Hey everyone! Like every month we want to help you use our maps. We have prepared some mini adventures that you can play with their use of maps: "Vampire Manor", "Underdark Temple" and "Sand Monster"
This adventure seed is designed as a short side trek story and it works best with the Spellarena map of a spider-shaped dungeon. It is system-agnostic and can be used within different fantasy settings, from heroic adventures such as Forgotten Realms, 7th Sea (it’s a great duel location!) or darker worlds e.g. Hyperborea (Conan 2d20) or Warhammer.
Dark elf Clan Zaesz has been recently rapidly expanding, mostly due to the young and charismatic new leader, Matron Morennel Yril'Lysaen. Not only her Goddess's chosen, but Morennel is also an engineering genius, who combined magic and architecture to create special hatcheries for spiders.
The buildings act as super-incubators, so giant and other spiders hatch faster, grow stronger and more vicious. Recently the matron started to experiment with her drow soldiers, ordering them to spend some time in the hatcheries. The results seem promising because the subjects develop stronger muscles and special abilities, such as wall-climbing.
With such mighty troops, the clan conquered one underground holding after another, but then Morennel encountered a problem. For her dark magic to work, she needed a special ingredient, found only on the surface: holy symbols of human deities.
She established a small outpost near an entrance to the surface world and sent her agents to recover relics. But there are only so many of them and to keep her empire growing, the matron needs to keep targeting human temples and priests. Meanwhile, her hatcheries seem to be losing potency.
Below is a simple Countdown: this is how events most likely unfold if the PCs don’t interfere. They may choose to do so at any point, but remember to adapt the narrative accordingly — the PCs discover different clues, depending on what has already transpired. The PCs might be asked for help by the local authorities, a secret council made of representatives of different churches, or they might want to look into the matter because for example, their mentor — a priest — has been killed.
1. It all starts with the disappearance of a priest stationed in a backwater temple of a minor deity. No-one cares and the delegation from the village, sent to the local power center, is sent away. The PCs might hear about this and choose to intervene, or they may go about their other tasks.
2. More clergy keep vanishing, all around the region. Different churches and their followers clash with each other, looking for the guilty party among their god’s rivals.
3. There are riots in the streets.
4. People talk about forests growing dark with webs and strange shadows move at night.
5. The drow grow so powerful that they attack the largest temple in the region — the relics from such a holy place will fuel Matron’s plans for years.
Once the PCs realize what’s going on, they find the drow and descent underground to the hatchery that serves as the drow HQ. Once it is destroyed, the drow withdraws — but the PCs might choose to follow them into the depths, searching for the Matron and lost holy symbols.
This adventure seed is designed as a short side trek story and it works best with the Spellarena map of a desert camp at a mysterious pit. It is system-agnostic and can be used within different settings, but the story below has been designed to work with Mythos horrors or sci-fi/science-fantasy themes in mind. With some work, it can be also used with fantasy games, especially darker ones, such as Conan.
Under the most remote reaches of the Great Desert sleeps a creature from before time. Ancient texts call it the Devourer, God-eater, or simple the End. Once it thrived, but then the desert was the bottom of a vast ocean and the creature grew for eons, spreading its feeding tentacles further and further across the entire seabed.
When the sea disappeared, some of those died but others retreated in time deep into the ground, and the creature as a whole entered hibernation.
Throughout history, various peoples discovered God-eater’s existence. Some venerated it, others tried to destroy it, but invariably all who interacted with the creature died horrible deaths.
The Allfather theory
Recently a powerful organization, bent on world domination, came across ancient tablets that speak about the Devourer. The author believed that the creature was the “first being”, constantly evolving since the dawn of time.
The organization decided such a thing if it existed, would greatly boost their research and help them conquer the world. They turned to different experts around the world and mounted a grand expedition to the Desert, sparing no expenses and manpower.
The PCs might be a part of that effort perhaps — hired by proxies — unknowingly working for the evil group. Alternatively, they might have been hired by another organization, or they’re free agents, by sheer coincidence conducting the same research and following the same clues.
Below you’ll find a countdown, which shows the order in which events transpire if the PCs choose not to intervene. The Spellarena’s map can come in handy at any point, when the PCs camp next to a mysterious pit or discover a research camp — still intact, abandoned, or wiped out by something huge. Possibly a sandstorm.
1. The organization comes across information about the Devourer and mounts an expedition.
2. The expedition finds a dead feeding tentacle and brings it home for research. They all go insane.
3. Out of experts, the organization reaches out to experts around the world and mounts another expedition.
4. Spread across the vast Desert, most of the groups find nothing but heat, sun, and strange mirages.
5. One group discovers an underground temple guarded by strange and feral humans. In the temple, there is information about the way of finding and awakening — or destroying — tentacles.
6. Hidden knowledge: some clues seem to point out that should enough feeding tentacles become active, the huge creature sleeping deep underground would awaken.
7. The evil organization mobilizes all its strength, scours the desert for the sites, and keeps awakening tentacles.
8. The Devourer awakes.
This adventure seed is designed as a short side trek story and it works best with the Spellarena map of a vampire mansion. It is system-agnostic and can be used within different fantasy settings, from heroic adventures such as Forgotten Realms, 7th Sea (it’s a great villain lair!) or darker worlds e.g. Hyperborea (Conan 2d20) or Warhammer, or even with games set in more modern eras, such as Call of Cthulhu.
The vampire family Sartoz travels across space and time in their mansion, always seeking new feeding grounds to exploit. The building, powered by mysterious mists and the blood of vampires’ victims, appears at night somewhere close to a “cattle” settlement. Then, the first vampires awake and scout the area.
If they deem it safe and good for harvest, they wake up the rest of the clan, which descends on the town. Usually, some people survive, which leads to local legends about haunted mansions.
On its eternal journey, the house sometimes returns to the places it has visited and the cycle continues with oddly dressed, rich visitors appearing in a town that has forgotten a tragedy from centuries before.
In the deepest part of the mansion lies the heart. Even the current clan’s prince doesn’t fully understand the artifact, though some vampires believe it belonged to the First Vampire, or that such a being sleeps inside the artifact.
The heart requires a steady supply of blood to keep the vampires alive when they hibernate and allow them to travel through dimensions. Destroying it would reduce the clan to ordinary vampires – still powerful, but cornered and unable to escape.
The vampiric infestation usually begins with the house arriving somewhere near a large town, typically superimposing itself onto ruins of an old building. Then scouts awake and carefully scout the settlement, learning its customs, fashion, as well as creating the first spawn that would serve the clan.
A sample group of scouts may look like this:
Renetoir Basauville – a charming and a bit boyish slender man with long hair and a mysterious smile that promises… things. He usually infiltrates the artistic circles of the town, where his outlandish clothes don’t draw too much attention. Renetoir is a talented poet, painter, and actor so usually, it doesn’t take him long to become a sensation, which leads to contacts with local aristocracy.
Jodie McCullen — a burly woman who relishes her physical strength, Jodie usually takes over a local gang and then builds a criminal empire, striking deals with human bosses and removing those who don’t want to cooperate.
Wang Shu — this androgenic vampire is a talented orator and has studied a multitude of religions from different times and places. Wang Shu tries to exploit local faithful, their beliefs, and attitude towards local clergy.
Sometimes the vampire is a prophet, sometimes a lowly priest preaching the “true” words of a god. Going against priests is very dangerous, but more than once Want Shu has managed to take control over a major temple.