Table of Contents
Introduction - D&D Adventure Hooks: The Living Mountain
Welcome, intrepid Dungeon Masters, to a thrilling guide on crafting an immersive, high-stakes, sandbox-style campaign centred around Thrumund, the Living Mountain! This gargantuan, sentient mass of earth and stone pulsates with elemental magic, filled to the brim with cavernous chambers that host wondrous and terrifying encounters, ranging from tricky puzzles and intricate traps to formidable monsters and rampant elemental forces.
Drawing from decades of Dungeons & Dragons lore, we have carved a rich, intricate backstory for our towering titan, weaving it into the fabric of an intricate world teeming with adventure. With ties to both dwarven forefathers and eldritch elements, Thrumund is much more than just a setting - it's a compelling character, an active player on the stage of our narrative, and
a boundless source of earth-shaking challenges for your player characters to conquer.
From adventure hooks that entice your party to the mountain's foreboding slopes, through ten unique encounters that test the adventurers' mettle, to a heart-stopping climax that determines the fate of Thrumund itself, this guide provides you with an extensive framework for a memorable campaign. You'll learn how to engage your players with compelling narratives, challenging combats, and intriguing role-playing scenarios, ensuring they are at the edge of their seats in every session.
Ready to bring your campaign to life with the rumble of the Living Mountain echoing in your players' ears? Don your cloak, clutch your DM screen, and let's embark on this fantastical journey together! We hope you enjoy this week's post - D&D Adventure Hooks: The Living Mountain.
The mountain is known as Thrumund's Peak, named after the legendary dwarven earthmancer, Thrumund Granitehand, who is believed to have breathed life into the mountain.
Backstory and Origin:
Long ago, Thrumund Granitehand was the greatest earthmancer of his age. He loved the mountains more than anything and often roamed through them, speaking to the stones and learning their secrets. Thrumund envisioned a world where the earth itself could rise and participate in the dance of life.
With his unparalleled mastery over earth magic and a unique gemstone known as the "Heartstone", Thrumund performed a grand ritual at the peak of the highest mountain. He bestowed a piece of his consciousness and his immense magical power into the mountain. The magic surged, and the mountain came alive.
Thrumund's Peak is not just alive; it is sentient, with a mind and intent of its own. It is the only one of its kind, even though it is part of an expansive mountain range. It remains a silent guardian, a living monument to Thrumund's incredible power.
Location and Nearby Settlements:
Thrumund's Peak is located in the remote region of a continent, enveloped by a large mountain range known as the "Stoneheart Range". A dwarven city called Kraghammer is nestled nearby, and its inhabitants have a deep respect for the mountain and its lore.
Common Knowledge and Rumors:
To outsiders, the mountain being alive is more of a myth, a tale told by superstitious miners and eccentric scholars. It's not widely known or accepted that Thrumund's Peak is alive. Among the dwarves of Kraghammer, however, it's a sacred truth and part of their culture.
At the core of the mountain pulses the Heartstone, a magical gem that Thrumund used in his ritual. It is the source of the mountain's life and power. This Heartstone serves as both a physical and a metaphysical heart. It pumps raw elemental energy through the mountain's "veins," keeping it alive and allowing it to manipulate its form and the creatures within it.
Only a handful of the most learned sages in Kraghammer know of the Heartstone's existence, and they safeguard this knowledge fiercely. They believe that if the Heartstone were ever to be removed or destroyed, Thrumund's Peak would fall back into a lifeless slumber.
Evil Forces and Intentions:
The Stoneburn Clan: A clan of Duergar (dark dwarves) known as the Stoneburn Clan covets the mountain's power. Living deep in the underdark, they've heard tales of Thrumund's Peak and the Heartstone. Believing they can use the Heartstone's power to usurp the surface world, they plot in secret to breach the mountain and extract the Heartstone. Their leader, High Thane Karrig Stoneburn, is an adept earth magic user and believes he is destined to take Thrumund's place.
The Cult of the Crystal Void: This sinister cult believes that the Heartstone is the key to unlocking the "Crystal Void", a prophesied realm of limitless magical power. Led by their enigmatic leader, the Void Seer, they seek to unmake the world and remake it in their image. They've begun infiltrating Kraghammer, sowing chaos, and attempting to discover the secrets of Thrumund's Peak.
