The Spire Campaign
Written and Illustrated by
M. A. Packer
“Peoples of the spire on whose necks I humbly stride: hear me as I herald the dawn of a new age. For too long the denizens of our great Spire have struggled amid isolation and contention while the powers that be stare down with indifferent and uncaring eyes. As your emperor, I promise to unite the scattered settlements and raise a mighty force that will ascend the Spire to the pinnacle. Together we shall storm the fastness of our captor and overthrow their complacence! As your new god, I will unlock the mysteries of our strange world and bring light into every darkened corner. Come now and follow my guiding light! Align yourselves with my ranks and partake of my aspiration’s spoils.”
The material presented in this document consists of the basics of just about everything one may find within or without the spire. In this adventure, players will explore the many levels and interior labyrinths of The Spire as they quest, almost endlessly, to find access to the top, if indeed there is one!
What is Needed
This campaign is written for use with the Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder role-playing systems. Whichever system is selected, the referee will need to read through the campaign before attempting to run it so that they may adapt their system choice to the setting.
Life in the Spire
Though people may roam about the interior and exterior of the spire rather freely and build kingdoms and war on each other as easily as they may on the surface of a normal world, the denizens of the Spire hold feelings of animosity toward it. Many religious sects and philosophical schools produce endless libel and slander against the Spire, deeming it little more than a prison, possibly built by the arch deity as a means of entrapping his people and keeping them from the riches of the world, if one exists, below the Sea of Clouds.
Churches, temples and shrines exist throughout The Spire and many people send their prayers up to the gods who live in the higher, loftier halls. What is more, the gods will send their blessings down and fuel the spells and rituals of priests and divine magic users. More information on the gods may be found in the section detailing their habitation, much later in this document. The GM may bring in any pantheon of deities he or she wishes as the deities listed in this section only cover basic details, such as a deity’s alignment and their portfolio.
Shelves, tables and arch balconies are bowl-shaped with layers of dirt and stone piled within. Upon these layers of dirt and stone, plants, trees, shrubs and all other kinds of vegetation grow, as though on their native soil. Depending upon the season, regardless of altitude, sufficient oxygen exists upon the shelves and tables, and people have built homes from felled trees and piled stones. Some of the dungeon passages, which are continually being excavated, have been flooded with mantle, allowing for the cutting of stone and the craftsmanship of all manner of stone structures as though quarried from a natural mountain. Some of these rock and dirt veins in the Spire even contain precious metals and gems, allowing for the existence of currency, which is exchanged commonly between the kingdoms and the empire. Shelves tend to be large enough that more than a day is required to walk from one end to another, and tables are of such a size that it can take the better part of a week to span one on foot.
With further regard to the climates of the Spire, as stated above, the temperature is only affected by the current season, but each table and each shelf have their own climates, such as tropical, temperate and even a few desert regions with rolling sand dunes and jagged rock formations. The spiral column of weather, which stems from the Sea of Clouds, runs up the height of the tower, allowing rain and, during winter seasons, snow to fall. This poses a danger as heavy rainfalls cause rivers and lakes to overflow and stairvales will flood with continually tumbling waterfalls, most especially in spring when the ice and snow melts in the higher elevations. During this time, people know to avoid exploring the dungeons as these will frequently fill with water and remain flooded for days at a time. Even when avoiding the dungeons, the rain causes even more dangers as monsters will flee their lairs and temporarily come out into open reaches where they will sometimes attack settlements throughout the Spire.
The last perils to beware are those from bandit raids. Most of the passages and dungeons within the Spire are home to countless bandit gangs who lurk in the dark in places they know monsters are less frequent and travelers dare to tread. Because of this, individuals seeking to take a pilgrimage to higher parts of the Spire will pay plenty for safe escorts.
In regards to travel; because of the nature of the transitions, such as stairwells and stairvales, use of wagons is impossible, but certain animals, such as horses, mules and some cattle may climb the stairs. Cattle are only capable of moving higher and seldom can ever be guided down the transitions, so much of the herds are raised on lower levels, then brought up. This may pose an annoyance to certain pilgrims and wanderers as they have been known to wait for as many as a thousand head of cattle and flocks to climb the stairs before they may pass.
Any attempts to fly between levels of The Spire are met with doom and death as powerful currents sweep away any such persons and fling them out into the surrounding cloudy oblivion. The substance that the Spire is comprised of is mysterious and unaffected by spells or the forces of nature. Even the relentless winds and occasional floods of water have failed to erode the white solids, hinting that a truly great and marvelous power is behind its existence.
Philosophies of the Spire
“Surely the point of The Spire, with all these contending ideas and philosophies regarding its purpose, must be to serve as an asylum to contain al such notions, which break the bonds of sanity.”
-Aramek the Sage-
There are thousands of ideas had among scholars and sages, all of whom contend with one another to realize the purpose of The Spire. Anything from coat racks and dinner plates is hotly debated among the learned circles, but the most widely accepted beliefs come from the following schools of thought:
Atheistic Sages: The Spire was not created, but formed from the chaotic ether of the universe once the circumstances of the cosmos were conducive enough for it to form.
Theistic Sages: The Spire was crafted by the gods to serve as a protection for its denizens against the powers of evil.
Demitheistic Sages: The spire was crafted by the gods to serve as a prison for its denizens to prevent them from contaminating the rest of the universe.
Dreamer Sages: The Spire is simply the dreaming of a mad being whose inner thoughts work under such degrees of complexity that they allow for life to exist within his resting visions.
Times and Seasons
Clouds spiral up the tower, bringing rain, which is purified over the course of its travel. Down by the Barriers, the clouds are dark and always thundering, but as they climb higher they turn white and pure, dropping rain and snow, depending upon the season. The sun revolves in the sky, climbing high above the tower and vanishing beyond the horizon of the Sea of Clouds. Rain falls and flows on the shelves and tables, and down the stairways, often falling in narrow streams that tumble over the ledges and dissipate into raindrops that cascade onto lower levels. Snow falls and when it melts, floods threaten lower lands as water comes pouring down all at once. Because of this, the construction of walls and flood plains has become exceedingly important for the survival of all communities.
The Sea of Clouds
Below the spire, in every direction, runs the Sea of Clouds. Clad in silver and gold, the clouds are swept and shaped by strong winds. None know what lies below or beyond the Sea of Clouds, and many have attempted to venture there, never to return. In the past, demi-humans made it their mission to explore and attempt to leave the tower, but in light of the many failures, now it is the calling of all to discover what is at the top. Powerful elementals do exist outside the tower and fester in the upper levels of the Sea of Clouds, and every now and then find their way up the spiral column of weather and torment the denizens of the Spire’s shelves and tables.
Hidden all dark and silent throughout the Spire are dungeons and labyrinths. These empty cavities in the mysterious substance comprising the Spire serve unknown functions but have made desirable lairs for all manner of vicious creatures and dastardly villains. Dungeons are almost always in complete darkness as their placement is too deep for the sunlight to reach, but during the night of every full moon, strange glyphs will glow within the dungeons, driving the monsters within to extreme violence, making them totally unreasonable and highly dangerous.
Dungeons had, at one time, been possessed by the first kingdoms built in the Spire and were used to house many kinds of valuables. Over the centuries they have been abandoned as monsters and enemies took possession of them, sealing off the old treasures from the demi-human peoples who abandoned them for the safety of the shelves and tables. Now the dungeons are overgrown with odd plant and fungal life, forming curious ecologies for monsters to subsist upon.
Archways, Stairvales, Stairwells and Towers
The following items serve as the primary source of transition between levels. Regardless of which course is taken to traverse the different levels of the Spire, the journey is always arduous and fraught with great peril. Sages speak of possible portals of arcane magic, which allow persons to instantaneously travel between levels, but while many writings were found detailing them, none have been found. As stated in the section regarding life on the Spire, dangers from flood affect these access points, especially in the spring. Now let us examine each of these access points:
Archways: much smaller than tables and shelves, archways and archway balconies are tiny outcroppings from the face of the Spire where tiny patches of wilderness, ranging in size from one to fifty acres, provide a vantage outside the walls and interior. Often adorned with a double or triple archway, the archways will delve somewhat into the Spire, sometimes linking with longer passages that run deeper and connect with forks, branches and dungeons. Stairvales often connect to archways, but it is possible for interior tunnels within the Spire to run straight out into a bare patch of the outer walls and open into an archway. Some of the larger archways are inhabited by small villages and other communities and walls have been built in the archways to control who comes and goes or simply to keep out strangers and enemies.
Stairvales: long avenues, which run along the exterior of the Spire, connecting to archways and levels and serving as the preferred rout for caravans to go from one table or shelf to another. The stairs consist of incremental platforms, which are hedged on both sides by steeply running bands of wilderness as wide as one or two acres. Many animals and monsters nest and lair along stairvales, making them dangerous, and due to the steepness of the bands of wilderness, caravans will travel on switchback paths that run up each platform step. Each step is several acres wide and across and sometimes accumulate enough earth that plants grow upon them and water collects in pools. Travel along stairwells takes anywhere from days to months as caravans and travelers traverse the levels.
Stairwells: Much smaller than stairvales, stairwells climb and descend within the Spire itself, connecting dungeons and passages to higher or lower levels. These are dangerous and drearily repetitive, continually going up and up and around and around. The danger comes from the perpetual darkness, which often conceals hiding monsters or bandits who attack travelers brave enough to use them. The stairwells, while much smaller than the stairvales, are usually as many as twenty feet wide with ceilings as high as fifteen feet. The steps are slightly larger than what is comfortable for most demi-humans, requiring one to extend themselves as they climb each and every one of them.
Ladders: Exceedingly rare are the ladders, which consist of recesses in the sides of the Spire that serve as sufficient hand holds, but only persons of exceedingly great stamina and strength are able to go this route due to the sheer distance between levels. These are also dangerous to attempt since, apart from potentially falling to one’s death, flying monsters may attempt to attack someone exposed on the bare surfaces of the Spire.
Towers: Rising out of the tables and shelves are towers of incredible size. These, in many ways, are like miniatures of the Spire itself, save for the positioning of their own shelves. Crowning each tower are four balconies with large structures rising up from the center. Often these are made into habitations for kings and other rulers or possessed by wizards and made into studies. The towers all have hollow interiors with expansive archways leading into them, but the only way to climb a tower is via a spiral stairvales, which encompass the outside and the inside. Some towers have been blocked off by local authorities because of monsters infesting them, but sometimes treasure resides at the very top of these, especially where intelligent creatures have made them into lairs. It usually takes the better part of a day to climb to the top of a tower, unless magic is used to bypass the distance.
Now let us examine more closely the specifically known reaches of the Spire
Location I: The Barriers
Tall, smooth and nearly featureless walls that encompass the base of the Spire, connecting it with whatever lays below the Sea of Clouds. Smaller dungeons lay within the dense trunk and these contain weak monsters of little interest. Dead ends in these dungeons often have large mosaics showing the tower above the clouds, along with strange symbols that resemble eyes at the very top of the tower. Though some treasure exists in these dungeons, little else is of interest and demi-humans often come here simply to look for secret passageways that may lead to levels within or possibly below the Barriers.
