Monday, 1 June 2020
PREVIEW: The Grottoes of the Fallen Feyarchy (1st Edition Adventure for 1st-12th Levels)
What are the Grottoes of the Fallen Feyarchy? They are ten sea grottoes (including two underwater) arranged on a 20-mile sweep of a subtropical coast. A great city was built here – the capital of an empire ruled by an alliance of High and Aquatic Elves. That empire, and the city, fell. Eight of the Grottoes – the “urban centre” – were sealed off by a magical glamour that protected them from both sight and access from the outside world. Though in significant ruin, these Grottoes still largely retain the old structures of the Feyarchy. They are also still inhabited by some of the sentient peoples of the Old Feyarchy, as well as newer – more dangerous – incomers. The remaining two, the pleasant rural hinterland, were settled by other sentient beings over time, with nearly all trace of the Feyarchy covered by the sands and swamps.
But now, the Glamour has begun to fall, and the Grottoes are open to exploration and exploitation.
At a basic level, this is a location-based campaign. Players decide where to go and what to do, with curiosity about a fallen world and a desire for treasures typical motivators. However, there are a variety of subthemes which players can take or leave: many marvellous devices of the old Feyarchy are reparable if enough time and thought is put into them; there are still several Good or Neutral sentient tribes in the Grottoes, who are in grave need of help; there is the mystery of the Feyarchy’s fall to discover hints about; there are timeline-based events which represent the influx of adventurers and other effects of the Fallen Glamour; and there are dark machinations on the part of an Aboleth to combat (or aid).
I’ll be releasing the first three Grottoes in the next week or so, along with some of the campaign-framing material. These aren’t playtested – they’re raw materials for my own upcoming campaign. However, other eyes are much appreciated, and I think they are mostly usable as they are. Do get in touch with any feedback.
The Grottoes are:
v Grotto I (1st Level, Base): Coconut Beach. No Glamour. A Human settlement of voyagers from across the seas. Over the course of the campaign, their relatively stable life will be upset by an influx of adventurers from the North, as well as dangers from the newly revealed Grottoes. This is a fully detailed settlement, including timeline mechanics for the Grottoes Goldrush. There are also several micro-adventure locations, and one small mid-level locale hidden in plain sight – the Torus Embassy (5th-7th Levels), the planar embassy where the Feyarchs met with their Marid allies.
v Grotto II (1st-5th Levels): The Mangrove Swamp. No Glamour. A wilderness crawl with several locales. The most significant of these is the “nearby low-level dungeon” – the Lair of the Mangrove Bandits, a tree village of Tasloi who annoy the nearby Humans, their own swampy neighbours, and coastal traffic. There are also settlements of Muckdwellers (who worship a comatose Kuo-Toa) and Grippli, a thoroughly awful grove with great treasure but also a Hangman Tree, a Pilfer Vine, and kamadan, and a Monk’s Cell with an annoying threefold lock which houses the last sane Feyarch.
v Grotto III (2nd-4th Levels): The Flooded Gates. Fallen Glamour. A 28-room dungeon over three levels. The upper two levels are inhabited by a Sea Hag (who you can kill or seduce) and her Troglodyte lackeys, the lower levels by Lacedons, an Olive Slime and its offspring, and a Giant Crocodile. The Gate mechanism can be repaired, and the magical artillery in bunkers above turned to use.
v Grotto IV (2nd-5th Levels): The Crystal Dock of Teril-Cora. Glamour Operational. Accessible from the Flooded Gates. There are ruined harbour buildings and a marina here for overland exploration, as well as some underwater locations beyond. There are a Sirine and a band of Selkies here, amongst other things.
v Grotto V (3rd-5th Levels): The Cerulean Beach and Bay. Glamour Operational. The Triton warrior and entertainer castes of the Feyarchy still dwell here in the semi-ruined suburbs that bridge sea and land. There’s a patchwork Waterworld feel to their settlement. The centrepiece dungeon here is an abandoned monastery somehow implicated in the fall of the Feyarchy.
v Grotto VI (4th-6th Levels): The Rose Reef of Old Kaizun. Glamour Operational. This coral reef is the home of the Aquatic Elves, now xenophobic and increasingly desperate, as their reef slowly bleaches and the local fauna mutate or die off from magical pollutants. They cannot reach the source of the pollution because of the powerful colony of Ixitxachitl beneath the Reef.
v Grotto VII (5th-9th Levels): The Towers of the High Feyarchs. Glamour Operational. The Eightfold Plaza with the eight great towers of the High Feyarchs now stands in ruins, with only two of the towers fully intact, and one intact but leaning precariously. A maddened Feyarch controls the Grand Library of the Gossamer Sages, locked behind powerful magics and with many servitors. A Marid (the Shah of Cracking Ice) is trapped in the dysfunctioning Planar Concourse, and will be firm friends with any who free him.
v Grotto VIII (5th-8th Levels): The Deep Farms. Glamour Fallen. The Locathah farmer caste of the Feyarchy still dwell out here, though with only partial control of the dysfunctional genetic labs and food-production facilities that fed the whole Grottoes. Since the Glamour has fallen, they have been raided by Sahuagin from further out in the ocean.
v Grotto IX (7th-10th Levels): The Labyrinth of Ink. Glamour Fallen. The old catacombs of the Feyarchy are uneasy, with a Morkoth having drawn Aquatic Ogres under his sway. A Lawful Good Mummy seeks to protect the sanctity of the Catacombs, lest the ancient dead should rise and swarm the surface. At the concealed clifftop entrance to the Labyrinth is the locked Temple of Purity – still inhabited by the Unicorn Priest and Priestess of the old Feyarchy, and their daughter.
v Grotto X (9th-12th Levels): The Dark Mere. The ancient magical forge of the Feyarchy was built on to this sunless lake. An Aboleth from Beneath now rules a small kingdom here which threatens the rest of the Grottoes and, indeed, beyond. The only resistance here to its reign is, of all things, those Troglodytes who did not join with the Sea Hag (Grotto II).
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