Friday, January 12, 2018

Lore of Ahneria: 25 Dungeons In and Around Garton
This is part of a series on the lore of my homebrew world, Ahneria. As I outlined here, much of this information will be pulled from existing D&D lore and tropes. At the end, I'll be including a section on how to use this sort of thing in your own games. 

Party levels:
  • Low: levels 1 to 4
  • Mid: levels 5 to 10
  • High: levels 11 to 16
  • Epic: levels 17 and higher

1. The Ooze Tunnels, a natural cavern connecting the Garton sewer system to an underwater cave in the nearby Mane river. The floors are slippery or sticky, depending on where you go, and any drip from the ceiling could be water or corrosive slime. Suggested Party Level: Mid

2. The former lair of Lumien Ratheart, a section of the sewer partially flooded and cleared out by a city watch patrol. Lots of bones and magical puzzles, could easily be reclaimed by a wererat gang or doppelganger. Suggested Party Level: Low

3. The Undercity, a shanty town located in a deep cistern below the streets, infamously difficult to get to and current headquarters for the Thieves' Guild. A system of scaffolding and elevators allows travel between different levels of the city. Suggested Party Level: Mid

4. The Elite Rogue Training Grounds, a gauntlet of traps and challenges located below the Undercity. Used to raise the Thieves' Guild's best and brightest, it was recently reclaimed by Romero Calabra and is back in full working order. However, there are many secrets still hidden in its twisting tunnels... Suggested Party Level: High

5. The Shaft, a long vertical pit with connections to every level of the sewer. Fraught with slick walls and monsters that can scale them, the descent is just as dangerous as the destination. However, the upside is there is some light from a grate at the top - at least, during the day. And don't expect that light to travel all the way down. Suggested Party Level: Low

6. Blockage, a deep sewer system so packed with muck and filth that you have to tunnel your way through. Expect to fight other tunneling creatures, like rats, bugs, and even the occasional Umber Hulk. Finding a pre-dug tunnel is a blessing, though with the weight of all the crap that has accumulated down here, don't be surprised if the tunnels slowly shrink behind you. Suggested Party Level: Mid

7. Pipe Central, a maze-like section of the Garton sewer system that connects the city's plumbing and water supply. Pipes here constantly break and need repair, and the only permanent resident is the maintenance manager: Stinky Jake, who has been killed and resurrected twice already. Suggested Party Level: Low

8. The Drain, a massive underground cistern with a lake-like body of water situated under the Garton sewer system. The ceiling is constantly dripping here, meaning over time stalactites and rock pillars have formed in the area. An Aboleth rules the very bottom of the lake, which means nobody has been able to prove whether or not the bottom of the pool has a plug that can be pulled out. However, there are many dangerous water creatures which also make their home here, meaning such a journey would not be for the faint of heart. Suggested Party Level: High

9. The Gas Lines, an area of the Garton sewer system that still contains the toxic gasses dug up in the ancient mining process. Water accumulation from rain sealed off these gasses long before the city was built, and they remain hidden in deep caverns ever since. No flames, no breathing, limited visibility - these tunnels are as difficult to navigate as they are to find. Still, the promise of ancient dwarven treasure untouched by monsters and thieves has lured many adventurers to their deaths. Suggested Party Level: Mid
10. The Depths, the very bottom of the Garton Sewer system. Long ago, these used to be dwarven mines, and they dug too deep, too greedily. They opened the mine right up to the Underdark, and down here the sewer walls turn into natural caverns. Monsters from the depths are more dangerous than anything else near the city, and sometimes they might find their way up to the city streets... Also, don't rule out Demons, since this place still reeks with Abyssal energy. Suggested Party Level: High

11. Hippogriff Cave, located in the Plains of Garton outside the city. Notably, contains a rock that has eroded into the shape of a hippogriff. Local kids play here often, but the rock looks so realistic that cautious parents think it might be a statue, not just a random rock. They don't want their kids uncovering ancient and dangerous ruins, so they forbid the kids from playing there. Of course, that only makes them more curious. Suggested Party Level: Mid

12. The Stinkhole, a small cave dug into the ground not far from the city walls. Farmers don't go near it for fear of being attacked by an Otyugh, but that has lead many other creatures to lair there. As long as they don't mind the stench. Suggested Party Level: Mid

13. Mushroom Grotto, a deep cave near Garton that is used for harvesting mushrooms. The deeper you go, the more dangerous it becomes, until you're fighting off myconids at the very bottom. However, rumors abound of fungi that can cure rare diseases, grant immortality, and more. If you have the guts to brave the very depths of Mushroom Grotto. Suggested Party Level: Mid

