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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!