A great thing for you and your heroes to have is a place called home, a place to keep them grounded in an area you can grow out of. As of just recently, my group had come across one for the formation of their monster hunting guild. This fortress has history, of war, tears, and pride. A history that I thought I would share with you.
Fort Varen is located in on an elevated cliff face, in between and overlooking a river fork with two nearby hamlets located to the north and south. In a time where the halflings and humans were at war, there was a lot riding on the fort becoming a roost for the Griffin Riders. This would not come to fruition, at the height of the war the fort would be taken by halfling dire wolf riders. To prevent it from being used as a roost, the Grand Marshal would have the second floor torn apart and burned. After the war was done, the fort was left abandoned by both sides. Technically the fort still belongs to the humans, but seeing as the griffin riders were wiped out by the Wraith Lords there was no reason for them to repair it, leaving it in despair.
Ruins naturally attract monsters, cults, brigands, and other nuances, and after being abandoned for nearly a hundred years it is bound to fall into fall into the occupancy of unsavory folk. This is when the list come in, and it should go something like this:
“A rumor has been traveling around that Fort Varen has been recently occupied by…”
- A hag coven that has been kidnaping people from the nearby hamlets for their rituals
- Marauders who rob travelers and take prisoners for blackmailing people
- A manticore or chimera who has been praying on the locals
- A fire giant that has been using the fort as an overworld base, and has been kidnapping locals to fully restore the fort
- Ogers who pick up local travelers for eating
- A vampire who is using it as a daytime resting place
- A large pack of dire wolves led by an alpha pack of hell hounds
- A lich using the dead around the fort to keep people from intruding
- A cult to a mad god, that kidnaps travelers to make sacrifices
- A pack of werewolves that are planning to go on a grand hunt in the nearby area
Unknown to any current owner of Fort Varen though is the hidden dragon hoard. Not long before it’s recent tenant, a dragon had come through the area and had his minions build a puzzle door in a hidden passageway inside the fort. The door requires three crystal rods to solve, and have been scattered in different locations. This was taken from a youtube channel called TheDMsCraft and I leave a link to his video about the door here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uqmGeo8OZs
What is in the Dragons hoard is up to you but it should be noted that the dragon will be back for his treasure at some point. It can come now, it can come in a year or two, it may never come. But it would give the heroes a good incentive to rebuild the keep so they can protect their claim to the horde as the dragon might lay waste to anything between it and it’s treasure. Anyway, I really hope that this article really inspires you and gives you something to keep your campaign moving. Please if you like this article share it around or subscribe to my blog for more every week. Till next time, keep one eye on the sky.