Sunday, March 13, 2011

Plothooks and Rumours


Castle Greyhawk:
Distance: 9 miles.
Common Knowledge: The ruins of the overblown manse of Zagyg,the Mad Archmage, former mayor of Greyhawk in its prime. Mad Zagyg, a magic-user of tremendous power, renowned for his capricious wit, disappeared after a century of unaging life in the city, leaving his castle to decay.That was three centuries ago. The reputation of the great  wizard was such that for decades the labyrinth remained unexplored. Eventually it was sacked by rampaging northern barbarians, at least to some extent, though many never emerged from the ruins, and many that did were raving mad.

With time, adventurers were drawn to pick over the leavings in the great dungeons beneath the old castle, seeking the treasures that must be hidden there. Over the years, many have returned with extraordinary riches- in fact, the stream of plunder from the old castle revitalised the economy of the Free City. Every so often, new bands of vagabonds return from the ruins, their fortunes made. More never return- their remains, and no doubt their gear, lie mouldering in the dark places of the Mad Archmage’s dungeons...

Preliminary Rumour: Several novice bands of adventurers have failed to return after setting out to Castle Greyhawk in recent months. Some suggest this indicates new and powerful denizens have inhabited the castle itself, as previously adventurers made preliminary explorations of the upper dungeon levels with not infrequent success.
Purchased Rumour: A small band of dwarves have set themselves up as wardens of the great staircase of the dungeon, monitoring the movements of adventurers. It is best not to treat this group with disrespect. (This from a grizzled one-armed former adventurer.)
Special Rumour: Bands of scarlet-clad monks have been seen in the lands around the old castle, their business thereabouts is unknown.

Lonesome Hill Dungeon:
Distance: 60 miles
Common Knowledge: none
Preliminary Rumour: A recent drinking companion of _______ , Granbarzhi, told a tale of a dungeon beneath the crumbled masonry of an old watch tower several days march to the east. He had stumbled upon the ruin whilst hiking through the hills on an overland journey from Elmshire to Diamond Lake.  His short delve suggested a profitable lair for an inexperienced group, he gained gold himself, but left after being wounded in an encounter with giant rats- he was alone, after all.

He provided _________ with a map indicating the location of what he coined the “Lonesome Hill Dungeon”, as an aid to recruiting a party for him while he recovered from an illness. Several days ago Granbarzhi unfortunately succumbed to the illness- filth fever it seems. As far as you can tell, no one but yourselves knows about this dungeon.
Purchased Rumour: none
Special Rumour: none

Old Greyhawk Dungeon:
Distance: 30 miles
Common Knowledge: With the economic prosperity that burgeoned in Greyhawk in the time of Zagyg, came a resurgence in crime. One whim of the Mad Archmage was to respond to the hue and cry of local merchants and gentry by ordering the construction of a great prison-dungeon to  the north, in the Cairn Hills west of Grossetgrottell.The construction work was to be done by the prisoners themselves, as, in clusters of chain gangs, they dug and tunneled from the bedrock, making cells for themselves. The guards employed there were required to be unrelentingly brutal, and kept watch on the whole edifice from an external gatehouse that blocked off the canyon-mouth. 

Whether the project was based on studies of the despotic Archmage into the perversities of human nature, or simply the result of a harshly-applied pragmatism, is unknown. What is certain is that, locked up in a dungeon of their own making, the prisoners were left to their own devices, and soon devolved to such a bestial state that the guards no longer ventured to do more than simply prevent their escape from the canyon. Apparently other projects quickly placed a greater demand on the attentions of Zagyg himself.

Upon the disappearance of Zagyg, the prison was thrown open by the newly placed governing council (which had much stronger links to the Thieves’ Guild). The horrors they found within are spoken of only in frightened whispers. None of the sorry human remnants who came out were ever the same.

Over the years, the old dungeon has reputedly become the haunt of various monsters from the surrounding lands. Periodically, groups of adventurers return from the Old Dungeons with admirable plunder. Just as often they never return at all...