Not very long ago, one of the balcony villages erected a gantry and pulley with over a thousand feet of pure, silk rope and lowered a sage in a basket as close to the clouds as was possible. The sage, whose name was Pilmar, encountered peril as the basket came so close to the Sea of Clouds that strange forces within the mists began to eat away at the fibers of the floor of his basket. He tugged at a string, which linked to bells that ran along the length of the silk rope, signaling the people at the top to raise the basket. As he waited for the basket to raise he saw a strange text relief etched into the side of the Barriers, which he set a bit of parchment and charcoal to, producing a rubbing. This image was later retraced to exactness by Pilmar and his associates, and the words translated, providing the following cryptic message:
“The way will open to that which the Dreamer felled. At the pillar’s crown, where torches part and wisdom shines, the way will come and the sisters four shall flood the land once more.”
This message seems to promise that a way out may exist at the top of the Spire, but such an undertaking would require a long and exceedingly dangerous journey.
Just above the Barriers are lesser shelves with small villages who subsist off their crops and grazing animals. These are the most peaceful places in all the Spire as they are of little interest to the grand kingdoms and empires who rule above. The dungeons in this place are tiny, separated by narrow, but long, curving tunnels that run deep through the trunk of the Spire.
Areas of Interest
1- Footstep: small town that Pilmar originates from, which serves as the starting point for the entire campaign! The town is ruled by a matriarch who goes by the name of Lavania; an elderly human woman of lawful neutral alignment. The town is built upon an arch balcony about ten by ten acres in size. The town of Footstep is a peaceful place where flocks and crops are raised and the only monsters to pester the people are weak in nature. There is only one difficulty: the double doorway leading into the Spire is blocked off by a high, stone wall and none are allowed to leave or enter. This is for the safety of the community as they fear the demi-humans and more powerful monsters that exist throughout the Spire’s higher reaches. One of the most notable features of Footstep is a very large wooden gantry and pulley system with an arm that reaches out over fifty feet. The gantry is powered by a large wheel, which is turned and thusly powered by horses. It was this same gantry that was used by Pilmar to find the writing on the side of the Barriers, which promises possible release from The Spire, but because of this the elders of Footstep had the walls built to keep the youth from pursuing such a reckless dream. If the PCs want to leave the town they must either convince Lavania to allow them to leave or else sneak out. Sneaking out may result in them being banned from Footstep for the rest of their lives. Shortly after leaving, the sage Pilmar and a young woman named Zabine will join the party and offer their services as guides: Zabine has been on every notable table and shelf in the Spire and will lead them wherever they need to go.
2- Dread Perch and Dread Perch Dungeon: a deep recess in the side of the Barriers has been occupied by giant eagles and may only be reached with a gantry and pulley built along the rim of the town of Footstep. Carefully searching this perch turns up a peculiar tile, which when pressed will open to reveal a secret dungeon. This dungeon is small and inhabited by large centipedes and beetles, which guard a small treasure hoard.
3- Recedia: the nearest neighbor to Footstep, Recedia is similarly built on an archway balcony overlooking the Sea of Clouds. Though smaller than Footstep, Recedia has a castle built at the center of the balcony, surrounded by stout stone houses and a wooden palisade. They wish to expand higher up into the Spire but are held back by the goblins and kobolds who dwell in flanking dungeons, blocking off access to the stairwells. Destroying one or the other infestations would bring a goodly reward; destroying both would earn truly great praise.
4- Grove of Sylviana: a tiny patch of wilderness exists on an archway balcony where wild game in the form of birds, rabbits and other small animals exist. Curative herbs also grow here, making it a valuable place to travel for persons in need of cures and other helpful medicines, but the grove is protected by a powerful Dryad by the name of Maerinettle and her troop of Satyrs. She will deny access to the balcony, but the party will witness a gnoll fire on her with a poisoned crossbow quarrel. Though able to recover, she will as the party to search the woods for the gnoll and his band. Once they are slain, she will grant them her services as a healer and will gift any druid in the party with a +1 spear.
5- Gurgledeep Dungeon: deep, mostly underwater dungeon connected with Recedia. This dungeon is infested with weak aquatic creatures and has some accumulated treasure.
6- Coinsnatch Dungeon: this dungeon is infested with a gang of darkness dwelling humans who occasionally stage raids against the goblins in Glowshroom and even sneak into Recedia for easy pickings.
7- Snarlfang Dungeon: many kobolds nest in this dungeon and swiftly kill any demi-human they find without hesitation. Though relatively small, this dungeon does contain a decent amount of treasure.
8- Glowshroom Dungeon: deep goblin-infested dungeon where glowing mushrooms grow in abundance. These goblins are ruled by a band of shamanistic goblins who keep in magical contact with orc and hobgoblin forces higher in the Spire. They possess little treasure, but at least a couple of magical items.
9- Whispergate Dungeon: abandoned dungeon containing a strange key that many believe could open the way to the top of the spire. In actuality, it unlocks the entrance to another dungeon containing an abundance of wealth.
10- Transit Up: the only way to depart this level is by two stairwells, which stand on opposite ends. These stairwells are held by troops of bandits who harass and rob any merchants attempting to enter or leave The Barriers.
Location II: Lower Tables
Possessing the largest and most expansive tables in all of the Spire, the lower tables are home to dinosaurs and savage tribes spread out over great expanses of wilderness. Few travel here due to the danger posed by the great reptilian creatures, and not much by way of an economy exists in these savage lands. Still, there is treasure to be had in the hidden and muggy dungeons, which are densely populated by monsters. There are four main tables in this level: a table of desert, which is hot all year round, but cold at night, a jungle table, which is warm and humid all year round, a frozen tundra table, which is cold all year round, and a forest table, which changes with the seasons along with most of the Spire.
Areas of Interest
1- Frozen Tundra Table: a table that bears cold temperatures all year round. covered in jagged cliffs of ice and rolling mounds of snow, the weather here is harsh and perilous, even to those who willingly dwell here. As the spiral storms wind their way up the Spire, they immediately turn cold over this table and drop plentiful snow that blankets everything before eventually melting and feeding the lower passages with water.
Tooth Ring: a village dedicated to hunting the giant arctic monsters that live in and around the lake of moving ice. The village is comprised of tents made from the hides of large animals, which are arranged around a great communal fire. The entire compound is ringed by a fence of sharpened poles and large fires built to keep predators away during the night. Anyone who successfully hunts an enormous fish that lives in the freezing lake and brings it back to Tooth Ring will be rewarded as follows: the people will cook the fish on their communal flame and their shamans will prepare it with special ceremonial magic. Once the fish is prepared, the PCs will be invited to partake of it with the village and will see a permanent increase of 1 point to their constitution scores.
Ice Fang Tower: tundra tower inhabited by a white dragon with a neutral demeanor. His hoard is quite small compared to his evil brethren at the top, whom he says have robbed the metallic dragons. He spoke against this, fearing it would bring the wrath of their goodly brethren down upon them and for this he was cast out. Now he roosts at the top of the ice tower, wishing he could join with the metallic dragons in their level of the tower. If he is helped in this regard, he will bestow a suit of +2 full plate mail that allows one to move through solid walls of ice and grants a resistance of half damage from any ice attack.
Snow Drift Tower: standing in the midst of a snowy expanse, a tower is inhabited by orcs with shaggy hair and grey skin. These orcs are vicious marauders and will only negotiate as far as asking whether you would like to die fighting or die in their stew pots after they take your earthly belongings. Their master is an ogre who holds residence at the very top of the tower.
Everfrost: much of this table’s wilderness consists of rolling, snowy hills with outgrowths of jagged stone. A lake of moving ice rests at the center with the village of Tooth Ring huddled at its frosty banks. Large beasts, such as mammoths, roam this table along with other icy aberrations, like ice trolls, frost worms, etc.
Melted Pass: part of a frozen vale is melted away, forming ice tunnels occupied by the terrifying Remorhaz worms. Hidden among these creatures is a mad fire giant named Yergmir who possesses skills as a magic user. None know what the fire giant’s disposition is, but some believe he is attempting to shift the climate on this table to that of a hot desert so that he and his kin may move here. Should this happen, everything on the table will perish. Yergmir is driven to fulfill this goal and has an army of loyal trolls and gnolls to help him in gathering enough reagents to cast the spell needed.
2- Jungle Table: a hot and humid table, overgrown with all manner of tropical vegetation, which even grows into the dungeons inside the Spire. Home to the most plentiful monster and animal population, this table is alive with activity and noise, which can be heard higher up the Spire, drawing many on journeys to witness the wildness and savagery of an untamed table.
Bowclimb: primitive tree village, occupied by humans and half elves who dwell high above the reach of dangerous creatures. Though less advanced than many of the cultures in the Spire, Bowclimb boasts some of the finest archers and rangers ever known and its denizens value one’s skill at hunting creatures above all else. Ruled by a female human ranger named Zabrin, the community will go out of its way to help strangers navigate the woodlands safely.
Dullanhale: elvish community built out of stone with a high, intricate wall separating the peaceful elves from the exterior. Its leader, king Alumvale, is neutral and would prefer that strangers keep away, but he will not turn a cold shoulder to those immediately beset by danger. Rumors spread regarding Alumvale’s lost amulet, a precious family heirloom, which he lost while climbing one of the towers on this table. The amulet hangs near the top of the tower where it is guarded by vicious bats. If brought back, Alumvale will reward the party with a +2 longbow.
Kriagmathga: possibly the only orcish kingdom in the Spire that is not utterly tainted with evil, king Kurux and his orcs are neutral and care more about taming the dinosaurs that live on this table than about conquest and glory. They value any who have the skills and charisma to tame such powerful beasts and will forge barding for any who wish to tame and ride upon a trained theropod.
Great Stride Tower: jungle tower inhabited by an old female cloud giant who came to live up here as a child. She dropped her comb many decades ago and has longed to find it. She thinks it may still be down in the undergrowth somewhere, but some believe it is protected by a troop of crabmen who value it for the silver it is made from. Returning it to the giantess will bring a reward of seven potions.
Bramble Bush Tower: jungle tower choked with hostile plant life. At the very top there is a rare grove where plants with potent curative properties are said to exist. These plants are highly sought after, especially during the hot seasons when people succumb to strong fevers and sicknesses. They are protected by a group of manticores and are worth a goodly sum of money to the denizens on this table.
World Gate Tower: home to Havel; the arch druid of the Spire. This tower is protected by many other druids and their charmed animals. Only fellow druids and friends of druids, such as rangers and clerics of nature, may enter this place as it not only guards the arch druid, but some powerful druidic artifacts as well. Havel requires someone to investigate a festering pit out in the jungle, which no druid may enter as it saps their magical energy. Inside this pit is an unearthed totem, which produces ghouls and wights from the corpses of any slain thrown in. It is a wretched hive of undeadth, which writhe and rise up to protect the totem that made them. Destroying the totem will eliminate the curse and destroy the remaining undead in the area, and Havel will reward the party with a magical horn that may be used to summon 4HD of animals per day.
Chittering Tower: this tower, which has somehow been filled with earth, is now home to giant ants who dig burrows throughout its interior and have erected a dome of earth at the top where their queen resides. Though not a direct threat to the denizens of the region, king Alumvale would like to see its interior raided for the recovery of his brother’s corpse and personal belongings. Doing so will bring a reward of one exquisite gem.
