1. The Forest of Iron Ghosts
The forest was the site of a terrible battle many years ago, and it ended when powerful death magics slaughtered the bulk of both sides of the conflict. The war is over, but the ghosts remain. When the sun sets, they reanimate their old suits of armor and stalk about the woods. The iron ghosts are eeriely silent and are both aggressive and dangerous. They inflict both melee damage from rusted old weapons as well as cold based damage by touch. The locals refuse to enter the forest at night, and no one will buy used armor in the area, just in case it might be stolen from the forest.
2. Shark Point
The bay is very amiable to ships, except for the large local population of were-sharks. Ships that anchor in or near the point find themselves overrun by monsterous sharks, some of which become horrid human hybrids and come aboard. A few of the weresharks hire themselves out as navigators to bring ships to Shark Point so the crews can be eaten, the ships taken, and their cargos looted. The weresharks are well armed and organized.
3. The Phantom Castle
The Castle appears as a phantom, a ghostly apparition that moves from place to place. It is rumored that an army of ghosts and undead ride from it's spectral battlements to ends unknown. There are also stories that if the castle appears near a graveyard, the bodies of the unjustly murdered will rise up and enter the castle to some unknown purpose.
4. The Damned Mine
The miners delved too deep, and they released the seals of a long forgotten tomb city buried in the earth. The miners were possessed by evil alien ghosts that have spent eons in darkness. They have a small town, a village of the damned, where they live in a mockery of their old civilization. The possessed miners and villagers will abduct lonely travelers and small groups to take deep into the mine where the victims can be possessed by their ghostly brethern. The damned are hard to deal with as each victim can have dozens of ghosts possessing them. The ghostly race was once a subterranean insectoid hive society.
5. The Lair of the Swamp Shaman
In a rural area, none of the locals have any pets, such as dogs or cats. Horses are also all but unknown and the locals distrust any animals that arent specifically livestock that are brought into the area. Domesticated animals have a cumulative chance of turning on their owner/master and trying to kill them. There is a ogre shaman who has cursed the area so that the hounds and hawks, horses and animal servants of humans will turn and bite the hand that feeds them. The shaman did this because his spouse was pulled down and killed by the local lord's hunting dogs. The shaman is very powerful, but feels his vengeance has been wrought on the humans and no longer pursues the avenue of revenge. If pressed, the shaman can animate human and ogre zombies and skeletons to defend himself as well as rousing spirits of the swamp. The locals are terrified of the shaman.
6. The Palace of Time
This ornate and opulent palace is out of place, unkept and cluttered from years of neglect and abandonment. It has all the feel of an old haunted house, but it is not haunted. It has been cursed, but how is unknown. Time moves differently inside it's walls, and though a person might spend but a night inside, when he or she emerges, their body has aged by decades, and many have entered to succumb to old age and perish inside its walls. The rooms inside are cluttered with the legacies of the dead and the forgotten, as well as their leathery mummified corpses. Some whisper that even getting too close to the palace can age a man by a handful of years.
7. The Forbidden Mountain
The Forbidden Mountain is a fairly easy to access mountain, low with sloping sides and dense forests. Once the forests are entered, signs and markers are found, extolling the virtues of turning back and running away. The mountain is home to a moderate sized tribe/clan of primitive ape like humanoids. They are sneaky, well armed with primitive weapons and poisons and have excellent coordination and non-verbal communication. They ape like men are killers and cannibals, and the local lore of the Forbidden mountain abounds with stories of abduction, rape, murder, and cannibalism. The signs are quite honest and earnest, and there is no treasure to be found on the mountain.
8. Temple of the Brass Jester
The temple is located in a tumbled down ruin of an ancient city, one long since looted by professional adventurers. But a foe remains, the elusive Brass Jester. The jester is known to appear at the most inopportune times, playing jokes and pranks on travelers and adventurers. These pranks all have a lethal value to them, such as hiding the mouths of old wells, booby trapping passage ways and roads with deadfall traps, and the like. The Jester was once a golem tasked with entertaining the locals of the city, but when the city was destroyed in a magical conflict, the golem survived and went a bit mad. It now amuses itself by inflicting pain and harm on others. Its favorite jokes are those that cripple and maim for life, but dont kill.