Zephyra the Storm Witch: Zephyra is a powerful and capricious air elemental who seeks to subjugate the elemental forces of the earth. Seeing Thrumund's Peak as a rival elemental power, she intends to use her mastery over air and storm magic to overthrow the mountain's power and impose her rule over the region. Her actions have already caused unseasonal and violent storms around the Stoneheart Range.
The adventurers may come to know of these threats during their exploration and might decide to protect the mountain or exploit the situation to their advantage. Their choices could tip the balance of power in this ongoing, secret war.
"Rumours in the Tavern": The party arrives in a small town near Thrumund's Peak, and the local tavern is buzzing with strange occurrences around the mountain. A local farmer talks of his crops dying and strange creatures in the night. A handsome man - the local lord - offers a hefty reward for anyone who can investigate these disturbances.
"The Farmer's Plight": The party investigates the farm and discovers signs of dark magic and foul play. They encounter a small elemental creature, revealing a hint of the mountain's true nature.
"Echoes from the Past": An old man - a retired adventurer - tells the party about the legend of the Living Mountain, piquing their curiosity and offering new plot hooks.
"In the Shadow of the Mountain": The party ventures towards Thrumund's Peak, facing their first dungeon adventure in a nearby cave infested with earth elementals.
"Into the Living Mountain": The party ventures into Thrumund's Peak, navigating dangerous terrain and encountering the Stone Guardians, which they must overcome through combat or riddles.
"Mephit Mayhem": The party faces the Mephit infestation and the Mysterious Crystal Chamber, requiring both combat skills and clever problem-solving.
"The Fungal Forest": The party enters the Fungal Forest, facing hallucinogenic spores and Duergar assassins hidden among giant, luminescent fungi.
"The Obsidian Maze": The party navigates the deadly Obsidian Maze, possibly involving a battle royale or an unlikely alliance with various factions vying for control of the mountain's heart.
"Showdown at the Heartstone": The party finally reaches the heart of the mountain, only to witness the Void Seer's transformation into an elemental abomination. The players must choose to either harness the heartstone's power or ally with Thrumund to overcome this threat.
"Aftermath": Depending on the outcome of the final encounter, the party might need to deal with the consequences of their actions, such as a grateful or angry local populace, or even new threats drawn by the mountain's released energies. The campaign concludes with the possibility for new adventures, depending on the players' decisions and the Dungeon Master's intentions.
1. A Tremor in the Earth:
The City Council of Kraghammer contacts the party after a series of unusual and violent earthquakes rock the city. The council's geomancers have traced the tremors' source to Thrumund's Peak and fear that something is awry within the living mountain. They wish to hire the party to investigate the cause of the tremors and put a stop to them, if possible. They give the adventurers an ancient artifact, said to allow communication with the spirit of the mountain.
2. The Heartstone's Whisper:
A mysterious and ancient map comes into the party's possession. It contains cryptic hints and puzzles pointing towards the Stoneheart Range and specifically Thrumund's Peak. Inscribed on the map is a legend, indicating a "Heart that pulses with the rhythm of the earth". Could this be the legendary Heartstone, thought to be a myth by many? The lure of this magical artifact and its potential power could be an irresistible call for any adventuring party.
3. The Storm Witch's Fury:
The party, while traveling, comes across a village devastated by unseasonal and violent storms. The villagers speak of a terrifying figure named Zephyra, a storm witch who descends from the mountains to unleash these destructive tempests. A village elder, versed in old legends, believes Zephyra seeks to challenge the might of Thrumund's Peak. The villagers plead for the party's help to either reason with or subdue the storm witch, promising whatever reward they can muster.
Any of these hooks could provide the motivation and initial direction for the party, leading them towards the mystery and adventure that awaits in Thrumund's Peak.
After accepting your quest, your journey has led you to the rugged Stoneheart Range, towards the legendary Thrumund's Peak. The closer you get, the more the landscape takes on an ancient and somber feel. The wind carries with it whispers of a time long past, and the stones underfoot feel different, charged with an energy that tugs at your senses.
As you venture forth, a blizzard begins to set in, obscuring your path. The biting cold pierces your cloaks, and the howling wind carries with it a disconcerting echo, like the mountain itself is groaning in discomfort. Yet, driven by your quest, you push onward until you notice a faint glimmer in the snowstorm ahead.