Bone Clearing: dense patch of jungle wilderness where the most powerful carnivorous dinosaurs live, providing ample training grounds for people who seek strength and wisdom. So much death and carnage is in this place that it stinks horribly, drawing otyughs to its festering piles. Kurux would have the otyughs cleared from this sacred hunting ground as they spread disease to the carnivorous dinosaurs who unwittingly devour them. Doing this will earn the party a reward of a +2 battle axe with an edge of sharpness.
3- Forest Table: a mostly flat expanse of trees and rivers with interspersed bald patches of open grass and dead wood. As with other tables on this level, many dinosaurs can be found here and other forms of monsters are also plentiful. Very few settlers are here, but those who choose to dwell under the cover of high evergreens are sturdy and not to be meddled with.
Kurukru: hunting tribe that trades rare animal pelts, carved stones and hardened animal bones, which may be used to build improved uncommon weaponry, such as maces, spears, etc. Their leader, Chief Endgazer, lives in a large tent on a hill overlooking the rim of the forest table and his people live in smaller tents in the valley below. He is a strong man who had lost an arm after doing battle with a powerful elephant, which has many spears lodged in its back. He will reward anyone who can slay the elephant with his +1 spear, but the tusks must be brought back unharmed by spells or fire.
Elven Pillars: there are three towers ruled by elves who stay in wait of the time when the tower is either released or destroyed. Ruled by queen Holztess, they guard their domain with absolute prejudice, attacking any who draw too close to the bases of their towers. Only fellow elves or druids may enter unharmed. Holztess needs the feathers of a roc to use in an arcane ritual, which she hopes will enable her to see into the future. What she sees in the future she will keep to herself, but anyone who helps her in this task she will reward with a +1 shield.
Sunder Ruins: hidden deep in the wooded lands there is said to be a ruined castle now festering with monsters. A mad elf is also reported to live there: a male by the name of Greenwylde who claims his right to the throne of the Elven Pillars and threatens them with continual raids by monsters he has charmed into doing his will.
Snarl Clearing: a secret community of lycanthropes, many evil but mostly neutral and some good who wish for a cure to their condition. This place is protected by the lycanthropes who mainly keep to their own for survival, though some will venture out into other communities, either in search of a cure or in search of plunder.
Greenspire Woodlands: this table is overgrown with forests and lush hills ensconced in ferns and evergreen. Many ponds, rivers and streams feed the plant life and some few communities dwell out here, but overall it is wild and vastly untamed land with potential for hunters and adventurers to build upon. Giant lizards roam through the woodlands and eventually find their way to any ground settlement anyone attempts to build and must be slain if any effort to establish a stronghold is to be made.
4- Desert Table: the most underpopulated region in the Spire, the desert table is seemingly lifeless with rolling dunes and dry rocks scattered about. Some few live here, proud and independent if not fierce and treacherous. Many monsters exist on this table, but remain hidden, especially during the hot day, preferring to come out at night when their activities are loudest and most disconcerting.
Lauderfame: human city built by an eccentric bard in the not too distant past, it now stands as a strong, fortified kingdom, built upon a high outcropping of rock around one of the few wells in the table. Ruled by its current bardic king, Percivius, it stands as one of the most knowledgeable locations in terms of being able to identify relics and magical items. Lauderfame’s most notable aspect is the fact that it refuses to aid the kingdoms being threatened by the empire higher up in the Spire, preferring only to take care of its own. A group of nomads seek water in the city but are denied entry at the gates where they are threatened with death if they draw too near. If the party can somehow allow these nomads to enter and purchase water freely, the nomads’ elder will reward them with a random magical ring.
Sternfast: dwarf kingdom built in an immense shell of stone that grows up against the outer walls of the Spire and into some of the nearby labyrinths of the Spire itself. The dwarves here are ruled by King Karrobol; a stubborn dwarf who obsesses over the inner workings of the Spire and spends much of his kingdom’s resources excavating the stone-choked halls of its interiors on his level. He also hopes to devise a way of seeing through the material that the tower is comprised of to learn more about its core, which many speculate to run with a vein of hot magma. If the party explores the dungeons carefully enough, they will find a tiny vein of magma coming from the wall, confirming the dwarf’s theories.
Forlorn: slaver colony in the desert table that tries desperately to dig through a solid vein of iron that blocks an artery in the Spire, which may lead to a massive dungeon. The slaves are strong and numerous enough to escape, but are terrified of one particular slaver who wears a mask. This slaver is a powerful mage and has cast an enchantment on each of the slaves, which allows him to torture them at will by simply turning a ring on his finger. If he and the ring can be destroyed, the enchantment will be broken forever. Slaying the evil mage will also bring the party a reward of five random magical items.
Carven Tower: desert tower filled with moving statues made from moist clay. They are scattered along the stairwell to the top and come to life, attacking and grappling anything that enters and holding them fast for a colossal centipede to attack.
Nerve Sting Tower: abandoned tower with a great spider colony in its hollow. Dark elves are believed to live in a fortress at its very top, which may only be reached by fighting through dense infestations of arachnid creatures. The elves are lead by a mighty priestess who sacrifices slaves to her deity through a great mirror. By shattering the mirror, the priestess loses her magic and the spiders choking the tower’s interior will wander away.
Life Drop Tower: owned by highly independent people who secure stores of water, which they trade for valuables. These people are ruled by a chief by the name of Matriarch Mertila; an angry woman who is hard to deal with but does have a soft spot: she wants nothing more than to eliminate the slavers operating on the table and free their captives. She will reward anyone who does this with free water and a sheaf of 3 random spell scrolls.
Gaiety Tower: oasis tower filled with illusionary feasts and seemingly happy people. Anyone to enter this place will be welcomed openly and given exquisite robes to wear and invited to feast at the top with the king of the tower: a great, boisterous Efreeti named Smurgar. Smurgar will attempt to seduce any beautiful female he meets, desiring to force her into his haram of enslaved women. The other women in this haram are under a powerful spell, which compels them to do anything they can for their master, but one woman has managed to resist it and will attempt to enlist the aid of any who accept Smurgar’s invitations. The only way to defeat the Efreeti is to find his flask, which is hidden in his bedroom: a massive chamber guarded by powerful feline creatures. Once the flask is taken and a ritual cast upon it, the owner of the flask may bind Smurgar to it and summon him once per day as a loyal servant. He will also offer to cast a wish upon the party in return for his freedom. Doing this will grant the party a wish and send Smurgar and his flask back to his native plane.
Dustdome Dunes: great expanse of desert dunes where a temple dungeon is said to be hidden near the location of Forlorn. The dunes are incredibly hot during the day and cold at night, when monsters come out in great numbers. Trade caravans dot the wilderness and offer common goods, but slaver bands also roam about and set up ambushes near oases and other places of refuge.
5- Ice Sickle Dungeon: dungeon connecting to the frozen tundra table. This frigid place is home to many types of cold-climate creatures and has also been infiltrated by a cult of demon worshiping magic users who dwell in chambers hidden within side passages.
6- Mugmire Dungeon: dungeon connecting to the temperate forest table. Overgrown with all kinds of ferns and other low-light plants as well as tree-like vines that encompass the inner walls. Strange glass orbs are fixed into the walls at regular intervals, which bask the interior of this place with dim light. The air is humid and all sorts of wild animals and forest monsters hide behind every root and bush.
7- Thornpass Dungeon: dungeon connecting to the sweltering jungle table: the walls are overgrown with barbed vines and all sorts of plant and fungal monsters lurk about. A team of learned folk have entered here, but never came out. This group, led by the sage Olbrecht, were thought to be dead until a wounded deer came sprinting out of the dungeon with a bit of parchment attached to its leg, claiming that the sage and his companions were all still alive, but in need of an escort to bring them out. Rescuing them will bring a reward of treasure.
8- Battle Ring Dungeon: circular, coliseum dungeon that leads into a wide-open place where a giant monster waits. Run by the charismatic Bugbear warrior, Bruskusk, he allows all contenders to enter and challenge whatever monsters they deem their equals. What is more, Bruskusk will purchase any captured monster brought to him at the cost of 100 gold pieces per HD.
9- No-Path Dungeon: dungeon filled with animated statues and teleportation tables that provide one-direction travel to any known place in The Spire. The only way to figure out how to do this is to bring a sage into the dungeon to translate the strange hieroglyphs on the walls in the entrance. The locations the party are teleported to are completely random, regardless of which teleportation pad they use.
10- Deathly Exhaust Dungeon: the secret dungeon temple that slaver colony is trying to reach, but may only be found through a secret door that local dwarves in Sternfast know about. This dungeon contains a dracolich guarding a vast hoard of treasure. This dungeon has many rooms filled with dead things and the air is filled with flammable gas that may poison anyone who breathes it in. If fires are used in these chambers, the air will catch fire and deal terrible explosion damage to all within. The party will not die, but everyone will drop down to 1HP and will be so crippled from the event that they will only be able to crawl until healed and rested. Thankfully all the dangerous monsters will have perished in the flames, leaving the dungeon clear of enemies for up to a week.
11- Transit Up: one stairwell and two stairvales lead up to the next level. These are freely accessible and patrolled by local kingdom guards who keep them safe from monsters and bandits.
Location III: Middle Tables
While not quite as large as those below, the tables on this level are still quite expansive and cradle the greatest populations in the entire Spire with sprawling kingdoms enfolded in farmlands, all fed by many rivers, lakes and ponds. These kingdoms tend to be at peace but support the efforts of kingdoms in the Higher Tables where battles against the Empire are constant.
Areas of Interest
1- Table of Geldvelt: table of fertile fields where many crops are grown and distributed throughout the surrounding tables. The populous, ruled under King Draupnir, live in many small farming communities with the castle of Ferris built alongside a deep pond. Farmers make use of large herd animals to keep their lands fertile and productive, but most peculiar of all, they are the only people to have successfully tamed Bullettes, which they ride upon and use to transport large amounts of product.
Lunacy Tower: this particular tower is disturbed by the sounds of shouting and inane laughter caused by the followers of a little-known god of madness. Gibbering Mouthers and Feyrs intermingle with the mad and together guard the interior against intruders seeking riches.
Geldvelt Capital Tower: a tower with a walled city built around its base. This particular tower is occupied by King Draupnir and his court. Atop the tower there is said to be a treasure trove containing many magical rings, which may be awarded to individuals who demonstrate uncommon valor in defending the kingdom against dangers. One such danger comes in the form of a guild of thieves who have been secretly provoking the tamed Bullettes into violence. If they can be unearthed, Draupnir will award a random magical ring.
Gazing Tower: the top of this tower holds a fissure into the elemental plane of water, causing small amounts of water to trickle into the tower and cascade down its stairways. Many floating eyes live here and attack anyone brave enough to climb the drenched and flowing steps to its top, which has water rising up to one’s waste.
Haunting Tower: nobody comes here as most folks are frightened off by the sight of ghostly, yet blissful figures that march endlessly to the top where they enter through a shining fissure. Should any intrepid adventurers enter this fissure, they will find themselves in a false paradise where all of their dreams come readily but saving throws to resist the magic will bring the heroes back into the real world where they will discover themselves being mummified by wights in preparation for sacrifice to a lich king.
Scant Woods: lightly populated woodland that contains many hidden tunnels that run deep into the ground. These tunnels are infested with Ankhegs and other burrowing pests, but rumors persist of Carbuncles that willingly give their gems to gnomes who approach them peaceably and protect them from danger.
