The Great Archwizard betrayed the elven alliance and took the throne of the Dark Lord. The elves are now gone and the Archwizard rule over the free world with his army of orcs and humans. His college of wizardry oversee cities, divine spellcasting is now forbidden. The eternal forest of the elves is slowly dying and is now in a state of eternal Autumn. Pushed by misery, desperate adventurers and renegades explore the forest in search of elven treasures and magical artefacts.
I removed the elf class (to keep elven culture mysterious) and added some advanced classes like the druid and the ranger. I also included some classes that seem relevant to the premise like the half-elf and the half-orc.
The Ruddy Dawn Forest
My goal is to run (and craft) a forest mega dungeon. the overland map is a point crawl but each points correspond to a geomorph tile when you zoom in. This way I get a series of interconnected dungeon crawl areas that contain a mix of empty and interactive "rooms" (clearings) and the feel of crawling through "corridors" (paths).
This is the point crawl overland map I gave to the players, we are at the start of the campaign so the links are not revealed yet, my GM map naturally contain more information. The colors zones correspond to the "levels" of the dungeon, the deeper you venture into the forest the more dangerous are the encounters and the more wondrous are the treasures.
When the group arrive to a point we switch to dungeon crawling mode. To generate the forest map, I used caves geomorph and redrew the rock as forest, the tunnels and corridors as paths and the caves and rooms as clearings.
The big difference compared to a dungeon is that there is less uses of torches but I established that the forest is very dense and that it get dark very early. Also the forest "walls" are porous, characters can move through the trees at half speed but this also mean that during random encounters, monsters can emerge through the walls.
I wrote four settlements for the adventurers to come from and to return to after their expeditions. The settlement they chose to rest in will influence the gear, services and retainers available. Also possibly different kinds of troubles.
Grey Port (large port city)
Grey Port (large port city)
- Afflicted by: unemployment and corruption
- Occupied by the 4th Shadow Hand Legion
- Wizard Tower (loyal to the ArchWizard)
- House Silver-Mare (Lawful knights, secretly resist)
- Black market, thief guilds
- Great library (Engineer & Sage specialists)
- Know for their candles that resist the sea breeze
- Secretly worship the old gods in the sewers
Wilder Town (trade post forest village)
- Afflicted by: famine and bandit raids
- Trade with barbarian wildlings
- Protected by House Willow-Spear (Neutral knights in exile)
- Know for their wolf-dogs and archers
- Specialists: Animals trainers
- Worship the old gods in the forest
- Druidic sect: the Mother
Gentle Anvil (small vale village)
- Afflicted by: poverty and taxation
- Blacksmith and armorer specialists
- Stone quarry
- Dwarfs trading post
- Know for their headstrong mules
- Brave peasants and villagers
- Proud torch makers, love bonfires
- Secretly worship the old gods in their daily life
- Druidic sect: the Maiden
Castle Basilisk (swamp village protected by a fortress)
- Afflicted by sickness and scarcity
- House Heron-claw (Chaotic knights, boldly defiant)
- Harbor many renegades
- Great healers and poisoners
- Specialists: alchemists, spies and mercenaries
- Boar hunters and great cooks
- Openly worship the Old gods
- Druidic sect: the Crone
I am tempted to enable the PCs to be able to spend their gold to try to help the settlements but I am not certain yet how to handle that.