Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
The Debris: Upper Ruins of Kotesh (Koskatep Level 1)by Francesco Defferrari and Giampaolo Agosta from Threshold Magazine issue 2
Koskatep, the mega-dungeon featured in Threshold Issue #1, sits atop a lonely hilltop along the upper course of Achelos river. It has been occupied by various forces throughout the eons, even before the Great Rain of Fire, and is still an active ruin even in modern times."
The first level of Koskatep, the Mountain of Bones, lies on top of the hill itself. It is partially exposed, and is composed of the upper remains of an abandoned Ogre city, Kotesh, which has been inhabited by bandits and Traladaran freedom fighters in past centuries. The Debris have little treasure, except for the weapons and possessions of the ogres and the giants that dwell here.
Sidebar: Secrets of the Upper Ruins
In a forgotten and closed room there is still the tomb of a Traladaran knight who died in 900 AC fighting the Thyatians, with his magical armor and sword.
After the Darkers take control, many ogres and hill giants live here (at least more than 20), well paid by the Darkers to keep intruders away. These folks are organized and finely equipped so trying to avoid them rather than fight them all would be much wiser.
The texts evidenced in green are expansions of the history of the ruins and optional adventure seeds.
The texts evidenced in purple refer to the times after the Darkers took control of the ruins.
The upper level of Koskatep is a stratification over the ruins of the ogre city of Kotesh, built mostly by ogres and hill giants from 227 AC to the present (1000 AC) and also occupied by followers of Nyx and Ixion for short times. The ogres indeed tried several times to rebuild Kotesh, but The Last One, a very powerful and ancient vampire living deep in level Seven, was the true master of the ruins in the last seven centuries. He didn’t want to manifest his presence to the outside world, so he never settled nor sent his minions to the upper level, but he eventually destroyed any long term occupants of the Upper Ruins when they tried to descend in the levels below. Remains of these past massacres and battle should dot the ruins.
From 227 to 313 AC, after The Last One killed the priests of Ixion and provoked a landslide to bury Kotesh and its acropolis turned into temple (see Level Two), the ruins were completely abandoned and avoided by all for several years.
From 313 to 396 AC A powerful gnoll leader, and later his successors, built a settlement called G’kurash (see keys from 38 to 47). The Last One controlled them easily, but they became greedy and raided the humans of Achelos too many times.
From 396 to 425 AC Troops of the Kingdom of Achelos conquered the ruins and built several fortifications over the gnoll settlement and to the right of it. Eventually the troops were mysteriously murdered overnight (by The Last One’s minions) and no one ever discovered how.
From 425 to 445 AC A tribe of Orcs infected by vampirism and lycanthropy, the Mokrg, occupied the ruins, even if Achelos’ troops tried several times to defeat them.
In 445 AC the troops of Achelos conquered, burned, salted and buried the place, sending periodically adventurers and soldiers to maintain the place clear of monster occupancy. The situation remained more or less the same until 699 AC, and Koskatep gained the reputation of one of the most cursed ruins in the west. During this period, secretly, human adventurers sent both by the Church of Ixion and the Church of Nyx tried several time to defeat The Last One, but all failed.
From 699 to 725 AC for several turbulent years Orcs, Humans, Ogres and Giants tried in turn to claim the place, each people lasting only for some seasons. Yet the structures in the eastern part were significantly expanded and those in the western part reinforced.
From 725 to 788 AC Ogres and giants prevailed at last, made peace with the Kingdom of Achelos and began to build a lasting city, until a massive undeads attack destroyed the city.
From 788 to 800 AC the ruins were infested with powerful undeads despite several attempts to dislodge them by ogres and humans.
From 800 to 818 AC Lord Vudar, a cleric of Nyx, guided a massive Darkers expedition to the ruins, slaying all the undeads and occupying them with human and ogre soldiers. They built several structures in the eastern part but were eventually destroyed by The Last One.
From 818 to 856 AC A black cloud lingered over the ruins for years, sheltering followers of Thanatos from several people and nations. Eventually an alliance of ogres and giants, including even some dragons, destroyed the cloud and killed its occupants.
From 856 to 892 AC Koskatep changed hands several times, from ogres and giants to orcs to humans, to orcs and gnolls, to ogres, to humans, to undeads.