Wyndmere Lake: lake surrounded by farms and small thorps with boats that row out to catch fish, but during the warmer seasons, aquatic monsters are known to come out and attack locals in order to raid their stores of caught fish.
Nowynde Grotto: in a secret cavern near the source of the table’s water flow, a black dragon named Nyridox recently took up a chamber as its lair. From time to time, Nyridox will emerge with his swarms of dark kobolds and poison the waters, spreading disease to the people. Supposedly there is a camp of grey dwarves who live underground in this table, and they are the only ones rumored to know the exact location of Nyridox’s lair.
2- Table of Grunvelt: one of two grand desert tables; Grunvelt is not quite as barren, having thick rivers cutting through the broken terrain, which feed dense patches of jungle that attract all manner of creatures and demi-humans. A few towns and thorps are built along the rivers, including one large kingdom. Out in the barren parts of the table, nomadic tribes wander around each other, holding an uneasy truce as they take turns gathering water for themselves. Evil goblinoid creatures also infest the badlands, plotting and scheming endlessly against the demi-humans.
Tunaktun: walled kingdom comprised of beautifully ornate buildings with people clad in brightly colored silks, which they craft from the silk worms they harvest in the jungles. Lead under the warrior King Jubai, and Queen Hasmanna, these people boast some of the finest swordsmen in all of the Spire and appreciate realistic works of art. Unfortunately, sickness tends to spread easily in their kingdom as all their subjects use the same rivers for all aspects of their lives, thus healers are greatly desired and are compensated with coin to help heal the citizenry. Greater prosperity will be showered upon anyone who can find ways to prevent sickness.
Desolation Tower: empty tower with a babbling old eccentric who if spoken to with the right approach, will explain how he was the only man to ever successfully descend below the Sea of Clouds. He will not say what is down there because it is more horrifying than anything he could ever imagine and will warn anyone from venturing down below the Barriers. He will die and drop a ring of protection.
Slag Vein Tower: grey dwarf weapon forge tower, which taps into a vein of metal beneath the foundation in order to produce weapons and armor for the evil orcs who wish to overthrow Tunaktun. Lead by Clan Lord Felkmir, they will violently oppose any who draw near as they value their forging methods as a precious secret that they would rather die than divulge. Among the many magical arms and armor they possess, the grey dwarves boast a full kit of dwarvish war gear, consisting of a suit of plate mail, a large body shield, a Warhammer and belt. When worn by a dwarvish warrior, all items comprising this set are as +3 items and provides the dwarf with the strength of a Hill Giant.
Infernal Tower: this tower juts out of an expanse of jagged, blackened stone and always has a halo of fire encircling its top. The interior is filled with fire elementals and their lesser kin, which protect the way to the abode of a female Efreeti who goes by the name of Dallalli. She considers mortals nothing more than vermin and will only speak to a person with above average intelligence. She is most reputed for possessing arms and armor that either inflict elemental fire or protect against cold.
Mirelane Tower: muddy tower filled with swamp creatures, such as trolls and other murky monstrosities such as a Froghemoth, which dwells in a great lake at the very top of the tower. Also hidden within the tower is said to be the remains of an adventuring party that had been commissioned by King Jubai to clear out all the monsters. This party is of note because their leader, a master swordsman, is said to have carried a Keen Blade and a sash that grants an extra attack.
Mirukuk: under the guidance of the evil orc king, Yuzlu, these dense gatherings of orc clans scourge the wastes during the night. During the day, Yuzlu’s orcs eke out shelter underground where they plot and scheme. One ambition of Yuzlu is to use the weapons produced in Slag Vein Tower to wage battle against Tunaktun, hoping that superior weapons and armor will compensate for the lack of skill against so fine an army of swordsmen.
Fool’s Window: a stretch of badlands where a compelling mirage leads toward an illusionary mansion owned by a Genie named Kazari. The illusions will attempt to frighten people off unless stout adventurers approach, in which case Kazari’s phantasmal servants, none of which can speak, will attempt to guide them to the gates of the mansion. When inside, visitors will see a menagerie of peculiar instruments and machines whose purpose are to divine the stars. Kazari will ask adventurers to explore the great water shrine in search of his flask, which will allow him to return to the realm of his people. He will give them a sprig of holly and say it is necessary to reclaim the flask. Anyone successful in doing so will be awarded with a number of magical items including a carpet of flying.
Water Shrine: a large crack in the ground leads down to the very base of the table where waterlogged caves lead into an underwater temple. This temple is guarded by several variants of a hydra, including one impossibly powerful 12-headed hydra, which may only be destroyed when its heads are removed and its body stabbed with a sprig of holly. The sprig of holly may only be obtained from Kazari the Genie and when destroyed, the 12-headed Hydra will shrivel away, revealing Kazari’s flask.
3- Table of Braunvelt: rocky, wasted table adorned by outcroppings of stone slabs and riddled with jagged passages below the wind-swept wilderness. Dust fills the air above while water flows deeper in the terrain, collecting in still basins where monsters watch in the silence. Nomads live among the rocks and one stubborn kingdom seeks to bring them all together under the harsh rule of a robber king.
Skallspire: a kingdom of assassins and thieves built around and atop one of the towers of the Spire where King Dunmaru rules, protected by an entourage of master assassins. During some of the darker periods of the Spire’s history, these assassins have been hired to deal lethal blows to other kingdoms, either by kidnapping royal family members or outright slaying persons in important positions. Rumors have spread that the denizens of Skallspire have taken to the worship of an Aboleth, which lurks in the cracks in the ground.
Gazer’s Tower: cyclopses dwell high in this tower and have employed many traps along the stairways to prevent entry. A host of cyclopses, armed with large javelins, protect the main access point to the top. On occasion, the cyclopses will stage raids against the communities surrounding Skallspire, looting and killing for their enjoyment. In all, there are some thirty of the one-eyed brutes and they are led by an especially powerful cyclopse who has an additional 4 levels of Fighter under his belt.
Blas’s Tower: tower where an eccentric sage, whose name is Blas, lives and studies bird flight. Through his maddened obsession, he strives to build a large kite, which will allow for quicker and possibly safer travel between the levels of the Spire, but he is unwilling to test his theories on his own. For this reason he has built a host of some ten clay golems, which scour the wilderness for orcs and goblins to use as test subjects. An orc chief by the name of Pike will pay handsomely for the release of his brethren, but this, naturally, is a ruse as he has no intention of actually brokering a deal with any demi-human races and will simply turn on the party and attempt to claim Blas’s research for his own.
Glory Tower: this place is protected and populated by an order of female clerics. These women are guided by Mother Fallaxa who can train clerics and druids to improve their art. This is done at the cost of 1 gold per XP that a prospective student wishes to earn. Faxalla would also like the party to enter into the sub levels of her tower and eliminate a demonic spider that prevents them from claiming books and scrolls contained down there.
Camp of the Five: though these tribes tend to dwell in many parts of the table, several of their members will come to maintain a small fortress, which stands in the midst of a five-pointed outcropping of stone. These tribes, ruled by a council of tribal sages, have taken a vow to aid any who would oppose King Dunmaru, whom they view as a threat to the safety of their realm.
Fanged Dune: an expanse of sandy wastes where Purple Worms thrive and attack anything that disturbs the relative stillness of the dunes. A company of neutral gnolls live here and hope to return to their kin up in the Blindvale Table which rests only one level higher. Anyone who can help them accomplish this will be gifted with a +2 polearm.
Smoth Gap: resting place of the Aboleth; Smoth. A cult has erected a shrine at the shores of a pool, down in the deepest crack of the table, where Smoth lives and awaits his sacrifices. Smoth took possession of King Dunmaru’s mind and now has him sacrificing his citizens to help keep the wicked creature alive. It also has become quite taken with treasures, which it and its acolytes guard carefully. Though powerful, Smoth relies on his high priest, Tepid, a 5th level Cleric, for protection.
4- Table of Greyvelt: forlorn and lifeless expanse, infested by earth elementals and littered with the skeletal remains of failed kingdoms. Only fools and persons attempting mischief ever come to this place, and of the few who do venture here, almost none return. A level 15 ranger by the name of Stillbreath dwells near the archways that lead into this table. His camp is hidden so well that it is nearly impossible to find and because of his familiarity with the territory, he is almost guaranteed to always get the drop on his enemies. If friendly persons are encountered he will only help them so far as to warn them against entering this place.
Anguaris: a once powerful kingdom that the old tales describe as among the most prosperous in the Spire. One day, over a century ago, a strange light was seen at the spot where Anguaris rested and in a flash, everything on the table immediately turned grey and crumbled into dust. Now the city is quiet with ghosts and skeletons patrolling its streets. In the palace resides a powerful lich by the name of Thimbul, and he is accompanied by a group of mummies who help him conduct strange research in his library. Many believe it was he who originally caused the strange phenomenon that ended all life on the Greyvelt table, and should he find a way to duplicate it, he will likely use it again on other tables.
Hollow Hovel Tower: mostly empty tower, save for the dusty skeletal remains of skirmishers resting at the bottom of its interior and along the lower climbs of stairs. At the top one will find the skeleton of a powerful warrior and his broken longsword, which effectively serves as a +3 short sword. Also on this skeleton’s possession is a key, which is needed to get the Dragon Slayer spear in the Dracodoom Dungeon.
Ghastly Gate Tower: tower inhabited by many ghosts, which wander about as they did in life. They will ignore any who pass through, but individual ghosts may attack if provoked. A strange, hunchbacked Halfling stalks the tower and will attempt to use stealth and its +2 sickle to dispatch intruders in the tower. At the top of the tower is a structure containing the remains of an ancient county seat with a store of treasure.
Crimson Stairs Tower: held by a cult of strange mages, this tower brims with evil energy as its denizens labor in the name of a Marilith who, while holding to her evil ways, has gone against the wishes of her demonic overlords and holds the tower as her place of solitude against cruel demonoids and meddling mortals.
Perplexus Tower: tower that contains a treasure vault at the very top, which is protected by a special door that is locked by an extremely intricate locking system consisting of several rings marked with ancient symbols. Currently the door is under contest by two evil adventuring parties who seek to solve the puzzle and claim the treasure on the other side.
Dry Lakebed: old, bleak crater that once held water, but cracks that formed at its base drained most of the liquid into the ground. A small amount of water remains at the bottom, but from time to time it empties, revealing an old ruin, which is guarded by a dragon turtle.
Pantheld: abandoned town with a strange musician playing a lyre on a roof that summons vast quantities of vermin to attack the PCs. The musician is a rogue who guards the body of a petrified elvish woman. Should this woman be revived she will grant three random magical items to her rescuers.
Laylow: abandoned, walled city, which has crumbled almost fully to the ground. The cellars of the town’s old court now lurk with strange, cannibalistic humanoids who worship a vampire that has declared itself ruler of the ruin.
5- Murlorg Dungeon: swampy dungeon filled with putrid plant life, which feeds off the strange light sources up in the ceiling. Gorgons roam about as well as other horrors that are known to cause petrification, but somewhere in the dungeon it is rumored that sprites live in droves and may gift strangers with their gems in exchange for protection as they roam from one safe place in the dungeon to the next.