9. Circus of Rage
This circus has a dark reputation to it, the stage acts sometimes go horribly wrong, people go missing who visit it, and some of the things that are for sale within boggle the mind and the law. But, then everyone just thinks this is the case, and that its hearsay and fearmongering by people who loathe carnies and gypsies. These rumors are all true, patrons are kidnapped and robbed, and kept captive as sideshow freaks, assistants in magic acts and the like. So when the knife thrower misses and knifes his assistant through the throat, well that happens. The Circus is run by a mix of ghost possessed murderers, demon blooded mortals, and practitioners of black sorcery.
10. The Grand Circus
Some circuses in the past once grew so large and profitable that their operations ceased being mobile and became settlements. The tents and pavillions were replaced with wood and stone structures styled after the old canvas and pole buildings. The Grand Circus was one such, and its proximity to an important city ensured its ruin in a magical cataclysm. But the Circus did not die. A lone figure stalks its crumbling ruins, a brightly colored caricature of a clown, with brightly colored hair and facepaint and comical shoes. But, the Ghost Clown of the Grand Circus is a monster of the old world. The clown is a powerful demonic entity that was trapped in a formerly mortal form. It cannot leave the boundaries of the Circus, and its both hungry, angry, and so very lonely. Won't someone come play with it?
11. The Castle Project
Castles represent a vast amount of time and resources in their construction. When a castle is no longer useful, they are seldom left to sit and crumble away to nothing. These unused castles are dismantled and the cut stone of their construction is recycled into new castles, towers, and walls. The castle in question was deemed no longer useful or needed and a generation after the death of the last blood noble owner, deconstruction of the castle began. Stone by stone it was being torn down when something horrible happened. The vaults inside the walls and towers held monsters that no one expected. The workers were torn apart in a matter of hours, and the soldiers present were hunted and slaughtered over the course of a week. The monsters in question were necromantic siege engines that when they were no longer needed, were sealed up inside the foundations of the castle. Few adventurers have ventured to the castle since it was cleaned out before deconstruction, and there is nothing at the site of transportable value. There are at least 7 necromantic monsters present.
12. The Tomb of the Forgotten Sorcerer
A vain and jealous sorcerer who lived centuries ago laid out the plans for his elaborate tomb. The tomb was to remain an inviolate fortress for both his magical research and corpse. The tomb itself was looted fairly quickly after it was completed and its occupant placed inside. But the rage of the sorcerers ghost remained. The Ghost stalks often miles away from the tomb, looking for the people that robbed it, and violated its final resting place. The Ghost still uses some magics, such as casting illusions to distract and divide groups of people, fear magics to cause horses and servants/minions to flee, and it has both a normal life draining ghost attack as well as a specific attack that causes petrification. The land around the tomb can be noticed by the number of stone statues of people with their faces frozen in terror.
13. The Valley of the Damned Lovers
How it happened no one is sure, it happened decades, perhaps centuries ago. A pair of magic users of widely different faiths and creeds fell in love with each other. They eventually turned from love to war with each other. The wizard was slain, but maintained a terminal existence as a sentient zombie, perpetually decomposing and falling apart. The witch was driven completely mad and into a spectral half existence. The two still circle each other, alternating between flirting romance and horrific exchanges of magic. The main thing they use in their conflicts are waves of conventional zombies, of which both have a constant need for more bodies. Both have sent scouts and bodysnatchers beyond the valley to steal fresh corpses, the sick and infirm, and anyone foolish enough to get caught by the zombie scouts.
