View Full Version : May Entry: Escape from Winter Mountain

05-14-2009, 09:56 AM
Hello all. This is my first post and my first map work in progress submission all in one. I look forward to any comments.

My entry is called "Escape from Winter Mountain". I have designed it for use with a D20 system within a 7-12 level range.

The Plot: The city of Aradel was built along a river that flowed from a mysterious place deep within the northern mountains. The water was always fresh and clean, and possessed a seemingly endless supply of exotic fish. With the exception of the occasional aquatic monster, Aradel remained prosperous for generations.

Then one day a terrible blizzard swept over the land. It raged for three days, and when it subsided, the citizens and fishermen of Aradel found the river frozen solid. That night a woman in furs appeared before the magistrate and gave to him an ultimatum. "I am Ilriss, the Lady of Winter Mountain. Should you want your precious river restored you will bow before me and pay tribute."

In the morning the magistrate summoned his best wise men and sages, who cast their best divinations and auguries. Their efforts were rewarded with cryptic advice. "Walk the river to the source and destroy the light that watches over."

The players are quested to travel up the river of ice and into the caves from where it spawns. After traversing miles of caverns on a road of ice, they emerge in an underground fortress. Passing beneath an ice crystal bridge, they come to a cavern with a frozen whirlpool and a stairway spiraling upwards. Far above they see a glowing light on an ice promontory just beneath a roof of massive icicles.

Game notes: Getting to the glowing light is fairly easy for clever groups. The majority of the enemies guarding the complex are near the drawbridge entrance to the fortress. The fun begins when they make it to the promontory and remove the ice crystal from its mounting or destroy it. Doing so dispels the magic that has frozen a portal to the elemental plane of water shut (the whirlpool below). It immediately cracks the ice below and begins filling the complex with water. The drastic change in temperature also causes icicles all around the complex to begin breaking off and falling. The players notice the promontory itself crack and begin to fall away and are forced to flee into the audience hall where Ilriss confronts them and the chase begins.

From here it's a mad dash through the fortress. Ilriss hounds them with spells in an insane rage, heedless as the place falls apart. She flies or dimension doors as necessary to keep up, and makes her last stand at the drawbridge.

Places of note along the route:
1. The Crystal Grotto and the Ice Bridge - The players arrive here to find other inhabitants of the mountain trying to escape. Unfortuntely, two dumb ogres stomped across the weakened Ice Bridge and broke a 10 foot hole in the middle. Anyone weighing over 100 lbs must walk at half speed or risk breaking through. Anyone who gets within 5 feet of the broken hole breaks through and must roll a DC 20 reflex or fall into the surging river below. (The River is now too full to use as an escape. Players should be warned that trying to swim out will be foolhardy)
2. The Whirlpool Chamber - the falling promontory broke a 10 foot section of the stairs away beneath it, forcing players to jump across. Meanwhile, there is a 1 in 6 chance every round of getting hit by icicles while in this chamber(+12 to hit, 1d12 damage).
3. Flooded Stairs - Anyone trying to navigate these stairs must roll a strength or dexterity check vs 15 or be swept down into the Barracks.
3. Flooded Barracks - Ogres and human barbarians wade through the flooded room in confusion. Some attack the players, others try to escape the destruction.
4. The Flooded Hall - The water rushes through this hall and down into a pit trap at the end. Roll dexterity or strength checks vs 15 or be swept uncontrollably 30 feet closer to the pit. The walls have tapestries to hang onto (+3 to checks), and every nook has a statue that can also be grabbed (+5 to checks). Feel free to have the occasional ogre splash by in a comical frenzy before going over the edge into the pit.
5. The Drawbridge - Ilriss guards the drawbridge area and attacks anyone that enters from the south or north. The winches that lower the drawbridges are on the platform to the north. Players can either work the winches and climb (DC 12 ) down the rocks along the northwestern wall, or jump (DC 20) from the ledge to the eastern drawbridge. As the players climb the stairs leaving the Drawbridge area the ceiling collapses upon Ilriss, entombing her in Winter Mountain.
6. The Cave Exit - Here are sleds used by the humans and ogres of the Mountain. A pack of dire wolves led by a winter wolf rest in the snow here. Players can fight the pack, or simply grab a sled and push off down the mountain. (Might make a sled chase map.. depends on time).

