- Some people never learn the truth of the adage, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Intrigued by wisps of smoke found randomly throughout the stronghold, the adventurers seek out the source.
- This stronghold has its main floor on ground level, with only one floor above; the bulk of the stronghold delves deeply into the ground, nestled in the foothills of the mountain range. Portions of the outer walls and towers are battered and stand in ruins. The entry gates stand slightly open, the metal rusted in place by age wherever the gates contact the ground.
Wisps of smoke trail throughout the hallways of the long-abandoned stronghold. No source is immediately evident, but if the adventurers are lucky (spot DC 30) they may see smoke coming from cracks and holes in the ancient masonry. If they follow these trails of smoke downward, they should be able to find traces of the smoke as it flows upward with the drafts through the stronghold. The smoke, however, is not streaming. It is not obvious, but just occasional wisps floating through the drafty halls.
As they travel through the stronghold, it is important to note that there will be no treasure. None. Even statuary and decorations have had their gold and silver leafing and plate stripped from them. The cupboard, in essence, is bare.
Eventually, the adventurers should find their way to the banquet hall. This hall is one of two central “great rooms” in the stronghold. The room itself is 300' square with a 50'-high ceiling. Double doors on each of three walls lead from various parts of the stronghold. The fourth wall opens up into a spectacular crystal-covered cave.
- The banquet hall is now the residence of the newest Hall Lord of the stronghold: a youthful firedrake named Ullduthindor. He is a typical example of his breed. He is nearly 50' long and has a sinuous body, with a serpentine neck and an seemingly oversized head. Enormous wings stretch back along his body, nearly to the end of his hooked-bone tail. He is a deep wine-red in color with brilliant copper-colored eyes. Fluid drips from his fangs and smokes where it strikes the stone floor; the entire floor of the hall is worn and pitted as a result. He is not overly intelligent, but loves treasure. He is the reason the stronghold is stripped of all metals, gems, and other treasure. What few tables remain in the banquet hall now groan under the weight of gold, jewels, weapons, tapestries, and miscellaneous precious objects. And yet, even in his diminished intelligence, Ullduthindor knows the location of every last copper piece, every last cup, and every last speck of gold flake in the room. The ceiling of the room is somewhat concealed due to a layer of omnipresent smoke, which streams from Ullduthindor’s nostrils.
When the adventurers find him, he is asleep, having just feasted on a small flock of sheep. A few blackened bones rest on the floor around his head. He enters and exits the stronghold through the crystal cave. It is a tight fit for him in places, but meanders through the mountain and exits on the opposite side from the stronghold. If he becomes too weakened or hurt to fight, Ullduthindor will use the crystal cave as a bolt-hole, pulling down the walls and ceiling behind him as he goes to slow the passage of his foes.
- Firedrake: See Dragon Magazine #329, p.28.
This is the seventeenth of 26 adventures that I will be sharing over the month of September. They are designed for use with edition 3.5 of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG, although they can be easily dropped into any fantasy setting (or modern/sci-fi setting with a little work). These posts are a part of Asshat Paladin’s OSR Short Adventure Challenge , and utilize his Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Format.