Origins: Grasslands of Merakai – Adventure Seeds V

Apr 24, 2011
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The conclusion of my Origins series, as detailed previously. -Mark

Barrier Mountains: The Stronghold

Deep in the barrier mountains is a large keep which is extremely well defended and in a very strategic setting. It is the home of a monastery of sorts. The keep is the last stronghold of the followers of an evil god (any CE god will work). The keep is home to a brotherhood of 42 knights which are actually anti-paladins. Each knight holds a rank and the upper level knights are very powerful. The Grandmaster Knight has a +5 Unholy Avenger and +5 Full Plate Armour with +5 shield. Other than him the ranks work slowly downward with magic according to their level. Along with the circle of knights, are 64 clerics of the god in the congregation (similar levels along with ranks). Besides these, there are various magic users, monks, and other followers who base out of the

The knights are bonded during the knighting ceremony and any loss of life to a single knight will be felt by all the other knights. A group of followers will immediately be sent out to seek out the person who slew the knight and inflict revenge.

I currently have a PC who is playing one of the knights of the circle but other than that, I would have the PC party meet one of the lower level knights along with a mage, a cleric and a monk follower. If the PC’s kill the knight, then you can continually run them into stronger groups from the Keep. This will build into an antagonist thereby forcing the PC’s to try and eliminate the problem when they are higher levels.

Barrier Mountains: Glade Of The Giants

This glade is very large and is located in a valley with mountains on three sides. The glade opens to the south but also has exits to the northeast and northwest. The mountains are very rocky and difficult to climb. The forest is similar to the Englemann Spruce/Sub-Alpine Fir forests of today. Buried in the forest in the sides of the mountains are numerous cave entrances. These caves have been widened to allow access for the large occupants. The glade is home to about 35 mountain giants. (If these giants are converted to 2ed AD&D like the other giants add 4HD to the original listing in Fiend Folio. I believe that makes them 16HD.) This is a very difficult encounter for even high level parties.

The PC’s are traveling through the mountains and a “wandering monster” happens. Two Mountain Giants attack the PC’s. The giants were about 4 miles from the glade hunting when they found the PC party. These giants should be lower hp monsters to lure the PC’s into the glade. An obvious trail leads to the glade. When the PC’s arrive at the glade 1-8 giants will be frolicking in the central region while the remainder of the giants are in or near their cave homes. As the battle heats up, more giants will appear each round (1d4) until it is obvious the PC’s are outnumbered and about to lose terribly. Remember mountain giants do a wonderful 4-40 HP of damage per attack and a 16 HD monster has a THAC0 of 5.

Barrier Mountains/Fedell: The Citadel

North of Fedell at the transition zone between the foothills and the mountains. The citadel sits in a valley between two mountains.

At a distance, the citadel looks like a normal keep set in a mountain valley.Something however appears very strange. The keep appears to be sitting slightly above the normal height of the ground.

In actuality, the keep was once a stronghold for a powerful evil warlord but he has long (stress long) since been defeated. During the battle, the combined strength of the good and neutral mages utilised powerful magical spells to lift the keep from its normal resting place. Needless to say, this disorganised the enemy and drastically lowered the moral of his army. Being lifted from the ground, keep and all, tends to unnerve even the best soldiers. Anyway, as the PC’s approach they should begin to get the feeling that the keep is not quite normal. At > 100 yards, the PC’s will be able to determine that the keep has been lifted from the earth. Many buildings have been toppled and others are leaning at such angles that they could collapse at any time.

The present occupants of the keep are a mage and a cleric both very evil. They are combining their abilities in order to create an army of undead warriors. They are still in the early stages of development. The outlay of keep is just a small keep with two structurally sound towers. One houses the mage and his apprentices and the other is home to the cleric and his acolytes and other associates. The main building of the keep is where the army is being created in what was once the great hall of the king’s dwelling. Various other outbuildings are in use as barracks for the undead or for equipping the army. The mage has three charmed dwarven metalsmiths currently making armour and weapons for the army. The “Generals” have not made any outward attacks on society yet but humans in the area have reported “masses” of undead in the woods heavily armed and directly controlled by some “god”. The undead were in fact in the woods but the cleric was just out practicing control of a small legion. Altogether the number of undead should be designed for the level of your party then add 15% to the strength.

The PC’s can be assigned the keep as a mission or they can just run into it while out adventuring in the mountains. My PC’s flee anything that looks like a tough adventure so I let them inside the keep and then had them get blocked off by a band of undead. They immediately fled deeper into the keep and did right well barring two small PC deaths. Rumours of the keep are flying about Fedell but haven’t really penetrated to Dresan yet but they keep moving and getting exaggerated.

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