Days of High Adventure
Dungeon World: The Witch-Keep of Drakenmoor

Chris Brackett | 5 Nov 2009 21:00
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I wanted to do something special for Halloween, but my turn at the High Adventure bat unfortunately fell too late. Nonetheless, here's a little location-based adventure chock full of madness, murder, monsters, and mayhem. Enjoy!

In this installment of the free Dungeon World setting, we're visiting a little fixer-upper in the hills overlooking scenic Drakenmoor. Boasting several bedrooms, a spacious master, and a panoramic view, this property won't be on the market long. Beware, though - this may be considered a "stigmatized" property!

Introduction

Sitting in the foothills of the Wyrmspines, west of the city of Drakenmoor, is the home of the King and Queen of that downtrodden city. Once known as Drakenkeep, it is now called "Witch-Keep" by the locals. Rumor has it that a curse has descended upon the keep, and that the King and Queen have gone mad.

No one knows for sure what has befallen the rulers, but it seemed to start several months ago when the King apparently went insane and had the keep searched high and low for an intruder he claimed he had seen in the royal chambers. No intruder was found, but the King could not be satisfied. He had the watch doubled, and for some unknown reason banished the Queen to the keep's guest chambers the next morning.

Things have continually gotten worse since then. After it later became known that the Queen was with child, an event that should have surely brought joy to the King, he instead seemed to grow even more mad. He became sullen and morose, creeping around the keep at all hours - until the night of his accidental fall down the stairs. Now he is crippled and remains unseen, spending all of his time in the royal chambers, and the Queen has taken a greater hand in ruling the kingdom. Her rule is cold and impartial - even cruel at times. Some claim that she has gone mad as well, while others whisper that she is possessed by an evil spirit or a demon.

Most of the keep's servants and men-at-arms have fled, and a few have disappeared. It's from them that most of the rumors have come, as few outsiders have been allowed in the keep over the last few months. The few servants and soldiers who have remained in the keep are said to have changed as well, being less sociable or even downright hostile to visitors.
As the arrival of the Queen's child approaches, the situation at the keep only seems to worsen...

The Hook

How do the player characters become involved with the cursed keep? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Forced to travel after nightfall, the PC's find themselves in the atypical "dark and stormy night" scenario: forced to seek shelter from the elements. They are on the outskirts of Drakenmoor proper, and the only suitable place nearby is the keep.
  • The PC's are hired by a priest of Lisse to recover a valuable artifact belonging to the Church of Lisse from the chapel within the keep: "The Reliquary of the Shining Dodecahedron." (See "The Chapel" entry in the Ground Floor section of the Map Key.)
  • The PC's are hired by a sorcerer to steal a magic item from the keep: "The Gazing Glass of Glyrob." (See "Scrying Chamber" entry in the Upper Floor section of the Map Key.)
  • If the PC's are evil (or just a very uncaring level of neutral) they may be hired by one of the King's emissaries to assassinate the Queen. (Good luck with that!)

Ultimately, it's up to the game master to decide how best to get the PC's involved with the goings-on at the keep. I'm just presenting the location for you to use - how you use it is entirely up to you.

Click here to download a PDF containing a complete description of the dungeon and its inhabitants, as well as a map of the Keep.

Have fun!

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