6- Daylight Dungeon: dungeon consisting of a single, immense chamber filled with jungle and ponds, all kept warm and alive by a great crystal affixed in the ceiling, which puts off continual daylight. The empire continually sends soldiers and specialists down here in an attempt to recover the gem as they believe it could be harnessed as a weapon against their enemies. They are using slaves to build a wooden latticework that reaches almost fully to the ceiling.
7- Watcher’s Dungeon: dungeon complex with an eerie, deathly silence in the air. Crowding the halls are the charred remains of pilferers and robbers, which stand perfectly still as statues. These ghostly forms will crumble into ash if disturbed even in the slightest and should enough of them crumble, a dreadful beholder will emerge and attack.
8- Dracodoom Dungeon: this dungeon has a smooth wall with a single keyhole, which may only be unlocked with the key in the Hollow Hovel Tower. The hall contains the Dragon Slayer: a +1 spear that becomes +5 when used against dragons. In addition, any dragon stricken by this spear must make a save vs. death or die instantly.
9- Transit Up: four stairwells and several stairvales leading up to the Higher Tables. It is rather hit or miss whether any kingdoms protect these passages as tensions with the empire on the higher level prevents lower denizens from giving these passages the attention they deserve.
Location IV: Higher Tables
Densely populated regions in the spire with several large kingdoms and clans of demi-human kind speckled about. Supported by the kingdoms on the Middle Tables so that they may repel the invading forces of the Falcon Empire. The kingdoms on this level fight a hard battle against relentless odds while still maintaining their trade and pilgrimage routs to all parts of the Spire.
Areas of Interest
1- Table of Clearview: table with many large cities containing magical trade that allows for purchasing up to +2 magical gear and every spell and potion known. Ruled by mage lords who bicker and contend over the ownership of rare arcane knowledge pertaining to the other planes of reality, magical knowledge is highly prized here.
Ingoth: kingdom situated against the rim of their table with a trio of towers overlooking the void beyond. Their leader, Queen Esmald, has set herself about the task of acquiring as much silver as she may, in the hopes of permanently repelling the lycanthropes that had, at one time, stolen into her castle and murdered her husband, King Egar. She has a bounty out on the heads of the wererats whom she believes to have slain her husband, but whisperings in the streets claim that the wererats are not actually evil.
Ostfarr: barbarian kingdom dedicated to the tribal totem of the boar. They are allowed to live in the scant wilderness of the table under a shaky truce with Ingoth, but a mysterious druid has been goading them to violence against the farmlands. This druid would like to see all the settlements destroy each other so that he may claim the table as his own personal domain.
Serist: lake town with a grand gambling resort built in the skeletal remains of a dragon turtle, which rests on an island in the midst of the pond. The dragon’s spirit will ask that the party cast out these evil casinos so that its remains may be protected. The casinos are owned by an evil thieves guild whose master, Edmir, has a pet dracolisk at his beck and call.
Alluring Tower: tower with a pond at the top where a siren dwells. She sings and entices men to ascend the tower where she carefully positions them by the rim and then pushes them over the edge, causing them to fall to their deaths. She will then search their bodies for magical items.
Cronefayr Tower: owned by witches of chaotic neutral alignment, this tower sells up to +3 magical gear for proper coin. They have a strange, tall, mute servant named Gumm who goes shopping for them in the towns and must be followed in order to enter the tower. After this it will require no small amount of finesse to convince the witches to trade.
Keepfast Tower: a mercenary order owns this tower and uses it to train mighty men at arms whose skills are sold all over the Spire. Secretly they are being hired by Emperor Falcon to invade Ingoth from within, which they plan to do at an upcoming banquet that celebrates their recent victory over a force of orcs that had attempted to invade through one of the dungeons. The party will need to find a way to attend the banquet, whether by sneaking in or getting enough renown to garner the attention of Queen Esmald.
Nocturnal Tower: tower filled with ghosts and ghouls. If disturbed, a vampire will awaken, armed with an adamantium scepter that is considered a +3 mace that summons 4HD of undead once per day. The vampire also has +3 Plate armor with a +2 shield.
Gasper’s Ring: small band of thorps that are bound together by the worship of a green dragon that demands sacrifices. These thorps are situated around a great mound of earth, which has barrows and tunnels networking throughout its interior. The dragon, which is known only as Gasper, rests in the lowest reaches where it lays in a pool of swampy water.
Chitterwarren: old abandoned town with a well that leads down to a cave system where wererats live. Lead by the one and only Egar who had supposedly been killed when they entered his kingdom, the wererats live carefully, only coming out at night to hunt and gather food, which is in short supply these days. Unbeknownst to his queen, Esmald of Ingoth, Egar willingly departed to be with his own kind, fearing the uprising that would occur should his subjects learn of his true nature.
2- Table of Blindvale: snowy, mountainous wilderness, which is just mild enough to create habitations that are reasonably comfortable. Fed by hot springs, which warm the soil for limited farming, this has caused small resort communities to emerge, promising rest and relaxation in saunas and spas.
Deljun: largest town on the table, this is ruled by a narcissistic king by the name of Isarc who boasts of his skills as a martial artist. He often invites the best fighters in the realm to test his skills against them in single combat. Because of his vanity, he does not suffer losses well and is prone to sending assassins after anyone who humiliates him in his court. One man recently defeated him and has been dodging knives while hiding in the cellar of a local tavern.
Gilfin: fishing village beset by a terrible water spirit, which may only be defeated with an heirloom harpoon. This may only be found in the Scourm Dungeon in the lair of a dragon.
Fugil: underground gnome city kept warm by the springs. Their community boasts the largest of the springs, which people travel from far reaches of the Spire to enjoy. Lately they have been attacked by a dragon, which seems driven to enter their city. Though it has yet to kill anyone, its persistence worries the gnomes as they fear it may collapse their tunnels. The dragon is reported to have come from the Scourm Dungeon.
Alvar Tower: converted to an elven shrine, this tower is considered a sacred site that the elves of the Spire take pilgrimages to. Now it is being desecrated by orcs and the spirit of an elven maiden will ask the PCs to help push the orcs out. If done, the elf will provide a suit of +2 elven chainmail to any elf or half elf in the party.
Moonstairs Tower: peaceful, yet dangerous tower filled with undead followers and one vampiric lord by the name of Celtis. He longs for the companionship of a beautiful woman who also happens to be a bard who frequents the taverns in Deljun.
Cutpurse Tower: tower of master thieves lead by the master thief Cade the Filcher. He will train any rogue at the cost of 1 gold per XP earned.
Dungheap Tower: tower infested with all manner of large beetles, which have caked the interior with manure from many large beasts. Farmers prize this manure for its nigh miraculous fertilization properties and will pay 10 gold per pound brought to them. For each 10 pounds obtained, the party will run the risk of being attacked by many beetles.
Crystalwyrm River: long, frozen river that flows into a great lake. Many gnoll camps exist along this river, lead by a matriarch by the name of Abela. The gnolls are neutral and lament the loss of their comrades who left several decades ago after a minor squabble. They don’t know where these other gnolls are and would dearly like to see them return to this table. These other gnolls live on the Braunvelt table.
Whitefang Outcrop: rocky lair of a great polar bear, which rampages out of the hills and attacks travelers that draw near. The polar bear is 10HD strong and regenerates 10% of its lost HP each round whenever it dives into the snow. Its lair holds a +3 battleaxe that is possessed of intelligence.
3- Table of Something: living desert filled with large cactuses and aloe plants. This desert has many streams of water, but the rocky soil makes it difficult to grow common crops. The residents live in buildings made from red clay bricks and produce brightly colored looms. A recent drought has threatened the populous, causing many people to abandon their homes and converge on the capital kingdom. Now desperation is beginning to take hold and as the peoples’ moods come to a boil, monsters lay poised to destroy what little will remain after the first strokes of combat.
Caraden: densely crowded city, jammed into a walled enclosure with little food or water. The people are highly agitated and it is common to see fights break out as people contend over their rapidly dwindling supplies. Their king, Lord Argenti, worries that his own guards will soon turn against him out of desperation, and he is in dire need of outside assistance.
Vulmir: barbarian kingdom dedicated to the fox totem. They barely survive by tapping into a rare spring of water in the desert and by hunting the reptilian monsters that roam the wastes. They have been called by Lord Argenti to help protect his kingdom from the gathering armies of lizardfolk, but the tribal leader, Bruskusk, refuses to throw away the lives of his warriors on behalf of a failing kingdom.
Kelrog: abandoned town that has become infested with kobolds who have set traps for anyone who enters. The traps consist of a great pit cleverly disguised and covered in sand. On top of the pit is a wrecked wagon with gold coins spilling out of broken urns. If more than 600lbs of extra weight crosses over the pit, its bracings will collapse and the victims will drop some twenty feet down. Kobolds will then swarm out of their hiding places in the various houses and buildings in the town.
Breaker’s Tower: every part of this tower is trapped and rigged with many deadly apparatuses. At the top is the corpse of a master thief with a set of magical lock picks that greatly improve one’s chances of opening any non-magical lock.
Stronghoof Tower: populated by minotaurs who have fortified the entrance and turn away any who approach with grave threats. The minotaurs are under the leadership of a charismatic woman who convinced the minotaurs to protect her from desert bandits. She will only accept visitors who bring her fruits from other parts of the Spire. Persons who do this will have her gratitude and a golden +4 dagger, which she had robbed from Lord Argenti before being banished into the wastes.
Calmir’s Tower: owned by a mighty wizard named Calmir who studies the cosmos for the time when the people will be set free from the Spire. He is protected by many iron golems, which patrol the stairvales of the tower, but these will first turn visitors away, only becoming violent if attacked or disobeyed. Calmir has no interest in anyone unless they can resolve the drought afflicting the area, in which case he will lend his services in crafting magical items.
Skelthek: lizardfolk compound, dug out of deep rocks and swarming with evil creatures. Their master, a truly ferocious lizard king, secretly has an agreement with Emperor Falcon who has hired them to dig underground and dam off the springs of water that feed the table. Destroying the dams will restore water and rekindle the friendships had by the people here.
Baskerheim: abandoned village filled with petrified humanoids. At its heart, a deadly group of basilisks have made their nests and slay anything that approaches. One of the petrified humans near the lair still clutches a fabulous +3 great sword, but this particular victim is guarded by a dracolisk.
4- Table of Something: expanse of seawater with a small peninsula stemming from the archways and a narrow ring of land encircling the great lake. This table is home to many kinds of aquatic life, including merfolk.
Port Rennic: port town that builds ships with lumber raised up from lower tables with a great gantry and pulley system. These ships are a recent development, used to fish the deeper portions of the table. These actions greatly trouble the merfolk as the nets come unnervingly close to their aquatic settlements.
Gerglam: merfolk kingdom on the verge of attacking the fishing boats after one of their princes was mistakenly caught and never returned. Fearing that the prince may have died, they are gathering a host of sea creatures to assault Port Rennic unless the child can be returned. Bringing the prince back to his people will earn the party a reward of many gems and a magical item. The prince is actually being held by sahuagin in Deepguild who kidnapped the prince after the humans released him from their nets.
Hamil Tower: small town atop a tower that rises out of the water. Surrounded by sharks, it is very difficult to enter or leave this place. The people live contentedly, but from time to time their fishers are assailed by an unusually large shark. If the shark is destroyed, the village will turn over a treasure chest they raised from the brine several weeks earlier.