Read to Players:
In the swirling chaos of the blizzard, the faint light in the distance becomes your guiding beacon. You trudge through the knee-deep snow, shielding your faces from the wind-whipped ice. As you get closer, the light grows steadier, revealing a vast cavern mouth carved into the side of the mountain. You can't help but notice the unnatural symmetry of the entrance, as if shaped by hands rather than the forces of nature.
It's warmer inside the cavern, and the blizzard's furious howling becomes a muted whisper. The cavern walls are veined with glittering minerals, reflecting your torchlight and casting prismatic patterns on the ground. In the hushed silence of the cave, you can hear a distant rumble, a steady rhythm like a heartbeat echoing from the depths of the mountain. The air tastes different here, earthy and ancient.
As you look further into the gloom of the cavern, you sense that your journey is just beginning. The cavern plunges deeper, leading into the heart of Thrumund's Peak, where countless secrets lay waiting in the living stone.
As you navigate through the network of tunnels, you can't shake the feeling of being watched. The mountain's heartbeat grows stronger, almost as if you are moving deeper into the chest of a colossal creature. After several hours, the path widens into a vast hall, the ceiling lost in shadows above.
Read to Players:
You enter a vast chamber, and your torchlight dances across ornately carved pillars that reach up to the chamber's hidden ceiling. There's a grandeur to this place, a testament to an age and a people long past. Positioned along the sides of the chamber, standing sentinel, are towering statues of dwarven warriors. They are crafted from the same stone as the mountain, but with an attention to detail that is awe-inspiring. Each one holds a mighty hammer or axe, their eyes seeming to follow you with an intensity that's disconcerting.
As you move further into the room, the ground beneath you rumbles, and the statues begin to shift and groan. Stone grinds on stone, echoing through the chamber as the once-stationary guardians slowly come to life.
If you look closely at the base of the nearest statue, you can see a riddle etched into the stone, the ancient dwarven runes glowing faintly with a soft, amber light:
"When I am filled, I can point the way. When I am empty, nothing moves me. I have two skins, one without and one within. What am I?"
(The answer to the riddle is "A Glove". When filled (with a hand), it can point the way. When empty, it stays put. The two skins refer to the exterior and interior of the glove.)
You quickly realize that you have a choice: fight these stone guardians or solve the riddle. As you prepare your next move, the mountain's heartbeat echoes around you, a reminder that you're inside a living, watching entity. The eyes of Thrumund are upon you.
After dealing with the Stone Guardians, you continue your journey deeper into Thrumund's Peak. The mountain's rhythmic pulse grows more intense and irregular, shaking the tunnels around you. Suddenly, the entire mountain seems to groan, and you're thrown off your feet as the ground shakes violently.
Read to Players:
As the rumbling subsides, you find yourself at the entrance of a massive cavern. Your torchlight barely illuminates the edges of a yawning chasm, the other side obscured by the darkness. Thin stone bridges, natural formations carved over the ages, crisscross the abyss. They look fragile, but they are your only means of crossing. You can't help but notice the scattering of rocks below, a clear sign of the bridges' unstable nature.
Suddenly, a deafening roar echoes from deep within the mountain, and the cavern shakes violently. You scramble for balance as dust and pebbles rain down from the ceiling, and one of the distant stone bridges collapses into the chasm with a resounding crash.
As the dust settles, you realize the quakes are not random but connected to the mountain's heartbeat. The irregular rhythm seems to be a sign of distress, a giant stone titan in pain. The bridge collapses have matched the timing of the mountain's pulses, suggesting the quakes will continue in time with this troubled heartbeat.
You're struck by a chilling realization - whatever is causing Thrumund's distress is also triggering these quakes, making the crossing not just a physical challenge but a race against time. As you prepare to cross the perilous bridges, you're left with one question: what in the heart of this mountain could cause such turmoil in Thrumund's Peak?
After surviving the Quake Room and successfully crossing the chasm, you venture further into the mountain, following the path that twists and turns deeper into the belly of Thrumund's Peak. Soon you hear a cacophony of small, grating voices echoing from up ahead, and as you approach, you see a cavern swarming with Mephits.
