Lorya Megadungeon Pt 2. - Theming

Introduction

Before fleshing out individual dungeons I thought it would be important to give each district unifying themes that would inform the direction of future design. I've written out a short description of each area boss and paragraph of what the area they control looks like and how it affects the city. Some areas could have more interesting hooks but I'll leave that to when I actually flesh them out.

The megadungeon of Lorya is divided into six districts, each with a different theme. Each is ruled by a Sovereign, 6 powerful members of the King's court. They were the ones who sealed King Weyland in his Throneroom after 7 forgotten heroes prevented his apotheosis, splitting the Keys to the Castle between them so no singular member would be able to seize the latent power that resides in the Throne. All have grown mad in the aftermath, the City of Lorya stagnates in a state of undeath as the Districts remain in a delicate state of balance.



War District:


Sovereign – Ullrix the Tower:

Fire Giant.

Once was the Royal Smith, consumed by passion to create. Has turned slightly insane. Wants to be left alone. Smashes many of his creations due to perceived imperfections.

His bellows fuel the Forge of Suns, the excesses of which turn into Living Fireballs which spill onto the streets.

Stubborn. But can be negotiated with between fits of rage. Desires rare metals to smith with.

Key to the Castle: Lies in the Forge of Suns, better have fire resistance if you want it.
 

Zones:

Gnolls and Orcs, the Vanguard and the Heavy Infantry of the King’s Army are fighting an endless war in the Bloodfields and wish to control the Forge of Suns. Xyrr the Butcher controls the gnolls while Kharg the Deathless controls the orcs. Can be manipulated against each other?

The Forge of Suns is spewing out fire elementals and constructs into the streets. Creating weapons without purpose.

The Hawklords of the Rookery Tower have turned into Naz’Gul like creatures, making travel unsafe. Hawklord Omitae believe the city is under siege and everyone is a combatant. The Blind Augur is trapped there. She watches over the city with her birds making her an invaluable source of information.

Criminals in the Jail of the Fettered may be some of the few sane people left in the city. Chainwarden Kyton haunts the hallways, impaling intruders on his hooks. Potential allies?

Themes:

 Conflict
Industrial War Complex
  Claustrophobia

Merchant District:

Sovereign – Lady Avonna:

Vampire. Wants blood and control of the Merchant District.

·        Once a socialite of high status. Haughty, but at least superficially polite.

·        Dislikes that there are other influential players in her district.

·        Doesn’t care about the state of the city, just wants more power.

·        Darkest Dungeon mosquito vampires??

·        Key to the Castle: In a mirror, must have no reflection to retrieve.

Zones:

·        Rat Warrens are full of wererats. Ruled by Ratlord Skren, once a petty crime lord. Contains many passages to many other districts. Acquire wolfsbane from the Forest District or plate your weapons in silver in the War district to proceed.

·        Sylsatra Manor, vampires preying on the diseased folk of Scourgetown. Desire better food sources but aren’t willing to invade neighbouring districts.

·        Scourgetown, slum area full of diseased people. Distrustful of outsiders, as anyone not diseased could be a wererat or vampire. Mayor Remrock maintains marshal law with his goons and controls the food sources.

·        Theatre of Excesses, a theatre troupe once known for its shock performances now a death cult of hedonism. Rakdos basically. Random killings, etc. Anything is forgivable if it looked cool.

Themes:

·        Exploitation of the poor.

·        Hedonism.

·        Masks and Monsters.

Arcane District:

Sovereign – Flesh Vizier Rall:

·        Convinced King Weyland to perform the ritual that doomed the city.

·        Wants to usurp the power King Weyland has collected and become a god himself.

·        Has lost human form due to his incursions into eldritch magicks, exacerbated by the Mists of Lorya.

·        Larva Mage, now a mass of tentacles with a staff.

·        Manipulative, views party as pieces on a chessboard with plausible deniability.

·        Key to the Castle: On his person at all times. Covered in fleshy growth.

 

Zones:

·        Orrery of Stars gives minor predictions of the future. Vizier of Rall is waiting for the stars to align for the best opportunity to seize power. Each prediction requires adjusting the orrery which rends space-time allowing eldritch creatures to haunt the observatory. Some escape into the city.

·        Infinite library – Once the Royal Library, now space-time is unpredictable within, with seemingly infinite shelves. Who knows what the halls contain? Hidden passages to other districts? The secrets to what’s happening in the city?

Bodak librarians patrol the halls, maintaining a deadly quiet and are attracted to any noise. Scrollkeeper Lorelii will guide you to texts but will not abide anyone checking out a book without a royal permit, so best keep your reading fast in the library.

·        Midnight Observatory – Chaksh the Many Eyed is the lieutenant of Vizier Rall, feeding him information observed in the Midnight Observatory to increase the accuracy of Rall’s predictions. Also functions as Rall’s way of spying on other districts as the telescopes are capable of seeing through walls. Chaksh is beginning to lie to Rall in order to fulfil his own ambitions. Patrolled by gazers and other beholderkin.

·        Refracted Tower is slowly phasing out of existence. Infested with phase spiders, and their semi-invisible webs. Be careful or your astral-self will get trapped in their cocoons. Kessox the Aetherial is trying to expand the influence of phase-spiders across the entire city to eventually pull the entirety into the Astral Sea.

