Today’s inspiration is a campaign idea. Enjoy!
After death, the souls of the departed must find their way across the Underworld to reach the Heavenly Realms. Monstrous beasts, cruel demons, and unnatural hazards riddle the Underworld and claim many of these souls, snuffing them out of existence forever.
For generations, people have had to endure that their beloved may have never reached the promised lands, but perished in the jaws of a dire crocodile or been burned by a demon. Most spent their lives sacrificing to the gods, hoping they will guide them to safety.
When a goat herder accidentally found an entrance to the Underworld in the remote Green Mountains, King Ovin knew he could change all that. He hired teams of adventurers to chart the Underworld and publish the findings in a guidebook all could use to reach safety. Unfortunately, the dangers of the Underworld do not limit themselves to the dead, and three teams have already fail to return, save for a lone adventurer, too traumatized to be of much use. The King has had to search ever wider and up the reward to find any adventurers brave enough, or stupid enough, to face the Underworld.
Today we visit the town of Sleepy Ridge which was built out of the stones from a forgotten cemetery.
Although the town of Sleepy Ridge lays less than half a day’s travel from a major trade road, the citizens keep to themselves and the only visitors are those seeking the town’s famous mediums. In fact, houses in Sleepy Ridge all have walled gardens topped with broken glass and the few shops operate on a written-order basis only. A catalogue hangs on a string outside each store along with paper and writing implements for customers to write down their order. Once finished, they place the order through a slot in the wall and within the hour, the order is ready for pick up. However, there is one form of socialization accepted in Sleepy Ridge: the Smokers’ Lounges. Inside these cloudy rooms the mediums of the town set up shop. They’ll see anyone for a price.
Paved streets march between the walled gardens of the residential houses and an eerie quiet lays heavy in the air. Broken glass stuck in the walls’ mortar glints in the moonlight. The corpses of cigarette clog the streets’ gutters and their stink mixes with the city’s general perfume of urine and mildew. The snap of someone lighting a match breaks the silence and the bright flash of light momentarily illuminates a doorway where several figures stand. A pair of gloved fingers lifts the flame to a cigarette squeezed between two painted lips which take a heavy pull and then exhale spirals of smoke. After a moment, the smokers retreats into a doorway. Continue reading “Sleepy Ridge: The Town Built Out of Gravestones”
The finale to the Crystal Dust Road! Links to: Part 1 and Part 2.
The Surrounding Countryside
Below are a few suggested encounters to use if your PCs decide to explore the countryside. If playing a short game, you may want to skip directly to the graveyard.
The cliffs near the trade road hold numerous caves. Before they were captured by Ergithia, the goblins used one of the caves as their home. If the PCs find this cave, read the following out loud:
The air is heady with the smell of pine and damp earth, but a cool breeze wafts up from a man-sized hole in the mountain’s rock. A rope tied around a nearby tree disappears into the opening.
If the PCs go inside, read the following out loud:
The rope leads to a large, natural cavern big enough to comfortably house 20 people. Against one wall stand racks of bunk beds, held together with twine. In another corner, glass instruments and colorful bottles lie strewn about on a table. Pots, blankets, firewood and food rot on the ground.
Continue reading “Part 3 of the Crystal Dust Road – The Finale”