Monday, July 31, 2017

Adventure Seed: Grendel Keep

It is said that during the reign of, King Álvis, the last to rule from the Ivory Throne of Albion, there was a time of darkness. A cruel and malicious spirit, known only as The Grendel, had taken hold of the hearts of the people of Albion. War and strife swept the once gentle kingdom, setting brother against brother, mother against child. It was a time of discord and plague. Only the Ljósálfar King and his faithful lords and servants, were immune to the darkness that corrupted the land. The Grendel's hold began to tighten as an army of the strongest began to form under his black banner. The Kingdom of Albion would soon be forever lost, if not for the last desperate sacrifice of the Ljósálfar King.

King Álvis, and his champions rode into battle before The Grendel had finished consolidating its power. In disarray, the Armies of the Black Lord, were unable to keep the king and his men from entering the citadel of their master. A great struggle was joined between the Darkness and the Light. King Álvis, discharged the last of his legendary magics and with it the last of his immortality, bringing the fell horror of The Grendel to an end. The citadel was brought to ruin, and the armies serving the black banner dispersed across the land.

The surviving Ljósálfar lords, built a keep on the ruined site of The Grendel's citadel, and interned the body of their fallen king. Legend has it that the holy site serves as both a reminder of those dark times, and also to keep the powers of, The Grendel, from ever reforming.

Grendel Keep

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast - Map-A-Week Archives
Grendel Keep, can be located anywhere you wish in your campaign. The background story and the mythical Kingdom of Albion, are tales far older than anyone remembers, so they need not interfere with current, or past, story lines. These are just suggested story elements, and need not be used at your discretion. It is left to the Game Master whether or not "dungeon" levels from the Black Lord's Citadel still exist under the foundations of Grendel Keep.

The current lord of the keep is, Lord Aethelwulf, and Lady Bronwyn.

Ground Level: 
  • Courtyard (Lower Left) - Stables, and blacksmith's shop
  • Outer Bailey (Right) - Chapel (with guarded room down to the Tomb of King Álvis), well, training grounds, workshops, and storage
  • Inner Bailey (Upper Left) - Barracks, servants' quarters, kitchen, well, storage, basement of the Lord's Hall with servants' quarters, and the front steps leading up to the Lord's Hall entrance (accessible only by drawbridge)

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast - Map-A-Week Archives

Upper Level: 
  • Courtyard - Wheelhouse for portcullis at main gate
  • Outer Bailey - Living quarters over the chapel, library
  • Inner Bailey - Drawbridge and front doors to the Lord's hall (lowers out to top of steps out front), front hall, reception hall (middle wall can be opened to either side to extend the reception hall)

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast - Map-A-Week Archives

Upper Tower Levels of Lord's Hall:
  • Third Story (Left Map) - Private receiving room, council chamber, the Lord's study
  • Fourth Story (Right Map) - Private quarters and rooms of the Lord and Lady

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast - Map-A-Week Archives

Suggested NPCs:
  • Lord Aethelwulf - Lord of the surrounding lands, experienced knight
  • Lady Bronwyn - Both sorceress and priestess, she follows the Old Religion
  • Dame Llothbrau - Captain of the Guard, 8' tall half-ogre, looks almost completely human
  • Father Porthos - Shepherd of the Faithful, defender of the Crypt
  • Golden Tigeress & Silver Lion - twin brother and sister monks of the Gemini, pose as lowly servants of Father Porthos
  • Kilraven - Mysterious thief with a raven familiar, failed magician's apprentice turned priceless art collector.. (Up to no good?)
  • Schnickelfritz - A magician convinced that the Golden Grimoire can be found somewhere within the Keep

Suggested Adventure Ideas:
  • The Grendel is slowly re-awakening after centuries of recovery, causing bizarre random acts of violence to occur in local villages.
  • The Black Cult, once dedicated to The Grendel, have grown in power and are testing the waters to see if it is time to make a play for control of the area.
  • A maturing black dragon, driven from its parent's territory, has settled in the swamps not far from the Keep.
  • A clan of berserker raiders has landed on the shorelands, seeking wealth and glorious battle.
  • Legend tells that using a relic (a mummified body part) from King Álvis, can be used to cast Resurrection on a recently deceased mortal (that has died before their time).
  • The Golden Grimoire is rumored to be inside the Keep, guarded from prying eyes.

Resource Links:

Maps courtesy of Wizards of the Coast - Map-A-Week Archives. No claim to ownership, or copyright implied by this website.

The original Upper Tower map, in larger format can be found, HERE.
The original Upper Level map, in larger format can be found, HERE.
The original Ground Floor map, in larger format can be found, HERE.

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