14. Bloodbeard's Cove
This secluded coastal cove is an easily overlooked but inviting place for a ship to put in for the night. The cove is however permanently occupied. There are a number of pirate ships, and a small pirate town in the cove. The leader of the cove is a giant of a man, Bloodbeard. But he is not the real power behind the cove, just the human liaison. The real master of the cove is a massive squid like horror that lives in a cave under the cove. The creature has mind controlled a number of men, and in exchange for the bounty of the cove, it demands regular homage in the form of human sacrifice and certain treasures.
The place seems innocent enough, an empty village, a few broken down pastures, and orchards left to grow wild. At night things change, as the villagers rise from their hiding places. Each has been horrifically mutated, their flesh withered and rotting in appearance. They look like zombies, but a few retain scraps of their minds. For every dozen or so normal villager zombies there is a glowing zombie villager. These function as leader types, and as long as they remain close to the other zombies, the lesser undead gain rapid regeneration. There is no rhyme or reason to who is a glowing zombie and who is regular. The most commonly seen glowing undead is a small girl. The glowing undead can heal each other as well, and they all retain their human level intelligence, if they have none of the old human capacity for compassion or mercy.
16. Chainwake Plantation
The plantation was once a vital and thriving heart of a noble's country holdings, producing a great deal of valuable cash crops and high end goods such as wine. Things changed as it came to light that the noble ran his plantation with the most brutal sort of slave labor. Prisoner and criminals could expect long hours of hard labor, physical abuse, and little food and water, and to die likely in a field. Some of the bodies were manually broken up and used to fertilize the crops, others were taken and sacrificed to a small local fertility god. The rage of the slain could only take so much before they rose up and attacked. The lord was murdered by the corpse of a man he had just slain, while his henchmen and overseers were torn apart. The mangled corpses were all found choked and savagely beaten with chains. After the sun goes down, the sound of chains can be heard out in the overgrown fields. Interlopers can expect to be attacked by spectres of criminals armed with heavy iron chains and farming impliments. Any evil aligned character, or active criminal character will not be harassed by the undead. Clerics attempting to turn these undead finds them more resilient than such undead should be, their rage at their inhumane treatment weakens the power of good clerics.
17. The Old Lumber Mill
The mill years ago produced a great deal of lumber from the old heart of the forest. Wagoneers and teamsters drug heavy trees from deep in the forest to the mill, where the valuable ancient wood was used for everything from luxury furniture, to fuel for charcoal production. The forest didnt take this intrusion lightly, and it wasnt long before the woodcutters were attacked and went missing. The survivors claimed the forest came alive like a devil. The spirit of the forest manifested a large number of vaguely humanoid monsters with shaggy green hair. The ape like creatures attacked with heavy wood like fists and a vicious bite. Being at one with the forest, the beings can pass without trace, are near completely silent, and can ambush with incredible ease. The old mill has since become a den for the creatures, who remain. Anyone coming close to the mill is first stalked and then attacked via ambush by the creatures. They will not harm those who are forest minded such as druids or rangers, or who are only passing through on a forest road.
18. Hide Hill
Hide Hill is a small village not far off the main trade road. It is known for being full of thieves and cutpurses. While this is certainly true of Hide Hill and many other small trade route villagers, Hide Hill has another secret. The majority of the residents have some degree of ogre blood in them. Those who are regularly seen are some of the ugliest people to be seen, with lumpy mishappen noses and profuse warts. But they are all human sized, there are many who are poorly shaped with bent spines and gangly arms and many are half again as large as a man should be. The muggers and cutpurses in Hide Hill are these half ogres, who use cudgel like fists to loot travelers and merchants.
19. Temple of Masks
The Temple of Masks is a place of worship to the Goddess of Lies. Inside the temple, which is easy to accidently stumble into, visitors can find a number of ritual masks hanging on the walls. These masks are caricatures of the characters, or people the characters deal with on a regular basis. There is no trick, nothing like the honest people have dishonest faces, or liars and displayed prominently. The longer the PCs dabble in the presence of the Goddess of Lies, the more they begin to distrust each other, and even themselves. The Goddess laughs every time a friend turns on another.
