th-Jan-2005 11:58 am (UTC)
I don't know how But I say Illithids.

Because brain-sucking octopi people are neat.
14th-Jan-2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
you could always run something similar to the icewind dale books and have somebody possess that crystal shard thing but make up your own storyline to it.
14th-Jan-2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to do this, maybe you can do it successfully...

Replay a scene from a horrible murder of a king. There are reasons why anyone would want to do it, but it is not clear who actually killed him. All of the people involved have long since died, but their spirits were unable to rest. They are forced to play through the entire scene over and over again as ghosts. The only way they can be released from this is if the pc's discover who it was that di this, and destroy it's spirit manifestation, but only after the point in the play where the spirit kills the king! Not only must they learn how to fight an ethereal creature, but they must figure out which one to fight!

As a possible reward, the other ghosts might give the pc's some historical knowledge, the location of a magical item, or even conrol of the castle. This would be a great base for both PC and DM alike. Since there are NO rescources, the pc's couldn't just sit in their castle and rot waiting for things to happen, but it would give them somewhere to fall back on.

NOTE: Running this kind of game requires an INTIMATE knowledge of exactly what is happening at every scene. I recommend a timeline, and a fairly detailed one. If you have time, you may want to read "Tales from Jabba's Palace" (i think that's the title). It is not only interesting, it goes through what each individual person was doing with Jabba the Hut, an insite into their motivation, and throughout it gives a lot more theme and feeling for that scene when you watch Jedi next time.
14th-Jan-2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
There's a published scenario almost exactly like that; I'm fairly sure it's called "The Last Dance". It was without a doubt the worst roleplaying scenario I've ever had anything to do with, this was agreed with by ALL of the players involved. I think it could be made to work, but this particular one didn't just involve finding things out, it was finding things out from people whose language was so old it was impossible for anyone to communicate with them, and also dancing.
14th-Jan-2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well that's boring. In my idea the players could hear and understand the ghosts, but not communicate with them as they were stuck in this parody. More would be learned from watching where they went and what they did.
14th-Jan-2005 04:02 pm (UTC)
I personally thought the "Tales from Mos Eisley" was more interesting, if only because more of the stories actually fit with each other (characters will be eating together at the bar, and you get a story from each of their points of views). But that's just my opinion.

And of course, reading them both is cool because there are some creatures that were at both places ;)
14th-Jan-2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit short on ideas at the moment, but how about something like:

The tower is currently populated only by ice golems, which were created as servants/guards for the original residents. These original residents are some old race whose return is "A bad thing"(tm); and are currently frozen(ala Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back) and one of the things the golems will be doing is starting the unthawing process.
The tower could have been programed to appear x amount of time after the time the original owners decided there wasn't enough worth notice on this silly little world, and they've allowed enough time for it to be worth conquering(ie there will now be some decent servant races).

I'm thinking possibly some sort of insectoid life or maybe it could be more interesting if they were reptilian and originally this place was a warm area, so even if they do get released there will be control on how quickly they can move to take over, as they'd need some sort of environmental controls.

There could easily be the usual dungeon things too, traps etc. Even some burrowing creatures that have ended up inside.

In fact it could be interesting for it to appear completely empty initially, as the golems are programed to "wake up" a certain amount of time after the tower emerges.
14th-Jan-2005 03:58 pm (UTC)
How about that the tower always springs up for a few minutes at a certain time of the day? But then it sinks again and the ice reforms so that no one notices it (I mean, what are the chances of someone standing on a glacier looking the right way at the right time?). So your PCs go in, then the tower goes down, and they're trapped. They need to kill the evil and manage to get out. Somehow.

As for what's in the tower... maybe a group of sun-worshipers/haters who daily pray to/try to destroy the sun with some special weapon they've made but can't get to work (hence why the tower goes up and down). There would of course have to be ice magic (since you're in the ice, and something needs to be resealing it after the tower goes down), but maybe you could combine this with light magic. Play off the idea of the sun dazzling from the ice, and make some interesting monsters/attacks based on that. The PCs find this isolated group (who could be mixed of good and evil, those who want to destroy the sun and those who don't) and get mixed up in it, involving some mystery, a bit of political roleplaying (if you're into that stuff), and eventually a fight when they discover the real evil that's driving stuff. They beat it, and the ice-people decide that they like the PCs and decide to open trade with them, making the PCs important in the world, as well as fabulously wealthy. OR, they find the entrance to undergroup passages that lead from the tower. Think Underdark in the ice. Maybe they hit the Underdark. Maybe they find a gnomish submarine docked somewhere. Lots of great ways to go off from there.

Sorry for the long post :p
14th-Jan-2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
You could use it as a fortress for servants of Auril the Goddess of Ice/cold. Maybe they want to bring eternal winter to the lands of Faerun.
14th-Jan-2005 05:43 pm (UTC)
My personal recommendation is that the fortress itself should have been sealed away eons ago; the reason it was sealed away was as a final bastion for (insert heroic group here) when some immense war came. The seal was intended to keep this fortress safe and secure, and it would reveal it when the group returned.

As it happens, either one of the characters is a distant descendant of one of the group, and so triggered to revival of the fortress, or one of their items used to belong to the group and triggered it.

So the PCs get their very own castle, designed to resist some malefic force, probably from alien planes of existence, so it's really well designed.

On the down side? The act of it being restored uncorked the gates of the evil forces. So the PCs get their new fortress just in time for Horrors from Beyond to start rampaging around and coming after them. The PCs can try to reseal the fortress, which will plug the gate for a while again, or they can try to find a way to stop the flood of twisted Things beginning to flood the world before all of Faerun is devoured.

It's even easy to level-match the horrors to the players - if they're weak, then small advance scouts are sent through first. If they're high-level powerhouses, then the scouts also can serve as siege engines and the like.

18th-Jan-2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
... You could (If you own Tome Of Horrors 2, that is) have it be ruled by an ine gnome lich wizard and several of his spellgorged zombies and his retinue of ghoulish servants...
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