From 892 to 900 AC Troops of the Kingdom of Achelos and priests of Ixion establish a stronghold over the ruins, but leave the place in the turbulent times of the thyatian invasion.
From 900 to 912 AC The ruins are the occasional hideout of traladaran rebels, ogres and giants. Thyatians search the area in vain to locate the place.
In 912 AC Traladaran freedom fighters used the ruins as their main base against Thyatians for almost a year.. eventually a Thyatian punitive expedition massacred them, but they left the ruins shortly after, considering them too far from civilized areas and creepy.
From 913 to 934 AC Thyatian explorers and soldiers stop frequently to camp in the ruins, as do traladaran rebels, orc raiders and ogres and giants shepherds. Sometimes they are killed by The Last One’s minions, sometimes they fight among themselves and are recruited by Him post mortem.
From 934 to 944 AC Priests of Ixion from Thyatis occupy the ruins and enter the level below down to the sixth, but are stopped by the resistance of The Last One
From 944 to 955 AC The Kul-nook Orcs, followers of Thanatos, slay the priests and build a settlement in the ruins but are eventually exterminated by ogres and giants.
From 955 to 971 AC The Cruth Ogres and Giants returned in force, but again their town was destroyed by The Last One with a huge poisonous cloud.
From 971 to 994 AC the ruins were apparently unoccupied. Some groups of adventurers died exploring them, others make out alive to spread the tale of “the cursed mountain of bones”.
From 995 AC The Cruth Ogres began to return to the area and established contacts with the Church of Nyx. The Darkers soon learned of The Last One persistence and began to make plans to defeat him.
In 998 AC (or in a later date if a DM desires so) the Darkers, followers of Nyx, should take control of the ruins in force, momentarily defeating the Last One and installing in this level well equipped ogres and hill giants guards, as explained above.
The ruins have been recently used as a shelter by small bands of ogres and hill giants. These folks may or may not be hostile, depending on the PCs’ actions. In any case, they are aware that the dungeon is very deep, but their knowledge about specific areas spans only the first two levels.
After the Darkers take over Koskatep, they control this level through their Ogre mercenaries. Before that time, the level is not controlled by a single force, although the Last One maintains a surveillance through his minions. The vampire lord will take action against any force trying to take control of the level, by sending a party of his vampire spawn (which can be generated as a standard NPC party, except that all members have been turned into Vampires).
Key to the Upper Ruins
1 The Great Temple. Originally built by ogres and dedicated to Hel, it was later occupied by the Darkers, by followers of Ixion, by giants, by Traladarans, and every time rededicated to another immortal… it’s ruined and abandoned since many years, but recently, just for fun, the Last One placed in the middle of it a creepy statue of his patron Thanatos. Attempts to destroy the statue will result in activating several, regenerating, deadly magical traps quite hard to spot and disarm (requiring a thief and a wizard working together). Old blood sprays around the base of the statue should give PC’s a clue.
The area is otherwise empty, although followers of the Last One occasionally meet here (1 in 6 chance every night, select two random followers from the Followers of the Last One table).
In the upper corner of the left wall there are still some half deleted ancient wall paintings showing several undecipherable figures and the image of a burning city, a reference to the ancient inner temple of Ixion buried at the bottom of the ruins. Clerics or followers of Ixion seeing this will have a vision about the necessity of protecting the temple from the Darkers and the Last One.
Just a few days after the Darkers take control of the ruins, they will destroy the statue of Thanatos (succeeding in disarming the traps) and will substitute it with a statue of Nyx after two months. The temple will be then repaired and slowly repainted, and almost always occupied by 1d4 low level clerics of Nyx. It will be no longer used by the followers of The Last One. If PCs kill the clerics, that will trigger an alarm bringing a lot of ogres from area 9 and causing 2d4+2 followers of Nyx coming after the PC’s from the levels below.
2 The War Court. This area was used as marching grounds by the army of some now-forgotten warlord. Digging here, explorers can find spear blades, arrow points, broken and rusty armor pieces. Goblinoids sometimes scavenge weapon or armor parts as well, so there is a 10% chance of a random encounter from the Humanoid scouting parties table.
