Runequest Thursday #72 - 1d6 Adventure Locales!

Clint Staples

 In my ongoing Brightwater campaign, set in the River of Cradles region and based, increasingly loosely, on the classic Borderlands set published by Chaosium in the wayback of time, I built a Sandbox for the characters focused on the chosen locale for Brightwater. This happened to be the site that would have been Ronegarth in Borderlands,which in my game was scouted and abandoned by Duke Raus’ explorers, in favor of a site closer to the coast.

The characters have done some touring of their domain, but have also had other calls on their time. Some of the locations I created have been discovered, some have even been explored. Many await their attentions. it is my intention here to provide you with a list of some of the locales, in brief, as a random list of locations for your own use. If I have expanded on it via another Runequest Thursday, I will link to that, so you can use the supplementary material if you like. And if it need be said - while this is all Runequest-y goodness, it is a fairly simple matter to file off cult names, and other Gloranthan references to make it suit a D&D game, or what have you.

Here goes: If you want a randomizer, roll 1d6:

  1. The Blue Moon Gate: (The link takes you to the Cult of the Blue Moon write-up): Mostly submerged in the surrounding sand and gravel, a blue-tinted stone pillar projects drunkenly upward a few feet. Nearby is its twin. Scrawled upon their surface is an archaic indecipherable writing, but the runes for Moon, Darkness and Secrecy may be seen within the script. If the pillars are raised and set beside one another, viewers may perceive a shimmering vista of a strange blue forest, shadowed my massive peaks and overlooked by too-near stars. So long as the pillars remain aligned, the view of the Blue Moon remains, but only with the Key, a stelae of blue stone with a hole at its center, may allow those who watch travel there. Hook: While out adventuring, or exploring, the heroes see a small ruin. Within it, they find these strange blue pillars in the earth. Obviously ancient, they are also apparently magical. The Blue Moon Key may already be known to the heroes, or might need to be found or retrieved.
  2. The Caverns of the Carcharids:  (The link takes you to everything you need to run "Caverns of the Carcharids"):  long narrow island in the Zola Fel is the subject of dark stories of disappearances in the waters, a sense of being watched, and strange lights from caves that dot the higher places. The surrounding waters are plagued by terrible predators, and large sharklike fins have been seen cutting the river water as far north as the Vilinar River. The island is home to shark-men led by a demon-ridden priest. Normally, the carcharids venture up the river during the high water seasons, then leave again as the water level drops, but under the domination of the demon priest, they have been commanded to stay and wreak havoc. Hooks: Heroes may be tipped to the need for adventurer intervention by the sight of menacing fins in the river water, reports of attacks on local folk, the disappearance of livestock, or the discovery of its half eaten remains on the water’s edge.
  3. Rob-Cradle - The Sunken City: (The link gives you a map of a portion of the Sunken City at high water time, annotated with descriptions, as well as one of the more problematic inhabitants): In ancient times, a great city was raised by a mage who dominated a tribe of giants. He caused them to build massive walls and fortified structures, such that his enemies would think twice before attacking his stronghold. When the city was finished, the magus found other duties for his slave, who came to hate him, and the city they had built. One day, the how is not known, the magus lost control of the giants, who then took their vengeance. Enraged beyond human measure, one giant flung a city quarter dozens of miles through the air to be all but swallowed by the swamp in which it fell. This is Rob-Cradle,  several city blocks of giant built ruins barely projecting from the surface of a massive bog. Seasonally flooded, the ruins are best explored by boat in high water times, but then much of their most fascinating features are below water as well. During times of low water or drought, the reek of sodden bogland and dying underwater plants makes exploration trying, but more rewarding. Many artifacts of the ancients lie in the ruins. butA a number of hideous swamp beasts lair here as well, and more recently a chaos icon has drawn cultists, ogres and other beings who worship the powers of destruction. Hooks: The Sunken City may be home to an artifact that the heroes need. They may be drawn to it on hearing the legend of its “creation”. The chaos cult may become troublesome and raid the heroes of others they care about. Rob-Cradle may also become a regular site for delving whenever the water is low.
  4. The Great Tower can be seen for many miles around. It rises, unnaturally straight, from the valley floor to a height of nearly five hundred feet. It appears less lofty than it is however, because it is nearly a fifth of that height across. As explorers near, they can see large regular arches yawning black at the top, the shadows suggesting access to hidden interiors waiting to be explored. But the base of the Tower has no opening - be it arch, gate, doorway or cave entrance. if the mysterious interior is to be explored, the adventurers must come in from above. Hook: This is a visible mystery for miles around, which is likely to draw attention. By making it accessible only through a long and dangerous climb, or via potent magic, it can be a lure long before the heroes are ready to tackle it. Too, when they do venture there, chances are good that they will take extra precautions. So you can throw some really cool, epic things in the interior.
  5. The Dragon’s Talon: (The Link gives you a monster that has begun to appear since the meddling of the Empire of the Wyrms' Friends with the place of dragons in the Cosmos - The Dragonfang - a mutated daggerfang, which has become infused with Draconic essence from one of the potent Beast Runes that exist in the valley): Scribed into the height of a towering cliff face is a reptilian talon on a truly remarkable scale. The claw itself is nearly two hundred feet in length, and the entire foot is easily half a mile or more in length. So big is the Dragon’s talon, that it cannot really be seen as such if the viewer is closer than t several miles away. The details become increasingly difficult to decipher for what they are. Hooks: The talon could be the remains of an ancient ritual to summon the Wyrm of the Marches. it could serve as protection to a tomb of the era of the Empire of the Wyrms’ Friends. It might simply be a remnant from an ancient past. It may be spirits and animals reside nearby, feeding on the residual energy from massively potent Beast Runes. Or perhaps that same energy drives beings with sufficient awareness away - or mad.
  6. The Brood of Sekheret: (The Link gives you an entire scorpionfolk raiding party, including spells, magic items, motivation and stats): In the shadow of The Great Tower, a complex of caverns worn into the limestone by floodwater is now home to a powerful band of scorpionfolk. Their leader, the Brood Mother Sekheret, has raised up a number of generations of her would get in relative plenty, but now they have outstripped their local food supply. Sekheret knows that challenges will soon begin to plague her, as her daughters and sons seek to assert their breeding rights. So she has begun to send her hunting parties further afield. Either they will extend the brood’s territory and provide more and better food, or they will be culled by what they encounter. Hooks: a hunting party of scorpionfolk may come upon the heroes and attack, or stalk them. Possibly, captives may be taken by raid or stealth, and returned to the nest for later feasting - by which the brood may hope to magically steal skills and spells from the unfortunate meals. A rescue, in such circumstances, could entail an a track on the next, or infiltration to spirit away the captives before they meet their horrible fate.


I may revise this list, adding more locations as they are discovered, or as I come up with them. Check back for more!