DISCLAIMER: Spoilers for the original Bloodied Wyvern Peaks adventure!
Several months ago, The King Orvaldt, the kingdom’s eponymous leader and House Patriarch, sent a group of adventurers to uncover the strange happenings in the mountainside. Not only has trade and mining been disrupted, strange poisons had messed with the soil and water supply of local villagers. As the adventurers ascended, they uncovered wreckage from some sort of advanced faring vessel, akin to a Spelljammer. Encountering several constructs and mutated horrors, they were lead through a cave into some strange temple-like building. Only, little did they know it was actually a part of a larger spaceship. The team struggled as they made their way through winding corridors and abandoned halls still rife with devices that were literally alien in nature, as well as even stranger creatures that lurked the derelict wreckage.
By some miracle, the power source had enough juice to boot the battered ship back up. Doing this alerted the remaining denizens, who were cornered in a secret room. Slowly but surely, the team pieced together that experiments with portal technology lead to hostile coup by another species called “The Reptoids”, a race of scaled shapeshifting aliens. The fight caused the technology to go haywire, slamming it into the depths of a mountain. Much of the ship was crushed, even more totally destroyed. Attempts at freedom were failures, as the Reptoids saw their chance to hijack the remaining operations on the ship. Eventually, they were confronted by the team, who managed to defeat them in impossible odds. The Fraal had emerged from their hiding and did all they could to rebuild elsewhere, after solving the very mess they caused initially.
Following the Fraal’s retreat from the mountains into the forest below, things have remained silent under an opaque energy dome for countless months, some say at least 5. Occasional trade was made with The Kingdom of Orvald, greatly bolstering its defenses with both the mystic arts and strange innovations. Some stuck around a while to help royal crafters learn the art of artifice, only to return once lessons were complete. In addition, many of the Fraal could commune with important figures within the kingdom to discuss matters. Sometimes, said figures would speak at some mid-point created by the Fraal, which was none the less a technical marvel. Some chose to join them in their hidden communes. Others followed the beastmen and other mutants that lived in territory close by, who proclaimed a faith in the Fraal themselves.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Depending on the outcome of my mini-dungeon, the landscape of your world might be drastically changed forever! Aberrant plants and animals, Reptoids, Greys and more! That doesn’t even account for the strange technologies that fill the crashed spaceship. Like Blackmoor, this is a world that is being changed by an encounter with a technologically advanced race. Granted, the alien visitors have also learned from the magical mysticism of the world they’ve inhabited. More or less, this is an adventure location with plot seeds and ideas to sample from. I might combine this with the module to create a product if reception proves positive. While not typical for this blog, I wanted to try my hand at expanding my own little universe. Sure, I’ve been reluctant to share it (in light of recent events), Needless to say, my campaign isn’t even done, so this post might be entirely moot in regards to my own group. None the less, here’s my take on an expanded world.
The Barriers of Revelation
Surrounding the ever reclusive colony is a near invisible bubble-like shield. This cloaks the handful of miles under Fraal control. The only way through the barrier is through an entry way that psychically opens at the hand of another Fraal. Beyond the almost glass-like texture of the barrier, visitors see an otherwise normal forested land. This gateway is commonly used by traders and diplomats working directly with the alien colony. In order to gain access, a key object is needed. This essentially works as a portal key, an attuned item directly connected to the planar gate.
Gardens of Gateways
As adventurers wander further down the dirt paths beyond the shield bubble, the local wild life begins to become more alien and truly bizarre. Plants and animals alike look surreal and out of this world. For the most part, the enclosed space is terraformed with alien life in mind. Some terrestrial hybrids exist on the edges of the land though.
For any sort of random encounter or hostile plant life, various creatures in the Monster Manual suffice (such as Shrieker) as well as my Barrier Peaks conversion dealing with (mostly) hostile plant creatures. Likewise with animal life, the Barrier Peaks conversion should compliment the Monster Manual on any aberrant or alien creatures that dwell in this area. However, unless directly engaged or threatened, neither type of creature will have a reason to go after the party.