14. Yoblin Den, named for the goblin-like creatures that grow there. Actually a species of mushroom, they were named such due to the local accent, and because anthropologists remained unable to convince locals that these weren't garden-variety goblins. They live in a filthy cave near the outskirts of Garton's farming fields, which might contain the seed yoblin at the bottom. Nobody has bothered checking. Suggested Party Level: Low

15. A pond in the low district of Garton has a cave at the bottom of it, yet unnamed but known about by some local children who swam to the bottom to check it out. It was too dark for them to make anything out, but they think they heard footsteps down there. If it's cleared out, you become the heroes of the group of children. Suggested Party Level: Mid
16. The Necromancer's Tower, an ancient tower in Garton Forest surrounded by a long-empty moat. Currently houses the remaining undead of a necromancer who was confronted and killed some time ago. Also, Giant Spiders have been known to take up residence in the lower levels. Strange energies swirl around this area! Suggested Party Level: Mid

17. Full Moon Grove, a clearing with a nearby cave system within the depths of Garton Forest. Home to several Lycanthropes, it becomes a hive of activity leading up to and during the full moon. Many Circle of the Moon Druids are tasked with cleansing this area during the daylight, in hopes that these dangerous and ritualistic festivals will cease. Many have lost their lives doing so. Suggested Party Level: High

18. The Old Walnut Tree, a large tree in Garton Forest. It's a common spot to pray to Obad-Hai, God of Nature, so there are often people and guards around. However, the tree is blessed by Fey magic, and sometimes the little tricksters living in its branches will shrink humans down to minuscule size and bring them in the tree. Inside is a maze of tunnels, rife with creatures that are deadly to tiny folk, but also friendly fairies that speak of a powerful magical fungus deep under the roots of the tree. Suggested Party Level: Mid

19. The Fillard Manor, a home in the Upper District of Garton. It is a fine home, but keeps passing hands from family to family. No resident stays long, and rumors of ghosts and specters haunting its halls have spread throughout the city. If you can clean out its many rooms, it could be yours for a very reasonable price! Suggested Party Level: Mid

20. The Home of Doctor R. R. Ribbenwald, a renowned medical practitioner. At least, he was, until it was discovered that his home in the Middle District of Garton was an elaborately constructed death trap, and his "experiments" had a murderous side to them. Even now, a year after his arrest and execution, his home is a fortress of terrible and deadly traps. The city watch will pay handsomely if someone goes in and disables all the dangers, but nobody who has gone inside has come out yet... Suggested Party Level: High

21. The Vision Library, located in a difficult-to-find corner of the Middle District of Garton. The librarians are blind and the library is kept pitch dark, and the books here are blasphemous, cursed, or worse. Finding dark lore is likely, but finding the exact information you need will require you to face down the masters of the library, who have trained long years to defend these books. Suggested Party Level: Epic
22. The False House, a fancy manor in the Upper District of Garton. Actually sparsely decorated, but a group of Doppelgangers and Mimics keep any occupied rooms furnished. Their goal is to get visitors to come to the basement, where they can be eaten by the biggest mimic - the house itself. They are skilled at playing off of people's need to be formal, and a few rich folk disappear a year to this trap. Suggested Party Level: Mid

23. The Cloven Sword, a small tavern in the Middle District of Garton. Contains a small underground complex beneath it, including passages to the sewers and other buildings. Used by the Cult of Kam but cleared out by C.H.A.O.S, this tavern has been purchased by a private entrepreneur, and might now house a new set of mysterious occupants. Suggested Party Level: Low

24. The Boss's Pub, a sizable establishment in the Upper District of Garton. Known for being avoided by the nobility, this is where Boss Cass sets up shop. A party of heroes would have to prove they are doing something illegal before they could raid the place, however, and even then the series of backrooms and hallways would have to be cleared before Cass himself could be confronted. Suggested Party Level: Mid

25. The Abandoned Toy Factory, a warehouse in the Middle District. Long ago, a Gnomish tinkerer set up a Toy store in Garton, and it did phenomenally well. As time progressed, they expanded to include all varieties of entertainment products, including some of an adult nature. However, this eventually caused backlash and the business was shut down. Now, the building is home to various gangs and urchins without anywhere else to go. Suggested Party Level: Low


Using This Material in Your Setting

  • In any area, set up locations your PCs can hear about and try to explore
    • This can lead to "West Marches" style play, where the players tell the DM they want to explore a certain location and they set up the time to do so.
    • Not that I'm hinting at my players to do that
    • Hint hint
  • Are there requirements to entering certain locations? Are they magical, legal, secret, etc?
  • What are the areas surrounding the city like? Are there interesting landmarks there? How can those landmarks be turned into adventures?
  • Where do common monsters in your setting hang out? Where are their safe havens? Can the adventurers explore these areas?
  • How powerful do characters need to be before exploring a particular area? If that level is not too high, why hasn't anyone explored this area already?
Thanks for reading!

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