Lord Vudar was a Darker that tried to reclaim Koskatep around 800 AC, with the aids of ogres and giants. He was eventually captured by The Last One, but his silver medallion of Nyx could still be found in this area. Any Darker or member of the church of Nyx would be very interested in the object. Also the magical armor and scythe of Vudar are hidden in level 7, along with his diary. As he was a distant cousin of Lord Sulescu, he too would be very interested in these objects. PC’s could be sent to Koskatep by Lord Sulescu himself if he discovered in his castle some clue about the distant ancestor. Sulescu could already be or become an ally of the Darkers if the DM wishes so.
Eventually the Darkers will know the story and will rebuild this area as a war court with a statue of Lord Vudar, but it could take years for them to be able to complete it.
3 The Market: this open area was once a market from 955 to 971 AC. Digging here reveals shards of pottery and other household items, some of them giant-sized (generally useless, although a giant-sized spoon might be used as a mace in a pinch).
Here the ogres are building pens to hold a variety of big chickens they are breeding. By night this will drawn to the area a couple of giant ferrets, not very aggressive but a probable source of noise if startled.
4 The “new town”: This area was occupied by many huts and cottages from 955 to 971 AC, a poorer district of the town. Most of the area has been cleaned out by the Ogres recently. During the day, it is easy to meet 1d4 Ogres at any time (30% chance, increase by 15% for every turn spent in the area).
Both the market and the huts were built after 955 AC, date of the last attempt by the Cruth Ogres to rebuild Kotesh permanently. The ogres were exterminated by The Last One in 971 AC and have returned in relative force to the ruins only from 995 AC. The Last One has occasionally sent his minions to harass them just to discourage more permanent settlements..
The number of ogres living and working here will increase to 2d4 one or two months after the Darkers take control of the ruins.
5 The Pigpen: This walled area has been repaired, and is used as a pen to hold pigs raised by the Ogres -- as large beings, the Ogres need substantial amounts of food, which they obtain mostly from livestock. The pigs are numerous, semi-wild, and rather aggressive against anyone not Ogre-sized (treat as boars). Entering the area or releasing the pigs can be deadly for unprepared adventurers.
This building of stone slabs was built by a short living gnoll chief in 881 AC over a previous group of houses. In a corner of the building there is still the buried, carved knife+1 once belonging to him. That’s the anchor that The Last One sometimes uses to call his ghost and scare the pigs.
After the Darkers take control it’s just a matter of time before either they banish forever what’s left of the ghost or the Last One uses him as a distraction during an attack against them.
6 The Old Tower. This building is empty, and too small to be comfortable for an Ogre. It is sometimes used by followers of Thanatos who come to visit the city and its less reputable dwellers. Symbols of Thanatos are etched over the walls, serving as a threat against those who would trespass. At night, there is a 25% chance of an encounter from the Followers of the Last One table.
This building was part of a destroyed fortification, built by the Knights of Achelos in 892 AC. A secret compartment very difficult to spot at the lower base of the north wall hides a prayer book of a long deceased cleric of Ixion. The church, historians and the descendants of the cleric would pay an high sum for the book.
Some times after their takeover the Darkers will repair and bolt the building as part of their renovation work, and it will not be used anymore by Followers of the Last One.
7 The Well House. The shack is large but mostly empty, except for the well itself, a long, rough hemp rope, and two large buckets. There is a 10% chance of encountering a single Ogre (Ogre NM, C) at any time.
The well is so ancient is was built by gnolls in 314 AC and used by all the occupants of the ruins ever since. No one knows this, but the well is connected to the lower level through a convoluted and mostly submerged network of small tunnels that eventually lead down to level Six and to a community of Nixies allied of the Dark Fairies of that level. Other tunnels lead also to passage to the elemental plane of water.
Eventually the Darkers will discover the existence of the passage and will try to contact the nixies.
8 The Guard Post. This building has been recently repaired and reinforced with makeshift fortifications (equivalent to a timber fort). Three Ogres (one of which is an Ogre 1) keep watch at all times here, ready to repel raiders and adventurers alike. Also, they can easily call for reinforcements from area 9.
This tower, several times repaired and rebuilt, is at least three hundred years old, but not much is left of its history except for many different graffitis and drawings left here by bored guards of at least six different races and cultures.
After the Darkers take control the guards will increase to Four ogres and a giant.
