It’s a sad fact of life, but most commercially available dungeons only seem to have one—or at the most two—entrances.
A couple of years ago, I wrote the Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands as a homage to the Moathouse from T1 The Village of Hommlet (perhaps a perfect low-level adventure). Before I started, I sat down and worked out what I wanted to achieve with the adventure and how I planned to achieve it. These four posts layout my evil scheme:
I’ve written a fair amount about dungeon design over the last few years. Recently, I came to a startling realisation!
A ruined monument to folly and ego, Ironwolf Keep stands atop an isolated bluff deep in a mist-wreathed forest. Sacked by marauding goblins decades ago the place was thought abandoned, but shadows now creep among the forest’s great boles and footprints have appeared on the single, overgrown track leading to the keep. Travellers have begun to disappear with alarming regularity from the nearby road and the local folk fear some slumbering evil has claimed the ruin as its own.
At the end of last session, we left the party resting in Piren’s Bluff. The lust for treasure burned deep within them, though, and so they quickly decided to return to the Shadowed Keep. During their last foray, they had explored the ruined donjon. Now, they turned their attentions to the watchtower…
In my last post about Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands’s design I wanted to talk a bit about my general philosophy behind individual encounter design. But to set the scene, sadly I must first rant.
Last time, I talked a little bit about the initial concepts of the Shadowed Keep of the Borderland’s various “adventure zones.” Coming up with the basic themes for each area was relatively simple. What was a bit tricky was designing a backstory that both made sense and that the PCs would be able to discover during the course of the adventure.
The Moathouse from T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil is one of my all-time favourite modules. I think it’s a great example of genius dungeon design and I’ve always wanted to design a similar location.