Swords & Wizardry: Light, Copyright 2016 Erik Stiene in association with Frog God Games, LLC. Based on Swords & Wizardry system created by Matthew Finch. All rights reserved.
The Mountain: a massive and enigmatic adventure locale, featuring dozens of unusual and dangerous regions of potential exploration, danger, wealth, and glory. Countless individuals and groups have been drawn here over the millennia by the power and mystery of the Mountain -- many never return.
Not all who approach the slopes of The Mountain are fueled by greed and ego. Three years ago, a small pilgrimage of dwarves following the teachings of Doranal, a lesser-known dwarven deity of travel and protection, arrived at these slopes as the conclusion of a 'vision-quest.' Noteworthy among dwarf deities, Doranal often extends her graces to non-dwarven races. Sanctioned by Doranal, and uncertain of how to proceed, the group opted to settle at the base of the western side of the Mountain, claimed a small surface ruin, and set up a 'safe-camp' for travelers and explorers navigating the hazards of the region. This endeavor proved moderately successful for more than a year, and Doranal's Rest became a well-known oasis from the dangers of the Mountain and its many deadly dungeons and caverns.
In the years prior to "The Slide" (a massive landslide that ravaged and rearranged the southern and southwestern slopes of the Mountian), powerful entities dwelling in certain structures and dungeons higher on the mountainsides controlled much of the activity on the exterior of the Mountain. It was only a matter of time before these Powers took note of the faithful of Doranal and their activities, and took action. The worshipers of Doranal, trusting in their faith, their intentions, and their deity -- were unprepared when this happened.
In one dreadful evening, four separate groups of travelers/adventurers arrived with haste to Doranal's Rest. These groups had met heavy resistance to their movements in the vicinity, harried by large numbers of organized monstrous foes, and were 'herded' from several directions straight to the dwarves of the sanctuary. The dwarves were few in number, and the need of the many arrivals (all weary and injured) taxed the available resources beyond immediate respite. Distracted and set to altruistic tasks, all were caught off-guard when the attack came. An apparently coordinated assault consisting of hordes of monsters overran the compound, killed all present, looted the halls, and despoiled the sacred ground of Doranal. The massacre anointed the ruin with the blood of the faithful and the innocents, and secured the dreaded reputation of the Mountain. The good intentions of the righteous doomed all present, and this location gained a new reputation as a cursed ruin.
The events of The Slide (about 10 months ago) changed the face of the Mountain, and shifted the balance of power within the nearby dungeons. The organization of the forces here fragmented, and the exterior of the slopes fell into a more 'natural' system of predators and prey. The Slide damaged many structures, entrances, and dungeons -- Doranal's Rest was no exception. Parts of the ruin collapsed, and the whole of its construction became cracked and crumbled. The Rest became another lair for roaming monsters, but the story of its tragedy remains....
USING THIS LOCATION
Doranal's Rest has become a ruined lair for monsters -- particularly for a large band of gnolls, which have been drifting out of the wooded hills nearby in greater and greater numbers as of late. Vermin have lurked within the ruin since the massacre, originally feeding on the detritus of the battle, and now wait for passing prey that ventures through. More terrible are the restless undead that remain in the ruins, victims of Fate and tragedy -- seeking to punish those who would seek out this forlorn place.
1. Rumor has it that a young dragon of unknown type is lairing in or near Doranal's Rest. The dragon is picking off travelers in the area, and may be amassing an impressive hoard.
2. Noble and 'holy' adventurers have heard the tale of Doranal's Rest, and are mounting a 'righteous crusade' to clear and reclaim the ruins. A group with a strong dwarf component could also consider this a matter of pride and principle to retake the halls.
3. The dwarves of the Rest are believed to have secured a small fortune of hidden wealth from the ruins, predating their occupation of the place. It is thought that the less-than-thorough invaders failed to find this secret treasure. If by any chance this treasure is still there....
4. Travelers allege that the devastation of The Slide has opened (or reopened) another entrance to the dungeons within the Mountain. Since the ruins of Doranal's Rest had long been secured prior to The Slide, any actual entrance present in the ruins must certainly lead to long-unexplored portions of The Mountain. The lure of the unknown promises great danger, and perhaps great wealth to those brave enough to seek it out.
(while some chambers and areas may be empty, the ruins are considered occupied, and numerous opportunities for combat are likely. GMs may choose or determine randomly -- actual numbers may vary as is appropriate)
1. Wyvern (1) -- the 'dragon' of rumor; may attack upon approach to the ruins.
2. Gnolls (1d6+1) -- as many as 30 gnolls may be in the ruins currently.
3. Rats, Giant (2d6) -- many rats may be scavenging in the ruins.
4. Ghouls (1d6)
5. Skeletons (1d6+1)
6. Zombies (1d6)
7. Troll (1) -- this terrible brute has claimed an isolated section of ruins.
8. Hyena, War (1d3, use Worg stats) -- as many a 4 are here as 'pets' of the gnolls.
9. Spiders, Giant (1d3) -- these lurk in far corners of the ruins awaiting prey.
10. Ghoul-Rats, Giant (1d6) -- some of the giant rats have been infected by ghouls (use Giant Rat stats, add paralyzing bite, as Ghoul)
[Feel free to add other encounters as desired]
Treasure is left to the discretion of individual GMs. Areas with dangerous encounters have a 3 in 6 chance of treasure. Rooms without direct encounters still have a 1 in 6 chance of incidental treasure. As a general rule, treasure will equal roughly 500gp per Challenge Level of the encounter, with normal Trade Out chances.
CONTINUING THE ADVENTURE
"The Best Intentions...." is intended to be a reasonably small, one shot adventure. However, those wishing to continue or expand should have ample material to work with -- the backstory alone should give at least a few hooks for future adventures. The collapsed areas may be now passable, the gnolls here may be indicative of a larger threat in the region, and there may be an actual 'new' entrance to the dungeons here! A connection to other levels of the Mountain's mega-dungeon is the gateway to endless adventure!
Thank you for joining me on this side-trip into The Mountain Mega-Dungeon Campaign! I hope you enjoy, and get some good use out of this S&WL adventure outline -- hopefully it will be just one of many! If you do like the stuff here, feel free to look at the source material for The Mountain in my Patreon.
Thank you, and ENJOY!
Douglas Zielsdorf (Lastlaugh70)