9 The Ogre town. This group of tall buildings have been cobbled together in recent times by the Ogres who took over the Debris. After the Darkers arrive, they provide better engineering skills to improve the structural soundness of the buildings. In any case, more than 20 male Ogres live here, including a chief, Golbag (Ogre 5, C).
There are also 5-8 (1d4+4) female ogres and children living here, not permanently as the ruins are still deemed dangerous. They are however well capable of fighting back. There is also a 50% chance that 1d4+2 male of female hill giants are there too.
As here was the centre of the last upper city in several historical periods from 700 AC onwards, the Ogres have found several relics of the past, as jewels, weapons and armors belonged to different past ogres, giants, orcs, gnolls, humans leaders and warlords, things that could have a great value in the right places.
After the Darkers arrive the number of hill giants is doubled, while female and children have mostly been moved to level 2. With the passing of months, at the DM’s discretion, the population of ogres and giants in the ruins will increase and extensive reparations will be under way.
10 Sheep Pen. This area is used as a pen for holding sheep during the night. Two large dogs (treat as grey wolves) and an Ogre sentry (Ogre NM) keep watch at night. During the day, the area is empty.
Now all its covered by a meter of earth, but here in 788 AC many ogres and giants, warriors, females and children were massacred by the undeads of The Last One. Being a bit of an hoarder, he buried their remains here, as you never know what can be useful in the future, and a hundred ogre and giant zombies could always make a good night of the living dead.
As the Darkers are not stupid, they will eventually discover the mass grave and clean it, the question is if they will manage to do it before the Last One awakes the zombies.
11 The Armory. This room includes a relatively well preserved passage beneath the inner walls, which gives access to the lower levels. The ogres know it but so far they have visited only a few times the level beneath, the ancient ogre city of Kotesh, and still have to decide if they are ready to clear and reclaim it. The door to this area is bolted as several critters tended to come out during the night from below.
The Ogres have given its name to the room as they have found rusted remains of weapons here, and indeed the room was an armory in several periods from 700 AC. Unknown to them, several well preserved weapons, one magical, have been packaged and buried here by traladaran freedom fighters in 912 AC.
When the Darkers take over the level below is less dangerous but the room is still closed and guarded by Ogre mercenaries (4 Ogres, NM, C) Another passage can be found in area 44, although the Ogres and the Darkers are not aware of this.
12 Watchtower. This was an ogre-sized watchtower, several times reused as a granary or depot by other humanoids or humans. Before the Darker arrive, there is only a 10% chance that a random humanoid party (roll on the Humanoid scouting parties table) will be found here.
Here the traladaran freedom fighters made their last stand against the thyatians in 912 AC, here the Kingdom of Achelos fell forever. The King, his knight and the rebels appear here and cry silently in the seventh night of Flaurmont, every year. If a priest of Chardastes happens to be here in that night, the King will show him the hiding place of The Banner of Achelos, an artifact that could be a crucial asset for anyone wishing to resurrect the ancient kingdom.
Given its high position, the Darkers will restore it to its use as a sentry point, while in other times it might be used as shelter by roving humanoids, thanks to its defensible position. Thus, After the Darker take control of the area, mercenary warriors (3 Orc 2, N and 3 Human F3, N) will be stationed here.
13 The Debris. Among the scattered ruins here there is a passage to area 17. A party of human-sized or smaller humanoids could navigate the passage to enter or exit the inner city without scaling the wall or confronting the guards at the entrance.
What apparently seems just a rock it’s revealed to be, upon closer examination, the body of an ogre female hugging a child, both killed by the poisonous, volcanic cloud The Last One sent in 971 AC. Magdub, shaman of Terra and informal ruler of the Cruth hills ogres, would be able to recognize the medallion she has in her hands, and she is her mother hugging his little brother, whose bodies were never found. PCs leading Magdub to this discovery would earn his eternal friendship and gratitude.
Some months after the arrival of the Darkers the wall will be repaired and the passage closed. Magdub will never come to live here, as the place has too many sad memories for him, but he’ll visit sometimes with many ogres. Clever PC’s could notice a medallion with a tree around his neck, very similar in shape and design to the one of the dead female ogre.