Saglite Tower: overgrown with kelp and seaweed, this waterlogged tower is infested with strange aquatic creatures. The top is barren, but carefully searching it will turn up a stone slab with ancient writing. The slab details a ritual that, when performed at night, will cause a gate to open. Though nothing may pass through this gate, a mysterious personage will ask the party to help it through, explaining that one of them must cut their hand and fuse it with the energies of the portal, then take its hand and pull it through. Doing so will cause a planer being to enter the world. It will gift the party with a couple of magical items, then take flight, soaring away from the Spire, never to return. Refusing to help will simply cause the being to close the gate.
Tower: converted into a prison, which holds the very worst criminals in the Spire. The tower stems from the sea with its base underwater and guarded by a kraken, the top of the tower, where the warden lives, holds the keys to the innumerable cages, which hang directly down the center of the tower’s hollow shaft. These bridges may be reached by bridges, which extend from the interior stairvales. The prisoners have an ally among the guards and are preparing to escape and storm the tower, and the party will have to help the warden keep them from gaining access to a ship, which is locked to the docks near the bottom.
Glarium: an artificial, floating island made from tethered rafts. A wooden manor sits atop this mass and is home to an exceedingly rare beholder of a goodly alignment. The beholder’s name is Kostanz and loves books. For every rare book brought to him, he will reward the party with some of his knowledge, effectively giving them 100 experience points each.
Deepguild: undersea ruins of an ancient, stone university. It is now infested with a community of sahuagin who are behind the kidnapping of the merfolk prince of Gerlgam. They keep the prince prisoner until the merfolk declare war on the demihumans of Port Rennic.
5- Scourm Dungeon: a labyrinth that is partially submerged by melted ice, which chills the halls. Hidden deep in the labyirinth is a grey dragon’s lair. The dragon’s name is Feydstrum and longs to enter Fugil where it hopes to bask in the hot springs. Anyone able to help it accomplish this will be rewarded, especially if they help in cleaning the dragon’s scales. Should the party help the dragon wash itself, they will discover it is a silver dragon. Simply allowing the dragon to enter the hot springs will bring a monetary reward. Helping to clean the dragon will cause it to reward the party with four random magical items.
6- Cavalcade Gallery Dungeon: smallest of the dungeons, which is inhabited and run by circus folk. Boasting a vastness of pleasures and entertainment, this circus draws in many of the Spire’s wealthiest residents who seek curiosities and merriment. The circus’s master, an elf by the name of Baribaine, uses a chamber filled with fascinating objects to lull his visitors into a daze whereby his gnome illusionist, Pipher, can enter into their minds and steal secrets, which the circus sells to Emperor Falcon.
7- Gildergloom Dungeon: so named because of the appearance of golden scales, which lay strewn throughout the interior. This dungeon is the lair of an immense golden dragon known as Luceriset who knows secrets regarding the top of the Spire. He is loath to share any of this, but he will impart one bit of information regarding Emperor Falcon. He knows that the emperor has one of the seals needed to enter the top of the Spire, but there are others, which only the giants possess.
8- Aynacolmh Dungeon: halls of mirrors that, when adjusted in accordance with the constellations of stars during a certain season, will cast a beam of light onto a mosaic of the Spire, opening the way to a stairwell leading up to the Meridial Chamber. The chamber itself is sealed, and details regarding it will be discussed hereafter.
9- Transit Up: many stairvales and stairwells lead up to the next levels, but these are guarded by the kingdoms of the higher tables. The guards and captains stationed here guard the way zealously, not allowing anyone up or down without a writ from one of the lords or kings on the lower levels. These may be obtained from any king, either by performing a great duty or by paying 10,000 gold pieces and providing letters of reference. Anyone who forcefully attempts to bypass these guard posts will not be tolerated by any of the civilizations below the lower shelves.
Strange chamber near the core of the tower, between the tables and shelves. A large, stone face is fixed on the far wall and will speak in a lawful neutral tongue. If spoken to, it will request gems to consume. If given a value of 1,000,000 gold pieces in gems, its mouth will open and grant access to a trove of ten random magical items and one +4 vorpal broadsword whose inscriptions name it “Tallfellow”.
Transit: can only be reached through the Aynacolmh Dungeon one level below
Location V: Lower Shelves
A horrible series of battlefields as the lower kingdoms fight against the empire in recurrent battles in which neither side gains any significant ground. Many undead cults live in the wildernesses here and infest the dungeons on this level with many forms of hideous creatures that spread sickness to any who enter here.
Areas of Interest
1- Turnaway Gate: grim town that resides at the top of the most convenient stairvale entrance into the lower shelves. This balcony is positively jammed full of houses, which are built together so densely that the entire town is as one singular structure with a narrow square in the middle. The people here are truly pitiful, gaunt-faced folk whose only welcome to strangers is simply looking at them when they arrive. The town’s survival rests only on the fact that it is rather out of the way and of no calculable importance to either the Falcon Empire or the lower kingdoms, but lately Emperor Falcon’s troops have been arriving to partake of its only tavern. The people of Turnaway Gate would like these soldiers to leave and never come back, but have no will or strength to resist them. If the party can peacefully convince the Imperial soldiers to keep away from the town, Turnaway Gate’s people will gift them with an ancient lance named “Widow’s Beam”, which functions as a +4 footman’s lance.
2- Deadvale: shelf covered in the bodies of the dead from recent conflict. Many bandits roam about, picking off valuables from the dead and attacking any who draw near. If the party comes here they will find a lone woman weeping over the corpse of a fallen soldier. This is a ruse, sued to lure the party over to her whereupon she will attack them with the power of an 11th level mage, causing zombies to rise up and aid her. She has three magical items on her person.
3- Falcon’s Talon: shelf whose wilderness is speckled with the many banners and tents of Emperor Falcon’s advance forces. They patrol regularly and will imprison and question anyone they find. If the party is careful enough to evade their patrols they will be approached by a ranger from the lower kingdoms named Piger who needs their help in sabotaging the supply wagons of the army. He would also like the party to set fire to their general’s pavilion while he and his commanders meet with their spies and plan their next attack. This will involve a terrible melee in which the ranger will come to the party’s aid with some of his followers. Slaying this outpost and driving the army away will cause Piger to reward the party with his +3 composite longbow, which he has named “Wayfinder”.
4- Felled Fastness: the ruins of a kingdom that had been battered by the empire. Now it is left empty and picked of all its valuables, but careful searching turns up access to its old sewers. These sewers are infested with slimes and undead, but one of the old passages leads to the former king’s secret treasure trove. This trove is protected by animated suits of armor.
5- Mudmound: smaller shelf that has become oversaturated by water, making it uninhabitable and wretched, yet a small camp of resistance fighters live here and plot careful raids against Emperor Falcon. They have all the supplies they need, but sickness has taken to all of the men and they will offer a suit of +3 banded mail for anyone who can recover 200 units of medicine.
6- Nillix Tower: utterly empty tower whose interior echoes with each step. The structure at the top is likewise empty, but painted on the walls is a bloody message, which reads “they came from behind.” The party will soon be attacked by a very large band of lycanthropes.
7- Everchange Tower: the base of this tower is heavily guarded and lined with many cages containing slaves and captured resistance soldiers. These poor wretches are used as test subjects for the Falcon Empire’s magicians, who bring them to the very top and cast polymorph spells on them. This has caused the creation of many mongrelmen, which have been driven utterly mad with the desire to kill. They are under the control of an evil mage, and if this mage is killed, a method for saving the mongrelmen and restoring them to their former selves may be found. Doing this will cause one of the deities of good to bestow a permanent boon on the party equal to an increase of one ability score by 1.
8- Searsunder: burned fields and scorched wilderness, home to many deranged and savage people. These folks will attempt to capture any who come near and drag them to the middle of the shelf where they sacrifice their victims to a mighty hezrou demon.
9- Underflow: an abandoned wilderness with many underground tunnels filled with water. Trolls live here and work under the direction of an odd mage who compels them to sally forth and steal any spell scroll they can find. The man hopes to find a scroll of teleportation in the hopes he may use it to warp to the top of the Spire. He will not succeed, but instead will accidentally open a fissure to another realm (other D&D campaign settings).
10- Satyr Grove: grove of trees where sylvian beings dance around a dormant treant of incredible size. Imperial spies attempt to stop the dancing in the hopes of awakening and controlling the treant for their own purposes. If the treant is awakened it will attempt to slay everyone on the shelf unless the PCs can help the sylvian folk lull it back to sleep by drawing it back into the grove.
11- Broken Spine Dungeon: large, monster-populated dungeon with a shrine containing a golden figurine of a little man with jeweled eyes. The figurine appears to be dancing, but if given to a sage, the figurine is actually in agony and anyone who invokes the power of the figurine will feel pain so intense that they will die from the stress of it. The Empire will send agents to retrieve this as it could be used to fulfill their cause.
12- Mutemouth Dungeon: this labyrinth centers around a great, tall circular chamber with many arches. Some 20 animated stone statues bearing weapons stand under each arch and will come to life and attack anyone who disturbs the altar at the center of the room. The altar holds a Dispelling Dagger: essentially a +3 dagger that may cause a spell caster to become mute if stricken.
13- Sludgemire Dungeon: dungeon taken over by imperial soldiers and specialists who study a large chamber that has a deep, empty basin, which rests before an immense stone face. The words engraved on the walls can be translated and read, the stone face will open its mouth and release a wave of black puddings. The mouth of the stone face may be entered by an individual the size of a Halfling who will find a small room on the other side, which contains a stand holding three random magical rods.
14- Transit Up: scant few stairvales and stairwells lead up to the next levels. These are heavily guarded and patrolled by Emperor Falcon’s armies. Many military camps litter the balconies and shelves atop these entryways, creating a formidable barrier for any who desire pressing forward.
Location VI: Middle Shelves
Location of a truly powerful empire, ruled by Emperor Falcon. This man rose to power after the recent death of the previous emperor and has stirred his people up with the ambition to claim whatever lays hidden at the top of the Spire. The people here are fanatical at best, as though all under a spell, which compels nearly all of them to blindly follow Emperor Falcon, even, as it were, into the very jaws of death.
Areas of Interest
1- The Falcon’s Crown: Imperial city, which densely fills the shelf with the largest and most ornate structures ever built upon the Spire. There is an exceedingly large church dedicated to the Emperor whose priests travel to all of the communities on this level. These churches force each and every citizen to attend special arcane ceremonies at least once a month. These rituals are designed to brainwash the people and rob them of their free will so that they will fulfill the edicts of the government. There is constant revelry in the streets and if the adventurers are not careful they may be swept up into riots and out of control violence as wine flows freely here.
2- Fort Eyrie: imperial fortresses where soldiers are trained and enchanted with special boons from the Emperor’s priests, making them lust for violence. The soldiers often test their weaponry on captured slaves from the lower kingdoms and force children into hard labor in a mine not far from the training grounds. Supreme General Arkhelm is stationed in this fortress and rules it with an iron fist, demanding more soldiers to serve Emperor Falcon. Rumors say he enjoys holding a banquet on every seventh day of the week where he pleasures himself with and then ritually slays women as a token to his dark deities who grant him might. Arkhelm’s personal chambers are decorated with many skulls and he is said to have a magnificent suit of +5 mythril full plate armor, which he calls “Sternguard.”