- The Fantastic Hunt: A wandering adventurer company has somehow made their way past the barrier. Why? For the ultimate hunt! A piece of alien life, made into a trophy most rare and divine! Do you join them on their quest for glory or banish them from a piece of extraterrestrial life?
- IT’S LOOSE!: Despite their new life, the Fraal haven’t given up on strange experiments. One of them, a mutated creature with several clawed feet and a gaping maw, has escaped into the wilderness. Search parties have been butchered. At this point? Kill the beast before it kills you!
One of the experiments conducted on the ship while lodged in its mountain prison was devolving creatures into beastly slaves. Upon being liberated, the creatures were given most of their intellect back, but lost their past identities. The beast folk formed their own tribes. Despite attempts to experiment on reptoids in revenge, the creatures still retained a few of their abilities. While humanoid descended beasts roam in villages and spaces beyond, the reptoid mutants rule in the “Wyld Dome”; or the nature dome from the ship, gutted and converted into a conservatory. The Beast Lord rules from a throne made of wild materials, junked technology and magical components. He’s an angry warlord who wishes to know what happened to his ancestors… Too much information could spark a war though. While not evil or menacing, their decor tends toward the macabre. Bundled branches and bone make up the fencing that surrounds the area, while scraps of blood-soaked rusted out metals, upheld by branches create walls lining nearby. As if to either guard the entry ways or be a grim reminder, several pikes with skulls stuck into them dot the ways into the tribal grounds, sending a clear message to their opinion of outsiders entering.
Beyond the Monster Manual stats for beastly humanoids, others can be made by swapping out specific traits with racial traits found under the entries for my beast folk races.
- The Uprising: For a while, the beasts have outnumbered their Fraal rulers, the remains of a dark era. While no longer strange projects and repressed slaves, they resent their status as outsiders and misfits. The Lord of the Dome seeks an outside champion to destabilize the Greys.
- The Journey Onward: While some are content with their life as it is, many want to go beyond their alien cage. Many emerging rebels see the Lord of the Dome as another tyrant to rule over them, looking to flee his grasp too, as well as the entirety of the barrier to the outside world.
- Resurfacing Memories: Many of the beasts were captured humanoids used for experiments, brainwashed and degenerated into wild creatures. However, some of them are starting to recall their old lives. Some are going mad, others are becoming more stable.
Another horrible creation was the Hulking Horror, a brutish mutant creature build like a wall and a formidable super soldier. They’re bulky, muscular and huge in size; sporting a variety of strange skin tones ranging from red, blue, green, grey and many others. Despite their terrifying appearance and aggressive demeanor, few of these mutants are generally that violent. However, many are happy to take up the mantle of security around the perimeter, acting as a potential random encounter throughout the map. Despite being mistaken for crude and dim creatures, they’ll heavily resourceful. In fact, they helped to tear down the old ship, scrap unneeded contents and help to build the new settlement. That said, their ramshackle looking scrap houses leave much to be desired for… looking more like something from the post-apocalypse rather than a newly built home. The leader of the Mutant Turf is a blue-skinned mutant with a mostly bald head, with tufts of red hair. His name is Jerick the Bold… or the Bald, as many have nicknamed him. He doesn’t take kindly to this. Unlike the beasts though, he feels there is no reason to wall off their little town.
Many have bread mutant dogs descended from captured hunting hounds that were forcefully mutated through similar experiments, acting as bolstered defenses, as well as for hunting packs. These creatures are loyal to the mutants and no one else.
These creatures use the Massive Mutant stats. The mutant dogs use the Dire Wolf stats, with the Mutant ability from the Massive Mutant.
- The Fire Starter: One of the mutants resents having to share the outer regions with the beasts, doing whatever they can to ignite the flames of war. They have used their patrol status to scheme and backstab, especially against fellow mutants trying to keep the peace.
- INTRUDERS!: Powerful magic users have breached the barrier, in effort to loot all the Fraal have to offer. As their protectors, they are sworn to rid the land of the threat… a threat they couldn’t begin to understand. They are in need of aid.