20. The Realm of the Ice-Men
The northern reaches are seldom friendly or inviting, but the realm of the Ice-Men is far more intimidating. The land is cold and hard, and the 'men' there are strange creations of ice and stone, frozen flesh and tattered animal hide. The Ice-Men are damned creatures that exist for no other purpose than to haunt the living, kill, and to loathe their own existences. They can hide easily in the snow, cannot be blinded by even the densest blizzard. Some think that the Ice-Men are the remnants of a great city that was overtaken by a sudden brutal winter and survived by cursing the gods and turning to cannibalism, eating the plump priests and clerics first. The moan with the pain of their unending existences.
21. The Keeps
The Keeps was once a fertile farming vale, but it is nearly abandoned now. The barns and silos for grain and cattle are now homes to strange humanoid creatures. Dubbed the 'Keepers' these double sized humans wander about the vale, seemingly lost and confused. If confronted, the 'Keepers' are terrible foes, fighting with heavy fists and a disheartening bellow. They are also supernaturally immune to damage, shrugging off all but the most powerful weapons and weapon strikes. They have resumed farming in the vale, but in a poor, haphazard fashion.
22. Hell's Guillotine
This was once a frontier fort, a place for traders and natives to mingle. Times changed and trade turned to growing violence. Eventually there was a bloody battle at the fort. Rather than being between humans and the orc natives, it was a violent religious sect that took over the fort and systematically executed the garrison and non members of their sect. The zealots were eventually allowed to escape, and would go on to found their own small religious minded enclave. The ghosts of the fort remain, wandering, lost and looking for their heads. The ghosts are seldom violent, unless they are confronted by a member of the religious sect that massacred them. For an additional twist, the faith of the PCs was founded centuries ago by the zealots who caused the massacre and their enclave became the heart of the current standing faith.
23. The Valley of the Primitive God
The gods of olden times were beings of wood and stone. The Primitive God remains, its face a huge wooden mask and its body composed of massive timbers and boulders. The Primitive God doesnt leave its broad valley, where a small population lives in its thrall. The God can fight, enjoying wading into combat with maul like fists capable of smashing a man on horseback or crushed a wagon with a two handed strike. The Primitive God demands sacrifice, and is largely immune to low and middle level magics and cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons. It regenerates rapidly. The PCs will have to appease the local priest of the god, or make sacrifice to the god themselves. The goad favors young girls or virtuous young men.
24. The Wolfhead Heath
The Heathlands are known for mists, rocky outcrops, and sheep. The Wolfhead Heath is a broad expanse of rocky terrain pock mocked with deep fissures and ravines that lead down into large limestone caverns. These are dens to a group of wolfweres, werewolves born of wolf stock. These canny predators have created a Kingdom of the Wolf in the high heaths, stalking and hunting humans and their flocks that wander too close. A few have taken the time to learn the common tongue, and few have learned how to use ranged weapons like bows and arrows. In typical pack fashion, a pair of human archers will distract the party to be attacked, while the rest of the pack circles and attacks in their hybrid and dire wolf forms with teeth and claws. The first round is used to inflict injuries, cripple pack animals, and steal livestock if present.
25. The Basalt Tower
A half finished tower sitting in the middle of a major city, the Basalt Tower is the final gesture of the tyrannical overlord before he was defeated. The tower is a focal point for negative energy, both in terms of geomancy, and in the general ill will of the people. Attempts to dismantle the tower have met with grisly ends, with people involved killed in accidents with falling stones, and the men behind the plans showing up dead, in their own beds. While everyone else is whispering ghosts and curses, the Tower is now home to a ruthless band of assassins and thieves who use its mystique to hide themselves. The guildmaster of the thieves is slowly rising in prominence and he is planning on making the demolition of the tower and its replacement (with a proper thieves den) as his keystone claim to power over the entire city.
