The Ten Mile Tower – Ground Level

A while back, I posted about The Ten Mile Tower, a magical location of my own creation.I recently finished the adventure and it seemed to go over very well with my gaming group, so I thought I’d share it here… in an exciting 11 PART SERIES!!!

Feel free to steal these ideas wholesale or modify them as desired. The intent was to make this awesome location filled with a bunch of crazy but plausible encounters the players had to get through in the span of 24 hours of in game time (several sessions of real time).

Ground Level

The general idea is that at each mile, the players would have a special encounter that they couldn’t really avoid, which generally consisted of a cool combat. But it seemed kind of lame to force a combat right as they walked into the tower, so instead I opened the adventure with a riddle from Marsiah herself, the mage who lives at the top of the tower and oversees all that goes on within its walls.

In order for anyone to even enter the doors of the tower, they needed to answer the riddle:

“How tall is the ten mile tower?”

It’s one of the metaphysical riddles, see, that can be answered any way the players desire. If Marsiah (me) is pleased with their answer, the player gets a boon for the rest of their time in the tower. If she is displeased they get a curse.

Literal answers are acceptable, but they only work once per group! So the first player to answer “10 miles tall” gets a pass, but all other players have to be a bit more creative.

Sample answers that are probably acceptable are below:

  1. The ten mile tower is shorter than my ambition but taller than my conscience.
  2. The ten mile tower is but a child’s sand castle compared to the wisdom and knowledge of Ioun.
  3. It is surpassed only by Vecna (my enemy in all things) and his unholy thirst for knowledge!

In my campaign, the players goaded an NPC they had been traveling with up to the doors first, and he gave the typical boring answer. He was let in with a boon. The next player tried the same trick and was cursed! All the other players gave fun and creative answers and got boons.

The player whose answer I liked the most was mystically given a special artifact: A key that could be used to enter The Ten Mile Tower at ANY TIME. This a big deal since normally you can only enter the tower once and then you have 24 hours to leave or you will be stuck in the tower forever!

Players with a boon got the following effect while in the tower: On a natural roll of 20 on a d20 (no matter the circumstances), you may trigger a healing surge to regain hit points as a free action.

Players with a curse got the following effect: On a natural roll of 1 on a d20, you are stunned until the end of your next turn!

As for what was on the ground floor

I liked the idea that the tower would become more dangerous as you go up, the idea being that everyone is kind of drawn to the power at the top of the tower. Plus, it’s kind of a status thing to be as close to the top as possible, right?

With that in mind, what would be the lowest most pathetic creature I could put at the bottom?

The answer was obvious: bullywugs! These vile creature are reviled by nature itself, and at least a few of the players had encountered them in previous campaigns.

I should note that my players were 11th level when they entered the tower. There isn’t a bullywug I know of beyond 3rd level. I didn’t even ask the players to roll any dice. I just let them describe how they massacred the horrible bullywugs down to the last tadpole! It was a big power trip for the players and also gave them a delightful sense of progress since even if they died the first mile up, at least they killed a whole tribe of bullywugs in the process.

6 Responses to “The Ten Mile Tower – Ground Level”

  1. Paul says:

    Did the key let the whole party enter and leave the tower, or just the one player?

    I like that boon on a natural 20. It’s well designed so that it is only useful in combat, so you can’t abuse it by jumping 20 times or something. I guess it is more useful for guys with area attacks though.

    I wonder what part 11 of the 11 part series will be???? UNLISTED BONUS TRACK?

  2. Rory rory says:

    The key only let’s whoever is wielding it enter of leave the tower. It can be given away, however.

    Not to ruin the surprise, but the 11th part will be the top of the tower since I started with the ground floor and the next entry will be Mile 1.

  3. Baf says:

    For Marsiah’s riddle, I think I would have answered “9457 smoots”. At least, I would if I had access to Wolfram Alpha at the time.

    If I were running the campaign, I think I’d accept this answer even if there had already been a literal answer — to me, it falls into a separate category, that of literal answers with weird units. But I’d only accept one answer from that category as well.

  4. Rory Madden says:

    I think I’d allow it as well, but I would require the player to come up with an in game explanation for how the “smoot” unit of measurement came to be in my d&d world (then I’d give it a page on my campaign world wiki!

  5. Claire Claire says:

    I was really excited a couple of weeks ago because a crossword puzzle clue was “Cambridge units” and I was sure it was “smoots.” But it turned out to be “metres” or something. Different Cambridge! and in this example, different number of letters, which might have been the case in the puzzle–I think I heard the clue before I saw the boxes.

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