Spooky, scary skeletons: Loredump

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Lord of the Tap Dance \oO.Oo/ (And Reputation Mana
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Nov 24, 2008
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locations and Geography

Vol is a landlocked human-dominant kingdom in the great north. In the north it's characterized by great spruce forests; though theoretically its borders extend all the way to the Great Glacier, in practice the king's law stops about a hundred miles short of the treeline where only barbarians and isolated villages live, though there are persistent rumours of dark dwarves and the drow living there as well. The great river Volga flows through the center of the kingdom from north to south, and where evergreens start giving way to deciduous forest Volga has given birth to Semyonburg, the capital. Semyonburg is famous for its university, which hosts the greatest college of arcane magic in the known world. The college has a dark reputation, for it teaches disciplines shunned by the more image-conscious universities, such as necromancy and demonology.

To the east the kingdom grows hills and then the mountain range of Arafet, with numerous tributaries flowing to join Volga. Arafet is host to several dwarf clans, as well as numerous dragons and kobold clans. Beyond Arafet lays a desert known as blasted plains, where some great magical calamity made the land all but uninhabitable. Only savage humans and wicked hobgoblins live there. To the west where the climate grows less harsh, is the kingdom of Elessar and the ocean. In the south is the heavily contested border with Grenland, littered with castles and fortifications.

Elessar is an elf-dominant kingdom west of Vol with a milder climate thanks to the ocean in the west. Their relations with other kingdoms are generally not too great, and additionally they're in near-constant war with the drow from underdark. For Vol, they're the greatest trading partner as well as the most trustworthy ally. Few people like elves very much, but that's fine because elves don't like people very much, either. Nevertheless, both Vol and Elessar have their own problems, so they're glad to have at least one ally they can trust(this is not to say that there are no border clashes, but over the centuries they've only once escalated into a full-scale war, an event that was quickly followed by an undead invasion and which both sides greatly regret). Additionally, they need the trade: Vol needs traderoutes for shipping their goods that don't rely on the often volatile Grenland, and Elessar needs the supplies of steel and mithril from the dwarven mines.

The north of Grenland is much like southern Vol, and further south its dominated by plains dotted with farming communities here and there. To the east, it also borders Arafet, but whereas Vol's part of Arafet is dominated by dwarves and kobolds who stay in their holes, in Grenland Arafet is home to numerous goblin and orc tribes who band together every decade or so and launch an invasion towards the plains. The crown of Vol has often discreetly supported the orcs, well aware that the militant and aggressive Grenland would readily conquer Vol if not for their internal troubles. Indeed, even with its troubles with the orcs and goblins(as well as the other neighbouring realms) Grenland and Vol are in near-constant state of warfare, though the borderlands have over the centuries blossomed so many fortifications that short of a near-total collapse of the other, it would take decades of concentrated warfare to make significant gains.

The Lair
Doctor Vladimir's lair lies in the northern reaches of Vol, some 100 miles east of Elessar and 30 miles west of Volga. As the river flows, it's about 150 miles to the capital, and the nearest village is some 10 miles to the south. The lair itself is located in a hill: At the top of the hill lies an ancient yet well-kept mansion that's been fortified over the centuries, with a secret passage offering a concealed escape path that ends almost a thousand feet away in the hillside. The mansion is a labyrinthine structure with numerous secret doors and passages, with Vladimir's laboratory and library at the top floor. The mansion has numerous traps and undead creatures defending it, and it fulfils its function as a decoy well, as evidenced by several mostly dead adventuring parties.

The actual lair is dug deep into the hill itself, with no connection to the mansion. For an adventurer, entering it would be far more perilous than entering the mansion, and the defences are far more devious than simple traps and mostly mindless undead. The highlights include the library(the air of which is actually composed of stable gases, and will quickly kill anyone who needs air to breathe), the statuary(the statues are actually constructs) and the hidden room where the phylactery is probably concealed(there are 248 lead boxes in the room, and a skeleton that is constantly shuffling them).
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