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Daggercoast Great Ruins Bandit Hideout 60×40 Battlemap & Adventure

Daggercoast Great Ruins Bandit Hideout Ruined Desert Outpost Fortress Free 60x40 Battlemap & Adventure
Daggercoast Great Ruins Bandit Hideout Free 60x40 Battlemap & featuring a dark magical artifact. VTT ready!
Daggercoast Great Ruins Bandit Hideout Free 60×40 Battlemap & featuring a dark magical artifact. VTT ready!

Daggercoast Great Ruins Bandit Hideout Free 60×40 Battlemap & Adventure

The Eye of Zor

While staying at a seaside town you’ve heard whispers about an old seaside ruin that appears to have been uncovered recently by a storm. Talking to some of the townsfolk, particularly the fishermen, you find the ruin is half a days sail down the coast and can only be accessed by boat due to all the sheer cliffs. Fishermen who have sailed past the entrance also claim to have seen lights radiating from its entrance.  Some of the more learned clerical folk or librarians within the town may be able to give you more information about the history of the location, including its name which is Khazad Zor.

Tomes containing information about Khazad Zor, claim that it was a thriving port stronghold used by the dwarves of the underground to access to coastal cities of man for trade hundreds of years ago, but after an unspecified disaster the stronghold simply went missing.   If further research is done you may be able to find one rare diary in particular by a dwarven sailor who was away from the stronghold at the time of the disaster. Inside the diary the dwarf references an object called “The Eye of Zor” which he claims was the source of the prosperity of the dwarves but with the stronghold lost, he fears for their future. Other pages aren’t as interesting, mostly focusing on the mundane work required to keep a trade vessel going.

Making your way to Khazad Zor, you can either take your own vessel or potentially hire a fisherman’s vessel at the town for a reasonable fee. The trip is uneventful, just hours of sheer rocky cliffs and the occasional sunken vessel. Finally ahead you can see a small beach with a staircase carved into the cliff face, light flickering in its dark entry way reminiscent of torch light.

Investigating further you find yourself in old corridors carved right from the earth. While damaged you can still make out the architecture being dwarven in design. A fresh torch burns, illuminating a dwarven statue in mountain armor which has been carved into an alcove at the top of the stairs.

Following the torches you pass by some crates which have clearly been brought here recently before finding yourself outside a set of iron doors. Listening carefully you can hear people inside talking in frustrated voices about what to do next now that their previous plan failed and got one of them killed.

If you open the door, five humans in various armor draw their weapons as if anticipating an attack, shocked for a moment to see you. They ask who you are and why you’re here. If you explain you’re here to explore the ruins, the leader, an attractive woman dressed like an archaeologist, introduces herself, motioning to the others to stand down.

She says her name is Ceres and she and her comrades are here to study the ruins and in particular an artifact which has been buried here for hundreds of years called The Eye of Zor.

If pressed on what she hopes to find, she explains that she hopes to uncover the cause of the sudden disappearance of the Khazad Zor primarily, but if you’ve insightful you might notice that that does not seem to be the whole truth.

If you mention that you were told that Khazad Zor was buried and only recently uncovered by a storm she will retort that that is just coincidence and that the records she has previously found indicate that Khazad Zor wasn’t buried, it disappeared, as in gone from this plane of existence.

If you ask what she and her comrades were arguing about before you entered the room she will look away, unnerved for a second before mentioning that they actually found The Eye of Zor but have run into a hitch.

You see, Ceres continues, the eye appears to be surrounded by a magical protection spell which stops anyone from approaching it. Ceres spent the last week reading through hundreds of records left behind by the dwarfs and eventually found mention that the eye was under constant protection and could only be accessed if both the high priests and the lord of the stronghold were to come together. Each had a magical rod and when combined they would lower the barrier that surrounds the orb.

On top of that Ceres says she managed to find records noting that the two high priests were buried with these rods within Khazad Zor. The problem is the crypt where they should be is crawling with undead. She explains they already got one of them before they managed to retreat and bar the door but perhaps you could help?

If you agree, she smiles before showing you a map of the areas her and the others have explored. She explains that the crypt has two entrances, one in the south of the complex which goes directly to the two high priests tombs but the door is locked by an intricate design which they couldn’t get past. The other door is in the north, which is where they entered but ended up having to flee. She explains that while that door it’s barred for the moment it’s probably your best bet of entry if you’re not a capable lock-picker.

If you choose to enter the crypt from the north you must fight your way past half a dozen undead before arriving at the two high priests tombs, on the way you find the body of one of Ceres’ men as she described. If you instead lock-pick or otherwise open the other door you may directly enter the chamber containing the two high priests tombs.

At the feet of each tomb you find small stone vaults containing the rods you seek. The vaults are engraved in dwarven saying let those of wisdom and strength wield The Eye of Zor. If you attempt to take the rods without having either of those traits, the spectral spirits of the high priests rise and attack you. Opening the high priest’s tombs you find a variety of gold, silver and jewels scattered around skeletal corpses.