 

Themes:

·        Cosmic horror

·        Space

·        Magic

Law District:

Sovereign – Soulweigher Telantes

·        Sphinx-taur

·        Wields hammer of justice and beam balance.

·        Can tell what laws you’ve broken at a glance.

·        Any legal failing is punished with extreme prejudice.

·        Refers to a cyclopean tome of laws and codes from memory.

·        Doesn’t care about the spirit of the law, only the letter.

·        Key to the Castle: Wielded by a statue of Blind Justice. Stealing it is illegal. Planning to steal it is illegal. Thinking about stealing it is illegal.

Zones:

·        Court of the Blind – Soulweigher Telantes wishes to judge the worth of every soul in the city. Those found lacking are trapped/banished, for the Forlorn residents of Lorya this is death. Has unreasonably high and esoteric standards. Paladins of law enforce these standards with extreme prejudice.

·        Senate of Concord – Once were new laws were written, now ruled over by a council of ghosts that have grown stagnant. The Council try and prevent any change within the city as their thoughts have calcified in death. Can evoke written laws to bind and capture lawbreakers within the city. Command an army of ghosts.

·        Ossuary of Gold, treasury of the Kingdom. Tithetaker Orm guards the treasure trove jealously and wishes to add to the collection. Metal plated skeleton servants carry out her commands, stripping the city of valuables and hauling it back. Your contributions are mandatory.

·        King’s Kennel, headquarter of the bounty hunters of the Kingdom. The Twins, Borhu and Gheti were once the most renowned trackers of the King, now fused into one monstrosity with 8 limbs. Once they given a target they will track them to the ends of the earth.

Themes:

·        Stagnation

·        Order and Rules

·        Mindless drones

Temple District:

Sovereign – Deathpact Voka

·        Scythe wielding angel.

·        Only salvation from the city of Lorya is death by her scythe.

·        Preaches her thoughts to a death cult.

·        Militant follower of the Lady of the Lantern.

·        Trying to quash out the pacifist faction in her district.

·        Religious fanatic, willing to accept new converts.

·        Key to the Castle: Interred in a Kindling Flame of the Profane Cathedral.

Zones:

·        Profane Cathedral, home to the Kindling Flame, remnants of a miracle cast long ago. Deathpact Voka runs a death cult out of the cathedral and they’re recruiting.

·        Crypt of the Risen, Knight-Captain Ilvaross was interred here and she does not know she is dead. She is raising her wraith knights to the defence of the city, which translates to attacking everything they see.

·        Silent Belltower, rings occasionally causing deafening silence. The Orphan Choir do nightly rounds from the Belltower, singing a song that brings madness to those who hear it. Those who die hearing it join their song.

·        Temple of the Moon, Pontiff Elridge is experimenting on imbuing werewolves with eldritch mutations making horrifying monstrosities. Perhaps his grand and terrible experiments will result in the cure for the ails afflicting the citizens of Lorya. Probably not.

Themes:

·        Religion

·        Madness

·        Terrible acts with good intentions

 

Forest District:

Sovereign – Worldtree Parasite:

·        Actually just a tree.

·        Once was a druid named Caiman, responsible for producing food in the city.

·        After sealing King Weyland in the Lorya Castle throne room, underwent a ritual to convert themselves into a plant.

·        Now growing out of control and threatening to spread into the other districts.

·        Now grown to diffuse to have coherent thoughts. Now just wants to grow. No Thoughts Head Empty.

·        Key to the Castle: In the heart of the tree.

Zones:

·        Worldtree Parasite – Giant tree structure spreading through the district, threatening to consume it eventually. Patrolled by a Skyswimmer, a giant flying wurm, that is the ladybird to the aphids that are adventurers and other intruders.

·        The Rotfields – Once the druid managed agricultural complex meant to sustain the city in siege, the Rotfields are now infested with mushrooms and fungi. Death’s Head Misha, member of the Autumn Court of fey has transformed it into a fungal wasteland. Currently warring with Wolfrider Mallorant, though it is unclear whether this is a genuine feud or just a spectacular fey performance.

·        Thorned Garden – Once the hunting grounds of the King and the Royal court, it maintains its purpose but has changed to a deadlier game. Wolfrider Mallorant of the Spring Court leads his retinue on a Wild Hunt through brambles, chasing after their quarry of Men. Currently warring with Death’s Head Misha, though it is unclear whether this is a genuine feud or just a spectacular fey performance.

·        Menagerie of Beasts – Enclosure of rare monstrosities once captured for testing their suitability as beasts of war, now escaped from their enclosures. The surrounding area has been reduced to rubble from the territorial disputes of these beasts. The favourite of the King’s Pets Ava now stalks for prey from beneath the rubble, listening for the tell-tale tremors of those who would dare encroach it’s hunting ground.

Themes:

·        Growth

·        Fey

·        Predators




Next I'll probably work on generating random encounter tables for each of the six zones or working on how the different zones are interconnected. Advice on how to spice up zones is welcome, the whole blogpost is also probably riddled with speeling errors.

Peace out, rainbow trout.

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