Your plot has some interesting parts, but also has a few holes and a few clichés. Addressing these will make it a much more exciting adventure.
First: The PCs receive a message asking that they come to a village to slay a dragon/horrendous monster. Presumably, Therogga Thorn does this to lure them into his trap. Problem Point: The “Guy that hires us but secretly wants to kill us” is an ancient and timeworn plot device. I’d skip it and let the PCs be contacted by a mage in the village who gets himself killed fighting the horror before they arrive. Second Problem: Most campaigns should avoid “random” dragons. If dragons are to be kept as awesome and horrifying creatures of legend, there shouldn’t be any destroying nameless towns as flunkies for some mage. A good substitute might be a group of Wyverns or the like: Beasts much like dragons, but not having quite the same mystique.
Then, how do they get the idea that they should be following this Therroga guy? I’d recommend that the mage in town leave a battered journal telling what happened: Perhaps Therroga tried to extort tribute from the village (“Yield five children to be mine, or my scaly minions will slay you all!”) and only attacked when they refused his terms.
So, the heroes trail the villain to his classy marble fortress (“Look at the sculptures, Sven!”), brawling with his werewolf buddy and undead minions on the way. There, the creep must elude them, leading them to an abyssal realm. Problem Point: It can be frustrating to almost have the bad guy, only to get hit by his traps as you try to pursue him. You don’t want to aggravate your players that way. I’d suggest that he already went below, but some of his undead flunkies are talkative and give away where he went (“You will never reach the MAaasterrrr! He is already in the realm of Kranara, preparing to free the demon princccceeee!”) as they duke it out with the PCs.
The idea of playing abyssal politics is one of the strong points of the adventure. Unfortunately, you skimmed right past that: It would be good to include a few of the demonic folks they might meet down there and how they act. The idea of recruiting demonic local allies could provoke some serious debate in most parties.
If you plan, the “Son of Helior” part doesn’t have to be an issue. Say that he snatched up one of the kids from the village and that kid is his sacrifice. The PCs can learn that he’s going to do a sacrifice “when the stars are right” and free his demonic master. Any self-respecting hero will come after the guy, slavering with righteous wrath.
Alternatively, if you wanted to keep the idea that he’s luring the characters to him, one of them is likely to be a champion for some good holy order. Let that cleric or paladin or whatever be the one that he wanted to sacrifice: The champion of the demon’s ancient enemy. Go to Comment
Thanks for the information! The stone of the old keep (and the old city wall at the other end) would be an obvious source for the stone of the new buildings. Despite that, the total demolition of old fortifications was a daunting task in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and still posed a likely excuse for construction delays and cost overruns.
Inefficiency and corruption in the construction of large civic works... almost as inevitable as death and taxes. Go to Comment
A simneler is actually a producer of spiced breads. I'm not sure how they ended up part of the Millers' union (...but the term was in a list of bakery-related occupations that I encountered and I thought it was wonderfully odd). Go to Comment
The disfavour of the Crown is not something that a wise man would court, and carries a heavy stigma. As nothing was ever proven, they remained in good standing with their guild, but this began a slow decline of their families' fortunes.
Their descendants still live within the city. The two sons of Master Thane distinguished themselves leading a company of foot in the wars; their ancestral disgrace is quite forgotten by most.
The Thackrose family survives in genteel poverty, barely able to keep the dusty and crumbling mansion that their father purchased with his pilfered money. Convinced that he was wronged by those who blamed their father for the palace's flaws, they have spent a lifetime cultivating resentment toward the gentry that snubbed them.
After all, 'tis said that a doctor can bury his mistakes, but all an architect can do is plant ivy. Go to Comment
As I am already notorious among my friends for the appalling accents I affect when gaming (To secretly punish me, they have gone so far as to interrogate every member of a small village of dwarves with Swedish accents, just to watch me squirm), I'm not sure whether this would be "right up my alley" or "too much of a good thing".
There's only the one necromancer, so I think it's safe... Go to Comment
Upon reflection, further information about the motivations and goals of the deranged Veggimancer might be helpful. What is it that drove him to such vile deeds of spud stealing? Did the villagers, suspecting his sinister schemes, refuse to sell their vegetables to the man?
On a separate note, what led Seamus to paper his hovel with human flesh? Was the cracked and weathered tree inordinately drafty, were the local paperhagers exceptionally expensive, or was it (as we suspected) merely a "style thing"? I suspect that the man was one of those rabid "do it yourself" types, determined that he was going to save money by doing the job alone (with only a few undead vegetables to help him).
