Campaign Components: The Tower of Woe

Standing deep in the Forest of Gray Spires, the Maddening Spire (as it is sometimes called) appears as if twisted and melted by some primordial, unfathomably powerful force. Those daring its interior simply disappear or are driven mad by their experiences.

A Door to Elsewhere by Folkard


  • DC 10 Knowledge (local): The Tower of Woe stands deep in the Forest of Gray Spires. It is a place of madness and sorrow.
  • DC 15 Knowledge (history): The Tower of Woe was discovered centuries ago. Of the dozens of expeditions mounted to explore the structure only a half-dozen have resulted in anything resembling success. Most such expeditions simply disappear.
  • DC 20 knowledge (history): Many strange, alien civilisations – forsaken, demon worshipping elves, a race of semi-intelligent apes and even cyclops are thought to have once dwelled in the forest – and built the tower for some strange, unguessable purpose.

Rising high above both the many lesser tall and slender rock spires and densely-packed trees clustering thickly throughout the area, this twisted spire of white flecked limestone has featured in the legends of explorers for centuries. Few, however, can attest to ever having laid eyes on the tower itself as it stands in a particularly remote, labyrinthine area of the forest. Fewer explorers still have dared to scale its melted, twisted flanks to explore the interior. Wholly without doors or others means of ingress, the only known method of access is via the tower’s upper level. There a great circular shaft bounded by a great, now crumbling, staircase spirals down into the tower’s depths.

What little is known of the interior has been gleaned from the mad ravings of the few survivors of such expeditions. Within, galleries lead away from the central shaft to corridors that twist and turn with little regard for logic or sense. Rooms are oddly, even disturbingly, shaped.

The great central shaft pierces the bedrock upon which the spire stands and connects the tower to an extensive network of partially flooded cellars and deeper dungeons replete with strange architectural features. While the tower’s upper levels seem devoted to living quarters and the like, the extensive dungeons are altogether different. Pockets of wild magic drift about the lower levels and explorers report strange fluctuations in reality buried deep in the cellar’s deepest reaches. Additionally, spontaneously coalescing and collapsing planar and extra-dimensional portals add to the dungeon’s wild and chaotic nature.

Many have pondered the tower’s origin. Generally accepted wisdom is that the tower is a relic of one of the ancient civilisations thought to have once thrived within the forest. The tower’s remote location and the dangers lurking within stymie efforts to learn the truth of the matter.

Add Your Own Dungeon Dressing

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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.

3 thoughts on “Campaign Components: The Tower of Woe”

  1. There could be a gigantic, life sized statue of Cthulu that players must make Will save or suffer from incurable insanity.

  2. The dungeons contain a cavern with a strange metal door or portal leading to a dungeon akin to Expedition to the Barrier Peaks or Iron Gods.

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