05-14-2009, 10:21 AM
Looks very cool.

If it's 7-12 then you're going to need to handle spells like fly, dimension door and (at level 11) teleport. I find that forbidance works well for the teleport and dimension door spells, and possibly your ice queen can dispel any fly spells they use, but there might be a more elegant way of handling this.

I certainly look forward to seeing this one done. Great work (and repped for diving in headlong with your first post).

05-14-2009, 05:12 PM
I like this, simple and clear, easy to follow, and a nice layout. Welcome.

05-17-2009, 09:00 PM
Thanks for the comments. Forbiddance was a spell I was planning on putting in, but forgot to mention it. Thanks for reminding me. I'm going to add other comments on specific areas as I go, but I'd like to get more of the map finished first.

Here's the work in progress that I've started fleshing out. The flooded lower chambers will be reinstalled in the next update.

05-20-2009, 04:02 AM
Most of the basic work is done. Will work on decor and other items next. I'm also thinking of adding a few tiles for a sled race once the players escape the stronghold and realize that the unraveling magic caused an avalanche they must outrun.

### Latest WIP ###

05-22-2009, 06:56 AM
The map of Winter Mountain is 95% done. If anyone has any suggestions for anything that doesn't look clear on it, please drop a comment. Any notes are welcome.

I've added furniture and other items to rooms to complete the feel of a fully functional stronghold, plus it allows this map to be used for a dungeon crawl from the front entrance, with the escape happening only when the crystal is disturbed.

The flooded part of the barracks is an area used for dining, sparring, and assembly (a kitchen and supply room is located up some stairs to the north. I've placed a couple large tables and long benches that could be used by players to ride down the southern hall and be used to bridge the pit to the stairs.

### Latest WIP ###

Steel General
05-22-2009, 07:06 AM
Coming along nicely...

05-23-2009, 07:17 PM
I'm going to try to get three sections for a downhill sled race done to complete this challenge. I'll try to make them connect smoothly at the end, but for now I'm formatting them in tiles that represent obstacles or encounters.

MAP NOTES: The first is an S turn that the players will need to navigate. The control DC to make the turn is DC 10 for traveling at slow speed (which takes 3 rounds cross the map), DC 15 for moderate speed (2 rounds to cross the map), and DC 20 for high speed (1 round to cross the map). The players need to use their dexterity bonus or 1/2 their riding skill for the purposes of controlling the sled (using the higher of the two). Of course, if they actually have sleding as a skill, they can use that.

ENCOUNTER NOTES: A couple soldiers from the stronghold are on the path about halfway through, having lost control of their own sled which flew off the mountain cliff to the south. They try to either steal a sled from the players or jump on and hitch a ride, increasing the difficulty for controlling the sled.

05-23-2009, 07:36 PM
That looks like a ton of fun...I almost wish that I could see a big splat at the bottom of the cliff :)

05-23-2009, 07:54 PM
Good idea Ascension. I'll add some wreckage.

05-23-2009, 08:16 PM
Don't forget, dead guys open a portal to the material plane of blood so there should be a few extra gallons of that stuff :)

05-24-2009, 06:50 AM
Here is the second tile for the sled race. I think it is a little more clear than the first, and possibly more fun since it has a jump shortcut, indicated by the sled tracks that take a quick left and vanish at the edge of the snowbank and reappear below.

MAP NOTES: no cliffs now, but plenty of tight turns with walls to hit. As the players enter from the right they are at a height that allows them to see the layout, including the jump.

RACE NOTES: Speed control DCs are the same as before. If the players want to take the jump, they need to make two DC 20 checks - one to make the turn into the jump at high speed, plus another to land safely. Failure equals 30 foot falling damage and a reflex save vs DC 20 to stay on the sled).

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I think I'll make a time limit to each tile, but I haven't decided what it should be yet. Perhaps 2 rounds per tile to keep ahead of the avalanche.

