I present the fifteenth of my A to Z Challenge series of posts this year, which describes 26 different locations in the World of Samardan campaign setting, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today, O is for Orkelium, the Forked Tower.
(Hex) Orkelium, the Forked TowerAmbiance: This unusual tower of the Ancient Ones has almost impossible angles and unusual extensions, resembling a dead tree more than a true spire. Portions of the Orkelium appear to retain residual power, based on lit windows seen at night in certain sections.
History: Orkelium was likely a marvel of engineering, even in the time of the Ancient Ones. Unbeknownst to the world at large, a race of psychic alien parasites known as the Farleni now inhabit the structure, having been released from containment by unwitting explorers. Hordes of creatures under the mental influence of the Farleni have begun to attack nearby settlements and ancient sites, as more sinister plots have secretly been set in motion.
Encounters: Mind-controlled creatures and humanoids are the first wave of defense for the Farleni of Orkelium. Deeper in the complex, the Farleni themselves work on their master plan to conquer this dying world and make contact with their homeworld, using whatever technology of the Ancient Ones they can locate in their quest. Common hazards and encounters include automated defenses, psychic traps and unusually intelligent beasts.
Treasure: The Farleni possess the world's most advanced collection of lost technology of the Ancient Ones. With the addition to power crystals that the Mind Masters of Orkelium are smuggling in from Torkobalem, the wealth of artifacts is almost beyond imagination. (Of course, if too much power goes away, the structure will collapse, because anti-gravity modules are no longer supporting the unusual structure, but that's beside the point.) In addition, the Orkelium possesses records that detail the lost history of Samardan, including the origins of the Farleni and what happened to the Ancient Ones.
Adventure Hooks: Adventure hooks for this site could include the following:
- Pansanu Buramadan of Garsol is hiring an expeditionary force to confront the Hordes of Orkelium. He believes that the beasts are being controlled by exceptional trainers, given their extreme coordination during assaults and the systematic capture of various resources, and Pansanu Buramadan does not like what this portends.
- Sen Logano Semaviran, a Rakran sage of Pordel, wants to explore the Orkelium in search of functional technology, based on reports of well-lit windows on the Forked Tower.
- The daughter of a farmer tearfully seeks hunters to track down her father, find out why he has abandoned his family, and even bring him back if his mind has become broken. The farmer, Minan Sadanat, was last seen after the last raid of the Hordes, travelling peaceably with the creatures that slew her mother and eldest brother.
- The Order of the Amber Eye, a mystic order of Sarrani oracles, is concerned by visions of dark forces at work in the Orkelium, and are soliciting adventurers to investigate the ruins and report back.
- The small village of Sandros has been destroyed by the Hordes of Orkelium, and other villages are hiring hunters and mercenaries to exterminate the hordes before their own lands are attacked.
These are the ruins I've elected to use as the home base for the Supreme Big Bad Guys of the World of Samardan setting. The Farleni are creatures from another planet, and were sealed away into containment shortly after their arrival. Millennia later, a foolish band of adventurers has finally released them, and their mission of conquest and contact has been their main drive ever since. They obviously desire communication with their homeworld, and possibly even transportation home, but given the state of affairs on this dying world, this appears to be a very difficult task to undertake.
Standard Disclaimer: As I have not yet decided where to set this particular location on the map as yet, I've left a placeholder to remind me to come back to this in the future. Later on, I'll replace (Hex) with the actual hex location, when I put all of this together into a single document.