Tag Archives: fort

Fort Narin

Fort Narin

Fort Narin

This small fort was built a few miles from the town of Narin in order to help protect the road from bandits. It was built at the top of a sheer-sided hill that overlooked the farmlands. After a brief conflict with hobgoblins a century past, the fort had been destroyed by fire. The people of Narin was disorganized, focused on their own defence, and weren’t able to properly reclaim the countryside again for another decade. By then, plans for rebuilding the fort were too expensive and dangerous to undertake.

Having fallen into ruin, only the basement is in reasonable condition. The armory is to the left of the anteroom, but is protected by a heavy steel portcullis. To the right is the brig where captured bandits were often kept until they could be tried in town. Otherwise, there is a small mortuary, a shrine to a minor god, a training room, and a newer hidden chamber that is used, perhaps, by an exiled mage who wants a bit of privacy.

This was the first dungeon I ran with a new group of players a few years ago and one the first maps I’d drawn with a pen. You might notice some corrections I made to the map to clean it up; my lines weren’t as straight as I’d like back then. The dungeon mostly contained animals; the breaks in two of the rooms indicate animal tunnels through the wall.

“The thief and the barbarian had heard there was treasure hidden away by the fort’s commander and were hoping to ‘liberate’ it. The thief noticed that a hole had been dug into the wall of the corridor adjacent to this room, so they entered cautiously. A warning hiss met their advance; a troupe of badgers had made a nest at the back of the room. The barbarian noticed the treasure chest behind the badgers and said, ‘Well, we’re in for a long fight…’”

Rynth Flat-Dagger’s Hideout

Trapper's Fort

Trapper’s Fort

The main feature of this map is the extensive set of linked trap doors at the front entrance. When meddlesome adventurers come breaking down the door, they’ll find themselves dropped into a steel cage below. Once inside, the first two options for exploration offer the same fate. At the rear is a hidden exit, a supply cache, and a path down the cliffside behind the hideout.

“We had a good lead that Flat-Dagger was holded up at his manse overlooking the beaches. They told us he was paranoid… and rich too. The comically large ‘welcome mat’ was obvious and easily sidestepped. In hindsight, the two iron golems that charged towards us as soon as we opened the door must have been illusions; even he couldn’t afford the expense. Still, we ran down the first exit we saw and slid face-first down into a cage. The guard’s laughter shamed us… I hope someone pays our ransom soon…”

Fort Blackcove and the Forgotten Chambers – Part 1

Fort Blackcove

Fort Blackcove

The fort has been built into the side of a large rocky hill next to a salty sea and protected the nearby fishing village of Wainsgreen when both were still occupied by loyal subjects. Now the fort’s been restored and occupied by an organized and hostile force (perhaps hobgoblins or an outlaw militia) who know how to make the best of the arrow slits and murderholes at the front entrance.

There are several rumors that can be heard in some of the nearest villages:

  • Fort Blackcove has a secret back entrance.
  • Fort Blackcove once had a secret prison where prisoners the Lord despised could never see the light of day.
  • Naga once lived in the sea and built a hidden outpost that is now Fort Blackcove, though the old construction had been torn down.
  • During low-tide, an elderly, drunk fisherman who’d risked approaching the Fort was nearly sucked into a tunnel behind the hill.

The fort’s entrance features two 30’ tall square archer towers and several arrow slits above the reinforced door. In the hall on the other side are several murderholes for those same archers to pour boiling oil or crossbow bolts. Troops in the next room can try to keep invaders in the line of fire or trap them behind a portcullis.

The central chamber has a tall 40’ dome with a badly faded fresco of writhing serpents. The door to the north leads to the towers, the guardrooms, and a small jail. The door to the south leads to a small temple and library. The doors to the east lead to the lord’s chambers and other bedrooms, kitchens, and storage rooms.