Read to Players:
In the dim, flickering torchlight, you see dozens of small, impish creatures with bodies seemingly made of stone, dust, and gem shards. These are Mephits, elemental beings of the earth. They flutter around on jagged, wing-like appendages, chattering in their harsh, gravelly language. The Mephits don't notice you at first, but once they do, their chatter dies down, and dozens of glowing eyes turn towards you.
Their reactions are varied; some look fearful, others curious, but a good number of them seem aggressive. They form a defensive line between you and what looks like a nest of shimmering gemstones. If a battle ensues, it will be against a swarm of these territorial creatures.
However, if you choose to parley, you could use a display of earth magic or precious gemstones to get their attention, and then persuade them of your peaceful intent. If successful, not only will you avoid a skirmish, but these Mephits could serve as helpful guides or even allies in this living mountain.
Armor Class: 12
Hit Points: 17 (5d6)
Speed: 30 ft., fly 30 ft.
Abilities: Str 5 (-3), Dex 14 (+2), Con 10 (+0), Int 9 (-1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)
Skills: Perception +2, Stealth +4
Damage Vulnerabilities: wind-based attacks
Damage Immunities: poison
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages: Terran, understands Common but can't speak it
Challenge: 1/2 (100 XP)
Special Abilities: Death Burst (When the mephit dies, it leaves behind a cloud of dust that blinds creatures until the end of their next turn), Innate Spellcasting (ability to cast blur, gust of wind)
Armor Class: 12
Hit Points: 22 (5d6 + 5)
Speed: 30 ft., fly 30 ft.
Abilities: Str 8 (-1), Dex 11 (+0), Con 12 (+1), Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)
Skills: Perception +2
Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities: poison
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages: Terran, understands Common but can't speak it
Challenge: 1/2 (100 XP)
Special Abilities: Death Burst (When the mephit dies, it explodes in a cloud of rubble. Each creature within 5 feet of it must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4 (1d8) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one), Innate Spellcasting (ability to cast magic stone, stone shape)
As you prepare to handle the Mephit infestation, you remember your purpose here - the erratic heartbeat of the mountain, the tremors. The answer lies deeper within Thrumund's Peak.
Mysterious Crystal Chamber:
Following the Mephits' directions or successfully dispatching them, you wind your way deeper into the belly of Thrumund's Peak. The temperature drops noticeably, and a strange, low hum reverberates through the tunnel. As you round a bend, you're met with a breathtaking sight.
Read to Players:
Before you stretches a vast chamber, its high ceiling lost in the gloom above. The cavern shimmers with an ethereal light, thousands of radiant crystals embedded in the walls, floor, and ceiling, their luminescence pulsing gently like a bioluminescent sea. It's as if you've stepped into a starlit night, each crystal a twinkling star. There's a potent energy here, magic that resonates in your bones and hums in your ears.
The crystals are remnants from an ancient age, formed by the residual magic when the celestial being Arumn breathed life into the mountains. For thousands of years, they have absorbed the inherent earth magic of Thrumund's Peak, acting as conduits and amplifiers of his power.
As you approach, you notice that certain clusters of crystals pulse brighter than others. A closer inspection reveals ancient dwarven runes carved into the bases of these clusters. As a dwarven ruin, they hold the key to unlocking a secret path deeper into the mountain.
Choosing the correct sequence and touching the crystal clusters will activate a magical mechanism, parting the stone wall to reveal a hidden passageway. However, the wrong sequence might trigger magical traps, releasing pent-up energy in the form of bursts of magic or summoning defensive constructs.
As you ponder the puzzle, the air grows colder, the hum of the crystals growing tense. A sense of being watched creeps over you, and in the distant shadows, you spot movement. From the shadows emerge figures - the storm witch Zephyra and a group of duergar, the dark dwarves known for their cruelty and malice. An ambush has been set, and a fight seems inevitable.
In this chamber of ancient power and celestial origin, will you manage to solve the puzzle, survive the ambush, and find your way to the heart of Thrumund's Peak? Or will the echoes of your defeat join the ancient whispers in the chamber of crystals?