- Petitioning for Freedom: The mutants see themselves as something different from the Fraal, the start of a new species. They are assembling a team to discuss with the council for terms of independence. Deep down, they know it won’t go over well.
This was the crew quarters turned residential space of the colony. Here, a variety of futuristic looking houses line up in what otherwise looks like a quaint rural village. With more resources and tools available to them, the look of these homes are far more appealing and better put together than the Mutant or Beast homes. This has occasionally drawn ire from both respective groups. It’s uncommon that outsiders are allowed into residential areas. It is said though that much of the shady activity within the colony happens within the secret confines of homes; illicit trade efforts, organized crime, dark cults, etc.
Stats for The Fraal use the Greys stats, except most do not possess weapons due to strict sanctions on ownership.
- Adjusting to daily life: Many denizens, while living in technological landscape far outside of your understanding, struggle to contend with a life style not too different from your own within Kingdom Orvaldt. Giving some advice is always welcome.
- The Mechanist: A smarmy technocrat feels that robots can do the mutant’s job better. In fact, he has gained clearance to create a robotic army by the council. But, they’ve made it clear that they are in addition to their current forces. He has other plans, with rumors of artificial intelligence singularity. This begs the question, whose really in charge of this?
- Madness takes its Toll: The encounter with the Mad Ancient Ones of Reptoid Religion have permanently scarred the Fraal. In fact, some have taken it upon themselves to call out to other “Eldritch Gods” that dwell in the cosmic depths. One such cult aspires to bring cosmic monstrosities to the material plane, while slowly assimilate the population into their strange cults.
As if modeled off of life in this realm, there is a district devoted to various political affairs and pretty much anything not directly related to public trade. In fact, it’s down the road from the quarters area. This is the place for order, strategy, diplomacy and all sorts of civil discourse. Beyond a few diplomats, this sector tends to be barred off from those not involved with those affairs. In fact, the Supreme Council not only act in this area but live here… in a secret underground bunker below the State Building.
- World Domination:. Many Fraal are still proud of their old imperialist ways… even in light of both humiliation by reptoid invaders and the building of the new colony. Their ulterior motive, weasel their way into earthly society and slowly take control, normalizing their presence more and more!
- Plasma Power and Treason: Faults in the design of the council’s state building have allowed radical rebels to literally sneak through the cracks. Thanks to signal jamming devices in place, only the rebels know of the slowly amassing collection of bombs.
Where all sorts of military training and dangerous supplies are held. If you thought gaining access to the town center was hard, this is next to impossible. It is here that a lot of experimental technologies are developed… with or without the incorporation of this world’s “arcana.” Protected by force walls stronger than the initial barrier, this sector holds a small fort, a training grounds, storage vaults, laboratories and more. It can be said in the days since the Fraal left their ship, they have only become more authoritarian and militaristic in their approach, researching much of their offensive capabilities for a well trained armed-forces and security force.
- Just like old times: Even before the reptoids usurped control of the ship, the Fraal had their fair share of strange experiments. It’s said a whole archive of bioweapons await activation within the fort’s depths.
- Volare: It is said that within the hangar are fully operational ships ready for leaving this world, perhaps even dimension. However, they haven’t been properly tested and it’s on the hush. In fact, you’re not even sure how you heard about the rumor! For all you know, it could be a trap made to lure rebels and chafing citizens looking to leave.
- The Prisoners: A group of rangers from Richardsport were captured after accidentally piercing the barrier. Their report? Hunting down an escaped alien creature terrorizing livestock. In order to keep moral up inside and outside of the barrier, the higher ups deny their claims while their captors frivolously prod harder to find “the truth.”
Here, the denizens of the bubbled dominion gather for trade. It’s a wide variety of stalls, open buildings and repurposed remains of the shopping section of the old ship. Many mutants, beasts and alien beings come here to deal in commerce. In the instances that they deal with outsiders, this is usually the destination. And even then, it’s through closely watched caravans that are escorted in and out of the region.
ART CREDIT: Alien Forest – Ryan Gitter