Returning to Ceres’ she is excited to see you with two of the rods. She explains that while you were gone, she figured out where the final rod might be. She calls you over and shows you an old scroll which talks about the lord of the stronghold, who shockingly was named Zor. She’s not sure of the connection to the orb or if the orb was simply named after him but what she did find was that Zor had a type of throne room made for himself which is located in the northeast of the complex. She’s not completely sure if that’s where the last rod is but it’s the best place to start looking, she suggests.

Assuming your success, Ceres says she’ll get her men to start setting up in the chamber with the orb so they can get to work examining it right away. Making your way to the throne room, you find Zor’s skeletal body slumped in his chair. In his left hand he holds the rod you seek, while his right hand carries an ornate axe.

Approaching him, his eyes light like flame and his head tilts toward you. In a ghostly dwarven voice he calls out to you asking who you are and how you have come to be here, asking if the everdark has finally receded?

If you ask what the everdark is, Zor explains that hundreds of years ago a disaster occurred which caused The Eye to take his stronghold somewhere else. He and his followers could not leave, all around the stronghold was black and those who stepped into the black never returned.

Months passed and supplies dwindled. Many choose to enter the black which they had named the everdark, until but few remained. Eventually even those lost hope and guided by the two high priests, they took their lives. Only he remained, Zor continues, he interred the dead in the crypt and sat upon his throne and slept for what has seemed eternity.

If you ask Zor about The Eye, he will look spitefully at you, before explaining that it harbors great danger and should never have been created, for its power cannot be controlled. If you ask about destroying it, Zor will explain that while the orb is empowered it is indestructible. That it cannot be destroyed for its power comes from beyond this world, from the place only he now understands as the everdark.

With that, Zor looks at you in thought before asking you if you’d be willing to take his rod and hide it far away from this place, explaining that the only way to keep others from accessing the orb is to make sure they can never touch it, to keep the magical barrier in place for eternity. He eyes you keenly watching for any deception as you answer.

If you truly agree to hide the rod, he grimly smiles and says that perhaps with it gone, he may finally rest. If you, however, try to lie to him about your intent, his keen insight may give you away, resulting in him attacking you for your deception. Either way once you have the rod Ceres’ eagerly awaits your return, rushing up to you to ask if you have the rod.

If you lie and say that it wasn’t there Ceres will be furious, yelling at you that it must be there. If you ask why she is so angry Ceres will almost start crying, before explaining that she’s in deep with the mob and if she doesn’t recover the orb she and her comrades are as good as dead. This was her last chance. If any of Ceres or her crew figure out you do in fact have the rod they will attempt to bargain with you but if forced to they will attack having no other choice. Surprisingly they’re decent combatants and put up a good fight.

If you instead choose to give Ceres the rod, she’s ecstatic. Running up to the magical barrier, she combines all the rods and just like expected the magic fades. Grabbing the orb, she turns to you and freezes with a look of shock on her face. Her hands begin to turn black before it quickly spreads to the rest of her body and before your eyes she turns to ash. The orb hits the stairs with a clang and it rolls towards your feet, blackness spreading wherever it touches, like an ink vial that has been knocked over.

Ceres crew say screw this before bolting out of the ruins, leaving you alone with the orb.

GM’s Notes: The Eye of Zor was a powerful magical artifact created hundreds of years ago with the intent of allowing time manipulation on a large scale, including both to the past and the future but the artificers working on it could never find an actually supply of magical energy that would feed such powerful magics.

Eventually after many years a stranger came to them, teaching them of a place of infinite energy (The place Zor would call the everdark) and for his knowledge he wanted nothing. The artificers, more smart than wise, agreed to use this power source from this strange man. The Eye was then gifted to Zor and wise and strong leader of his time to oversee the expansion of the dwarven realms to the coastal lands of the humans.

With the aid of the Eye, Zor cleared the oceans of pirates for anytime he lost a fleet he would simply return to a time before they were lost. He would always know the best trade deals to make and when to have his merchants sail to avoid all of the worse weather. Anytime anything went wrong, he simply reset the world from his stronghold and used his knowledge of future events to shape his plans.

Eventually however, the downside of the orb became apparent for the energy was ultimately unstable and rifts began to form in the vicinity of the orb, expelling powerful necrotic energy turning any it touched to black ash.

Despite this Zor continued its use, now addicted to its power it had given him. That was until everything went black and he and his followers found themselves fully surrounded by the black of the everdark. Seemingly the stronghold had fallen into a rift in its entirety where it stayed for hundreds of years. Eventually the stronghold returned, the rifts ceasing from lack of use of the orb.

If the players try to touch the orb unless they have resistances to necrotic type damage they may suffer a similar fate to Ceres or at least suffer heavy damage to the limb they touch it with, but using a creative method perhaps the players could get the orb back on its stand and activate the barrier again before disperse the rods as Zor advised them too. If the players find a way to hold the orb without taking damage they may too use its time traveling powers which affect an area similar in size to Zor’s stronghold but which each use they run the risk of creating new rifts to the everdark or worse.

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