The Stone Serpent:
Having solved the crystal chamber puzzle and navigated through the hidden passageway, you find yourself in a massive antechamber that extends far beyond the reach of your torchlight. The steady rhythm of the mountain’s heartbeat reverberates stronger here, the walls almost vibrating with power. As you move forward, your footsteps echo in the vast expanse.
Read to Players:
Your light catches something in the distance - a hulking shape of rough, chiseled stone. As you approach, the sheer size of it becomes apparent. A colossal serpent, its form made entirely of stone and inlaid with glittering gems, lies coiled in slumber. Its scales are massive, each one the size of a large shield, and the air around it crackles with dormant, raw elemental power.
The Stone Serpent, named Ourothrum, was once a loyal guardian and ally of Thrumund's Peak. However, the corruption seeping into the mountain's heart has driven Ourothrum into a frenzied state, causing it to act out the pain and distress of its home by causing the quakes rocking the mountain.
As you draw closer, the ground beneath your feet rumbles, and the serpent's gemstone eyes flicker open, glowing with an intense, baleful light. Ourothrum uncoils, raising its titanic head to regard you, its gaze filled with a primal fury. It appears that you have disturbed its slumber.
If you manage to defeat Ourothrum, not only will you gain valuable, magical gems from its body, but you'll also bring peace to Thrumund's Peak by calming one of its most powerful, yet frenzied, elemental beings. Yet, a word of caution - the serpent's power is immense, and its wrath could easily bury you within the heart of the mountain. Your battle with Ourothrum will undoubtedly be one of the greatest challenges you face within Thrumund's Peak.
Whatever the outcome, your encounter with the Stone Serpent will shape the fate of Thrumund's Peak, and potentially, your own. Will you emerge victorious, bearing the spoils of your conquest? Or will you become yet another tale of the lost, swallowed by the living mountain's depths?
Rapid Golem Construction:
Finally, you stand before the heart of Thrumund's Peak. The elemental nexus of the mountain pulses with an overwhelming force, resonating with an intense, primal heartbeat. It's a captivating sight, but your attention is quickly drawn to the alarming scene unfolding in the cavernous space before you.
Read to Players:
An eerie blue light illuminates a large, open cavern. At the center, a magical artifact, the Elemental Heart, glows ominously. It throbs in time with the mountain's heartbeat, and from its raw, elemental magic, rock golems are rapidly forming. Each golem steps away from the artifact, its body solidifying from raw stone to a fully articulated earth warrior.
The Storm Witch Zephyra stands atop a stone platform overlooking the scene. The Elemental Heart is under her control, and she is using it to create an army of rock golems. She seems to be pulling the strings, manipulating Thrumund's mind through this nexus and causing all the chaos within the mountain.
Zephyra doesn't notice you at first, giving you time to plan. You could attempt to disrupt the Elemental Heart, cutting off the magic and stopping the golem production. To do so, you would have to navigate your way past the golems, both newly formed and those waiting for their spark of life, and deal with the Witch herself. You could also try to destroy or disrupt the artifact from a distance, using spells or ranged attacks, but Zephyra and her golem army won't make it easy.
If a direct approach is not to your liking, you could attempt to sneak past the army production, although this could prove tricky with the vast number of golems present. Alternatively, you could try to create a distraction or find another escape route, buying you time to plan a counter-attack. The decisions you make will determine the fate of the mountain and possibly the entire surrounding region.
Whatever you decide, you know that this cavern is key to restoring peace to Thrumund's Peak. As the golem army grows and the mountain's heart beats on, a battle seems inevitable. Will you rise to the challenge and save the living mountain from the clutches of the wicked Storm Witch, or will you fall to her growing army?
As you progress past the golem factory, deeper into the very core of Thrumund's Peak, you sense an increase in the ambient magical energy. The air around you feels heavy, crackling with unseen power. You come upon a grand chamber, larger than any you have encountered before, pulsating with raw energy.
Read to Players:
This is the Elemental Nexus, the central vein of Thrumund's Peak, where the raw energies from the elemental plane of earth are drawn into this world. The chamber glows with an intense, warm light, and the walls, floor, and ceiling appear to be alive, constantly shifting and reforming, almost as if breathing.
In the centre, a maelstrom of earth energy swirls violently, forming and unforming elemental creatures that exist for a fleeting moment before being drawn back into the swirling vortex. This is the very heart of Thrumund, the source of his life force and the cause of his anguish.