14 The Tomb of Ivan. This building, thanks to its position near the wall, has survived time better than others. It was originally the tomb of a Traladaran knight, Ivan Dobrovic, buried in 910 AC. Three Thyatian soldiers attempted to breach and plunder the tomb. One of them was wounded by a spear trap while entering the area, while the other two pressed on only to be faced with the outraged ghost of the Traladaran knight (Lesser Banshee, Int 11, L). The legionnaires fell to the knight’s deadly wail. Their superior officers considered them to have deserted, as their companion never told the truth (he would have been punished for acting without leave if he had). The ghost is intelligent, and can be communicated with (this requires using Speak with Dead magic, though). It is aware of a great evil in the deeper levels, but cannot pinpoint its precise nature.
Three months after the Darkers take control of the ruins, they establish friendly contact with Ivan’s ghost, who will pass on to them information he gathers from the PCs.
As Ivan is a sort of local hero among traladaran rebels of the west, and he would be willing to join any new rebellion against thyatians, he could be a huge asset for such a cause. This storyline could be very important in the campaign as in the past traladarans of the Achelos kingdom have been sometimes enemies of the Darkers, but now an allegiance would be useful to both to claim the independence of the west from thyatian rule, and Ivan could be the mean to do exactly that. The Darkers will gain his allegiance by also promising to give him a new body, a proposal he’ll gladly embrace. The body could be a construct, a dead Darker or even a dead PC’s, on DM discretion. A live Darker or a live PC particularly dedicated to the cause of freedom could be willing to share their bodies with Ivan, gaining exceptional powers.
15 The Orcs Town. This area is composed of ruins of tightly packed houses. Most of these buildings had subterranean portions (originally used for storage). Later occupants of the area carved passages between the cellars, creating a veritable warren. Before the Darker come, this area is inhabited by a small Orc clan (20 Orcs NM led by an Orc 3 leader, females and children), since it is difficult to navigate for Ogres. There is an entrance to the lower level through a dried out water tank, although it is difficult to navigate (requires Climb Walls rolls or appropriate skill rolls -- e.g., Mountaineering/Caving, if the characters have climbing equipment). The orcs sometimes hunt for treasures (old coins and weapons) and food (rats and mushrooms) in the lower level.
What no one knows is that beneath the orcs “town” are buried the undead remains of the Kul-nook Orcs, followers of Thanatos that occupied the ruins from 944 to 955 AC and under them of the Mokrg, even nastier orcs who lived here from 425 to 445 AC. Eventually, The Last One plans to awake them all, have them vampirize the modern orcs and send them all against ogres and Darkers.
The Darkers will mostly leave the modern orcs alone, since they are already allied with the Ogres, but will establish contacts and cooperation with them. The orcs, sensing the growing power of the humans-ogres alliance, will be willing to join it.The Darkers will never discover the buried orcs.
16 The Shrine of Ixion. It was built by clerics who occupied the ruins from 934 to 944 AC, over a previous fortification. Frescoes and statues inside were apparently destroyed and rebuilt several times, as it was desecrated by Followers of The Last One, re-dedicated to Ogres and Giants immortals in 955 AC and desecrated again in 971 AC. The Ogres are slowly cleaning it but there is only a 10% change to meet two Ogres working here (NM, C)
Dedicated archaeologists could find several religious memorabilia from the past decades digging here, mostly ceramic figurines or small silver coins that depicts immortals and were offered to them.
A priest of Ixion, a cultist of Thanatos and an ogre shaman of Jammudaru were buried here in different years. Just for fun, The Last One had them digged up and then combined their souls and bodies into one unique, original undead that is now waiting for His call, completely insane, just below the stone floor.
17 The Tunnel. Among the ruins is hidden a passage to area 13. It takes a successful roll to find hidden doors to locate the passage.
The tunnel is very ancient, built to secretly connect the inner to the outer fortifications, by Achelos troops in 400 AC, and used by all the inhabitants of the ruins ever since. In 603 AC a group of adventurers dedicated to Ixion, the Golden Rays, were killed by the Darkers. Their equipment, mostly consecrated to the Sun God and therefore anathema to the Darkers, was buried here and was never discovered. Their killers were also destroyed, by minions of The Last One, in level three.
Some months after their arrival the Darkers will discover and close the passage, and never find the treasure..
