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Author Topic: The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)  (Read 400 times)

Abyssal Maw

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The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)
« on: January 06, 2009, 11:09:55 pm »
I have pictures. Still working on individual maps of each area. I actually did the vertical profile first.

The Black Orchid

The ancient ruins of an infamous Murglok Fortress are now razed and overgrown with strange black vines. The crumbled hulk of an  ancient 80' tall collosus erected by the conquering heroes who destroyed the fortress several centuries ago now lies in pieces,  with the headless trunk and monument pedastal still leaning precariously over the edge of a massive crater.

At the center of the ruins, the ground has collapsed into a giant open-air crater known as Rubblemaw. Although dangerous, the Rubblemaw crater itself lies at the base of a massive cliff accessible by roads to the nearby city. It has been used for nearly a century as a massive trash heap. The refuse and debris (including piles of plague victims) of an entire city have been dragged and dumped here over the last several decades. Scavengers ply the area, and Otyughs and a small band of mongrelmen rule.

Descent into the crater (Rubblemaw) is possible from either the West or East side of the ruins. The West side is less steep, but more dangerous as rockslides from the ruins are common. The East side boasts a precarious single-file goat path that the scavengers use to scramble in and out of the crater, (for which a hefty toll is charged by a troll who lurks in the area) but a more expedient path might be rappeling down a nearly 80' vertical descent onto a series of mostly cleared ledges.

Beneath the western ruins is a rumored series of natural limestone caves called the Serpent Caves. So named because of legends and reports of a giant serpent nest that might have once been located there. The entrance to the serpent caves is not apparent to visitors and will have to be searched for. (It's actually only accessible by digging  through several feet of trash or squeezing under the collapsing pedestal base of the collosus. )

Beneath the Eastern Ruins are a rebuilt dungeon-lair (currently in use by orcs) carved out of the upper works of the old fortress dungeon-- and beneath that are some old catacombs and tunnels that once crisscrossed even further beneath the old fortress. The second layer of these catacombs spills out into the Rubblemaw itself, and it is possible to enter the catacombs by descending 30' from the orcish base (or even the edge of the upper ruins) into the crater, and then clambering towards a shallow ledge that leads to a drainage tunnel opening.  Both of these alternat entrances are kept well-camoflauged by the orcs and the upper one is guarded.

Directly beneath the Rubblemaw is a large cave (a vertical cathedral of a cavern) known to denizens as Devil's Gullet. The Devils Gullet is much wider at the top than at the base (which is nothing but sharp stones and water at the bottom) but is crisscrossed with orcish rope-bridges and platforms at varying levels. Along the upper reaches is a tunnel that leads to a layer of unspoiled arcane vaults that date back to the time of the original fortress. These connect secretly to the old catacombs and have only recently been opened during a partial earth tremor caused by the blooming of the black orchid. (See below)

At the very base of Devil's Gullet is a new layer of dungeon built by the mad wizard known as Bleaker. Bleaker has now disappeared, but an access tunnel from Bleakers Delve leads back upwards towards the Serpent Caves, and outwards into the upper reaches of Devils Gullet. Presumedly Bleaker kept a telportation circle here as well.

At the very bottom of the Gullet a series of tunnels leads to an area where an underground lake lies. At the center of the lake the Black Orchid- a strange and massive plantlike denizen from the Far Realms-- blooms malevolently. It is worshipped as a god and it grows more intelligent with each passing week.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 11:19:54 pm by Abyssal Maw »
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Abyssal Maw

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The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 11:19:26 pm »
All told there are 12 Dungeons..well "adventure areas" here.

the precarious West Ruins (where the colossus is)
the East ruins
The Orcish lair (refurbished Fortress dungeon level)
The catacombs (in two levels)- C1 and C2
The recently re-opened arcane vaults
The Rubblemaw (the giant trash heap in the crater)
The Serpent Caves
Devils Gullet (and all of it's rope bridges and platforms)
Bleakers Delve
The Underground Lake where the Black Orchid dwells.
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DeadUematsu

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The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 08:38:35 pm »
How are you handling experience for this? I presume most of it will be coming from quest rewards which ought to work. I cannot imagine a megadungeon campaign where characters are gleefully seeking out combat.