If approached with respect and caution, the party can harness some of this energy. Perhaps a mage in your group could channel this raw elemental energy to bolster your abilities or heal your wounds. The pure elemental power could enhance your weapons, giving you the edge you need to confront Zephyra and her army.
However, if you are reckless, if you attempt to take more than the mountain is willing to give or disrespect this sacred place, you might find yourselves facing the wrath of an angry elemental. Erupting from the energy maelstrom, a furious earth elemental might form to defend its home.
This is a place of great power and great danger, the heart of the living mountain. Your actions here could determine not only your fate but also that of Thrumund's Peak. Will you harness this power to aid you in your mission, or will your disrespect lead to your downfall in this hallowed chamber?
After your encounter with the Elemental Nexus, you journey deeper into Thrumund's Peak. The tunnel slopes downward, twisting and turning into the bowels of the mountain. You feel a dampness in the air, a stark contrast to the arid stone passageways you've traversed until now.
Read to Players:
The tunnel opens up into an enormous cavern, its ceiling lost in the darkness above. Before you stretches a forest of giant fungi, their phosphorescent caps casting a soft, eerie glow that bathes the entire cavern in a spectrum of alien colors. You've entered the Fungal Forest, a bizarre ecosystem deep within the mountain's belly, nurtured by the earth's magic and the mountain's life force.
The sheer size of the fungi is startling. Towering stalks rise like ancient trees, and massive caps spread out overhead, forming a luminescent canopy. The air is heavy with a sweet, pungent aroma, almost intoxicating.
As you tread carefully among the giant fungi, a soft rustle warns you of the dangers here. Disturbing some of these fungal behemoths releases a cloud of spores into the air. To breathe them in could cause disorienting hallucinations and erratic behavior, potentially turning friend into foe.
Hidden amongst the otherworldly glow and towering fungal structures, Duergar assassins lay in wait, their bodies blending seamlessly with the stone and shadows. They watch you with eyes accustomed to the perpetual twilight, crossbows loaded with poisoned bolts and daggers coated in deadly fungi toxins at the ready.
In this forest of luminescent fungi, you must rely on your senses, those untouched by the intoxicating spores, to outwit the lurking Duergar assassins and navigate through the Fungal Forest safely. Here, beneath the watchful gaze of the Duergar and surrounded by the alien beauty of the giant fungi, your adventure in Thrumund's Peak takes a dangerous, surreal turn. Will you survive the Fungal Forest, or will you succumb to its intoxicating allure and the deadly accuracy of the Duergar assassins?
Having braved the hallucinogenic spores and Duergar assassins of the Fungal Forest, you move deeper into Thrumund's Peak. The moist fungal scent gives way to the sharp tang of minerals, and the luminescent glow of the forest fades to a dark, reflective shine.
Read to Players:
Before you lies the Obsidian Maze. A labyrinth constructed entirely of razor-sharp obsidian, its walls gleam ominously in the faint light. The obsidian is so perfectly polished that you can see your own reflection, distorted and warped in the black glassy surface. Navigating this maze will require more than just mapping; it will test your careful planning, dexterity, and resolve, as a wrong turn can lead to lethal traps or unleash earth-bound monsters.
This is the final obstacle that stands between you and the heart of Thrumund's Peak. It's here that you find the remaining Duergar forces and the Storm Witch, Zephyra, engaged in a tense standoff. Emerging from the crystal itself is the Void Seer, a powerful earth-elemental mage, and five of his followers. The air crackles with tension and power as these forces square off.
Your presence does not go unnoticed. Depending on your past actions and your diplomatic skills, the standoff could result in a three-way battle royale in the dark, with you caught in the middle. This could provide an opportunity to creep through unnoticed while the Duergar, the Storm Witch, and the Void Seer's followers are distracted by their own fight.
Alternatively, if you've made too many enemies or failed to build allies, the opposing forces could set aside their differences momentarily to deal with the common threat - you. In this case, your journey through the Obsidian Maze could turn into a desperate race to the heart of the mountain, battling both a treacherous labyrinth and relentless pursuers.