26. The Shattered Ziggurat
Sitting in forgotten splendor, a ziggurat is slowly crumbling. It is the sort of place that heroes would love to delve into with hidden passage ways, traps, and untold treasures to be found. The Ziggurat is not undefended however. The mummies of several orcish shamen defend the place, commanding a small army of stylized orcish warriors carved of stone and armed with large well crafted stone axes and swords. Each defender functions as a large earth elemental, and the shamen are competent magi, using a variety of magics, ranging from necromancy to elemental based attacks. The shamen are well aware of what occurs in the lands around them, and are seldom taken by surprise.
27. The Dragon Swamp
These swamps are avoided at all costs by all but the most foolhardy locals. They talk about dragons dwelling in the depths of the swamp, large enough to take a horse in a single bite. There are also rumors of deranged swampfolk also living in the swamps, serving the dragons. The truth is more simple, there are dire crocodiles living in the swamps, easily two to three times the size of conventional crocs. The so called swamp folk are an amalgamation of a small number of swamp druids and a locally used insult. Unsavory folk are referred to as swamp dwellers, or the like. The crocodiles are territorial, and have no compunction about eating humans, horses, orcs, etc.
28. The Ghostflame Tower
A pillar of stone standing in the desert is the site of a strange phenomenon. At night, fire and lightning dance around the top of the stone spire, taking humanoid shapes, like the gods and the devils dancing some macabre dance. There are merchants who claim to have been chased by phantoms of light and fire, only barely escaping. The denizens of Ghostflame Tower are storm elementals who feed on the rich natural energy that wells up from the top of the stone spire. If they notice travelers that attract their attention (IE anyone with magical relics and items they can consume) they will dance around the would be victims, draining the items of magical power, and sapping magi of power. Mundane folk have their willpower sapped, and animals panic and flee.
29. The Domain of the Dread Bull
Cattle country is cattle country, often scarecly populated, and a haven for bandits and smugglers and thieves. Such is the scorched expanse of the Dread Bull. The origins of the Dread Bull is unknown, but the beast appears as a massive bull, wreathed in flames with flakes of scorched bone and metal slag flaking off of its body. It is accompanied by a number of similar composed fire kine. Intruders into the domain of the Dread Bull run the risk of being attacked, gored with a smoldering hot horn, or crushed beneath a firey stampede. Such is the fury of the Dread Bull and its burning herd that a stone walled fortress (not a deep foundationed castle) would be rattled to pieces and crushed to dust by their rage.
30. The Island Keep of Skulls
The Island sits in a mist shrouded lake, only reachable by a small piloted boat. The keep on the island has a macabre skull motif, with the entire main gate made to resemble a massive skull. Given the remoteness of the island and its small size, there is little threat of siege or war reaching the more artistic than functional keep. The inhabitants of the island keep are long since gone, but their legacy remains. Once the citadel of a clan of vampires, the Island Keep, was eventually cleansed of vampires when one of the younger members of the clan turned and executed the others before offering herself to the sun. The Keep is now haunted by the weak sad ghosts of mortals drained of the will to live before their lives were ended, and more dangerously, the hundreds and thousands of vampire bats that roost in the structure. Visitors to the island can expect to see ghosts of the harmless sort as well as being attacked by swarms of virulent rats and vampire bats.
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? Responses (7)-7
I like 1, 2, 5, 6, 13, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25, & 27. Of those, I like 1, 13, & 25 best. Well done, each location, once understood is basically 'conquered', it's just getting there that is tricky and fun. Will use.
I think 1 and 2 are the most orginal, but they are all worth roleplaying in.
A wealth of adventure ideas here - most should be fleshed out into full subs!
I like those locations, even if some seem to follow the same template somewhat. In particular, the valley of the doomed lovers would be something that I'd love both to roleplay and to GM.
I like how you've tied a lot of these location to their surroundings too, explaining how the locals interact and live around them.
So useful. So many ideas to pilfer here.
A high quality 30 as they go.