Anyway, how are you handling dungeon levels and the like? Are these levels going to suit only heroic tier play or is the whole dungeon going to serve all three tiers? I feel like it's the former but I have no sense of how Devil's Gullet (the environment seems nasty), Bleaker's Delve (a wizard did it allows for a lot of craziness), and the Underground Lake (could be relatively normal or balls-out chaotic if the Far Plane intrusion isgreat) will play out.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 08:43:46 pm by DeadUematsu »
 

Abyssal Maw

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The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2009, 08:31:48 am »
Quote from: DeadUematsu;277684
How are you handling experience for this? I presume most of it will be coming from quest rewards which ought to work. I cannot imagine a megadungeon campaign where characters are gleefully seeking out combat.

Anyway, how are you handling dungeon levels and the like? Are these levels going to suit only heroic tier play or is the whole dungeon going to serve all three tiers? I feel like it's the former but I have no sense of how Devil's Gullet (the environment seems nasty), Bleaker's Delve (a wizard did it allows for a lot of craziness), and the Underground Lake (could be relatively normal or balls-out chaotic if the Far Plane intrusion is great) will play out.

I had a tentative idea ( I even broke out a table) of each level having a range of monsters. Then I was going to throw certain quests in there as well. So there's XP for killing monsters and XP for quests.

Like, well-- in my mind, a quest might be "Get a copy of the dedication of Khazarl-Lance" and then, somewhere in the game (maybe through research or shaking down the right NPC in town) the players might find clues that the inscription was once carved on the base of the colossus. So they head out towards the colossus and have to deal with the spider-nest directly next to the inscription, or maybe they only get part of the inscription (with the rest crumbled off) and then have to then consult the mongrelman shaman who has the best collection of ancient carvings from the rubble-heap.

In this way, the dungeon itself is kinda like a playground, and the quests lead PCs to specifically explore certain areas. And even in between quests, they have to deal with the creatures in areas they move through.  

The entire thing would be heroic tier- The 12 dungeon areas having an overlapping range of 3 monsters levels. So the ruins have level 1-3 monsters, (mostly vermin) and then the catacombs have 2-4, and so on. The upper level range would be 15th or so.

One idea I had for a plot that leads PCs into the dungeon: The Orchid I picture as this giant venus flytrap flower thing which has a cult of worshippers, that -later in the dungeons life (once most of the place has been cleared..) eventually starts creating "pod people" in the nearby village/city (the cult lures townsfolk away to be ingested by the plant, which then regurgitates pods that are returned to town.. once the PCs figure it out, they have to fight their way to the last layer, wipe out the cultists and then fight the gargantuan orchid itself, which will be like a level 15 solo.
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Abyssal Maw

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The Black Orchid (4e multi-level dungeon)
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2009, 09:21:22 am »
Here's an initial hack of the Orchid's combat stats:

The Black Orchid

The Black Orchid, native to the Far Realms, appears as a gargantuan plantlike creature with oil-black skin and glittering patterns of bulging eyes and crystal-like thorns that seem to ripple along it's stalks and tendrils.  At the base of the creature (usually under water), is a clump of prehensile tendrils and vines that allow it to move and fight.  At the end of it's long retracting headstalk is a massive podlike head similar to a venus flytrap , but studded with fanglike thorns and delicate petals that seem to form a silvery spiralling pattern.

It is both telepathic and intelligent.

The Black Orchid     Level 15 Controller
Gargantuan Aberrant Magical Beast (Solo)      XP 1200
Initiative +10      Senses Perception +19; tremorsense 10, darkvision 5
Action Points: 2
HP 145; Bloodied 72
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 28, Will 27
Vulnerable to cold: 5
Speed 4; Swim 4

  Tendril Lash (standard; at-will)
 Reach 2; +20 vs AC; 1d8+ 6 damage
Characters hit by the tendril lash can be pushed 2 squares away.

  Mindfire Ray (standard; at-will) * Psychic
 Ranged 10/20; +19 vs Will; 1d10 + 6 damage

  Domination (standard; recharge 5 or 6) * charm, psychic
 Ranged 5; +19 vs Will; None damage
On a successful  hit, the victim is dominated until the end of the Orchids next turn.

  Spores from Beyond (standard; encounter) * poison
Close blast 3; +17 vs Reflex; 2d10 + 6 damage
On a successful hit, victims caught in the blast takes ongoing 5 poison damage and are dazed (save ends both)


Skills: Stealth +17
Str 20 (+12) Dex 17 (+10) Wis 20 (+12)
Con 17 (+10) Int 23 (+13) Cha 17 (+10)


The Black Orchid Tactics
The Orchid likes to remain immersed at the center of its lake, with only the podlike head above water. It uses tremorsense to detect anything that cmes near, and tries to lead with domination and mindfire against anyone hostile that approaches (and it does not like anyone but recognized cult members to get too close).
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