18 The Birds Pen. Albog’s tribe, see below, keeps here an incredible variety of domesticated birds, several variants of chickens, ducks, gooses, turkeys, peacocks, pheasants and quails, for eggs and meat. One or two young Ogre boys, (NM-2, C) will be here at any time during the day, and will escape to area 24 to raise the alarm if they spot someone.
The building was once the house of Nera, sister of Lord Vudar, killed here by minions of The Last One in 818 AC. For the same reasons as in area 10, the minions of the Last One buried here also all the knights and the priests who followed. Vudar, and his wife Mila too. Nera and Mila are partially awake in a sort of uncomfortable, dark dream. They are used by the Last One to blackmail Vudar into serving him. Telepathic PC’s could sense their suffering. If the PC’s try to awake and heal the two women they should do with inflict wounds spells of they’ll harm them, as they are nosferatus. Rescuing the two women would result in Vudar being free and grateful to the PC’s to the point that he’ll be willing to save them from the wrath of other Nyx followers, even if they are allied with Ixion, but not arriving to complete betrayal of his cause.
Several months after their takeover the Darkers will discover the grave too, Vudar will be free and if he has not already, it’s also foreseeable that Lord Sulescu will join them at this point.
19-23 The Ogre village. A smaller tribe of 12 Ogres, led by Albog (Ogre 4, C), Golbag’s younger brother, lives in this part of the ruins, with females and children. Albog’s tribe is subservient to the larger tribe led by Golbag, and they resent it. It could be possible to negotiate for Albog’s followers to ignore the PC’s, if the chief is sure he will not be harmed.
These building were built by orcs, ogres and giants from 944 to 971 AC over previous, smaller houses. Later they were occupied by several carrion crawlers and giant worms that killed at least a group of young adventurers. Remains of both the critters and the humans were used by Albog’s ogres to decorate their rooms. Willing PC’s could be able to obtain several personal items of the adventurers to give back to their heirs. In truth, all the items are a dead end and no descendants exists except for one small silver brooch, with the name Livia inscribed on it. The brooch could be traced to an artisan in the southern village of Gorica, who still remember having sold it to a young warrior. His name was Julius Keonios, his daughter Livia still lives in Gorica, and will be moved to tears seeing the brooch. His father had it made when she was born, to celebrate her birth even if his wife died in childbirth. Years after Livia and her father had serious setbacks at their farm, and he resumed his adventurer life to seek fortune. The rest of his party was composed of Riverfork former soldiers. Livia will not have much to thanks PC’s as she leads a modest life (could be a serving maid, small artisan or even “entertainer”, to DM’s discretion), but will do what she can.
The Darkers will not care about dead adventurers, but eventually they’ll force Albog and his ogres to fully obey Golbag, or else. It’s possible that minions of The Last One will try to use Albog to their advantage.
24 The South Guard Post. This building serves as a guard post for Albog’s tribe. A single guard (Ogre 1, C) mans the post during the day. During the night, the passage is blocked by a makeshift barrier, and two large dogs are chained to a nearby post.
25 The Mound. Once the tomb of powerful chiefs, firstly a gnoll, then a orc, later a ogre, the mound was occupied by a black pudding in the last decade. The creature ate everything inside the mound, some humanoids, some humans and several animals. The ogres recently started to use him as a garbage disposal system
26-27 This isolated building is partially dug into an outcropping near the main hill. It was originally part of a craftsmen neighborhood, but is now occupied by Hort-mool, a lone goblinoid shaman of Thanatos (Goblin 8/Shaman 6, C). The shaman is subservient to the Last One, but is otherwise not aggressive -- he knows he alone is outmatched. He is also quite careful in hiding his true allegiance, although he has Thanatos holy symbols tattooed all over his chest and waist, which he keeps covered at all times.
Interesting… If he’s a goblin he could have been the spy of the Last One in the upper level before the Darkers, and after them he still is, but he pretends to be a lone harmless herbalist... probably he has given free potions to the ogres over the years to gain their trust, so they always let him be.. he should have a name and be in telepathic contact with the Last One :-) How PCs could expose him? tattoos could give a clued indeed, but he should be a smart fellow and, if they come as enemies of the Darkers he could offer to accompany them, only to betray them to the Last One later…
32 This group of room was a small fortress built by Achelos’ troops from 396 to 425 AC, later destroyed (only two small barely visible old coat of arms remain engraved on the walls), rebuilt for the last time by ogres in 955 AC.
