Bell’s March 1st Floor Draft 1/2
Intended as a mining camp, prison, and refueling station for the walking mountain castle of the ancient empire responsible for the magical wasteland, Bell’s March is the adventurer’s only lead. They hope to gain entrance to the massive elemental holding ancient weapons and treasures of the lost empire.
What follows is my first draft, which will be updated after seeing how my players explore the place, what areas are not clear, and where emergent game-play provides a superior design.
This is part 1 of 2, because the nerve in one of my molars is dead and decided to host a party for bacteria in my jaw, yay pain!
A naturally steep cliff-face has been carved and sheared into a near sheer surface among a forest of trees littering hills and mountains, where numerous wandering paths have been shorn through the trees by a colossal entity. The various tracks all lead towards this point.
Facing the mountain, on the left is a deep gouge reaching to bedrock that is littered with debris and watched by a pair of massive metalwork golems standing atop gargantuan boulders. On the left is a third boulder, overgrown with thistle and short, stocky trees. The middle is a field of barren gravel leading up to stone brickwork twenty feet tall, with a set of double iron-reinforced wooden doors in the center. Above the door to its left is an overhang fitted with iron bars.
The area is the hunting ground of a land shark, that will make its approach should anyone linger too long at the front of this place. It will attempt to dig sinkholes between its prey and the entrance to the facility before surfacing for an ambush.
The constructs will turn to observe any living creature, but do nothing unless one approaches the gouge or attacks a golem. They respond to verbal cues with stares, waiting for commands by a ranking member of their military in the lost ancient language of the Akshi. They defend themselves and the access port hidden in the gouge with deadly force.
Wooden doors set in the wall open freely, revealing a descending staircase beyond. The entrance bears one gargoyle statue above and a second toppled to the ground, which a historical knowledge expert could identify as a cliched piece of Akshi architecture.
Stone halls at the bottom of the stairs split to the left and right. On the left, a keen eyed character might notice grout and brick lines that form a 2’ wide by 5’ tall rectangle. Pushing on the right side of this shape will move the stone door, beyond is a steep staircase leading up to a dry-rotted stool within in the overlook above the door. Following the bending corridor leads to the Training Room.
To the right is a locked wood and iron door to the Prison on the right wall while the corridor switches back on itself. A functional brass doorknob holds a simple lock that keeps this door secured.
This hallway ends at a T intersection closed off with iron-bar gates with no obvious handles or mechanisms. The west gate of the intersection leads to the Prison, while the east gate opens to more hallway. Down that hallway a door can be seen on the left wall while the corridor turns to the right and continues on.
Investigating the door will reveal enchanted wax has been pushed through the gaps from the other side to form a seal. The a steel deadbolt top-lock keeps this door firmly shut.
The rotting remains of loose straw is spread around the room, centered on a wooden dummy representing an armored human on a stand. At the opposite corner of the room is a wooden door leading to the Armory
If approached with a weapon drawn, the dummy shifts to focus on the entrant and a mechanical voice sounds, “Lakshimi?”, the words for “Ready?” in ancient Akshi. It waits for a “Yes” response in Akshi, replying to further verbal queries with the same “Lakshimi?” phrase. On a yes, the dummy will assume a fighting stance to practice sparring of its opponent’s choice. This magical dummy regenerates any damage it takes and it’s moving form allows trainees to learn combat skills twice as quickly.
About this room is a stout wardrobe, a desk supporting an open book, a group of ruined armor stands, old wood barrels, and an iron-banded warchest in the middle of the floor.
The wardrobe contains a collection of moth-eaten robes and military uniform remains, while the bottom of the wardrobe contains a collection of metal buttons, pins, badges, and other bits. A character skilled in military history will recognize these as Akshi military insignias of various ranks, along with their metallic buttons. Searching through this pile will also reveal a small number of bronze coins and a bronze key. This key fits in the bronze lock leading to the Prison from the Hallway.
Within the warchest are a number of treasures fitting a balanced group of adventurers: A masterwork longbow, unstrung, made of aspen wood, a Lesser Shield of Empowering bearing an emblazoned gargoyle face, a black wood, Magician’s Wand tipped in white quartz, and a set of iron Ogre Strength Gauntlets coated in gravel dust.
The barrels contain insect carcasses and rodent droppings while the armor stands still hold the iron plates of three full plate suits, minus their leather strapping. These parts would make for suitable crafting materials to create a new set of plate mail.