When the goblins and the Lorebook Hunters decided to make Sheljar into a Free City, where all thinking peoples were respectedm there was a vast, several mile separation between the suburbs and caves that the goblins discovered and the former City Center with its library, temples, city hall and palace.
The First Sky-cable was constructed to connect these places without worry about bridges, or Tunneling Nightmares, or frightening island of zombies. Now it is the most travelled sky-cable. The gondola rides high, so high that its towers peak above the frequent fogs.
So high the weather is different.
As the players ride this sky-cable gondola they are in their first “hallway.” This path is dangerous. They are in a space where weather is different. There are creatures that may threaten them. This fastest route to the City Center may not be the shortcut they expected.
Roll 2d4 about halfway through the journey in the sky.
2. Uninvited guest — There is someone aboard the gondola with the party. The illusioned elf works for the Proctors of Grace. It casts Detect Magic while Invisible. If it detect magic it attacks. Use the stat block for the Evoker Wizard if the party is in Tier 2. If they are only Tier 1 use the Evil Mage.
3. Frayed cable — The character with the highest Passive Investigation notices the cable is frayed. The group will need to discover a way to get the gondola to the next tower 100′ away or fix the cable. Tinker’s Tools, Vehicles (air), Vehicles (water) offer some solutions. The DC should be 15. If no one succeeds in fixing the cable and it does break there are rudimentary parachutes that reduce the falling damage to one half on a successful Dexterity save of 10. They are 60′ in the air.
4. High winds — The gondola shakes violently. Each character should make a Strength saving throw (DC 13) or take 2d6 HP of damage and fall prone. Those that save take half damage and suffer no other effects. This is frightening but should have little impact on their ability to travel.
5. Freezing rain — Though it was a moderate day beneath the fogs there is freezing rain up in the sky. Each character suffers 3d6 damage. A successful constitution saving throw (DC 10) results in half damage.
6. Isle of horrors — With a Wisdom Check of 10 the party makes out a small island in the bog-city that seems to be overtaken by skeletons with a leader on a skeletal boar. This island is not hosting a tower.
7. What’s that? — 0ff in the distance, at the statue there is a large, white winged creature. An Intelligence Check, DC 20, recognizes it as a white dragon. Ken would role with advantage. Skills that could apply are Culture (Ken), Arcana. A player could convince the DM of other skills being applicable. The dragon does not attack. It lurks, watching.
8. Sabotage — The group notices the tower they just passed being attacked by group (party size +1) of zombies. If half of the zombies are destroyed the others retreat. The characters start 90′ from the zombies. They are able to stop or reverse the gondola. If the zombies are able to do 65 hit points of damage to the tower (AC 12) the tower falls.
If they complete the trip they stop at the bell tower of a semi-abandoned temple in the City Center.
Our intrepid heroes have discovered the the Free City of Sheljar isn’t a place of safety. Sheljar may be a dreamy government of respect for all, it is also a place of undeath, dragons and technology too fragile to survive with not enough people in the city to maintain it.
I’ll admit these DCs and language probably don’t match the standard D&D style. Today’s Dungeon 23 exercise came up against a my go-to-bed soon deadline.
I’m doing Dungeon 23, but instead of making a megadungeon, I’m using it to expand my campaign world (some are calling this World23), but do so in a way that could be relevant to my players. I guess it will be a point-crawl-ish 23. Sometimes those points will be five-room dungeons. Sometimes they will be cities. There will always be paths between them, peoples population them, and peculiar memorable features.
Dungeon23 is a daily writing practice that is built around game design. Every day the participant will design another room in a dungeon, and at the end of the week they will have a complete level. The next week starts the process over until you have 52 dungeon levels. Sean McCoy of Tuesday Knight Games, the press behind the award-winning TTRPG, Mothership created the challenge almost on accident, with a tweet about his newest project and an image of his notebook. But the indie TTRPG scene is nothing if not excitable and easily swayed by a challenge, and McCoy’s personal goal quickly gained traction across Twitter.Linda Codega in Gizmodo
Most importantly at Full Moon Storytelling, everything will be built with my players in mind (as SlyFlourish suggests for cities), because backstory without tablestory is a novel. The paths will help determine my next entry in Dungeon 23, the peoples (which could also include monsters) are created using my notecard NPS system, the peculiars are so that players have a hook to remember.