Buried 1 meter under these rooms there is the mass grave of the soldiers of the Kingdom of Achelos massacred in 425 AC by minions of The Last One. Their remains are quite hard to find but very interesting historically as they have weapons, clothes, coins and other small objects of the time.
34 This newer temple might have been built by the Traladarans, and dedicated to Zirchev. It has been abandoned for years, but Zirchev’s protection still hangs over it in some way (perhaps a devotee of Zirchev can receive the effects of a Bless spell, the first time he prays here).
35 The cyclopean walls of this building protect the smithy. This laboratory is a mix of craftsman shop and edge wizard’s den. Urgal (Ogre 4/Wicca 1, C) monopolizes the knowledge of iron working in the village, and jealously protect his trade secrets. This means few Ogres except Urgal’s assistants (two Ogre 1, chosen for their immense strength and equally immense stupidity) venture here, for fear of being deemed as spies by the smith. On the other hand, any attack on Urgal would raise the ires of the tribe -- without their prized smith, they would have to pay high prices to the Blackstone Orcs for iron items rather than pay just for the raw ore.
36 Rolbur (Ogre 5/Shaman 3, C), an Ogre Shaman of Jammudaru, lives in this hut with three apprentices (all three are Ogre 2/Shaman 1, C).
37 Market. This area is used by the Ogre tribes as a market and forum. Golbag sometimes harangues his followers from the roof of the building in area 12. During the day, 1d6+2 Ogres can be found here on their own business, and there is a 50% chance of an encounter at night (1d4 Ogres).
From 38 to 47. The Necropolis. A gnoll settlement from 313 to 396 AC, this area became a necropolis attached to the new Ogre city of 725-788 AC and successive periods. Partially ruined by time, it’s still inhabited by Jomulg, an undead Ogre shaman (mummy), buried here in 787 AC and since then become the stubborn defender of the place. He is able to animates some old but armed human skeletons, long dead mercenaries and soldiers of the dissolved kingdom of Achelos (room 38) for protection.
From 995 onwards the Ogres have begun to use the necropolis again, under the strict vigilance of Jomulg, who usually rest with his grave goods in room 40.
Room 41 has become instead the meager home of Vraag, an ogre undertaker who was assigned to this job for theft punishment. He hates it, is scared to death by Jomulg and keeps whining about his life. He will offer to join any PCs group just to escape the place. He knows almost everything about this level. .
After the arrival of the Darkers Jomulg is much more active here, working with a cleric of Nyx to animate as intelligent undead several ogres and giants buried here.
The Last One sent minions to destroy Jomulg several times, but they all failed. He could have done it himself, but he didn’t because the undead ogre was useful to keep random intruders away. If he ever decide to attack the Darkers however he’ll send G’kur (see below) to kill him.
39 Hidden inside what appear to be a full, solid wall there is the ancient tomb of G’kur, gnoll leader from 313 to 337 AC, cleric of Thanatos and dormant vampire that The Last One has left here for future use. The tomb contains armor, weapons and riches. G’kur will rise and be quite unhappy if his tomb is opened, but succeeding in discovering it should be really hard. If it happens at night, The Last One could even send one of his minions (See Followers of The Last One encounter table) to aid him.
42-45 The big central area of the necropolis contains several tombs of ogres and giants, some from centuries ago, some just of one or two years ago. All of them are usually large slabs of stone and often contains simple silver or copper jewels, weapons and armors.
Everywhere on the floor there are also the remains of many human soldiers and adventurers that Jomulg killed when he surprised them searching the necropolis. He will animate them as skeletons if necessary.
The more recent remains are just some years old, like a group of young sheared karameikans, three boys and two girls, who came from Luln. They can be identified by several personal items. Their parents, and later Lady Sasha herself, never stopped to look for them and would be happy to receive news of their sad fate.
44 The preserved tomb of a giant leader with a passage to the below level.
Encounter Tables (Sidebars?)
