Monday, April 5, 2010

Stairs of the Lady - Stream of Consciousness First Draft

Because I've always been Mr. "Too Many Irons in the Fire" - I was thinking the other day about a megadungeon that I ponder off and on - the halls and caverns under the tower of an Archmage - not exactly a Mad Archmage (though he's got some artifacts that were created by mad mages...) and certainly not Elminster or Fizban or the like. Damoric started life as a cleric back in our old Monty Haul days - my goodness, I wish I could find that character sheet (or I should say sheets - since his equipment list almost certainly was multiple pages of magical junk hauled out of dungeons). Alas, the character sheet is gone - but the name lives on as a high level mage in the world of Daen Ral.

Damoric is a benevolent sort, though he rarely takes on apprentices these days. He spends a lot of his time down in the depths under his tower doing...well, archmage things. In the dungeons, should anyone have need to delve, are amazing constructs and elemental guardians, imprisoned demons and "deities" (see my post On the Nature of Worshiped Beings for a bit more on that or check out the cosmology of Daen Ral). By the way, the isometric map I posted last week was the very first "megadungeon" map I drew - and it was the dungeons under Damoric's tower...

Anyway, one area of the dungeon is the Stair of the Lady***:

The chamber with the stair is circular, 100' in diameter and rises 300' from floor to ceiling. The stair climbs the wall of the chamber. In the center of the chamber is statue of a robed woman, 120' tall.

The entrance to the chamber is at eye level to the statue, about 100' up. When any living being enters the chamber, the statue's eyes glow. I haven't decided on the effect yet (perhaps it is a "know alignment" spell - red for evil, blue for good, purple for neutral - they would glow with greater intensity the greater the balance of good/neutral/evil in the area of effect - say a 10' square area at the entrance - or it could be a type of charm person - or a bless, curse, cure, hmmm, dunno yet). The point is, this is the entrance to the chamber, PCs cannot avoid the eyes so I don't want to completely hose them, but I do want something cool to happen.

The stairs climb up - with many landings and side chambers radiating off the staircase - leading to an observatory - kind of a strange, magical "you can see almost any place in the world if you know how to look" place - tended by Grey Watchers (new creatures native to Daen Ral - they'll be part of a later post).

Going down the steps leads to other landings and chambers radiating off the staircase as well - eventually coming to the main floor - the statue (which maybe could actually animate if the right circumstances occur) and the Great Bronze Doors (they're always bronze, aren't they?) which lead to the deeper parts of the dungeon.

Damoric would have this area in place as a safeguard - perhaps only certain alignments could pass or only those with certain magical symbols - or even those of sufficient power (read: level) can pass. Maybe even only those with the Mark of Damoric (how about magical tattoos?) can pass - and that might then affect what the Lady's eyes do - and whether or not the statue will animate...

*** So this little area was inspired by an entry in last year's One Page Dungeon Contest - The Dawn Haven:

I was just looking over THIS YEAR'S entries (because I thought it came from this bunch - but it was last year's) and, wow, what a bunch of really great maps - maybe someday I'll actually read the adventures :)

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