3- Quiltshires: imperial farmlands, which take up the entirety of several shelves and balconies. Many of these are dedicated to the production of strong spirits, which the Empire uses to control its populous. Many slaves are used to work these fields, but they long for freedom back in the lower kingdoms. If they were to be freed from their cruel masters, the slaves will show the party the location of a hidden storehouse where one of the landowners keeps his treasures.
4- Cobblehavens: shelf where several imperial towns are located. The morepart of the citizens here are dedicated to Emperor Falcon, but pockets of resistance work secretly on methods that they hope will prevent the Emperor’s priests from brainwashing the masses. They need someone to sneak into the great temple at the Falcon’s Crown and break an enchanted gem over their alter. If the party undertakes this task, they will have to fend off many kinds of demons, but once they succeed in breaking the gem over the alter, the magic used by the priests will be significantly weakened, guaranteeing an eventual release of the Empire’s minds. The party will be rewred with a +3 crossbow.
5- Brookbeard Tower: sealed off by the imperium because the interior is filled with water that contains a powerful aquatic dragon. The only way into the watery center is by climbing the outer stairvale to the very top and defeating the garrison of imperial soldiers housed up there. If released, the dragon will gift its rescuers with treasure before it departs for its own kind.
6- Gackmaw Tower: infested with slimes, oozes and molds with magical treasure at the top, but this treasure turns out to be an illusion created by dragon fairies who will ask the party to recover their mother. The mother is named Klissilk and is said to be kept as a pet by a powerful noble who lives in the Falcon’s Crown. The nobleman has many odd creatures in his possession, and if freed, these creatures will reward the party with treasure.
7- Tower of the Bloodied Knuckles: a brotherhood of knights dwells up here and offers to train any warrior their skill at the cost of 1 gold piece per experience point.
8- Shardspire Tower: filled with crystalline growths that make passage to the top very difficult. Some crystals, when disturbed, will morph into crystalic golems that use stone golem stats. The crystals stem from the top where a structure holds a powerful mage staff, but this is further guarded by a pair of iron golems.
9- Tremmorglade: sealed off shelf where a titan roams about. Its constant pacing around the table has worn a circular trench into the area as it has spent untold centuries in deep, troubled thought. The titan speaks in a planar tongue and if asked about the top of the Spire, he will refuse to answer. If asked about his origins he will explain that he was alive since before the Spire first appeared. He does not rightly remember why or how it came into being, only that the land he once knew was blanketed in caustic clouds and the Spire seems nothing more to him as a prison. He is deeply curious about knowing what is at the top and offers to throw one of the party members as high as he can. If a party member does this, the titan will indeed throw him as high up as he can. Sadly he lacks the strength to throw them completely to the top, but the thrown PC will catch a glimpse of smaller shelves higher up, which are populated entirely by giants.
10- Scribestone Dungeon: this place is under the control of the Empire and has many sages working throughout its interior, deciphering strange engraved writings. A large chamber at its heart holds a floating box, which has been bound with chains. None know what resides within and speculate that it holds treasures beyond reason. In actuality, it holds a teleportation device, which when activated will teleport itself and its occupants to a vast alien ship in high orbit. The aliens in this saucer-shaped vessel have been studying the Spire since they first discovered it, but cannot penetrate a strange haze, which surrounds its top. They will attempt to conduct experimentation on the party, requiring them to make their escape to the teleportation pad, which will deliver them back to the Scribestone Dungeon.
11- Roundabout Dungeon: a lengthy and rather narrow dungeon, which runs in a circle around the Spire’s core. The walls are lined with many reliefs and murals, which detail the first peoples of the Spire. One particular image shows the Spire itself with an eye at the top and four demon-shaped beings standing below the Cloudscape. No writing is available to interpret the meaning behind this, but there appears to be three other spire shapes rendered in the distance.
12- Pridequarry Dungeon: completely sealed off and guarded by some of Emperor Falcon’s most elite soldiers and clerics, this dungeon is used to store the vast treasures of the Empire. The only way through here is to slay Emperor Falcon himself and steal a key from his person, which opens the intricate locking mechanism that binds the door. All manner of magical devices prevent entry any other way.
13- Transit Up: only a scant few stairvales and stairwells lead to the higher shelves, but these are guarded on both ends by the Empire, who contains the lower passages, and armies of elves and dwarves who maintain the higher passages. If the party somehow manages to come here, the Emperor himself will arrive and seek to stop them, demanding that they turn over the sage Pilmar. Emperor Falcon believes that Pilmar may be of service when he finally makes his final push to the abode of the giants. If the party refuses to turn him over, Emperor Falcon will dispatch ten of his elite guards. These guards are all 12th level clerics who will summon creatures to aid them. If these folk are defeated, Emperor Falcon himself will attack the party, but not until he sheds his disguise as a human man. Emperor Falcon is, in actuality, an ancient blue dragon who wants desperately to be freed from the Spire, which he views as a prison. If he is slain, he will drop the key to the Pridequarry Dungeon.
Location VII: Higher Shelves
Populated mainly by elves and dwarves who stand guard against the Empire of the middle shelves, barring their access to the abode of the giants. This level of the Spire is highly exclusive and inaccessible to normal demihumans, including elves and dwarves from lower levels. The best hope the party has of entering into this part of the Spire is by demonstrating uncommon valor and by throwing down the Empire, both by defeating Emperor Falcon and by eliminating the enchantments of his priests upon the populous.
Areas of Interest
1- Exohark: home to powerful elves who worry that they may not be able to stem the tide of the Empire’s soldiers. They fear that, should Emperor Falcon reach the top, he would bring the wrath of the giants upon all who dwell in the tower. As it stands, the giants are already threatening to cull the inhabitants on the lower levels, but thanks to the party’s efforts, they will be able to assuage the giants’ wrath. They will hold a banquet for the party and explain their desires to reunite the people of the Spire and will ask the party to return down and revisit and convince all of the major rulers on the lower levels to enter into a covenant of peace so as to prove to the giants that they will not be a threat. Doing this will earn the party a lofty reward of treasure as well as a writ of approval from the elven and dwarven ruling councils, which must be shown to the giants.
3- Burginark: stronghold of gold dwarves who supply the elves with men and weapons to defend against the Empire. The dwarves have all that they need, but their soldiery complains about a shortage of meat. If the party can arrange for great quantities of cattle and swine to be brought up to them, they will be rewarded with the following: access to their merchants and smiths who sell up to +4 equipment.
4- Sidethorn: small shelf with a powerful imperial presence, which has somehow evaded detection. Now they are erecting a strong scorpion siege engine, which is trained on the elven capital of Exohark. They defend themselves with mighty warriors and at least eight dragonnes.
5- Sternclan: great roost of metallic dragons who follow the edicts of Bahamut. These dragons often travel about in demi-human form for simpler living, but recently they have had their entire hoard stolen by the Hall of Wyrms. If this hoard can be can be returned to them, they will teach the party everything they know, providing each party member 5,000 experience points.
6- Shadepillar: infested with shadows and an upper chamber equipped with a pool of water, which when entered will bring you into a twilight realm. While in this realm, the shadows become 4HD warriors who serve a powerful king (10HD fighter). Travel elsewhere into the twilight spire is blocked by a grand, golden door that cannot be opened by any means known. Defeating the king will eliminate the shadows in the real world and when the pool is entered to return to the world of the light, the water will be gone and the bottom will contain 4 random magical suits of armor.
7- Savanti’s Tower: run by a devout organization of arcane researchers, anyone who enters this tower may spend 1 gold per experience point to gain knowledge as an arcane spellcaster.
8- Clylonus Tower: surrounded by an almost impenetrable cyclone of wind, which had been put in place by an evil cleric to keep outsiders away while she and her followers work on conjuring evil creatures to harm the peoples of the Spire. Local elvish mages may be able to open a path into the tower’s interior just long enough for the party to sneak in and climb the interior stairvales to reach the top and deal with the cleric and her monsters.
9- Balcony of the Remnants: small balcony inhabited by loyalists of the Empire. They have set a trap for the party and intend to get revenge for their fallen Emperor. The trap consists of a strong cleric who will bring several hellhounds and quasits, which will surround the party while the Imperial soldiers fire on them.
10- Antithaw Balcony: this small patch of wilderness hides a cavern lair belonging to a bitter, yet neutral white dragon. This dragon wants little to do with the goings on in the spire, but has a great love for poetry and bardic music about historic tragedies. If his interests can be piqued by a bard, he will impart some of his treasure upon the party.
11- Whispergate Vault: dungeon with a locked vault that may only be opened with the Whispergate Key. Its interior is protected by over a dozen golems made from clay, stone and iron. The treasure consists of an abundance of coin, gems, jewels and 10 random magical items.
12- Hall of Wyrms Dungeon: large dungeon colony of evil dragons ruled by a weakened Tiamat. They had hoped to wait for Emperor Falcon’s wars to devastate most of the lives in the Spire, but in light of his passing they prepare to marshal themselves against all mortals. The party will be warned by elven rangers to avoid coming here as it will likely prove to be the hardest-fought battle of their lives. This dungeon is the largest dungeon in all of the Spire and is very maze-like, making it very easy to get lost.
13- Transit Up: a single stairvale and stairwell leading up to the throne of the giants. The giants have erected a truly mighty fortification, which blocks all access, through normal and magical means. The giants who guard the way up are extremely gruff and uncaring toward lesser beings, but if approached with news of the emperor’s head and with a writ from the elves below, they will allow passage.
Location VIII: Throne of the Giants
Outwardly containing a ring of exceedingly high arches whose bases are cradled in a ring of small shelves. Each shelf serves as a home to different clans of giant, including the uncouth and dangerous hill giants and war-like fire and ice giants. Though many of the giants are evil-aligned, they are beholden to strict covenants of peace as too much aggression on their part could spell out their doom. The giants hold many secrets regarding the Spire, but they hold these more dearly than they do their own lives.
Areas of Interest
1- Fire Kingdom: shelf of jagged and burnt mountains fed by the magma core of the Spire. The giants here will greatly resent the presence of any demihumans, but their covenants prevent them from attacking openly. The only way the party will be able to gain their key to the top of the Spire is to steal it while their leader, Lord Norvin, is drunk from feasting.
2- Storm Kingdom: the storm giants live in a mountainous shelf similar to the fire giants’, but fierce winds sweep over the terrain. These giants are loath to entrust the party with their key unless they can be convinced through a public debate in their forum.
3- Frost Kingdom: cold, snowy mountains jut forth from this shelf, marking the home of the frost giants. These giants will relinquish their key if the party can sneak into the ocean giants’ realm and steal or otherwise obtain a copy of their genealogical records.
4- Cloud Kingdom: this shelf is truly odd as, instead of solid ground, the basin of the shelf is filled by dense cloud formations akin to those used by the cloud giants’ ancestors. They inform the party that they will have to discuss the matter of lending them their key in their forum. In the meantime, the party is invited to rest themselves. As the party rests, they will fall under a powerful enchantment, which will send them to a shadowy realm. Here they will be shown a vision in which they must choose between a mountain of treasure or a simple cottage. If the cottage is selected, the party learns that they have selected security, which will keep them for as long as they are able to work it. The pile of treasure will erupt into a mighty balor. If the party survives this, they will learn that vast wealth and treasure is easily cankered and taken away. Either outcome, the giants will awaken them and reluctantly lend them the key.