Followers of the Last One (1d6)
1 - Hort-mool, Goblin Shaman (see Area 26)
2 - Homing Giant Vampire Bat (carries a message tied to one of its claws, written in an obscure, debased dialect)
3 - Minor vampires? The Last one is powerful enough to have vampire followers… I would go with a party of adventurers entirely composed of vampires.. they could be people that the Last One caught exploring the ruins… they would be encountered only at night obviously… not an easy encounter for PCs but the ruins aren’t meant for low level PCs anyway...
Vampire (7 HD, this undead was spawned by the Last one and is still bound to his master).
4- Gnoll ghost (Lesser Banshee? A true ghost would be too much here)
5- A visiting Thanaton (cleric of Thanatos) from Thyatis or Darokin (C7, C). The DM can use this encounter to plant a lead or clue to leading to one of these nations.
6- If there is another minion of the Last One during this encounter, he appears to be talking to an invisible person. However, Detect Invisible spells and similar powers do not reveal any presence, as the minion is contacting the Last One telepathically. Trying an ESP on the minion at this time may result in damage to the spellcaster (ST vs Spells to avoid) as he glimpses into the terrible thought processes of the Vampire Lord. Failing the ST causes a -2 penalty to STs against mind attacks, fear, and similar effects for 48 hours, as well as an appropriate reaction (fleeing, freezing or panic). A successful ST allows the spellcaster to break contact before damage is done. If there are no minions of the Last One, the PCs feel observed, sense danger in the form of a shiver to the spine, or experience other uncomfortable sensations for but a moment.
Humanoid scouting parties (1d8)
1 - Ogre shepherds (1d3 Ogres, NM). These Ogres are members of the local Ogre tribe. They will report the PCs to their leaders if they survive the encounter, and will be reported as missing otherwise. A party of Ogre warriors will be dispatched to check on them if they fail to report after three days.
2 - Orc hunters (3d4 Orcs 1, led by an Orc 4 sergeant and accompanied by 2d4 trained giant ferrets). These Rotting Snakes hunters are likely to attack a small party, hoping in an easy prey. They will give up easily if a few of them fall.
3 - Orc scouts (1d4+3 Orc 2, all with the Stealth skill). These goblinoids belong to the Blackstone, Jagged Claw or Rotting Snake tribe (choose one or roll 1d3). They are sizing up the Ogres and/or the Darkers, depending on the time when they are met. Their reactions depend on the tribe they belong to, but they are unlikely to attack all but the weakest parties. They might parley, offering an exchange of information.
4 - Orc Warrior on a vision quest (Orc 7/Shaman 1 with totemic animal spirit companion, roll 1d4: 1- Grey wolf, 2- Boar, 3- Mountain Lion, 4- Rock Baboon). This Orc is a spirit warrior, a type of goblinoid warrior-monk with minor shamanic skills. He is following a vision quest, which entails following a totemic spirit in a long trek which is supposed to have some spiritual significance. The Orc is not especially interested in the party, but will fight to defend himself and his animal spirit companion.
5 - Gark, Orc Trader (Orc 4/Wicca 1, with Barter and Loot skills). Gark is a self-reliant, tough goblinoid with a single eye. He has a selection of fetishes and charms to offer. These include healing draughts (1d4+1 HP each), antidotes, and protective charms (+1 to one class of ST or AC for 24 hours, only one charm is effective at every time). All his goods are fairly repulsive by human standards (e.g., a healing potion may have a weird taste and/or a turbid, greenish color), and lose their potency within one week. On the other hand, Gark is reliable, willing to deal with non-goblinoids, and accepts all currency (after checking that coins are truly made of gold, of course).
6 - Achelos Outlaws (1d4+2 F2, 1d3 T3, led by a level 5 NPC). These Traladaran outlaws are en route to meet a larger party of rebels, but do not yet know what their mission will be.
7 - Hill Giant scout (Hill Giant, NM). This Hill Giant is a scout from an outpost to the north. He is either looking for the Ogre chiefs or for the Darkers. His tribal leader wants to meet either of them (depending on who controls Koskatep at this time) to propose a trade alliance.
8 - Hobgoblin spies (2d3 Hobgoblin 1, lead by an Hobgoblin 5 sub-chief). These Hobgoblins come from the Black Eagle Barony and belong to the Roaring Fiends tribe.