Preliminary Rumour: A group of brigands is said to lurk near the Old Dungeon, ambushing weary adventurers on their way back from their subterranean forays.
Purchased Rumour:  Word has it that another crazy magic-user had built a tower in the tangled thickets close on the Old Dungeon in the last century, but that the tower was destroyed in a violent arcane eruption. Imagine what treasures might be gained from the inevitable cellars below, if only the ruin were found...
Special Rumour: See provided rumour list.

Ruined Lendorian Monastery:
Distance: 30 miles
Common Knowledge: none
Preliminary Rumour: It is said that, some 30 miles to the south, in the hills wests of the village of Erybend, a ruined monastery lies, sacked decades ago by raiding humanoids and never reclaimed by whatever order of scholarly monks had dwelled there. Perhaps items of value moulder amidst its broken stones...
Purchased Rumour: A local sage is aware that the original monastery was occupied by Lendorian monks, and also has heard a rumour that other cultists had occupied the place several decades ago.
Special Rumour: The innkeep at the Green Dragon heard an adventurer several months ago mention that he had fought goblins in the old ruined monastery.

Tower of the Apprentice:
Distance: 30 miles
Common Knowledge: Zagyg is rumoured to have had an apprentice, an unfortunate woman named Lendine, whose indenture was little more than a spiteful amusement to the Mad Archmage. It is said that she had been a student of great talent at the College of Magic’ and that Zagyg had been irritated by the temerity of the dean , who personally recommended her to him. He took her on, then made it his business to undermine her every effort, the comical results of which were dispatched to the college board via a magical communicament, with wryly puzzled queries from Zagyg as to whether they had sent the correct student. Lendine became, at least in scholarly circles, a laughing stock- ultimately, Zagyg scornfully cast her out of his manse.

After Zagyg’s vanishment, Lendine developed as a Magic-User, and built a tower at the fringes of the Mist Marsh. Sent slightly mad herself, she implemented a campaign to stymy the efforts of her former colleagues. Eventually, she took to the enchantment of their young apprentices. These she would put to perverse uses, undermining their studies and all the while spying on their masters.

Eventually tiring of the spiteful wiles of the unhinged Sorceress, a group of her former classmates, some with more regret than others, formed a cabal against her, and ambushed her at her tower. In the ensueing magical contest, the tower was destroyed, though whether Lendine actually died there is not known. At any rate, she has not been seen since that time.
Preliminary Rumour: A group of dwarves is said to have tunnelled into the rubble of the Tower of the Apprentice, a year or so ago. They did not return from the dungeons they uncovered there.
Purchased Rumour: A dragon attacked a merchant caravan passing through High Ery several months ago, incinerating the mounted guards. Several merchants were devoured. Survivors said the dragon clutched in its great claws a pair of coin coffers, and flew off towards the Mist Marsh. The story was hushed up to soothe public fears of such fell monsters attacking merchant routes. Does it lair in the ruins of Lendine’s Tower?
Special Rumour: A daunting and arrogant wizard had a big night of opulent gustation at the Nymph and Satyr six weeks ago. Accompanied by several armed henchman, a sinister elf, and a magic -user of lesser power, he made enquiry as to the Tower of Lendine, whom he referred to as “That great, tragic, and erudite scholar.” The mirthful chuckles of several bystanders resulted in rough treatment by the mage’s henchmen. The arrival of the city guard prompted a more general melee. The result was the deaths of several patrons and guardsmen, both by arrow and spellfire. The group fled the scene. The city guard still earnestly pursues the culprits.

Spore Caverns:
Distance: 120 miles
Common Knowledge: none
Preliminary Rumour: Five days march eastwards into the Cairn Hills, in the lands surrounding the village of Eiren’s Fall, strange disappearances have been occurring. Both cattle and villagers have gone missing with a developing frequency.
Purchased Rumour: A local sage reports that limestone caverns, of note for their prolific fungal infestations, are very common in the area around Eiren’s Fall.
Special Rumour: Misshapen and unnerving creatures have been seen shuffling through the the wooded copses of the hillsides in the region south of Eiren’s Fall.

 Old School afficianadoes should pick up on the identity of at least a few of these dungeons...


  1. I love the format for the rumours. I'm going to have to use this style in future.

  2. I'm kind of winging it, but I'm pretty happy with the format myself. Thanks. :)

  3. Thanks Joe! Looking forward to getting started on this with a new group tonight...