In the Obsidian Maze, every choice, every step matters. Here, in the shadowy reflection of the obsidian, you confront your final challenge before reaching Thrumund's heart. Will you outwit your enemies, navigate the lethal maze, and make it to the heart of the mountain? Or will you falter in the Obsidian Maze, a hair's breadth away from your goal? The fate of Thrumund's Peak hangs in the balance.
Heart of the Mountain
After navigating the perilous Obsidian Maze, you finally arrive at your destination - the very core of Thrumund's Peak. The ominous, reflective darkness of the labyrinth gives way to a vibrant, thrumming light.
Read to Players:
Before you lies the heart of the Living Mountain, a massive gemstone pulsating with pure elemental energy. The gem's size is dwarfed only by the immense power it radiates, causing the air around you to shimmer. This is the source of the mountain's life and power, the elemental nexus that feeds Thrumund's consciousness and fuels his elemental creatures.
Suddenly, the Void Seer touches the heartstone. The stone responds to his touch, pulsating violently as energy surges into the Seer. Before your eyes, the Seer transforms into an elemental abomination, a grotesque fusion of earth and magic, thrashing wildly as new power courses through his form. It seems you have a final obstacle to overcome.
Here, you have to make a critical decision. You can attempt to harness the heartstone's energy to fight the Void Seer, which could grant you untold power but at a potentially devastating cost. If you can manage to wield this power without being consumed by it, you may stand a chance against the Void Seer in his new form.
Alternatively, you could attempt to communicate with the spirit of Thrumund, calling out to the consciousness of the Living Mountain. Perhaps you can convince the mountain to aid you, seeking its desires and assuring it of your good intentions. If you're successful, you might form a powerful alliance, turning the mountain's own power against the Void Seer.
In this final encounter, the stakes are higher than ever. Will you harness the raw energy of the heartstone, risking everything for power? Or will you seek unity with Thrumund, trusting in the will of the Living Mountain to help you triumph? The fate of Thrumund's Peak, and possibly the entire region, hangs in the balance as you face this monumental decision.
Campaign Outline: "Thrumund's Echo: Ripples of the Living Mountain"
"Aftermath Ascension": The heroes return to the nearby town and are celebrated. However, their victory over the Void Seer has sent magical ripples throughout the land, awakening other dormant threats.
"Ruins of Old": The party members are tasked by a local wizard to investigate ancient ruins that have suddenly come alive with magic.
"Echo in the Mines": A nearby village is suffering from strange magical phenomena in their mines. It's a dungeon adventure deep into the mountain's veins where the party encounters remnants of the Void Seer's magic.
"The Enchanted Forest": Forests around the mountain have become enchanted, and strange noises frighten the local children. The party must find a way to restore the balance.
"Abyssal Deeps": An abyss has opened in the ocean nearby due to the mountain's disturbance, and a local fisherman has gone missing. It's time for a deep-sea adventure, possibly involving pirate crews or underwater civilizations.
"The Mysterious Merchant": A mysterious stranger arrives selling powerful magic items that originate from Thrumund's Peak. Is he friend or foe, and where is he getting these items?
"Strange Happenings at the Inn": At a nearby wayside inn, patrons start experiencing magical afflictions. Is it the food, the drink, or is there something more sinister at play?
"The Silent Village": An abandoned village on the other side of the mountain is discovered. The villagers disappeared overnight, and the party needs to find out why.
"Distant Tremors": Earthquakes begin in a large city far from Thrumund's Peak. Can the party discover the connection and stop the destruction in time?
"Return to the Peak": The party's investigations lead them back to Thrumund's Peak where the mountain's heart has been destabilized. They must delve back into the mountain to ensure Thrumund's survival and the safety of the surrounding lands
Duergar (based on the standard Duergar from the Monster Manual)
Armor Class: 16 (Scale Mail, Shield) Hit Points: 26 (4d8 + 8) Speed: 25 ft. STR: 14 (+2) DEX: 11 (+0) CON: 14 (+2) INT: 11 (+0) WIS: 10 (+0) CHA: 9 (-1) Skills: Perception +2, Stealth +4 Senses: Darkvision 120 Ft., passive Perception 12 Languages: Undercommon, Dwarvish Challenge: 1 (200 XP) Actions:
War pick: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage, or 8 (1d10 + 2) piercing damage if used with two hands.