If his decor was actually meant to impress others with his outrageous "Necromanticness", perhaps there are other necromancers out there, equally sinister and vile (and with even more outrageous accents!). These twisted souls may come calling after his defeat, seeking the rare home decorating secrets of Seamus Rhine. Go to Comment
I had taken the gruesome details as suggestions that the villain wasn't just another necromancer, he was a "necromancer's necromancer", with trade journals lying around the place (bound in human skin and inked in bat's blood), skull-shaped torch holders and lava lamps, and maybe even a portrait of Elizabeth Bathory done on black velvet (signed "With Love and Kisses, Liz"). Go to Comment
The proud and independent elf maiden, forced into quite a different mold by the vagaries of Fate.
An interesting character, she could pose a variety of dilemmas for adventurers, depending on how the GM wanted to incorporate her into a campaign. If encountered while the is the "All-mother" of the tribe, many groups would hope to rescue her: Her refusal to cooperate with the violence that most adventurers rely upon might come as a frustrating surprise to them.
What happens after the leaves the islands could be even more sad, depending on her people's reaction to her return. I could picture her becoming a victim of her own success: She returns to her people, bitter and victimized. Once there she draws upon her vast experience of humanity to counsel withdrawal and isolation, but once those Elvish leaders who are most isolationist gain power, they reject her as "tainted" by her centuries of dwelling among humans.
On a side note: The islanders would need to practice strict exogamy (marriage/mating outside their own tribe) or would soon face the consequences of inbreeding, as Ashala's myriad descendants became common within the population. Go to Comment
This strikes me as 80% of a great sub... What you have given is all great, but it has several unanswered questions:
They are merchants who prefer to communicate in writing, but don't keep historical records: How do they conduct business that way?
Do they build villages or towns of thier own, places where the different castes dwell within oddly hive-like dormitories and workshops? The Mother Caste may not need shelter, but do the others? Do they rest as other races do?
Do they maintain dwellings or buildings within the towns of other species? Go to Comment
An adventure that could lead to en entire series of further adventures...
This adventure is similar in some ways to The Wheezing Dragon. The plot will work best if there are some elements of moral ambiguity to the situation: Are dragons of Belissa's line irredeemably evil? Who attacked Belissa and why?
Protecting the eggs and hatchlings could be quite a challenge in itself: There are sure to be many who would like to seize such for themselves, or simply slay the creatures. Additionally, what treasure the dragon left behind might draw quite a bit of attention. The climax of "The Hobbit" comes to mind, with armies converging on the site...
The rewards for helping the dragon need not be overpowering: A greater lifespan is a great "in-game" benefit that has little effect beyond the roleplaying aspect (how many adventurers die of old age?), but immunity to spells or other combat-related resistances could become a major factor in future scenarios. An option would be to grant these powers to the adventurers' children; as the adventurers protect her children, so her power would protect theirs. Go to Comment
A set of items, both beautiful and chilling, along with a myth of their origins as ominous and compelling as the items themselves. Crudely shaped by a tortured madman, they have been transformed, their horror cloaked within fair forms. This is how magic should be made!
Few adventurers who suspected the items' true origins would dare to touch them, yet they are not wholly items of evil. One of evil heart who sought to use them might find them eager to bring his eventual fall, while one who chose to wield their power for justice, remembering the sacrifice of the Chained Flowers, might find them to be just as potent.
The dark force that kept these items and transformed them into tools for the champions of darkness is the true mystery here. Can its power be overcome? Can the sinister fate of the Bloodflower Shroud be changed?
A well-conceived religion, credible and detailed. I would expect such an order to become increasingly concerned with rules and propriety as time passed, until they eventually choked under the weight of their own detailed customs and limitations, requiring reformation for the church to survive. Go to Comment
This is a well-thought out cult, working in the background to bring chaos and death. I like the believable details and the interations with the continent's other religions.
It's hard to produce a credible cult of murderous and bloody-handed chaos-worshippers. Despite the many violent sects the world has seen, few were truly monstrous: With the exception of small groups of fools, led by madmen, even the most wicked of cults tends to justify their actions in terms of good and justice. Go to Comment
Perhaps all who venture to the Bleak Vale on the eve of battle are touched by the spirit of the place: Whether the horrors that haunt them are their own or someone else's depends on what happens within the valley.
I would expect that a warrior that drew forth one of the rusted blades of the dead would find the dead eager to refight their final battle, but with new foes in a new body... Those of weak will might find their memories muddled and confused, as the spectre's final thoughts touch their mind. If they are overcome, they might find themselves championing a cause long-dead, remembering only that "the enemy" must be fought to the bitter end... Go to Comment
The Fane of Carnage is not the sort of place where one finds the help needed to ensure survival, but rather the power to unleash Hell upon one's foes. While the blood staining its altar seems fresh, it might actually date back centuries or even millennia. Go to Comment