Side Trek: Borhněv: The Darkness beyond the Tower

See, In the Halls of the Mage-King, area 35. Batcave, page 38.
 

Overview

The party chases a group of small, winged creatures of a halfling-like stature, through the tight confines of twisting underground passages for what seems to be miles. With their quarry always seeming to be just beyond their reach, the group suddenly finds themselves on a steep ledge overlooking a precipitous drop to a blasted landscape several hundred feet below. Before the party lay a valley surrounded entirely by shear, black mountains, appearing like the walls of an evil, gothic citadel. Razor-sharp mesas sprout from the valley floor at irregular intervals, very many of these seem to be lighted internally, as the glowing pinpricks of windows dot the tall, thin structures.

The party’s quarry—momentarily forgotten as the the adventurers took in the sight before them—is joined others of their kind (werebats; see the Usherwood Adventures Expansion for OSRIC) as the creatures, now numbering in the dozens, scuttle or fly in the in the party’s direction.

Details

The gothic world is dominated by legions of the undead, and those creatures normally associated with the same. Such creatures as wolves, worgs, evil birds, bats, rats, snakes, etc. are common. Also common to these lands are werecreatures of all species, wights, wraiths, ghouls, gargoyles, will-o-wisps, and other entities normally associated with cemetery-like settings. Less common, but still prevalent, the party will encounter skeletons, shadows, zombies, and ghosts. Rarely, low-level demons or devils may also be encountered here as such creatures strike agreements with the evil lords throughout the valley.

If the party proceeds further to the valley floor, they will find the landscape dead and barren, where only evil-looking brambles scratch out a meager living. Dark creatures scurry between the cracked ground and the basaltic rocks that choke the ground. A lengthy search of the area reveals a broad, travel-worn road traveling straight away from the cave the party emerged from. Following the road reveals the road to be traveling in a direct route to one of the window-dotted mesas in the distance. The distance to the mesa is deceptive as the party finds themselves through the ‘day’ making little ground on the mysterious tower. Unsettling to the party, is that the sun never seems to rise, locking this land a perpetual night, where the moon is full 2 days of every 7.

The towers that are rise throughout valley are actually citadels of undead lords that constantly fight and scheme for control of the land about them. Most commonly, these ‘governors’ are vampires or liches. However, there are several evil powerful clerics and magic-users also. These latter lords and ladies will always have a portal within their tower that is a doorway so they may travel between their mortal abode and the tower the party finds themselves in.

Libram of Bitter Darkness: This magical tome is secured somewhere deep inside one of the myriad mesas, and is rumored to be guarded by traps, devices, and creatures so foul, they are even feared by the legions of undead that occupy the land. The Libram has changed hands hundreds of times over thousands of years as the power struggles wax and wane. It is rumored that the creature able to translate the unknown language of the Libram will inherit the power to control all undead creatures, wherever they may hide. However, more ominous is the rumor that the Libram will grant the reader the power to destroy any plane of existence of the reader’s choosing. Unknown however, is that upon translating the very last word of the Libram, magiks will be released that will utterly destroy the very fabric of the cosmos, effectively causing Everything and Everytime to crumble and vanish.

It is universally believed by the governors that the current owner (whose identity is not currently known), has translated more than half of the Libram’s 10,000 pages.

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