5- Stone Kingdom: this shelf contains a valley littered with boulders of immense size, many of which have been stacked together to form domed structures. These giants will ask the party to go down into a cave system and look for a lost stone giant of advanced years. He refuses to return to live among his own kin as he suspects that one of them is attempting to sew the seeds of dissention by attacking the customs of the giants and favoring ideologies similar to those of Emperor Falcon. If the party can figure out which of the giants is stirring up disharmony among the clan, the elder giant will return to the surface and the party will receive the key.
6- Hill Kingdom: this shelf cradles a muddy, grassy valley of large hills. The hill giants will only give their key to the party if one of their members can defeat their chief in a series of feats of strength, such as a foot race, shot put, and wrastling.
7- Forest Kingdom: dense woods and jungle carpet this shelf, protecting the privacy of the forest giants. They will gladly lend the party their key, having great admiration for their victory over the Empire, but first they will have the party feast with them. The food served to the party is enchanted to permanently increase one’s strength by one point.
8- Desert Kingdom: this shelf is filled with rolling sand dunes and kept uncomfortably hot, making travel during the day dangerous. The desert giants say they have long since lost the key and grant the party permission to search for it themselves. The key is buried somewhere beneath the sands where a purple worm has swallowed it.
9- Ocean Kingdom: this shelf is filled with rolling waves of seawater. Along its bottom, the ocean giants dwell in massive structures, which they have fashioned out of coral reefs. The ocean giants will only give their key to the party if they can journey into one of the larger coral reefs, which has begun to rot, and find the source of its sickness. The reef is being affected by the phylactery of an ancient demilich who tries to free himself from the coral by rotting it all around him.
10- Transit Up: the only way to reach the Top of the Spire is through an enormous and exceedingly high stairwell that runs through the center of the tower’s interior, wrapping around its core. This passage is illuminated brightly, becoming darker the closer the PCs come to the top. The only way the PCs may gain access to this stairwell is by appeasing the giants who live on throne of the giants so as to convince them to open the way. In order to gain the approval of the giants, the PCs will need to perform at least one major quest for each of them, granting one key per giant kingdom.
Location IX: Top of the Spire
At the top of the final stairwell is a great circular door with ten recesses centered around its middle. When the party inserts all ten of the keys, given to them by the giants on the level below, the door will divide into ten portions and recede into the frame, granting access to yet another stairwell, which goes all the way to the top of the Spire. The Spire’s pinnacle is a flat, circular expanse filled with thousands of colossal pillars. At the center of the expanse is a circular recess some thousand feet wide. In the lowest point of this recess is an altar where a single brazier of incredible size stands, its flames long since extinguished.
The top of the Spire is exposed to the roof of the sky, casting everything in darkness with the stars twinkling above, yet the air is normal as to the air held in each of the Spire’s arches, balconies, shelves and tables. If the brazier is lit with magical fire, it will produce a vision that fills the sky from horizon to horizon: the party will behold the shape of a planar entity of incomprehensible power who appears to be sleeping. The being appears to have four holes bored into his head from which vapors spill and trickle down until they infuse with the Spire itself. At this moment, Zabine will step away from the party and explain the following:
“Before you sleeps that which made our world, or rather he who changed the nature of our planet. Having become infected by dire evil, the Dreamer came and created the Spires as a means of separating himself from that which plagues his mind. He is in and of the Spires as much as we are and interacts with them as a means of pleasurable distraction, but as he does this, his mind continues to fade. Should we ever wish to waken the Dreamer and restore our world, we must descend down below the Cloudscape, into the very sea of his subconsciousness, and slay that which is responsible for all the ills of our existence.”
Zabine will then cause a stairway of glass to rise up to the flames of the great brazier and explain that, should the party wish, they may enter in and port down below the Cloudscape. Doing so will transport them directly into danger from whence they will not be able to return until they have finished their task. Pilmar will remain with Zabine to study everything he can find on the Spire’s pinnacle.
Location X: World Below the Clouscape
Should the party choose to enter into the flames of the Brazier, they will indeed be ported below the Cloudscape where they will find themselves in a dark void with swirling mists above them and charred, crumbling earth beneath their feet. Off in the distance they will see a mountain, which turns out to be another slumbering form, akin to the Dreamer they witnessed atop the Spire. This being sleeps soundly but gives off a terrible aura. A ridge of earth rises up to his navel, which opens like a great cave. Entering in through here will transport the party into a realm of putrid red, pulsating flesh. Zabine’s voice will come to the minds of the party, explaining that they have entered into the true form of the Dreamer. His body is infested by great evil and requires cleansing, which only the magic and the sword can bring. (For monsters, use the stats for enemies, such as zombies, trolls, flesh golems, centipedes and other forms of powerful vermin, but give them different descriptors befitting of creatures that might dwell inside one’s body!)
The Flow of Locations
1- The Naval Caverns: the party’s entryway into the Dreamer’s subconscious body, which still clings to life, but shows obvious sign of malaise. Putrid black things grow out of his flesh, creating a terrible reek and causing monsters to grow.
Entry Tunnel: the way inside the Dreamer’s body consists of a fleshy valve, which opens and closes as the Dreamer breaths. Immediately past this is a fleshy conduit that runs along a winding course towards the bowels. The monsters here use the same stats as trolls but have the appearance of vaguely humanoid growths of flesh with gnarled teeth and claws.
Passage to the Bowell Labyrinth: at the end of the Naval Caverns, the party finds another fleshy valve, which will not open for them until they destroy two growths, which grow around the access. These growths have stats similar to beholders or eyes of the deep, save that they cannot move and are rooted in place.
2- The Bowell Labyrinth: only reachable through the Naval Caverns, the Bowell Labyrinth is a twisting maze filled with the greatest quantity of monsters, which spawn from hideous black growths along the bowel walls. Destroying these will prevent creatures from spawning and attacking the party and will restore health to the Dreamer. Navigating the Bowell Labyrinth is risky as it is quite easy to become lost, and each time the party becomes lost they will be subjected to a large raid of monsters.
Bloated Cavern: the first section of passages are swollen and narrow, making travel difficult as the party will need to squeeze through some tight areas. Stabbing the bowell walls will cause fluids to spill out, relaxing the tunnels and making the way easier, but the fluids may cause illness to anyone exposed to them.
Twisting Guts: regular channels through the Bowell Labyrinth in which the party has a moderate chance of becoming lost. These tunnels are populated by hordes of fleshy creatures, which use the stats of zombies. Among the zombies is a slender, fleshy monstrosity with the stats of a vampire. This more powerful creature leads the zombies and if slain, his followers will dissolve and perish.
Festering Passages: relatively small segment of the Bowell Labyrinth, which has succumbed to much rot as cankering acids drench the floors and walls. The acid stems from a herd of very large, armored fleshy growths, which use the stats of gorgons. The acid is harmful to any who enter here, but when the gorgon growths are destroyed, it will rapidly clear up, making the way safe once more.
Dividing Tunnels: these tunnels are the easiest to become lost in and each time the party becomes lost, they will run into fleshy growths with the same stats as phase spiders.
Passage to the Vale Thorax: the way leading into the Vale thorax is open but guarded by three enormous fleshy growths with the stats of hill giants. When defeated, the three fallen growths will morph together and become a larger tumor with the stats and abilities of an ettin. After this is destroyed, the way is clear.
3- The Vale Thorax: only reachable at the end of the Bowell Labyrinth, the Vale Thorax provides more open terrain between the Dreamer’s organs and ribs, but some of the most powerful creatures lurk about this region. This place is much easier to navigate but reaching the Sinus Lair will prove difficult due to the presence of powerful monsters here.
Hill of Flesh: the liver of the Dreamer pulsates with strange boils from which many creatures emerge. These creatures use the same stats as ankhegs and number ten in all. Their deaths will allow the Dreamer’s organs to heal.
Beating Heart: the rhythm of this colossal organ is so powerful that all who draw near it must roll saving throws to keep on their feet. The heart is slowly being assailed by a massive tumorous creature with stats similar to that of an ancient dragon.
Passage to the Sinus Lair: the way into the Sinus Lair is blocked by an enormous tumor, which clings strongly to the insides of the Dreamer. The only way to dislodge it is by cleaving through its flesh until a pulsating node can be located. When this is destroyed, the tumor will dissolve and perish, but all the while the party hacks away at it, they will be attacked by hundreds of smaller growths, which have the same stats as kobolds. These will all die when the tumor is destroyed.
4- The Sinus Lair: only reachable through the Vale Thorax, the Sinus Lair is straight and broad, providing ample room to move. Little exists here, but at the end, near the base of the skull, the party will be faced with corrupted tissue that spawns flesh golems. These golems will immediately attempt to damage the Dreamer’s spinal tissues and must be stopped before they inflict too much damage.
Conduits Upward: sloping vessels lead directly into the skull’s interior, but webbing blocks the way and is further protected by hard, fleshy growths, which have the same stats as gargoyles. There are fifteen in all of these creatures, and they attack in waves of five, one wave per layer of webbing the party hacks through.
Passage to the Windows to the Soul: the way into the Windows of the Soul is permeated by currents of intense electricity, which may shock the party if they simply walk through without taking the time to figure out the cycling. Two powerful growths further block the way, and these growths use the same stats as two-headed trolls.
5- The Windows to the Soul: only reachable through the Sinus Lair, the Windows to the Soul lays between the Dreamer’s eyes and brain. Here the party finds a truly hideous growth on his brain, which has all the power of a mighty demon lord. This growth will protect itself by conjuring other demonic things, but once they are defeated, proceed to the “Conclusion of the Campaign”.
Conclusion of the Campagn
Read the following passage to the party as they defeat their final enemy within the Dreamer’s brain. This will conclude the Spire Campaign. Thank you for playing.
“Even as you lay your final stroke, the enemy curdles before you, as the many fleshy abominations encountered before. All around you, the flesh of the Dreamer shutters as newness spreads through every cell and sinew, restoring it to what it once was before the changing of your world. Drawn by unseen hands, you each enter into a new realm in which you can view the whole of your planet, blanketed as it were in cotton. Little by little, the shroud of the Cloudscape melts away, becoming only faint wisps of pleasant clouds. Four spires of light erupt from the planet and, through the eyes of greater beings, you watch as the shelves, tables, balconies and all the raw material therein returns to the surface of a dead world.
“Like seeds awaiting spring, these will grow until the entirety of your world is restored to its normal balance, becoming once more like all other inhabited worlds and no longer held captive in the mind of the Dreamer.”
Sources of Inspiration
The following materials served as partial inspiration for the development of this campaign, but I must stress that the majority of it is derived from my overactive imagination during the days of my childhood, which I am pleased to say has accompanied me well into my adult life and continues to serve me through better or worse.
Faxanadu Legacy of the Wizard Discoworld
Kid Icarus Norse Mythology Secret of Mana
Bahamut Lagoon Rendezvous With Rama Dune
Symphony of the Night Xenoblade Chronicles Metroid
Gulliver’s Travels Arabian Nights Gladiator
Persona 3 The Bard’s Tale Parasite Eve
Megaman Legends Final Fantasy 3 and 4 Rygar (PS2)