So I’ve been working on an awesome adventure to kick off my new D&D game. The characters are all starting at 11th level, so that calls for something beyond “slay your first orc”, I should think.
The basic idea I have is as follows:
1. The characters receive a mysterious letter from a powerful mage beckoning them to The Ten Mile Tower. She promises to reward them with a powerful artifact if they meet her at the pinnacle of the tower but provides no other details.
2. The Ten Mile tower literally spans 10 miles into the air. It is said that from the top you can see half way around the world and touch the stars.
3. There is a legend about The Ten Mile Tower – that anyone entering its doors must leave the tower within 1 day or the doors will remain closed to them forever, trapping them inside the tower for the rest of their life. I may extend this to mean that the door locks within a day regardless of whether the person is in or outside the tower, meaning anyone may only visit the tower ONCE, but I haven’t made up my mind yet.
4. Different creatures roam the various levels (and there are thousands of levels!). Some of them fled the cruelty of the mortal world, seeking safety within the tower. Others entered the tower for various reasons (treasure, chasing pray, curiosity), stayed too long, and became trapped, unable to leave!
5. There are many stairwells up the various levels. However, at every mile up, there is only one passage up to the next level. It is usually guarded by a powerful monster who rules over the levels under it and decides whether travelers can pass to the next level.
I like this format as it provides a fun format for encounters, with different wacky fights, skill challenges, or social encounters every mile for 11 encounters in all, if you count the ground floor. I’ve got some pretty awesome encounters planned, and it was fun not to feel limited by having to use a lot of the same monsters. I figure that any number of creatures could have ended up inside the tower for various reasons and have settled into various levels of the tower.
Also, it limits the players to one extended rest! I sometimes find myself in weird situations when players take an extended rest that I didn’t anticipate. Should I have the remaining monsters just walk away, attack, stay where they are even though that might be weird and certainly makes the encounters much easier from a meta game perspective? So this is a fun contained way to deal with that.
I was planning on springing this adventure on the 1st session, but we got a late start due to the final legs of character creation. Once we did get started, I realized that The Ten Mile Tower was located like 1000 miles away on the map! Thus began an exciting travel sequence where the characters role-played and followed after some of their goals during their 3-4 week journey! But they seem pretty interested in The Ten Mile Tower, and have already started poking around for information, so that’s a good sign:
1. One of the characters found a book that details various levels of The Ten Mile Tower. Only problem is it was scribbled by a madman, so who knows what is true and what isn’t?! She has been able to gleam, however, that there appears to be a well in the center of the tower that goes straight down to the bottom, which could be useful when beating a hasty retreat, especially with the aid of feather fall or another spell.
2. The party spoke to a learned mage who rules a small city near the tower. He wasn’t able to provide much information about the workings of the tower, having never been inside, but he has heard that there is a key inside the tower that will open its doors at any time. He offered the players a substantial reward if they will recover the key for him.
3. One of the players did very well on a history check and recalled that the mysterious mage’s name is Marsiah and that she was formally the royal adviser for the court of Nerath in its darker years, but fled about a hundred years before it fell to corruption and conquest. She was known as a powerful mage possessed of a strong curiosity and a certain eccentric playfulness, but wasn’t known as being particularly cruel or noble.
So the stage is set as it were, and it just falls to roll the dice as see where they land! Yippee.
Stay tuned to see specific encounters I have planned and reports of how the players reacted to them!