Invisibility (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest): The duergar magically turns invisible until it attacks, casts a spell, or uses its Enlarge, or until its concentration is broken, up to 1 hour.
Enlarged (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest): For 1 minute, the duergar magically increases in size, along with anything it is wearing or carrying.
Storm Witch (based on the stats for a Mage, but with some changes for thematic reasons)
Armor Class: 12 Hit Points: 40 (9d8) Speed: 30 ft. STR: 9 (-1) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 11 (+0) INT: 17 (+3) WIS: 12 (+1) CHA: 11 (+0) Saving Throws: Int +6, Wis +4 Skills: Arcana +6, History +6 Senses: passive Perception 11 Languages: Common, Primordial Challenge: 6 (2,300 XP) Spellcasting: The Storm Witch is a 9th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following wizard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): mage hand, prestidigitation, shocking grasp
1st level (4 slots): mage armor, magic missile, shield, thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): gust of wind, mirror image
3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, lightning bolt
4th level (3 slots): ice storm
5th level (1 slot): cone of cold
The Void Seer (you might want to use the stats for an Archmage, but with thematic alterations)
Armor Class: 15 (Mage Armor) Hit Points: 99 (18d8 + 18) Speed: 30 ft. STR: 10 (+0) DEX: 12 (+1) CON: 12 (+1) INT: 20 (+5) WIS: 15 (+2) CHA: 16 (+3) Saving Throws: Int +9, Wis +6 Skills: Arcana +13, History +13 Damage Resistance: Damage from spells Senses: passive Perception 12 Languages: Common, Abyssal, three other languages Challenge: 12 (8,400 XP) Spellcasting: The Void Seer is a 18th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). The Void Seer has the following wizard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): mage hand, prestidigitation, ray of frost
1st level (4 slots): shield, magic missile, detect magic, mage armor
2nd level (3 slots): mirror image, misty step
3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, dispel magic, fly
4th level (3 slots): banishment, dimension door
5th level (3 slots): Bigby's hand, wall of force
6th level (1 slot): globe of invulnerability
7th level (1 slot): teleport
8th level (1 slot): mind blank
9th level (1 slot): time stop
Remember to adjust the stat blocks as needed based on the level and capabilities of your player characters!
Adventure Hook FAQs
Q: How do I make a compelling adventure hook for my D&D games? A: A great way to create a compelling hook is to tie it directly to the backgrounds of the player characters. A local authority, for instance, could enlist their help because of their unique skills or a mysterious stranger might entrust them with a magical item for safekeeping.
Q: What are different ways to present an adventure hook to the players? A: You can introduce adventure hooks through various means: a town crier could spread alarming news, a wanted poster could be noticed in the town square, or the characters might stumble upon the aftermath of a crime or incident.
Q: Can the adventure hook be related to a character's personal possessions or backstory? A: Absolutely. Involving a player character's personal possessions or backstory is a great hook and can give the character a strong, personal stake in the adventure.
Q: How can I introduce side quests with their own adventure hooks in my D&D campaign? A: Side quests can emerge from various sources, like a local merchant needing help with bandits or a missing person's case involving a young boy from a small village. They can provide additional depth and flavor to your campaign.
Q: How can I involve newer players with the adventure hook in a D&D setting? A: For newer players, an adventure hook that involves a clear call to action from a prominent leader or a tangible reward like a small fortune can be very effective.
Q: Can the adventure hook be a dungeon adventure? A: Certainly. The party might stumble upon an ancient map leading to a forgotten dungeon, or local authorities might hire them to clear out a dangerous dungeon that's been causing problems.
Q: How can I use adventure hooks to further character development? A: An adventure hook can be designed to challenge a character's values or force them to confront their past. This could involve a figure from their backstory or force them to make difficult moral choices.
Q: Can adventure hooks relate to world events or lore in my D&D campaign setting? A: Definitely. World events, history, and lore can provide rich material for adventure hooks. For instance, a prophesied celestial event could serve as the impetus for the adventure, or the discovery of an artifact tied to ancient legends could set things in motion.
Q: How do I create a sense of urgency with my adventure hook? A: This can be done in many ways, such as presenting a clear, imminent threat to something the characters care about, or setting a deadline after which the consequences of failing to address the situation will significantly worsen.
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