### Latest WIP ###

05-24-2009, 08:51 AM
Wow this is really cool. Making snow look right is hard and this looks just great. I like the dungeon a lot too. Your gonna do well and rep is heading your way already. I gotta fix up the entry thumbnails as they are out of date a bit.

05-25-2009, 03:14 PM
Here are three tiles lined up for the sled chase. Start is top right, end is bottom left. I'd still like to do one more tile as a better finish point, but time is catching up with me.

05-26-2009, 04:50 AM
Final images for both the stronghold and sled chase.

Stronghold notes: added title, compass, and sled tracks

Sled Race notes: two paths to take in order to cross the bridge and escape the avalanche.

Map Vandal
05-26-2009, 09:45 AM
Amazing work. I love it all.

05-26-2009, 09:51 AM
And here I hadn't clicked on this thread because I thought it was a map of "Witch Mountain" based on the old Disney film...

This is a stunning creation! Thank you!

05-26-2009, 10:12 AM
Final images for both the stronghold and sled chase.

Stronghold notes: added title, compass, and sled tracks

Sled Race notes: two paths to take in order to cross the bridge and escape the avalanche.

Very nice stuff indeed. On that last tile with the bridge, I would probably make the DC to cross the bridge and avoid the hole different based on which of the two routes they took. It would be much harder to make the turn onto the bridge and miss the hole if the players took the right most fork (coming from above, the side with the crashed sled) vs the other route.

Based on your mentioning of checks, was your thought to do checks a certain number of times per map OR were you thinking of hazard waypoints on the map where a check would be required? I think the later would be much more intense for any players, being able to know what points on the map required checks to get around which hazards.

05-27-2009, 04:48 AM
The number and difficulty of control checks for sleds build as the players progress along the route.

TIME LIMIT = 9 rounds

There are two types of sleds to choose from. A normal sled for medium sized creatures, or one of the large sized sleds for ogres. 2 players can ride one medium sled, or 4 can ride one large. DCs are 1 higher for large sleds controlled by medium creatures, but are more sturdy and allow a second player to assist the primary pilot (assisting requires a DC 10 check by the second player, which grants +2 to the primary if successful).

Medium sled = Hardness 5 HP 20
Large sled = Hardness 8, HP 25

First off, the players must declare how fast they intend to go. Then they need to roll speed control checks.
DC 10 = Slow speed (three rounds to cross one map)
DC 14 = Medium speed (two rounds to cross one map)
DC 16 = Fast Speed (one round to cross map)
*Speed checks failed by less than 5 means uncontrolled speed (roll d20 - 1-10 = slower speed than intended. 11-20 = faster speed than intended). Uncontrolled speeds require an immediate check vs the DC of the new speed to avoid mishap.
*Speed checks failed by more than 5 means the players lose control of their sled for a round. Roll for uncontrolled speed as well as 1d6 for direction deviation (1= hard left, 2=45 degrees left, 3=straight ahead, 4=45 degrees right, 5=hard right, 6=sled turns over and takes a round to recover). If players on a sled go off a cliff or hit a wall, apply damage to both players and sled as if they were falling 1d6x10 feet. Any player on a sled heading for disaster can roll a reflex save vs DC 18 to bail out beforehand.

Secondly, they need to roll control checks for events or encounters.
First map = avalanche starts, setting the pace for the race. Other sledders fleeing the stronghold crowd the path, jockeying for position. Players roll a control check vs DC 14 or lose a round in escape time as they avoid collisions or pileups.

Second map = a sledder fell off his sled and tries to jump aboard with the players. Players must roll a control check VS DC 14 to avoid or have future DCs increased by 2 for added weight.

Third map = normal DCs for speed, but also the opportunity to gain a round of escape time by taking the jump (speed must be at medium or high). Jump DC is 20.

Fourth map = two paths are available for the players, but the eastern path offers a better approach to the crumbling bridge. A control check vs DC 12 is necessary to steer into the desired path. Avoiding the gap in the bridge requires a DC check of 16 if coming from the west path or 14 if approached from the east path.


Ok, I think that covers the chase. Any other suggestions or ideas from anyone?