Campaign Components: 6 Legendary Lost Dungeons Ready for Your Campaign

Legendary, lost dungeons and cities are the very stuff of fantasy adventure. In such places are great deeds wrought and glittering treasures wrested from the foul clutches of ancient evils.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

 

A campaign world can never have enough legendary, lost locations, in my opinion. Such locales add depth and detail to the GM’s world. They breathe life into the cultures lost to history’s remorseless passage and provide a backdrop for exciting adventures.

Even if the PCs never visit the locations in question, they will likely know of their legends through bards’ songs, whispers in the taproom and the boasts of rival adventurers claiming to have visited such places.

However, designing such locations saps a GM’s time. After all, he needs more than a cool dungeon name. The players are bound to ask this and that, and generally tax a GM’s spontaneous design skills to the limit. Thus, here are six legendary lost dungeons ready for immediate use in your campaign. Adapt them as you see fit, so they fit seamlessly with that which you have already created.

  1. Mountain of the Shadow Flame: Wreathed in smoke from the fires burning deep inside the mountain, the cavernous entrance to the caverns honeycombing the mountain are hidden in the depths of a jagged rift. Within the dungeon, all manner of fire-loving creatures are said to dwell far from the cold and light of the surface world. Within the complex, the fabric of reality is stretched dangerously thin. Here portals to the Plane of Fire and the Shadow Plane stand mere yards from one another bleeding their essence into the world. Powerful wizards use the resultant conglomeration of raw planar essence to craft powerful magical items.
  2. Frozen Halls of Mor Dothal: Far to the north lies the snow-buried, frigid Frozen Halls of Mor Dothal. Once the home of isolationist dwarves given to strange, aberrant practises the Frozen Halls of Mor Dothal fell under the control of the fell elder white wyrm Calaunmirr long ago. Perched atop one of the highest peaks in a mighty range of snow-drenched mountains, Mor Dothal was a place of fabulous architectural and technological marvels until its fall. Bards whisper the dwarves secrets yet lie among their frozen, cracked bones and that Calaunmiir has long since died. No matter the veracity of these reports, none have returned with proof of having visited Mor Dothal.
  3. The Drowned Cavern City of Akor: Long ago, an ancient people raised their remote city-home in a huge sheltered cave hard against the raging waters of the ocean. They dwelled in their home for many centuries until a monstrous wave struck the coast inundating the cave city and drowning all those within who did not immediately flee. The few survivors of the disaster scattered across the world and now none remember the location of the legendary drowned city.
  4. Barrow of the Sundered Idol: Centuries ago, the orcs of the Sundered Idol rose from obscurity to obliterate their neighbours and enemies in a savage tide of slaughter, blood and flame. The tribe’s shaman carried before their warriors idols of a squat, horribly bloated creature that spat fire and acid. Captured orcs babbled of a hidden barrow buried deep in the hills. Within stood an idol rent almost in twain of ancient, unknowable design possessed of a great, malign intelligence and terrible powers. Although the Orcs of the Sundered Idol were eventually crushed this hidden barrow was never discovered. Sagacious men wonder at the idol’s identity and worry it lurks yet awaiting new pawns to hurl at the world.
  5. Devil Shrine of Maluagh: An exceedingly vain and power-hungry man, the high priest Maluagh once stood high in the councils of the land. Unknown to all, he forged secret, terrible pacts with the devils of the Nine Hells and gathered about him a fanatical cult of grim, fell purpose. One night, Maluagh disappeared abruptly from the kingdom and was never seen again. Papers found in his demesne spoke of his abhorrent practises and of a secret devil shrine holding the keys to an unfathomable power of evil. Agents of the king have long sought the shrine, but with no apparent success.
  6. Abbey of the Watchers Eternal: Said to stand in a place between worlds, the Abbey of the Watchers Eternal is the last redoubt of an ancient people obsessed with gathering all the knowledge of the cosmos. Said to be all but immortal these beings have harnessed time itself and are even older than the races of elves and dragons. The abbey’s library is vast and holds the knowledge of forgotten eons.

Submit Your Own Legendary Lost Dungeon

Why not add to the list above by posting your own legendary lost dungeon in the comments below and help your fellow GMs add unique, flavoursome locations to their campaign today!

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Campaign Components: 6 Legendary Lost Dungeons Ready for Your Campaign

  1. The Keep of Shadows

    Located in a deep mountain valley, it has been said that this dungeon was constructed as a prison t contain the soul of a Red Dragon name Ozymandias.
    The dragon was banished into exile to and dimensional rift by a legendary wizard, never to return to the Material Plane for fear that the creature would destroy the lands of men. The was Keep was forged from Stones and runes made to alert the wizard to anyone willing to risk braving it, possibly attempting to break the mythical seal imprisoning it.

  2. Hold of Leviathan

    The hold had existed in since ancient times and was home to a legendary guild of sea-faring paladins who sailed far and wide, fighting heresy and blasphemy. One fateful day, the ocean swallowed the hold and sent deep into the ocean depths. According to records, the hold had a horde of great treasure within it, including a mighty sword that had immeasurable divine power infused with it. It also contained a vast library of forgotten prayers and orisons, as well as vile, eldritch magic confiscated from heretics.

  3. Silvertop manor
    The creation of an elven mage, who’s name has long since been lost in the annals of history and legend, driven mad by his experiments Silvertop is his memorial. The floating mansion of crystal and glass appears large on the outside but upon entering it is massive, a whole plain resides within the twisted dimensions of the manor. Corridors of mirrors make the maze like interior even harder to navigate. Some of these mirrors house animated reflections that seek to drag unwary adventurers into their nightmarish homes. Illusions given shape by forbidden magics wander the manor and abberations and mutated creatures lurk in most of the rooms. It is rumoured that somewhere in the complex is a room like a giant clock while another features an entire garden of diamond flowers that hang in the air with no soil or water. However, the layout of Silvertop changes frequently and directions are mixed up so revisiting a previously found room is virtually impossible. According to tales at the heart of the ever changing labyrinth is the mage’s workroom. Here lies artifcats of great power, gold and magical secrets galore. However, it is also said that the spirit of the mad magic user remains trapped within his lair.

  4. The Fallways: A dungeon built by Ixit’V-draa, a mad wizard who slowly succumbed to a rare disease that transformed him into a great spider. The Fallways dungeon can only be accessed atop an always windy mesa and solving a riddle that changes each time. The dungeon is built on a VERTICAL axis so anyone entering the dungeon either has to have great climbing skills, gear or magic items or the ability to fly. The dungeon housed Ixit’V-draa’s research efforts at altering his disease (he hated priests!) and ultimately, he began crafting magic items and spells oriented towards an arachnid’s perspective. No one has ever managed to explore more than a few hundred feet into the forbidding depths of this lost maze of mystery.

  5. The Red Queens Lost Army

    Centuries ago the Red Queen ruled over the realms by means of brutality, subjugation, and wickedness. Her undefeatable army of stone Golems would trample all those who opposed her rule. After The Great War and her crown of control destroyed the army was hidden away where none could find it. Now, centuries later, whispers of a new evil creep into tavern halls and villages across the land. A once forgotten malice awakens and it’s thoughts may be bent on finding the army and using it’s power to take control of all creation.