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).