Week 1 - The Quarry

#dungeon24 Week 1

A few years back I tried running a D&D5E campaign in my own homebrewed setting, based around the village of Wexford. I have lots of notes from that typed up using obsidian.md, and thought for #lore24 I would expand on that world, and for #dungeon24 would smack a megadungeon under Wexford (well, several days travel to the west). This first week of #lore24 is the history behind one of the entrances to the megadungeon. The megadungeon is being built with Old-School Essentials (OSE) in mind instead of D&D5E.

Day 001 - Sarcova Quarry

In the Kingdom of Aard are the Felestre Highlands - an enormous plateau rising hundreds of feet above the riverlands to the west, that ends at the Ukthar Range to the east. Like a bite taken from the western edge of the plateau is the Sarcova Quarry. Quality marble was cut from the cliff-face and either lowered down waiting wagons, or carted east to the towns and villages on the Highlands.

The quarry was abandoned 200 odd years ago at the beginning of the War of Corruption - when the magics of men opened gates to realms of evil and abomination.

A dispossessed goblin clan claimed the quarry as their own, having dug their way there through abandoned Underdark roads. They diverted a creek to run through the middle of the quarry - to form a small lake at the bottom, before it continued over the edge in a beautiful waterfall. Those goblins became known as the Stone Moss Goblins, and they carved their homes and halls into the walls of the quarry.

Day 002 - The Stone Moss Goblins

The goblins named their new home The Sun Caves - because of the setting sun shining into their tunnels and halls. They prospered in this forgotten corner of Aard and the Felestre Highlands. As their numbers doubled and doubled again, they explored more of the surrounding Underdark - some forgotten Deep Gnome city became a frontier town.

The Stone Moss Goblins thrived in their Sun Caves, until Duergar driven from the Ukthar Range to the East warred with the goblins and claimed most of the city.

When abominations fled the surface into the Underdark, the Duergar were stuck between goblins and monsters, and lost half their number in the first few days. Fearing for the safety of the Sun Caves should the Duergar fall, the Goblins formed an alliance with their old adversaries against the demons, and managed to prevail. Both factions are friendly to this day, although the goblins greatly outnumber the Duergar.

Day 003 - The Harpies

Surface dwellers were having a bad time of it as demons and abominations roamed the lands. One hundred years ago three Harpy Matriarchs joined their clamours together. They claimed Fort Dusk to the north, a few years before the War of Corruption ended (spoiler: the good guys won that War - demons vanquished back to their realm). They roosted, hunted and feuded there happily until a few years ago when The Crimson Shield mercenary company were hired to clear the harpies out of Fort Dusk, and those harpies, wounded and routed, found the Sarcova Quarry, and decided to make it theirs.

Day 004 - Harpies vs Goblins

The harpies arrived in force, massacring goblins caught out in the open, and then luring out as many as possible to clear the quarry. They also occupied the first few chambers and tunnels. The harpies built their nests in on the steps of the quarry, and in the entrance caves. They ate well, and became a menace to the local area - especially to those in the Riverlands below.

The surviving goblins retreated further into their complex where the harpy song couldn't reach them. Both the goblins and the duergar traded with local human bandits, and through them they reached out for mercenary help, with the promise of gold, silver and gems. They hired The Crimson Shield mercenary company who had routed the Harpies earlier from Fort Dusk, and were happy to come finish the job for the riches offered.

Day 005 - Harpies Defeated

The goblins let the main force of mercenaries in the "trade entrance". An exit through the crypts under an ancient keep several miles to the east. The Crimson Shield and the goblins launched attacks from several tunnels at once, and an overland force of crossbowmen came from overland.

They used candle wax in their ears to help defend against the harpy song, but it wasn't entirely successful, and the harpy claws and talons worked just fine. Even so, the harpies were defeated - the few survivors left.

The mercenaries and goblins celebrated for a full day until Captain Hasty, accepting payment in the form of ancient coins, gems and jewellery looted from lost places in the Underdark, left to return to civilisation. One squad agreed to stay, for more pay, and to help defend the much weakened goblin tribe.

Day 006 - The Selacian Order

Captain Hasty and his company made their way back to civilisation, to sell their goblin treasure. Of particular interest to the antiquities dealer was a much tarnished silver pendant with a pale pink crystal. Etched into the face by magic (for normal tools would shatter it) is a stylised "S" within an inverted triangle. This was taken straight to The Selacian Order - an organisation that's been searching for the hidden tomb of Archmage Selach for close to a millennia, and that "S" is Selach's emblem.

The Selacian Order question Captain Hasty's crew about where the pendant came from, and the hungry look in their eyes gives the Captain a bad feeling. Especially for his recent goblin employers and the squad that stayed behind. He convinces the Order to hire some Crimson Shield as guides and guards, to hopefully keep things civil, and to pocket more coin for services rendered.

Day 007 - The Cult Attacks

For the start of the journey to the Sarcova Quarry the members of The Selacian Order keep to themselves. They are two kinds it seems, robed and hooded, and armoured and wielding scimitars and spiked maces and crossbows. They number 20. On the journey are 12 Crimson Shield, including their commander, Lieutenant Cricket, and 4 wagon drivers. They set out in a long road to the north to a safe path up to the plateau top.

The group that arrive at the quarry a week later is 18 of the The Selacian Order, and 8 former Crimson Shield who are now all zombies. Lieutenant Cricket is not among the undead.

When they arrive the goblins and their mercenaries welcome in their former comrades before noticing they're dead. There's a short fight with many more Crimson Shield dying, before a truce is called, and the goblins tell the necromancers of the Selacian Order where the pendant was found (past the Deep Gnome City near a Magma Lake), and let them through their caverns.