One disused storage room, damp and moldy, has a secret door that opens into a cave of dark, still water. Flat stepping stones go across the water to a natural tunnel. From the other side, the secret door can be opened with a lever. The tunnel leads into a winding tunnel that leads to the Forgotten Chambers. (which will be posted next week)

“Your party seems to have found the old lord’s library, though you don’t expect to find much of interest here. Bookshelves line the sides of raised platforms upon which are chairs, desks, and more shelves. Most of them, however, have been smashed and their contents strewn on the floor. Most appear to be about military history and volumes on tactics. The lord’s interest in combat is further evidenced by several torn coat of arms hanging from the walls between shelves, though the crossed swords one would normally expect are missing. Your clever Thief remarks that a path through the fallen books has been cleared, so the room is almost certainly patrolled. Hopefully you can find the fort’s commander (and kill him) before being detected.”

Solgir’s Holdfast

Solgir's Holdfast

Solgir’s Holdfast

“As you approach the stone-built holdfast, you notice the banner of Solgir, a red hand atop a golden sunburst on a field of black, flying from atop the gate and atop the peaked roof of the Lord’s Hall. Thick black smoke rises from the courtyard and about a dozen bodies, all Lakefolk soldiers, hang from the guard towers and above the gate. As you get closer, dark eyes and sharp arrows glint from the many arrow slits.”

This small holdfast would be most likely found along a major road with the intention of providing a presence in the immediate area and a home for the minor noble charged with protecting the countryside.

There are six squat guard towers and a well-guarded gate equipped with murderholes. Inside the main structure are various barracks, kitchen, storage, bedrooms, and a moderate feasting hall where the Lord of the Holdfast can hold audience. A small staircase just next to the feasting hall goes down to a small dungeon, though it’s not included here.

Side note: I didn’t notice that I drew the arrow slits backwards (and there a lot of them), so I fixed them after the fact. I hope it’s not too obvious.

The Drowned Fort – Level 2

The Drowned Fort Level 2

The Drowned Fort Level 2

So this the prison level of Harstaag Fort. There are cells, both barred and with optional iron doors, interrogation rooms, isolation cells, and guard-rooms.

However, since the fort was abandoned, salt water broke through the wall in the south west room and began to eat away at the floor. Following the path of least resistance, the water found a way down through a sinkhole it widened underneath the balcony. However, that whole lower level is completely flooded and the current in the deeper sections are strong.

It’s on this level that the corrupted elementals have made their home. One of the most fearsome creatures found here is the rare Salt-water Shambling Mound.

The Drowned Fort – Level 1

The Drowned Fort Level 1

The Drowned Fort Level 1

Also known as Harstaag Fort, after its builder, Warmage Harstaag. The Fort was built on the shores of a salt lake with the intention of mining the salt and funding his research into elementals. He and his men were cruel and brutal, however, and they enslaved a nearby village under the auspices of security and prosperity. He imprisoned and tortured anyone who dissented against him… or if he needed a test-subject or as part of a dark ritual.

Controlling them was simple enough, too, since water had to be brought in from a spring miles away. He kept them thirsty and hungry. Just strong enough to work, but not enough to rebel.

Little is known about the specifics of how Harstaag was killed. Some say that Clerics of Endroma, who despise tyrants, arrived and could summon fresh water at will. When the people were strong enough, the lead the people in a violent revolt, killing the Warmage and his guards and releasing those wrongfully imprisoned. Others speak of ever greater elemental summonings: spirits of water, stone and air infused with death and malice until they were foul reflections of their former purity. Perhaps one such summoned elemental got away from him and began causing havoc in the Fort. Taking advantage of the chaos, the people revolted, though many in the dungeons had to be left behind lest they accidentally release an elemental horror.

Either way, the fort was and the dungeons beneath were left in ruin. Since the area is so inhospitable and the rumours of dark magic persisted, no one wholesome has been willing to return to the Fort and explore the secrets of its fate.

Level 1 of the dungeons below the Fort is where most of the guards and mercenaries were housed and where they trained. There are many interlocking loops of rooms and corridors that give both the PCs, not to mention any organized foe, room to manoeuvre and flank.

A small chapel or shower-room leads to stairs to Level 2 and the cells. Coming up, I converted a few of the evil and undead elementals from the Libris Mortis and Complete Arcane book to Labyrinth Lord for this dungeon, so I’ll start posting them after Level 2 next week. Enjoy!